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Italy’s Puglia from Bari to Santa Maria di Leuca — all the way south

Guido Gazzaniga

Italy’s Puglia from Bari to Santa Maria di Leuca — all the way south

Road Cycling Collection by guido gazzaniga

3-5

days

3-5 h

/ day

233 mi

7,800 ft

7,650 ft

Italy’s Puglia region offers an incredible variety of landscapes from the coastline overlooking clear waters to the richly vegetated hinterland. It’s not only nature though, this territory is also rich in history and art from Roman archaeological sites to the vibrant baroque of Lecce, just to mention some of the many historical and artistic beauties. This Collection covers the southern part of the region, from Bari downwards, and always remains on the Adriatic side. But this isn’t a long ride along the sea: part of the itinerary takes place in the heart of Puglia and touches on some of the most evocative villages of this fantastic region.

It starts in Bari, a beautiful city that’s easily accessible by public transport, and travels in five stages to the southernmost tip of the region: Santa Maria di Leuca. As you explore between Bari and Santa Maria di Leuca, you can enjoy the variety of breathtaking scenery that has made this area so famous. Santa Maria di Leuca is unfortunately not as well connected though: the nearest train station is Gagliano di Leuca, 6 kilometres (4 mi) away.

Each Harvest Tour departs and arrives in a town where you can easily find accommodation and supplies as well as places of historical and artistic interest such as Monopoli, Lecce and Otranto. In the evenings, you can enjoy the cultural (and gastronomic) richness of the region and, during the day, a succession of new landscapes accompany you on your rides: from the ancient olive trees to the woods around Alberobello, and from the Murge plateau to the coasts of Salento.

The sea here is spectacular in summer but the temperatures are prohibitive when cycling between June and August. Not to mention that vehicle traffic increases significantly during the summer period. Spring is definitely the best time to set out: you'll find cooler temperatures and see the fields in bloom. Even in autumn you can count on a milder climate and watch the countryside come to life during the olive harvest. Winter itself is never too cold, but watch out for rain, which can be heavy and sudden.

The route is suitable for all levels of fitness and is designed for touring bikes, but can also be undertaken with racing bikes as it’s entirely on asphalt. In the towns you pass through you’ll always find bike shops selling spares but I recommend that you always carry a basic repair kit with you as you may find yourself in isolated areas during the ride.

This itinerary crosses the Salento and Lecce regions. You can try two local delicacies (at least): the coffee from Lecce and the pasticciotti. Leccese coffee is espresso coffee with added ice flakes and almond milk while pasticciotti are pastry cakes filled with custard. They go very well together, so I suggest you take advantage of them during your breaks. After all, you need a lot of energy for cycling.

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Tutto a Sud – La Puglia, da Bari a Santa Maria di Leuca

234 mi

7,800 ft

7,650 ft

Last updated: April 1, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Bari to Monopoli — all the way south

    Intermediate
    02:56
    44.3 mi
    15.1 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    Today a day at sea. If you have not already done so, find some time to visit Bari: lose yourself in the alleys of the old city, take a tour of the port, visit the basilica of San Nicola or enjoy some tranquility in the gardens of Isabella d ' Aragon in the shadow of the Swabian Castle. Given the ride

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  • Intermediate
    03:17
    37.8 mi
    11.5 mph
    2,675 ft
    1,925 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The route leaves the coast to head inland. Almost immediately the road begins to climb to arrive, after about ten kilometers, on the plateau of the Murgia. The landscape changes drastically, from the olive groves of the plain to the woods and green fields of the plateau. After about twenty kilometers

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  • Intermediate
    03:43
    53.7 mi
    14.4 mph
    700 ft
    1,325 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    From the last elevations of the Murgia plateau the path descends towards the sea. Take a fun descent out of Ostuni and then continue in the land once dominated by the Dentice di Frasso lineage, an ancient family from southern Italy that has appeared among the feudal lords of the Kingdom of Naples since

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  • Intermediate
    03:14
    47.1 mi
    14.6 mph
    975 ft
    1,075 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Mostly well-paved surfaces and easy to ride.

    After a good Lecce coffee accompanied by a pasticciotto, it's time to get back on the saddle heading south. If you have not yet visited Lecce, I recommend that you dedicate a couple of hours to this beautiful city that was called "The Florence of the South" by the German historian Ferdinand Gregorovius

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  • Intermediate
    03:46
    50.5 mi
    13.4 mph
    2,425 ft
    2,300 ft
    Intermediate road ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    After leaving Otranto the path heads towards… north! That's right, north. A small detour to visit the Alimini lakes area is strongly recommended, but if you want to take it more calmly you can also head directly south. In this way the Tour will be about 30 kilometers shorter.

    

    South of Otranto the track

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    233 mi
  • Duration
    16:56 h
  • Elevation
    7,800 ft7,650 ft

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Italy’s Puglia from Bari to Santa Maria di Leuca — all the way south

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