Church of Saint John at Kaneo overlooking Lake Ohrid, in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. Photo via Flickr:By Inge

Interior of Saint John the Baptist (Jovan Bigorski) Monastery, near Debar, Macedonia. Photo via Wikimedia Commons:Delfina

Magnificent Macedonia

Macedonia Bike Tours

A cycling holiday through the Lake District of Southwestern Macedonia

Having just returned from this beautiful land, we can personally attest that Macedonia is the perfect place for a bike tour. This beautiful country in the Balkans is famous for its stunning nature, rich history, friendly people, and low traffic, well-maintained roads. And to top it off, prices in the Balkans are much lower than in mainstream Europe.

During this cycling holiday, you will cycle through two national parks. The routes meander along many little rivers and as much as four lakes and include a visit to Ohrid, whose old city center is part of Unesco's Nature and Cultural Heritage list. Lake Ohrid is the largest and most beautiful of Macedonia's tectonic lakes. It is 18 miles (30 km) long and 288 meters (945 feet) deep and is one of Europe's deepest and oldest lakes.

Highlights:

  • National Park of Mavrovo and National Park of Galičica
  • Ohrid Lake, city of 365 monasteries
  • Visiting the most famous monastery of the Balkans: Jovan the Bogorski
  • Skopje, capital of the country
  • Prespa Lake and pelicans (11-day tour)
  • Cycling along lakes and rivers
  • Visiting Vevchani with its unique culture and springs
  • World-renowned cuisine
  • Rakija

This tour is offered as an 8-day self-guided or 11-day guided or self-guided tour.

Skill Level

8 day (self-guided tour): This is an easy route on paved roads. The tour starts at an altitude of 1300 meters and ends at a level of approximately 700 meters. Climbs are short (maximum of 1 - 1.5 km) with maximum elevation range of 200 meters with no significant ascents or descents.
11 day (self-guided or guided tour). The route is basically the same as the 8-day tour with three extra rides of moderate level. The last 3 cycling days elevation ranges from 700 meters to 1600 meters. Climbs are long but not steep. Routes vary on these days with significant ascents and descents.

For the guided tour, the support vehicle also serves as "sag wagon" so you never need to be worried about whether you can cycle the distance.

Where You’ll Stay

2, 3, and 4 star hotels

What’s Included

  • Self-guided
  • Hotel accommodations for 7 or 10 nights
  • Breakfasts
  • One dinner in Otesevo
  • Rental bike
  • Luggage transfers
  • Detailed map
  • GPS with preloaded tracks
  • Cell phone for use in emergencies
  • Guided
  • Hotel accommodations for 10 nights
  • Luggage transfers
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches (except Day 7)
  • Bike rental
  • Van support with refreshments
  • Professional English speaking guide who cycles with the group

What’s Not Included

  • Airport transfers
  • Meals other than those indicated as included
  • Drinks other than those mentioned
  • Entry fees to attractions
  • Gratuities
  • Bicycle protection
TourBike
TypeBoth
SkillEasy–Moderate
Length8–11 days
From734 Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

8 and 11 day self guided with GPS: every day, May through October, 2016
*2 people need to confirm a guided date

11 day guided: June 28, July 12, and September 23, 2016
 

Day-To-Day Itinerary

11 Day Tour:

Day 1: Arrival
Day 2: Transfer to Mavrovo, 20 mi. (32 km), 250 hm (total ascent in height in meters)
Day 3: Mavrovo - Debar,  33 mi. (53 km) 200 hm 
Day 4: Debar-Vevcani, 30 mi. (48 km) 450 hm or 34 mi. (55 km) 700 hm
Day 5: Roundtrip, Vevcani, 22 or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km)
Day 6: Vevcani-Ohrid, 23 or 34 mi. (36 km or 55 km), 200 hm 
Day 7: Rest day or short ride, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Ohrid-Otesevo, 25 or 41 mi. (40 or 60 km), 500 hm
Day 9: Otesevo-Sveti Naum, 22 (guided tour)  or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km) 750 or 850 hm
Day 10: Sveti Naum-Ohrid, 24 mi. (36 km) 300 hm, optional transfer to hotel in Skopje or overnight in Ohrid, depending on your preference
Day 11: End of tour

*All distances are approximate

Day 1: Arrival
The most convenient airport to fly into is Skopje International Airport. Overnight in Skopje. There is an optional transfer available from the airport to your hotel.

