Italy Coast to Coast Ride: Puglia to Sorrento

8 days
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£1,719
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Trip code: 
MEI
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
New - Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

Cycle through the heart of Southern Italy from Puglia to the Amalfi Coast

This trip combines the best of two of our most popular Italian trips, with the unique challenge of cycling right across Italy. Expect a rewarding point-to-point ride every day through some quiet and unspoilt routes. Starting from the Apullian town of Polignano a Mare, by the Adriatic sea, we cross Italy from east to west and venture into the heart of the Baslicata and Campania regions. The itinerary includes time in iconic places such as the UNESCO city of Matera, as well as other secret jewels like Padula and Castelmezzano, a mountain village perched on the so-called 'Dolomites of the south'. Our journey ends with a fantastic ride along the world-famous Amalfi Coast all the way to Sorrento.

Highlights

  • Stunning door-to-door rides through traffic-free roads
  • Travel across Italy from Puglia to the Amalfi Coast
  • Visit UNESCO sites and venture into forgotten villages

Key information

  • 6 nights 3 and 4-star hotels and 1 night farmhouse
  • 8 days land only / flight inclusive
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support (limited seats)
  • 90% tarmac and 10% unpaved; some long rides and challenging climbs
  • Local bike hire included
  • E-bike or road bike hire available on request

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • London flights (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Local city taxes

6

Pace:

 

Terrain:

90% tarmac and 10% unpaved

Day by day breakdown
Day 285.0km/52.0miles
Day 397.0km/60.0miles
Day 495.0km/59.0miles
Day 550.0km/31.0miles
Day 670.0km/43.0miles
Day 760.0km/37.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Polignano a Mare
to
Sorrento
  • Day 1

    Fly to Bari and transfer to the picturesque coastal town of Polignano.

    Fly to Bari and transfer to the picturesque town of Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast of the Valle d’Itria, Puglia, perched atop a 20m high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic. Depending on the group arrival, there might be time for a relaxing stroll through the town's narrow alleys and an ice cream in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. In season it is also recommended to pop down to the town's beach, just a few minutes’ walk from the old centre. It is in this pictureseque whitewashed seaside village that Domenico Modugno's interenational hit ’Volare’ song was born! With so much to see and do in Puglia, we strongly recommend arriving a day or two early to visit some of the other region's jewels including the UNESCO Alberobello. Overnight at Hotel Covo dei Saraceni or similar.

  • Day 2

    Ride through fields and ancient olive groves to the amazing UNESCO city of Matera.

    Today we start cycling from the coast and go inland, heading for one of the most fascinating cities of southern Italy, Matera. A first warm-up climb brings us onto a large rolling plateau, where we will be pedalling through fields of fennel and ancient olive groves. We pass several nice small Apullian villages along the route, where we stop to regroup, take a coffee or simply for a rest. As we cross into the region of Basilicata for the last part of the route, we cycle through open fields and partly along the Appia Antica, the ancient Roman Road. We should reach the UNESCO listed town of Matera in the afternoon with some time for a relaxing stroll in the historic ‘Sassi’ district and for an Italian 'aperitivo' in one of the beautiful squares. You are free to choose from the wide selection of restaurants and pizzerias for your evening meal however the leader may suggest a group meal for those interested. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Challenging ride into the heart of Baslicata to the secret jewel of Castelmezzano, a village perched on top of the so called Dolomites of the South.

    Today will be our longest ride but the destination will be more than worth the effort! We start with an easy downhill section through the fields, towards the Lake of St. Giuliano. We then follow an old road along a ridge, encountering a number of beautiful historic villages, like Tricarico, an old Byzantine capital and Grassano, before arriving in sight of the stunning Lucan Dolomites as known as the 'Dolomites of the South'. We make a great downhill ride just before having to gather some strength for the challenging but rewarding steep climb up to the beautiful village of Castelmezzano, clinged to the mountains' sandstone rocks. The support vehicle will be availble for those who prefer to skip this last ascent. Castelmezzano, rated as one of the prettiest villages in Italy, is very remote and set in a breathtaking location with stunning mountain views - a perfect quiet retreat after today's long ride. A short walk through the village and up to the Norman steps is a must, before we enjoy a delicious hoemade meal at our hotel's restaurant. Overnight in Castelmezzano.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Cross the border into Campania by bike and reach Padula, home of the UNESCO Carthusian monastery featuring the the biggest cloister in the world.

    Today we are heading west into the Campania region. In the morning we cross the National Park of the Basilicata Apennines, a sparsely populated wilderness area featuring stunning mountain scenery and pleasant villages where time seems to have stood still. Towards the end of the afternoon, after a last challenging climb, we’ll reach the top of the ridge between Basilicata and the Campania region. From here we will be cycling all the way down into the Vallo di Diano, a fertile highplain with several beautiful medieval towns. We settle in Padula, a nice medieval town famous for its ‘Certosa’, the largest monastery in Italy. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Ride to the lovely village of Corleto Sant'Angelo and spend a night in a family-run agriturismo with pool.

