Cycle, Hike & Kayak the Dalmatian Coast

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Cycle, Hike & Kayak the Dalmatian Coast
Duration:
9
Days
Priced from:
3099.00
USD

Cycle, Hike & Kayak the Dalmatian Coast

Trip Overview

(Biking, Hiking and Kayaking)  From the stone walls of Dubrovnik to the beautiful surrounding archipelago, the Western Balkans are the perfect place for an active local living adventure. Over the course of 9-days, you'll discover Croatia and Montenegro's cultural and natural charms, spending your days actively exploring the area and immersing yourself into the local culture.  Enjoy homemade meals in all three countries and spend your nights in character-rich, family-run guesthouses. Admire panoramic views of the Dalmatian coast and mountains as you bike between villages, farms and vineyards of the Peljesac penninsula. Learn how to cook Croatian dishes with a local family and sample regional wines and olive oils right at the vineyard. Hike and bike around the sea-fed lakes and dense pine forest of Mljet Island's National Park. Learn about farming oysters and mussels before having a picnic-style lunch of the freshly harvested shellfish, accompanied by local wines and liqueurs. Kayak across the stunning Bay of Kotor to explore mysterious Cold War-era tunnels and 14th century fishing settlements.

WOW FACTORS

  • Have homemade meals with families in Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro
  • Sample oysters and mussels that were harvested in front of your eyes
  • Kayak across the Bay of Kotor at sunset to local fishing villages and Cold War-era tunnels

Difficulty Level

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Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Dubrovnik
Arrival
Our Western Balkan adventure begins in Dubrovnik, a beautiful walled medieval city wedged between the Adriatic Sea and the mountains of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Upon arrival you will be met by a BikeHike Adventures representative and transferred to a cozy local B&B. The rest of the day is at leisure until the early evening when we’ll meet for a traditional Dalmatian dinner.

Meals: Dinner

Day 2

Konavle
Biking
We start with a hearty homemade breakfast and then have a short drive to the village of Gruda. From here we get our bikes fitted and adjusted to our liking before setting off for a 35km/21mi bike ride along the Konavle Valley. The route veers past the Ljuta River and fertile farmlands of vineyards. We have a good climb to the small villages above the valley as we head towards Pridvorje. We make a stop along the way to a family home, where we have a tasting of local liquors and wine. Afterwards, we have a cooking class of local cuisine that we will feast on for today's lunch. Later, we return to Dubrovnik for some free time before dinner and overnight in the same comfortable B&B. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Herzegovina
Biking
This morning we have a 20 minute shuttle to the town of Ivanica on the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina,  This part of southern Bosnia and Herzegovina is very rural with old traditional villages. There is an old abandoned Austrian railroad here that crosses the border and goes through the valley of Popovo Polje, before continuing on to southern Croatia. The last train was in 1970 and since then the tracks were lifted and the route has been paved. During the last war between the Croats and the Serbs this was a war zone and there are still many reminders of that time with devastated villages, houses, and war bunkers. Today however this area is beautiful and the way of rural life here is much less developed than in other parts of Europe. Our base is in the small village of Zavala, where there are only 15 inhabitants. We stay in very unique accommodations, the old railway station which was destroyed during the war but has recently been renovated and reopened into a small hotel. We'll have some time to wander through the village and explore the Vjetrenica cave and Zavala, a 15th century mona. Dinner tonight will be at the B&B restaurant which is superb.

Biking: 44 km / 27 mi 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Zavala - Ston
Hiking
After breakfast we pack our bikes and luggage into our vehicle and drive through the hilly Popovo Polje valley to the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and the town of Ston. We'll stop at our hotel to unload our bags and then drive to the village of Ponikve. From here we follow the old Napoleonic road down to the valley of Ston. There are stone vineyards and Mediterranean gardens scattered along the road. From the crest above the valley there are fantastic views of Mljet Island, Ston Bay with its oyster farms and many small islands, and also the forts and city walls of Ston. Once we hike down to the valley the winery owner will meet us and take us back to the village of Ponikve and to his winery. We'll have a tasting of his excellent wines, as well as sample extra virgin olive oil and herbal teas all produced on his property. Afterwards we'll drive to Hodilje where we'll embark on the boat of a local oyster producer. We'll sail along the bay dotted with oyster and mussel farms, docking on a small island where we'll be shown the technique of farming shellfish. Then it's time for a picnic lunch of  mussel buzara (a traditional stew) plus oysters and homemade wines and liqueurs. We'll then return to Ston and have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure to explore this walled city. We'll meet for dinner around 7pm. Overnight in a cozy B&B. 

