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North Macedonia and Northern Greece cycling
North Macedonia and Northern Greece cycling
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13 days
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period:
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Code:
GRSB012
E-Bikes Cycling
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North Macedonia and Northern Greece cycling

North Macedonia and Northern Greece cycling

  • Unesco listed historical town of Ohrid on the lake Ohrid 
  • Cycling across borders in North Macedonia and Northern Greece 
  • Exquisite wine region of Agios Panteleimon 
  • Meteora monasteries on top of granite pinnacles 
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Map cycling routes north Macedonia
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Route

Start: Ohrid                       Finish: Kastraki

Most tracks are on tarmac, sometimes short distance on cobbled road. In and around bigger towns you will have short sections on major traffic roads. 

Day 1: Arrival in Ohrid
Day 2: Time to explore Ohrid or a short bike ride (40 km)
Day 3: Ohrid-Sveti Naum (45 km)
Day 4: Sveti Naum-Otesovo (38 km)
Day 5: Otesevo-Bitola (50 km)
Day 6: Bitola-Florina (45 km or 65 km)
Day 7: Florina-Agios Panteleimon (65 km)
Day 8: Agios Panteleimon-Kastoria (80 km)
Day 9: Rest day Kastoria or short bike ride (35 km)
Day 10: Kastoria-Grevena (85 km)
Day 11: Grevena-Kastraki (64 km)
Day 12: Rest day or Meteora or Pinios valley tour (58 km)

Day 1:    Arrival in Ohrid

Arrive at the first hotel in Ohrid, your base for the next 2 days. 

Day 2:    Time to explore Ohrid or a short bike ride (40 km)

An arrival briefing will be held with our representative. This may also take place in the evening of day 1, depending on your arrival time. You will receive your bicycle and adjust to your needs. The remainder of the day is at leisure. You can visit the bazar in the center which is within walking distance or you can take a nice walk along several beautiful monasteries  in the old  Town. You can join a fantastic boat trip on one of the oldest lakes of the world: lake Ohrid

A must see is the old town of Ohrid, a true open air museum with beautiful ancient churches, such as the magnificent Sveti Jovan Kaneo, built on an overhanging cliff above the lake, and Sveti Clement at Plaosnik with its frescoes and icons. At the top of the hill above  the town you will find find the remains of the medieval castle of the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil, which was built around 1018. From the castle you have a magnificent view of Ohrid and the lake. Since 1980, Lake Ohrid has been listed with UNESCO and is partly located in Albania. This unique lake is at an altitude of approximately 700 meters, wedged between the mountains Petrino and Galicica.

Challenge:  40 km

Day 3:    Ohrid-Sveti Naum (45 km)

Todays trip begins with cycling north through the valley which is known for its fertile soil and many orchards. Cherries, apricots, grapes, apples and a lot of plums. These plums are mainly used for the production of the national alcoholic drink: 'Rakia'.  Narrow roads, country side and sleepy farming villages characterise this area. We cycle along an old  volcano and continue along the east banks of the Ohrid lake to the bay of Bones: a reconstruction of an ancient village on the lake, dated 6000 years ago.

Your accommodation for tonight is in an ancient monastery!

Challenge:  45 km, 360 m ascent, 350 m descent

Day 4:     Sveti Naum-Otesovo (38 km)

You cycle from lake Ohrid to lake Prespa through the Galicica National Park. Both lakes are separated by the Galicica mountain. It starts with a long (14km) gradual climb to an altitude of 1550 meter  with lots and lots of stunning views. After a long descent you finish at the Prespa lake.  The hotel is located directly on the Prespa lake which is known for its birdlife. You will stay in the historic hotel Lakeview, built in the 1950’s by political prisoners of the old socialistic system.  

