Bicycling Venice to the Heart of Ancient Greece ExpeditionPlus!

  • Itinerary Summary

    From Venice's 117 islands and 409 bridges at the head of the Adriatic Sea, we'll wind eastward along the coast toward the heart of Ancient Greece. En route, we'll explore:
    ...Wetlands and fisheries at the foot of the Alps
    ...The oft disputed border city of Trieste, and its unique blend of Latin, Slavic and Germanic cultures
    ...A sliver of Slovenia and the limestone islands of North Croatia and the Dalmatian coast
    ...Split, Croatia's cosmopolitan coastal city, which was at one time a Greek colony, a Roman capital, a Byzantine outpost, a Republic of Venice, a Hungarian protectorate, and an autonomous city
    ...The fortified sea commerce hub of Dubrovnik Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia
    ...Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site and World Network Biosphere Reserve
    ...Relics of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires
    ...Greeces rural farms, crisp mountain ranges and other settings of mythical proportions

    ***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you.

    We require that all participants complete the Expedition Acknowledgement form which emphasizes the daily protocols on an ExpeditionPlus! ride. ***
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    1. Day 1: Just outside of Venice, Italy

      Highlights: Lido di Jesolo

      Your Expedition begins just outside of Venice We'll meet this afternoon for introductions and a brief safety talk, you'll get your bike fitted and be able to go out for a short warm-up ride. Tonight we'll celebrate the start of our journey with a special dinner together. If you decide to come a day or two early to explore Venice be sure to book your hotel as soon as possible -- the Venice Film Festival will be in town and hotels will fill-up quickly.

      Distance: Test ride, your choice up to 27 km (17 miles).

    2. Day 2: Lido di Jesolo to Grado

      Highlights: The wetlands of the Northern Adriatic, Caorle

      You'll begin your journey from the Lido di Jesolo, north of the Lido of Venice. The ride takes you through wetlands and small lagunal and fishing villages like Caorle. Though the ride is through the wetlands of the north Adriatic it is anything but straight as you cross a number of important rivers flowing out of the Alps including the Piave, Livenza and Tagliamento. We spend the night in Grado, once mainly a fishing center, today it is a popular tourist destination, known commonly as L'Isola del Sole ("The Sunny Island").

      Distance: 102 km (64 miles).

    3. Day 3: Grado to Trieste

      Highlights: Wine villages of Friuli and the historic town of Trieste

      Our route is fairly short today so you will have time to explore the historic town of Trieste. Trieste, like many border cities, bounced between Italy and Austria from 1719 until after World War II when Yugoslavia made claim to it. It has been under Italian control since 1954 and is now the capital of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region.

      Distance: 71 km (44 miles).

    4. Day 4: Trieste to Selce, Croatia

      Highlights: A sliver of Slovenia, the region of Istria with its limestone coast

      Our destination today takes us along the northern boundaries of Istria, like Trieste, a disputed border dominated by the Venetians, the Austrians, Marshall Tito's Yugoslavia and is now a part of Croatia. Tonight you'll be in the coastal village of Selce, where you can enjoy your first swim in the Adriatic, or relax at the hotel spa.

      Distance: 126 km (79 miles).

    5. Day 5: Selce to the island of Pag in Croatia

      Highlights: Limestone islands of the North Croatia Coast

      You'll spin along the coastline of the historic Roman "Dalmatia," before taking a ferry to the island of Pag. This area is known for its "Bura" winds which have created a unique vegetation and trees with remarkable shapes. This rocky limestone island is home to a surprising number of sheep who thrive because of their ability to find aromatic herbs, thin grass and sage tucked between the rocks. The result of this special diet is a unique and delicious sheep's cheese which you must try!

      Distance: 126 km (78 miles).

    6. Day 6: Pedaling the islands of Pag to Zadar

      Highlights: Island of Pag and historical town of Zadar

      Today you will discover Pag, before start riding on the mainland. A highlight of the day will be Zadar which was an ancient commercial capital of Dalmatia that competed with and was eventually taken over by Venice.

      Distance: 53 km (33 miles).

    7. Day 7: Bicycle Zadar to Primosten

      Highlights: The coast and interior of Dalmatia

      Today you'll pedal south and east , partly along the coast and partly into the interior to Primosten, a lovely coastal village famous for its wines.

      Distance: 124 km (77 miles).

    8. Day 8: Bicycle Primosten to Split

      Highlights: The Ancient City of Split

      Split was one of the principal cities of Roman Dalmatia and site of the Roman emperor, Diocletian's magnificent palace in the 4th century AD. Over the centuries Split was Roman, Byzantine, an independent rival of Venice and eventually a Venetian subject. The ride today is purposely short today so you can enjoy this wonderful city.

      Distance: 70 km (43 miles).

    9. Day 9: Bicycle and Ferry from Split to Korçula

      Highlights: Islands of Dalmatia

      The ferry this morning takes you to Vela Luka on the island of Korçula. Take your time to explore this fascinating island once famous for its fine wines. The wine industry was devastated by the phylloxera root disease resulting in massive migration of Korçula residents to Australia during between World Wars I and II. Take time to explore this stunning island.

