New! Cycling the Country Roads of Eastern Europe | Mountain Travel Sobek

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New! Cycling the Country Roads of Eastern Europe

Trip Length 14 days

From $6,295

  • Saddle up for a 345-mile back roads biking adventure through five Eastern European countries during this spectacular 14-day trip
  • Enjoy challenging rides on quiet, paved country roads, and cycle the ancient Via Egnatia road, built by Romans in the 2nd century BC
  • Experience local culture as you visit remote villages and walled cities, including five UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage sites
  • Marvel at natural wonders including Ohrid Lake, Skadar Lake, and the Dinaric Alps, and end your journey in Dubrovnik—the "Pearl of the Adriatic"

During this Eastern European cycling tour, small challenges and amazing rewards combine to create the trip of a lifetime. The rich natural beauty and cultural diversity of the Balkans provides the kind of variety you rarely find on European rides, and the fascinating route provides the opportunity to visit five very different countries. Starting in Macedonia, we’ll ride over the Dinaric Alps into Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. The largely uncrowded roads allow for glorious views, and you’ll have the chance to experience the area’s rich culture and sample the local cuisine, including cheese, honey, smoked ham, and olives. Don’t miss this unforgettable trip that will leave you challenged, fulfilled, and inspired.

Day 1: Arrive in Skopje

Upon arrival at Skopje airport, your trip leader will meet you outside of customs and escort you to your hotel. Take a guided city tour that includes the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, Macedonia Square, the Stone Bridge, the Ottoman-era Old Town and the city walls of Kale. In the evening, meet the rest of the group for a welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Alexander Square

Day 2: Explore Galicnik and Mavrovo National Park

After a short, 45-minute transfer to Mavrovo National Park, we’ll start our cycling trip to the village of Galicnik. Sitting at 4,921 feet, Galicnik is only inhabited during the summer months when the snow melts. It’s famous for its stone houses deep in the forests of Mt. Bistra, its tasty sharp sheep cheese, and its local fruit brandy.

In the afternoon, we’ll cycle down to Mavrovo Lake and along the canyon of the Radika River to visit one of the most important cultural sites in Macedonia, the St. Jovan Bigorski Monastery with the old wooden icons carved by the Myak masters. From here we’ll cycle another 20 minutes to our hotel in the village of Janche.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Total time: 7 hours; Distance: 37 miles; Ascent: 2,970'; Descent: 6,145'; Surface: 100% asphalt road. Possibility for taking a single trail up on the highlands that goes parallel to the asphalt road, for a distance of 3 miles.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Tutto

Day 3: Take the Roman route to Ohrid Lake

A quick morning transfer takes us to the village of Dzepiste, with its stunning view of Debar Lake. We’ll bike along the Drim River and pass by the village of Trebenista, where golden burial masks from the period of Alexander the Great were excavated. We’ll also traverse parts of the ancient Roman Via Egnatia road, built by the Romans in the 2nd century BC to connect Rome with what was then known as Constantinople.

After lunch in one of the local villages, we’ll arrive in Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town sits on the banks of Ohrid Lake, one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe. Enjoy a late afternoon walk in Ohrid’s Old Town and visit some of the town’s most important monuments: St. Sofia Cathedral, the Roman Amphitheatre, the medieval city walls of King Samoil, and the St. Jovan Kaneo church.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Total time: 7 hours; Distance: 41 miles; Ascent: 2,267'; Descent: 2,330'; Surface: 7 miles gravel road + 33 miles asphalt road. Possibility to take a 2-mile long gravel road in the fields along the local village road.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Royal View

Day 4: Visit Saint Naum Monastery and the source of Ohrid lake

Wake early to catch the beautiful sunrise over the lake, then cycle past Vila Biljana (the former Presidential villa of Tito), the “Bay of Bones” archaeological settlement, St. Naum Monastery—the birthplace of Cyrillic script—and the springs of Crn Drim river, one of the main sources of the lake. Lunch in a restaurant in the lagoon by St. Naum, and then cycle across the border to Pogradec, a small fishing town in Albania. Late afternoon transfer to the village of Korce.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Total time: 6 hours; Distance: 25 miles; Ascent: 1,913'; Descent: 1,913'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Life Gallery

