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The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

Tour details

Rating
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Country
Bosnia, Croatia
Activity type
Self Guided Cycling
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
May - October

Itinerary

Day 1: Sarajevo
Day 2: Igman
Day 3: Bjelasnica
Day 4: Mostar
Day 5: Capljina
Day 6: Zavala
Day 7: Dubrovnik
Day 8: Departure

Overview for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

The scenic Ciro Trail is a unique bicycle route opened in 2017 that runs through the Dinaric Alps between Mostar in the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cycle track follows the route of the old Austro-Hungarian railway line built in the 1900s and closed in the 1970s. The trail is often described as an “open-air museum” because it passes through enchanting abandoned towns and the beautiful Vjetrenica caves.

The Central Dinaric Alps have been a natural border between the coastal towns of the Adriatic and highland trading cities and settlements along the Ottoman caravan routes to Istanbul. This is a moderate-grade self-guided cycling tour on dedicated gravel cycle paths, secondary asphalt roads and some dirt roads. The trip is suitable for those interested in finding out more about the diverse cultural background of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Western Balkans.

The trail will take you deep into the mountains, passing small isolated settlements where the way of life has remained unchanged for centuries. Both on and off the bikes you have an opportunity to explore the unique cultural heritage of the region. Some of the hotels along the route are made from converted railway stations, and other attractions include The Old Bridge in Mostar, the Roman ruins of Mogorjelo, the Orthodox Church in Zitomislici and the Nature Park Hutovo Blato.

Highlights

  • Explore the tumultuous history of Sarajevo
  • Ride over Bjelasnica, the 1984 Olympic mountain range
  • Swim in Boracko Glacial Lake
  • Walk over the Mostar Old Bridge
  • Explore the wine routes of  Herzegovina
  • Ride along the Ciro Austro Hungarian narrow-gauge railway
  • Zavala Orthodox monastery
  • Vjetrenica Cave
  • Cross the rugged Dinaric Alps
  • Take in Dubrovnik Old Town
  • Swim in the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea

Itinerary for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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Day 1: Arrival in Sarajevo

Arrival on your own in Sarajevo. Depending on the time of your arrival you will have the rest of the day for exploring the numerous cultural riches of the city.

Day 2: Igman War Route and the Olympic Experience

On your first day, you’ll follow a path from Sarajevo to Igman and Bjelašnica Mountain, the site of the men’s downhill and ski jump during the 1984 Olympic Winter Games. You will cycle along the route over Igman that was connecting Sarajevo to the outside world during the war in the 90’s. Overnight in Umoljani.

  • Cycling for the day: 61km ↑1300m
  • Accommodation: Pension Umoljani or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast 

Day 3: Bjelasnica and Visocica Mountains

Starting from Umoljani village, today you go through Bjelašnica and Visočica mountain ranges to Boračko lake, following the Caravan trading route used during the Ottoman era. The gentle asphalt road will soon give way to a more challenging and steep road on a stretch between the Bjelašnica and Visočica Massifs through the heart of the Visočica Range. You pass medieval tombstones and monuments of Bosnia’s turbulent history, reminders of what once was a mighty kingdom stretching all the way to the Dalmatian coast.

  • Cycling for the day: 55km ↑680m
  • Accommodation: Vila Sunce Boracko Lake or similar 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Boracko Glacier Lake to Mostar

You start the morning and warm up your legs with a strenuous climb out of Boračko Lake and then a spectacular ride across the Prenj mountain range. This is a challenging ride with switchbacks and climbing on a mix of gravel and secondary asphalt roads.

  • Cycling for the day: 60km ↑940m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Almira or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Day 5: Mostar to Capljina

Today’s ride starts in Mostar and ends in the town of Capljina. At the beginning, you can stop at Blagaj visiting the spring of Buna river and a 600-year old historical tekke (a Dervish monastery), uniquely perched on a 200 metre-high cliff that overlooks the entire area.

