2016 Expedition from Venice to the Heart of Ancient Greece

2016 Expedition from Venice to the Heart of Ancient Greece

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. ***

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Hold A Space Request Private Departure Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 30 Days
  • Total Distance / Over 2300 km (1420 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / Average for daily rides 90 km (56 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.0
  • Countries / Italy, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro
  • Begin/End / Venice/Kalamata
  • Price / From USD$11500
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

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

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Though we do our best to accommodate people who prefer their own rooms it may not always be possible. ExpeditionPlus! tours will test you both physically and mentally. By prepared for anything.

    ***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. ***
  • Includes
    30 days, 29 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.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Venice / Kalamata or Athens
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.0 difficulty level 1.0

    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.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
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    28
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    30

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

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).

  • Meals: Dinner

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).

  • Meals: Breakfast

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).

  • Meals: Breakfast

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: 121 km (76 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

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: 115 km (72 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

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).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7: Bicycle Zadar to Skradin

Highlights: Krka National Park

Your ride today takes you further down the Dalmatian coast. Pedal along the rural interior until you reach Skradin, a charming town on the edge of Krka National Park, home to the beautiful Skradinski Buk waterfalls. Time permitting, you can enjoy a 4 km walk, bike or boat ride along the river into the national park to visit the falls where the Krka and Čikola Rivers flow out of the Dalmatian Karst (limestone) and over seventeen falls. We'll have a special seafood dinner this evening.

Distance: 92 km (57 miles)

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8: Bicycle Skradin to Split

Highlights: Mainland Croatia

Today we continue further south east along the coast and inland villages of Primosten area, discover ancient Greek colony - town Trogir, inscribed on the UNESCO World heritage list. The ride continues along 7 charming Kastela (Castle) villages before our arrival to the town 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 A.D. Over the centuries Split was Roman, Byzantine, an independent rival of Venice and eventually a Venetian subject.

Distance: 108 km (67 miles)

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9: Split, late afternoon catamaran to Korçula

Highlights: The Ancient City of Split

Take your time to explore Split. We'll catch a catamaran to the island of Korçula in the late afternoon. Founded as a Greek colony in the 4th century and controlled mostly by Venice from 1000 AD until 1797, Korçula retains the 14th century fortress style bestowed upon it by Venice.

Distance: Relax! It is a rest day.

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10: Bicycle from Korçula to Mali Ston

Highlights: Korçula, fishing village of Ston

Take time this morning to explore the town or this stunning island. The ride today takes you the length of the spectacular Peljesac peninsula to the small fishing village of Ston and Mali Ston, famous in the past for their production of salt. Enjoy a walk along the imposing 14th century walls that surround Mali Ston and Ston; they were built by the Republic of Dubrovnik to protect important salt production operations.

Distance: 63 km (39 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11: Bicycle from Ston to Dubrovnik

Highlights: The City of Dubrovnik

Pedal to Dubrovnik. The ride today is purposely short today so you can enjoy this wonderful city. If you prefer to avoid the hordes of tourist that descend from cruise ships take a late afternoon aperitif and dinner once the tourists have left. Otherwise jump in the mix and enjoy the excellent opportunities to people watch. The fortified city once rivaled Venice for control of commerce throughout the Adriatic Sea.

Distance: 62 km (39 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

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: 105 km (66 miles).

DAY 13: Rest day in Kotor

Highlights: Medieval Kotor

The old town of Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in this part of the Mediterranean. It succeeded in preserving its original form, so typical of towns between the 13th and the 14th century. The asymmetric structure of the narrow streets and squares, combined with the numerous valuable monuments of medieval architecture, contributed to Kotor being placed on UNESCO's "World natural and cultural heritage" list.

Distance: Rest day.

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14: 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: 83km (52 miles).

DAY 15: 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: 72 km (45 miles).

DAY 16: 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 the ferry 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: 41 km (26 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 17: 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: 81 km (51 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 18: 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: 75 km (47 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 19: 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).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 20: 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.

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 21: Bicycle from Lake Ohrid through Albania to Kastoria, Greece

Highlights: Galichica national park, three countries, three lakes and great views

Your ride today takes you through Galichica national park on the shores of Lake Ohrid. 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 remained a center for furriers even though the beaver once trapped here disappeared long ago.

Distance: 136 km (85 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 22: 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).

DAY 23: Metsovo to Kalampaka

Highlights: Metsovo Pass

Your ride today will take you on Katara, the highest mountain pass in Greece open to motor traffic. This is a mountain road of spectacular grandeur. The pass, also called Metsovo Pass, is surrounded with pine and spruce trees, and is one of several passes that has lamp posts along the road. It offers views of the Aoos and the Pineios valleys as well as the surrounding mountains.

Distance: 71 km (44 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 24: Rest Day in Kalampaka (Meteora)

Highlights: Guided visit of Meteora monasteries

Enjoy a rest day today. The monasteries of Meteora are one of the most extraordinary sights in mainland Greece. Built into and on top of huge pinnacles of smooth rock, the earliest monasteries were reached by climbing articulated removable ladders. We offer a visit of the famous monasteries perched on remnants of sandstone deposits dating to 60 million years ago.

Distance: Relax! It is a rest day.

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 25: 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: 82 km (51 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 26: 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: 108 km (67 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 27: 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: 114 km (71 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 28: 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: 101 km (63 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast

DAY 29: Lambia to Ancient Olympia

Highlights: Olympia, Site of the First Olympic Games

Today is a short ride to Ancient Olymipia, the site of the ancient Olympic games that were first held in the 8th century BC. We'll stop for a guided visit together and suggest lunch in town before our final ride to a nearby hotel where you can unwind before dinner together this evening to celebrate our amazing journey.

Distance: 43 km (27 miles).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 30: End of the journey

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 the Heart of Ancient Greece!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Though we do our best to accommodate people who prefer their own rooms it may not always be possible. ExpeditionPlus! tours will test you both physically and mentally. By prepared for anything.

***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. ***

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Refer to your Tour Packet/Itinerary to see step-by-step arrival and departure information for your tour, meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program.
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike &Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail we send 10 days prior to the due date for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Start reading one of the books or watching one of the movies from our Reading and Movie Lists: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/
  • Plan what you are going to pack and start packing! Refer to the Packing Lists on our website at https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/packing/.
  • We'll email you your access code to Digital Daysheets, Hotel Itinerary, Participant Roster, names and contact information of your Tour Leaders, emergency phone numbers, and other important departure information about 2 weeks prior to your tour start date. All this will be provided to you via a feature called Experiences via the RideWithGPS App (tracks available but not necessary for navigation on Classic, Expedition and Bike & Boat tours).

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Sailing the boat, every afternoon relaxing on the boat after biking and swimming, lovely dinners, hearty breakfasts, bee keepers, traditional dinner out, rides through the islands (up and down!), guides, fellow passengers, crew on the boat-- really it was ALL great.

    Cheryl A., Colchester, VT - June 2021
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