Day 5: Discover the isolated Grammoz Mountain Range

Leave Korce and climb steadily into the heart of the Grammoz Mountain range on the borders of Albania and Greece, a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wildflowers. Climb over the Barmash Pass (5,771') to the village of Germenj, lying in its own tranquil and beautiful valley. The combination of stunning scenery, quiet roads and a feeling of isolation make today’s ride one of the highlights of the tour. Spend the night in wooden bungalows in Germenj.

Total biking time: 6 hours; Total time: 8 hours; Distance: 44 miles; Ascent: 3,904'; Descent: 3,573; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Farma Sotira Bungalows

Day 6: Continue from the River Vjosa gorge to Gjirokastër

Climb out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau surrounded by soaring peaks. Once we reach the source of the River Vjosa, we’ll descend through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. We’ll continue with a descent to the Greek-speaking village of Çarshove before following the route to Permet, on a bluff high above the river. We’ll then take a short but dramatic transfer to the historic town of Gjirokastër, another UNESCO Heritage site that’s home to some truly stunning Ottoman architecture—including beautiful 18th- and 19th-century buildings and an Ottoman citadel believed to be the second largest in the Balkans.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Total time: 6 hours; Distance: 31 miles; Ascent: 2,267'; Descent: 4,695'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Kalemi 2

Day 7: Tour the citadel at Berat and Albania’s capital

For the next two days, we’ll take a break from cycling and visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the capital of Albania. First, we’ll visit splendid Berat, the best preserved and perhaps most beautiful town in Albania. Explore the cobbled alleys between the white-walled houses, and visit the citadel high above town. We’ll then set off for Tirana, the capital of Albania and its largest city.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rogner

Day 8: Explore Tirana and Montenegro

We’ll spend some time exploring Tirana before heading off for Shkoder town and its beautiful fortress on the border between Albania and Montenegro. After lunch in Shkoder, we’ll head into Montenegro, taking a road along the northern slopes of the Rumi Mountains with magnificent views of the lake and mountains in the distance. We’ll jump in a small boat to visit Skadar National Park, with its many water birds and isolated fishing villages, and end our day in the village of Virpazar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Vir

Day 9: Ride to Cetinje, the Medieval Capital of Montenegro

Today, we’ll cycle the ancient route connecting the Adriatic coast with the hinterlands, visiting an old fishing village at the edge of Skadar Lake along the way. We’ll climb to Cetinje, the former royal capital, where we’ll enjoy lunch and visit one of the many museums. We’ll then take one more climb to Lovcen National Park, which has a special place in the hearts of all Montenegrins. A striking shrine to Montenegro’s most famous son, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, peers down from its heights, with views stretching as far as Albania and Croatia. We’ll stay in the park’s center, Ivanova Korita, for some well-deserved stargazing.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 42 miles; Ascent 2,411'; Descent 6,480'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Monte Rosa

Day 10: Cycle the Ladder of Kotor

Take a panoramic tour that follows the old Austrian road once connecting Cetinje, the village of Njegusi, and Kotor. We’ll start with a visit to the Mausoleum of Njegos, then cycle most of the way downhill from Lovcen National Park to the old town of Kotor. We’ll take a short detour to the village of Njegusi, birthplace of the famous Montenegrin ruler and poet from the 19th Century, Petar II Petrovic Njegos. After lunch, we’ll cycle the Ladder of Kotor, an absolute must see with 26 serpentines and stunning views to the bay. We’ll finish in the Old Town of Kotor with a short walk along the old walls, and catch the sun before it sets on the other side of the bay.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 22 miles; Ascent 328'; Descent 5,250'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Hippocampus

