Explore three fascinating countries by bike on this Balkan cycling adventure.

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.


Start
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Finish
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Destinations
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures, Cycling
Code
ZMXY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 14
Group size
Min 1, Max 15

Why you'll love this trip

  • 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

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.

  • There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way, a puncture here and there, but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure.

  • 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.

  • The weather in this region can vary depending on the season. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.

Itinerary

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).
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you'll transport by vehicle from Dubrovnik into Montenegro to avoid the hectic traffic outside the city. Stop in Cavtat, a beautiful coastal town south of Dubrovnik, then 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 quite 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.

Ride: approx. 25-30kms/15-19 miles, lightly undulating terrain, with approx. 240 metres/790ft of elevation gain in total.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Kotor this morning by vehicle, heading north to scenic Slansko 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 Ostrong 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 Onogošt 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.

Ride: approx. 40kms/25miles, undulating terrain, with approx. 750 metres/2460ft of elevation gain in total.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 continue to Pluzine, a small, beautiful town in which to relax and rest those legs.

Ride: approx. 40kms/25 miles, with a long but gradual climb for the first 25kms. Elevation gain is approx.1070 metres/3500ft.

Note: depending on adverse traffic or weather conditions your group leader may shorten this particular ride
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a shorter ride than yesterday and you'll be cycling through Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time. Depart Pluzine and drive approximately 185 kilometres to small Bosnian village of Žulja to start our cycling. Riding along an old, long forgotten country road through half-abandoned hamlets past shepherds tending herds of sheep, this is the Bosnia beyond tourism, where everything done the old traditional way.

Riding along the ridgeline for around 10kms, the mainly asphalt road is virtually traffic-free and enjoys spectacular views down to Mostar and the surrounding hills before descending to the charming town of Blagaj, situated at the spring of the Buna river and a historical tekke (Dervish monastery).

Enjoy lunch then ride the next flat 15kms to the utterly charming town of Mostar. Mostar is best known for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), from which both tourists and 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 Turkish coffee and watch the divers and the world go by.

Ride: approx. 31 kms/19 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 220 metres/720ft of elevation gain.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Prepare for a real treat riding a section of the Ciro Trail, a new trail 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. 35 kilometres of the trail to the cosmopolitan city of Čapljina before visiting the ancient Roman ruins of Mogorjelo villa, crossing the canyon and cycling back to medieval town of Počitelj. After a short visit (and perhaps 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.

Ride: approx 40-45kms/25-28 miles, undulating with approx. 270m/885ft of elevation gain
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 Igman, the site for several events including the ski jump. More importantly, Igman was the only lifeline into Sarajevo during its thousand-day blockade during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s. Weather permitting, the group will take the same route as many Sarajevans did, over Igman and finishing at beautiful Vrelo Bosne (springs of Bosna River) in the suburbs of Sarajevo. The views are phenomenal on a clear day.
After lunch, and a little time to explore in Vrelo Bosne we’ll 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.

Ride: approx. 30 kms/18 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 200 metres/650ft of elevation gain.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle, Support vehicle (e-bike option available, subject to availability)

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Guesthouse (1 night)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. This does not include night 4 in Pluzine. Please ask your booking agent for more information.
2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise 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 bookiing. 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

Essential trip information

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