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Duration
14 days
Activities
  • guided cycle
Accommodation
Meals
  • 1 Dinner
  • 8 Lunches
  • 14 Breakfasts

Price

$1999USD

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Overview

Trip Code: MMC

Trip highlights


  • beginning in the UNESCO listed town of Ohrid on the lake of the same name
  • cycling across borders from Ohrid through to the magnificent monastery topped pinnacles of Meteora
  • enjoying the cameraderie of your group and guide
  • experiencing the local cuisine and wine tasting in Agios Panteleimon

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 marveling 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.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Arrive at the first hotel in Ohrid, your base for the next 2 days. The remainder of the day is at leisure to visit the bazaar in the center which is within walking distance or a boat trip on one of the oldest lakes of the world : lake Ohrid. A must see is the old town of Ohrid, a true open air museum with beautiful ancient churches, such as the magnificent Sveti Jovan Kaneo, built on an overhanging cliff above the lake, and Sveti Clement at Plaosnik with its frescoes and icons. At the top of the hill above the town you will find find the remains of the medieval castle of the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, which was built around 1018. From the castle you have a magnificent view of Ohrid and the lake. Since 1980, Lake Ohrid has been listed with UNESCO and is partly located in Albania. This unique lake is at an altitude of approximately 700 meters, wedged between the mountains Petrino and Galicica. Dinner is at leisure.

Meals:  B

Our first day includes a guided city tour in the morning with some leisure time in the afternoon. At the end of the day there will be time to check and test the rental bikes. A 5 pm briefing will be held on the terrace of the hotel.

Meals:  B

We begin the cycling trip by heading north through the valley which is best known for its fertile soil and many orchards. Cherries, apricots, grapes, apples and a lot of plums. These plums are mainly used for the production of the national alcoholic drink: Rakia. Narrow roads, rural landscapes and sleepy farming villages characterise this area. We cycle alongside an old volcano and continue along the east banks of the Ohrid lake to the bay of Bones: a reconstruction of an ancient village on the lake, dated back to over 6000 years ago. After passing Trpeja, a small village situated directly along the lake we continue to the 700 year old monastery of Sveti Naum. The monastery is situated next to the lake near the Albanian border. Overnight in Sveti Naum.

Meals:  B,L

Today we cycle from lake Ohrid to lake Prespa through the Galicica National Park. The lakes are separated by the Galicica mountain. It starts with a long (14km) gradual climb to an altitude of 1550 meters with stunning views at every turn. After a long descent we finish cycling at Prespa lake. The hotel is located directly on the Prespa lake which is known for its birdlife. Our historic hotel was built in the 1950’s by political prisoners of the old socialistic system.

Meals:  B,L,D

We recommend you wake up early in the morning to spot pelicans and other birds at the lake. Following breakfast, the cycle continues along the lake past orchards to the old town of Resen. After Resen, a gradual climb starts on a partly cobblestone road to reach the pass at 1200 meters. The descent takes us through the countryside with ancient and forgotten villages. Bitola is a vibrant historical city with a long history and previously known as the trading center of the Balkans. The Ottoman domination of the past can still be seen in the streets: Ottoman architecture, the cobblestones in the street and the bazaar of Bitola. Ataturk, founder of the modern republic of Turkey is a prominent figure in the museum, situated in the centre of the town. He studied at the military academy and is the most famous student of the city. Bitola is also situated at the foothills of the Pelister National Parc, known for its abundance of endemic flora and fauna.

Meals:  B,L

Today we cross the border with Greece. Florina is the capital of the Florina prefecture and is situated at an altitude of 700m along the river Sakoulevas, surrounded by forests and mountains. This town really got a boost after the construction of the railway to Thessaloniki in 1893. The long version of todays route makes a loop through unspoiled nature with a steep climb. You will reach the summit at an altitude of 1300 meters, with a descent of 600 meters over 10 km. After a beautiful descent through the valley, you reach Florina.

Meals:  B,L

Today you will cycle north towards a cluster of lakes, with the largest one: Vegoritida lake .The lakes are interconnected with each other through a variety of channels and tunnels. The Vegoritida lake is a haven for rare birds and is a protected area. The first 25 km are almost flat through a wide valley with farmland and small villages. After that the road gradually starts ascending to an altitude of 950 meters. The last part of the ride is along the lake to Agios Panteleimon, in time for a refreshing dip in the pool with a stunning view over the Vegoritida Lake. Later we will visit the Alpha Estates, one of the best wineries in the country for a wine tasting.

Meals:  B,L

Today the cycle takes us southwest for one of the longest rides of the trip, past vineyards and the village of Amindeo. We take a break for a refreshing ice coffee before we cycle along Chimaditida Lake, with lots of birds species. After a long climb of over 10 km with an altitude difference of approximately 500 meters, you reach the top. Stunning views over the valley with lake Kastoria on the horizon. After a long and smooth descent you will reach the ancient town of Kastoria. Our hotel for the next 2 days is situated near the lake.

