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Fantastic trip that surpassed our expectations
Anna and I joined the Aqto Puglia Tour to celebrate my 60th birthday. We wanted to explore a different part of Italy and wow – the Aqto experience did not disappoint. We enjoyed every moment and walked away with great memories. The attention to detail, the beautiful accommodation, wonderful wine and meals and the way Damian and Nancy looked after us made for a stress free experience. The trip culminated with a fantastic dinner to celebrate my birthday with new friends in a beautiful restaurant in Lecce – a forever memory.
The trip surpassed our expectations in every way and we couldn’t recommend Aqto more. We are already planning our next Aqto adventure for 24.
Steve and Anna P
absolutely loved it
We recently completed the Puglia Tour and absolutely loved it. Nancy and Damian have put together a great tour and are really just fun to travel with. Before the tour, they were very responsive to questions, and kept us updated with the trip planning. During the tour, the hosts and our native Italian guides Sergio and Silvia were always friendly, always helpful and happy to interact with the guests during the day and in the evening. The accommodations were excellent. We always had spacious rooms in beautiful settings. The food and wine were always great and plentiful.
The cycling route took us through some beautiful scenery and many small villages and the historic centers of larger towns. Sometimes the roads were rough, but the rewards were worth it
Authentic is the word that best describes this trip
Authentic is the word that best describes this trip for me. I felt I experienced a genuine view of Puglia Italy – many layers beyond what tourists generally see. Thanks to Nancy and Damian for offering such a wonderful tour.
I chose this tour for its non-riding activities, hoping I would enjoy going along with my husband on his cycling tour. I’m so happy I did. We have visited Italy and other European countries in the past. This highly curated tour was the ultimate experience of a region. We had the most amazing accommodations, delicious native meals and true cultural experiences.
We stayed in lovely rooms in converted abbeys and palaces located right in the heart of the old town, and beautiful country masserie. It would be hard to find these accommodations through general online searching. This is an example of how the many hours spent by Nancy and Damian to find the best of everything around the cycling routes is very obvious.
Evening dinners were a highlight of the day – great conversation of the day’s events with the entire group, Nancy, Damian, and their wonderful ride team expert cyclists, Sergio and Sylvia. The food was amazing… authentic Puglian specialty dishes with many courses of antipasto, fresh fish, local vegetables, excellent drinks, wine, and desserts.
Daily non-riding tours were phenomenal. Nancy requested our interest in activities prior to the tour. We then enjoyed the best small group guides of Trulli in Alberobello, Tuk tuk tour of Ostuni, Orecchiette making/delicious dinner with Nonna Anna and her family on their farm, hiking, and many other wonderful activities. With Nancy’s Italian heritage and language, it was like having a fun, Italian cousin guiding you through all the very best her country could offer throughout the entire day. Nancy showed us the more genuine experiences of the region, not just the top tourist spots. Touring with someone who understands the language, people, and the region gives you freedom to go beyond English speaking tourist spots with ease. Priceless!
Already trying to figure out which A’qto trip we can do next.
a classy and all-round fabulous experience
I set my sights on the A’qto Tour of Puglia in early 2023. Not having ridden a bike for seven years, I booked in May, started training on 1 July and joined the group on 1 September!
The whole experience surpassed every expectation. The trails were well planned, ranging from back roads through stony Puglian farm country and delightful trulli villages, to glorious sweeping views along the Adriatic coast ending in the beautiful baroque town of Lecce.
The accommodation, restaurants and aperitivi locations, all hand-picked by Nancy and Damian, were fabulous, featuring beautiful luxury hotels (and a monastery!) and tasty local specialities wherever we went.
And for me, it was a huge and emotional achievement, to ride 640kms in 8 days starting virtually from scratch two months earlier.
I cannot recommend A’qto, Nancy and Damian highly enough: they provided amazing support to get me through it, and a classy and all-round fabulous experience for everyone in the group!
ALL UP 5 ★
We have just completed our cycling tour of Puglia with Damian and Nancy. Wow! We are already looking at another trip with A’qto for 2023. Damian and Nancy are masters of hospitality; friendly and inclusive, their choices in accommodation, food and wine were stunning and varied. The simple and interesting explanations accompanying these choices were appreciated and value added to the experience.
The riding while challenging at times gave us a true insight into the Puglia region. Damien gave detailed briefings at the beginning of each day and somehow kept us all together by coffee and lunch stops. Being a riding couple it was great to have a fairly equal gender mix on tour.
