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Learning Italian from the Saddle
Cycling along the coastline of Apulia while also enjoying an Italian language course?! Yes!
Enjoy this unique experience--getting in touch with the land, the people, and the wonderful culture on this cycling vacation in the heel of Italy's boot. This guided tour offers a terrific balance between cycling, guided walking tours, stops along the coastline for swimming, and an intensive Italian language course led by professional instructors.
Lessons take place in the shade of olive trees and pines or on the terrace and garden of a farmhouse--informal settings and atmosphere to make the learning experience so pleasant. The best way to learn Italian and to discover south Italy!
- 20 hours of an intensive Italian language course, led by professional instructors
- Masseria, a historic fortified farmhouse that produces cheese, in Uggiano la Chiesa and Nardó
- Astounding Italian coastline
- Historic towns, Roman-era cities, towers, monuments, churches
- An afternoon sailing excursion
- Fantastic cuisine and local wine
Day 1: Individual arrival and welcome to Otranto
Upon arrival to Otranto, check in to your first hotel and have the initial briefing of the trip.
Overnight in Otranto
Day 2: Otranto and surroundings (18 miles/29km)
This morning you will have an entry-level Italian language test in the "Porta d’Oriente" school. Then, after lunch, enjoy a cycling tour of the area surrounding Otranto.
On our first cycling tour we will visit a traditional craftsman fabric workshop, a few pre-historical monuments spread across the area, a marvelous botanical garden in Giuggianello, with a unique collection of Cactaceae, and to conclude the tour, a "Masseria" (a historic fortified farmhouse that produces cheese) in Uggiano la Chiesa.
Overnight in Otranto
Day 3: Otranto – Castro (19 miles/30km)
This day is dedicated to one of the most fascinating portions of the Italian coast, where different towers, originating from the XVI century, rise facing the sea. It is the most eastern spot of the peninsula: when the sky is clear you can see the mountains of Albania and Greece across the bay.
In the afternoon we will visit the Grotta Zinzulusa, a cave proceeding for meters and meters toward the heart of the earth, and the splendid Aquaviva creek, characterized by the underground freshwater river that flows toward the sea. This evening before dinner, we’ll have a second Italian lesson.
Overnight in Castro
Day 4: Castro – Leuca (17 miles/27km)
We carry on through the Otranto-Leuca coast, the so-called “park road," with its outstanding panorama. At the arrival in Marina Serra, an Italian lesson will take place in a coastline pine forest, and then we will rest by a picturesque inlet where it will be also possible to swim.
After lunch, we will have a second Italian lesson before we depart for Tricase. In the small town of Tricase, famous for its churches and small lanes, we will enjoy a guided walking tour through the historic town center before proceeding towards Leuca. This part of the route follows secondary roads lined by century-old olive trees.
Overnight in Leuca
Day 5: Leuca
Today will be jam-packed with an Italian lesson while you cycle through the villages around Capo Leuca. We will see ancient towers, underground oil mills, the ruin of a pre-Roman city, a Mausoleum that holds traces of Byzantinian frescoes, a semi-abandoned castle and an ancient church with incredibly vast sub terrains—all while having a continuous Italian lesson with our teachers!
In the afternoon, we will have a relaxing sailing trip with lunch provided on board! You’ll be able to swim if you wish before we return to port. This evening is a free evening in Leuca, and you will make your own dinner plans.
Overnight in Leuca
Day 6: Leuca – Ugento (29 miles/47km)
The day is dedicated to the Salentinian countryside, one of the best-kept secrets of the region, characterized by its olive trees and the Mediterranean vegetation. We’ll leave Leuca and head to the Sarruni Guest Farm, where today’s Italian lesson will take place.
After our lesson, we will enjoy lunch at the farm, followed by the second lesson. From here, we will depart once again across the countryside, where we will see the "Trulli" and the "Pajare" (ancient buildings made with dry stone) and the Tu'rat garden, of Arabian origin. We’ll arrive to Ugento for our overnight. Dinner and the evening are yours tonight.
