Macedonia and Bulgaria from Ancient times until the arrival of the Ottomans05/12/2019
Day 1 Arrival in Skopje (D)
Arrival at the International airport Skopje and transfer to a hotel located in the center of Skopje. After the accommodation, a short sightseeing tour in the center of the city will be arranged, around the Old Bazaar, Skopje Fortress, and the new part with the numerous monuments and museums. Dinner will be served in a local restaurant in the city center. Overnight in a hotel in Skopje.
Day 2Lake of Kozjak – Prilep Route (43 miles/69 km, elevation 1010m) (B, L, D)
Breakfast and check out. After the breakfast, we will be transferred with a van to the village of Batinci, from where we start our ride to a viewpoint of the Kozjak Lake (the largest man-made lake in Macedonia). We will finish the trip cycling back to the Monastery of King Marko, one of the most famous medieval monasteries in Macedonia. Lunch will be arranged at a beautiful site next to the monastery. After lunch, we will be transferred back to the city of Prilep. Overnight and dinner in Prilep.
Day 3 Mariovo region – Prespa region (25 miles/41 km) (B, L, D)
Breakfast and check out. Van transfer to the outskirts of Prilep (the village of Kalen, 30 min), where the mystical region of Mariovo begins. Today, we have the privilege to be amongst the handful of visitors to experience Mariovo, Macedonia’s most celebrated highlands, and important economic and cultural center during the times of the Ottoman Empire. During cycling, we will pass by archaic villages and meet friendly locals. Lunch will be arranged in the village of Manastir. In the late afternoon, we will be transferred from Manastir to our next cycling area, the area of Prespa. Overnight in the village of Brajchino. Home-made dinner.
Day 4 Prespa – Ohrid (29 miles/46 km, elevation 300m) (B, L, D)
Check out after breakfast. We start riding in the beautiful and off-beat area of Prespa, from the village of Brajchino to the village of Stenje. We will make en-route visits to the villages of Ljubojno, with its distinctive old architecture; Podmochani, where we will have a coffee break and visit one of the richest private ethnic museums in Macedonia; Slivnica, to visit its monastery built in the 17th century; and Kurbinovo, with the monastery of St. George, form the 12th century. In Stenje we will enjoy lunch prepared by Andrej’s family, born in Skopje, but moved to Stenje to enjoy the village life, and excelled in organic farming. In the late afternoon, we will be transferred to Ohrid via the National Park Galichica, making a few stops to admire the view of both natural lakes – Prespa and Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 5Sightseeing and rest day in Ohrid (B, D)
Today, we will have a sightseeing tour of the ancient city of Ohrid, the city of UNESCO. After the breakfast, we will start the walking tour from the center of the city, visiting its most famous amenities – St. Clement’s temple complex of Plaoshnik, St. Sofia, Tsar Samuel’s Fortress, and the Ancient Theater. During the warm days of the spring or summer season, we can swim in the nearby beach of Potpesh. Free afternoon. Home-made dinner will be served at a family home in the nearby village of Kuratica, a 15-minute drive from Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 6Demir Hisar – Krushevo (32 miles/51 km) (B, L, D)
Breakfast and check out from the hotel. Van transfer to the town of Kichevo (1 hour, 38 miles/62 km). From Kichevo, we will start cycling in the area of Demir Hisar, enjoying the beautiful untouched nature. Lunch will be arranged in a local restaurant in the small town of Demir Hisar. After lunch, we will be transferred with the van to Krushevo, the town with the highest elevation on the Balkans (1350m above sea level). Dinner and overnight in Krushevo.
Day 7Pelagonia lowland – Bitola (45 miles/72 km) (B, L, D)
Breakfast and check out. Today’s ride takes us around the Pelagonija plain. We will start cycling from our hotel in Krushevo and finish in the city of Bitola. The ride is laid back, and we will make few stops in en-route villages. Lunch will be arranged in the city of Bitola. After lunch, we will ride to Heraclea Lyncestis, an ancient Macedonian town founded by Phillip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, in the middle of the 4th century B.C. Dinner and overnight in Bitola.
Day 8Tikvesh wine region (Kozhuf) – Skopje (27 miles/43km) (B, L, D)
Early check out from the hotel after breakfast, followed by a van transfer to the Tikvesh wine region, the largest on the Balkans (1 hour, 59 miles/95 km). We will finish our cycling trip with an epic ride in the wine region of Tikvesh, covering part of the Kozhuf mountain. The beautiful nature and the endless vineyards will bring us to the village of Krnjevo, where our hosts will arrange wine tasting over lunch. Van transfer to Skopje (2 hours). Farewell dinner arranged in a restaurant in the central part of Skopje. Overnight in Skopje.
Day 9Departure (B)
Breakfast, check out and transfer to the International Airport Skopje.