Cycling Bosnia & Montenegro

9 days
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£1,519
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4.3 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Trip code: 
MVH
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Road Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–15

A pioneering ride through the remote mountain regions of Bosnia & Herzegovina - the ultimate off road adventure

The rich natural and cultural diversity of the Balkans provides the kind of variety you rarely find on European rides. This fascinating route provides the opportunity to visit three very different countries from the former Yugoslavia as we head from Bosnia over the Dinaric Alps into Montenegro and finally to Dubrovnik, on Croatia's Adriatic Coast. The largely uncrowded roads allow for glorious views, a few good challenges and the opportunity to visit many cultural highlights along the way including the historic city of Mostar. The trip concludes in the magnificent city of Dubrovnik; famous for it's ancient city walls, marbled streets and baroque architecture. A trip here will live long in the memory.

Highlights

  • Beautiful remote scenery
  • Balkan culture and cuisine
  • Discover Mostar and Dubrovnik
  • Dinaric Alps to the Adriatic

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels all en suite 
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 15 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Local bike hire included

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire included

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement

6

Pace:

Average daily distances of: 50km

Terrain:

75% on quiet regional and village asphalt roads.

Day by day breakdown
Day 260.0km/37.0miles
Day 345.0km/28.0miles
Day 440.0km/25.0miles
Day 540.0km/25.0miles
Day 655.0km/34.0miles
Day 750.0km/31.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Dubrovnik; transfer to Trebinje in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

    After meeting at the airport in Dubrovnik, Croatia, we transfer to the old Ottoman trading centre of Trebinje, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s wine capital. Trebinje has a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages with a beautiful intact old town that escaped damage during the war. We overnight in a hotel in the old centre.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Ride through Popovo Polje, visiting the Tvrdos Monastery; enjoy a wine-tasting in Dracevo and visit the Vjetrenica Cave, the largest underground cave in Bosnia.

    Our first day takes us on a circuit of this wine growing region, past the villages and vineyards of Popovo Polje with magnificent views on all sides of the Herzegovinian limestone mountains. We climb up to the impressive Vjetrenica Cave, one of the largest in the Dinaric Alps. This morning’s section is on the old train tracks that serviced the region until the early 70’s. After lunch we head across Popovo Polje, flanked by the impressive limestone peaks of the Dinaric Alps. Having arrived at the other side of the valley, we’ll put away our bikes for the day and set off in a minibus to Tvrdos Monastery where we taste some of the local authentic wines. The return transfer takes us back to Trebinje.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Take the back roads over the Orjen Mountain range in the Dinaric Alps into Montenegro, then descend to Herceg Novi on the Bay of Kotor.

    Today we head off in the direction of the impressive Orijen mountain range and Montenegro. However before we can cool off in the blue refreshing waters of the Adriatic our cycling journey takes us through a beautiful valley known for its delicate honey and pungent cheeses. We’ll make a short stop for lunch and a honey farming crash course from one of the local farmers. Here you can try your hand at extracting some of this golden elixir. The bee keeper moves his hives 3 times a year, so that the bees can visit different flowers and therefore produce different honey. As such it may be necessary to do this visit on day 2 depending on where the hives are when we visit the region.

    In the afternoon we enter Montenegro or ‘the Black Mountains’, where we have a 10km climb up to the border. From here we encounter rolling hills and extensive views of the Adriatic. Our early afternoon descent ends in the old seafarers' town of Herceg Novi where we can go for a swim before dinner. We overnight in a seaside hotel.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Boat transfer across the bay to the Listica Peninsula; ride the olive routes, before cycling the inner bay road to Kotor via the Venetian town of Perast.

    We start the day with a 30 min boat ride across the beautiful outer Bay of Kotor from Herceg Novi to the traditional fishing village of Rose while our bikes are transported by the small ferry. We meander across the tranquil Lustica Peninsula and enjoy a warm welcome and a visit to the traditional olive oil farm of the Moric family. The road continues to the inner Bay of Kotor, winding peacefully along the shores with spectacular mountain landscapes plunging into the deep waters of the bay. We break for the 10 min boat trip to 'Our Lady of the Rocks' island just offshore from the baroque town of Perast. There will be time to visit the fascinating small museum and church on the island before the boat ride back to Perast. We finish the day riding into Kotor and our hotel base just a short walk from Kotor Old Town with its historic city walls, cobbled streets, piazzas and coffee shops.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Climb from Kotor to Lovcen Mountain via Njegusi to try traditional cheese and smoked ham; visit the famous mausoleum on Lovcen Peak.

