Please NOTE: We will be using van transfers throughout the tour to avoid busy roads and to give us realistic distances each day.
Day 1- Arrival in Tirana
Transfer from Tirana airport to your hotel in Tirana. Today is a rest day to get over jet lag. Late afternoon tour orientation and welcome dinner. SUGGESTION: If this is your first time in Albania, it is well worth arriving a day early to enjoy the sites and museums in the city.
Day 2 – Transfer to Shkoder (Ride: 30 km, ascent 300 meters)
Morning van transfer from Tirana to Shkoder, Albania, where we spend the night. Shkoder is a charming town in a spectacular location between the mountains and Lake Shkodra. In the afternoon, we will do a warm up ride along Lake Shkoder to the fishing village of Zogaj.
Day 3 – Rrapshe, Albania to Lake Plav, Montenegro (Ride: 60 km, ascent 1250 meters)
After breakfast we transfer by van to Rrapshe where we descend an amazing set of switchbacks that will take us across the northern-most point of Albania to the border where we cross into Montenegro. We do a transfer to avoid a 1000 meter climb and finish our ride along the Luca River to where we transfer to our accommodations in Andrijevica.
Day 4 – Andreijevica to Kolasin (Ride: 70 km, ascent 1,050 meters)
We cycle north from Andrijevica on a quiet forest road that climbs through the Komovi Mountains to Tresnjevik Pass at 1,565 meters. From the pass, we descend into the Tara River Valley to a 2-lane road leading into Kolasin and our lodging for the night. Kolasin is popular for walking and skiing in the nearby Bjelasica and Sinjajevina mountains.
Day 5 – Kolasin to Zabljak (Ride: 70 km, ascent 1,100 meters)
We begin with a short transfer to a spectacular viewpoint at the beginning of the Tara River Canyon where we start our ride. The Tara is Montenegro’s second longest river and the canyon is 1,300 meters deep at its deepest point. We continue through the canyon to the Tara Bridge which stretches across the canyon 165 meters above the river. After lunch, we have an 11 km climb and enter Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site. The top of the climb is a plateau with wide-open pastures, farms and the town of Zabljak where we spend the night.
Day 6 – Zabljak to Pluzine (Ride: 55 km, ascent 900 meters)
Today’s ride takes us up into Durmitor National Park and begins with a dramatic 8 km ascent to Prevoj Sedlo Pass, which at 1,905 meters is Montenegro’s highest paved road. Durmitor National Park has 23 mountain peaks over 2,300 meters, and on the climb we will be close to Bobotov Kuk (2,522 meters) and the north face of Sedlena Greda (2,225 meters). The descent winds through magnificent limestone scenery and brings us to a high alpine meadow region with massive distant views. More descending is in store as we snake around a number of hairpin bends and pass through several short tunnels as we make our way to Lake Pluzine, a reservoir along the Piva River. We spend the night near the shore of the lake in the town of Pluzine.
Day 7 – Transfer from Pluzine to Cetinje (Optional ride: 40 km, ascent 800 meters)
Today is a day of options. We begin with a van transfer to the astoundingly beautiful 17th century Ostrog Monastery. After our visit to the monastery, we’ll continue to our lodging in Cetinje, the historical Old Royal Capital of Montenegro. Founded in the 15th century, this town was once the center of Montenegrin culture and the former home of kings. From our hotel, you can enjoy wandering around the town and take the rest of the day off the saddle. Or, you can do an out and back ride along the border of Lovcen National Park.
Day 8 – Cetinje to Kotor (Ride: 53.5 km, ascent 953 meters)
Today is a day of amazing contrast as we go from the rocky highlands down to the deep blue Adriatic Sea. We start with a climb up through the alpine forest of Lovcen National Park and then begin a panoramic descent that finishes with the spectacular serpentine switchbacks overlooking the Bay of Kotor. This downhill is one of the most scenic rides in all of Europe! We end our ride in a lovely seaside accommodation on the quiet side of the Bay of Kotor about 4 km from the city center. We will have our farewell dinner in a special restaurant by the sea.
Day 9 – Tour Ends after breakfast
Our tour ends after breakfast, but we strongly suggest spending an extra day so you can explore Kotor. Situated below the prominent Mt. Lovcen, the old city of Kotor is circled by a 15th century wall and features interesting squares, a cathedral, several churches and a patchwork of narrow streets leading to shops and cafes. If you are feeling energetic, it is well worth walking up the stone steps (there are 1,350 of them!) to the Fortress of Saint Ivan where you will be treated with a magnificent view of the city and the blue waters of the Bay of Kotor.
TRAVEL INFORMATION: THIS TOUR BEGINS IN TIRANA, ALBANIA AND ENDS IN KOTOR, MONTENEGRO. Tirana has an international airport that you can fly into at the start of the tour. There are a couple of airports you can choose to depart at the end of the tour. Tivat (TIV) is just 5 km from Kotor and offers flights within Europe. Dubrovnik Airport is 44 kms away (about 1.5-hour drive) and we can easily arrange airport transfers. Dubrovnik is a good choice if you want to spend a few days in Croatia at the end of the tour. NOTE: You might consider buying multi-city airline tickets if you fly in and out of a major hub like Frankfurt or Munich. Check www.skyscanner.com for inexpensive flights within Europe.