Route: Balkans and Adriatic Explorer
Duration:18 days / 16 Riding Days
Countries Visited: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,Montenegro
Accommodation: Comfortable, very nice hotels, mostly 4 stars.
Mileage: 2.500 km (1.600 miles)
Daily rides: 200 - 410 km (125 - 255 miles). The whole tour runs on asphalt.
Introduce: This tour is a longer version of our popular Beautiful Balkans Adventure. We added rest days in Durmitor National Park and in the beautiful coastal town of Rovinj. The main addition is Zadar, the city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, known for the Roman and Venetian ruins on its peninsular old town. From Zadar we’ll boat to Kornati Island National Park, a fabulous Archipelago and UNESCO World Heritage site
NOTE:this route is provided by Adriatic moto tours
Route: Balkans and Adriatic Explorer
Welcome to Slovenia!
Your tour guide will pick you up from the airport and bring you to your hotel in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. After we get you settled in the hotel and you become acquainted with your bike, just take it easy - rest in the hotel, see the town or take a short introductory ride with the guide to get accustomed to the bike (starts at 2 PM, takes about 2 hrs). In the evening we meet for a special welcome dinner and have an informal chat to discuss the format of the tour.
Today you will begin to experience riding Central Europe as it was meant to be. After a morning of scenic riding through the back roads of lush green farmland and forests of south-east Slovenia, we’ll enter Croatia and cruise through the Dinaric plain, an unusual karst, or limestone, environment. In the late afternoon, we’ll visit fantastic Plitvice National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its sixteen lakes interconnected by waterfalls created by depositions of trav-ertine.
Today we cross into Bosnia and Herzegovina, beauti-ful country, sandwiched between northern and southern Croatia. This is the longest day of the tour but you will love every mile of it. The riding is excellent, because the roads are empty and sweep through low mountains and great stretches of open plains of Herzegovina, the southern part of the country. It’s been 20 years since the aggression stopped and travelers have long ago returned to that sce-nic country, especially to gorgeous Sarajevo. For lunch and dinner you will taste burek and cevapcici, which are both excellent Bosnian specialties.
Sarajevo, the most Oriental city in Europe, retains the es-sence of its rich history with its mosques, markets and picturesque old Turkish bazaar. Ringed by low mountains, spend a day on the roads around the city, enjoying the view of this exotic town, and exploring the sites of the 1984 Olympic Games. Or stroll to the Bascarsija bazaar in the center of the city, surrounded by small, unique shops and galleries. We can relax in a cafe and try Turkish coffee. The city’s riverfront remains largely unchanged since that fate-ful day in 1914 when Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand lost his life here.
From Sarajevo, we’ll take another empty, beautiful tour-ing route, to Mostar via Sutjeska National Park, which is home to the last primeval forest in Europe. Cruising along the Sutjeska River is an experience to remember. A medi-um-sized city among the vineyards between Sarajevo and Croatia’s Dubrovnik, Mostar was founded by the Turks in the 15th century at a strategic river crossing. There they built a stone bridge which is today one of the most famously pho-tographed World Heritage-listed sites. That night, before dinner, stroll the Old Ottoman quarter, on either side of the bridge, and meet its artists and craftsmen.
Today our direction is again east as we ride towards Monte-negro and Durmitor National Park. The road starts to climb into the low mountains, though we still pass through great open plains which afford far-reaching views into the valleys below. Set your own pace and visit Medjugorje, the second largest pilgrimage site in the world, then refresh in the waters of the massive Kravica waterfalls. Then continue to climb the narrow turns into the mountains. Durmitor is an area of massive peaks, canyons, rivers and glacial lakes, all crowned by rich evergreen forests. We’ll ride over and past the exceptional Tara River Canyon. At 1.3 km deep, it is one of the biggest and most beauti-ful in the world.
The town of Žabljak is located in the middle of Durmitor Na-tional Park, known for its emerald green lakes, great moun-tains in the Dinaric Alps and crisp fresh air. Hiking, swimming and bungee jumping are only some of the activities you can enjoy surrounded by nature. Nevertheless, the most spectacu-lar of all is definitely Tara River Canyon rafting. This amazing river with clear waters and the second deepest canyon in the world, also named the “Tear of Europe,” is simply a must do! You don’t need to be an action hero to experience the beauty of this untamed region. Just let the backroads lead you some-where unexpected.
Heading south, we’ll descend the mountains of Durmitor in great sweeping arcs until the coast comes into view. All your attention will be needed, as we follow the rugged coast of Montenegro, made memorable by the pristine views of na-ture: steep mountains above, and crystal-clear waters below. The view of the Adriatic Sea stretches far into the distance and is impossibly blue. In the afternoon, we find ourselves on the shores of the warm and pleasant coastal town of Petrovac. Petrovac has warm sandy beaches, lovely promenades and unique beachside restaurants. Here we’ll spend the evening soaking up the Mediterranean atmosphere and eating seafood.