Challenge: 38 km, 890 m ascent, 740 m descent

Day 5:    Otesevo-Bitola (50 km)

Wake up early in the morning to spot pelicans at the lake before heading of on your bike. You come along the lake and orchards and through small villages, followed by a gradual climb on a partly cobblestone road until the pass at 1200 meter.  After the descent, you peddle through the rural landscape scattered with ancient and forgotten villages. Your trip of today ends in Bitola: a vibrant historical city with a long history and previously known as the trading center of the Balkans. The Ottoman domination of the past can still be seen in the streets: Ottoman architecture, the cobblestone streets and the bazar of Bitola. Ataturk, founder of the modern republic of Turkey is a prominent figure in the museum in the center of the town. He studied at the military academy and is the most famous student of the city. 

Bitola is also situated at the foothills of the Pelister National Park that is characterized by an overwhelming flora and fauna

Challenge:  50 km, 480 m ascent, 710m descent

Day 6:    Bitola-Florina (45 km or 65 km)

Today you cross the border with Greece. Florina is the capital of the Florina prefecture and is situated at an altitude of 700 meters along  the river Sakoulevassurrounded by  forests and mountains. This town got a boost after the construction of the railway to Thessaloniki in 1893. Today you have a choice between two routes. The first 35km are the same for both routes and you cycle on the lower slopes of the mountains of the Pelister National Park. The easier option continues in southern direction and after 8 km you reach Florina. The long route makes a 30km loop through unspoiled nature with a steep climb. You will reach the summit at an altitude of 1300 meters with a descent of 600 meters over 10 km. After a beautiful descent through the valley, you reach Florina.

Challenge: 

(Option A ) 45 km, 100 m ascent, 120 m descent 

(Option B) 65 km, 760 m ascent, 780 m descent

Day 7:    Florina-Agios Panteleimon (65 km)

Today you will cycle north towards a cluster of lakes; the largest one being Vegoritas lake. The lakes are interconnected with each other through a variety of channels and tunnels. The Vegoritas lake is a haven for rare birds and is a protected area. The first 25 km are almost flat through a wide valley with farmland and small villages. After that the road gradually ascends to an altitude of 950 meters. The last part of this ride you will cycle along the lake to the final destination Agios Panteleimon. You can make an optional visit to the winery Alpha Estates, one of the  best wineries in Greece. 

Challenge:  65 km, 450 m ascent, 565 m descent

Day 8:    Agios Panteleimon-Kastoria (80 km)

The route to Kastoria is one of the longest rides of this holiday. You cycle along vineyards to the pretty village of Amindeo where you may have a break for a refreshing ice coffee before continuing along Chimaditida Lake, known to be a haven for many birds species. An elevation gain of 500 meters over 10 km is challenging, but once reaching the top you will be rewarded with stunning views over the valley with lake Kastoria on the horizon. After a long and smooth descent you will reach the ancient town of Kastoria

Challenge:  80 km, 820 m ascent, 735 m descent

Day 9:    Rest day Kastoria or short bike ride (35 km)

Kastoria is a nice old town with lots of things to see. It lies partly on a peninsula surrounded by a large lake  which  is surrounded by plane trees. During the  bike trip across the peninsula, you will pass the caves of the "dragon" (tou Spileo Drakou). This  300 meters deep cave with several lakes, is an absolute attraction. Remnants of bears that lived here 10.000 years ago were found in the cave. Kastoria is characterized by many beautiful mansions and Byzantine monuments. You can see clearly the massive wealth this city has been seen in the past. Trade in beaver furs led to a huge economic boom period of the 17th to the 19th century.  On the promenade along the water, you will find terraces and restaurants.

Challenge: 35 km

Day 10:    Kastoria-Grevena (85 km)

You cycle south today and after about 20 km arrive at the ancient town of Argos Orestiko with its narrow streets, squares and neoclassical buildings. This clearly shows thatthis area has experienced great prosperity inthe past centuries by trade in furs and carpets.

The special composition of the soil in this area is ideal for the cultivation of vegatables, such as lentils and beans. 25 km further the landscape becomes hillier and the route continues through one of the most important natural habitats of Greece. In the higher mountains, wolves and brown bears have been observed.

