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Cycle Croatia & the Balkans

Bosnia &Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro

Cycle Croatia & the Balkans

Biking
·
Start: Split
·
End: Sarajevo

Explore the Dalmatian Coast and three fascinating countries by bike on this Balkan cycling adventure

Activity
Biking
LocationBosnia &Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro
Duration14 days
Start / EndSplit / Sarajevo
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Bosnia &Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro

Cycle Croatia & the Balkans

Biking·
14 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Split
·
End: Sarajevo

Description

Get your legs moving on a Balkan cycling adventure from Split to Sarajevo. Taking in stunning scenery of the Croatian islands, along the Dalmatian 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 li...

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Itinerary

Day 1Split
Dobro Dosli! Welcome to Croatia. Today is arrival day and there are no activities planned for today apart from a welcome meeting at 6pm. After this meeting you have the option of heading out for a meal with your group. Perhaps grab a drink at a cafe on the gorgeous Riva Promenade. As this tour will spend a limited time in Split, arriving early is recommended to fully enjoy all that Split has to offer. Explore the impressive ruins of Diocletian's Palace, see the original and fantastically preserved basements under the city, or simply unwind with a walk along the waterfront promenade. Please note on this trip you need to arrive with your own bicycle helmet as bicycle shops are closed on Sundays and we depart Split the following day before the shops are open. Cycling distance: none
Day 2Brac Island
It’s an early start today as we catch the ferry (approx. 1 hr) from Split to Supetar on the largest island in Dalmatia, Brac. There is a bike fitting for the group followed by a short test ride to ensure everything is working properly. From here we start our first 'real' ride in Croatia, cycling from Supetar along the winding coastal road to the beautiful seaside village of Pučišća. Along the way we take a short detour inland to the tiny village of Dol, passing well maintained vineyards, fig tree plantations and olive groves along the way. Considered an “ethno-eco village” this is Dalmatia ‘as it used to be’. After a quick stop for refreshments in Pučišća we encounter our first real climb of the trip up to Praznica – it is a pretty steep climb (7kms at an average of 7.5%) but as long as you focus on slow, steady riding you’ll be rewarded with endless views over the blue Adriatic Sea while passing by olive groves, cypress forests, and timeless drystone walls. And remember if you don’t feel up to it we always have our support vehicle available to people that need it. We’ll have a rest at the top then cycle across the relatively flat centre of the island before enjoying a well-earned descent down to the popular town of Bol. Bol is famous for the Zlatni rat (Golden Cape), one of the most beautiful beaches on the Adriatic Sea and an excellent place to relax after a hard day’s cycling. Take part in a short orientation walk, ending with ample time to enjoy an optional visit to the famous Stina Winery for a wine tasting. The wine of choice here is Plavac Mali, the King of Dalmatian red wines. Also sample the Crljenak, a native Croatian grape variety. End the day with a walk along the coastal boulevard and perhaps try some seafood for dinner. Cycling distance: approx. 35kms/22 miles, undulating with a significant climb towards the end of the ride, approx. 650m/2130ft of total elevation gain
Day 3Hvar Island
It's another early morning as we take the ferry to Stari Grad (via Split, total transport time approx. 4.5 hours). We take lunch in Split and have a little time to look around before boarding the second ferry. Set in a beautiful protected bay, Stari Grad is one of the oldest towns in Europe, settled by Neolithic tribes as far back as 3500BC. Today the old stone houses, narrow streets and small squares still retain a cultured and historic feel. There's plenty to see and do, including the medieval Dominican Monastery and Tvrdalj Fortress. Leaving Stari Grad behind we ride up to the scenic hilly heart of Hvar Island, via the less-trafficked old road, passing viewpoints (including one of the entire bay with Brač Island in the distance) and old taverns along the way before stopping for lunch. Afterwards we descend through the old village of Brusje and down into the vibrant Hvar Town, with its historic charm and ancient city walls (approximately 21 kms). The streets of Hvar are a traffic-free zone, giving you ample freedom to slowly stroll the Pjaca (piazza) and soak in the views of St Stephen's Cathedral, the Arsenal, and the myriad Palaces that flank the square. Cycling distance: approx. 27kms/17 miles, flat start then mostly climbing for 10kms/6 miles then descending the last 10kms, with approx. 560m/1830ft of elevation gain.
Day 4Korcula Island
Enjoy a free morning with a quiet sleep in, or spend some more time savouring the ambience of Hvar Town. For options for the free day maybe check out the Hvar Spanjola fortress for views, go on a boat tour, or ask your tour leader for suggestions for a hike to Velo Grablje village, Catch a catamaran across to the island of Korcula, arriving late in the evening into Korcula Town, a Venetian Renaissance-inspired walled city full of narrow streets, medieval towers and the reputed birthplace of Marco Polo. Perhaps head out for a late dinner and a bar with a view of the Adriatic. Cycling distance: none
Day 5Korcula Island
