“Italy’s heel has it all, except tourists.” – USA Today
This tour is no longer being offered in 2018Puglia is the heel of the Italian boot, in the far south of the country. The breathtaking scenery and gorgeous coastlines make it a hotspot for Italians on holiday. We selected Puglia as a cycling location for two reasons: First, it has a network of small roads that are perfect for cycling, cutting through stunning rolling topography that includes Roman ruins, walled fortresses, olive farms, white-washed cities, rock-lined fields, and picture-perfect Adriatic coastline. Second, it has fantastic and abundant local food (and vino!) to fuel our daily rides! The cycling on our tour is moderate because we start in the town of Conversano, which is on top of the “shelf” that rises up from the sea shore. There are small rolling hills our first few days with options for some steep climbs on the Long Routes. Then, we descend dramatically to the coast and spend the final days on an immense flat coastal plain. We offer routes for all ability levels, each of which is scenic and wondrous in its own right. What’s more, we have GPS units mounted on our bicycles that will allow you to more easily enjoy the biking without having to read route directions! See separate section below for more information.
About that fantastic food: Puglia is an agricultural powerhouse and we cycle past fields of tomatoes, eggplant, oranges, almonds, and artichokes. We also pass thousands of olive trees – huge trees, hundreds and sometimes a thousand years old, that form an impressive site and might be your lasting image from the region. In fact, there are reportedly 60 million olive trees in Puglia, one for each of Italy’s citizens. All these food products result in fresh, delicious meals, including a final night feast. Puglia is known for producing hearty, simple meals. In our opinion, the food in Puglia is actually better than in other regions of the country and the dinners we enjoy prove the point. In addition, we stop into a local olive oil mill for a tour and tasting (nothing like fresh olive oil with tomatoes on bread!), visit a sheep farm for a cheese tasting, and participate in a cooking class at a typical Italian restaurant run by three brothers (but overseen in all ways by their mamma). Puglia is also a major wine region. Surprisingly, it produces more wine than any other region in Italy! Grapes include the Negro Amaro, which contributes to the excellent Salice Salentino wine, and Primitivo, which is equivalent to Zinfandel. However, it is often the plentiful vino della casa, in white or red, that seems to go best with our mid-day or evening meal. While much of your sun-drenched days will be filled with cycling, food, and wine, you’ll also have time to stop in a number of unique and character-rich towns along our routes. We visit impressive Conversano, with its ancient castle; Alberobello, with its thousands of stone “trulli”; circular-shaped Locorotondo; the white-washed villages of Cisternino and Ostuni; and the seaside towns of Monopoli and Polignano a Mare.
The GPS units allowed us to bike at our own pace and feel confident that we were always on the right track, literally. They are so much easier to read than printed directions, especially with corrective vision issues. Thank you and thanks to whoever pre-populated those routes for us. – Liz M.
GPS vs. ROUTE DIRECTIONS
Those of you who have already taken a biking (or skating) tour with us know that following written route directions is necessary for the freedom of enjoying the trip at your own pace — you certainly don’t want to have to keep pace with the fastest person in the group, nor do you want to wait all the time for the slowest person! Because you armed with directions that tell you exactly where you need to go, you can stop to take photos or eat lunch whenever you want — this is your vacation, after all! There are generally two camps when it comes to route directions: some people love the challenge of deciphering the directions and consider it similar to figuring out a puzzle. Others prefer to leave the route-finding to somebody else and tag along with one of those in the aforementioned camp.
We are taking the route directions to a new level on this trip by adding a GPS unit to our bicycles, with the routes pre-loaded, so all you have to do is watch or listen for your next turn. This will eliminate the need to track exactly where you are on a page and read as you ride — you’ll simply need to follow a line on a map, and not worry about getting lost or going off course! This has revolutionized our biking tours and we are thrilled to be able to offer this new technology to you.
DAY 1: Welcome to the “heel” of Italy’s “boot”! Our adventure starts at 1:00 PM, allowing you to arrive in Puglia this morning or the day before (which we highly recommend). We meet you in the town of Conversano near Bari, the main transit center of Puglia. You can choose to arrive the night before and stay in the same hotel where we’ll be the first night of the tour, take the train from Rome to Bari that morning, or take a connecting flight to Bari from your overseas flight. From Bari, you’ll need to arrange a quick and inexpensive transfer or train to Conversano. After introductions and an explanation of the week that lies ahead, we begin our ride past six small lakes and an abandoned masseria (farmhouse) in the countryside before…SEE FULL ITINERARY
Real People, Real Experiences – What To Expect On This Trip
As on all of our adventures, we want to ensure you have the best experience possible – which is why we like to set expectations appropriately for every trip. Check out What To Expect On This Trip .
For More Information
- See Frequently Asked Questions for this specific trip.
- See our General FAQs page for general tour questions.
- INTERESTED IN JOINING US? Call us at 888.758.8687 or email us to check availability, or to ask any questions you may have regarding this trip or any other travel ideas you may be considering.
TO BOOK YOUR ADVENTURE: You can book online or by calling us at 888.758.8687. Zephyr Adventures requires a 500 deposit (payable by check or credit card) at the time of booking. The remaining balance is payable by check or credit card no later than 60 days prior to the start of the trip.
- WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? We will send you a confirmation email after we receive your booking, as well as a link to detailed printer-friendly pre-departure documents: arrival and departure information, suggestions for making travel arrangements, a packing list, an invoice, information about your trip location and guides. It will also include a link to an information form and liability waiver. We will also provide you with a link to information about travel insurance. We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance because it protects you if you have an unexpected change in travel plans. Please do not purchase airfare until you have received your pre-departure documents.
“With foodie travel on the rise, Puglia (‘Apulia’ to the English-speaking set) is going to become a household name. In the heel of Italy’s boot, the Mediterranean diet takes one of its purest and most delicious forms: food (think olive oil, artichokes, and salami) is locally sourced, restaurants are quaint yet high-quality, and you can sleep in a converted farmhouse… did we mention most of this happens beachside?” – Huffington Post, “15 Places to Go Before They Get Famous”
Want to make this trip even more memorable? Grab your friends and pick a date.