Day 11: Bike the Bay of Kotor

Cycling the Bay of Kotor is a breathtaking ride, with views of the Dinaric Alps, the cobalt blue waters of the Adriatic, and medieval villages with waterfront views. We’ll bike through a bird reserve and olive groves, and, weather permitting, take a small motor boat across the bay in a boat to Herceg Novi, one of the bay’s best kept secrets with its sparkling seaside location, walled fortress, and Old Town.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 31 miles; Ascent: 1,033'; Descent: 1,050'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa

Day 12: Wind through back roads into Bosnia and Herzegovina

Enter Bosnia via the backroads over the Orijen mountain range, where few cars venture. We’ll stop in the meadows and meet one of the many beekeepers of the region, where we’ll have an opportunity to try the delicate honey with some pungent cheese. We’ll then head down to Trebinje, Bosnia’s most Southern city, neatly tucked on the Trebisnica River in the quiet foothills of the Dinarics. Spend the night sampling some of the region’s wine and authentic slow food with a family just outside of Trebinje known for preserving and serving traditional food.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Distance: 28 miles; Ascent 4,560'; Descent 3,773'; 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Platani

Day 13: Cycle ancient routes from Bosnia into Dubrovnik

We’ll cross over the border into Croatia and head to the Konavle Valley, known for its pine and cypress forests, vineyards, olive groves, and old watermills. Today’s ride will take us along quiet and narrow asphalt roads dotted with small villages. It’s a perfect end to our trip, with great riding along the valley, tasty local fare, and an opportunity for a late-afternoon swim in the clear blue waters of the Adriatic. We’ll end the day with a short transfer to our hotel in Dubrovnik and dinner in the bustling old town of Dubrovnik.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Distance: 28 miles: Ascent: 1,804'; Descent: 2,132'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Pucić Palace

Day 14: Depart from Dubrovnik

After breakfast, transfer to Dubrovnik International Airport.

  • Breakfast

Jul 14 - 27, 2018

pricing

2018 Prices
$6,295 (4 – 15)
$900 single supplement

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Farma Sotira Bungalows — Germenj, Albania

This secluded working farm’s bungalows, cabins, and campsites offer a unique overnight experience in the beautiful south Albanian forest. The rustic accommodations are cozy and comfortable, and guests can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, agrotourism, and swimming without leaving the grounds. The on-site restaurant serves traditional, organic cuisine that is made with meat and produce raised right on the farm!

Hotel Alexander Square — Skopje, Macedonia

This baroque luxury hotel has a lot going for it, starting with location, location, location. Right in the city center, it’s a perfect base for exploring Alexandar Square and walking to Skopje’s other nearby sights. Its spacious rooms have modern, simple furnishings, and the private balconies reveal fantastic views. Staff are as warm as the decadent bedding, and service is as smooth as you’d expect from a top-notch property.

Hotel Hippocampus — Kotor, Montenegro

Hippocampus is an upmarket, modern hotel in the heart of Kotor’s old town. Rooms in this renovated 17th-century building are spacious, comfortable, and uniquely decorated with antique and custom-designed pieces. En-suite bathrooms are also large, and many previous guests rave about the luxurious showers. Expect top-notch service from the affable, accommodating staff, and amazing views all around—especially from the rooftop terrace.

Hotel Kalemi 2 — Gjirokastër, Albania

The Ottoman-era architecture and stone and wood interiors of this renovated monument house, nestled in a south Albanian valley, beautifully blend the old and new. Located in Gjirokastër’s old town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the hotel is just steps from Çerçiz Topulli Square and the Gjirokastër Mosque; other main sights, such as the Gjirokastër Castle and Ethnographic Museum, are a few minutes’ walk along the cobblestone streets for which the city is famous. Rooms have traditional features and carved-wood ceilings; some have fireplaces and/or balconies with views of the city, mountains, or castle. Guests in rooms without a view can enjoy panoramic landscapes of the city and castle from the rooftop terrace.

