Always on the look-out for new mountain biking destinations and of course to escape the Skedaddle office for a while, founding member of Skedaddle Andrew has been researching various parts of the globe and returned from Montenegro, simply raving about the country and the mountain biking possibilities there.
With this in mind, we’ve added this amazing country to our range of European mountain biking destinations and we’ve also plans to introduce a road cycling and self guided easy cycling trip here in 2012.
Here’s what he thought:
“Wow what an awesome country!! The mountains are stunning throughout, but then there are the lakes, super super friendly locals, the meats and cheeses around (though the goat’s cheese provided by the shepherd was to say the least and acquired taste!!) and it has some great accommodation in places that are simply stunning. Biking wise, whilst not super technical it is great cross country riding and would suit those who are fit and up for a bit of a biking challenge or those mid-level mountain bikers looking to explore somewhere with that little bit extra. I rounded my time of here with a few days at the Bay of Kotor …well it was rude not to and even snuck in a day in Dubrovnik for a wander around this historic place on the way home as this was the airport I’d opted for and is just across the border.
If you are interested in receiving more information about Montenegro then email Andrew on email@example.com/uk or call him for a chat on 0191 265 11 10 … his morning coffee has usually kicked in by around 10 o’clock and he’ll not be crunching on a slice of toast either.
For some great photos of his time here, then check out Skedaddle Flickr and for the full itinerary then take a peak below or download directly from the site – click here.
Here’s to seeing you in 2012 and for those of you who have done trips with Andrew in the past, then sure you’ll be please to know that he’s going to be guiding there this year…well the boss has got to have some benefits!!
Montenegro – Mountain Biking
Locals will tell you that if you rolled Montenegro flat it would be as big as Russia. But fear not, you’ll not be riding up all the mountains and exploring every valley, just exploring a few of the best and most beautiful during a week of riding, that whilst not overly technical still offers something a little bit special.
Squeezed in between Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania and the Adriatic Coast, Montenegro boasts towering mountains, immense lakes, a stunning coastline and a varied array of mountain biking trails.
Following arrival to either Dubrovnik or Podgorica Airport, we transfer to Cetinje the former Royal capital of Montenegro. Situated beneath the summit of Lovcen which towers to an impressive 590 meters (1900 feet) above, Cetinje is a treasure of cultural and historical heritage and the perfect place to start our adventure.
Following an evening in these peaceful surrounds we’ll start our riding, by skirting the remote villages of the region and take in the incredible Lake Skadar before ending in the new capital of Montenegro, Podgorica; a place teeming with great places to eat and drink. Over the next few days the riding just gets better and better. First on the hit-list are the Ziovo mountains as we ride along the Montenegrin-Albanian border, to the gateway to the north of Montenegro, Kolasin. The mysterious high plateau of Sinjajevinja awaits us the next day as does lunch with the shepherds of this remote part of the country – which will be one of the many highlights of the trip.
By now we are in the heart of Durmitor National Park, and once again the scenery alters, the open landscape of yesterday is replaced soon by a stunning canyon and limestone gorge. Next stop is Niksic, hometown of Niksicko Pivo beer, which no doubt you will have sampled along the way.
We conclude our trip with a great ride from Niksic via Lovcen National Park to the stunning Bay of Kotor. On a day during which we’ll be descending more than ascending, be sure to check your brakes for the final downhill of the tour. Twenty four wonderful downhill kilometres on an old serpentine road built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, directly to the Bay of Kotor below. Our accommodation tonight is a small hotel in Kotor itself, where we’ll celebrate our week of biking at one of the many fine restaurants in the old city.
If you require any further information call: +44 (0)191 265 1110
You may also contact us by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org/uk
View pictures relating to this tour on: www.skedaddle.com/uk
MON11/01 26-Jun-11 to 03-Jul-11 £995
MON11/02 28-Aug-11 to 04-Sept-11 £995
Grade: 3-4 Flight Cost: £150 (approx.)
Bike Hire: £120 Insurance: £26 Single Room: £140
Day 1 – Arrival
Arrival at Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) in Croatia or Podgorica Airport (TGD) in Montenegro and transfer to Cetinje, the former royal capital of Montenegro. The city occupies an enviable position and nestles on a small karst plain surrounded by towering limestone mountains, including Mount Lovcen, the Black Mountain from which Montenegro gets its name. Cetinje has numerous points of interest all of which are easily reached whilst wandering around this compact city. Amongst the highlight are the impressive monastery, VlaÅ¡ka church, built in 1450 and whose fence is made out of the barrels of captured enemy rifles, Zetski Royal Theatre and numerous historic foreign embassies that are scattered throughout the city. Once checked into our accommodation, we have time to prepare our bikes for the start of the biking tomorrow. Our evening meal is taken in the centre of Cetinje with an evening drink taken at one of the numerous bars along the main pedestrian area. The perfect place for a bit of people watching, Montenegrin style. (D)
Day 2 – Old Montenegro – (Distance: approx. 60 km – â†‘ 300 m â†“900 m)
Although today’s ride is pre-dominantly on asphalt (of varying quality!) the scenery along the way is superb throughout. Following breakfast we start our biking adventure straight from the accommodation, with a 17 km downhill on a series of old roads which connect some of the remote villages situated around National Park – Lake Skadar. Along the way, we’ll take in the tranquil village of Rijeka Crnovjevica. In former times this was an important place for trade and more importantly the first place of a Cyrillic printing house in the Balkans, so if you are after a new paint job for your bike then maybe this is the place? During today’s ride you’ll be rewarded with great views all way along the shore of Lake Skadar. Lunchtime and time to sample fresh fish from Lake Skadar. Though luckily we won’t need to catch this ourselves. After lunch we continue our ride crossing the floodplain of the lake on a lovely off road route beside the River Moraca for around 8kms, until we enter Podgorica, the current capital of Montenegro. Podgorica, whilst not as scenic as the former capital Cetinje is a nice place to ˜hang-out’ post ride, with lots of eateries and places to have an evening tipple. (B,L,D)
Day 3 – Albania in Close-Up – (Distance: approx. 75 km, â†‘ 1200 m â†“700 m
In order to avoid the traffic of Podgorica and in order to gain a little altitude, we take a transfer of 35 km/45 mins approx. to the start point for our second day of biking at Makadam. Once the bikes have been unloaded, our first few kilometres will see us skirting the Montenegrin-Albanian border, across the remote mountains of Ziovo. Today (which will be mostly off road) will see us experience rocky limestone trails, riding through lush pastures, and fun descents to brightly coloured lakes. Lunch today will be taken at Lake Ricovacko which is reached following a fun downhill trail and is a delightful setting. Post lunch and more great off road trails, with the day’s ride ending with a asphalt section to the small mountain town of Kolasin, the ˜gateway to the north of Montenegro’. Located at 954m at the foot of Bjelasica and Sinjajevina mountains, Kolasin is a great place to end our second day of biking. Our accommodation tonight is a cosy family run hotel, where we also take our evening meal. (B,D)
Day 4 – Sinjajevinja Plateau – Distance approx. 77 km, 1200 m â†‘ 400 m â†“
Riding straight from the accommodation another unique landscape, the lonely and mysterious high plateau of Sinjajevinja awaits our bikes. The scenery is of complete contrast to that of yesterday, gone are the climbs and descents, replaced by an undulating landscape that we’ll weave our way through for the majority of the day. Only a few shepherds and their flocks of sheep make this ˜empty’ grassland alive and it’s one of these at which we’ll be taking our well deserved lunch, after the ascent from Lipovo Valley. Squeezing into their hut, it’s time to absorb a friendly welcome, learn about their way of life and enjoy an array of local food all prepared by the shepherd’s themselves. Post lunch and no doubt a quick nap is in order (you’ll certainly not go hungry today!), before we continue on our way to Zabljak, the superb central settlement of Durmitor National Park. Located at an altitude of 1456m at the very centre of the enormous mountain of Durmitor (2522m) Durmitor, which means -sleeping in one of Montenegro’s ancient dialects, was listed on UNESCO’s ˜World Heritage List’ in 1980. Close-by is also the deepest canyon in Europe, the magnificent canyon of the Tara River. Overnight at another small family run hotel, where we will also eat. (B,L,D)
Day 5 – Canyons – Distance approx. 45 km, 650 m â†‘ 1000 m â†“
Following three days of riding, we take it easy this morning and have scheduled in time to look around the Black Lake in the heart of the Durmitor National Park. Black Lake is Dumitor’s largest, deepest and best-known lake, and like many mountain lakes formed by receding glaciers. Our riding starts after lunch, with an asphalt section (10kms) to arrive at the entrance of the Komarnica Canyon, a fantastic gorge. Also called Nevidbog ˜Unseen by God’ – this immense canyon was only conquered my mountaineers as close back as in 1965. Some great off road riding follows for the remainder of the day, which ends with a 5km section of asphalt to reach our accommodation for the evening. Tonight you’ll be at the wooden chalets/huts of Montenegro’s alpine legend, Gazo Lalovic, where we will also eat. (B,D)
Day 6 – Savnik – Niksic – Distance approx. 58 km, 800 m â†‘ 900 m â†“
Riding once more straight from the accommodation, we stretch the legs for the first 8kms with a quiet road section, before the off road fun begins. Yet more wonderful scenery to absorb during your time on your bike and with the off section around 35kms today, plenty of great trail riding to get your teeth into. Lunch today will be at a traditional Montenegrin Kafana (typical family run restaurant), which is just the place to re-fuel for the afternoon’s riding. As we approach the Krnovo Pass we leave Montenegro ´s canyons behind and reach Niksic, it ´s second largest city. Niksic is also the hometown of the tasty Niksicko Pivo beer, who’s green label, you will by now probably be familiar with. Tonight’s accommodation is at a hotel in Niksic. (B,L,D)
Day 7 – Niksic – Lovcen National Park – Bay of Kotor -Distance approx. 77 km, 800m â†‘, 1000 m â†“
A classic day of riding to end your time in Montenegro, through what will have been a spectacular array of scenery and differing trails / routes. George Bernard Shaw, described the scenery between Niksic and Lovcen National Park as like the surface of the moon and whilst this was quite a while ago and Mr. Shaw didn’t ride a mountain bike that much, little has changed and what awaits you are some great trails in which is a stunning part of this mountainous country. Following lunch at the village of Njegusi, where we have the chance to sample local cheese and prsut (double-smoked ham, similar to Italian prosciutto). What follows is our final treat of the holiday. Although on road, the final 24kms downhill takes us on an old serpentine road (built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire), with each curve disclosing a yet more sensational vista below to the Bay of Kotor. Screeching to a halt in Kotor, we overnight in a small hotel and take our evening meal at a lovely restaurant in Stari Grad, the city’s old town. The Bay Of Kotor is situated on the deepest natural fjord in the Mediterranean, and the scenery around it (including the steep mountains…which you’ve just descended) and that come almost to the waterfront) is spectacular. For those with a little energy left, then a climb up to the fortifications of St. John’s fortress is recommended, with a climb up the 1350 steps /1200ft rewarded by an excellent view of Kotor and the bay below…or you can sink another Niksicko Pivo instead! (B,D)
Day 8 – Departure
All good things must come to an end and today we take you back to either Dubrovnik or Podgorica for your return flights. Of course, should you wish to chill at at the beach post trip then this can easily be arranged. (B)
WHAT THE PRICE INCLUDES
A) 6 nights accommodation in hotels / guesthouses (shared twin or double rooms).
B) 1 nights accommodation in a mountain chalet (twin share – four people per chalet) – Day 5
C) All meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Evening Meal).
D) Full tour service including guides, driver, support vehicle, etc.
E) Unless stated at least one leader qualified in First Aid.
F) All airport transfers.
WHAT THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
A) Personal clothing and equipment. .
B) Travel insurance (available if required, £26).
C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.
D) Bike hire (available if required £120).
E) Flights & charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable).
F) Single room option (available if required).
We˜ve graded our Biking Adventure trips based on distances covered, route surface condition, climate, gradients and on the amount of altitude gained. These are just a guideline, so to check your individual suitability for specific tours please feel free to contact us. This tour is graded between grade 3-4
Grade 1 – Easy – These tours are for those new to mountain biking or those who do not have a high level of fitness. Easy combination of on-road and off-road routes. Distances of between 15-30 miles / 25-50km per day.
Grade 2 – Gentle – Gentle off-road routes with no difficult technical sections. Distances of between 15-30 miles / 25-50km per day.
Grade 3 – Moderate – Aimed at those who are regular cyclists and have a degree of off-road mountain biking experience. Some moderate and difficult technical sections. Distances of between 25-50 miles / 40-80km per day.
Grade 4 – Challenging – For those who are regular mountain bikers and have a good level of fitness. Routes with frequent moderate to difficult technical sections. Distances of between 25-50 miles / 40-80km per day.
Grade 5 – Demanding – For those who are regular and keen mountain bikers who have a good level of off-road biking experience. Rides will include high-level technical sections. Distances vary from day to day, depending on topography, between 30-60 miles / 50-100km per day.
It is a condition of our trip that you are covered by a medical and personal accident insurance policy that includes repatriation to your home country & cover for the biking activity. We can offer a policy which fulfils all of our requirements and can be booked per trip or as annual cover. Please contact us for more details. If you decide not to take the Skedaddle policy we will require details of your chosen policy including policy name, number and emergency telephone number for your insurance provider, before the start of your trip.
This trip will be guided by either UK and/or locally based multi-lingual bike guides / mechanics, with support staff where appropriate.
PERSONAL SPENDING MONEY
This trip includes accommodation, all breakfast, 3 lunches and all evening meals. We suggest £50 in Euro per person should prove sufficient for those meals not included. Expenditure on drinks is subjective and varies greatly from person to person. Any additional personal expenditure for such things as souvenirs depends very much on the individual. Debit & credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard and may also be used for buying goods, paying for food as well as for drawing cash at certain points during the trip, but please do not rely on this method of payment. Please contact your bank/credit card company to inform them if you intend to use your card abroad.
WANT A ROOM TO YOURSELF?
We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However, it may be possible to book a single room provided one is available. Please request at the time of booking and we will let you know if one is still free. A surcharge of £140 applies for this service. Please note that it is not possible for a single room on Day 5 of the trip.
TEMPERATURE AND WEATHER
Montenegro has hot summers and cold winters. By the coast in the height of summer it is over 30 degrees centigrade, but light offshore breezes keep you cool. As you head into the mountains it remains much cooler. In late Spring and early Autumn temperatures fall a little, making it a great destination and more comfortable for those who don’t like it too hot. Short spells of rain can occur all year round, but generally Montenegro remains dry from June to September.
We provide everything except a bike (although you are able to hire these), personal equipment and clothing. If you are taking your own bike, it is imperative that it is in good mechanical order. If you are not mechanically minded, we advise you to take your bike to a local bicycle dealer for a service. Details of which spares you should take will be included in the Information Pack sent with your booking confirmation. Please contact us if you are unsure whether your bike will be suitable.
If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. Currently our hire bikes in Montenegro are locally sourced models with V Brakes and front suspension and you will be required to bring your helmet along for the trip. If you do decide to hire we (depending on your location in the UK) we may be able to source Giant front suspension bikes with disc brakes (Talon 1 or 2011 equivalent).
HEALTH AND VACCINATIONS
We recommend you have a dental and medical check-up before the holiday. On all of our trips there is a qualified First-Aider and a medical kit is carried at all times. Basic information about vaccinations and preventative treatments can be found at http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/. We recommend checking with your doctor for the most relevant information.
EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (EHIC).
UK residents are able to obtain medical treatment, should it become necessary, either free or at a reduced cost when temporarily visiting an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein by using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC replaced the now redundant E111 and should be used in conjunction with a valid travel insurance policy.
The application form for the EHIC is available from the post office or can be downloaded via the following link:
Although there are no weight restrictions on individual baggage we recommend that you use one large bag and a small daypack as hand luggage. This will allow for easier transportation with the daypack also useful whilst biking and on the ‘rest day’. Although there are no Skedaddle weight restrictions on individual baggage we recommend that you use one large bag and a small daypack as hand luggage. Please check with your airline regarding their specific policy on baggage.
As a British national you do not require a visa for tourist trips of less than three months. All British passport holders require a valid passport with six months’ remaining validity on your passport to enter Montenegro. If this is not currently held it is your responsibility to obtain this in good time, especially if you are applying during the busiest UK processing times of July and August.
For this trip the best airport to fly into is Podgorica (TGD) in Montenegro – transfer time from Podgorica to Cetinje and from Kotor is around 45 minutes. Or Dubrovnik (DBV) in Croatia – transfer time from Dubrovnik to Cetinje and from Kotor is around 2hrs. We are able to collect people and bikes from either of these airports.
Podgorica is served by Montenegro Airlines www.montenegroairlines.com from London Gatwick (LGW)
You may also fly to Dubrovnik from London Luton (LTN) with German Wings www.germanwings.com and from London Luton (LTN) with Wizz Air www.wizzair.com However, if using these airlines you would need to extend you holiday period as they do not fly on the relevant Skedaddle arrival and departure days.
As there is a variety of flight options for this particular destination, please contact us prior to booking flights.
At strategic points (where access allows), we have the security of our support vehicle. In here there will be sufficient capacity for tired bikers allowing the chance of a well-earned break. You will also be able to leave extra layers / spare kit etc. here during the day meaning there is no need to carry any equipment other than that you would carry on a normal day ride.
HOW TO BOOK
Before you book we recommend that you have read carefully the general information, booking conditions and itinerary. To book your place on this trip, please telephone to check the availability of places on the trip. Following confirmation of this, then you can book over the phone, including details of everything you require; bike hire, dietary requirements etc and your deposit of £200. If you book less than eight weeks before departure full payment is then due at the time of booking.
You may also book on line at: www.skedaddle.com/uk
On receipt of your booking form, we will send you acknowledgement of your booking along with our Information Pack, which includes detailed information about your holiday with Saddle Skedaddle. This includes health and medical considerations, suggested reading, and also general information about the country, climate and people.
METHOD OF PAYMENT
Payments can be made by cheque, credit or debit cards and bank transfer. N.B. Although there is no additional charge for using debit cards, there will be an additional 1.5% charge if paying by credit card.
FINANCIAL PROTECTION AND SECURITY
As a member of the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT), an Association approved by the Department of Trade and Industry, Saddle Skedaddle Limited has provided a Bond to meet the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 in respect of non-flight inclusive packages only. This Bond provides security for money paid over by customers and for the repatriation of customers in the event of Saddle Skedaddle Limited’s insolvency. Note: Repatriation will only be provided if the travel component of your trip was paid to us.