Croatia to Albania Coastal Cycle


    enquire now 8 Days From NZD $2,290 pp twinshare
    Independent traveller
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Cycle the glittering coastline of the Adriatic Sea on this wonderful gem-filled journey in the Balkans. Start in Croatia’s famous walled city of Dubrovnik, where you feel the Middle Ages at every turn of the stone fortress. Pass through the golden Konavle Valley before crossing the border into Montenegro, a nation defined by its rugged mountains and dazzling beaches. Follow a disused railway line towards the Bay of Kotor and explore many highlights along the way including picturesque Perast, the pearl of the bay and the ancient settlement of Risan. Take the back roads through Montenegro’s ancient olive groves before entering Albania and discovering another Balkan lifestyle. Enjoy Albanian hospitality as you dine on local foods and work it off by pedalling along the mighty Drin River. Return to Montenegro and soak up the splendid panoramas over Skadar Lake, complete with the Accursed Mountain Range in the background. Become immersed in Balkan culture in the small villages of Ostros with their humble monasteries and vineyards. Enjoy the spectacular descent from Lovcen National Park to the Bay of Kotor and embrace the lively Mediterranean atmosphere in the Old Town.

    Highlights

    • Exploring lake Skadar by bike, the largest lake of the Balkans and on foot, Skadar town in Albania
    • Cycling the downhill ‘ladder of Kotor’ connecting the National park Lovcen to the old town of Kotor
    • Discovering the UNESCO sites: Kotor Bay, Marubi Museum located in the northern city of Shkodër dedicated to Albanian photography and photographers, and optionally Dubrovnik (Croatia)
    • Experiencing the local cuisine

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Arrive Dubrovnik
    Arrival and welcome at Dubrovnik Airport. A short transfer takes you to your hotel in the small coastal town of Cavtat. On arrival at the hotel you will have a short briefing session about the programme and a bike fitting. If you like you can visit Dubrovnik in the late afternoon / evening when the city is quieter without the cruise ship traffic. The old town is a 20min drive from Cavtat. There is also a taxi boat operating between Cavtat and Dubrovnik. Overnight in Cavtat.

    Day 2 Cycle through the Konvale Valley and along the coast to Montenegro
    The cycle begins from your hotel taking you on a route past small villages in the Konvale valley before you reach the coast. After 35km you cross the border into Montenegro. The last stage follows an old railway track, once connecting Herceg Novi, the first town you reach in Montenegro, with Dubrovnik. The town is located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen and with its seaside promenade, is a great place to swim at the beach and dine on excellent seafood. (B)

    Day 3 Continue around the Bay of Kotor, transfer to Stari Bar
    Today is a real treat as you make your way around the magnificent Bay of Kotor, taking in its many highlights. The cycle route continues to follow the old railway line from the previous day until you reach Zelenika. Along the shoreline you cycle to Risan and Perast, the pearl of the bay. Take your time to explore the picturesque historical town and its beautiful church islands (reached by shuttle boat). Later you meet your transfer driver in the old town of Kotor and continue by vehicle along the beautiful Adriatic coast line via Budva and Sveti Stefan. Your overnight accommodation is close to “Stari Bar”.  Set precariously at the foot of Mt Rumija, this now abandoned town has impressive views and exploring the ruins covered in vines and letting your imagination run wild about the past inhabitants of this fortified town, is definitely part of the experience. (B)

    Day 4 Cycle above the Adriatic through olive groves to Skadar in Albania
    The cycle this morning begins directly from your accommodation. Along the road you can visit a more than 2000 years old olive tree. On a secondary road above the Adriatic you ride through the olive groves around Bar, the “oil capital” of Montenegro. You enjoy beautiful views as you continue through a vast valley until you meet the road Ulcinj – Shkodra which you follow to the Albanian border. Continuing into Albania you soon reach the city of Shkodra, one of the oldest in Europe with its ancient Rozafa Fortress overlooking Lake Shkodra and a pretty Old Town with pastel painted buildings. The city is set on Lake Shkodra which is shared by Montenegro and Albania. (B)

    Day 5 A choice of routes to explore the surrounds of Skadar
    Whichever option you choose today you will be rewarded with an insight into Albanian cuisine and countryside and there will also be time to explore the historical centre of Skadar. (B)

    Day 6 Transfer to Montenegro, cycle to Cetinje, transfer to Lovcen National Park
    This morning you will be transferred from your accommodation to Montenegro where you begin cycling with a major ascent. Three wonderful and panoramic, but challenging major ascents await you today. You follow a narrow road above Skadar Lake, passing vineyards, villages and, again and again, wonderful views of the lake and the dramatic Albanian Alps in the background. Around the village of Ostros you ride through centuries-old majestic chestnut groves. Near the village of Murici you can see the small monastery islands and in front of the village of Godinje there is Montenegrin “Alcatraz” – a former prison dating back to the time of King Nikola. In Godinje, a traditional wine region, you can regain your strength before the last ascent on your way to Virpazar. This is where you will be picked up and transferred to Cetinje.  On arrival there is time to explore the historical centre of Cetinje before you are transferred to your hotel in Lovcen National Park. (B)

    Day 7 Follow the Serpentine road from the mountains to the sea and the town of Kotor
    Today’s cycle takes you directly from the mountains to the sea along the famous Austro-Hungarian serpentine road, with the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor. You start from your hotel in the National Park. Optionally, if you are really fit, you can also climb the last 200 altitude meters to the mausoleum of the most important historical Montenegrin – Petar Petrovic Njegoš, a Prince-Bishop, poet and philosopher – before the descent. From the observation platform there is a breathtaking 360 degree view of “almost” all of Montenegro. As soon as you have conquered the initial ascent, you roll downhill for more than 30 km. Along the road there will be several great spots for photo stops. You finish your cycle in front of the Old Town of Kotor where your hotel is located. Enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere in the Old Town of Kotor, exploring the medieval centre, cathedral and maritime museum or simply relaxing by the port. (B)

    Day 8 Trip concludes
    Following breakfast, your cycling trip concludes. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 7 breakfasts
    • 7 nights in 3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
    • luggage transfer between hotels
    • Arrival transfer from Dubrovnik to Cavtat and transfers as per itinerary
    • roadbook and maps -GPS tracks available on request
    • emergency assistance and local cell phone
    • bike rental with helmet, waterbottle holder and pannier (e-bikes and premium bike available – supplement applies)

    UTX-CRA

    Images courtesy of Utracks