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Duration
13 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
Meals
  • 1 Dinner
  • 13 Breakfasts

Price

$2000USD

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Overview

Trip Code: MMT

Trip highlights


  • UNESCO listed town of Ohrid on the lake of the same name
  • Cycling across borders to the magnificent monastery-topped pinnacles of Meteora
  • Enjoying the hospitality of family run hotels
  • Experiencing the local cuisine and wine tasting in Agios Panteleimon

North Macedonia and the region 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. Dependent on your time of arrival, you can visit the bazaar in the centre or take a boat trip on one of the oldest lakes of the world: lake Ohrid. This unique lake is at an altitude of approximately 700m, wedged between the mountains Petrino and Galicica. 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 a 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 the town and lake. Since 1980, Lake Ohrid has been UNESCO listed and is partly located in Albania. Dinner is at leisure.

Meals:  B

The day is free to explore Ohrid. An arrival briefing will be held with our local representative. This may also take place in the evening of day 1, depending on your arrival time. You will receive your bike at this time and can adjust it to your needs.

Meals:  B

Today begins by cycling north through the valley which is known for its fertile soil and many orchards: cherries, apricots, grapes, apples and a lot of plums. The plums are mainly used for the production of the national spirit: Rakia. Narrow roads, country side and sleepy farming villages characterise the area. You will cycle alongside an old volcano and continue along the east banks of Ohrid lake to the bay of Bones: a reconstruction of an ancient village on the lake, dated to over 6000 years ago. After passing Trpeja, a small village situated directly along the lake, you will 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. Ascent: 360m, descent: 350m

Meals:  B

Today you will 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 1550m with stunning views at every turn. After a long descent you finish cycling at Prespa lake, which is known for its birdlife. The hotel, located on the Prespa lake shore, was built in the 1950’s by political prisoners of the old socialist regime. Dinner is included tonight. Ascent: 890m, descent: 740m

Meals:  B,D

We recommend waking up early this 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 1200m. The descent takes you through the countryside with ancient and forgotten villages. Your destination is Bitola, a vibrant city with a long history and previously known as the trading centre of the Balkans. The Ottoman domination of the past is still evident: Ottoman architecture, the cobblestones in the street and the bazaar. 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 city's most famous student. Bitola is also situated at the foothills of the Pelister National Park, known for its abundant endemic flora and fauna. Ascent: 480m, descent: 710m

Meals:  B

Today you cross the border into 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. Construction of the railway to Thessaloniki in 1893 gave the town an economic boost. Today you have a choice of two routes. The first 35km are the same for both, as you cycle on the lower slopes of the mountains of the Pelister National Park. The easier option continues in a southern direction and after 8km you reach Florina. The long route makes a 30km loop through unspoiled nature with a steep climb. You will reach the summit at an altitude of 1300m, with a descent of 600m over 10km. After a beautiful descent through the valley, you reach Florina. Ascent: 100m or 760m, descent: 120m or 780m

Meals:  B

Today you will cycle north towards a cluster of lakes, the largest of which is Vegoritida lake. The lakes are interconnected through a variety of channels and tunnels. The Vegoritida lake is a haven for rare birds and is a protected area. The first 25km are almost flat, through a wide valley with farmland and small villages. Then the road gradually ascends to an altitude of 950m. The last part of the ride is along the lake to Agios Panteleimon, in time for a refreshing and rewarding dip in the pool, with a stunning view over the Vegoritida lake. You can make an optional visit to the winery Alpha Estates, one of the best wineries in Greece. Ascent: 450m, descent: 565m

Meals:  B

The route to Kastoria is one of the longest rides of the trip. You cycle along vineyards to the pretty village of Amindeo, where you can take a break for a refreshing iced coffee before continuing along Chimaditida Lake, known as a haven for many birds species. An elevation gain of 500m over 10 km is challenging, but on reaching the top you will be rewarded with 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. Your hotel for the next 2 days is situated near the lake. Ascent: 820m, descent: 735m

Meals:  B

Kastoria is a nice delightful old town with lots to see. It lies partly on a peninsula surrounded by a large lake, which is circled by plane trees.During the bike trip across the peninsula, you will pass the cave 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, evidence of great wealth the city once amassed. Trade in beaver furs led to a huge economic boom period in the 17th to 19th centuries. On the waterfront promenade you will find terraces and restaurants.

Meals:  B

Leaving Kastoria behind, you cycle south to arrive after about 20km at the ancient town of Argos Orestiko, with its narrow streets, squares and neoclassical buildings. Like Kastoria, there is evidence of the town's past prosperity in trade of fur and carpets. The soil here 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 the centre of trade of the region. Ascent: 750m, descent: 850m

Meals:  B

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 10km the road gradually rises for the next 15km. You will reach the summit of the climb then enjoy a long descent into the wide valley of the the river Pinios. Once this ‘plain of Thessaly’ was an inland sea. Now there are huge rock formations shaped by wind and water erosion. It is a truly stunning area characterised by the monasteries built high on rocky pillars, with Megalo Meteoron being the most famous. Youe hotel for the next two days is next to the rock formations, and waking up is a feast for the eyes! Ascent: 635m, descent: 880m

Meals:  B

Your last ride is a beautiful cycle along a high road amongst the gigantic limestone rock formations, with the impressive monasteries precariously built on top. Building of the monasteries began in the 11th century, using ropes and ladders to lift the building materials. At present, there are six monasteries on display, all true works of art. The second part of today's ride goes through the wide river valley, with beautiful views of Meteora. This area is also a perfect location for hiking. Ascent: 475m, descent: 475m

Meals:  B

The trip concludes after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 12 breakfasts - continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices
  • 1 dinner
  • 12 nights accommodation in 2-4 star hotels on a twinshare basis with private facilities
  • 24 speed rental bike with pannier - e-bikes available, supplement applies.
  • GPS device available on request - supplement applies
  • Luggage transfers
  • Information pack including smartphone app with maps and route notes. GPS Tracks available on request

  • Travel to Ohrid and from Kastraki
  • lunch and dinners (except dinner on day 4) and beverages
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees and guided tours of monasteries and monuments enroute
  • Travel insurance
  • airport transfers
  • guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • GPS device rental

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

Daily from 1 May to 18 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
High season is 16 Jun to 31 Aug - supplment applies
DN2
Transfer available on day 1 from Ohrid airport to the joining hotel - supplement applies. Trip grading is more relaxed if e-bike option taken
DN3
This trip is not suitable for solo travellers. Please contact our team for alternative tour suggestions.

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

$2000USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Electric Bike Supplement (available on request)USD$130
  • Single SupplementUSD$440
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


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We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

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Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

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