Cycle the Balkans

Cycle the Balkans

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15 Days From

$3748

$3107

Cycle the Balkans

15 Days Starting and ending in Tirana

Visiting: Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania

Tour operator:

Exodus Adventure Travels

Tour code:

MVU

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

6 - 16

Physical rating:

Moderate / Challenging

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Active, Small Group

From: $3748 $3107 Operator discount: -$553 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$88 -17%

NB: Prices correct on 18-Jun-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

The Balkans offers an intoxicating mix of beautiful countryside, fast-developing cities and historic towns. Our first ride ends at the UNESCO town of Ohrid on the vast lake of the same name, from here the route leads up towards the border with Kosovo. Small towns and villages dot the route as we wind our way across into Montenegro and through the heart of the imposing Durmitor Mountains. As the route suggests, there is a good mix of climbing and flat riding, with a few stops along the way to visit or see places of interest. Sunshine and sea come in the form of the Bay of Kotor on the Adriatic, a dramatic setting to end the ride. Few other regions offer such cultural and natural variety along with a true sense of discovery.

Highlights

  • UNESCO Town of Ohrid

  • Magnificent Mavrov Lake and National Park

  • Breathtaking Durmitor, part of Dinaric Alps

Itinerary

Day 1


The group flights usually arrive in Tirana in the early afternoon and the
group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients
should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide
will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the
local area and answer any questions, before we all go out for our welcome
dinner.

Hotel Austria or similar 



Day 2


This morning we start with a transfer to the northern side of Lake Ohrid.
Upon arrival, the bikes will be unloaded and adjusted to everyone’s
comfort. Our ride starts with cycling along the scenic shore of Lake Ohrid
towards Pogradec. After reaching Tushemisht, just 4 km east of Pogradec,
lunch will be served at a waterfront restaurant. We will continue cycling in
the afternoon, crossing over into Macedonia, and visiting the monastery of St
Naum. The road then takes us through Galicica National Park to Ohrid Town.

Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in the world, came into existence during
the Pliocene epoch as a result of tectonic shifts. It is home to unique flora
and fauna and the lake is one of the largest biological reserves in Europe;
with 212 known endemic species and a surface area of 358 km2 it is probably
one of the most diverse lakes in the world.

Villa Royal View or similar



Day 3


Leaving Lake Ohrid behind, we start today by climbing to a high plateau
bounded by mountains. We continue to follow the gorge for a while until the
hills open up, leading to a vast patchwork plain of individual farms in the
Debar region. Our ride finishes in the city of Debar where we rest for the
night.

Hotel Leon or similar



Day 4


Today we cycle toward Lake Mavrovo. Spreading over an area of about 780
square kilometres (300 sq mi), the Mavrovo National Park features deep
canyons, snowy peaks and blue lakes as well as dense forests providing a
habitat for an array of wildlife. We enjoy cycling through this diverse
National Park, we reach our hotel in the afternoon at the foot of the Bistra
mountains.

Hotel Radika or similar



Day 5


Transferring out of Mavrovo National Park, we reach the border crossing with
Kosovo. We will ride through Brezovica, an area frequented by skiers in the
winter. We continue into Sharri National Park, which was recently established
in 2013. It is still relatively undiscovered with huge areas of intact
ecosystems home to several threatened species in Europe, making it an
important ecological area to protect.

Hotel Pine or similar



Day 6


From the ski resort of Brezovica, we cycle up to Prevalle through the forest
of Kodra e Diellit before a long descent to the historic city of Prizren,
Kosovo's cultural capital. Kosovo's second biggest city is rich with history
and traditions and is surrounded by incredible nature. Throughout history,
Prizren has played a vital role in the region. The city is known in this
region of the Balkans for its gastronomy and wines, traditional handicrafts
and wonderful mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. This afternoon we go
on a city tour to explore the old town. 

Hotel Theranda or similar



Day 7


Today we transfer from Prizren to Peje where we will overnight. Today we have
the opportunity to visit another beautiful city in Kosovo before heading to
Montenegro tomorrow. 



Day 8


This morning we transfer to the border between Kosovo and Montenegro. We
start cycling from the border and enter Montenegro. We will cycle down to
Rozaje, the city is surrounded by magnificent mountains and we will see both
Hajla and Turjak mountain. The area is covered in large forests and
abundant with flowers. We then continue to Berana, located on the Lim river
where we spend the night. 