Prepare for a big day on the road through the very heart of Korcula, past countless vineyards, olive groves and forests – the ride is a long one but well worth the effort! Starting early in the day we ride drive up to the tiny hamlet of Pupnat (avoiding a nasty 10km/6 mile climb on the bikes!) for an early homemade breakfast with our local hosts. The position of Pupnat and steepness of the approach is no accident. It was designed to help keep Pupnat safe from pirates through the ages. Pupnat is Korcula ‘as it used to be’ – a picture perfect farming village with attractive stone buildings and a laid back atmosphere. Next enjoy a descent down to Pupnatska Luka, a beautiful bay with a clean pebble beach, then follow the magnificent coastline through Smokvica and its significant vineyards before tackling the final climb to Blato then once again descending down to the former fishing village turned large port town of Vela Luka. We have some time to walk around, have a quick coffee break then board our support vehicle and drive back across the island towards Korčula Town. In the late afternoon we drive back to Pupnat to visit a local farm and eat a delicious dinner on the outside patio. Sample some of the family wines and be treated to a meal made entirely from ingredients found on the farm. Afterwards, return to Korcula Town. The evening is free to explore the narrow streets of this wonderful town. Cycling distance: approx. 48kms/30 miles, mostly downhill but at times undulating, with approx. 630m/2070ft of elevation gain.
Day 6Dubrovnik
Transfer by boat to Orebic on the isthmus of the Pelješac Peninsula. To avoid some serious uphill riding we drive high above the tiny village of Postup to the 'Panorama viewpoint' to take in the views then start our ride towards Potomje village for optional wine tasting and an introduction to the local wine growing traditions. Take to the backroads and cycle through the hills of the Dingač vineyards region before continuing to the beautiful bay of Žuljana. Finish our final ride in Croatia with a rewarding climb up to the village of Putnikovic, then enjoy an impromptu picnic and optional wine tasting in the natural surroundings before continuing by vehicle (approx. 20 mins) to the delightful walled town of Ston. While Ston is well known for its 700 year old medieval defensive stone wall, few know the real purpose of these walls was to protect the precious salt trade that helped found the wealth of nearby Dubrovnik. Visit these ancient salt pans on a short orientation walk. Afterwards, re-board your support vehicle and follow the glorious winding coast all the way down to Dubrovnik (approx. 1hr). With the sparkling water of the Adriatic in the background, Dubrovnik is picturesque, full of character and can easily be covered on foot. Take part in an orientation walk, including entry to the ancient city wall itself. Cycling distance: approx. 27kms/17 miles, undulating with approx. 480m/1550ft of elevation gain.
Day 7Dubrovnik
Today is a free day for you to explore more of Dubrovnik until your next group meeting at 6 pm where you will meet new cyclists joining for the Balkan leg of the journey. Perhaps go out for an optional dinner together (hot tip: Old Town's gelato is phenomenal).
Day 8Kotor
This morning you'll have your bike fitted before transporting 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 start cycling. Follow the Bay of Kotor for approx. 42 kilometres before arriving in the 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 a beautiful bay and imposing mountains. Its medieval Old Town features winding cobblestone lanes, historic buildings and buzzing nightlife. Ride - approx. 42kms/26 miles, undulating with approx. 470m/1540ft of elevation gain
Day 9Niksic
Depart Kotor this morning by vehicle, heading north to scenic Slansko Lake and Kuside. Start riding here, passing nearby Niksic and heading up into the hills toward the incredible Ostrong Monastery, a white-washed building built into a cliff that's the most important site in Montenegro for Orthodox Christians. It's well worth the sweat and effort required to reach this gravity-defying icon, resting some 900 metres above the Zeta Valley. Enjoy an eight(ish) kilometre descent then ride back to Niksic, where you'll spend the evening. 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. 55 kms/34 miles, undulating terrain with a steep eight kilometre climb to the monastery, with approx.1050 metres/3440ft of elevation gain in total.
Day 10Pluzine
Today you'll cycle approximately sixty 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. 60 kms/37 miles, with a long but gradual climb for the first 25kms. Elevation gain is approx.1070 metres/3500ft.
Day 11Mostar
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 150 kilometres to the old trading town of Nevesinje. From here, enjoy a predominantly downhill ride to the utterly charming town of Mostar, a distance of 40 kilometres or so. 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. 40 kms/25 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 310 metres/1020ft of elevation gain.
Day 12Mostar
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 160 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. 50 kilometres of the trail before returning to Mostar for the evening, where you can continue exploring the alleys, bars and restaurants in search of a hidden gem. Ride: approx 50kms/31 miles, undulating with approx. 400m/1300ft of elevation gain
Day 13Sarajevo
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 among thick pine forests of 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 over Igman into Sarajevo as many Sarajevans did. The views are phenomenal on a clear day. On arrival, 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/19 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 200 metres/650ft of elevation gain.
Day 14Sarajevo
Your Croatia and Balkan cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no planned activities or rides, so you're free to depart anytime before noon.

