Our Balkans cycle tour from Dubrovnik to Istanbul is a rich adventure through diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. Our unique route spans approximately 1,500 kilometers and offers cyclists a mix of coastal roads, mountainous terrains, and vibrant cities. You will cycle in seven countries on this adventure - Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
It is an exciting journey in this enthralling part of the world. Much of which is emerging slowly enough as tourist destinations so as to continue to retain much of the natural beauty, uniqueness and charm of the countryside and villages.
Your Balkans journey is from Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Istanbul (Turkey) in 20 days (17 Cycling Days). It includes one rest day to allow for 2 tours within a tour. Option to join us for only 8 days (6 cycling days) or 13 days (11 cycling days).
Route map of the Balkans Cycle Tour
Distance and Climbing
This is a road bike tour suitable for our AVID Riders. Find out if you are an AVID or ACTIVE style of rider here. It is 17 days of cycling plus one rest day and is approximately on average 92 km and 1,204 meters of climbing per day.
- The first 6 days are the toughest from Dubrovnik to Ohrid with an average of 90 km and 1,663 metres of climbing per day.
- The 11 days from Ohrid to Istanbul (Bus and ferry transfer to Istanbul from Gelibolu) average 93 km and 955 metres of climbing per day
Full Tour 20 days (19 nights) £2,990 Per Person Sharing.
Some single rooms are available for an additional supplement of £680.
Approximately 93 km and 1,206 meters of climbing per day on average
8 days (7 nights) from Dubrovnik to Ohrid in North Macedonia £1,320 Per Person Sharing.
Single Supplement £300
Approximately 90 km and 1,652 metres of climbing per day on average.
13 days (12 nights) from Ohrid to Istanbul £2,266 Per Person Sharing.
Single Supplement £510
Approximately 95 km and 962 metres of climbing per day on average.
Ohrid airport is serviced by Wizzair in Europe and other international airlines
What is included in the tour
- Accommodation and breakfast in hotels
- Lunch will be provide on four days but otherwise excluded. Options and recommendations for stops will be communicated at each morning's briefing and noted on the daily route sheet
- Luggage transfer
- Advice on places to stop for your morning coffee and lunch
- Water, Soft drinks, fruit, cakes and bars en route
- Van and basic mechanical support
- GPX route files
What is NOT included in the tour
- Any meals/services not mentioned in the inclusions
- Transport to and from airports (These can be provided for a fee and booked in advance)
- Alcohol, soft drinks, beverages, etc.
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances like landslides, road blocks, bad weather, etc.
- Kotor Bay and The Serpentine Climb in Montenegro
- Views from hotel in Shkoder and the hills in the north of Albania
- The beautiful Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia
- The Ciflik Winery in Bitola
- The Climb from Delchevo to the Bulgarian Border crossing
- The mountain town of Bansko in Bulgaria
- The freewheel down the River Mesta towards the Greek Border and into Gotse Delchev
- Thassos Island
- The ride through the Nestos Delta in Thrace national Park in Northeastern Greece
- Crossing the Turkish Border
- The Ancient City of Troy in Canakkale
- Crossing from ;The East' to 'The West' then 'West' to 'East' by ferry on our final day in Gelibolu (Gallipoli)
- Our hotel with its terrace overlooking Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
Balkans Cycle Tour GPX Files
All our cycle tours are supported with GPX files of the entire route. These start at the door of the hotel you are leaving and finish right at your finish hotel. The GPX route files for your Balkans cycle tour will be sent well in advance for you to check uploading to your bike computer. Any revisions will be resent.
Route & Itinerary
17 days of cycling plus one rest day and Arrival / Departure days - 20 days and 19 nights in total
Approximately averaging 131 km and 1,707 meters per day
Starting in the Jewel of the Balkan Crown’ City of Dubrovnik we head south to the world famous Kotor Bay in Montenegro and onwards to Shkoder, known as the ‘Cycle City’ in Northern Albania. When you arrive you’ll know why! The bells ring here like the bicycles in Beijing! You cycle across the north of Albania to Kukes not far from the Kosovo border and down towards the border crossing into North Macedonia to the breath-taking beauty of Ohrid. We head east through Bitola and Veles and tackle the climb over the border into Bulgaria on one of our longest days in the saddle. From the University city of Blagoevgrad we then take you to the ski resort of Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains. We breathe out here then head south freewheeling to the beach in Greece with a worthwhile detour onto the island of Thassos … from whence we make our last ride east across the Nestos Delta via Komotini and Alexandroupoli into Turkey. From Ipsala we cross the Dardanelles Strait by bus and stay over in Cannakale for two nights to allow us a loop out to the Ancient city of Troy. On our last day we take our bikes on a ride across the continents starting on the Asian side we ferry to Kilitbahir and ride north along the Strait to Gelibolou. We ferry back to Lapseki before taking a bus to Bandirma to cross the Sea of Marmara by ferry to Istanbul, the historical bustling ‘gateway to the east’.
- Day 1 - Arrival Day (no cycling)
- Day 2 - Dubrovnik Croatia to Kotor Bay Montenegro 75 km 1,580 m
- Day 3 - Kotor Bay to Podgorica 81 km 1,682 m
- Day 4 - Podgorica to Shkoder Albania 65 km 467 m
- Day 5 - Shkoder to Kukes 150 km 3,062 m
- Day 6 - Kukes to Peshkopi 90 km 2,276 m
- Day 7 - Peshkopi to Ohrid North Macedonia 78 km 908 m
- Day 8 - Rest Day / Changeover Day
- Day 9 - Ohrid to Bitola 69 km 995 m
- Day 10 - Bitola to Veles 126 km 710 m
- Day 11 - Veles to Blagoevgrad Bulgaria 156 km 2,119 m
- Day 12 - Blagoevgrad to Bansko 57 km 1,089 m
- Day 13 - Bansko to Krinides Greece 152 km 1,350 m
- Day 14 - Krinides to Limeneria 65 km 704 m
- Day 15 - Limeneria to Thassos 54 km 1,013 m
- Day 16 - Thassos to Komotini 100 km 480 m
- Day 17 - Komotini to Ipsala Turkey 120 km 970 m. Bus transfer to Canakkale
- Day 18 - Canakkale to Canakkale. Loop to the ancient city of Troy. 73 km 734 m
- Day 19 - Lapseki via Kilitbahir and Gelibolou 57 km 360 m. Bus transfer to Bandirma or Yalova. Ferry or Catamaran to Istanbul across the sea of Marmara
- Day 20 - Departure Day (no cycling)
- The tour starts in Dubrovnik in Croatia and finishes in Istanbul
- The tour is suitable for road bikes wih 28mm+ tyres
- Bike rental cannot be arranged
- Your bike will need to be brought with you in a CARDBOARD-style disposable box. For a fee (£65) you can opt to have your bike professionally repacked at the end of the tour for onward travels. Your bike will be collected from the hotel where we spend our final night and then delivered to the airport all ready to check on your flight!
- There will be one support van on route