Hotel Berane or similar



Day 9


Leaving Berane behind, our ride this morning is along a flat road to the
small town of Andrijevica. From here we take a magnificent narrow road with
spectacular scenery all the way up to Kolasin. On our left hand side, we will
have impressive views of the Albanian Alps and we should be able to spot the
mountain of Jezerca, the second highest peak in Albania, on a good day. This
evening we spend the night in Kolasin, a ski resort during the winter months.

Hotel Cile or similar



Day 10


After a short transfer to Mojkovac, we start cycling through the Tara Canyon,
one of the deepest river canyons in Europe. We will also have the chance to
see the famous Tara bridge before reaching Zabljak our final destination for
the day. The town is in the centre of the Durmitor mountain region at an
altitude of 1,456 metres, it is the highest situated town on the Balkans.

Hotel Enigma or similar 



Day 11


Our day starts with a long climb out of Zabljak. As we ascend through the
Durmitor region we see the magnificent mountain ranges with its dramatic high
peaks. After our challenging ride this morning we are rewarded with a long
descent to Rudinice village where we spend the evening at a small quiet farm
stay.

Etno Selo Izlazak (guesthouse)



Day 12


Today we have an easier cycle toward Nikšic, the second largest city in
Montenegro, situated at the foot of Trebjesa Hill.  It is the largest
municipality by area and second most inhabited after the capital Podgorica.

Hotel Trim or similar 



Day 13


After a short transfer to Vilsu we cycle to the picturesque Bay of Kotor.
Medieval towns encased by dramatic mountains surround the lake and have been
inhabited since antiquity. In the afternoon we will have time to visit the
old city walls. For dinner take the opportunity to enjoy a meal on the
waterfront and sample the fresh seafood on offer.

Hotel Marija 2 or similar



Day 14


This morning we drive to Bar. From here we cycle close to Lake Shkodra and
cross the border back into Albania. This evening we enjoy a well-deserved
farewell dinner in Shkodra!

Hotel Tradita or similar



What's Included

  • Meals
    14 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 2 dinners.


* All breakfasts and 2 dinners included
* All accommodation
* Transfer for group flights
* Local bike hire

What's Not Included

  • e-bike available on request

  • Single supplement

  • Visas and vaccinations

  • Travel insurance

Food


All breakfasts and 2 dinners included.

Food in the Balkans is quite varied thanks to the many influences on the
country and particularly Mediterranean combining Turkish, Greek and Italian
tastes. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt are present in almost
every meal, usually locally sourced. Due to the lush fertile valleys, fresh
mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, they are still very much a
subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. In the
countryside expect your food to have been reared/grown not too far from your
plate.

Breakfasts are typically eggs, fresh bread, jam, honey and coffee or tea. For
lunch and dinner, meat dishes are often goat or lamb, with fish dishes
ranging from trout to whitebait. Courses often come in mezze form
complimented with a variety of succulent vegetables, salad, freshly baked
bread, homemade cheeses, local wines and of course, raki. Your guide will
recommend the best options when in the towns.

Accommodation

Throughout this tour, we stay in a variety of accommodation in both cities and rural areas. We use hotels of a comfortable three-star standard. For two nights, we stay in more remote areas where we stay in locally run guesthouses and experience a warm welcome. Rooms here tend to be more basic. They will be a mixture of double and triple rooms with shared bathrooms.



Single accommodation is available on request.



Please note, single rooms are not available in the guesthouses due to a limited number of rooms.

Videos

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Transfer for group flights

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    We are happy to assist with pre and post tour accommodation. Please enquire for detailed information.

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    3 and 4-star standard

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, our local guides are English speaking.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    16+ age people can go on this tour.

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    If you would like to be paired with a tour member of the same gender, there is no additional charge. A single supplement can be requested if you would like your own room.

  • Who is Exodus Travels?

    At Exodus Travels, we've been exploring the world for nearly 50 years. From Walking and Trekking, Cultural and Cycling, Responsible Wildlife, to Polar and our new Premium Adventures, we are proud to offer award-winning small group and self-guided tours to 100+ countries worldwide.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International flights are not included with this tour.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    If you wish to make any changes to your booking, particularly if you need to alter any flights booked through us, please let us know as soon as possible. There is a booking or flight amendment fee of £40 per change and flight amendments often incur extra airline costs depending on the changes to be made and if the ticket has been issued or not.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Exodus has been trading since 1974

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Your final joining instructions and flight details, if booked with us, will then be sent out 2 to 3 weeks before departure. If you would like a hard copy posted, or if you require these any earlier, please contact the customer operations team. We advise that if you are booking connecting travel before receiving these, please ensure you leave plenty of time.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Travellers are welcome to opt to share a room with a tour member of the same gender for no additional charge. If you'd like your own room, we can request a single supplement so that you will have your own room throughout.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    You are welcome to meet the group after the tour has departed however there is no reduction in rate for joining a tour after the departure date.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

My Favourite Exodus Trip Yet

The tour is well paced for both distance and diffi

The tour is well paced for both distance and difficulty through beautiful scenery with some long climbs and exhilarating descents. We travelled the first two weeks of May and were very lucky with the weather with the rain staying away for almost all of the trip. The tour took us through glorious sunshine and took us right up to the snow.