  • Cycling for the day: 60km ↑410m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Capljina or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch

Day 6: Capljina to Zavala

Today’s ride along the Ciro Trail will take you on a gravel path along vast fields and mounting beautiful old railway bridges, through the Hutovo Blato nature park. During the day you will be able to stop at various viewpoints and old railway stations: Capljina – Roman Villa Rustica – Ciro station Brstanica – Ciro station Ravno – Ciro station Zavala. In Zavala, you have the opportunity to visit one of the biggest speleological sights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Vjetrenica Cave. Another place of interest is the XVI century Christian Orthodox Monastery of Zavala. O

  • Cycling for the day: 60km ↑950m
  • Accommodation: Guesthouse Zavala or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Zavala to Dubrovnik

You begin your ride along Popovo fields, an area that was flooded regularly in the past and as a result, most of the old villages today are located up on the sides of the dry limestone mountains and ridges. You will cycle along the old train tracks in direction to Ivanica Border Crossing. There is almost no traffic at all and the route is very enjoyable for riding. Overnight in Dubrovnik.

  • Walking for the day: 57 km ↑450m
  • Accommodation: Hotel Komodor or similar
  • Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Departure

Departure on your own, or extra nights in Dubrovnik.

Hotels for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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The accommodation on this tour is mostly in family-run pensions and small cosy 3* hotels. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample accommodations*: Pension Kandilj, Vila Sunce Boracko Lake, Hotel Almira, Guesthouse Zavala, Hotel Komodor

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Meals are included as listed in the itinerary: breakfast on all days, packed lunch on days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, dinners on days 3, 6 and 7.

Travel for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Sarajevo. An alternative airport is Dubrovnik in Croatia, which is better connected to the UK. Please insert your preferred airport in the “To” field below to see the available flights from your location.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking. 

Transfers to/from Airports

Airport transfers are not included in the package but are bookable upon request at an extra cost.

Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfers during the cycling days are included and your bags will be transported by your current hotel (or by private transfer) to your next hotel.

Travel Insurance

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A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is located in the heart of the Dinaric Alps, which rise steadily across the country from northwest to southeast, appearing in both Bosnia – the central and northern region of the country – and Herzegovina, the entire southern region. A huge portion of the Via Dinarica extends through this country’s dramatically varying landscapes, including its characteristic karst fields, limestone mountains, lush valleys, primaeval forests, alpine fields, crystal-clear rivers and green mountain lakes. The Dinaric mountain range is the natural boundary between the Mediterranean and continental climates, and BiH encompasses more of both climates than any other country along the Via Dinarica.

  • Capital city – Sarajevo
  • Timezone: GMT +1
  • Population – 3.8 million
  • Language – Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
  • Currency – Convertible Mark (KM). We strongly advise taking adequate cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are not available outside of Mostar and Zadar.
  • Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50Hz, two-pin round plugs
  • Up-to-date travel advice on Bosnia and Herzegovina is available here. Detailed up-to-date travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for experienced cyclists and requires a good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). You will cycle on average of 60 km per day, with an average daily elevation gain of 900 m.

Route Navigation

We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available between May and October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking

Weather

During the active season, the weather is normally pleasant and sunny. More rain is expected at the beginning and the end of the season, and it gets warmer during July and August.

Included for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, route notes and maps
  • 6 nights in 3-star hotels and family pensions (private rooms with en-suite facilities)
  • 6 breakfasts, 5 packed lunches, and 3 dinners
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all cycling days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative in Sarajevo

Supplements

  •  Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable
  • The trip is not available for solo travellers

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned as ‘included’ in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Additional nights in Sarajevo before the trip
  • Additional nights in Dubrovnik after the trip
  • Sarajevo City tour
  • Mostar City tour
  • Neretva White Water Rafting Extension

Gallery for The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik

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The Ciro Cycling Trail: Sarajevo to Dubrovnik
Average rating:  
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We enjoyed our trip, the meals were prepared by our cook at lunchtime were very good  and they always found a nice place forLunch. Our guide... Read full review

Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you with our feedback. It has been nice to think about it again now though, we have very happy memories... Read full review

You certainly delivered, considering we booked and made payments on faith, via the internet. Thank you for being trustworthy.

Never really knowing what to expect and coming over a pass or ridge to see a glorious picnic laid out for lunch with hot food and tea.  Summiting... Read full review

The most memorable experience was having the opportunity to gather two of my best friends who’d not spent much time together. We truly lost ... Read full review

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