Overnight in Ugento
Day 7: Ugento – Santa Caterina (28 miles/45km)
From Ugento, we head toward the park of Punta Pizzo. The Italian lesson will take place in the coastline pine forest of Punta Della Suina, next to one of the most famous beaches of Italy.
After lunch, we will visit Gallipoli, an ancient city from the Roman era on an island. You’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of Gallipoli, which is currently populated by fishermen. Towards sunset, we will travel to Santa Caterina, where we will stop for the night, in a bed and breakfast with a view of the sea (2 overnights here).
Overnight in Santa Caterina
Day 8: Santa Caterina (10 miles/16km)
Another full day today! In the morning we cycle to the city of Nardó and some of the nearby “masserie” (fortified farmhouses) in the region of Porto Selvaggio.
Then we will go back to our bed and breakfast for the Italian lesson. In the early afternoon, we will go (on foot or by canoe) to the natural park of Porto Selvaggio, a forest next to the sea. Here we will have our second lesson of the day and then a nice swim. Return by sunset to Santa Caterina.Overnight in Santa Caterina
Day 9: Santa Caterina – Lecce (26 miles/42km)
This morning is dedicated to the final test of our Italian course! After lunch, we will travel towards Galatone, where we will visit the historic town center and the town castle, and then on to Galatina. While there, we will take a guided walking tour and also visit the church of Santa Caterina D'Alessandria, one of the most beautiful masterpieces of medieval art in the south of Europe.
We will enjoy a stop at a local wine cellar to observe the process of winemaking, ending with a wine and cheese tasting. In the late afternoon, we will get the train for Lecce to reach the city in the evening.
Overnight in Lecce
Day 10: Departure
During the morning, guided visit of Lecce on foot and final departure.
Surface and terrain
This tour takes place mainly on paved routes. Some shorter sections might be on gravel. You'll cycle through countryside and along the coast. The country roads will have very little traffic, while some of the coastal routes may have a little more traffic. Overall, the tour follows quiet roads and is accomplishable for all levels of cyclists.
These are sample hotels and may vary based on availability.
Hotel Corte di Nettuno, Otranto
Hotel Piccolo Mondo, Castro
Hotel l'Approdo , Leuca
Relais il Giardino dei Pini, Alliste / Ugento
Bed and Breakfast Li 4 Fumari, Santa Caterina
Re del Sale Bed and Breakfast, Lecce
Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.
How to get there
Nearest airports: Bari Airport (BRI)
Nearest train station: Otranto, Italy
Nearest airports: Bari Airport (BRI) and Brindisi
Nearest train station: Lecce, Italy
Tips on getting to and from your tour
Jun 10, Sep 2, 2022 (minimum 6 participants)
Per person, double occupancy € 1950 Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room) € 300
Electrically-assisted bike € 134
Extra Nights, Lecce
Per person, double occupancy € 67
Per person, from Lecce to Otranto (minimum 2 people) € 30 Per person, from Brindisi airport to Otranto (minimum 2 people) € 45 Per person, from Bari airport to Lecce hotel (minimum 2 people) € 90
- 9 nights in 3- and 4-star accommodations
- Breakfast; 9 lunches or dinners
- Luggage transportation
- Hybrid bike rental
- 20 hours intensive Italian course, (with professional teachers)
- Wine, cheese and other typical product tasting
- 1 sailing trip
Bikes available on this tour, and included in the tour cost (reserved in advance at the time of booking):
- Hybrid bikes, 21-speed, men's or unisex frame
Bikes available to rent on this tour (reserved in advance at the time of booking):
- Electrically-assisted bikes*
*More about electrically-assisted bikes >
Bikes will be equipped with:
- Travel bags
- Spare inner tubes
- Repair kit
- First aid kit
The bikes will have flat pedals.
Helmets are not available on this tour. We recommend that you bring your own helmet or plan to purchase on upon arrival.