Hiking: 10 km / 6 mi 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Mljet Island
Hiking
We have an early morning today with a 7:00am ferry to Mljet Island, one of the many islands of Dalmatia. The ferry ride is 45 minutes along the Adriatic Sea with beautiful views of mountainous islands scattered in the sea.  Once we reach the port of Sobra, we'll drive to the National Park of Mljet. We'll stop at our hotel, unload our gear and freshen up and then hike along a path above the town in the direction of  Montokuc peak, the highest peak in the park at 1100 feet/335 meters. The vistas from the top are spectacular with salt lakes, lush Mediterranean vegetation and small villages. On the way down we follow a path to the salt lakes and then to the port of Pristaniste where we'll take a water taxi to St. Mary island on the lakes. We'll have lunch here and then water taxi back to Pristaniste and walk back to our hotel.  The remainder of the day is free before a group dinner in the evening. Overnight at a cozy B&B on Mljet Island. 

Hiking: 13 km / 8 mi 
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Mljet Island - Herceg Novi
Sea Kayaking
This morning we take the 9:00am ferry from Mljet back to the Peljesac peninsula. Once we reach the port of Prapratno we'll drive along the coast to Herceg Novi in Montenegro. The drive is two hours. Herceg Novi is the Bay of Kotor’s youngest town, established in the 13th century and its Old Town and three fortresses (one Spanish, one Turkish and one Italian) stand guard to the entrance to the Bay of Kotor at the foot of the imposing Mount Orjen, the highest coastal peak of the Dinaric chain.  We'll have our first  Montenegrin lunch in the Old Town next to the harbour. We will sample the traditional coastal dishes such as black risotto (freshly caught kalamari and the ink used to colour the rice) and Sopska salad (feta cheese and cucumber). After lunch we'll check into our hotel and prepare for a late afternoon / sunset kayaking tour. We'll gear up with sit-on-top sea kayaks and our guide will give an instructional paddle. Then we'll set off paddling across the bay to the small fishing village of Rose and then onwards towards the entrance to the Bay with options to explore the Cold War era submarine tunnels or pull up on one of the tiny beaches and enjoy a swim. We'll paddle back towards Herceg Novi as the sun sets and enjoy the spectacular view of Mount Orjen and the other peaks around the Bay as the rock turns from grey to pink as the sun sets. After the kayak tour the evening is free to explore the historic Old Town and waterfront areas with many different restaurant choices. Overnight at a comfortable family-run hotel in Herceg Novi.

Kayaking: 3.5 - 4 hrs
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7

Vrmac Ridge
Hiking
After breakfast we depart by road for a 55 minute drive, including small car ferry crossing, to the small town of Gornja Lastva on the mountainside above Tivat.  From the village, we will start our hike to the spectacular Vrmac Ridge, with far reaching views to both Kotor Bay and Tivat Bay as well as the Adriatic Sea. We will hike along the ridge towards Kotor using the pathways and trails constructed during the Austro-Hungarian occupation more than 100 years ago that form part of  the Montenegrin Coastal Transversal route. At Trojica, we descend again on the switchback pathways into Kotor. The path is in good condition for most of the way but some parts may be overgrown.  The ascent has some shade and there is also some shade on the hike’s descent, towards the end of the route. After the hike, we will have some leisure time to explore the sights and sounds of Kotor’s historic walled town with its narrow traffic free streets, piazzas and cafes before heading back to Herceg Novi. Departing from Kotor by road, we’ll have the chance to visit Perast and its historic waterfront and small monastery islands before heading back to Herceg Novi. Tonight, we’ll enjoy an evening meal with a local family in their homestead just outside Herceg Novi on the lower slopes of Mount Orjen. We’ll feast on locally grown and produced food, tasting wines and taking short hikes in the surrounding area to learn about the local herbs used for making tea and medicines. Over 1000 different types of herbs grow on Mount Orjen alone. A typical accompaniment to drink with the wines is the local ham which is cured on the mountains and a cheese which is soaked and cured in olive oil. Another delicious and popular method of cooking food is to use a ‘sac’. This is an iron pot with a lid which is buried inside the ashes of the fire and traditionally almost anything can be cooked in a ‘sac’.  Overnight in the same family-run hotel in Herceg Novi. 