Hotel Life Gallery — Korçë, Albania

Life Gallery claims to be “the most luxurious hotel of Albania.” Whether that’s really the case is uncertain, but it certainly is hip and sleek. Its two neoclassical buildings house bright, modern, minimalist rooms, a lovely courtyard bar, an outdoor pool, an indoor wine bar, and Korçë’s only beer bar. No question about it, guests sleep in style at Life Gallery.

Hotel Monte Rosa — Ivanova Korita, Montenegro

Set within Lovćen National Park, Hotel Monte Rosa offers guests a quiet retreat in a lovely natural setting. The hotel’s design blends traditional and modern styles, and the wood-heavy architecture evokes a feeling of a true mountain lodge. The restaurant and bar have a spacious terrace, and the pool is open seasonally—it gets cold up here in winter!

Hotel Platani — Trebinje, Croatia

Platani is a sleek, modern hotel located right on Trebinje’s main square. Rooms are bright and well sized, and guests can enjoy the property’s lovely gardens. The friendly, professional staff enhance the comfortably casual atmosphere, which can be best enjoyed at the outdoor bar.

Hotel Pucić Palace — Dubrovnik

Located on Gundulić Square in the heart of Dubrovnik's Old Town, this 17th-century Baroque building combines classic architecture and five-star amenities. The tastefully appointed rooms feature dark oak floors, high, wood-beam ceilings, and large bathrooms with soaking tubs. The tall, soundproof windows flood the rooms with natural light, and many overlook the charming square. Other hotel amenities include free Wi-Fi, a wine bar, and a lantern-lit restaurant on the outdoor terrace. Guests are invited to enjoy the nearby East West Beach Club—named one of Europe's top five—with complimentary sun umbrellas and lounge chairs.

Hotel Rogner — Tirana, Albania

The Rogner Hotel’s magnificent Mediterranean garden is a tranquil escape from the heart of the city. Spacious rooms have light-wood and warm-colored décor, and look out over either the garden and pool or Tirana’s bustling main boulevard. If relaxation and wellness are your top priorities, look no further than the Rogner’s outdoor pool, gym, spa, sauna, and Turkish bath.

Hotel Royal View — Ohrid, Macedonia

The views truly are royal at the Royal View, with sightlines across Ohrid’s old town, surrounding mountains, and Ohrid Lake—and all rooms have balconies to enjoy said views! Inside, the family-run establishment charms guests with comfortable furnishings and friendly service. Pampering is available too, in the Finnish sauna, Turkish spa, Jacuzzi, and massage treatments.

Hotel Tutto — Jance, Macedonia

In the heart of Mavrovo National Park sits this gem of an inn, set into the hillside above the small village of Jance. With a goal of creating and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with its immediate environment, much of the building is constructed of natural materials, such as stone, wood, straw, and earth. This effort is reflected inside as well, where the large windows, porch, and balconies look out to the village and surrounding mountains, bringing the outdoors in. Traditional décor complements the rooms’ comfortable beds, service is warm and homey, and Tutto’s large restaurant serves authentic Macedonian cuisine.

Hotel Vir — Virpazar, Montenegro

This former Yugoslavian state hotel has clean and conventional rooms, some with balconies that overlook Skadar Lake. Its lakeshore location makes Hotel Vir a popular spot for guests wanting to enjoy boat trips and other water-based fun. The restaurant, featuring local and international specialties, has a spacious terrace.

Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa — Herceg-Novi, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Winner of the National Tourist Organization of Montenegro’s Best Hotel award in 2015, the Palmon Bay sparkles on the stunning Adriatic coast. Its seaside location offers marvelous views of Boka Bay and a lovely private beach. Guests can also enjoy the rooftop restaurant, lobby and pool bars, and the wellness and spa center. Rooms have a modern, breezy design with lots of natural light, and some have private balconies with more stellar sea views.

