Cycle the Balkans

Cycle the Balkans

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8 Days
From

$2350

$2057

Cycle the Balkans

8 Days Starting in Dubrovnik and ending in Sarajevo

Visiting: Dubrovnik, Kotor, Niksic , Lake Piva & Niksic, Mostar, Sarajevo

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

ZMXY

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 15

Physical rating:

Medium, Medium

Age range:

14-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Active

From:
$2350
$2057 (USD) Operator discount: -$235 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$58 -12%
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Tour Overview

Get your legs moving on a Balkan cycling adventure from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. Taking in stunning scenery on the coast and inland, this trip will take you riding through three fascinating countries – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Tackle challenging climbs, scenic flats and a new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line, finishing in the intriguing, yet sobering, city of Sarajevo, with visits to Mostar and other picturesque towns on the way.

Highlights

  • Cycle past some of the most inspiring natural landscapes in Europe, from stunning beaches to towering mountains.

  • Explore three fascinating countries by bike

  • Witness Mostar's famous bridge divers hurl themselves from the stones of a bridge that has spanned the river here for centuries

  • Sarajevo is one of the most scenically located cities in Europe. See the sights on a guided walking tour and learn about its recent history as a city under siege

  • Cycle the Ciro Trail, new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line.

  • Most inspiring natural landscapes in Europe, from stunning beaches to towering mountains.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief. Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1: Dubrovnik
Location: Dubrovnik

Welcome to Croatia and Dubrovnik, a traveller's favourite that has exploded in popularity since Game of Thrones took over the world. The group doesn't spend a lot of time here, so we recommend arriving early to experience this incredibly beautiful city. Meet your group at 6 pm then perhaps go out for an optional dinner together (hot tip: Old Town's gelato is phenomenal).

Optional Activities:
-Dubrovnik - Church of St. Blaise - Free
-Dubrovnik - Mt Srd Cable Car
-Dubrovnik - Discover Game of Thrones Filming Locations Urban Adventure
-Dubrovnik - Hike up Mt Srd - Free
-Dubrovnik - Lokrum Island Boat Trip
-Dubrovnik - Mt Srd Museum of Croatian War of Independence

Day 2: Kotor
Location: Kotor
Meals Included: breaksfast

This morning you'll transport by vehicle from Dubrovnik into Montenegro to avoid the hectic traffic outside the city. Continue over the border to Herceg Novi where you’ll have your bike fitted before you'll start cycling.

Follow the Bay of Kotor, cycling alongside rolling hills for approx. 16 kilometres to the small whitewashed port town of Kamenari. Take a short ferry ride across the azure waters between the headlands to Lepetane, then continue riding along the shaded quiet road all the way town of Kotor itself.
Located on the shore of the Adriatic, Kotor is a 5th-century World Heritage-listed city boasting a spectacular location between the beautiful bay and the imposing mountains. Its medieval Old Town features winding cobblestone lanes, historic buildings and buzzing nightlife.

Included Activities:
-Bay of Kotor Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

Optional Activities:
-Kotor - St. Tryphon’s Cathedral
-Kotor - Maritime Museum
-Kotor - Fortress

Day 3: Niksic
Location: Niksic
Meals Included: breaksfast

Depart Kotor this morning by vehicle, heading north to scenic Slano Lake . Start riding near the dam wall of the lake along the old road (mixed asphalt and gravel surface) via the tiny hamlet of Kunak. Montenegro is naturally hilly and this section of road is no exception, with a steep climb in store. However the steep and windy descent, with spectacular views along the way definitely make the climb worthwhile.

After rejoining the main road we park the bikes and jump into local taxis to ascend to the incredible Ostrog Monastery, a white-washed building built into a cliff that's the most important site in Montenegro for Orthodox Christians. As tempting as the ride would be you'll thank us for avoiding the sweat and effort (and crazy traffic) required to reach this gravity-defying icon, resting some 900 metres above the Zeta Valley.

After the monastery visit jump back on the bikes and continue a gradual climb along the quiet old road to the tiny village of Stubica before dropping back down to the Zeta River then riding the long, straight boulevard all the way to Niksic. As you get closer you’ll pay a quick visit to the Ramparts of Onogost for a good view of the town. Founded in the 4th century, Niksic is the country's second-largest city and has plenty of options when it comes to an evening meal and entertainment.

Included Activities:
-Niksic region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling
-Ramparts of Onogost Fortress

Optional Activities:
-Ostrog Monastery - Free

Day 4: Lake Piva & Niksic
Location: Lake Piva & Niksic
Meals Included: breaksfast

Today you'll cycle approximately 40 kilometres from Niksic to Pluzine, a small town on the shore of the man-made Lake Piva. It's a hilly ride today, starting with a long but gradual climb then hitting undulating terrain. Ride through rolling, tree-lined hills with the support vehicle nearby in case you'd prefer to avoid the long climb. Visit the 16th-century Piva Monastery and its museum that contains, among other things, a psalm from the Crnojevici printing press, the first printing press in the Balkans (circa 15th century). Enjoy a picnic by Lake Piva then take the short drive (approx. 1 hour) back to Niksic and enjoy a second evening in this cosmopolitan city.

Included Activities:
-Pluzine region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

Day 5: Mostar
Location: Mostar
Meals Included: breaksfast

Today is a longer ride than yesterday and you'll be cycling through Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time. Depart Niksic and drive approximately 2 hours to small Bosnian village of Zavala and then start riding along an old, long forgotten country road through half-abandoned hamlets past shepherds tending herds of sheep, this is the Europe beyond tourism, where everything done the old traditional way. From here join the Ciro Trail, a new ‘traffic-free’ rail trail that follows an old Austro-Hungarian railway track running from Dubrovnik to Mostar. Stretching more than 140 kilometres, this well-maintained track traverses some truly wild, spectacular landscapes while winding through long-abandoned villages. It's touted as an 'open-air museum', and was partly funded by the EU in the hope of injecting some tourist dollars into the local economy.

You'll ride approx. 55 kilometres of the trail to the cosmopolitan city of Čapljina, passing old train stations refurbished into guesthouses, the picturesque lake of Nature Park Hutovo Blato and across the old railways bridges and tunnels that dot the trail today, including a bridge designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel himself.

There are plenty of stops at viewpoints and ample places recharge your batteries along the way, including a stop at the famous Vjetrenica cave (entry optional).

From here take the vehicle north to the utterly charming town of Mostar. Mostar is best known for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), from which locals dive into the River Neretva. This is a tradition for local boys, who are said to have a lifetime of bad luck if they do not complete the jump in order to become a man. It's a beautiful spot to kick back by the river, enjoy a Bosnian coffee and watch the divers and the world go by.

Included Activities:
-Mostar region/Ciro Trail Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

Day 6: Mostar
Location: Mostar
Meals Included: breaksfast

Prepare for a real treat riding another spectacular section of the Ciro Trail, a as you depart Mostar and ride south along the restored rail trail.

After a quick coffee while the bikes are loaded onto the trailer drive back to Mostar, where you can continue exploring the alleys, bars and restaurants in search of a hidden gem.

Included Activities:
-Ciro Trail Guided Cycling

Day 7: Sarajevo
Location: Sarajevo
Meals Included: breaksfast

Start the day with an approximately 120 kilometre drive north towards Sarajevo, the intriguing capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and you'll begin cycling from Jahorina, the site for several events including the female slalom. More importantly, Jahorina and Trebević were the only lifelines into Sarajevo during its thousand-day blockade during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s. The views are phenomenal on a clear day.

From here load the bikes up and drive into Sarajevo proper, arriving with enough time for your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this fascinating city before an optional farewell dinner with your group.

