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Cycling Puglia: Italy’s best kept secret

Starting in Ostuni, in the heart of the Trulli region, before heading to Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’, our cycling holiday explores the best parts of Puglia. Our very own road cycling expert, Jacky, was only too happy to head here for herself and share her thoughts about this new road tour. We guarantee that you will also fall head over heel (pun intended) for this lesser known, but just as spectacular, part of Italy…

‘It was my first European trip with Skedaddle, I’d previously enjoyed a long bank holiday in North Wales which I can highly recommend if you enjoy a challenging climb and are looking for a short weekend getaway. This one was also my first ‘place to place’ cycling holiday – yikes – what was this going to be like?

I knew I had a passion for cycling, and I enjoy fresh faces and new company, so my plan was to go with the flow and absorb each aspect of the experience from start to finish. I kept my mind open, my face friendly and made sure my legs were well oiled…

It would be easy to write a daily detailed tale of all the wonders and challenges that I experienced throughout those 8 days, but I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ve narrowed down my holiday highlights. There were many, but I think the many images below captivate the moments that made it special to me.

I had set off for Puglia filled with a joyful excitement and intending to have a good cycling trip. Throughout the 8 days I was opened up to fresh new experiences that ticked many of the boxes my senses enjoyed… from the smells of the wild flowers and strong espressos;  to the tastes of the rare grape wine; cakes with my morning cappuccinos and the fresh seafood from our coastal restaurant in Gallipoli; the wonderful sights (including the suave Italian men and captivating women) and the sounds that were all around…  as we rode together as a group, sharing the joy with a sense of fondness amongst us that developed throughout the week… it was, as I had hoped, a memorable experience.

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

The Guides and the Skedaddlers
An interesting group of individual cyclists all coming together and sharing a unique holiday experience, each adding their own speciality. I was lucky many of them were well experienced Skedaddlers, and I was able to enjoy their thoughts on previous trips, fuelling me with plenty of inspiration for my next trip choice…

The Accommodation
They say variety is the spice of life! No hitting the snooze button here…  and when you have coffee and cake waiting for breakfast and a day in the saddle ahead, well, why would you. An interesting selection of accommodation, each one with it’s own unique style. I enjoyed the delights of exploring a new abode each evening…

Grub! Fuel! The Naughty & Nice Tasty Bits!
The legendary Skedaddle picnics, the espressos, the cake… and the wine! Not forgetting the ‘Strawberry & Coffee’ ice cream choices! Fresh seafood, pasta and of course pizza… mouthwatering delights were savoured each day.

The Cultural Wonders
We took this trip during Easter and were able to witness some great religious services. The three UNESCO areas were amazing. Lecce with the Baroque architecture carved from soft stone. Alberobello with the dainty Trulli houses and agricultural landscape. Matera was my sweet spot!

My Crescendo in Southern Italy
We reached the final destination, Matera…. And it was breathtaking. The cave town, with a visible history. Here we were perfectly located, overlooking trails running up the cliff sides. There is no time for trail running though, too much exploring in the town is to be enjoyed, every corner you turn brought new ‘pleasure for the eyes’… it certainly leaves you wanting more and I am keen to return and venture up that trail with my running shoes on.

My Final Thoughts…
Travelling by bike… Exploring on two wheels… Being able to soak in the surroundings, from place to place… For me it was great, when I got home I took some time to reflect… I’d just spent 8 days with some lovely people; doing what I loved.’

Feeling inspired? Jacky cycled The Heel of Italy guided road cycling holiday in Italy, be sure to take a look at our holiday page here for full details and to experience for yourself!

Customer Story: Repeat Offender

Having recently returned from yet another Skeddadle guided cycling holiday, Nick shares a few thoughts as to why he keeps on coming back for more and what makes our holidays uniquely enjoyable…

Easy to organise.  I’m sure we’ve all thought about organising a cycling holiday somewhere warm and sunny but then when it comes to the logistics it starts to get complicated. So where do you want to go? France, Italy, Spain, on or off road? There’s plenty on offer. Personally that’s the great thing about Skedaddle, they only ‘do’ cycling holidays, nothing else and run their own trips with their own dedicated guides. Rest assured they know their stuff and go out of their way to ensure everything is perfect, leaving you to concentrate on what really matters, enjoying your cycling and having a relaxed time.

