Cycling in the Balkan Mountains of Bulgaria
5 Balkans 'Must Do' Cycling Tours
Are you curious to explore some of the hidden gems of south eastern Europe by bike? You should be, as it's a region full of fascinating culture, incredible landscapes, warm and inviting locals and - if you haven't yet been to this part of the world - a truly eye-opening experience.
Take a look at 5 of our favourite cycling tours in the Balkans, including bike trips in Croatia, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Greece and Albania. Which cycle holiday will you choose?
1. North Macedonia & Greece: Macedonia to Meteora Cycle
Equally challenging and rewarding, this two-week cycling tour delves deep into an area rich in both culture and history – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (now North Macedonia) and the district of Macedonia in northern Greece. Encounter little traffic as you marvel at the unspoiled nature and the crystal clear lakes of Ohrid and Prespa, near the foothills of the Pelister National Park and the historical city of Bitola.
Once in Greece, you will explore the lesser known cities of Kastoria and Grevena, pedal through quaint countryside and sleepy villages, before reaching one of the most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. Translated as “suspended in the air”, monks first settled on the top of the virtually inaccessible peaks of Meteora in the 11th century.
2. Croatia: National Parks of North Dalmatia Bike & Boat Tour
Discover a nature lover’s paradise as you cruise on northern Dalmatia’s crystal clear waters. Anchor in quiet ports and find unspoiled nature at the famous national parks of Krka and Kornati, visit Croatia’s ‘Long Island’, Dugi Otok, take in beautiful views from the cliffs in Telascica Bay and wander around the medieval towns of Sibenik, Zadar and Trogir. For more flexibility, each day you can decide whether you would like to explore independently or join the tour guides.
3. Montenegro, Croatia & Albania: Croatia to Albania Coastal Cycle Tour
Cycle the glittering coastline of the Adriatic Sea on this wonderful gem-filled journey in the Balkans. Start in Croatia's famous walled city of Dubrovnik, where you feel the Middle Ages at every turn of the stone fortress. Pass through the golden Konavle Valley before crossing the border into Montenegro, a nation defined by its rugged mountains and dazzling beaches. Take the back roads through Montenegro's ancient olive groves before entering Albania and discovering another Balkan lifestyle. Enjoy Albanian hospitality as you dine on local foods and work it off by pedalling along the mighty Drin River. This is truly a wonderful gem-filled cycling journey in the Balkans.
4. Italy, Croatia & Slovenia: Ancient Venetian Empire by Bike
Explore three countries in one week on a cycling journey that offers the perfect combination of historic towns and seaside landscapes. From the canal city of Venice, pass peaceful fishing villages and grand palaces on your way to the little-visited plain of Friuli in northeastern Italy. With two border crossings to cycle through (Slovenia and Croatia), the journey ends in the Adriatic town of Porec, known for its Euphrasian Basilica, one of Europe’s finest intact examples of Byzantine art.
5. Slovenia: Cycle Slovenia and the Parenzana Trail
Slovenia encompasses a wealth of stunning natural features from the high peaks of the Julian Alps to the incredible limestone caves, mountain lakes and traditional countryside. This cycle journey has been carefully designed to take in all of these highlights and then continue along an old disused railway line now catering to cyclists and walkers, the Parenza Rail Trail, from Trieste in Italy to Porec in Croatia.
From the delightful lakeside town of Bled, the cycle route takes you around the Julian Alps before swapping pedals for paddles with a white water rafting experience on the vivid blue waters of the Soca River. In the Karst region visit the massive Skocjan Caves with its impressive underground gorge and fascinating landscapes before cycling to Trieste and the start of the Parenzana (derived from Parenzo, the Italian name for Porec) which will take you past olive groves and vineyards on your way to the ancient Roman town of Porec on the stunning Croatian coast. Along the way there is time to appreciate the unique culture and culinary delights in every country you visit.
Have you been to any of these Balkan countries? How did you find them? Let us know in the comment section below.