Included Activities:
-Sarajevo Region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

Day 8: Sarajevo
Location: Sarajevo

Your Balkan cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no planned activities or rides, so you're free to depart anytime before noon.

What's Included

  • Meals

    6 breakfasts

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (6 nights), Guesthouse (1 night)

  • Transport

  • Bay of Kotor Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

  • Niksic region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

  • Ramparts of Onogost Fortress

  • Pluzine region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

  • Mostar region/Ciro Trail Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

  • Ciro Trail Guided Cycling

  • Sarajevo Region Guided & Vehicle Supported Cycling

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • International Travel

Included Activities

    Accommodation

    • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
    • Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
    • OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
    • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
    • TWIN SHARE BASIS
    • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
    • CHECK-IN TIME
    • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
    • PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
    • If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    • FACILITIES
    • Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

    Transport

    • While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others.
    • Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle
    • INCLUDED BICYCLE TYPE
    • On this trip we use 2017 Felt 7 Fifty mountain bikes.
    • Please note that due to legal restrictions our support vehicles in Europe seat a maximum of 8 people (excluding the driver) so with a larger group there may be times when the vehicle has to make two journeys. If this occurs the tour leader will find a suitable place for the remainder of the group to wait until the vehicle returns. We endeavour to make this wait as short as possible and appreciate your patience.
    • An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.
    • RENTAL E-BIKES
    • Our Europe rental e-bikes are the 2018 Felt NINE E-20, which you may request in the following sizes: Extra Small, Small, Medium & Large. Please provide your height at time of booking so the correct size can be arranged. Sizes are limited, so confirmation is subject to availability.
    • For further details on sizing please see https://www.feltbicycles.com/International/Catalog/Bikes/electric/mountain/ninee-20.aspx
    • INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
    • You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE
    • While we’re confident in the quality and suitability of the bikes we include, we do recognise that sometimes you just need the comfort of your own bike to enjoy the ride. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike on this trip, please advise us at time of booking and take note of the below information. If you do choose to bring your own bike, please note that we will not being carrying a spare bike for you.
    • SUITABLE TYPE OF BIKE
    • Although the surfaces of the roads we travel on are generally good there are occasionally gravel or potholed sections of road/track. As such, we recommend a 'mountain' or 'hybrid' style bike with plenty of gear selections for easy cruising. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ section of your Essential Trip Information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike.
    • We usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our trips as they are often too large for our transport. In some destinations we can make an exception. Please ask your booking agent if you are interested in bringing a tandem bike.
    • BEFORE THE TRIP
    • We recommend that you have a full service of your bike performed by a trained mechanic to help minimise any issues you may have during the trip. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home and contents or specialist insurance policy.
    • DURING THE TRIP
    • Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the support vehicle or on the bike trailer. While we endeavour to take the best care we can, you should recognise that transported bikes do get the occasional bump or scratch along the way. The same applies when we take other forms of transport, such as a train, where we are unable to pack the bikes ourselves. Your bike will be secured in the same way as our included bikes. This can occasionally be outside the vehicle (where the bikes are locked together).
    • In order to reach our destination, it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. Any extra costs involved with transporting personal bikes are your responsibility. This includes (but is not limited to) additional transport costs and customs/import fees.
    • While our mechanics can usually assist with minor repairs, you are responsible for the safety and upkeep of your own bicycle. This includes conducting regular safety checks of your bike during the trip and cleaning your bike. In addition, any parts that require replacing are your responsibility. Most destinations have access to only limited spares along the way and access to bike shops can be days apart. Therefore, please ensure you bring any spare parts that you may require (especially specialist parts).
    • TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE TO/FROM THE DESTINATION
    • Your preferred airline should have no problem carrying your bike, but many will charge an extra fee. Contact them before departing to discuss their arrangements for transporting bikes.
    • A well-padded bike box (obtainable from a bike shop) is usually the best method of plane transportation. We recommend that you accompany your bicycle on the flight. Unaccompanied bicycles have been known to spend some extra days in the hands of customs authorities.
    • Many taxis are not large enough to transport a bike box/bag so you may be delayed waiting for a suitably sized vehicle.
    • INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE
    • You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    • BIKES:
    • The bicycles we use are Norco hybrid bikes. Please advise your height at time of booking so we can make sure we have an appropriately size bike for you. If you would prefer to bring your own bike, this is also an option. Please advise us at time of booking if you wish to do this, and please ensure that you have adequate travel insurance to cover loss, damage or theft to your bike, and also that your airline is able to accept it as checked luggage.
    • SUPPORT VEHICLE:
    • The van will follow you at all times, carrying your luggage and personal belongings. This also gives you the flexibility to opt out of riding if you become tired.
    • RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF THE SUPPORT VEHICLE
    • Due to European driving regulations, the support vehicle can only be used clients when directly supporting the ride itself, or as transport between cycling legs. Clients are unable to travel full-time in the support vehicle.