The route continues through an undulating landscape along streams and villages  and several short climbs emerging rapidly on the horizon, before reaching the provincial town of Grevena. Grevena is located on the banks of the river Doxaniti Greveniti. This lively city with numerous bistros and  restaurants played an important strategic role during the ancient Byzantine period and was also known as the trade center in the region.

Challenge:  85 km,  750 m ascent, 850 m descent

Day 11:    Grevena-Kastraki (64 km)

After leaving Grevena you are immediately riding through a vast natural landscape. The views are stunning with circling birds of prey in the distance. The toughest section of the day is right at the starts of todays ride.

After 10 km the road gradually ascends for the next 15 km. You will reach the highest point of today and then enjoy a long descent into the wide valley of the river Pinios. Once this ‘plain of Thessaly’ was an inland sea. Now you see huge rock formations shaped by wind and water erosion, millions of years ago. On top of these huge granite pillars, monks built impressive monasteries, Megalo Meteoron being the most famous. 

Your overnight location for the next two days is next to the rock formations and waking up to this view is a feast for the eyes!

Challenge:  64 km, 635 m ascent, 880 m descent

Day 12:    Rest day or Meteora or Pinios valley tour (58 km)

Enjoy your last bike ride with a beautiful tour along these gigantic limestone rock formations with the impressive monasteries built on top. Monks began building these monasteries in the 11th century, usiropes and ladders for lifting up the building materials! Nowadays, there are six monasteries tha are all on display and are true works of art. The second part of this ride goes through the wide river valley with beautiful views of Meteora

If you don’t fancy cycling today, you may prefer to choose one of the great walks in this area and walk on old cobbled foot paths that once were the only way to reach the monasteries. 

Challenge:  58 km, 475 m ascent, 475 m descent

'standard' hotels
Hotel Lebed**** (Ohrid)
Hotel Lebed**** (Ohrid)

Small stylish hotel located by the very cost of Ohrid Lake, only few minutes walking from the city historic center. Hotels offers air conditioning and free WiFi, some rooms have balcony.

www.hotellebed.com.mk

Saint Naoum Hotel*** (Saint Naum)
Saint Naoum Hotel*** (Saint Naum)

Set in the 9th-century monastery on the south-eastern shore of Lake Ohrid, the hotel completely melts in with the monastery ambient at the same time offering modern accommodation and services. Hotel has bar and restaurant with a special attention being paid to traditional local cuisine. Hotel offers WiFi, cable TV and mini bar

www.hotel-stnaum.com.mk

Lakeview Hotel and Resort (Otesevo)
Lakeview Hotel and Resort (Otesevo)

This family run hotel was originally build in late1950’s by political prisoners, after it’s peak in the 80’s and 90’s hotel was forgotten until Necovski family founded the Lakeview hotel and Resort in 2012. Hotel is situated between Lake Prespa and the foot of National Park Galicica. Hotel has restaurant patio, summer garden for dining and private beach area. Rooms have balcony and some rooms also offer a lake view. Free WiFi

www.lakeviewotesevo.com

Teatar Hotel (Bitola
Teatar Hotel** (Bitola)

Family run 2-star hotel built in the traditional way, located in the center of Bitol. Hotel offers airconditioned rooms with free WiFi, cable TV and minibar. Hotel also has café-bar

www.hotelteatar.com

Lingos Hotel (Florina)
Lingos Hotel (Florina)

Hotel Lingos is centrally located in town of Florina, the city center is a walking distance away. Hotel rooms are decorated in the traditional classis styles and all rooms have aircondition, balcony and free WiFi. Hotel has restaurant and roof top bar with amazing view of the city

www.hotel-lingos.gr

Limni Hotel (Agios Panteleimon)
Limni Hotel (Agios Panteleimon)

This peaceful family run run hotel is situatied next to lake Vegoritida in small town of Agios Panteleimonas, about 10 minutes walk form the lakeside shops. Rooms have either lake or mountain view. Rooms have fridge and free WiFi

www.hotellimni.com

Kastoria Hotel (Kastori)
Kastoria Hotel *** (Kastori)