Hiking: 9-13 km / 5.5 - 8 mi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8

Herceg Novi - Dubrovnik
Hiking
Today we hike from Herceg Novi on the ancient Austro-Hungarian pathway to the small village of Zlijebi and to the little church of St Nikola, patron saint of sailors, which watches across the entrance to the bay. Zlijebi is located 2500 feet above the bay and the views are spectacular ! The total hike is 13 kms/8 mi. We'll start with a 10 minute drive to the trail head, cutting out the town. After visiting the village we'll ascend by foot another 350 feet on the old trail and then descend to the village of Kameno to a small village which is just a few kms from the Croatian border. Lunch is a picnic on the trail and we'll meet our driver for a drive back to Croatia, and into Dubrovnik. Our Croatian guide will greet us at the hotel, and once everyone is freshened up from our last day of adventure, we'll meet for a group farewell dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 9

Dubrovnik
Departure
We have breakfast in our hotel and then have a group transfer back to Dubrovnik for onward flights home. 

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all accommodation (twin shared), all internal transportation, Cannondale CAAD8 Road Bikes or Trek 8.2 Dual Sport Hybrid bikes, airport transfers and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport taxes, gratuities, meals not included, and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 8 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Croatia

The climate in Croatia varies from Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast to continental inland. The high coastal mountains help to shield the coast from cold northerly winds, making for an early spring and late autumn. In spring and early summer a sea breeze called the meastral keeps the temperature down along the coast. Winter winds include the cold bura from the north and the humid siroko from the south. The sunny coastal area experience hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters, while the interior regions are cold in winter and warm in summer. Because of a warm current flowing up the Adriatic coast, sea temperatures never fall below 10°C in winter and are as high as 26°C in August. You can swim in the sea from mid-June until late September.

May to September: Dry, hot summer. Average afternoon temperatures range 25 to 29°C (77 to 85°F). A warm, northward flowing sea current along the coast makes swimming possible from early May to late September.

Travel Documents

Citizens from Canada and the USA require a valid passport to enter Croatia. Citizens of other nations should check with their nearest Croatian Embassy for entry requirements. You must have a valid passport for at least six months beyond the conclusion of your trip in order to enter. A travel visa is not required if travelling with a Canadian or American passport. Citizens of other nations should check with their nearest Croatian Embassy for visa requirements.

Food and Water

The Croatian diet is influenced by its varied climate, landscape, and neighboring cultures. The Adriatic coast is renowned for the variety of seafood dishes, including shellfish and mixed fish stewed with rice. Dishes made from chicken, beef, pork, and lamb are common throughout Croatia, especially inland and in rural areas. An inland specialty is strukli (a salt or sweet-cheese strudel, boiled or in a casserole.) Wine is the most popular drink with a meal. Also popular are fruit drinks, mineral water and beer.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip. These trips include 4-5 hours of physical activity throughout the day, with many breaks along the way. The biking portions of BikeHike Adventure’s trips are the most cardiovascular portions of the trips, but there are always support vehicles available on our BikeHike trips. During the biking section, our travellers don’t have to carry anything on their backs as any packs can be carried in the support vehicle. During the hiking portions of the trip, the most you would have to carry on your back is a daypack.