  • Saddle up for a 345-mile back roads biking adventure through five Eastern European countries during this spectacular 14-day trip
  • Enjoy challenging rides on quiet, paved country roads, and cycle the ancient Via Egnatia road, built by Romans in the 2nd century BC
  • Experience local culture as you visit remote villages and walled cities, including five UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage sites
  • Marvel at natural wonders including Ohrid Lake, Skadar Lake, and the Dinaric Alps, and end your journey in Dubrovnik—the "Pearl of the Adriatic"

During this Eastern European cycling tour, small challenges and amazing rewards combine to create the trip of a lifetime. The rich natural beauty and cultural diversity of the Balkans provides the kind of variety you rarely find on European rides, and the fascinating route provides the opportunity to visit five very different countries. Starting in Macedonia, we’ll ride over the Dinaric Alps into Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. The largely uncrowded roads allow for glorious views, and you’ll have the chance to experience the area’s rich culture and sample the local cuisine, including cheese, honey, smoked ham, and olives. Don’t miss this unforgettable trip that will leave you challenged, fulfilled, and inspired.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Skopje

Upon arrival at Skopje airport, your trip leader will meet you outside of customs and escort you to your hotel. Take a guided city tour that includes the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, Macedonia Square, the Stone Bridge, the Ottoman-era Old Town and the city walls of Kale. In the evening, meet the rest of the group for a welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Alexander Square

Day 2: Explore Galicnik and Mavrovo National Park

After a short, 45-minute transfer to Mavrovo National Park, we’ll start our cycling trip to the village of Galicnik. Sitting at 4,921 feet, Galicnik is only inhabited during the summer months when the snow melts. It’s famous for its stone houses deep in the forests of Mt. Bistra, its tasty sharp sheep cheese, and its local fruit brandy.

In the afternoon, we’ll cycle down to Mavrovo Lake and along the canyon of the Radika River to visit one of the most important cultural sites in Macedonia, the St. Jovan Bigorski Monastery with the old wooden icons carved by the Myak masters. From here we’ll cycle another 20 minutes to our hotel in the village of Janche.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Total time: 7 hours; Distance: 37 miles; Ascent: 2,970'; Descent: 6,145'; Surface: 100% asphalt road. Possibility for taking a single trail up on the highlands that goes parallel to the asphalt road, for a distance of 3 miles.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Tutto

Day 3: Take the Roman route to Ohrid Lake

A quick morning transfer takes us to the village of Dzepiste, with its stunning view of Debar Lake. We’ll bike along the Drim River and pass by the village of Trebenista, where golden burial masks from the period of Alexander the Great were excavated. We’ll also traverse parts of the ancient Roman Via Egnatia road, built by the Romans in the 2nd century BC to connect Rome with what was then known as Constantinople.

After lunch in one of the local villages, we’ll arrive in Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town sits on the banks of Ohrid Lake, one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe. Enjoy a late afternoon walk in Ohrid’s Old Town and visit some of the town’s most important monuments: St. Sofia Cathedral, the Roman Amphitheatre, the medieval city walls of King Samoil, and the St. Jovan Kaneo church.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Total time: 7 hours; Distance: 41 miles; Ascent: 2,267'; Descent: 2,330'; Surface: 7 miles gravel road + 33 miles asphalt road. Possibility to take a 2-mile long gravel road in the fields along the local village road.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Royal View

Day 4: Visit Saint Naum Monastery and the source of Ohrid lake

Wake early to catch the beautiful sunrise over the lake, then cycle past Vila Biljana (the former Presidential villa of Tito), the “Bay of Bones” archaeological settlement, St. Naum Monastery—the birthplace of Cyrillic script—and the springs of Crn Drim river, one of the main sources of the lake. Lunch in a restaurant in the lagoon by St. Naum, and then cycle across the border to Pogradec, a small fishing town in Albania. Late afternoon transfer to the village of Korce.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Total time: 6 hours; Distance: 25 miles; Ascent: 1,913'; Descent: 1,913'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Life Gallery

Day 5: Discover the isolated Grammoz Mountain Range

Leave Korce and climb steadily into the heart of the Grammoz Mountain range on the borders of Albania and Greece, a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wildflowers. Climb over the Barmash Pass (5,771') to the village of Germenj, lying in its own tranquil and beautiful valley. The combination of stunning scenery, quiet roads and a feeling of isolation make today’s ride one of the highlights of the tour. Spend the night in wooden bungalows in Germenj.

Total biking time: 6 hours; Total time: 8 hours; Distance: 44 miles; Ascent: 3,904'; Descent: 3,573; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Farma Sotira Bungalows

Day 6: Continue from the River Vjosa gorge to Gjirokastër

Climb out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau surrounded by soaring peaks. Once we reach the source of the River Vjosa, we’ll descend through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. We’ll continue with a descent to the Greek-speaking village of Çarshove before following the route to Permet, on a bluff high above the river. We’ll then take a short but dramatic transfer to the historic town of Gjirokastër, another UNESCO Heritage site that’s home to some truly stunning Ottoman architecture—including beautiful 18th- and 19th-century buildings and an Ottoman citadel believed to be the second largest in the Balkans.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Total time: 6 hours; Distance: 31 miles; Ascent: 2,267'; Descent: 4,695'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Kalemi 2

Day 7: Tour the citadel at Berat and Albania’s capital

For the next two days, we’ll take a break from cycling and visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the capital of Albania. First, we’ll visit splendid Berat, the best preserved and perhaps most beautiful town in Albania. Explore the cobbled alleys between the white-walled houses, and visit the citadel high above town. We’ll then set off for Tirana, the capital of Albania and its largest city.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Rogner

Day 8: Explore Tirana and Montenegro

We’ll spend some time exploring Tirana before heading off for Shkoder town and its beautiful fortress on the border between Albania and Montenegro. After lunch in Shkoder, we’ll head into Montenegro, taking a road along the northern slopes of the Rumi Mountains with magnificent views of the lake and mountains in the distance. We’ll jump in a small boat to visit Skadar National Park, with its many water birds and isolated fishing villages, and end our day in the village of Virpazar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Vir

Day 9: Ride to Cetinje, the Medieval Capital of Montenegro

Today, we’ll cycle the ancient route connecting the Adriatic coast with the hinterlands, visiting an old fishing village at the edge of Skadar Lake along the way. We’ll climb to Cetinje, the former royal capital, where we’ll enjoy lunch and visit one of the many museums. We’ll then take one more climb to Lovcen National Park, which has a special place in the hearts of all Montenegrins. A striking shrine to Montenegro’s most famous son, Petar II Petrović Njegoš, peers down from its heights, with views stretching as far as Albania and Croatia. We’ll stay in the park’s center, Ivanova Korita, for some well-deserved stargazing.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 42 miles; Ascent 2,411'; Descent 6,480'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Monte Rosa

Day 10: Cycle the Ladder of Kotor

Take a panoramic tour that follows the old Austrian road once connecting Cetinje, the village of Njegusi, and Kotor. We’ll start with a visit to the Mausoleum of Njegos, then cycle most of the way downhill from Lovcen National Park to the old town of Kotor. We’ll take a short detour to the village of Njegusi, birthplace of the famous Montenegrin ruler and poet from the 19th Century, Petar II Petrovic Njegos. After lunch, we’ll cycle the Ladder of Kotor, an absolute must see with 26 serpentines and stunning views to the bay. We’ll finish in the Old Town of Kotor with a short walk along the old walls, and catch the sun before it sets on the other side of the bay.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 22 miles; Ascent 328'; Descent 5,250'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Hippocampus

Day 11: Bike the Bay of Kotor

Cycling the Bay of Kotor is a breathtaking ride, with views of the Dinaric Alps, the cobalt blue waters of the Adriatic, and medieval villages with waterfront views. We’ll bike through a bird reserve and olive groves, and, weather permitting, take a small motor boat across the bay in a boat to Herceg Novi, one of the bay’s best kept secrets with its sparkling seaside location, walled fortress, and Old Town.