Meals:  B,L

Kastoria is a delightful old town with lots of things to see. It lies partly on a peninsula surrounded by a large lake which is surrounded by plane trees. During the optional bike trip across the peninsula, you will pass the caves of the "dragon" (tou Spileo Drakou). This 300m deep cave with several lakes, is a key attraction. Remnants of bears that lived here 10,000 years ago were found in the cave. Kastoria is home to many beautiful mansions and Byzantine monuments. You can see clearly the massive wealth this city once amassed. Trade in beaver furs led to a huge economic boom period of the 17th to the 19th century. On the promenade along the water, you will find terraces and restaurants.

Meals:  B

We leave Kastoria behind and cycle south to arrive after about 20 km at the ancient town of Argos Orestiko with its narrow streets, squares and neoclassical buildings. Like Kastoria, there is clear evidence this town had great prosperity in the past centuries by trade in furs and carpets. The special composition of the soil in this area is ideal for the cultivation of crops, such as lentils and beans. After about 25 km the landscape becomes hillier and the route continues through one of the most important natural areas of Greece. In the higher mountains, wolves and brown bears have been observed. The route continues through an undulating landscape along streams and villages with several short climbs before reaching the provincial town of Grevena, located on the banks of the river Doxaniti Greveniti. This lively city with numerous bistros and restaurants played an important strategic role during the ancient Byzantine period and was also known as the trade center in the region.

Meals:  B,L

After leaving Grevena you are immediately riding through a vast natural landscape with stunning views and often circling birds of prey in the distance. After 10 km the road gradually rises for the next 15 km. You will reach the summit of the climb, followed by a long descent to the valley, with the river Pinios. Soon after you arrive at your final cycle destination in an amazing landscape: Meteora. This truly stunning area is characterised by the monasteries built on high rocky pillars. Once this plain of Thessaly was an inland sea and the rocks were formed over millions of years by wind and water erosion. The overnight location for the next two days is literally next to the rock formations and waking up to this view is a feast for the eyes!

Meals:  B,L

Enjoy your last optional bike ride with a beautiful cycle along a high road amongst these gigantic limestone rock formations with the impressive monasteries precariously built on top. They began building these monasteries in the 11th century, using ropes and ladders for lifting up the building materials. At present, there are six monasteries that are all on display and are true works of art. The second part of this ride goes through the wide river valley with beautiful views of Meteora. This area is also a perfect location for hiking trips.

Meals:  B

After breakfast we transfer by private bus in about 2,5 hours to the second city of Greece, Thessaloniki. The city is named after the sister of Alexander the Great. This city has something for everyone: culture, history, architecture, and last but not least, good food and drinks! In Thessaloniki there are many historical monuments. In order to explore the city properly it is best to start at the White Tower, standing near the harbour. This tower was built in the 15th century on the spot where the Byzantines had already built a castle in the 12th century. The building has had several functions including as a prison for serious offenders. Near the White Tower stands the statue of Alexander the Great on his horse. From the White Tower you can walk west on the boulevard, to see a lot of ouzeri, cafeterias and restaurants, and then Aristotelous Square. Slightly further westwards you will find Ladadika. This used to be a trading place in olive oil. Today, this neighborhood is where you will find many traditional restaurants. The old buildings have been renovated in the original old style.

Meals:  B

Following breakfast at the hotel, the trip concludes.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 13 breakfasts - continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices
  • 8 packed lunches
  • 1 dinner
  • 13 nights accommodation in 2-4 star hotels on a twinshare basis with private facilities
  • Two person crew including English speaking guide and the driver of the support vehicle
  • Rental bike with helmet and pannier - ebikes available, supplement applies
  • Transfer to Thessaloniki on day 13
  • coffee, snacks and refreshments during the cycle days
  • wine tasting on day 7

  • Travel to Ohrid and from Thessaloniki
  • lunch on non cycle days, dinners (except day 4) and beverages
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees and guided tours of monasteries and monuments enroute
  • Travel insurance
  • airport transfers

Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  

MODERATE TO CHALLENGING – GRADE 4 The cycling distances range from 40 to 80km / 25 to 50mi over undulating to mountainous terrain. All routes are on tarmac roads with not much traffic. On most rides there will be some hills to conquer and sometimes a long climb with an maximum gradient of 8% Maximum altitude difference during a climb will be 600 meters. The two hardest stages are before and after the rest day in Kastoria with around 80 km and lots of hills to conquer. But most daily rides don’t exceed 50- 60 km. It is considered suitable for cyclists with a good to excellent level of fitness, or somewhat less if you plan to book an e-bike. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with road cycling in light traffic in order to participate comfortably. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets are worn whilst cycling.


Departure dates


Notes

DN1
Transfer available on day 1 from Skopje to Ohrid - supplement applies.
DN2
Trip grading is relaxed if e-bike option taken

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1999USD

Options & Supplements*
    *Prices listed are per person

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