Learning Italian from the Saddle: Language Classes & the Coast of Apulia

    5/5 (2)
    9 nights | 22 miles/day
    Guided from EUR € 1950
    Bike tour in Italy
    Rider Level: Recreational Electric bike tours
    5/5 (2)

    Rider Level: Recreational Electric bike tours

    9 nights | 22 miles/day
    Guided from EUR € 1950
    Bike tour in Italy

    Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

    • 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!

      • Biking along the coast on the Apulia Italy Bike Tour!
      • Gallipoli, Puglia, Italy. CC:Matthias Kabel
      • Vineyards en route in Apulia, italy. Zachary Brown@Unsplash
      • Fine Italian cuisine! Liubo Vilchuk@Unsplash
      • Apulia Italy Bike Tour
      • Chianti wines in Italy! Brett Jordan@Unsplash
      • Spaghetti con le cozze (with mussels), Apulia, Italy. CC:10Rosso
      • Lecce, Italy. Юлія Вівчарик@Unsplash

      View more photos


      • 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

      Learn More

      Learn more about our guided tours or see more bike tours in Italy.

    • Traveler photos

      •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)
      •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)
      •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)

      Learning Italian from the Saddle

       Tour Description Daily Program 

    • Daily program

      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 (20 miles/32km)
      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) -Cooking class
      Another full day today! In the morning we cycle to the city of Nardó and some of the nearby “masserie” (fortified farmhouses).

      From there we cycle toward the farmhouse where Mamma Anna will host us to learn the secrets on how to prepare the most traditional plate from Apulia.

      When we arrive there's a big garden, where we pick the vegetables , we cook together (hand made fresh pasta called 'orecchiette', and a couple of traditional dishes more, depending by the season), and finally we eat together with the rest of the family.

      In the afternoon, after digesting, resting (a siesta!) or enjoying the swimming pool, you come back to 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

      Tour start
      Nearest airports: Bari Airport (BRI)
      Nearest train station: Otranto, Italy

      Tour end
      Nearest airports: Bari Airport (BRI) and Brindisi
      Nearest train station: Lecce, Italy

      Tips on getting to and from your tour

      Learning Italian from the Saddle

       Tour Photos Dates & Prices 

    • Dates

      Jun 16, Sep 01, 2023 (minimum 6 participants)


      Tour package

      Per person, double occupancy €1950
      Single use room (1 person/1 room) €2274

      Bike Rentals

      Electrically-assisted bike €132

      Extra Nights, Lecce

      Per person, double occupancy €66


      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

      Included services

      • 9 nights in 3- and 4-star accommodations
      • Breakfast; 9 lunches or dinners
      • Luggage transportation
      • 24-hour guide
      • Local guide
      • Hybrid bike rental
      • 20 hours intensive Italian course, (with professional teachers)
      • Wine, cheese and other typical product tasting
      • 1 sailing trip

      Bike rentals

      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:

      • Racks
      • Travel bags
      • Spare inner tubes
      • Repair kit
      • First aid kit

      Bike Protection:
      Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.

      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.

      Tour Company

      Learning Italian from the Saddle

       Daily program Tour Reviews 

      • Rosemary McDougall 1 week ago

        Best of both worlds: Italian language and cycling in Italy

        What a fantastic tour! The rides were perfect and the teachers/guides were outstanding. Giovanna and Carla were the best Italian teachers, patient and helpful. The riding itinerary was challenging yet doable for all participants. The idyllic terrain from Otranto to Lecce showcased the Salento region and the spectacular views of both Adriatic and Ionian Seas completed the picture. All accommodations were great as well as the scrumptious Italian food and Orecchiette cooking class. Visits to various beaches helped to relax everyone along the route. An ideal tour for anyone interested in learning Italian and enjoying the scenery along the way while riding a bicycle (bici).

        What was the date of your tour?
        September 1-10
        How many tours have you completed?
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)
        •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)
        •  (photo by Rosemary McDougall)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Charlene Cestroni 3 months ago

        Do it! You won’t regret it!

        Loved, loved, loved it!! Giovanna, our guide and instructor was THE BEST!! She had varied teaching styles and lessons, addressed the different levels of proficiency well, and was a really fun person to share time with. She was very knowledgeable about the various cultural sites we visited and incorporated them into our lessons. Throughout the whole experience I felt like family. We literally spent time w different members of families of the tour operators and staff - you don’t see that everyday! The level of biking was easy. The excursions were excellent! I was even able to take a private yoga class at one location. The accommodations were very good. We were a small group so we were able to stay at a couple masserias - very charming. One had a couple small service issues due to lack of staffing but nothing significant. Masserias were Uber charming but the standout hotels for me were in SM de Leuca and Arco Vecchio in Lecce. I was always in a single room and they were all very nice, comfortable, and had showers bigger than a phone booth (important to me!) If you want to have fun, enjoy diverse experiences, do a little biking, and be immersed in the Italian culture and language (with support,) then this is the trip for you!! Thank you Giovanna and Salento Bici Tours for this incredibly fun experience. I can’t wait to hear about your next tour offering!

        What was the date of your tour?
        June 2023
        How many tours have you completed?
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat easier
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        First-time bike tourists, Solo travelers, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)

      Learning Italian from the Saddle

       Dates & Prices Book This Tour 

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