Overview

Our Balkans cycle tour from Dubrovnik to Istanbul is a rich adventure through diverse landscapes, cultures, and histories. Our unique route spans approximately 1,600 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

Balkans Cycle Tour Route Map

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 97 km and 1,301 meters of climbing per day.

  • The first 6 days are the toughest from Dubrovnik to Ohrid with an average of 99 km and 1,877 metres of climbing per day.
  • The 11 days from Ohrid to Istanbul (Bus and ferry transfer to Istanbul from Gelibolu) average 96 km and 987 metres of climbing per day

Price

Full Tour 20 days (19 nights) £2,990 Per Person Sharing.
Some single rooms are available for an additional supplement of £680.
Approximately 97 km and 1,301 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 99 km and 1,877 metres of climbing per day on average.

13 days (12 nights) from Ohrid to Istanbul £2,266 Per Person Sharing.
Single Supplement £510
Approximately 96 km and 987 metres of climbing per day on average.

Ohrid airport is serviced by Wizzair in Europe and other international airlines

    19 Nights 20 Days 18 Aug 2024 Dubrovnik to Istanbul
    Dates and Rates
    date & duration availability price
    Inclusions/Exclusions

    What is included in the tour

    1. Accommodation and breakfast in hotels
    2. 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
    3. Luggage transfer
    4. Advice on places to stop for your morning coffee and lunch
    5. Water, Soft drinks, fruit, cakes and bars en route
    6. Van and basic mechanical support
    7. 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.
    • Insurance 
    Highlights
    • 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
    Itinerary

    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 1,110 m
    • Day 3 - Kotor Bay to Podgorica 116 km 2,508 m
    • Day 4 - Podgorica to Shkoder Albania 88 km 1,277 m
    • Day 5 - Shkoder to Kukes 150 km 3,250 m
    • Day 6 - Kukes to Peshkopi  74 km 1,997 m
    • Day 7 - Peshkopi to Ohrid North Macedonia 93 km 1,121 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 1,078 m
    • Day 13 - Bansko to Krinides Greece 153 km 1,346 m
    • Day 14 - Krinides to Thassos 58 km 686 m
    • Day 15 - Thassos round the Island 92 km 1,383 m
    • Day 16 - Thassos to Komotini 100 km 480 m
    • Day 17 - Komotini to Ipsala Turkey  120 km 966 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 56 km 361 m. Bus transfer to Bandirma or Yalova. Ferry or Catamaran to Istanbul across the sea of Marmara 
    • Day 20 - Departure Day (no cycling)

    Key Points

    1. The tour starts in Dubrovnik in Croatia and finishes in Istanbul
    2. The tour is suitable for road bikes wih 28mm+ tyres
    3. Bike rental cannot be arranged 
    4. 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!
    5. There will be one support van on route
    Rider Type
    Avid Cyclist
    Average Daily Distance (km)
    97
    Average Daily Climbing (meters)
    1,301