DAY 1: WELCOME TO MONTENEGRO
Arrive at Dubrovnik or Tivat airports. Transfer to the town of Herceg Novi on the shores of the Bay of Kotor. Welcome from your local guide and enjoy a relaxed stroll and orientation through the streets of this 13th century citadel guarded by 3 mountain side fortresses – one Italian, one Spanish and one Turkish. Your first taste of Montenegro comes over a delicious welcome dinner at local seafood restaurant Feral in the harbour area. Try the local speciality : black risotto, coloured with squid ink. Overnight in Herceg Novi.
From Dubrovnik airport: 29kmm / 1h 30min (border crossing)
From Tivat airport: 23km / 1h 5min
DAY 2: KAYAK AND HIKE
After breakfast served in your hotel, head to the harbour area to meet your kayaking guide for a half day kayaking tour across the Bay. The sit-on-top kayaks are suitable for all levels and even for those who have never paddled a sea kayak before. Full instruction will be given by your guide as well as safety briefing. Lasting approximately 4 hours, the tour will paddle across to the picturesque fishing village of Rose, visit a local ship wreck, peer inside the Cold War era submarine tunnels and paddle along the spectacular and rocky coastline. After the kayaking tour and a quick change of clothes, a short transfer drive of 25 mins will bring you to the small mountainside village of Zlijebi. Overlooking the Bay of Kotor at an altitude of 600 metres, the village is built from local stone mined by the villagers. Visit the beautiful home of local man Nikola who grew up in this village and has spent 25 years restoring his family farm. Enjoy lunch from the produce Nikola grows in his garden and learn about life in the village. After lunch and a look around, take a short hike to the church of St Nikola with its spectacular views across the Bay. Continuing onwards, hike the lower mountain trails down to the village of Trebjesin. In Trebjesin you will enjoy dinner in a traditional family inn tasting local mountain specialities included meat cooked ‘under the ashes’ and salads from the inn’s own garden. After dinner it is a short 10 minute transfer by road back to the hotel. Overnight in Herceg Novi.
Hike: easy, 1h 30min, 400m descent
Total drive: 11,5km / 25min
DAY 3: KOTOR BAY COASTAL TRANSVERSAL HIKING AND KOTOR OVERNIGHT
Depart today from Herceg Novi after breakfast by minivan to the small mountain village of Gornja Lastva, 50 mins drive away. From the village situated around 300 metres above sea level you will enjoy a 9kms hike along the beautiful Vrmac Ridge. Ascending up to a high point of 650 metres above sea level the ridge separates the inner and outer Bays of Kotor. Views stretch to the Adriatic in one direction and far into the Bay of Kotor the other. The ridge is a wide stone and grass path, with some shaded and some exposed sections. Finally reaching the old Austro-Hungarian fortress of Trojica (long abandoned) you will descend on switchback pathways to the medieval town of Kotor. Arriving by afternoon the rest of the day is free to explore the walled city, enjoy a coffee or cold beer on one of the town’s piazzas and watch the world go by. An independent evening also gives you time to check out the great local restaurants or nightlife. Overnight in Kotor.
Hike: easy/moderate / 4 – 4,5 hours / 350m D+
Total drive: 22km / 50min
DAY 4: BIKE FROM LOVCEN NATIONAL PARK TO SKADAR LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Depart early this morning from Kotor with your luggage for the one hour drive to Lovcen National Park. Rising high above the Bay of Kotor this mountain has spectacular views in every direction. Upon arrival in the park you will have some time to rest and enjoy a mid-morning coffee or refreshments on the terrace of the Ivan Konak hotel before setting off for the main challenge of the day - biking to Skadar Lake National Park. The ride is on tarmac using old roads which mostly see little traffic. There is one section where the tour will ride through the historic former capital city of Montenegro – Cetinje. Time for a stop and stroll along the boulevards. By late afternoon you will arrive in the lakeside town of Virpazar for your final overnight in Montenegro. Enjoy a farewell to Montenegro dinner at the riverside Konoba Bandanj restaurant. Overnight by Skadar Lake.
Bike: 64km / 480m D+, 1600m D- / biking experience required
Total drive: 35km / 1 hour
DAY 5: BAR CANYONING OR ANCIENT BAR VISIT / OVERNIGHT TIRANA, ALBANIA
After breakfast continue onwards with the short drive to the port city of Bar on the Adriatic coastline. For those wishing to try canyoning a 3 hour trip through the Rikavac canyon is always an excitement. Suited for beginners this is ideal for those wishing to experience canyoning for the first time. Over the course of approx. 3 hrs, you will follow the flow of the water, hiking, abseiling (repelling) down waterfalls from heights ranging 2 - 10 meters and jumps/slides from various heights to the beautiful natural water pools below. Although this is not a large river canyon, it offers a fun & memorable experience. For those who do not wish to experience the canyoning, there will be the opportunity to visit the ancient town of Bar, located on the lower mountain slopes above the new town and port. Wander the historical streets and enjoy the sun soaked olive groves which surround this area. After lunch the group will join together again to continue the journey with a 3 hour drive to Tirana, the capital city of Albania. In the evening explore the cosmopolitan and vibrant city centre with its colorful buildings and fascinating history. Overnight in Tirana.