More info

Trip title

Cycle Croatia & the Balkans

Trip code

ZMXBC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Get your legs moving on a Balkan cycling adventure from Split to Sarajevo. Taking in stunning scenery of the Croatian islands, along the Dalmatian 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,... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Active Adventures,Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle,Ferry,(e-bike option available)

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

Hotel Slavija

Joining point description

The UNESCO protected Hotel Slavija is located among the ruins of Diocletian's Palace and is within easy walking distance to all of Split's attractions, the ferry terminal and, of course, the beach. A 16th century renaissance stairway links the three floors of simple rooms, each with a private bathroom and television. There are numerous cafes and restaurants just as you step out of the hotel entran... Read more

Joining point instructions

From Split Airport (airport code SPU) taxis are readily available. Please note that taxis will drop you at the waterfront esplanade, as vehicles can't enter the old town. You will need to cover the rest of the way on foot. Alternatively you can catch the Croatia Airlines bus which will drop you at the main bus station from where it is a 15 minute walk to the hotel. After getting off the bus or the... Read more

Finish point

Hotel Herc

Finish point description

Hotel Herc is located in Sarajevo's historic Old Town, just 2 minutes walk from Baščaršija. Each room at Hotel Herc is equipped with free wifi, TV, mini fridge, en suite facilities and a private terrace area.

Finish point instructions

Sarajevo Airport (SJJ) is located approximately 10-15 minutes drive from the Hotel Herc. We are happy to arrange a departure transfer for you at an additional cost. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your tour. Alternatively, a taxi service can be arranged locally and you can expect to pay appro... Read more

Important information

1. A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 1 (Split). 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 singl... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Explore three fascinating countries by bike

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 bac... Read more

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat togeth... Read more

Money matters

CURRENCY The official currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HRK). CASH The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can withdraw local currencies ea... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

Climate and seasonal

SUMMER Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. SHOULDER SEASON In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher alt... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsible... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

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 share basis (unless no... Read more

Transport notes

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 c... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights),apartment (3 nights)
14days
€2,695per person
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Jun 30
Split
Jul 13
Sarajevo
€2,695
Seats left: 1
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Jul 21
Split
Aug 3
Sarajevo
€2,695
Seats left: 6
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Aug 4
Split
Aug 17
Sarajevo
€2,695
Seats left: 3
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Sep 1
Split
Sep 14
Sarajevo
€2,695
Seats left: 11
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