Balkans guided cycling vacation
Minimum age 16.
Description of Balkans guided cycling vacation
This Balkans cycling vacation explores Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro for a full and captivating introduction to the region. This is majestically mountainous terrain, so expect a few challenging rides thrown in with the moderate ones.
You’ll get the chance to explore some seriously biodiverse spots, including the scenic shores of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in the world. Elsewhere, canyons, icy peaks and forests surround Mavrovo Lake. Then there’s the Sharri National Park. Amazingly intact, this Kosovan wonder still shelters bears, wolves and lynx. Tara Canyon, meanwhile, is one of the deepest gorges in Europe.
Even the cities and towns are surrounded by nature. Mountains guard the mosques and bridges of Prizren, churches and monasteries perch beside lakes, and you’ll roll through flowering forests en route to Rozaje. Kotor is the grand finale: an improbably scenic clutch of Venetian houses and winding lanes on the famous bay.
The perks of touring the Balkans by bike in a small group are clear from the get-go. Your guide will steer you away from eroded paths and share insights into the ever-changing cultural landscape you’re cycling through – whether that’s where to get the best Turkish-style veggie mezze or helping you check into the small hotels you’ll stay in along the way.
They’ll also make sure that no cyclist is left behind, cheering you on to that last push to the peak and linking you up with the support vehicle.
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1 Reviews of Balkans guided cycling vacation
Reviewed on 29 Aug 2022 by Christopher Horobin
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The flexibility offered by the tour guide to accommodate / suggest additional or alternatives on a daily basis
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Give the local cuisine a try
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes the places where we ate were all local independent businesses which is helping to sustain these communities
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
A really great way to appreciate what the Balkans has to offer
A cycling trip as such has very little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We work with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, meaning we have respect for wildlife and the landscape, separate rubbish and take all waste back to a proper disposal place. As a cycling trip, it allows easier access to the local communities and hence, facilitates interaction with the locals from the visits to local cafes and resturants as well as markets to purchase traditional gifts and craft and get a real impression of the country.
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleLocal Craft and Culture:
Under Enver Hoxha’s governance, Albania became a self-sustaining country due to its isolation to the world. However due to the lush fertile valleys, fresh mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, they are still very much a subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. Guests know that most things are produced locally and are encouraged to purchase local craft and produce everywhere they go.
On this trip, we visit the Historic city of Prizren, the cultural capital of Kosovo, filled with rich history and traditions, surrounded by incredible nature. The group will have a city tour there to explore this old town known for its gastronomy and wines, traditional handicraft and wonderful mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
Accommodation and Meals:
On this trip, we stay at a variety of locally run hotels and guesthouses that employ local staff and uses local produce wherever possible. This ensures that our money spent remains within the local community. Where meals are not supplied, our local guide will encourage and recommend clients to visit local restaurants and cafes to try local specialties. Food in the Balkans is quite varied due to the various influences on the country, particularly Mediterranean combining Turkish, Greek and Italian tastes. Meat dishes are often goat or lamb, with fish dishes ranging from trout to whitebait. Courses often come in mezze form complimented with a variety of succulent vegetables, freshly baked bread, homemade cheeses and wine.
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