Day 2: Mavrovo, 20 mi. (32 km), 250 hm
After breakfast, an optional transfer will be provided to Lake Mavrova for an easy cycling day. Overnight stay in Mavrovo.

Day 3: Mavrovo - Debar, 33 mi. (53 km) 200 hm
Today, you will enjoy a beautiful tour through Mavrovo National Park. Located in the western-central part of the country, this park contains the highest mountain peaks in Macedonia, providing a landscape that is unsurpassed. Mavrovo’s impressive forests contain more than 100 rare species of trees, and its rugged hilltops are rich in wild herbs and flowers. You will cycle from a height of 1,300 meters to Debar at 800-meter altitude. This is an easy route on roads that are completely paved. Overnight in Debar.

Day 4: Debar-Vevcani, 30 mi. (48 km) 450 hm or 34 mi. (55 km) 700 hm
Another spectacular day awaits as you cycle along several lakes and the delta of the Black Drin River. The short route utilizes paved roads. The slightly longer route makes a loop over unpaved roads through hillier terrain. Overnight in Vevcani.

Day 5: Roundtrip, Vevcani, 22 or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km)
It is always wonderful to have two overnights in in the same town and tonight you will have that pleasure as you overnight again in Vevcani.

Day 6: Vevcani-Ohrid, 23 or 34 mi. (36 km or 55 km), 200 hm 
You have an easy route today which can be extended in length. You cycle through small villages to the town of Struga, on the shores of Lake Ohrid. Struga is known as the City of Poetry.

Day 7: Rest day or short ride, 19 mi. (30 km)
There is no better place to spend the day than in this enchanting place. The town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. 

Day 8: Ohrid-Otesevo, 25 or 41 mi. (40 or 60 km), 500 hm
Two routes are offered today depending on what you have booked. For the guided option only, the shorter ride includes a transfer of 25 km to the start on top of the mountain to the valley of Prespa. The longer route for those cycling self guided is straight cycling from Ohrid to the hotel in Otesevo at Lake Prespa for the overnight accommodations.

Day 9: Otesevo-Sveti Naum, 22 or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km)750 or 850 hm
In Macedonia, it is hard to avoid at least some climbing and today you will have a bit of a long 5% climb through Galičica National Park.
The longer route makes a loop through the Albanian border town Pogradec. Overnight this evening is in a monastery, Sveti Naum, a refuge of tranquility.

Day 10: Sveti Naum-Ohrid, 18 mi. (28 km) 300 hm
Cycling tour along the eastern banks of Lake Ohrid, on hilly paved roads to Ohrid town.
Participants who will fly back from Skopje will have an optional transfer of about 2.5 hours to the hotel in Skopje. Overnight stay in Ohrid or Skopje depending on your onward travel plans.

Day 11: End of tour
Optional transfer to  Ohrid Airport (15 minutes) or if you are in Skopje, to the airport there (30 minutes).

8-Day Tour:

Day 1: Arrival
Day 2: Mavrovo, 20 mi. (32 km), 250 hm (total ascent in height in meters)
Day 3: Mavrovo - Debar,  33 mi. (53 km) 200 hm 
Day 4: Debar-Vevcani, 30 mi. (48 km) 450 hm or 34 mi. (55 km) 700 hm
Day 5: Roundtrip, Vevcani, 22 or 34 mi. (35 or 55 km)
Day 6: Vevcani-Ohrid, 23 or 34 mi. (36 km or 55 km), 200 hm 
Day 7: Rest day or short ride, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day 8: Departure

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