• Group size

    min 4 – max 18 persons

  • Difficulty grade

    Hard

  • Departure dates 2023

    08 July – 15 July

    30 Sept. – 07 October

From 1,599 

Great Montenegro and Albania cycling tour

Overview

Cycling holidays in Montenegro promise blissful pedalling through breathtaking natural landscapes while taking in the wonders of the region. The magic of Montenegro is its combination of the glamour of the Italian lakes, the style of the Croatian coast and the remote beauty of the Pyrenees.

Our seven-night guided road cycling tour explores the Adriatic coast with nights in the popular coastal town of Kotor, before heading to the exceptional Skadar Lake national park and remote Durmitor national park for some quiet and spectacular riding in the mountains.

It all starts with a climb along the legendary Serpentine Road which is located above Kotor. You’ll have the chance to ride to one of Lovcen’s summits from where you will admire unparalleled views over the Bay of Kotor. On your way to Lake Skadar – the largest lake in southern Europe – you will pass lush green hills breached by a horseshoe bend, the only feature of the lake in all of Europe. The Albanian Alps can be seen as you pass chestnut groves and local fishermen’s villages. The route continues to Ulcinj – one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast – then onto Albania from there. Continuing into Albania you soon reach the city of Shkoder (Skadar), one of the oldest in Europe with its ancient Rozafa Fortress. Biking through the Albanian mountains is a journey back in time – and probably the last adventure in modern Europe. Hospitality is excellent, traditional villages are impressive, and the surrounding scenery is breathtaking. We cycle along wild, narrow roads through remote valleys, past mysterious hamlets and over lonely passes. The terrain is majestically mountainous, so expect some challenging rides, such as the legendary descent on the Albanian Stelvio. Cycle along the Tara River into Europe’s longest and deepest canyon, where the rock walls come closer and closer to finally reveal the river. Your journey through Durmitor National Park gives you the opportunity to see the spectacular mountain range and its dramatic peaks. Still intact, this Montenegrin wonder shelters bears, wolves, and chamois. Besides the picturesque Alpine scenery, the roads in this area are quiet and tranquil. On this trip, there is a lot to see along the way!

Having cycled through two countries and conquered numerous challenging and iconic climbs, you will return home with bragging rights!

Note

Kotor Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Day 1 – Arrival at Tivat Airport (TIV). Welcome to Montenegro! (Non Riding Day)

Welcome to your adventure! Upon arrival at Tivat Airport (TIV), our representative will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall to guide you to your transfer vehicle. We will assist you with your luggage and then transfer you from Tivat airport to Kotor (15 minutes drive time). Upon arrival at a 3-star hotel in Kotor, you will be able to drop off your luggage and enjoy refreshments before embarking on a 1-hour walking tour of the Old Town, where you will learn all about the amazing history of this ancient city, which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The medieval walled town of Kotor is indisputably the jewel in the crown of the coast, tucked into a small triangular wedge at the end of a long, narrow bay. Kotor retains its authentic charm despite being a major tourist attraction. It is one of the best-preserved medieval old towns along the Adriatic coast, with architecture distinctly Venetian. Your local guide will share some of the most fascinating stories and facts about the long and rich history of the city with you. There are many restaurants in the Old Town where you can choose a restaurant and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine, such as seafood or bluefish, at lunchtime. You will have some time on your hands. A trip briefing will be held at the welcome dinner.

We will be staying at a 3-star hotel in Kotor for the night.

Day 2 – Kotor – Cetinje, Mount Lovcen and Boka Bay

There is no better way to discover the highlights of Kotor Bay and its natural beauty than by bike. Your adventure starts. A circular route takes you to some of the most interesting places in the bay. See fishing villages, small islands with churches, old palaces, beaches and beautiful nature. Afterwards, the ride continues with an ascent up Mount Lovcen, a famous Austro-Hungarian Kotor serpentine road with gorgeous views of Kotor Bay. Consisting of 25 hairpins within its 25 km of cycling, this is a climb that provides scenic views of the bay throughout the duration of the climb. The road flattens out after 25 switchbacks, and you may wish to detour to Njeguši village to refuel if necessary. It is likely to be a challenging hill climb at the beginning of the trip, so if anyone needs assistance, an escorted minivan is available. From this halfway point, you will double back to finish the climb. The mausoleum of Petar II Petrović Njegoš, who was a ruler, poet, and philosopher of Montenegro, is situated at the very top of the climb on Jezerski vrh (Jezerski peak). As the world’s highest mausoleum, the mausoleum is one of the most impressive and mysterious destinations in Montenegro. The view of the Bay of Kotor, Skadar Lake, the high mountains in the northern part of Montenegro, and even Albania will amaze you. Afterwards, there is a 20 km scenic descent through the national park to Cetinje. This is the lovely old town which was the capital of Montenegro from the 15th century until 1918. Known as the ‘Museum Town of Montenegro’, this city is a worthwhile place to learn about the turbulent Montenegrin history and culture. In Cetinje, you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel.