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The age range on this trip is typically from 35-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Dubrovnik, Croatia. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip, although there is a group dinner arranged in the evening. You can depart Dubrovnik anytime on day 9.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

While most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active teenagers. This trip is generally good for older children or teenagers. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

This trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS 
For reasons stated above, BikeHike prefers small hotels that showcase the character of Croatia and Montenegro. Often times, these hotels are family run, like the one we will be staying in Herceg Novi. 

In Zavala, we will get the unique opportunity to stay in an old railway station, which was destroyed during the war but has recently been renovated and reopened into a small hotel.

B&B (GUESTHOUSE)
We will also stay in some charming European B&Bs (guesthouses) throughout most of the trip. In these, the experience will be of living as a local rather on the common style of western living, and these may be more basic than western style standard B&Bs. However, the accommodation will be comfortable and cozy. In fact, often times, these stays are a highlight of the trip as they really connect you to the small places where you’ll be visiting. For example, we stay in a cozy B&B in Ston, a small city with less than 2500 inhabitants as well as on Miljet Island, whose population is roughly 1000 people. These are places one would not be able to stay and experience otherwise.   

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Aug 17 - Aug 25, 2019
  • Sep 07 - Sep 15, 2019
  • Oct 12 - Oct 20, 2019
  • Jun 13 - Jun 21, 2020
  • Jul 11 - Jul 19, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
3099.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour.  Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity
Duration
Distance Lodging Meals
1
Dubrovnik
Arrival
B & B
d
2
Konavle
Biking
35 km
21 mi
B & B
b,
l,
d
3
Herzegovina
Biking
44 km
27 mi
Hotel
b,
l,
d
4
Zavala - Ston
Hiking
10 km
6 mi
B & B
b,
l,
d
5
Mljet Island
Hiking
13 km
8 mi 
B & B
b,
l,
d
6
Mljet Island - Herceg Novi
Sea Kayaking
3.5 - 4 hrs
Hotel
b,
l
7
Vrmac Ridge
Hiking
9 - 13 km
5.5 - 8 mi
Hotel
b,
d
8
Herceg Novi - Dubrovnik
Hiking
13 km
8 mi
Hotel
b,
l,
d
9
Dubrovnik
Departure
b

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LR
Linda R
September 2, 2018

I liked being embedded with the local guide (I have friends who have been to Croatia on small cruise ships or driving tours instead), and actually having a local guide who can not only take you places but relate the history and ethos of the place makes it very special. We loved the hikes, and loved the food interactions with the local hosts. Our favorite meal was when we took the boat out of Mali Stone to see the oyster farms and feasted on the local oysters and mussels. So good!

Santa Rosa, CA, USA
JL
Jaime L
September 20, 2017

I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed with the focus on great, local food. I loved the meals we had with local families in both Croatia and Montenegro. That was second to the activities we did on a daily basis, which is why I took the trip. I enjoyed the biking, hiking, kayaking. The guides were extremely knowledgeable about the countries we were touring, and also gave excellent insight into what it's like to live in the regions. Both did an excellent job and made the tour what is was, which was excellent.

Calgary, Canada
MS
Maria S
September 17, 2017

Very detailed and personalized itinerary!! I like that we stayed and/or ate at small (family run) B&B and/or places.

Lombard, IL, USA
CV
Catherine V
June 20, 2016

What we liked best: Croatia and Montenegro - both of our guides' willingness to share their own experiences/perspectives on life in these countries.
The "foodie" experiences were top-notch (in Konavle valley, near Ston, near Herceg Novi).

Calgary, Canada
L&
Lois & Larry D
August 29, 2015

We loved the location, cycling, food was good, guide was good. The whole package worked. The best part was how Bike/Hike adapted the trip to meet our needs. Your efforts were greatly appreciated and we will continue to tell our friends about you.

Gladwyne, PA, USA
LO
Liz O
August 21, 2015

What I liked best about this trip: The physical activity combined with the wine tasting opportunities, the dinners with local families and cooking participation.

Los Angeles, CA, USA
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