Nancy had amazing experiences in store for the non riding partners and then we’d all come together each evening for aperitivo and dinner.
All up 5 ★
Kate and Brad
CAN NOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH
My husband and I joined the Puglia July 2022 tour after a few reschedules due to COVID (reschedules which they handled brilliantly). The tour was a joy from start to finish. Meticulously organised, scenic rides, immaculate hotels and amazing dinners and experiences. Damian and Nancy are a dynamic combo. Damian is a natural cycling tour leader, routes were well planned and its an inclusive experience. The group naturally split and adapted to all levels of ability and with two guides, the second being Matteo (total champ) this wasn’t an issue. Nancy brings a wealth of knowledge about the region, the food and way of life. Every lunch and dinner was outstanding and I could not pick a highlight. We will be booking again in 2024, unless I can convince my husband (the natural cyclist of the two of us) to squeeze in a 2023 trip. Cannot recommend highly enough.
WE LEFT THE TOUR NOT WANTING TO LEAVE.
We joined the Puglia tour in July 2022 and it was one of the outstanding experiences we been lucky enough to enjoy. Damian and Nancy leave no stone unturned to provide guests with an authentic but luxurious experience.
Cycling can often not be inclusive because of individual abilities but Damian and Matteo’s care for all riders meant that those from the most experienced to the least were all catered for without impacting the group. You do need a good base level of fitness however.
The food and hotels were chosen with such care to provide a fantastic range of experiences. I’d write down individuals highlights but there’s probably not enough space on google to do it!
It’s not what many people would consider ‘cheap’ but the properties, the food, the experience meant that we wondered how they managed to provide the experience at that price! We left the tour not actually wanting to leave and found ourselves organising our holidays for the next two years.
Overall, there are other tour companies, but if Italy is on your bucket list to ride, there isn’t a better team to enjoy it with.
a truly authentic and holistic Italian experience.
Damian and Nancy THANK YOU!
Your Puglia Tour was sensational. My expectations were very high, but you well and truly exceeded them.
Your tour offering has a number of points of differentiation. But I think the key one is your ability to immerse your guests into a truly authentic and holistic Italian experience that creates unique indelible memories.
The highlights were many; each day bringing forth its own unique WOW factor in showcasing the best each town and sub-region has to offer.
The quality and diversity of the food and wine were exceptional. The accommodation, wonderful! Through your deep connection with the owners of each venue, we were always greeted with welcoming open arms. I will always remember the way they made me feel.
A high point each day was coming together as a group (riders and non riders alike) in the evening for ‘aperitivo’; exchanging our stories and rich experiences of the day; always a time of much joy and laughter.
And of course, there was the bike ride. The bike riding was amazing. We especially loved that exhilarating feeling gliding across those beautiful rolling hills; our first glimpse of a shimmering cobalt blue Mediterranean Sea as we hit the coast was magnificent. The soft cooling sea breeze – a welcome delight.
Again, thank you both for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I loved every minute of it
Mary Anne and I booked for the Puglia tour in September 2022. I was the rider, Mary Anne the non-rider. We had been to Italy before, but only saw big cities and freeways. We wanted to see countryside, small towns and culture. Damian and Nancy gave us more than we expected. It was sensational. We rode challenging roads throughout Puglia, stayed in the most wonderful accommodation and finished the days off at the most amazing restaurants you have ever been to, in beautiful towns through Puglia.
The small towns through Puglia are well worth a visit on their own. A different history is in each one. The non-riders were busy and active and had good events to attend. We soon found ourselves as a group of friends and the social part of the trip was a bonus. Damian and Nancy have created a well-organised, and for what you get a very affordable event of a lifetime. We couldn’t recommend it too highly. I loved every minute of it, although there were a couple of hills…
P.S. Make sure you get good miles in your legs before you go. The rides are still serious.
A holiday to remember
This was our second Italian cycling tour with Aqto and once again, it was a joy to be ‘organised’ in such an enjoyable and efficient way. From the beautiful, handpicked accommodation to the delicious local food and wine we experienced each day, Damian and Nancy’s attention to detail is what makes their cycling tours ‘special’ and ensure we experienced the very best that Puglia has to offer.
The cycling was exceptional – dramatic scenery, some challenging bits to test the legs, lots of laughs but always manageable and fully supported. The camaraderie and new friends made with fellow cycling enthusiasts in the group also made the tour enjoyable. Each day was beautifully different and very unique.