      Distance: 55 km (34 miles).

    10. Day 10: Bicycle to Ston and on to Dubrovnik

      Highlights: Fishing village of Ston and Magnificent Dubrovnik

      The ride today takes you the length of the spectacular Peljesac peninsula to the small fishing villages of Ston and Mali Ston, famous in the past for their production of salt. Stop for lunch before heading on to Dubrovnik.

      Distance: 121 km (74 miles).

    11. Day 11: Rest day in Dubrovnik

      Highlights: The City of Dubrovnik

      If you prefer to avoid the hordes of tourist that descend from cruise ships take an early morning walk, and a late afternoon aperitif and dinner once the tourists have left. Otherwise jump in the mix and enjoy excellent opportunities to people watch. This fortified city once rivaled Venice for control of commerce throughout the Adriatic Sea.

      Distance: Relax! It is a rest day.

    12. Day 12: Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro

      Highlights: Coastal Croatia and Montenegro

      Leave the hubbub of Dubrovnik behind and head down the coast to Montenegro. Your destination is Kotor, on a natural inlet from the Adriatic Sea. Kotor's natural harbor, surrounded by limestone mountains, made it an important Medieval trading center and seaport.

      Distance: 103 km (64 miles).

    13. Day 13: Bicycle from Kotor to Virpazar, Montenegro

      Highlights: Spectacular limestone mountains and views of the coast

      A spectacular and well-deserved view of Kotor Bay awaits you on the Jezerski Vrh summit. Your destination is Virpazar, a tiny town on the shores of the biggest lake in the Balkans: Skadar Lake.

      Distance: 95 km (59 miles).

    14. Day 14: Bicycle from Virpazar, Montenegro to Shkodra, Albania

      Highlights: Shkodra, farmlands and limestone mountain scenery

      You'll bicycle into Albania today from Montenegro crossing a major historic boundary between 16th century Venice and the Ottoman empire. This boundary zone gave rise to the Albanian league under the rule of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. Our destination is Shkodra, an ancient city that was once an Illyrian capital.

      Distance: 75 km (47 miles).

    15. Day 15: Shuttle this morning and boat ride on Lake Komani

      Highlights: Boat ride on Fjord-like Lake Komani

      Shuttle this morning to Komani at the head of the lake of the same name. The dam built here is a part of a series of dams built amid the limestone mountains of northern Albania. You'll board our private boat and cruise approximately 35 km (21 miles) with spectacular views of one of the most remote regions in Albania. Eventually docking in Fierze where you'll pedal past a second dam, "the Light of the Party," and continue to the hotel high above Fierze Lake.

      Distance: 42 km (26 miles).

    16. Day 16: Lake Fierze to the new town of Kukesi

      Highlights: Beautiful views, mountain riding and the town of Kukesi

      Your destination today is Kukesi, which had to be rebuilt in 1976 when the town was flooded by the dam that we passed yesterday. Stroll through the alleys which separate five-story tall apartment buildings built at the height of Enver Hoxha's control over Albania. Broad boulevards, wide sidewalks and alleys with no parking characterize the city where few residents owned an automobile at the time.

      Distance: 83 km (51 miles).

    17. Day 17: Kukesi to Peshkopi, Albania

      Highlights: Mountain riding on a newly paved road with little traffic

      Today's ride is through a formerly remote mountain region now connected with a fine paved road. Enjoy the views, stop for photos and to rest as you'll climb over 6500 feet. Our destination is Peshkopi where local authorities have closed down one of the main streets in the center of town to favor the afternoon and evening "giro" or promenade.

      Distance: 74 km (46 miles).

    18. Day 18: Bicycle into Macedonia to Lake Ohrid

      Highlights: Beautiful views of Lake Ohrid, the "Riviera" of Macedonia

      The ride today takes you along the shores of Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the World Network Biosphere Reserves. The lake is distinguished by its depth and tectonic origins which are similar to Lakes Baikal and Tanganyika. We'll spend this evening on the shore of Lake Ohrid.

      Distance: 92 km (57 miles).

    19. Day 19: Rest Day on the Shores of Lake Ohrid

      Highlights: Medieval churches and the pleasant village of Ohrid

      Take a ride along the lake shore if you'd like today but we suggest making this a complete rest day as you prepare for the mountains of Greece!

      Distance: Your choice, but why not take it easy.

    20. Day 20: Bicycle from Lake Ohrid through Albania to Kastoria, Greece

      Highlights: Two national parks, three countries, three lakes and great views

      Your ride today takes you through two national parks and along Lake Ohrid and Prespa Lake, which is split among Greece, Albania and Macedonia. The ride is long but the views are spectacular and the grades are quite doable. Kastoria, Greece was a Byzantine city and an Ottoman stronghold under the Turks until 1912. It is located on a narrow isthmus on the lake of the same name. Kastoria has been a center for furriers long after the beaver once trapped here disappeared.

      Distance: 150 km (93 miles).

