Uncover one of Europe’s riding treasures
Ridden the Alps already? Done the Dolomites? Got previous with the Pyrenees? Or just really want a biking break that breaks with the norm? Then you want to go to Croatia – which may be making a name for itself as one of Europe's top destinations for savvy sunseekers, but on the quiet it's an absolute two-wheeled paradise, with miles of stunning roads.
Of course, it's a long way from the UK and that's why this is a long trip with full days in the saddle. Designed to fill two weeks' holiday – with rest days and sightseeing stops – it packs as much scenery and as many bends as possible into every mile, so the ride down to the Balkans is just as rewarding as your time there.
What’s included on the route? Each day’s route has recommended places to stop for coffee in the morning and afternoon, a suggested lunch stop and planned fuel stops. Hotel suggestions are included too.
How long is each day’s ride? These are full days, because it's definitely a riding holiday. If you're on the road at nine, you'll be at the next hotel before 6pm (maybe before 5:30pm if you don't have a long lunch). That's allowing for coffee and photo stops along the way. Even though there is a fair bit of ground to cover, each day has to be an enjoyable ride, not a test of posterior endurance... Saddle-time rating: seven out of 10.
What are the highlights? The road people are starting to know about is the D8, the Croatian coast road – and it is definitely one of the highlights of the trip. So is visiting Dubrovnik – with the old town that took a starring role in Game of Thrones. But there's so much more to this tour. As well as other great roads and historic towns in Croatia, there's Slovenia to discover – packed with brilliant riding and fascinating places to visit. And to get to both of them, there are the Austrian and Italian Alps to ride through, the Bavarian Tirol and the Black Forest, not to mention some of France's finest roads. It's not a long ride with the good bits at the far end: every day is packed with highlights.
What about insurance and borders and money? Relax – Croatia is in the EU so your insurance will cover you. And now there's a new bridge, which opened in August 2022, you don't even have to nip across a bit of Bosnia to get to Dubrovnik: the whole trip is fuss- and paperwork-free. As of January 1 2023, Croatia is in the Schengen Zone so the only border crossing is between the UK and France – and from January 1 Croatia adopted the Euro, too. Though you'll probably pay for everything contactlessly anyway…
Why thirteen days? This isn't really a 13-day tour: it's a two-week trip. If you leave on a Saturday and aim to return on the Sunday two weeks later, you have upto 16 days to play with – and this trip's designed to be flexible enough to let you get the most from it. You'll want to take at least a day off the bike in Dubrovnik, but there may be other locations along the way where you'd like to stop for some more sightseeing or R&R. There's also an opportunity to break one of the days into two, with half a day's riding and half a day's sightseeing on each new, short day.
How is it supplied? You can simply download the GPX files and install them in your sat nav. Garmin or BMW Navigator users should download the complete file; TomTom users (or riders using a GPX compatible phone app like Calimoto, Scenic or MyRouteApp Navigator) should download the individual files. However, I strongly recommend getting the tour pack of day-by-day route notes and marked-up maps (not sold separately).
Download the tour
Garmin/BMW users should download the complete-route file. Individual day files should be downloaded for TomTom or GPX-compatible phone apps.