    The challenge today is to ascend the incredible serpentine road leading to Lovcen National Park high above the Bay of Kotor. Each turn in the road brings a new vista and the top of the road affords breathtaking views over the bay and in total there are a dizzying 29 switchbacks! Once marking the frontier between Austria, Hungary and the old Montenegro the origins of this road are steeped in history. Upon entering the national park a much more alpine landscape opens up, contrasting sharply with the Mediterranean coastline just a few kilometres away. One of the most important sites on Lovcen Mountains, from a cultural perspective, is the mausoleum of the celebrated Montenegrin poet and philosopher Njegos and it's here that our ride ends today. We then have time to explore the area or perhaps go for a swim in our comfortable hotel in the national park.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Descend to Skadar Lake via the ancient route connecting the hinterlands to the Adriatic Coast; en route stop at Cetinje, the former royal seat of Montenegro, finishing in Virpazar.

    Having climbed up to Lovcen, today we start with the descent to Cetinje, the former royal capital of Montenegro, a town of faded grandeur epitomised by the once imposing embassies and the Royal Palace. We take a short stop to explore the town itself. The descent continues towards the vast Skadar Lake, on the border with Albania. On the horizon during today's ride stand the distant but imposing peaks of the Prokletije (Accursed) Mountains, the lands of feudal tribes for centuries. The ride follows the River 'Crnojevica', a major tributary to Skadar Lake, all the way to its entry point into the lake itself. Our base is a small hotel in the traditional fishing village of Virpazar where we can enjoy the lake fish, and sample local wines from the Crmnica Valley wine region on the lake shores.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Transfer from Virpazar to Nevesinje, climb Mt Velez and descend into Mostar.

    This morning we start with a long (3-4hr) road transfer to the Montenegrin / Bosnian border at Vrancenovici Bileca and Nevesinje. This journey allows us to climb Velez Mountain, Herzegovina’s sleeping giant. Velez offers stunning views of the surrounding area, as well as a range of fortifications built by the Austrians in the late 19th Century. The highlight of today is a fast and beautiful descent along the old postal service route to Mostar. Very few people get to see Mostar from above. The route takes us directly to Mostar’s old bridge and the Neretva River, a fantastic way to end our riding.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Drive to Dubrovnik via the traditional towns of Blagaj and Stolac; afternoon free to explore.

    We transfer (3hrs) to Dubrovnik for a well deserved tour of the town and swim in the Adriatic. We’ll stop along the way in the nearby village of Blagaj, with its well known Buna Spring and the adjacent Ottoman house/monastery. The spring here is amazing. It flows out of a 200m cliff wall and singlehandedly creates the Buna River. Dubrovnik is our final destination and a great way to end. This magnificent walled city lies at the southernmost tip of Croatia. Formerly a prosperous trading centre, Dubrovnik is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its perfectly preserved Old Town and rich cultural life draw many visitors each year.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Transfer to Dubrovnik Airport; fly to London.

    We head for the airport and home.You may however wish to extend your stay in the Croatian capital to further explore it’s cobbled streets or enjoy the beautiful coastline. Should you wish to do so please ask a member of the sales team about our post tour nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Bosnia & Herzegovina

No visa required for British passport holders.

Montenegro

No visa required for British passport holders.

Croatia

Visas are not required by the following nationalities: British and other EU countries, Nationals of Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada. Other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

Vaccinations

Bosnia & Herzegovina

There are no specific health risks.

Montenegro

There are no specific health risks.

Croatia

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

 All breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches and 1 dinner are included on this trip.

Breakfast across the Balkans usually consists of bread and pastries, dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, cereal, eggs cooked in a variety of ways, smoked meats, honey, tea and coffee, milk and juices.

Lunches will be picnics and may include bread, cheese, sausage, meat or vegetarian paté, salad, chocolate bars, cookies and trail mix.

Typical Bosnian cuisine consists of ingredients such as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, spinach, courgette, beans and dairy products such as milk, cheese, pavlaka (sour cream) and Kajmak (similar to clotted cream). Meat dishes usually consist of beef and lamb and specialties include cevapi, burek, dolma (stuffed vegetables with meat) and goulash. Desserts often have an Eastern influence with baklava being very popular. The alcoholic drink rakija made from apples or plums is common in this region also.

Croatian & Montenegrin cuisine both share similarities to Bosnian cuisine but are also heavily influenced by Greek and Italian cuisines.

Vegetarian and special diets can be catered for, but options are limited throughout Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro - please inform the office of any specific requirements upon booking.

Weather

Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro enjoy a similar climate to most of Central Europe - hot summers, cool springs and autumns and cold winters with considerable snowfall. We visit from May to September, when temperatures will be generally warm (25-30ºC), however these temperatures will be a little cooler in the mountains. It is here that we are right in the middle of the Central Dinaric Alps, a rough and unpredictable place where Mediterranean and Continental Alpine Climates vie for supremacy. The result is an extremely unstable climate even in summer. Rain can fall at any time of the year, although in mid-summer it is more likely to come as short, sharp thunderstorms.

Kotor

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road- Activity level 4 (Moderate/challenging)

6 days cycling, average 50km (30 miles) per day, 100% vehicle support.

