Our adventure through Puglia was unforgettable! This region offers so much history, culture, and beautiful scenery. Every day of the bike tour is unique and different. It's especially nice to explore this amazing region that I imagine most Americans are not familiar with.
To begin, the staff at both Biketours.com and Girolibero (the local operator) are outstanding, super helpful, knowledgeable, and very responsive. Everything was smooth and easy.
Regarding the trip itself, Matera (day one) is just spectacular. Walking through the ancient stassi is a very special experience (we recommend hiring Nadia Garlatti for a guided tour to really get a feel for it (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are planning on spending an extra night in either Matera or Lecce, we absolutely recommend you do so in Matera (not Lecce). The hotel is also wonderful, and it's just so special staying in the stassi of Matera.
One of the best parts about this trip is how you get to experience so much. Literally every day is very different. From the ancient stassi of Matera, to the trulli of Alberobello, the unique history of Otranto, the gorgeous beaches, lovely olive groves, vineyards and fig trees, this trip really covers a lot. Beyond the highlights, you will also visit very charming towns like Locorotondo and Gallipoli.
The biggest challenge for us was to see and do everything we wanted to do. It may not seem like much to bike 35-45 miles per day, but there is just so much to see and do. Each day was very packed so that we could enjoy the sites along the way, have a great meal in our destination, and have a stroll to explore our destination as much as we could. The nightlife in each bustling town was awesome as well.
The guidebook offered by Girolibero is very thorough and super informative. Their tips on where to stop and where to eat are spot on. All the restaurants, gelateria, beaches and other specific recommendations were great. In fact, the Pugliese cuisine was the best we had in Italy. Every meal was outstanding (and very reasonably priced). In America, "antipasto" is usually not really memorable. However, do yourself a favor and order the antipasto dishes when dining in Puglia -- for a very affordable price, you get a wonderful assortment of very tasty and unique dishes.
We could go on raving about this trip. We also need to mention the hotels were great as well (especially San Martino in Matera). And you have a complete and delicious breakfast included every morning.
Basically, from start to finish, this trip was just perfect. We have no complaints, and look forward to another bike tour in the near future. This was a wonderful way to experience an amazing region of Italy. Grazie!