    Important Information

    • 1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
    • 2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organize a suitable sized bike.
    • 3. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
    • 4. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker.
    • 5. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.
    • 6. Due to health and safety concerns around the traffic we take local taxis rather than cycle up to/down from the Ostrog Monastery on Day 3.

    Check out our Q&As

    • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

      Yes if aged 15+ and accompanied by an adult

    • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

      No

    • Are international flights included in this tour?

      No

    • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

      Yes

    • Is this trip right for you

      To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

      On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker.

      While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short (the longest ride is only 60 kilometres) the terrain of the Balkans is naturally hilly and the climate often warm. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip, but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.

      As our riding is done mostly on sealed roads with the occasional gravel cycle path there are no technical cycling skills required. Given there will be hills, we do suggest practicing riding downhill so you are comfortable with this once the trips begins.

      As there are cobblestones and many stairs in most European towns, and space in our support van is limited, it's strongly recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead.

      You'll be spending your nights in hotels at each step on this tour, ranging from comfortable to basic levels, but always authentic and a great opportunity to interact with the locals and fellow travellers alike. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

    • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

      Yes, except optional activities

    • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

      Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

    • How long has the tour company been trading?

      Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

    • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

      Yes

    • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

      Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

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

      Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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    Dates & Availability

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    Saturday - Saturday

    May 25, 2024 - Jun 01, 2024
    $2510 $2197 (USD)

    Operator discount: -$251 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$62 (USD)

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    Jun 15, 2024 - Jun 22, 2024
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    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$62 (USD)

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    Jul 20, 2024 - Jul 27, 2024
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    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$58 (USD)

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    Sep 28, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024
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    Oct 05, 2024 - Oct 12, 2024
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    Saturday - Saturday

    May 24, 2025 - May 31, 2025
    $2355 $2290 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

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    Jun 14, 2025 - Jun 21, 2025
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    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

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    Saturday - Saturday

    Jun 28, 2025 - Jul 05, 2025
    $2355 $2290 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

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    Saturday - Saturday

    Jul 12, 2025 - Jul 19, 2025
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    Saturday - Saturday

    Jul 26, 2025 - Aug 02, 2025
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    Saturday - Saturday

    Aug 23, 2025 - Aug 30, 2025
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    Saturday - Saturday

    Sep 06, 2025 - Sep 13, 2025
    $2355 $2290 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

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    Saturday - Saturday

    Sep 27, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
    $2355 $2290 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

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    Oct 04, 2025 - Oct 11, 2025
    $2355 $2290 (USD)

    The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$65 (USD)

    Book with Confidence

    • Free Date Changes

      Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

    • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

      Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

    • Low Deposit

      Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

    • Cancellation Policy

      We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

      Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

      At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

      At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

      At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

    • COVID Protection

      Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
      From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

      However, we continue to strongly recommend that all travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and other Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

      This policy excludes all Polar trips and select adventure cruises, where testing and vaccination remains a requirement. Please refer to the Essential Trip Information of your chosen tour for more details.

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