With a local guide and a small group of like-minded travellers, a journey in the Balkans will fascinate and inspire. Continue reading to learn more about the many gems to discover, captivating cultures, and hearty cuisines to experience in the Balkans.
1. Peloponnese and Saronic Islands Bike & Sail in Greece
The magnetic attraction of travelling in Greece is particularly compelling in the Peloponnese region. With its sandy beaches, turquoise waters, an incredible history spanning over 5000 years and classic Greek islands, it's a region that's ideal for exploring by bike and boat.
Based aboard a beautifully decked out Turkish gulet, enjoy sailing between ports with swim stops en route before hopping on your bike to experience the essence of this fascinating region. Discover ancient sites such as Mycenae, home to Cyclopean Walls, the Treasury of the Atreus and the Lion Gate and the volcanic peninsula of Methana. In the Saronic Gulf, explore enchanting towns with their distinct character, including the pistachio island of Aegina where the Temple of Aphaia sits high above the blue sea.
Combined with impressive views as you cycle and sail your way around the peninsula and the delectable cuisine served on board or at a nearby taverna, this is a superb way to experience one of Greece's most interesting regions!
2. Via Dinarica Hike: Bosnia to Montenegro
This Balkan trip will satisfy those who want an idyllic walking experience that's still largely untamed and undiscovered! Explore one of the original and most breathtaking stretches of the Via Dinarica, a long-distance mountainous walking trail spanning seven Balkan countries, on a route that crosses borders through Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia to Durmitor National Park in Montenegro (also a UNESCO World Heritage site).
See mesmerising natural sights along the way, the heart-shaped Trnovacko glacial lake, the turquoise waters of Rakitnica Canyon, and the rocky panoramas of Bosnia's highest peak, Maglic. These are highlights in an already glorious landscape woven with primeval forests and cosy mountain villages, such as in Lukomir, whose inhabitants continue to live a traditional way of life. Finish your journey in charming Sarajevo and witness the fusion of west and east European culture.
3. Macedonia to Meteora Guided Cycle
North Macedonia and the district of Macedonia in northern Greece are ideal to explore by bike. Our carefully chosen route is equally challenging and rewarding, allowing you to discover an area rich in both culture and history. You'll cycle along fantastic tarmac roads with little traffic, while marvelling at the unspoiled nature and meeting friendly people at every stop.
In North Macedonia, take in the beautiful crystal clear lakes of Ohrid and Prespa near the foothills of the Pelister National Park and the historical city of Bitola which during the Ottoman domination was a prominent Balkan commercial city. Once in Greece you'll pass through Agios Panteleimon, a historic and world class wine region, before arriving in Meteora. The giant pinnacles of Meteora topped with ancient monasteries are one of the most extraordinary rock formations in the world and also a highlight of this cycling holiday.
4. Croatia Coast & Canyons Walk
Northern Croatia offers some of the most undiscovered and dramatic walking landscapes in Europe. The interior and coastline between Zagreb and Split is an area rich in charming medieval towns and villages, breathtaking national parks, cascading waterfalls and spectacular mountains. With your expert local guide, you will discover the best national parks of Croatia, including the renowned Plitvice and Krka with their superb lakes and waterfalls, as well as the must-visit cities of Zagreb, Zadar and Split.
This tour also takes in the dramatic Velebit Mountains before heading to Paklenica National Park with its rugged peaks that overlook the islands of Pag and Rab. The trip ends on the stunning Adriatic Coast, with time to indulge in the beauty of the harbours, elegant promenades and seaside cafes. This guided walk is the perfect way to experience a totally different side to one of Europe's most visually beautiful destinations.
5. Kvarner Bay Bike & Sail in Croatia
Countless islands in crystal clear water, deeply fissured cliffs, picturesque beaches and numerous small bays are the typical features of Croatia's stunning Kvarner Bay in the northern Adriatic. Spend a week discovering the landscape and people of this unique island world by bike, independently and with the aid of knowledgeable tour guides. Based on a comfortable motor yacht, our floating accommodation, discover the charm of the Adriatic.