Total biking time: 5 hours; Distance: 31 miles; Ascent: 1,033'; Descent: 1,050'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa

Day 12: Wind through back roads into Bosnia and Herzegovina

Enter Bosnia via the backroads over the Orijen mountain range, where few cars venture. We’ll stop in the meadows and meet one of the many beekeepers of the region, where we’ll have an opportunity to try the delicate honey with some pungent cheese. We’ll then head down to Trebinje, Bosnia’s most Southern city, neatly tucked on the Trebisnica River in the quiet foothills of the Dinarics. Spend the night sampling some of the region’s wine and authentic slow food with a family just outside of Trebinje known for preserving and serving traditional food.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Distance: 28 miles; Ascent 4,560'; Descent 3,773'; 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Platani

Day 13: Cycle ancient routes from Bosnia into Dubrovnik

We’ll cross over the border into Croatia and head to the Konavle Valley, known for its pine and cypress forests, vineyards, olive groves, and old watermills. Today’s ride will take us along quiet and narrow asphalt roads dotted with small villages. It’s a perfect end to our trip, with great riding along the valley, tasty local fare, and an opportunity for a late-afternoon swim in the clear blue waters of the Adriatic. We’ll end the day with a short transfer to our hotel in Dubrovnik and dinner in the bustling old town of Dubrovnik.

Total biking time: 4 hours; Distance: 28 miles: Ascent: 1,804'; Descent: 2,132'; Surface: 100% asphalt road

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hotel Pucić Palace

Day 14: Depart from Dubrovnik

After breakfast, transfer to Dubrovnik International Airport.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Farma Sotira Bungalows — Germenj, Albania

This secluded working farm’s bungalows, cabins, and campsites offer a unique overnight experience in the beautiful south Albanian forest. The rustic accommodations are cozy and comfortable, and guests can enjoy horseback riding, fishing, agrotourism, and swimming without leaving the grounds. The on-site restaurant serves traditional, organic cuisine that is made with meat and produce raised right on the farm!

Hotel Alexander Square — Skopje, Macedonia

This baroque luxury hotel has a lot going for it, starting with location, location, location. Right in the city center, it’s a perfect base for exploring Alexandar Square and walking to Skopje’s other nearby sights. Its spacious rooms have modern, simple furnishings, and the private balconies reveal fantastic views. Staff are as warm as the decadent bedding, and service is as smooth as you’d expect from a top-notch property.

Hotel Hippocampus — Kotor, Montenegro

Hippocampus is an upmarket, modern hotel in the heart of Kotor’s old town. Rooms in this renovated 17th-century building are spacious, comfortable, and uniquely decorated with antique and custom-designed pieces. En-suite bathrooms are also large, and many previous guests rave about the luxurious showers. Expect top-notch service from the affable, accommodating staff, and amazing views all around—especially from the rooftop terrace.

Hotel Kalemi 2 — Gjirokastër, Albania

The Ottoman-era architecture and stone and wood interiors of this renovated monument house, nestled in a south Albanian valley, beautifully blend the old and new. Located in Gjirokastër’s old town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the hotel is just steps from Çerçiz Topulli Square and the Gjirokastër Mosque; other main sights, such as the Gjirokastër Castle and Ethnographic Museum, are a few minutes’ walk along the cobblestone streets for which the city is famous. Rooms have traditional features and carved-wood ceilings; some have fireplaces and/or balconies with views of the city, mountains, or castle. Guests in rooms without a view can enjoy panoramic landscapes of the city and castle from the rooftop terrace.