    Today's ride is relatively short, thus allowing for a late start. We recommend paying a morning visit to the nearby Padula Charterhouse, the largest monastery in Italy and UNESCO heritage sight. We get on our bikes just before lunch and cycle into the heart of the Cilento National Park. First we follow a nice, mainly flat, route through the Vallo di Diano and continue with a climb up the beautiful ‘Sentinella’ pass (932m), which winds up high above the plain. The last part of the route involves a nice descent into the Cilento National Park, where we settle in homely agriturismo with pool. Tonight we dine on great local specialties prepared with organic produce. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Cycle all the way to the coastal town of Paestum in Campania; visit the famous Greek temple.

    Today we ride a great route in the shadow of the Alburni Mountains making our way down to the Thyrrenian Sea. Early in the afternoon we’ll arrive at the fantastic Greek Temples of Paestum. Our hotel is just a few hundred meters from here so we have the time to visit the impressive archaeological site. Alternatively, you could opt to relax at the swimming pool. The sea is only a few minutes away by bike so those who whish can also enjoy a refreshing late afternoon swim. Tonight we’ll eat on the premises of the hotel. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Train ride to Salerno; ride one of the most spectacular coastal roads in the world all the way to Sorrento via Amalfi.

    We start the day with an early train ride to Salerno. Here we get on our bikes and begin our final ride along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Italy: the stunning Amalfi Coast. After a short climb up to Vietri, we follow the undulating coastal route to Cetara and continue uphill to the dramatic viewpoint of Capo d’Orso. We then head towards Amalfi itself, where we have time for a short stop and stroll. In the afternoon we ride past Positano, and cross the ridge to then wind down to the nice resort town of Sorrento. Here we can toast to our accomplishment, perhaps with a drink or two down at the beach and a dive into the Bay of Naples, in sight of Mt. Vesuvius. Those who wish can opt for a stroll in the historic centre, or perhaps just a few hours of relaxation. In the evening we all gather together for a last great evening meal (optional). 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 dinners included.

A typical hotel breakfast consists of: toast/bread with jam,or honey, cereal, cheese and ham, served with coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, fruit, cake and yoghurt. Lunches are normally arranged as picnics or taken in small cafes' along the route. A total of 4 dinners are included on this trip and they normally consist of a 3-course menu with a choice of regional specialities. Vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements will be catered for but please inform us of your requests prior travel.

Weather

Southern Italy is characterised by a hot, dry climate in summer, with cooler but slightly damper spring and autumn periods, and at coastal levels mild, damp winters. Rainfall is more common in the winter months with an average of one day in three affected. Unseasonable cold spells are possible at any time of year, during which time you will need warm clothes. As you will be crossing some mountainous regions in the interior, temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler than down by the coast. It is very important to be equipped for cold and wet weather in early and late season departures.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified as Road. Average daily distance: 76km (44 miles) No. of days cycling: 6 .

This trip crosses the mountainous areas of Basilicata and Campania. Most days will require a good level of fitness as there will be some sections with sustained climbing, particularly on Days 3, 4 and 7. The difficulty and distances of other rides (Days 2, 5 and 6 ) are similar to those you would find on a Grade 3 trip. The reward for the ascents will be stunning views and an amazing sense of achievement; a worthwhile trade-off! Distances per day vary from 55-97km. Daily rides will start from our accommodation and the terrain and route will be mainly on quiet regional and village asphalt roads. The more remote roads are often not maintained as well as those nearer towns, so on these we may encounter a few pot holes and less than perfect surfaces. The support vehicle will follow the group for the vast majority of the time, so you can choose whether to ride all of the climbs on the trip (with limited seats, for only 2 or 3 people). There will be occasional sections of slightly busier roads. A very good level of fitness is essential for this trip. Activity Level: 5 (Challenging). Please see the introductory pages of the cycling brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us.

Accommodation

Hotels and Agriturismo

We spend 6 nights in different 3 and 4-star hotels with en suite facilities and one night in a traditional 'agriturismo' - a beautifully converted farmhouse in the Cilento National Park. The hotels have been chosen for their warm hospitality and their typical Italian character. Some hotels have a swimming pool or a beach nearby which will be greatly appreciated in summer. Most of the hotels have restaurants serving typical regional cuisine and delicious local produce.

lList of hotels normally used:

Polignano a Mare: Hotel Covo Dei Saraceni

Matera: Hotel Italia

Castelmezzano: Becco Della Civetta

Padula: Grand Hotel Certosa

Bellosguardo: Agriturismo Villa Vea

Paestum: Hotel Villa Rita

Sorrento: Hotel Ulisse Deluxe 

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Martin Williamson

    A top way to see Southern Italy

    This is a challenging ride but it is a fantastic way to see and experience Southern Italy in the company of a great and knowledgeable guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The very different terrains that we went through and the food we were able to experience. Apart from the great scenery we travelled through the Greek ruins in Paestum were great to walk around and the cave dwellings in Sasso at Matera were very interesting. The vast monastery at Padula was well worth visiting and gave us time away from the bikes. Going in May meant that the wild flowers were at their best.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very keen to show us the countryside and to help us savour the food of the area so he organised some great meals for us along the way. He was well supported by the mechanics who followed the ride and they ensured that the bikes were in good condition throughout the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The distances may not look very long but after the first day it becomes more challenging with long climbs. However they are all great fun and you see some fantastic scenery. There was a great array of food at all the stops so this is not a trip if you are trying to loose weight!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All the hotels used were comfortable and of good quality. We had a great time and enjoyed it all!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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