Just Ride – The great thing about a Skedaddle leisure guided trip is that you can ride at your own pace, with your partner or friends. It’s not a race and with guides at the head and tail of the group you’ll not get left behind, so you can soak up the scenery and enjoy the ride. There are always opportunities to stop for have a coffee, grab a cheeky gelato or chat with the locals. Just as if you’d organised your own trip but without the hassle.

Whether you’re taking your own bike or hiring one locally (including e-bikes) it’s good to know there is full back up en-route.  On my recent trip in Italy I had a problem with my gears which meant if I had been on my own it would have been impossible to continue the day’s ride. However a spare bike was promptly pulled from the support vehicle and I was back on the road within 10 minutes, my original bike being fixed and back in full working order before I’d had my second beer on arriving at our destination! That’s service.

Great Accommodation – No, make that amazing accommodation! You’ll not be billeted in faceless large and impersonal hotels. You’ll be staying at a small local boutique hotels where you’re treated like a valued guest not just a room number. Perhaps you’ll enjoy an agritourismo where you’ll be hosted like you are extended family. Breakfast on the terrace, a cheeky beer after a day in the saddle, a splash in the pool or supper under the stars, you won’t be disappointed wherever you stay.

Delicious Local Food. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my cycling but I also enjoy my food. It’s an integral part of my holiday to savour flavoursome local dishes made with fresh ingredients, not to mentionappreciating a selection of the regional wines. And there is nothing more enjoyable than sharing such delights with your fellow cyclists and guides. A perfect opportunity to relive the day’s highlights and wonder what tomorrow’s route has in store. Almost forget – Skedaddle lunches are legendary. They are prepared daily, usually served in the cool shade under the trees along your route and you certainly won’t go hungry.

Making New Friends. I don’t consider myself a person that needs to be in a group, in fact if you’d have suggest to me to go on a group holiday I’d probably say ‘no thanks’. But having overcome my initial reticence I’d say in general your fellow Skedaddlers are usually like-minded, engaging individuals who share a passion for cycling and will enjoy sharing their week. In fact I made several new friends on my initial trip to Sardinia over 11 years ago and I have stayed in touch ever since, not to mention those I’ve acquainted more recently.

So if you are thinking about booking your first Skedaddle trip or perhaps never enjoyed a guided or perhaps a leisure type trip then I’d urge you to do so. Hopefully you will enjoy it for all the same reasons I do and you’ll be left with wonderful memories and a huge smile.’ Nick

Nick is our July winner of the Customer Competition. His journey from Tuscany to Rome inspired him to send us this entry and we absolutely love it. Thanks Nick!

Escape for cycling fun this Christmas

What if…the most wonderful time of year didn’t have to be spent indoors hiding from the cold? If the thought of another festive season fills you with total dread, we have a simple solution powered by two wheels! Time to take a look at our cracking Christmas and New Year cycling holidays:

Best for: Mountain bikers
Trips: Sensational Sierra Nevada, Spain & Atlantic Trails, Portugal
We say: Blow away the cobwebs and soak up some of Southern Europe’s finest biking trails! All that’s left to decide is whether you’d prefer to hit the coast in Portugal or head up into the Spanish peaks.

Best for: Road cyclists
Trips: Los Pueblos Blancos, Spain
; Road Atlas, Morocco & Ruta de los Volcanes, Costa Rica
We say: Roadies are spoilt for choice when it comes to their pick of destinations. Whether looking for something in Europe, Africa or the Americas – we have it covered!

Best for: Adventure seekers
We say: Lake District, Chile and Argentina,
 Volcanes y Playas, Costa Rica & Mountains and Coast, Vietnam
We say: For your chance to truly escape the western festive frenzy, our Latin American journeys offer you the chance to immerse yourself in exotic cultures and mind blowing sceneries. Or alternatively join us to Asia and explore vibrant Vietnam.