Cycling in Italy: bike trips in the south of Puglia

Cycling in Italy

A bike trip in Italy can be an unforgettable experience especially if you decide to discover the Southern part of the Country. Among the many cycling destinations, the Alta Murgia National Park, in Puglia Region inland, stands out as one of the most fascinating and suggestive destinations for cycling enthusiasts. With its vast landscapes and its huge plant and animal biodiversity, the park offers a unique environment also from a geological point of view,  this protected area, in fact,  is aspiring to get the certification to UNESCO Geopark.

In this article, we will explore the two best bicycle itineraries of the Alta Murgia National Park, combining the passion for cycling and the pleasure of discovering a part of the Puglia Region that is still authentic and full of charm.

Cicloturismo ed Enogastronomia pugliese - Il pane di Altamura e lo jazzo

The Karst Cycle itinerary in the Alta Murgia National Park, Puglia

One of the most famous paths of the Alta Murgia National Park develops in the south of the Park and starts from Gravina in Puglia, a picturesque town that stands on the edge of a deep ravine; crossing it along the ancient stone bridge you have the opportunity to admire the incredible rock walls and fascinating caves so similar to the famous “Sassi” of the nearby town of Matera.

The itinerary continues through the green countryside of the Bradano Valley, offering cyclists the opportunity to immerse themselves in the tranquility and beauty of a floodplain through which winds the famous Via Appia Romana that over the centuries joined Rome with the south of Italy. The route then goes up on the huge Murgian escarpment (called Costone Murgiano) until reaching the deep karst Dolina of Pulicchio di Gravina and then continue on a panoramic path along the high edge of the Costone and return to the starting point through an exciting and long down-hill that crosses the longest wooded canyon of the Park.

In bicicletta in Puglia sull'itinerario della Transmurgiana

What is Gravina di Puglia famous for?

In the heart of the Puglia region, there is a little-known jewel, but rich in history and beauty: Gravina in Puglia. This charming town, located on the canyon carved by the homonymous torrent, enchants visitors with its medieval buildings and its extraordinary natural beauty.

Lovers of cycling and nature can find in this town a true paradise to explore; cross its spectacular ancient bridge over the creek gorge, one of the locations of the last film chapter of Agent 007, the film «No Time to Die» with Daniel Craig; stop in the shadow of the cathedral enjoying a sandwich made of the famous local cheese called the “Pallone di Gravina” accompanied by a fresh beer and then park your bike and dive into the discovery of the “Gravina Underground” a hidden city curved just under the streets and buildings.

Because it is still less known by mass tourism, it offers an authentic and unique experience. Visiting Gravina in Puglia means immersing yourself in an enchanted world, where past and present come together in a unique evocative atmosphere and where, cycling in the quiet alleys of the old city you can hear the ticking of the freewheel of your bike and the scent of clothes lying to dry, away from the roar of the cars and the smell of smog.

The Ring of Frederick II: cycling in the Murgia of Castel del Monte

This itinerary in the northern area of the Alta Murgia National Park offers a variety of landscapes that make it unique compared to other Apulian cycling routes: the open pseudo-steppe of the Murgia, the oak wood and the ancient torrential furrows, locally called “Lame” and which draw sinuous green lines that cross the landscape white limestone.

Almost entirely on dirt paths immersed in the wonderful Murgia, this path will give you an experience of total immersion in nature.

Along the way, you will have the opportunity to visit Posta Sei Carri, admiring the traditional architecture of this ancient farm (locally called Masseria) completely renovated and cycling on the Via dell’Acquedotto Pugliese, a stretch of the longest Italian Aqueduct that, in the next future, will be part of a long cycle path that will connect the Campania Region to Santa Maria di Leuca, the southernmost city in Italy… a must-do if you are cycling through Italy.

Castel del Monte durante un viaggio in e-bike

Why visit Castel del Monte?

Castel del Monte, located in the beautiful region of Puglia, Italy, is an architectural jewel that enchants visitors from all over the world. This extraordinary castle was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, due to its beauty and historical significance.

It is an extraordinary example of medieval architecture. Its symmetrical octagonal shape and angular towers make it a masterpiece of balance and harmony. The white local limestone used for its construction gives the castle a unique charm; its panoramic position makes it even more fascinating, placed on an isolated hill, offers a breathtaking view of the Alta Murgia National Park landscape.

You can cycle around it and then stop under the entrance staircase and glance from this point to the coast of the cities of Trani and Barletta and the Gargano peninsula.

What makes Castel del Monte so special?

Its exact function remains a mystery, as there are no documents explaining its original use.  Some argue that the castle was a hunting lodge, while others consider it a place of scientific studies for Frederick II. The most credited hypothesis remains that the “castrum”, as defined in the documents, was a military architecture for defensive purposes but conceived in a raised position to represent a symbol of the power and prestige of the emperor visible miles away.

Due to its history, its shape and its location, Castel del Monte is the most visited cultural tourist site in Puglia.

The Transmurgiana allows you to discover these places by bike, in the easiest and most comfortable way possible thanks to the experience of 4cycling and trek that for years supports pedals who choose to explore Puglia on two wheels.

If you are looking for a bike holiday in Italy this is the journey for you. Anyone can take this trip because the route does not have any steep gradients and for the lazy, there is always the opportunity to rent an e-bike!

If you want to listen to the fascinating “story of nature and territory” from the voice of our expert bike guides, the guided version of the trip is the one for you!

Discover the details of the bike trip

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