The whole experience from the moment we booked was stress-free. A holiday to remember. Thank you
Jen and Bob
WAS HANDS DOWN THE HIGHLIGHT
We have just returned from a wonderful 3 weeks in Italy during which time the 8 day tour of Puglia with A’QTO Cycling Tours was hands down the highlight!
Much of Puglia is still relatively unblemished by tourism and as such provides a truly authentic taste of Southern Italy. Cycling along the narrow walled laneways is magical, as is stopping to pick tasty figs gracing the side of the road! The nightly Aperitivo hour & sumptuous 4 course dinners showcasing each regions specialty, was the perfect reward for the daily kms clocked on the bike!
Damian & Nancy’s love of all things Italian shows through as does their genuine desire to ensure all guests have a truly memorable time.
A’QTO tours are perfect for those seeking to combine their love of cycling and desire to be immersed in a different culture!”
EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT.
We had the most remarkable cycling tour of the Puglia region with A’qto. Nancy and Damian really want everyone to have a good time and enjoy unique experiences including high quality accommodation, riding/non riding activities, food and wine. Everything was perfect and we felt in every instance, that Nancy and Damian and our guides cared about us and went above and beyond their best to make this trip memorable.
We were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of our trip and the flexibility to undertake a mix of riding and non riding activities. Nothing was too much trouble and we were welcomed into accommodation and the selected restaurants at times more like relatives than guests.
We would definitely recommend this tour for riding and non riding partners and will be back to enjoy more experiences with Aqto.
Carmel & Steve
I’LL BE COMING BACK FOR MORE.
I was blown away by the whole Puglia experience & how your love & passion for Italy comes through in every part of the experience.
I was after a cycling tour but got much more. Your kind heart & generosity & the fact I now consider you both wonderful friends means I’ll be coming back for more, here in Italy and back home.
THEY DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO CREATE A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE
I love to cycle but, like many other riders, I worry about my limitations. On the Puglia tour of September 2019 I needn’t have worried. With the fantastic support of the AQTO team, and the encouragement of the other riders, I found myself becoming fitter and stronger to the demands of the terrain and distances.
The AQTO team had chosen outstanding routes, accommodation, eating and cultural experiences. Non-riders need never feel ignored. Thanks to the tour’s flexibility, I took two days off riding to join the non-riders to visit olive and dairy farms. I have learned the finer points of oil and mozzarella-manufacturing, and sampled some of the Puglia area’s finest produce.
Damian and Nancy are amazing hosts and, with their dedicated team, do everything possible to create a wonderful experience, with great good humour and no fuss. Their passion for Italy is infectious.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE
I was a non-cycling partner on the A’qto Tour of Puglia and was left wanting more; so sad to part ways with a great group of people that Nancy and Damian assembled to share their knowledge of this wonderful area. Each day Nancy unveiled a different experience for us from a cheese making factory to a 3 hour forest walk, culminating in a cooling off swim in the beautiful clear ocean.
Each night we were treated like royalty with pre-dinner drinks to culinary delights that would please the most discerning palette, accompanied by tasty wines from the local area. Everything ran smoothly and more than met my expectation as a non peddler.
I can highly recommend this fantastic experience, thanks Nancy and Damian.
SUCH A MEMORABLE HOLIDAY
Delicious local foods.
Quality local wines.
Fantastic and unique accommodation.
Interesting and varied regional activities, giving a great insight into local culture.
This is what I have experienced as a non rider with A’qto Italian riding holidays on the recent tour of Puglia and also on previous Tuscany and Giro tours.
Special thanks to Nancy and Damian for creating such memorable holidays
THANK YOU FOR THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME.
One of my cycling buddies researched Italian Cycling Tours, and he started communicating with Nancy and Damian and was so impressed he signed up immediately and recommended the tour to me, so knowing that my friend had done due diligence on A’QTO, it was no “leap of faith” and signed up too.
Nancy and Damian are excellent communicators and no question is too hard or too silly, and their pre-tour advice and guidance is invaluable. Their recommended pre-tour training is appropriate and puts you in great shape to do the ride, although, as the tour is fully supported there was always backup if it all became too much. But personally with the recommended training completing the WHOLE 634km Puglia Tour is achievable. Strangely, perhaps because I was on a hire bike, I felt compelled to do and try things I wouldn’t have normally done and really surprised myself with some new skills as my confidence grew. Although none of the new skills involved changing a tyre or cleaning my bike at the end of a weary day, because that’s what the support crew are there for….
