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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 Zabljak

Arrival in Zabljak (by public transport or optional private transfer from Dubrovnik, Podgorica or Tivat Airport). A private transfer from Podgorica to Zabljak is about 2.5 hours. 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). You will spend the next two nights in Durmitor National Park.

Day 2: Highlights of Durmitor National Park | 35 km

After breakfast, hop on your bike and explore the spectacular Durmitor mountain region. You can visit the famous Black Lake, a glacial lake at an altitude of 1,400 m, and then continue cycling to the medieval tombstones of the Bogomils, also called Stećci. These tombstones are part of the UNESCO World Heritage – as is the entire Durmitor National Park. Overnight in Zabljak.

  • Cycling for the day: 35 km ↑300m ↓300m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Zabljak (Hotel Polar Star or similar)

Day 3: Zabljak – Tara River Canyon – Podgorica | 65 km

Today you leave the roof of Montenegro and first you cross the plateau to the edge of the Tara Gorge. Take a look back at Durmitor mountains before descending a serpentine road to the famous Tara bridge. Follow the Tara upstream, you will pass through the Crna Poda forest reserve with its imposing Snake pines and you can visit the Dobrilovina Monastery. The tour ends in Mojkovac. From there you will be picked up for a transfer to Podgorica. Overnight in Podgorica.

  • Cycling for the day: 65 km ↑1188 m ↓1830 m
  • Accommodation in a 4-star hotel in Podgorica (Hotel New Star or similar)

Day 4: Podgorica – Rijeka Crnojevica – Cetinje | 40 km

During today’s bike tour you will discover the beauty of the largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula. You will experience the vastness of the lake on a panoramic trip through old villages. There are always wonderful views of the lake and the peaks of the Albanian Alps in the background. Your destination is the village of Rijeka
Crnojevica. There you can fill up your batteries before we take you from Rijeka Crnojevica to the old capital Cetinje (30min). Explore the historic city center of the former residential city. Overnight in Cetinje.

  • Cycling for the day: 40 km ↑400 m ↓400 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Cetinje (Hotel Dapcevic or similar)

Day 5: Cetinje – Lovcen National Park – Kotor | 48 km

The ride today starts directly from Cetinje with a climb through the karst up into the Lovchen National Park. After this ascent, you will enjoy a descent, which offers breathtaking views of the Bay of Kotor. Overnight in Kotor.

  • Cycling for the day: 48 km ↑850 m ↓1490 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kotor (Hotel Babilon or Hotel Marija or similar)

Day 6: 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.

  • Cycling for the day: 45 km ↑200 m ↓200 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kotor (Hotel Babilon or Hotel Marija or similar)

Day 7: Tivat Bay | 40 km

Tivat is currently the trendiest place on Montenegro’s coast. A detour to the Solila Bird Sanctuary offers a different perspective of this part of the Bay of Kotor. The bike tour takes first to Trojica Pass between Tivat and Kotor. From there you roll comfortably down to Tivat. The bird sanctuary is right by the airport and is a short detour of about 6km before you reach the center of Tivat. The way back to Kotor leads along the coastal road. Overnight in Kotor.

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, Hotel Dapcevic,Hotel Marija, Hotel Babilon, Hotel New Star, Hotel Polar Star

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 Zabljak

  • From Podgorica you can take bus to Zabljak – 3 hrs trip.

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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