    21. Day 21: Kastoria to Metsovo, Greece

      Highlights: The mountains of ancient Greek Macedonia and Epirus

      A mountainous ride today takes you through ancient Greek Macedonia, an important border region between classical Greece and the central Balkans. Rome was able to bring peace to the region as it expanded the empire in the 2nd century BC. Over the centuries the Albanian, Macedonian and Bulgarian populations in the region have formed a real melting pot of historic cultures. You'll be in Metsovo this evening.

      Distance: 129 km (80 miles).

    22. Day 22: Metsovo to Kalampaka

      Highlights: A short ride to Kalampaka and a guided visit of Meteora monasteries

      Enjoy a half rest day today and lunch together before visiting two of the famous monasteries perched on remnants of sandstone deposits dating to 60 million years ago. Our hope is to eat lunch in one of the monasteries. Stay tuned for news on that. After our visit you'll be free to relax and enjoy a rest this afternoon.

      Distance: 129 km (80 miles).

    23. Day 23: Kalampaka to Karditsa

      Highlights: Traditional Greek villages

      Today is a little respite from the mountains as you wind our way among Greek farm villages on your way to Karditsa. Take your time as we have several mountain days coming up.

      Distance: 70 km (44 miles).

    24. Day 24: Karditsa to Karpenisi

      Highlights: Alpine scenery and mountain riding

      The ride today takes you to the "Switzerland of Greece," in Karpenisi. The town and surrounding villages are famous for their alpine settings, clean air and great views. Enjoy a relaxing evening in the square or "plateia" this evening.

      Distance: 102 km (63 miles).

    25. Day 25: Karpenisi to Nafpaktos

      Highlights: Bicycling to the edge of the Gulf of Corinth

      The route today takes you over one last mountain range before plummeting to sea level on the historic Gulf of Corinth. Your return to sea level, means you've left the ancient Ottoman Empire and Byzantium, and are back in Venetian territory. The Venetians consolidated their hold over this coast in the 16th century when they fortified Nafpaktos against the Ottomans.

      Distance: 113 km (70 miles).

    26. Day 26: Nafpaktos to Lambia

      Highlights: Cross the world's longest suspension bridge to the Peloponnesian Peninsula

      Just 15 kilometers from Nafpaktos this morning we pedal across the Rion-Antirion suspension bridge. We actually begin in Antirion and pedal the nearly 3 km bridge to Rion (about 1.8 miles). The bridge was inaugurated in 2004 for the Olympics in Athens. From here we pass around Patras and into the center of the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

      Distance: 103 km (64 miles).

    27. Day 27: Lambia to Ancient Olympia and Ampeliona

      Highlights: Olympia, Site of the First Olympic Games

      Our route takes us to the site of the ancient Olympic games that were first held in the 8th century BC. We'll stop for a brief guided visit together and we'll suggest lunch here before heading on to our lodge in Ampeliona.

      Distance: 107 km (66 miles).

    28. Day 28: Ampeliona to Kalamata

      Highlights: Frankish town of Kalamata

      Kalamata, famous for its olives, and the remote capital of an even more remote southern Peloponnesian peninsula. The founders of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, Rick and Paola Malpezzi Price began their walk with Benjamin the donkey here in the spring of 1974. That walk eventually gave rise to bicycle and walking adventures throughout Europe and South America. Enjoy Kalamata's mosaic of history, take a walk to the beach and we'll have a final dinner together this evening to celebrate our journey.

      Distance: 80 km 49 miles).

    29. Day 29: End of the journey in Kalamata

      Highlights: Congratulations

      Congratulations on your successful journey! Wherever your future travels may take you, enjoy them and thanks for joining us to bicycle from Venice to Kalamata!

    • Highlights

      Venice, Challenging cycling, Trieste, Islands of Dalmatia, Split, Dubrovnik, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Peloponnese Peninsula
    • Includes

      29 days, 28 night's accommodation with breakfast; use of a quality 30-spd Titanium road or hybrid bike; 3 to 4 tour leaders (depending upon group size); most dinners; several lunches.
    • Countries

      Italy, Greece
    • Begin/End

      Venice, Italy / Kalamata, Greece
    • Arrive/Depart

      Venice / Kalamata or Athens
    • Total Distance

      2305 km (1423 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average per riding day 88 -90km (54 -55 miles)
    • Rating

      501 Expect 70-100 mile days over rolling terrain through Croatia and then challenging and mountainous terrain through Albania and Greece. This tour is one of our more difficult Expeditions and is recommended only for those who enjoy and appreciate challenging mountainous terrain. We have scheduled this expedition to run with mild weather, but riders may experience heat in Croatia and colder weather in the mountains of Albania and Greece.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • This trip is absolutely the BEST Expedition trip you offer. Lots of climbing, lots of miles, outstanding guides and mostly outstanding accommodations considering we are on an Expedition. ExperiencePlus! tour leaders are the best. They perform far and above what is expected. They are very educated, very mature and are just great to be around. The local guides have been very efficient in handling all the details. I want to be doing these Expeditions until I am always the oldest one on the trip!

      Mary G., Sarasota, FL

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