The terrain and route will be mainly on quiet regional and village asphalt roads with some sections on gravel. The more remote roads are often not maintained as well as those nearer towns, so on these we may encounter a few pot holes and less than perfect surfaces. We also use a few gravel roads around the smaller villages. The ride is mostly undulating with two long climbs (up to 1000m) and fast descents with stunning views of the Adriatic and the regions’ karst mountains. Previous cycling experience is advisable and a good level of overall fitness is essential.

Accommodation

Hotel & Lodge

Accommodation in this region varies as much as the landscape, however we have selected well-run hotels offering good locations, comfortable rooms and a warm welcome. All rooms have private facilities and some offer free Wi-Fi. Most nights are in locally rated 3-star hotels, and 1 night is in a new mountain lodge on Lovcen Mountain.

Single supplements are available on request.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2016
    Jonathan Lehrle

    Cycling Bosnia & Montenegro

    Potentially a brilliant trip, but needs some fine tuning. The Day Plans need reviewing - e.g Day 4 we did the beautiful ferry ride to the village of Rose, then headed up a pretty wicked incline but were stopped after 4km's for a +2hr olive grove tour! We then had to cycle on until gone 5pm in the rain to the outskirts of Kotor...there must be another olive grove...everybody complained about the early location of the stop. Equally Day 5 has that excellently sadistic 29 switchback climb up to Lovcen National Park...awesome..but why stop at the isolated alpine-style hotel, we were there by 3pm and were all bored senseless...made even worse by the relatively short ride the next morning to the historically fascinating (and with a much better supply of restaurants) town of Cetinje. We all agreed that we should have overnighted there rather than in the blasted hills. So, yes, a really good trip but the route needs some tweaking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Conquering the 29 switchbacks...and then being almost beside myself at the next 5kms up into the Park itself...nobody warned us that the last leg was going to be the death of us all...I hate hills so for me that was the 'big day' of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sabrina was OK. She is a bit health and safety conscious...tried to be a bit too controlling but to be fair she did lighten up as the trip went on...so much so that she started singing to us! She'll win no Eurovision song contest but it was different. Her life would have been made a lot easier with decent support. She was badly let down by her support crew...her No.2 was supposed to be in training to be a tour guide, all I can say if God help future Exodus tours! The driver seemed to be on some strict Trade Union laws..he only drove, we had to unload bags on several occasions, whilst he stood there and watched us. The bicycles provided need attention...of all the trips I have done (+/-9) they were by far the worst.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The grappa cures all aches & pains and the Montenegrin wine gets better the more you drink!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Quite a few people on our trip had done the tour the week before (Split to Dubrovnik?)...why not combine the two?
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Victoria Loxley

    Cycling in Boasnia Herzegovenia and Montenegro

    This is a trip of endless views round every mountainous corner - beautiful country, wine, food and people. Loved Mostar and Dubrovnik - and well worth going early for a Dubrovnik city break pre bike tour - thankfully organised by Exodus. The cycling is great and the climbs are long - but it's worth it for the descents. Truly great holiday and helped massively by such great guides, especially the lovely Sabina.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the big mountain climb after a personal health battle 2 months earlier. It felt amazing, amd then we were chased by a big storm and were back at the hotel for a beer before the worst!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was awesome.....so fabulous to meet Sabina.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do Dubrovnik. Do some hill training. Love wine!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Put this on your list of destinations to discover.
  • Reviewed August 2016
    Hazel Bennett

    Cycling in Bosnia and Montenegro

    This trip was graded as moderate/challenging and that was spot on! Apart from the first day, every day involved hill climbs and some steep descents. The scenery was magnificent and was ever changing. No one day was the same and my breath was taken away at every twist and turn in the road. Some of the off road section are not for the feint hearted but are easily negotiable with care. Cycling was a fantastic way to see these fabulous countries. A mix of culture was added to the pot through local cuisine and wine tasting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day was different and had its own beauty. However, the final descent into Mostar will never be forgotten. I could not take enough photos on that section. It was absolutely breathtaking! As a personal challenge, the hill climb and 29 hairpins up to the mountains to reach Lovcen National Park was an inspiration to us all. The group had bonded so well and everyone supported each other on this tough section.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader, Sabina, was amazing. Her local knowledge and her ability to be in tune with the needs of the whole group, made the trip sensational. Sabina could not do enough for us and her choice of local restaurants was fantastic and we got good value for money. We also had a young, trainee guide with us who had a great sense of humour and was very helpful. Our support vehicle driver, Laurenc, was amazing. He was articulate and eloquent and it was good to hear about the history of these countries from all three.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dubrovnik is much more expensive than the other countries, especially in the Old Town where prices are hiked. You can get Bosnian currency from ATMs once you arrive there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A really memorable trip for me and one of the best groups I have been with.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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