It was great to travel with like minded people with whom you laughed, recovered, socialised and down a few prosecco’s after an excellent days riding. The food, wine and accommodations surpassed my expectations. Never having to think about any of these aspects was priceless.
I travelled as a single on this occasion and if you are thinking that you can’t go on this tour alone, stop right there, sign up and you’ll find on the first day that you signed up with mates you never knew existed – hence new mates for life.
Thank you Damian and Nancy and Crew for the experience of a lifetime.
THE CULTURAL EXPERIENCES WERE ALL TOP SHELF
A cycling holiday in Italy was always something I wanted to do and so I commenced some research into an appropriate provider.
Having settled on A’qto, and having recently returned from the Giro D’Puglia I can safely say that the experience exceeded my expectations. Everything from the route (where safety was paramount) to the accommodation, the food (and let’s not forget the magnificent regional wine) to the cultural experiences were all top shelf.
Of course this all doesn’t happen by accident and it was apparent that everything was meticulously planned to ensure that we had nothing to worry about other than taking in the breathtaking vista and enjoying the fantastic cuisine.
So if it is a cycling tour you want then Nancy, Damian and the A’qto team are the way to go.
MORE THAN JUST A TASTE OF WHAT ITALY’S PUGLIA REGION HAS TO OFFER
When I registered for A’qto’s Puglia Tour 2019, I’m not sure that I expected more than cycling through beautiful countryside and sharing, what looked to be, amazing meals with a group of like minded people for 9 days/8 nights.
What I experienced was much more fulfilling than that. It’s amazing how a group of people, who would never have otherwise crossed paths, can come together to share so much from a simple passion, that of cycling. Certainly no magic is involved. It is the passion of the A’qto team, led by Nancy and Damian and supported by two very special and charismatic Italian men, that very clearly had our best interest at heart all the way. A great team committed to catering for all levels of riders, having the patience, experience and the solutions to resolve the different challenges we threw at them, and in the most pleasant and ‘con calma’ manner, to ensure we would have wonderful experiences.
It did not take long at all for everyone to have a sense of belonging and the confidence to deal with the conditions thrown at us, regardless of the cycling skills with which we started. It did not matter if it was hail, thunder and lightening or perfectly sunny days, whether we had smooth roads or pot holes galore, floods and gravel to traverse, we were eager to get out there and cycle in those glorious conditions because we knew the A’qto team had our backs.
We also knew that the rewards were waiting and plenty. Sharing Aperol Spritz, beer or prosecco, we relaxed into dinner mode as we recounted the day’s events before being wowed by amazingly beautiful food, time and time again, over non stop laughter.
Highly recommend the experience to anyone who is even the slightest bit curious of what these tours have to offer. We all got so much more than just the great cycling through stunningly beautiful and historical landscapes.
Congratulations A’qto. The tour certainly provided more than just a taste of what Italy’s Puglia region has to offer and the cycling brought us all together to share the memorable experiences your team made possible.
I COULD NOT HAVE DREAMED OF HOW WONDERFUL IT WOULD ACTUALLY BE
I set out on the A’qto tour of Puglia with high expectations but I could not have dreamed of how wonderful it would actually be. The cycling through the Italian countryside was sublime and that was purely due to Damian’s finely crafted routes, but that was just the start of it. The ancillary support and organisation allowed us to experience the incredible food and culture that this part of the world has to offer. I sincerely thank you Nancy for this.
Finally, and I know it will sound like a cliche but it’s true none the less; the environment that was created allowed the group to bond so that I feel that I now have many new close friends having shared such an amazing experience. Molto bene A’qto.
THE BEST WEEK OF CYCLING YOU CAN IMAGINE.
I had the very great fortune to have joined Damian and Nancy on their Tour of Puglia in May 2019. I think, like a lot of people, I was pretty nervous about my ability to cope with eight straight days of riding – I am very much a social rider so not used to riding that many consecutive days at all.
Without a doubt, those eight days on the bike with a most happy and positive group of fellow riders was a challenge and absolute pleasure. We all saw and experienced the magnificence of Puglia through its varying landscapes, wonderful food and sensational accommodation.
Nancy and Damian were the most accommodating and generous hosts – their attention to detail in every aspect of our tour was greatly appreciated by all of us and I wish them continued great success with their business for many years to come.
If you love riding, food, wine and great company this is definitely the tour for you!! Without hesitation I recommend A’qto, they will offer you the best week of cycling you can imagine.