We have run this tour many times now (our first Balkans tour was in 2008) and it has always been absolutely fantastic; unspoilt scenery, fantastic roads, generous and hospitable people, great hotels and food. The tour has been refined over the years and now we believe that in its latest 2019 format we have created a truly unique touring experience. Just imagine traveling through nine countries in fifteen days, over some of the most famous mountain passes in the world. For 2019 we will be spending more time in fascinating Bosnia including a brilliant stop-over in the cultural city of Sarajevo. We will ride one of the most unspoiled coastlines in the world before riding through genuine primeval forest which is the home to Wolves, Bears, Ibex, Lynx. Limited time spent on motorways, good family run hotels, fabulous roads, great company, mountains, beach, snow and sand – this tour has it all.
The basic itinerary is shown below:
DAY 1: Calais to Pont a Mousson (270 miles).
We readily admit to hating motorways. Motorways and motorcycles are a bad mixture. Our tours are based on using smaller local roads which enable you to enjoy your motorcycling experience on challenging roads and where you get to see the country you are traveling through in its proper light. Having said this, for the first 90 miles of day one we do use the motorway to get us out of Northern France but then after a short comfort break we are onto ‘D’ roads for the rest of the day. If there is sufficient time and the weather is good we will stop at the French First World cemetery at Verdun. In the evening, we have been regulars at the local and busiest restaurant in town - they are always very pleased to see us and the food is top notch.
DAY 2: Vosges Mountains to Black Forest to Lake Konstanz (250 miles)
Day 2 and the proper twisty roads begin. Our route will take us through and over the Vosges, through the heart of the German Black Forest and then into Switzerland for our overnight stay. These roads should hopefully get you in the mood for what is to come!
We will pass over the Feldburg which at just under 5,000 ft is the tallest mountain in the Black Forest before heading through Swiss Kanton of Schaffhausen. At Schaffhausen we will visit the mighty Rheinfall which at over 150ft wide and 75ft high is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. We will then head towards Lake Konstanz and our hotel in Germany.
DAY 3: Switzerland to Stelvio Pass to Gavia Pass to Leifers (270 miles)
Day 3 is a challenging day and the start of the high mountain passes. This is the day we tackle the mountains of Austria and cross into Italy for our overnight stay in Leifers.
On the Swiss side we will pass through the heart of the Swiss National Park (Schweizer National Park) and into Austria. This is the only National Park in Switzerland and is home to the European Wolf (re-introduced 2001) and Ibex. From the Schweizer National Park we will pass into Italy’s Stelvio National Park.
We will travel over the infamous Stelvio pass which many consider to be the finest of all the Alpine passes. The road itself is also a marvel of engineering skill, the huge rises on both sides being overcome by some fifty hairpin bends on either approach, the 48 on the north side between the summit and Trafoi being probably the finest continuous hairpin sector in the Alps. Then after a fuel stop at Bormio we tackle the narrow but very beautiful Gavia Pass. You will be tired by the time we get to our lovely hotel at Leifers - good job there is a lovely indoor pool and great bar!
DAY 4: Italy to Cortina (Dolomites) to Postojna (250 miles)
Up early for our trip through the glorious Dolomites - we hope you have a head for heights. Another absolutely fabulous day on brilliant roads surrounded by stunning scenery. We will be straight into the mountains before stopping for a coffee break. Tackle the famous Passo Di Sella, Passo Di Pordoi and Passo di Falzarego. Riding does not come any better than this. We will take lunch at the beautiful town of Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Then its down into Slovenia. We will be heading for the Kirst area of Slovenia and the town of Postojna. This is a busy day, spent high in the mountains - it is a challenging days ride but is so rewarding.
DAY 5: Slovenia to Croatia (Plitvice) (130 miles)
Up early and then off to Postojna Cave. Postojna Cave is one of the most famous cave systems in the world. The caves stretch for some 21km and have been open to visitors since the 1819. It is also the only cave system in the world which operates a cave train which enables visitors to visit the most interesting areas of the cave some 2km from the entrance.
In the afternoon, we are back onto the bikes for the relatively short ride (130 miles) into Croatia and to Plitvice National Park. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight. A place not to be missed.
DAY 6: Plitvice Lakes - Rest Day (0 miles).
You have a full day to enjoy the wonders of Plitvice. A true natural gem. Words cannot describe this fantastic natural phenomenon. Take a look at the pictures in the gallery to gain a brief insight into this magical place.
