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Montenegro Cycling: from the Mountains to the Sea 29

Cycling in Montenegro: Summit to Sea

Overview

Seventy peaks over two thousand meters, the southernmost fjord of the Mediterranean and Europe’s deepest canyon – all of this can be found on the small area of Montenegro. You ride on panoramic roads amidst mighty mountain tops, follow the blue waters of river Tara and finally arrive at the magically beautiful Kotor Bay. Montenegro has been lying between the East and the West since the Roman Empire’s days witnessing first-hand the last two thousand years’ turbulent history. The food offered is the best of the Balkan kitchen with dishes like Pjeskavica and Ćevapčidi, matched by the powerful domestic wines (do not miss tasting the Vranac!).

Highlights

  • Boka Kotorska Bay (UNESCO)
  • Tara River and Europe’s deepest canyon
  • Lake Skadar
  • Durmitor National Park

Our Co-Founder Peter Duncan hiked in Montenegro and Kosovo in 2016. You can read his Mail on Sunday article here.

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Mojkovac

Arrival in Mojkovac (by public transport or optional private transfer from Dubrovnik, Podgorica or Tivat Airport). A private transfer from Podgorica to Mojkovac is about 2 hours and crosses Moraca canyon. If times allows, a stop at the Moraca monastery can be arranged. A welcome meeting at your hotel with our local representative, where there will be an introduction to the tour, tour documents (maps, hotel vouchers) will be handed out, and rental bike fittings will take place (if booked).

  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Mojkovac (Hotel Serdar or similar)

Day 2: Mojkovac – Tara River – Zabljak | 65 km

You cycle along the Tara River into Europe’s longest and deepest canyon, where the rock walls come closer and closer to open up a panorama of the river finally. Right at the historically infamous Tara bridge, you meet the driver who will take you to Durmitor National Park. Overnight in Zabljak.

  • Cycling for the day: 65 km ↑1000m ↓1000m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Zabljak (City Center Apartments or similar)

Day 3: Durmitor National Park – Pluzine | 55 km

The journey continues through the magnificent Durmitor National Park with more than 25 peaks of over 2500 meters, where glaciers have carved a landscape of desolate expanses and deep canyons in a sparsely populated agricultural area. Gradually the landscape changes to forested, and the road winds its way downhill to lake Piva. This is one of the most beautiful cycling sections in Montenegro. Overnight in Pluzine.

  • Cycling for the day: 55 km ↑900 m ↓1600 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star guesthouse in Pluzine (Guesthouse Zvono or similar)

Day 4: Pluzine – Lake Piva – Niksic | 60 km

High peaks frame the beautiful lake Piva, and we cycle through a dramatic landscape characterized by running, stationary and falling water. You can make a detour to the Orthodox monastery Piva, where time has stood still since the 16th century. The ultimate goal is Montenegro’s second-largest city, Niksic, where you are accommodated in the city’s centre. Join the locals in one of the bars in the pedestrian zone.

  • Cycling for the day: 60 km ↑800 m ↓900 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Niksic (Garni Hotel Atrium or similar)

Day 5: Niksic – Ostrog Monastery – Virpazar | 60 km

You climb up to the well-known and situated against an almost vertical background Ostrog monastery on winding roads. Pilgrims of any religion come here from all over the Balkans seeking to be blessed by Saint Sava. While riding, you are blessed with the magnificent view towards the fertile Zeta valley. A final pleasant downhill takes you towards the capital Podgorica. You meet your transfer shuttle which takes you in 30 min to Virpazar in Lake Skadar National Park.

  • Cycling for the day: 60 km ↑800 m ↓1100 m (you can shorten the final section from Danilovgrad to Podgorica by taking the train)
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse in Virpazar (Vida’s House or similar)

Day 6: Lake Skadar National Park – Lovcen National Park – Kotor | 55 km

Today’s cycling is split into two sections. On a beautiful side road, you cycle through the villages of Lake Skadar National Park. You pass some typical villages and discover the unique landscape of the biggest lake of the Balkans. Around lunchtime, you arrive in the village of Rijeka Crnojevica. Charge your batteries with fish specialities from the lake. Here you meet your transfer (~1 h) which takes you via Cetinje to Lovcen National Park, called the Black Mountain by the Venetians, from where the name Montenegro derives. Conclude this day with another cycling highlight – the epic downhill on the serpentine road to the Bay of Kotor right to the shores of the Adriatic sea. Enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere in the centre of Kotor.

