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Melissa Locker

Biking can be a lovely way to explore a new country, but keeping pace with a group can sometimes be a challenge; if you go too fast you’re always waiting for everyone else and if you go too slow you’re struggling to keep up.

But a new bike tour from Italy Vacations takes this potential frustration out of the picture. The group gives you the bike, the route, and a GPS ready to lead you to the best restaurants and sites throughout the Salento region of Puglia. Then they leave you alone.

The 10-day self-guided tour takes you through the heel of Italy’s boot, which is known for its food, wine, and fascinating history. You’ll put in some serious cycling miles (each leg of the journey covers up to 38 miles), but it’s a great excuse to eat as much pasta as you want.

Related: Puglia Travel Guide

Fly into Bari and then pick up your bike in the nearby town of Lecce to kick-start the trip. On the first day of biking you’ll visit the fortified city of Acaya; ride past the AliminiLakes; see the ruins of Roca Vecchia, an ancient Bronze Age city; bike down to Le Cesine, a World Wildlife Federation protected area for migratory birds; and end the day in the city of Otranto, where there will be a hearty meal and a comfortable bed at a farmhouse or a B&B waiting for you to fall into.

Over the course of the trip you’ll ride to the towns of Otranto, Leuca, Torre Suda, and Gallipoli, going as fast or as leisurely as you’d like. Along the way you’ll cruise along the Italian coast, enjoy wine, cheese, and olive oil tastings, visit a botanic garden, and tour historic monuments, Baroque cathedrals, and even a Byzantine shrine hidden in a cave.

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