Cycle the Balkans
from $2440
Duration: 8 Days
Get your legs moving on a Balkan cycling adventure from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. Taking in stunning scenery on the coast and inland, this trip will take you riding through three fascinating countries – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Tackle challenging climbs, scenic flats and a new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line, finishing in the intriguing, yet sobering, city of Sarajevo, with visits to Mostar and other picturesque towns on the way.
  • Cycle past some of the most inspiring natural landscapes in Europe, from stunning beaches to towering mountains.
  • Explore three fascinating countries by bike
  • Witness Mostar's famous bridge divers hurl themselves from the stones of a bridge that has spanned the river here for centuries
  • Cycle the Ciro Trail, new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line.
Day 1 Location: Dubrovnik
Welcome to Croatia and Dubrovnik, a traveller's favourite that has exploded in popularity since Game of Thrones took over the world. The group doesn't spend a lot of time here, so we recommend arriving early to experience this incredibly beautiful city. Meet your group at 6 pm then perhaps go out for an optional dinner together (hot tip: Old Town's gelato is phenomenal).
Day 2 Location: Kotor
This morning you'll transport by vehicle from Dubrovnik into Montenegro to avoid the hectic traffic outside the city. Continue over the border to Herceg Novi where you’ll have your bike fitted before you'll start cycling. Follow the Bay of Kotor, cycling alongside rolling hills for approx. 16 kilometres to the small whitewashed port town of Kamenari. Take a short ferry ride across the azure waters between the headlands to Lepetane, then continue riding along the shaded quiet road all the way town of Kotor itself. Located on the shore of the Adriatic, Kotor is a 5th-century World Heritage-listed city boasting a spectacular location between the beautiful bay and the imposing mountains. Its medieval Old Town features winding cobblestone lanes, historic buildings and buzzing nightlife. Ride: approx. 25-30kms/15-19 miles, lightly undulating terrain, with approx. 240 metres/790ft of elevation gain in total.
Day 3 Location: Niksic
Depart Kotor this morning by vehicle, heading north to scenic Slano Lake . Start riding near the dam wall of the lake along the old road (mixed asphalt and gravel surface) via the tiny hamlet of Kunak. Montenegro is naturally hilly and this section of road is no exception, with a steep climb in store. However the steep and windy descent, with spectacular views along the way definitely make the climb worthwhile. After rejoining the main road we park the bikes and jump into local taxis to ascend to the incredible Ostrog Monastery, a white-washed building built into a cliff that's the most important site in Montenegro for Orthodox Christians. As tempting as the ride would be you'll thank us for avoiding the sweat and effort (and crazy traffic) required to reach this gravity-defying icon, resting some 900 metres above the Zeta Valley. After the monastery visit jump back on the bikes and continue a gradual climb along the quiet old road to the tiny village of Stubica before dropping back down to the Zeta River then riding the long, straight boulevard all the way to Niksic. As you get closer you’ll pay a quick visit to the Ramparts of Onogost for a good view of the town. Founded in the 4th century, Niksic is the country's second-largest city and has plenty of options when it comes to an evening meal and entertainment. Ride: approx. 40kms/25miles, undulating terrain, with approx. 750 metres/2460ft of elevation gain in total.
Day 4 Location: Pluzine
Today you'll cycle approximately 40 kilometres from Niksic to Pluzine, a small town on the shore of the man-made Lake Piva. It's a hilly ride today, starting with a long but gradual climb then hitting undulating terrain. Ride through rolling, tree-lined hills with the support vehicle nearby in case you'd prefer to avoid the long climb. Visit the 16th-century Piva Monastery and its museum that contains, among other things, a psalm from the Crnojevici printing press, the first printing press in the Balkans (circa 15th century). Enjoy a picnic by Lake Piva then continue to Pluzine, a small, beautiful town in which to relax and rest those legs. Ride: approx. 40kms/25 miles, with a long but gradual climb for the first 25kms. Elevation gain is approx.1070 metres/3500ft. Note: depending on adverse traffic or weather conditions your group leader may shorten or lengthen this particular ride
Day 5 Location: Mostar
Today is a shorter ride than yesterday and you'll be cycling through Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time. Depart Pluzine and drive approximately 185 kilometres to small Bosnian village of Žulja to start our cycling. Riding along an old, long forgotten country road through half-abandoned hamlets past shepherds tending herds of sheep, this is the Europe beyond tourism, where everything done the old traditional way. Riding along the ridgeline for around 10kms, the mainly asphalt road is virtually traffic-free and enjoys spectacular views down to Mostar and the surrounding hills before descending to the charming town of Blagaj, situated at the spring of the Buna river and a historical tekke (Dervish monastery). Enjoy lunch then ride the next flat 15kms to the utterly charming town of Mostar. Mostar is best known for its iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), from which locals dive into the River Neretva. This is a tradition for local boys, who are said to have a lifetime of bad luck if they do not complete the jump in order to become a man. It's a beautiful spot to kick back by the river, enjoy a Bosnian coffee and watch the divers and the world go by. Ride: approx. 31 kms/19 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 220 metres/720ft of elevation gain.
Day 6 Location: Mostar
Prepare for a real treat riding a section of the Ciro Trail, a new trail trail that follows an old Austro-Hungarian railway track running from Dubrovnik to Mostar. Stretching more than 140 kilometres, this well-maintained track traverses some truly wild, spectacular landscapes while winding through long-abandoned villages. It's touted as an 'open-air museum', and was partly funded by the EU in the hope of injecting some tourist dollars into the local economy. You'll ride approx. 35 kilometres of the trail to the cosmopolitan city of Čapljina before visiting the ancient Roman ruins of Mogorjelo villa, crossing the canyon and cycling back to medieval town of Počitelj. After a short visit (and perhaps a quick coffee while the bikes are loaded onto the trailer) drive back to Mostar, where you can continue exploring the alleys, bars and restaurants in search of a hidden gem. Ride: approx 40-45kms/25-28 miles, undulating with approx. 270m/885ft of elevation gain
Day 7 Location: Sarajevo
Start the day with an approximately 120 kilometre drive north towards Sarajevo, the intriguing capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and you'll begin cycling from Igman, the site for several events including the ski jump. More importantly, Igman was the only lifeline into Sarajevo during its thousand-day blockade during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s. Weather permitting, the group will take the same route as many Sarajevans did, over Igman and finishing at beautiful Vrelo Bosne (springs of Bosna River) in the suburbs of Sarajevo. The views are phenomenal on a clear day. After lunch, and a little time to explore in Vrelo Bosne we’ll load the bikes up and drive into Sarajevo proper, arriving with enough time for your leader will take you on an orientation walk of this fascinating city before an optional farewell dinner with your group. Ride: approx. 30 kms/18 miles, mostly downhill with approx. 200 metres/650ft of elevation gain.
Day 8 Location: Sarajevo
Your Balkan cycling adventure comes to an end today. There are no planned activities or rides, so you're free to depart anytime before noon.
Dates
Prices
Availability
Departure Date:
28MAY2022
Return Date:
04JUN2022
2440NZD
available
Departure Date:
02JUL2022
Return Date:
09JUL2022
2440NZD
available
Departure Date:
23JUL2022
Return Date:
30JUL2022
2540NZD
available
Departure Date:
06AUG2022
Return Date:
13AUG2022
2440NZD
available
Departure Date:
20AUG2022
Return Date:
27AUG2022
2540NZD
available
Departure Date:
03SEP2022
Return Date:
10SEP2022
2540NZD
available
Departure Date:
17SEP2022
Return Date:
24SEP2022
2540NZD
available
Departure Date:
01OCT2022
Return Date:
08OCT2022
2440NZD
available
Last modified (date)

