Montenegro - Ride the Black Mountain
Montenegro (or Crna Gora in Serbian) means "Black Mountain". That name dates back to the 14th Century when Black Mountain referred to only one small part of the country. Today's Montenegro is only about 50% larger then the island of Corsica. It has a population of 600,000. Like Corsica, Montenegro rides big.
Our tour starts in Schkoder, Albania and ends in Cavtat, Croatia. Montenegro rides between the two. Schkoder is not far from the Albanian capital of Tirana and Cavtat is close to the Dubrovnik, Croatia. That makes it easy for anyone to combine the Montenegro tour with our Albania tour, which immediately precedes it and/or tack on some time for their individual explorations around Dubrovnik after the tour ends. Cavtat is close enough to Dubrovnik that you can reach it by ferry boat.
Day 1 - Schkoder, Albania
The tour starts in Schkoder. For those who are traveling to Schkoder from Tirana, we will arrange transportation. The trip to Schkoder takes a couple hours. Schkoder, whose origins date back at least to the 3rd century BC, lies on the edge of Lake Schkoder, the largest lake on the Western Balkan Peninsula. You will have time to check out the town including the attractive main pedestrian street full of cafes and shops.
Day 2 - Virpazar, Montenegro
We bike straight from our hotel past the Razafa Fortress overlooking the Buna River on to the Montenegrin Border crossing. After the border we have a climb that takes us to the South side of Lake Schkoder where we descend to the small lakeside enclave of Virpazar.
Day 3- Kolasin, Montenegro
We will take a short vehicle transfer to avoid the traffic in and around Podgorica. We start the bike ride at Bioce on a small, traffic free road that takes us up a valley. On the opposite side of the valley is a portion of the 300 mile long Bar- Belgrade train line which, in total, includes no less than 254 tunnels and 451 bridges. Before, leaving the valley, the train line goes over the 500 meter long Mala Rijeka bridge before disappearing into a mountain. We don't have any such bridges or tunnels on our route (thank goodness) and continue up and over the mountain before descending down to the popular ski town of Kolasin. Kolasin lies at 954 meters and sits at the base of the Bjelasica and Sinjajevina Mountains.
Day 4 - Zabljak, Montenegro
We continue to make our way into the sparsely populated North. It's very likely that we will see more sheep than people on our way towards Zabljak. Our route will take us through a section of the 51 mile long Tara Gorge, which, at it's deepest, is the deepest in Europe. If you like, you can test out one of the zip lines that runs across it (optional, of course). We climb out of the Canyon and stay overnight in Zabljak, which is the premier destination in all of Northern Montenegro. Zabljak lies in the center of the Durmitor Mountain region and, at 1456 meters elevation, is the highest situated town in the Balkans.
We continue South to Niksic. Niksic, with a population of 60,000, is the second largest city in Montenegro and an important cultural and educational center. We stay within walking distance of the Orthodox Cathedral and the action on the main pedestrian street in town.
We depart Niksic to the south on small country roads which take us up to the impossibly situated Ostrog Monastery, which is part of the Serbian Orthodox Church. How anyone could have built a Monastery in this location is remarkable. Everyone is free to be blessed here. Even if you don't receive a blessing inside you will be blessed with the remarkable view of the Bjelopavlići plain below. The monastery is one of the most frequently visited places in the Balkans. From the monastery we have a great ride down to the small town of Danilovgrad. Danilovgrad is peaceful and features a nice town square.
We head West out of Danilovgrad and immediately start to climb. The road is small and there will be virtually no traffic. There are a few very small towns where you can take a break and grab a bite to eat. Eventually, we make our way to Kotor. The Bay of Kotor is as nice a natural harbor as you can imagine. There is a lot of history here and the old town is worth absorbing so we have a rest day scheduled for Kotor.
Day 8 - Kotor, Montenegro
This is a good place to relax. We'll plan to stay in the Old Town which is closed to traffic (bikes are ok). You earned it.
We will bike around the Bay of Kotor and the cross the border into Croatia. Cavtat is a nice on the coast town adjacent to the Dobrovnik Airport. It also is close enough to Dubrovnik so you can make it a day trip if you like.
9 nites accommodations.
Dinners (except in Schkoder, Kotor and Cavtat)
Transport of baggage
Stocked Sag Vehicle.
Transfer from Tirana to the ride start in Schkoder.
Visas (none are needed are needed for Albania, Montenegro or Croatia).
Beer, wine, booze
Lunches are excluded. There are many places to stop and eat along the way and food is relatively inexpensive.
Immunizations from your doctor or travel clinic
Airport transfer from Cavtat to Dobrovnik Airport - easy to arrange - we will give you instructions.