Cycling 101 km ↑2140 m ↓1490 m

Note

Kotor – The Serpentine Road

Note

Skadar Lake

Day 3 – Cetinje – Rijeka Crnojevića – Virpazar and Lake Skadar – Ulcinj

Upon leaving Cetinje you will ride to Rijeka Crnojevića. This is a small village situated on the same river, where the first Cyrillic book among the South Slavic nations was printed in 1494 entitled “Oktoih prvoglasnik”. It’s the perfect place to pause when cycling between Cetinje and Virpazar (50km), with a picturesque bridge and riverside cafes. We continue our ride along an old road toward Virpazar, a small town on the shore of Lake Skadar. We have a beautiful cycling route to the biggest lake in the Balkans, Lake Skadar, one of Europe’s premier bird-watching sites. If you’re lucky you may catch a glimpse of one of Europe’s last remaining pelicans. A very rich and diverse living world exists here, both beneath and above the surface of the water (22 species of fish, 279 species of birds), as well as human settlements on the shores. We also ride through Crmnica, the most valuable wine region in Montenegro. Afterwards, we cycle along the shoreline of Lake Skadar. We have views of monastery islands, fishing villages, and chestnut groves, and all the time, you have gorgeous views of the lake and the Albanian Alps. A final descent takes you to the city of Ulcinj, one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast, dating from the 5th century BC. There is proof that the ancient Greeks and the Illyrians built the impressive fortified old town overlooking the Adriatic centuries ago. An overnight stay in a 3-star hotel is provided in Ulcinj.

Cycling 117 km ↑2010 m ↓2650 m

Day 4 – Ulcinj (MNE) – Skadar (AL) – Tamare (AL) – Podgorica (MNE)

From Montenegro, you will cross into Albania today. The Ulcinj – Shkodra road leads to the Albanian border through a vast valley. Apart from its cross-border connectivity with Montenegro, Shkodra is the gateway to the Albanian Alps. As you enter Shkodra, you pass the ruins of the Rozafa fortress, which is the main attraction. This fortress dates back to the Illyrian period around the 4th century B.C. A steep climb up the castle rewards you with fabulous views over Lake Shkodra to Montenegro and even out to the Adriatic sea. As you ride above Lake Shkodra, you’ll pass vineyards, and villages, and, ever so often, you’ll see the lake and the dramatic Albanian Alps.

From Hani Hotit, you ascend a zigzag road to reach Rrapsh. Our next stop is Leqet e Hotit, a mountain pass at an altitude of 702 meters, where we descend to Tamare. As you descend the Albanian Stelvio (with its steep gradient averaging 7%) you will witness the beauty of the Cemi River flowing through this breathtaking gorge. It’s time to take pictures! It is difficult to think of a better place to enjoy the taste of the trout fish that grows in the Cem River than Tamare. On the way back, we will take a deep canyon road with epic views along the Montenegrin border. Additionally, we are virtually alone, with only a few adventure motorcyclists passing through from time to time. Arrival and overnight stay in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro.

Cycling 139 km ↑1730 m ↓1710 m

Note

Albanian Stelvio

Note

Durmitor national park

Day 5 – Kolašin – Žabljak

We begin the day with a 40-minute transfer to Kolašin. Kolašin is a true oasis of peace and rest, an air bath 980 m above sea level. Mount Bjelasica makes the Kolašin region particularly attractive with its forests, the virgin forest of the Biogradska Gora National Park, rivers, and lakes, the most notable of which are Biogradsko and Pešića lakes. Kolašin with its scenery, lavish flora and fauna, is growing into the main tourist centre of the northern part of Montenegro.