Cycle off after a hearty breakfast and meet the boat at a harbour for lunch. In the evening the boat will be waiting in the next harbour, allowing you to enjoy fantastic cuisine as the sun sets, followed by a stroll through a historic harbour town. Flexibility is the key to this holiday, with the option to take a day off cycling and spend time on board, swimming or wandering through the alleyways of pretty port towns.
6. High Trails of the Balkans: Hike Albania, Montenegro & Kosovo
Through a series of challenging walks, take in sweeping views from the Jelenak pass and cross between valleys as you walk between three countries. Experience the warm hospitality of the locals and gain a unique insight into their fascinating mountain culture, staying in guesthouses and enjoying farmhouse lunches and refreshment stops.
Walk in the footsteps of the early British traveller Edith Durham, author of 'High Albania' on a section through the Theth Valley, visit the highest waterfall in Albania and spend time exploring Shkodra with its impressive view of Lake Skadar, the largest lake of the Balkan Peninsula. In Montenegro, visit Cetinje, the old royal capital and walk to the Bay of Kotor, one of the most impressive bays in the Balkans. This is an ideal holiday for those seeking a challenging walking and cultural immersion experience, in the company of a like-minded group and an expert mountain guide.
7. Bulgarian Mountains Cycle
The Balkan Mountains are famous for lush green valleys, sheer cliffs and gentle rolling hills with sheep grazing peacefully in their pastures. Starting from the tiny village of Goliam Izvor there is enormous opportunity for unique cycling. Passing through the Central Balkan National Park, the narrow roads meander through valleys, forests and quaint villages that have not changed for centuries.
Wooden carts pulled by horse or donkey are the norm and farmers still make hay with a pitchfork. Along the route you will visit several of the country's most significant and historic Orthodox monasteries. Many churches with ancient icons and colourful murals are scattered throughout the region. The final cycling stage ends in Veliko Tarnovo - one of the most charming Balkan towns and the former Bulgarian capital.
8. Poland: Carpathian Mountains Guided Walk
Joining in Krakow, a new walk in Poland’s stunning Tatra and Pieniny mountain ranges in the West Carpathians. Learn about the region’s highland traditions, reach picturesque viewpoints and enjoy panoramic vistas of the forest topped Pieniny Mountains and lush valleys. Keep your eyes peeled to spot active wildlife: foxes, lynxes, wolves and bears still live in this well-preserved and protected region!
This is an ideal holiday if you like to be surrounded by remote and rugged mountain ranges. On this small group trip in Poland, we combine the best of both the Pieniny and Carpathian mountains while also including some of the most interesting cultural traditions of Poland. Besides Krakow, we'll visit Zakopane, the castle of Niedzica and Debno wooden church. Stay in charming mountain huts and pensions brimming with warm hospitality.
9. Dalmatian Coast & Dubrovnik Guided Bike & Sail
George Bernard Shaw famously said that 'those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik', also describing it as 'the pearl of the Adriatic'. With its impressive old town and dominating position on the Adriatic coast, the city is visually stunning and deserving of both Shaw's remarks and its UNESCO World Heritage status.
The trip begins in either Dubrovnik or Split on alternative weeks through the season. In Dubrovnik, there is time set aside to explore the narrow streets and lively town by foot, while the islands of southern Dalmatia, extending westerly into the Mediterranean, are best explored by bike and boat. Highlights include visiting the islands of Korcula and Mljet, swimming in secluded coves, discovering the UNESCO listed historic centre of Split and pedalling past small villages amongst lavender fields in Hvar.
With a comfortable motor yacht as your base, you will enjoy good food in the company of your fellow cyclists and experienced crew, with ample space on board to relax and absorb the views after each cycling day.
10. Bulgaria on Foot
Calling all keen walkers seeking an alternative mountain experience, in a country that simply teems with history and beautiful natural landscapes. The Balkans may be often overlooked as a holiday destination but, if you are looking for an active holiday off the tourist radar, Bulgaria is a welcoming place that combines natural beauty and rich culture with warm hospitality and friendly locals.
Head to the southwestern part of the country and you will find yourself surrounded by rugged peaks and deep valleys. The chain of Seven Rila glacial lakes (each is named according to its shape!) is the jewel of the Rila Mountains. Starting at 2,100m, the lakes are found at differing altitudes and appear like large footprints leading up the mountain. Keen to join a small group to explore the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria?