Biking and Cycling in the Balkan Peninsula
Cycle through centuries of history, mysterious mountains and along diamond-studded seas when you pedal through Greece, Montenegro. Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. A fascinating assortment of cultures, customs and scenery seen up close and personal are your prize for propelling your visit to the Balkan States with your own muscle power.
Greece is almost entirely navigable by bike, allowing you to get loads of exercise for your body while your mind reels with the ancient sites and postcard views there are to see. Almost constant sunshine and low humidity extend good biking weather to almost every month of the year. Head to the Pindus range and you’ll find special mountain biking trails; even around Athens a cyclist can visit some interesting routes for mountain biking in Parnitha, Varibobi, Pentedli and Dionisos. Other appealing regions in the country are: Euboia, Evritania, Karytena Arkadia, Mani, Parnassos and Nafpaktos. Local ycling associations or cycling tour companies will help you amass all the maps and tips you need to have a splendid ride through the wonders of Greece.
Many European cycling tour operators include Serbia on their itineraries. Why? The epic Danube Bike Trail passes through Serbia and bears the designation EuroVelo-Route 6, which also means that it lies on the European Cyclists’ Federation Atlantic – Black Sea route. In addition to providing fun for amateur cyclists, Serbia’s diverse landscape is also perfect for the International Cycling Race – Tour de Serbie, a feat of pedal power since 1939. With a terrain that ranges from steep and challenging to gentle and pleasant, Romania offers bikers of all skills and levels something to enjoy along its bike trails. Magnificent scenery offered by trails through woods or traditional villages give you all the irresistible reasons you need to stop and take in your magical surroundings.
Rugged landscapes of jaw-dropping beauty in Croatia beckon both mountain bikers and families, and the variety of route surfaces fortunately serves both hardcore and easy-does-it cyclists. Eddy Mercx, five-time winner of the Tour de France, said it would be “wonderful if a big race was ridden here”, - what better cycling endorsement could you want? Compact and utterly stunning Montenegro is in the process of developing 6,000 km of trails snaking through its largely untouched wilderness for both hikers and mountain bike aficionados. Along these routes you can encounter rare Mediterranean plants and herbs as well as historical caravan routes, old military fortifications and places of ethnological interest, all surrounded by knock-out views that will prove a challenge for even the most capacious memory chip in your camera.
Seductive Slovenia has both macadam roads and forest bike trails for just the kind of mountain biking you want; cycling through the Julian Alps in the summertime is a nice way to cool off from the warmer Mediterranean climate at lower altitudes. There are less strenuous routes for a young family outing, for instance around postcard-perfect Lake Bled. Cycle tour to be followed by the local cream cake specialty, of course. The diverse landscape of this country makes for a lovely ride no matter where you go, and when you add the warm Slovenian welcome you’re sure to get, it’s clear that Slovenia is an ideal choice for biking holidays.