The majority of this day will be spent riding along the Tara River, the longest river in Montenegro (144 km). It has an impressive canyon, which is 78 km long and 1,300 m deep, the world’s second deepest after the Grand Canyon of Colorado. The Tara River Canyon is a jewel of nature, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Durmitor National Park includes part of the canyon. Just before we leave Tara Canyon and head to our destination for a day, we will have a short break at Tara Bridge for a stunning view. Tara Bridge is one of the most visited attractions in Montenegro. At the time it was built, this bridge which stands 172 meters above the Tara River, was the biggest vehicular concrete arch bridge in Europe. Here the road forks and we keep left and up for Žabljak. A small resort town on the eastern fringes of Durmitor National Park, Žabljak serves as the main springboard for winter skiing in the nearby mountains, as well as providing the ideal base for walks and climbs during the summer. Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Žabljak.

Cycling 98 km ↑2120 m ↓1620 m

Day 6 – The Durmitor Ring – a panoramic tour around the mountain

The Durmitor Ring cycling tour is one of the most popular cycling tours in Montenegro. The tour takes you on some of the most scenic routes in Durmitor National Park. A scenic loop around Mount Durmitor begins and ends at Žabljak. We will pass a small hamlet of Bosača on the way up, and on our left can be seen the Durmitor mountain range. In the next few kilometres, we will continue our ascent to the Štuoc Pass, the highest point along the Durmitor Ring with 1,952 meters of elevation. Then, we pass by the village of Mala Crna Gora (in translation: Little Montenegro), which is located on the edge of the Sušica Canyon. There’s another magnificent viewpoint 300 meters above the canyon we’ll stop at. Ascending a steep switchback road on the other side of the canyon, we reached Nedajno village. You may also see eagles on thermals circling above you while taking photos of the canyon. On half of the route, the small village of Trsa (1450 m) is an ideal location for lunch. Within a short distance, you reach the village of Pišče and the view stretches over the wide landscape to the horizon. Traditionally, sheep farming has been and continues to be an important part of the village’s economy. The village is particularly famous for its sheep’s cheese and kajmak. As the road climbs steeply uphill, the view opens over a sea of rocks until, finally, you reach the Todorov Do valley at an elevation of 1,800 meters. At the end of the valley, the peak of Prutaš (2,393 m) rises. This area is particularly notable for its rock formations. We then ride ahead to the “Saddle of the Gods” peak (2,227 metres). It rises from lush green meadows that are full of flocks of sheep during the summer months. Then we reach Sedlo pass, a 1,907-metre high pass crossed by the Panoramic road. From Sedlo, the road descends again. It passes the small picturesque lakes of the valley. The last part of the route leads along the main road from Šavnik to Žabljak and, once again, offers a magnificent view of the Durmitor Mountains. Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Žabljak.

Cycling 80 km ↑1930 m ↓1930 m

Note

Durmitor massif

Note

Durmitor NP

Day 7 – Žabljak – Podgorica

From Žabljak we cycle a route through picturesque local villages. On the plateau of Jezera, you will find Devil’s Lake – a beautiful turquoise lake. Fish Lake, its twin brother, is located less than one kilometre away. On the other side of the road are intriguing carved stone tomb monuments (stećci) dating from the 12th through 16th centuries (added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2016). In the direction of the small village of Boan, the road leads along the rim of the Bukovica Canyon and offers several picturesque viewpoints. During the descent towards Šavnik, we will be able to enjoy a scenic view of the town. After passing the town, we will have a steep section uphill. Then, we will join the old asphalt road that crosses the Krnovo plateau, where the first wind farm in Montenegro is located. Through the remoteness and greatness of Krnovo, we sneak along a road that is mostly solid, but sometimes less so. There are sections of the road where we will sail along a green band as we pass through open expanses. Then we descend toward Nikšić, the second-largest Montenegrin town, the town of „beer and steel“. You should definitely try the local beer Nikšičko. Leaving Nikšić, we ride to the village of Bogetići. We will then ride on a narrow mountain road to the Monastery of Ostrog. This monastery, dedicated to Saint Basil of Ostrog, was built in the 17th century and is cut dramatically into a cliff face that rises 900 meters above sea level. The Upper monastery of Ostrog gives you the feeling of standing on a balcony overlooking all of Montenegro. We will then pedal downhill on a good asphalt road to the small town of Danilovgrad. We will take the old Danilovgrad – Podgorica road, and ride further northwest through lush vegetation and along the nearby Zeta River. Overnight in a 3-star hotel in Podgorica.

Cycling 152 km ↑1970 m ↓3370 m

Day 8 – Departure

Following breakfast, transfer to Tivat Airport (TIV) (85 km, approximately 1:30 hours drive). This concludes the tour.

Thank you for joining us on this adventure! We hope you had a memorable time and hope it’s not your last visit to the country of warm hospitality, countless mountains and exceptional nature!

Note

Montenegro mountains