This 3-star hotel is recently renoated and situated nex to Kastoria Lake. Some rooms have lake view and all rooms have mini-bar, seating area, safe and free WiFi. Hotel has also a bar that serves buffet breakfast in the morning.

www.hotel-kastoria.gr

Metropolis Hotel (Grevena)
Metropolis Hotel *** (Grevena)

Hotel Metropolis is centrally located on one of two central squares of Grevena, beatiful Macedonian town . Hotel has restaurant, 24-hours reception and free WiFi

www.hotel-metropolis.gr 

Kastraki hotel (Kastraki)
Kastraki Hotel *** (Kastraki)

This comfotable 3-star hotel is located at the foothills of Meteora, 500 meters from the monastery of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas. Rooms have balconies and spectacular view to Meteora rocks or Pindos mountains, fridge and safe. Hotel offers free WiFi, room service, non-smoking rooms, restaurant and bar. Taverna of hotel that offers local traditional dishes, is located about 50 meters away

www.hotelkastraki.gr

practical info

You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between mid April – end of October.

The best months to travel are May, June and September and  October. In the summer months it can be hot. Active travelers  should either go in the spring time (when nature is at its best) orafter summer.  

Nearest airport to fly to is Ohrid airport (OHD)

Arrival in Ohrid

There are direct flights to Ohrid from selected European countries. You may want to check the website of the airport for up to date information. www.hd.airports.com.mk

You can book an optional transfer from the airport to the first hotel in Ohrid, or you can take a taxi on the spot which is much cheaper than a prebooked taxi.

Departure from Kastraki

From Kastraki you can travel per train to Thessaloniki (stop-over in Paleofarsalos) or to Athens(direct or with stop-over). You can prebook train tickets with your booking at S-Cape Travel. There are limited connections to Thessaloniki and to Athens and we recommend to book a hotel and book outbound flight for the next day.  

From Kastraki to Thessaloniki center or Thessaloniki airport, we offer the possibility of a private taxi transfer as well. 

There are many outbound flights from Thessaloniki or Athens to cities in Europe and to Athens. For more information, visit: www.skg-airport.gr and www.aia.gr 

Hibrid bikes rental

  • Brand: Ghost
  • Bike Type: Hybrid trekking bike 24-speed with alu frame and 28" wheels and Hydraulic disk brakes
  • Brakes: Shimano Altus
  • Suspension: Front suspension
  • Frame sizes: (Ladies): S, M, L(Gents): S.M,L, XL
  • Included: lock, pump, puncture repair kit including spare inner tube, luggage rack rear with paniers, bottle holder (with bottle)

NOTE: Not included: Computer meter, helmet. Bring your own helmet or rent one with your booking! 

E-bikes rental

  • Brand: Ghost
  • Bike Type: E-bike with alu frame and 28" wheels and Hydraulic disk brakes. 24-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano Altus
  • Suspension: Front suspension
  • Frame sizes: (Ladies): S, M, L(Gents): S.M,L, XL
  • Included: lock, pump, puncture repair kit including spare inner tube, luggage rack rear with paniers, bottle holder (with bottle)
  • Not included: Computer meter, helmet.

GPS tracks are available on request.

 Access to the trip notes in ActiveNav App

included

Included

  • 12 nights’ accommodation
  • 12 breakfast
  • Digital information pack and draw-in maps 
  • Access to the trip notes in ActiveNav App
  • Transfer to of bicycles from end point in Kastraki to Ohrid 
  • 24-hour telephone assistance

Not included

  • Lunch and dinners (except dinner on day 4)
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist Tax
  • Luggage transfers (optional bookable)
  • Bicycle rental(optional bookable)
  • Transfers by public transportation
  • Transfer to first/ from last accommodation
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, tips, extra transfers, etc.
  • Any items that have not been specifically mentioned in the program

Extras

  • Extra nights at any of the accommodations of the programme
  • Luggage transfers
  • Bicycle rental
  • Transfers from / to airport
  • Single Room Supplement(s)
  • Solo Traveller Supplement

 

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