08 Sep 2021

Trip title

Cycle the Balkans

Trip code

ZMXY

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2022

Introduction

Get your legs moving on a Balkan cycling adventure from Dubrovnik to Sarajevo. Taking in stunning scenery on the coast and inland, this trip will take you riding through three fascinating countries – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Tackle challenging climbs, scenic flats and a new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line, finishing in the intriguing, yet sobering, city of Sarajevo, with visits to Mostar and other picturesque towns on the way.

Style

Original

Themes

Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle (e-bike option available,subject to availability)

Physical Rating

3

Physical preparation

PHYSICAL PREPARATION There are regular rest breaks each day, however it is important to note that you will be riding over multiple and consecutive days in a climate and terrain that may be unfamiliar. While it can be tempting to start out riding as hard and fast as you can (we get it!) we recommend taking it easy on the first few days while your body gets used to the rides and the climate. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it. Prepare for the trip by doing aerobic type exercises before travelling - jogging or swimming are some options, though cycling is best. If possible take some extended day rides before travelling, or spend time on exercise bikes in the gym. The more your muscles (and bottom) are prepared for the riding on this trip the more you will be able to enjoy the wonderful countryside and people you meet while riding. Note that an enthusiasm for bike riding and adventure is essential! It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle, both solo and in a group environment. CYCLING DISTANCES: The information listed in the itinerary is a guide to the approximate distances and terrain cycled each day. However, this may vary depending on the physical capabilities of the group, and changes to local conditions. For safety reasons we only cycle during daylight hours, so there may be some early morning starts. We take regular rest breaks throughout cycling days.

Joining point

Hostel Sol

Obala Ivana Pavla II 13

Dubrovnik

CROATIA

Phone: +385 20610300

Joining point description

Hostel Sol is located 450 metres from Gruz Port from which you can access ferries to surrounding islands. Frequent city buses connect the hostel to Pile Gate at the entrance of the old town. Alternatively you can take a taxi, or walk (about 30 minutes). The hostel has free Wi-Fi, comfortable modern rooms, TV and air-conditioning.

Joining point instructions

Taxis are readily available outside the arrivals area at Dubrovnik Airport (airport code DBV). Alternatively an airport bus meets all arriving flights. From the final stop of the airport bus at Pile Gate you can catch city bus 1a, 1b or 1c directly to Hostel Sol. Pre booked arrival transfer from Dubrovnik Airport (DBV): If you have pre booked an arrival transfer, your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall, holding a board with Intrepid's Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +385 98 285 298 or +385 99 2129 789.

Finish point

Hotel Libris

Bentbasa 7

Sarajevo

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Phone: 00387 33863076

Finish point description

Hotel Libris is located in the heart of Sarajevo, 300m from Bascarsija Street. Each room at Hotel Libris is equipped with free Wi-Fi, TV, and en suite facilities.

Finish point instructions

Sarajevo Airport (SJJ) is located approximately 10-15 minutes drive from the Hotel Libris. We are happy to arrange a departure transfer for you at an additional cost. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your tour. Alternatively, a taxi service can be arranged locally and you can expect to pay approximately EUR10 (depending on the time of day you are travelling). Please ask at the hotel reception for assistance arranging a taxi.

Important information

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. This does not include night 4 in Pluzine. Please ask your booking agent for more information. 2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike. 3. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home. 4. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. 5. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed bookiing. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking. 6. Due to health and safety concerns around the traffic we take local taxis rather than cycle up to/down from the Ostrog Monastery on Day 3

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Our cycling leaders are all passionate cyclists, as you’d expect, but they also go through some pretty rigorous cycle-trip specific training. Each one has undergone on-road training and supervision and knows how to do safety checks, basic repairs and emergency first-aid. And at the end of the day they’re still regular Intrepid leaders, which means they will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you wear shoes that cover the toes while riding. SUPPORT VEHICLES We usually have a support vehicle following us if first-aid is ever necessary or people are feeling too tired to ride. BIKES: Our bikes are serviced regularly, and we get them checked by experts before each and every trip. Should you choose to bring your own please note that while we are happy to assist where we can with repairs you are responsible for the safety and suitability of your own equipment. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! There are times when traffic conditions make sections of our planned riding route unsafe – in this instance we will use the support vehicle. WEATHER Due to inclement weather posing a serious health or safety issue there may be times when we use the support vehicle instead of doing the planned ride. We will endeavour to reroute if possible but at times may have to cancel the planned ride.

On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker to help ensure that the group stays together.

Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

SCAMS Common scams operating in Europe include ploys to get you fined on the metro without a validated ticket. Ensure that you always travel with a validated ticket (have your ticket stamped). Another common scam is used by children who distract you with a map or a newspaper and while you are attending to them, steal your valuables. You may also come across players offering you to participate in the so-called "shell game". This is a scam and you will most certainly lose your money.

Visas

PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. CROATIA VISA Visas for Croatia are not required for passport holders of the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. All other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities. CROATIA COVID-19 ENTRY & EXIT REQUIREMENTS For the latest update of what is required in order to enter Croatia, please check your government's foreign travel advice as well as visit the following website: https://croatia.hr/en-GB/coronavirus-2019-ncov-q-and-a Requirements include proof that your holiday in Croatia has been paid in full, a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival OR vaccination certificate and an online entry form. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for travel to and from Croatia as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. Most air passengers are now required to get a COVID-19 test within 3 days of boarding their return flight. This includes citizens returning to their home country after their travels. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before they board otherwise boarding will be denied. We are able to facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip when your group is in Croatia. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as book appointments for all travelers who need to be tested.

Why we love it

Cycle past some of the most inspiring natural landscapes in Europe, from stunning beaches to towering mountains.

Explore three fascinating countries by bike

Witness Mostar's famous bridge divers hurl themselves from the stones of a bridge that has spanned the river here for centuries

Cycle the Ciro Trail, new rail trail following the now defunct Austro-Hungarian railway line.

Is this trip right for you

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker. While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short (the longest ride is only 60 kilometres) the terrain of the Balkans is naturally hilly and the climate often warm. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip, but remember we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day. As our riding is done mostly on sealed roads with the occasional gravel cycle path there are no technical cycling skills required. Given there will be hills, we do suggest practicing riding downhill so you are comfortable with this once the trips begins. There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way, a puncture here and there, but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure. As there are cobblestones and many stairs in most European towns, and space in our support van is limited, it's strongly recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead. You'll be spending your nights in hotels at each step on this tour, ranging from comfortable to basic levels, but always authentic and a great opportunity to interact with the locals and fellow travellers alike. Hotels in Europe often don't have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together. The weather in this region can vary depending on the season. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.

Health

GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 CYCLING HEALTH Riding across unfamiliar terrain in weather conditions that you are not used to can potentially lead to cycling-related health issues. By far the most common issue is that of dehydration. While this is most common on warm/hot days, it is also a factor during cold weather as you continue to sweat. Research shows most riders will typically lose 500-1000 ml of water per hour. While we schedule in frequent rest stops and encourage you to refill water bottles at every opportunity, it is the responsibility of each cyclist to monitor their own levels of hydration while cycling. The key point to remember is not to wait until you’re thirsty but to drink small amounts regularly from the start of your ride. Adding an electrolyte solution can aid in replenishing the salts/electrolytes lost through physical activity. This is especially important on days when you are drinking a lot of the bike.

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though. VEGETARIANS Vegetarians might find the menu selection in Europe less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and generally the choices are basic, involving vegetables, soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans and those on gluten-free diets may find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for any included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own. BREAKFASTS There are some continental breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar).

Money matters

CURRENCY The official currency of Croatia is the Croatian Kuna (HRK). CASH The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money in Europe is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied. You can withdraw local currencies easily at airports, major train stations and most city centres, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. We recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. BUDGET Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. We suggest EUR 350.00 for meals not included on this trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: In local markets and basic restaurants and cafes - round your bill up to the nearest €1. In more up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill. Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides. You may also have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers. You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €4-€5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to purchase or hire appropriate helmets locally so you will need to bring your own - please check the 'Important Notes' section to see if this is the case. • Padded bike shorts • Quick-dry jerseys – you can definitely get away with a few cotton t-shirts but having a few light and breathable jerseys will make your cycling a lot more comfortable, especially in warmer/humid climates. • Quick-dry socks • Cycling gloves – not essential but recommended as padded cycle gloves will make your riding more comfortable and can help protect you in case of a fall. • Rain gear – pack a light poncho in case the weather turns when you’re out on the road • Light breathable waterproof/windproof – especially useful for those early mornings or downhill sections when the wind-chill becomes a factor. • Water bottle – we don't provide bottles but all our bikes have one bottle holder fitted (and a second one can be fitted if required). Please bring a cycling-specific water bottle as other types will fall out of the holders. A Camelbak will make drinking on-the-go easier. • Sunglasses – well fitted sports sunglasses help protect against dust, insects and (of course) the sun • Day pack – our support vehicle will carry your main bag, but a day pack for snacks and clothes is a good idea. • Suncream – please bring a high protection factor (e.g. SPF 50) sunscreen as long days in the saddle can really expose you to the sun • Shoes – normal sports shoes can be worn on all of our trips however you may want to consider a flat shoe with a relatively stiff sole as it makes pedalling a lot more efficient. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own cycling-specific shoes however we recommended 'mountain bike' style shoes that have grip on the sole rather than road bike' shoes as you will still be walking around while on the rides (cafe/photo/toilet stops, etc.). For safety reasons we require that you wear shoes that completely cover the toes while riding. • Saddles – are saddles are standard, unisex models –less experienced cyclists may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring your own saddle – our leader will assist in fitting it to your bike • Pedals – all bikes come with flat pedals. Regular cyclists are welcome to bring their own pedals – our leader will assist in fitting them to your bike As space in our support vehicle/transport can be limited we request that you bring only a small luggage bag with you rather than larger bags or suitcases.

PACKING On this trip you must pack as lightly as possible because you will be expected to carry your own bag and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we strongly recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps to accommodate the cobbled streets, uneven surfaces, stairs and steps you are lightly to encounter while carrying your luggage. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips. You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Climate and seasonal

SUMMER Summer temperatures can be extreme in many of the regions visited (over 40°C), which can be uncomfortable. It’s important to use sun protection and drink plenty of water. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season. SHOULDER SEASON In contrast, weather in shoulder season can be unpredictable, and snow is not unheard of at higher altitudes. If you travel at the start or towards the end of the European season please pack accordingly with warm and/or waterproof clothes (preferably layers). The advantage of travelling during this time is that there are less tourists around.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage While we do accept children under 18 on this trip we do have a couple of rules. From a safety and enjoyment perspective they should be confident and competent cyclists capable of completing the riding part of the itinerary without additional assistance. Minors under 18 years old must always be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. This includes when the minor rides in the support vehicle.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Operations Team can be reached on the number listed below: Peak Europe: +49 8677 9186 657

Responsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller DRESS CODE In general, there are few dress restrictions in Europe. Note when visiting churches, monasteries or other religious sites modest dress is required - shorts or skimpy tops may not be permitted, for both men and women.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Intrepid and Bicycles For Humanity At Intrepid, we know a bike can changes lives. Provide a person in the developing world with a bike and it means they can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load. The extra mobility and distance gained from using a bike can make all the difference when seeking medicine or trying to find work. This is why we’ve partnered with Bicycles for Humanity to help provide bikes to communities in Namibia, Africa. Bicycles for Humanity takes bikes we no longer use, repairs them, packs them up and ships them off to the African continent in 40-foot containers. These containers then become bike workshops on arrival – a place of employment, education and business for the communities who receive them. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres are self-sustaining, micro-financed small businesses and a massive step towards financial independence for the community. We also help by donating a portion of each booking of our cycling trips directly to Bicycles for Humanity, as well as using our network of contacts to bring greater exposure to the amazing work the volunteer team do every day at Bicycles for Humanity. We are also proud to have Bicycles for Humanity as a partner of The Intrepid Foundation, where our financial support will go directly towards purchasing containers and shipping bikes to Namibia. Every donation to The Intrepid Foundation from our travellers is matched by us dollar for dollar. To find out more or to make a donation, visit The Intrepid Foundation website.

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin share basis (unless noted otherwise in the day-to-day itinerary). Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. FACILITIES Your accommodation may not always have private en suite facilities or air-conditioning. European hotels generally don't provide kettles or fridges.

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of course an option for those that would prefer not to cycle for an hour or a day. These vehicles range from a minivan in most regions up to a full sized coach or overland vehicle in others. Your main luggage is transported in the support vehicle INCLUDED BICYCLE TYPE On this trip we use 2017 Felt 7 Fifty mountain bikes. Please note that due to legal restrictions our support vehicles in Europe seat a maximum of 8 people (excluding the driver) so with a larger group there may be times when the vehicle has to make two journeys. If this occurs the tour leader will find a suitable place for the remainder of the group to wait until the vehicle returns. We endeavour to make this wait as short as possible and appreciate your patience. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an 'on request' basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking. RENTAL E-BIKES Our Europe rental e-bikes are the 2018 Felt NINE E-20, which you may request in the following sizes: Extra Small, Small, Medium & Large. Please provide your height at time of booking so the correct size can be arranged. Sizes are limited, so confirmation is subject to availability. For further details on sizing please see https://www.feltbicycles.com/International/Catalog/Bikes/electric/mountain/ninee-20.aspx BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE While we’re confident in the quality and suitability of the bikes we include, we do recognise that sometimes you just need the comfort of your own bike to enjoy the ride. If you are thinking of bringing your own bike on this tour please advise us at time of booking and take note of the below information. If you do choose to bring your own bike please note that we will not being carrying a spare bike for you. SUITABLE TYPE OF BIKE Although the surfaces of the roads we travel on is generally good there are occasionally gravel or potholed sections of road/track. As such, we recommend a 'mountain' or 'hybrid' style bike with plenty of gear selections for easy cruising. Please note that we usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our tours as often they are too large for our transport. In some destinations we are able to make an exception. Please ask your booking agent. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike. BEFORE THE TRIP We recommend that you have a full service of your bike performed by a trained mechanic, to help minimise any issues you may have during the trip itself. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. DURING THE TRIP Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the bike support vehicle or on the bike trailer. While we endeavour to take the best care we can, you should recognise that transported bikes do get the occasional bump or scratch along the way. The same applies when we take other forms of transport, such as a train, where we are unable to pack the bikes ourselves.Your bike will also be secured in the same way as our included bikes. Please note this can occasionally be outside (where the bikes are locked together). While our mechanics can usually assist with minor repairs, you are responsible for the safety and upkeep of your own bicycle. This includes conducting regular safety checks of your bike during the trip and cleaning your bike. In addition, any parts that require replacing are your responsibility. Most destinations have access to only limited spares along the way, and access to bike shops can be days apart. Therefore, please ensure you bring any spare parts that you may require (especially specialist parts). In order to reach our destination it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. Please be aware that any extra costs involved with transporting personal bikes are your responsibility. This includes (but is not limited to) additional transport costs and customs/import fees. TRANSPORTING YOUR BIKE TO/FROM THE DESTINATION Your preferred airline should have no problem carrying your bike, but many will charge an extra fee. Contact them before departing to discuss their arrangements for transporting bikes. A well-padded bike box obtainable from a bike shop is usually the best method of plane transportation. We recommend that you accompany your bicycle on the flight. Unaccompanied bicycles have been known to spend some extra days in the hands of customs authorities. Please also note that many taxis are not large enough to transport a bike box/bag so you may be delayed waiting for a suitably sized vehicle. INCLUDED OR HIRE BIKES: CONDITIONS OF USE You must not mistreat the bicycle and must return it in the same condition as when you received it (excepting ordinary wear and tear). You should immediately inform the supplier in the case of breakdown or loss. The provider is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the bicycle during the period of hire. You must also make sure that the bicycle is secured when not in use. If the equipment is lost or stolen you may be liable for the replacement value of the bicycle. The bicycle remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, rent out or part possession with the bicycle. You must not use the bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. Please note single supplement excludes: Day 4 - Pluzine

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MUSEUM VISITS & OPENING TIMES Please note that many sights, attractions and museums are closed on Mondays (and sometimes even Tuesdays). We recommend you carefully consider which sites and museums you are going to want to visit and that you do some research and make your reservations in advance where required/possible.

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights),Guesthouse (1 night)

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