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Montenegro´s Coast and Lake Skadar by Bike 25

Cycling the Montenegro Coast and Lake Skadar

Overview

Cycling in Montenegro is a true pleasure for bike lovers, where the roads wind through ever-changing and gorgeous landscapes, following quiet, asphalt roads. On this road cycling tour, you will explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bay of Kotor and Lake Skadar, the Balkans’ biggest. You’ll be able to stop off at cultural sites such as monasteries and old churches, admire stunning viewpoints, and each day’s route is designed to leave time for relaxation, swimming and sightseeing, too. You stay overnight in small cosy hotels or B&B, and we provide you with the information where to taste culinary delights along your way, so you get refreshed and in touch with locals.

Highlights

  • Boka Kotorska Bay (UNESCO)
  • Kotor
  • Lake Skadar
  • The Adriatic coast of Montenegro

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

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cetinje

Arrival in Cetinje (by public transport or optional private transfer from Dubrovnik, Podgorica or Tivat Airport). Once you settle in your hotel, you will meet our representative for a tour brief (as well as receiving all the tour documents), and bike handling/fitting (if booked with us). Cetinje is the old royal capital of Montenegro. A city tour or sightseeing tour by bike offers you a glimpse into the history of Montenegro. Visit the monastery of Cetinje, the embassy buildings or maybe the papier-mache relief of Montenegro – where you can visualize and plan out your tour.

Day 2: Cetinje – Lake Skadar – Virpazar | 39 km

Today’s tour takes you to the biggest lake of the Balkan peninsula, Lake Skadar. You will ride for approximately 1 km on the main road, before turning off onto the old road that connects Cetinje with Rijeka Crnojevića. This road runs steadily downhill (15.5 km) – through villages and past beautiful panorama points – to Rijeka Crnojevića, where the first book of the Western Balkans was printed. Today, Rijeka Crnojevića is a sleepy village with a few inviting restaurants for visitors to grab a bite and take a rest. With renewed strength, you will first ride along the lake, and then uphill for about 3 km through other villages until you reach Virpazar. There will be some other minor ascents, which will often be rewarded with wonderful panoramic views of the lake. Finally, a downhill ride takes you to Virpazar, where you will spend the night. Virpazar is the centre of the most famous wine region of Montenegro, where the renowned Vranac wine is produced. This wine pairs perfectly with the fish specialities from this lakeside town.

  • Cycling for the day: 39 km ↑550m ↓1200m
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse in Virpazar (Vida’s House or similar)

Day 3: Virpazar – Stari Bar | 30 km

Before the construction of the railway tunnel through Mount Rumija in the late 1960s, Podgorica was connected with the port of Bar by a narrow-gauge railway. To that end, the wagons were transported by ship to Virpazar – from one side of the lake to the other. Today, you will follow this former railway track that takes you to the pass. From there you enjoy a thrilling downhill ride, with a great view of the Adriatic Sea. You’ll end today’s tour by riding through old olive groves to Stari Bar, where you will spend the night. Stari Bar is the old town of Bar, situated in picturesque surroundings on Mount Rumija. If you like, you can also explore the modern part of Bar situated directly on the coast.

  • Cycling for the day: 30 km ↑850 m ↓810 m
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse in Stari Bar (Kula Boutique Hotel or similar)

Day 4: Stari Bar – Rashtish Village | 30 km

You will start today’s tour directly from your accommodation. Along the road, you’ll see groves of olive trees, some over 2 000 years old. On a secondary road above the Adriatic, you will ride through the olive groves around Bar, the “olive oil capital” of Montenegro. You will be treated with beautiful views riding through a vast valley to the main road Ulcinj – Shkodra. Follow this road a few kilometres. Before reaching your accommodation, you’ll have the chance to visit Šas Lake, a bird paradise. There are also ruins of a medieval city located nearby, which are certainly worth a detour for those interested. The uphill ride to the accommodation will be rewarded with a stunning panorama. Overnight stay in a guesthouse with a restaurant.

  • Cycling for the day: 30 km ↑850 m ↓810 m
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse in the village of Rashtish (Pension Panorama or similar)

Day 5: Skadar Lake National Park – Lovcen National Park | 44 km

A wonderful but challenging panoramic tour with three major climbs awaits you today. You’ll first follow a narrow road above Skadar Lake. You will pass through vineyards, villages, and you will enjoy wonderful views of the lake with the dramatic Albanian Alps in the background at numerous points. Around the village of Ostros, you will ride through majestic, centuries-old chestnut groves. Some of the sights that you will see today include the small monastery islands near the village of Murići as the Montenegrin “Alcatraz” a former prison dating back to the time of King Nikola in front of the village of Godinje. In Godinje, a traditional wine region, you will have the chance to regain your strength before the last ascent on your way to Virpazar. This is where you will be picked up and transferred to Lovćen National Park, located above the Bay of Kotor. Travel time is approximately 1 hour. Your accommodation is in the heart of the National Park, at a refreshing altitude of 1300 m above sea level in a cosy hotel.

  • Cycling for the day: 44 km ↑860 m ↓1240 m
  • Accommodation in a 4-star hotel in Lovcen National Park (Hotel Monte Rosa or similar)

Day 6: Lovcen National Park – Kotor | 38 km

Today’s tour takes you directly from the mountains to the sea along the famous Austro-Hungarian serpentine road, with the most beautiful panoramic views of the Bay of Kotor. You will start from your hotel in the National Park. (If you like and for those who are really fit, you can also bike the last 200 altitude meters uphill to the mausoleum of the most important historical figure of Montenegro – Petar Petrović Njegoš – before descending the “Serpentine Road”). At the observation platform, you will enjoy a breathtaking all-around view, from which you can see just about the entire country of Montenegro. As soon as you have conquered the initial ascent, you will cruise downhill for more than 30 km. Along the road, there will be several great spots to stop for photos. You finish your tour directly in front of the old town of Kotor and your accommodation. Enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere in the centre of Kotor.

  • Cycling for the day: 38 km ↑223 m ↓1423 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kotor (Hotel Babilon or Hotel Marija similar)

Day 7: Bay of Kotor | 47 km

At the end of your bike trip, you can explore the picturesque sights in the Bay of Kotor. Don’t miss the baroque sailor’s town of Perast with its two church islands. If you bike a few kilometres further you will reach Risan, the oldest settlement of the Bay, where Roman mosaics and rock paintings from the Neolithic Stone Age, bear witness to this settlement’s history. Near Morinj there is a small beach where you can relax. If you pedal further along the coastline, you reach the ferry, transporting you to the other shore. Once again, you can count on a beautiful route, directly along the sea.

  • Cycling for the day: 47 km ↑300 m ↓300 m
  • Accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Kotor (Hotel Babilon or Hotel Marija or similar)

Day 8: Departure

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

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is at 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

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 an easy to moderate itinerary, with an average of 30-40 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

Day 1- From Podgorica to Cetinje

  • Take a taxi from Podgorica Airport to Podgorica Bus Station, 20 minutes. 
  • Take the bus from Podgorica airport to Cetinje, ~10€ – 45 minutes trip.

Day 8 – From Kotor to Podgorica airport

  • Take a bus to Kotor Bus Station, 20 minutes.
  • There are regular public bus transfers from Kotor bus station to Podgorica bus station on day 8 for about 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 transfer on day 5
  • 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)
  • Bike rental
  • Personal expenses
  • 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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