DAY 7: Plitvice to the Dalmatian Coast (200 miles)
Back into the mountains for our journey from Plivice to Split. Our route will take us over the Velebit mountains which are the tallest and longest mountain range in Croatia before heading down towards the beautiful Dalmatian coast. The Dalmatian coast is probably one of the most unspoiled areas of coastline in Europe. Full of Roman ruins, medieval towns, gorgeous Riviera views and hundreds of beautiful islands. We will take our time riding down the coast road to Split – it is a journey which should never be hurried.
DAY 8: The Dalmatian Coast (130 miles)
We will continue along the Dalmatian coast to the beautiful city of Dubrovnik.
There are few cities in the world that have had such a turbulent past as Dubrovnik. However, in spite of the ravages of earthquakes and war, Dubrovnik is described by many-locals and tourists alike-as being even more breathtakingly beautiful than before. Down the ages, the city has risen like a phoenix, time and time again, from the ashes of wars and earthquakes. Napoleon's forces, the 100-year-long Austro-Hungarian occupation, the Fascist forces that came in 1941, as well as the 1991 shelling by Serbs and Montenegrins, have all shown that this city can probably never be truly vanquished.
DAY 9: Dubrovnik - Rest Day (0 miles)
We will spend two nights at a beach hotel resort. Lie by the pool or the beach during the day and then explore the narrow streets of Dubrovnik in the evening. Great restaurants, good bars, plenty to see and do. The choice of what you do is all yours.
DAY 10: Dubrovnik - Mostar - Sarajevo (180 miles)
Day 10 and a true biking day on deserted roads through Bosnia.
We will pass over the border into Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this area of B & H, bear and wolf sightings are common. Before the war Bosnia had the second-highest concentration of brown bears in the world, after Canada, and perhaps the greatest number of wolves in Europe. Many of the animals were killed in the war but it is still estimated that there are 1200 brown bears in this area alone.
We will go and see the re-built bridge at Mostar which symbolised the spirit of resistance during the siege/war in Bosnia. On the way, we will pass cleared minefields and numerous destroyed buildings. The full impact of the war is still clear to see. Then its on the beautiful city of Sarajevo - in recent years this city has been transformed. In March 2012, Sarajevo won travel blog Foxnomad's "Best City to Visit" competition, beating more than one hundred cities around the world. In 2011, Sarajevo became the first city outside the European Union to be nominated for the European Capital of Culture in 2014.
DAY 11: Sarajevo - Banja Lucka - Zagreb (200 miles)
Another exciting day on the bike as we travel through the heart of Bosnia. Unspoilt forest and lakes form the back drop to quiet country roads. We will cross over back into Croatia and spend the evening in the exciting and beautiful capital of Croatia, Zagreb.
DAY 12: Zagreb to Lake Bled (125 miles)
We are only on the bikes for half a day as we make our way back into Slovenia and to Lake Bled. You will half a day to visit the beautiful Lake Bled castle via the cable car, go boating on the lake and generally chill out.
DAY 13: Lake Bled to Augsburg (300 miles)
We return to the high Alps for more twisty roads and stunning Alpine scenery. We will make our way to the Southern Austria through the more remote parts of Slovenia. We will climb over the Karawanken (great name!) Alps using the Loibl pass which has been used as a pass over the Alps for hundreds of years.
DAY 14: Germany to France (260 miles)
Our penultimate day as we head back into Northern Europe. Across Southern Germany, we will pass back over the Northern part of the Black Forest around Stuttgart and back into France. This day will be a combination of motorway and twisty roads as we near our overnight destination in Metz.
DAY 15: Metz – Calais – Home (270 miles)
We will pass historic Verdun and then onto the motorway for our return trip home. Hopefully you will have had the experience of a lifetime and will already be planning for new adventures!! We certainly will be.
What You Get and Costs.
The basic cost of the tour is £1300 for a single rider in a shared room; £1800 for a single rider in a single room and £2100 for a rider and pillion. For these prices you will get the following:-
What is Included
Return Euro-Tunnel crossing (Folkestone- Calais)
Fourteen nights accommodation in good quality hotels (3 star +)
Breakfast each morning.
Two experienced guides (Peter and Lorraine).
Route maps (Garmin and Tom Tom)
What is Not Included
Parking and Motorway tolls
Entrance fees for attractions
Repatriation back to the UK
Breakdown cover insurance
You need to budget around 25 euros for a decent 3 course evening meal. For lunchtimes we try and use local bakers for sandwiches/baguettes etc. Evening meal costs are very much dependent on how much wine and beer you drink!!