4 counties in 15 days!

The Balkans cycle trip has magnificent, spacious m

The Balkans cycle trip has magnificent, spacious mountains and lakes. It's an adventure, not knowing exactly what the weather or the mountains will challenge you with. A discovery each day, staying in high alpine mountains or by the spectacular Lake Ohrid. Likewise, the sea at Kotor and absorbing the cultures and religions of each country.

Beautiful Balkans, an epic jouney

A challenging and beautiful journey through Albani

A challenging and beautiful journey through Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Montenegro with breath-taking scenery. The cycling was challenging with lots of climbing, but the bikes that we were provided with were perfectly geared for and suited to the terrain. There were regular re-groups on the hills as everyone climbs at their own pace and is able to enjoy the holiday at a pace that suits them. Delicious healthy and reasonably priced meals were provided in the hotels and cabins that we stayed in. Our guide Joshua was knowledgeable and efficient and provided us with information each day about the route and some background history. He arranged for a local guide in each country we visited to give their personal perspective and an opportunity to ask questions about the complex history of the region.

Stunning

This has to be without doubt the most fantastic tr

This has to be without doubt the most fantastic trip we have ever done, with breath-taking scenery around every corner. Josh, Dhimitri and Juli were full of local knowledge, well organised and complimented each other as a team. If you have never cycled a steep hill without some motivational Queen or Ram Jam then you have never met Juli! Accommodation and food varied, as you might expect, but was well above what we have experienced on other trips and generally superb. The roads were quiet for the most part, but some busy sections with manic drivers have to be negotiated, but no worse than in the UK.

Great climbs, wonderful scenery, good food and company.

The challenges were so worth while. The guide and

The challenges were so worth while. The guide and driver/mechanic Dimitri and Juli were lovely guys. Juli made you smile every time he passed us slogging up the hills :) We saw different kinds of villages and towns, some busy some remote, all with their own charm. Having everything organised for you frees your mind to just enjoy the wonderful scenery and sweeping descents (some a little scary).

Great introduction to Balkans with cycling most days.

Met expectations - 4 countries in 2 weeks. Well co

Met expectations - 4 countries in 2 weeks. Well constructed itinerary for the two weeks. Centrally located Hotels were good. This is a cycling trip with quite long well graded uphills and downhills most days. Sturdy (heavy) bikes handled the down hills confidently. Cultural visits were limited to a couple of hours in Ohrid, Peje & Prizren and Kotor. We did get an afternoon in Tirana to explore by our selves. Food was good - lots of cheese and seasonal veg. Friendly locals smoke a lot! Weather went from hot and humid to very wet to cool and then back to hot. Roads were generally quite but some sections were busier. Roads surfaces were mainly better than the UK, driving standards were variable - very few other cyclists on the road.

Excellent trip

Beautiful weather and scenery in a part of Europe

Beautiful weather and scenery in a part of Europe that gets easily overlooked. Lots of uphill cycling but you do get the long downhills as compensation. The guides Dhimitri and Juli were great - always helpful and Juli (also the driver) scuttling back and forth to ensure everyone was OK and had enough water. Would recommend this trip and the local provider Cycle Albania.

Lots of brilliant views but hard cycling

A good trip. The views in the mountains and along

A good trip. The views in the mountains and along the gorges were amazing. There were some long hard rides uphill and some long downhills. The trip was well organised with some transfers between places. The guide organised coffee stops, lunch and evening meal restaurants most of which were good.

June 2022

Great scenery especially Montenegro

Great scenery especially Montenegro

Stunning scenery

Having completed a number of Exodus cycling trips

Having completed a number of Exodus cycling trips this is up there with one of the most stunning for scenery. There are a number of long tough climbs which we completed in very hot weather but you are rewarded with fantastic views and great descents.

Read all 16 reviews

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  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Exodus Adventure Travels allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform exodus adventure travels, 43 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Exodus Adventure Travels requires a minimum deposit of 25% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of exodus adventure travels charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

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