  • Cycling for the day: 1st section – 25 km ↑500 m ↓500 m; 2nd section – 30 km ↑200 m ↓1300 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kotor (Hotel Babilon or Hotel Marija or similar)

Day 7: Bay of Kotor | 45 km

Kotor Bay features outstanding natural beauty and numerous cultural highlights, like Roman mosaics in Risan and the church islands of the baroque town of Perast. Explore the bay while cycling along the beautiful coast. This relaxed day completes this magnificent biking adventure from the mountains to the sea in Montenegro.

Day 8: Departure

The tour ends after breakfast. Optional private transfer to your departure airport.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in family-owned guesthouses and hotels. They have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default accommodations

Hotel Serdar, Guesthouse Zvono, Garni Hotel Atrium, Vida’s House, Hotel Babilon

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 you with exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. When no restaurant is available en route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or you can pre-order packed lunch from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your hotel or from restaurants and taverns in the village near your hotel.

Difficulty & terrain

This is a moderate itinerary, with an average of 60 km of cycling per day (read more about difficulty grades).

Most of your rides will be on asphalt roads and small side roads. We provide individual information package upon arrival, including maps and route description. We can also provide GPX files with all the tracks, which you can load on your smartphone app or GPS device. The road signage is good so navigating between the towns is quite easy.

When to go

This trip is available from the beginning of May until the end of October. July and August are the busiest months, and it is preferable to book as early as possible. Resort towns may become overcrowded in these months. The flexibility of self-guided holidays and the fact that there are no fixed dates allows you to start your holiday at any time of the season.

Typically, you can expect excellent weather in Montenegro from April to October. Montenegro has a Mediterranean climate, hot, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall inland. There is a chance of sporadic rain in spring and autumn, though this is in the form of short showers. Note that it can become quite hot in July and August, and you must take enough water while biking. You can expect cool nights at higher altitudes; it is possible to have light snowing in May and October.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane


Our recommended airport for this tour is Podgorica. Alternatively, flights are available to Dubrovnik (Croatia) or Tivat (Montenegro). There is public transport to/from all of them, or we can arrange a private transfer.

By train or bus

Public transportation*

Day 1- From Podgorica to Mojkovac

  • Take the train from the airport to Mojkovac in direction to Bijelo Polije – 2 h 10 min trip. Trains can be checked here.

Day 8 – From Kotor to Podgorica airport

  • There are regular public bus transfers from Kotor bus station to Podgorica bus station, ~ 10 € per person.
  • From Podgorica bus station take a taxi to Podgorica airport.

*In some cases, private transfers can be an economical alternative to public transport in Montenegro. We can arrange for you private transfers from/to airport to hotel for arrival and departure – please indicate that you want a private transfer when completing your online booking form.

Inclusions

Included

  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes, maps with daily routes
  • Welcome meeting
  • 7 overnights in a private ensuite room as detailed in the itinerary
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transport to next hotel of one bag of up to 20 kg per person
  • Private transfers on days 2, 5, 6
  • Helmets, repair kit and first aid kit
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Bike rental
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Supplements, options and extras

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private airport transfers to first / from last accommodation
  • Bike rental
  • Extra nights in Kotor are available upon request

Bike rental

We can provide high-quality rental bikes and additional equipment if requested. These bikes have been specially designed for our bike tours. They are comfortable, safe and sturdy bikes and therefore perfect for undertaking tours of several days duration.

The 27-gear Trek FX3 will take you everywhere on asphalt. The FX3 is a workhorse hybrid bike that offers a road bike’s speed, the versatility of a city bike, and the comfort of a fitness bike. A lightweight Alpha Gold Aluminium frame, a carbon fork, and a performance drivetrain make it a speedy and versatile choice. We can install a rear rack and provide a pair of 20-litre watertight panniers at a supplement upon request.

The Road Bike Specialized Allez Elite is stiff, light, race-inspired bike and offers great acceleration and handling. Perfect for tackling the legendary Ladder of Kotor – a 24km route, with 24 serpentine curves and a 900 m climb, above the Bay of Kotor. We can install a rear rack and provide a pair of 20-litre watertight panniers at a supplement upon request.

The Verve+ Lowstep is an electric hybrid bike with a lightweight aluminium frame and a step-through style frame, so it’s easy to get on and off. Its Bosch mid-drive motor can sustain speeds of up to 25 km per hour, and it has a PowerPack Performance 400Wh battery. It comes fully stocked with accessories including integrated lights, mudguards, rear rack and a kickstand. Wide 45c Bontrager H5 Hard-Case Ultimate tyres provide extra stability, and the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes give all-weather stopping power. We can install a rear rack and provide a pair of 20-litre watertight panniers at a supplement upon request.

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