Cycle Croatia & the Balkans

Trip Code: ZMXBC

Why we love it

Explore three fascinating countries by bike, Cycle through whitewashed villages and marvel at the sublime sapphire waters of the Adriatic Sea, Visit the largest island of Dalmatia, with its cypress forests, orange and olive trees, and glowing white pebble beaches, Filled with fragrant lavender, pines, fruit orchards and a towering limestone ridge, Hvar is truly stunning, Enjoy a gelato or take a refreshing dip in the sea in sunny Korcula, Traverse to the top of Srd Hil and appreciate the view of Old Dubrovnik, its harbor and the Adriatic Sea, Witness Mostar's famous bridge divers hurl themselves from the stones of a bridge that has spanned the river here for centuries

Is this trip right for me?

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 50 kilometres) the terrain of the Dalmatian Coast 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.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 1 (Split) and Day 10 (Pluzine) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so that we can ensure a suitable sized bike is arranged.
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 booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking.
6. In response to consistent client feedback, in 2022 to avoid a very early morning's transfer we will spend the night of day 2 in Supetar rather than in Bol.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, WATER BOTTLE
Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided on some of our vehicles and at some of our accommodation. Your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination, if it is you can simply refill with tap water. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day., 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., 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., BRINGING YOUR OWN BIKE
If you would like to bring your own bike please see the 'Transport' section of your Essential Trip Information.

Physical rating

3

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.

Please note that the coastal islands of Croatia are hilly and we have frequent climbs and descents on this trip. Some climbs are a long as 7kms/4 miles in length and up to 8% in gradient and require slow, steady riding to get to the top. We are confident anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can complete these sections (the views really are amazing!) but also have a support vehicle with us at all times in case anyone wants to rest or skip the harder sections.

Joining your group

Hotel Slavija, Buvinina 2, Split, CROATIA, Phone: +385 021323840

The UNESCO protected Hotel Slavija is located among the ruins of Diocletian's Palace and is within easy walking distance to all of Split's attractions, the ferry terminal and, of course, the beach. A 16th century renaissance stairway links the three floors of simple rooms, each with a private bathroom and television. There are numerous cafes and restaurants just as you step out of the hotel entrance.

Joining instructions

From Split Airport (airport code SPU) taxis are readily available. Please note that taxis will drop you at the waterfront esplanade, as vehicles can't enter the old town. You will need to cover the rest of the way on foot. Alternatively you can catch the Croatia Airlines bus which will drop you at the main bus station from where it is a 15 minute walk to the hotel. After getting off the bus or the taxi walk along the pedestrianised esplanade (Riva) with the water on your left side. Turn right into the old city (Trg Braće Radić) at the end of the palace wall, then walk through the square and exit it on the far right. This will get you to another little square. Exit this square again on the far right up the steps into a narrow alley past the 'Figa' bar. Hotel Slavija will be in front of you.

If you have pre booked an arrival transfer from Split Airport (SPU), your transfer driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall holding a board with the Intrepid Logo or your name. In case of flight cancellations, flight changes, severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact the transfer operator directly: +38 598 1397013.

Shuttle bus services from Geneva Airport offer the most appropriate way of getting to Chamonix in terms of time and efficiency. The journey between Geneva Airport and Chamonix in nine or 13-seater minibuses takes approximately 1h 40min and cost €17 - €20 (subject to change). Minibuses would operate every 2-3 hours throughout the day.

There are no direct train services from Geneva to Chamonix. Travelling from Geneva to Chamonix by train will require a minimum of 1 change.

From Chamonix Sud Bus Station, your hotel could be reached by either by foot, or with a short taxi drive.

Finishing your trip

Vamos Hotel, Mustaj-pašin mejdan 11, Sarajevo, 71000, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, Phone: +387 62 181 498

Sarajevo Airport (SJJ) is located approximately 20-25 minutes drive from the Vamos Hotel. 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.

If you have a confirmed departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends.

Alternatively, please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi or instructions to reach the airport by public transport.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 11

Lunches included: 

Dinners included: 1

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 the 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. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

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.

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).

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.

Climate & seasonal information

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.

In case of emergency

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 case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

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

Accommodations

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Throughout the trip, we request that our properties 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 or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

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/multishare basis. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

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.

Transportation

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 trip, 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 are 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. For more details on the type of roads we’ll be riding on see the ‘Physical Rating’ section of your Essential Trip Information. Please contact your booking agent if you have any questions about the suitability of your bike.

OUR BIKES
We use Cannondale Quick 6 ‘hybrid’ bikes on this trip. These bikes are a hybrid/fitness bike-style with an alloy frame, flat bars, rim brakes, a fixed front fork and 21 gears. For more specific information please see https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/active/fitness/quick/quick-6

We usually cannot accept tandem bikes on our trips as they are often too large for our transport. In some destinations we can make an exception. Please ask your booking agent if you are interested in bringing a tandem 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. Please also ensure that you have specific and adequate cover for loss, damage or theft for your bike under your travel, home and contents or specialist insurance policy.

DURING THE TRIP
Your bike will be transported in the same way as our included bikes, usually in the 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 be secured in the same way as our included bikes. This can occasionally be outside the vehicle (where the bikes are locked together).

In order to reach our destination, it is necessary for us to travel via various modes of transportation, including planes and trains. 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.

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).

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.

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.


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