After breakfast we’ll follow Adriatic coast further west, vis-iting peninsula of Sveti Stefan on the way, which with its hotel used to attract a celebrity clientele. We’ll ride on twisty mountain roads again and conquer Lovcen Mountain and Njegos mausoleum on top of it. In the afternoon we’ll reach Dubrovnik, the city of world-famous cultural heritage and beauty. Dubrovnik is situated in Southern Dalmatia, the most beautiful part of the Adriatic coast. Rich vegetation, beautiful lakes, rare islands, white pebble beaches and the crystal clean sea, all make this region to an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
Take a walk on top of Dubrovnik’s thick stone walls, watch the street action from a café on Placa, or stroll marble-paved squares and steep cobbled streets. Also very interesting is a full day boat trip to Mljet island, which of all Adriatic islands may be the most seductive. The highlight of the island is a lake with an islet on which there is a Benedictine monas-tery. If you feel like riding, Montenegro is within easy reach. So whether you stay around town for the whole day or you just have dinner in one of excellent restaurants, remember, you are in Dubrovnik!
In the morning we leave Dubrovnik and ride scenic costal road up north-west. You can stop in Mali Ston, famous for its defensive wall, the longest fortification in Europe, and the best seafood in Croatia. Short ferry will get us to Hvar Island, where we’ll ride the twistiest road of the whole trip. Called the “Croatian Medeira”, Hvar receives a total of 2.724 hours of sunshine each year, more than anywhere else in the country. Yet the island is luxuriantly green, with brilliant patches of lavender, rosemary and heather.
Today is all about relaxing. Explore numerous sandy beach-es on the island and swim in the crystal clear sea, do some water sports or take a boat trip to spectacular Blue Grotto - underwater opening in a coastal cave that fills with unearth-ly blue light every noon. The experience is unforgettable. Also worth exploring is medieval Hvar town with its marble streets and beautifully ornamented buildings, mostly built under Venetian rule. Restaurants and taverns in the town of Hvar offer excellent fish specialties, with exquisite local wines.
IAfter breakfast, we go for a ferry ride. Passing the scenic islands of Brac and Solta, we’ll get to Split, famous for its Diocletian’s Palace. On the way further north you can stop in the historical towns of Trogir, Primosten or Sibenik. Fi-nally, we reach the ancient city of Zadar. Once the center of Dalmatia, today Zadar is a preserved monument of various historical times and cultures
A boat trip to Kornati National Park is among the biggest highlights of the tour. Listed on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, these are the fiercest and most primi-tive islands in the whole of the Adriatic archipelago. Swept by constant winds, they appear desolate, yet remain home to a surprisingly diverse ecosystem. Visiting while traveling through Dalmatia is a bracing alternative to the daily run of historical sights, offering a real feel for the sea and some breathtaking vistas. Check up the dramatic karst-limestone formations that tower around you. Amazing!
Our seaside roller coaster ride continues along a narrow strip of land bound by imposing mountains and rugged coastline. The scenery here is truly remarkable when you have the Adriatic Sea on one hand and the steep hillsides of the Velebit mountain range on the other. We’ll make a stop in Opatija, a lush, green seaside resort town with a lovely promenade. Riding further up the coast, our final stop for the night is in Rovinj, a lovely fishing village webbed by steep, cobbled streets, its thirteen offshore islands of the Rovinj archipelago making for pleasant, varied views over dinner at a seaside restaurant.
Rovinj is one of those places you fall in love with at first sight. Located on a small peninsula, with colorful houses rising directly from the sea, the town will charm you at ev-ery turn. You can spend the day swimming, exploring the city streets with lots of quaint little shops, bars & restau-rants or climb up the bell tower in search of the best views over the city. The 15 minutes boat ride to St. Catherine’s and St. Andrew’s Islands makes for a pleasant afternoon away, revealing beautiful gardens and views over the Gold-en Cape forest area. The Roman ruins lovers can also take a ride to Pula and visit the Roman Amphitheater. It’s only about 35 km away from Rovinj.
In the morning, we’ll head inland to ride the fertile rolling hills and plains of the Istria Peninsula. We stop in Motovun, a captivating Tuscan-like little town perched on a hill where for lunch you can try the local specialty – truffles. Than we enter Slovenia once again and spend the rest of the day rid-ing day in the Karst region outside of Ljubljana. It’s a fasci-nating area of disappearing lakes, underground caves, and wonderful wineries. The road winds through green farm-land before we approach the city.
In the morning you can stroll the old part of the city, in-cluding the colourful antique market. The quaint, narrow streets along the right bank of the Ljubljanica River, with its medieval bridges, are reminiscent of Prague - without the crowds.
Depending on the time of the flight back home, you may have time to climb up the staircase to 16th century fortifi-cation of Ljubljana Castle that dominates the town before heading out to the airport.
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