Total drive: 196km / 3h 30min
DAY 6: BIKING: ALBANIA BORDER TO OHRID
Depart from Tirana after breakfast for the 2.5 hour drive to the Macedonian border at Qafe e Tane, where you will meet your local guide in Macedonia and get together on the bikes and continue cycling down to Ohrid Lake and along the lakeshore to Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage town, home to 365 Orthodox churches and birthplace of the Cyrillic script. We’ll stop on the way to see the ancient monastic cells and temples carved in the rocks above the lake, and to enjoy our lunch in a restaurant on the river walk in Struga. Arrive in Ohrid in the afternoon. Explore the cobblestoned alleys of the old town on orientation walk with your guide, and find out more about the local customs and traditions while sampling Macedonian fresh salads and lake fish. Stay overnight in Ohrid.
Bike: 28km / 189m D+, 492m D -
Total drive: 104km / 1h 50min
DAY 7: BOATING IN OHRID LAKE: BAY OF BONES, BBQ & SWIM ON A HIDDEN BEACH
Head out this morning by boat for a full day adventure in the lake. We’ll pack together with the boat our canoe and surfboard, few hammocks and snorkelling gear, and start boating by the fishing villages to visit the archaeological settlement on water, the Bay of Bones. Our BBQ lunch will be on a hidden beach with crystal clear water, accessible only by boat. Later in the afternoon we’ll sail to the rocks for jumps in the water and snorkelling for lake sponges under the rocks, and on to the middle of the lake for more swimming. Sail back in the afternoon. Late afternoon drive to our next destination: the picturesque mountain town Krushevo. Arrive in Krushevo in time for the tasty traditional dinner, including their famous mix of spiced, melted homemade cheese. Overnight in guesthouse in Krushevo.
Total drive: 120km / 1h 55min
DAY 8: HIKE TO TRESKAVEC MONASTERY (OPTIONAL TANDEM FLIGHT DOWN)
After breakfast drive some 50min to the medieval towers above Prilep, where we start our hike to Treskavec monastery, hidden among the boulders of Gold Mountain. We’ll meet here Father Kalist, the only monk living in the monastery today, who speaks English fluently and who is always happy to explain the story of the Byzantine art heritage in the frescoes of the monastery. After a picnic lunch at the monastery, you can descend down to Prilep, or, you can fly! The experienced, licensed paragliders will be provided with all the necessary equipment, while novices can take an exhilarating tandem flight with our experienced instructors: after a 10 min briefing with your tandem pilot, you will be connected together to the glider where each one of you has your own comfortable harness. Two minutes later, you are airborne! The flight takes around 20 minutes, where, if the flying conditions allow, you will be offered hands on control of the glider! They say, if you can jog 2-3 meters, than you can fly! Once at the foothills of Treskavec, the hikers and flyers will join together and continue driving for another 1,5 hour into the wine area of Macedonia, where we’ll enjoy dinner with wine tasting in Popova Kula winery. Overnight in Demir Kapija.
Hike: 4,5km / 533m D+ / 3 hours
Total drive: 126km / 2h 20min
DAY 9: ROCK CLIMBING & VIA FERATA IN THE IRON GATE
After breakfast on the hotel balcony, a short transfer brings you to the rocks of the Iron Gate. There are more than 120 rock climbing routes (from 15 – 100metres high with different levels of difficulty from beginners to experts) and more than 100 alpine routes (up to 300metres high) to choose from. No experience is required, belayed on our expert guide you can climb completely safely to any height you consider. We’ll provide you with all the equipment (helmet, harness, rope, etc.) so you only have to bring yourself there together with your sport shoes. Lunch will be in the gardens of a local household where you can taste the best rakiya in the region and traditional dishes made of vine leaves by your lovely host Maria. Afternoon drive to Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia and one of the oldest cities dating back to early Bronze age. Take a walk through the central Macedonia square with the grand fountain of Alexander the Great, and over the old Stone Bridge into cobblestoned alleys of the old town of Skopje. Our farewell dinner will be in a renovated Ottoman time inn bellow the city walls. Overnight in Skopje.
Day 10 – LAST DAY
After breakfast transfer to Skopje airport for your flight home.