Hotel Life Gallery — Korçë, Albania

Life Gallery claims to be “the most luxurious hotel of Albania.” Whether that’s really the case is uncertain, but it certainly is hip and sleek. Its two neoclassical buildings house bright, modern, minimalist rooms, a lovely courtyard bar, an outdoor pool, an indoor wine bar, and Korçë’s only beer bar. No question about it, guests sleep in style at Life Gallery.

Hotel Monte Rosa — Ivanova Korita, Montenegro

Set within Lovćen National Park, Hotel Monte Rosa offers guests a quiet retreat in a lovely natural setting. The hotel’s design blends traditional and modern styles, and the wood-heavy architecture evokes a feeling of a true mountain lodge. The restaurant and bar have a spacious terrace, and the pool is open seasonally—it gets cold up here in winter!

Hotel Platani — Trebinje, Croatia

Platani is a sleek, modern hotel located right on Trebinje’s main square. Rooms are bright and well sized, and guests can enjoy the property’s lovely gardens. The friendly, professional staff enhance the comfortably casual atmosphere, which can be best enjoyed at the outdoor bar.

Hotel Pucić Palace — Dubrovnik

Located on Gundulić Square in the heart of Dubrovnik's Old Town, this 17th-century Baroque building combines classic architecture and five-star amenities. The tastefully appointed rooms feature dark oak floors, high, wood-beam ceilings, and large bathrooms with soaking tubs. The tall, soundproof windows flood the rooms with natural light, and many overlook the charming square. Other hotel amenities include free Wi-Fi, a wine bar, and a lantern-lit restaurant on the outdoor terrace. Guests are invited to enjoy the nearby East West Beach Club—named one of Europe's top five—with complimentary sun umbrellas and lounge chairs.

Hotel Rogner — Tirana, Albania

The Rogner Hotel’s magnificent Mediterranean garden is a tranquil escape from the heart of the city. Spacious rooms have light-wood and warm-colored décor, and look out over either the garden and pool or Tirana’s bustling main boulevard. If relaxation and wellness are your top priorities, look no further than the Rogner’s outdoor pool, gym, spa, sauna, and Turkish bath.

Hotel Royal View — Ohrid, Macedonia

The views truly are royal at the Royal View, with sightlines across Ohrid’s old town, surrounding mountains, and Ohrid Lake—and all rooms have balconies to enjoy said views! Inside, the family-run establishment charms guests with comfortable furnishings and friendly service. Pampering is available too, in the Finnish sauna, Turkish spa, Jacuzzi, and massage treatments.

Hotel Tutto — Jance, Macedonia

In the heart of Mavrovo National Park sits this gem of an inn, set into the hillside above the small village of Jance. With a goal of creating and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship with its immediate environment, much of the building is constructed of natural materials, such as stone, wood, straw, and earth. This effort is reflected inside as well, where the large windows, porch, and balconies look out to the village and surrounding mountains, bringing the outdoors in. Traditional décor complements the rooms’ comfortable beds, service is warm and homey, and Tutto’s large restaurant serves authentic Macedonian cuisine.

Hotel Vir — Virpazar, Montenegro

This former Yugoslavian state hotel has clean and conventional rooms, some with balconies that overlook Skadar Lake. Its lakeshore location makes Hotel Vir a popular spot for guests wanting to enjoy boat trips and other water-based fun. The restaurant, featuring local and international specialties, has a spacious terrace.

Palmon Bay Hotel & Spa — Herceg-Novi, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Winner of the National Tourist Organization of Montenegro’s Best Hotel award in 2015, the Palmon Bay sparkles on the stunning Adriatic coast. Its seaside location offers marvelous views of Boka Bay and a lovely private beach. Guests can also enjoy the rooftop restaurant, lobby and pool bars, and the wellness and spa center. Rooms have a modern, breezy design with lots of natural light, and some have private balconies with more stellar sea views.

Dates and Pricing

Jul 14 - 27, 2018

pricing

2018 Prices
$6,295 (4 – 15)
$900 single supplement

Activity Level Moderate to Strenuous
Trip Length 14 days

From $6,295

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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure