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CCG190A: From Croatia to Greece

Saturday, June 15, 2019 | Anthony Fairweather / Björn Greibig | Europe

Day 13: Nafplio to Athens

Our last riding day of the tour takes us off the Peleponnesian Peninsula and towards Athens. However, before we tackle the final miles of the tour we visit the famous theatre of Epidauros, where we experience some of the best acoustics in the world. From here it's just a short ride to the coast for an excellent fish lunch.  The Corinthian Canal is our final stop of the trip before hitting the highway around Athens and making our way to our hotel in the leafy suburb of Voulagmeni. As we spend our last evening of the tour together we share stories of what was truly an excellent adventure! 

That's already the last daily briefing of the tour.
Epidauros
Corinth Canal

Day 12: Kalamata to Nafplio

Today is all about the ride as we experience some of the best roads of the tour. Tight mountain passes, fast paced sweepers through the countryside and a truly exceptional coastal road, so new it doesn't appear on any maps! It's also time for the second picnic of the tour, high above the clear,  blue waters of Agean. Once again the hotel pool proves to be one of the highlights of the day, giving us an excellent opportunity to cool off from the heat of the day.

On the top of the Sparta-Kalamata pass.

Day 11: Olympia to Kalamata 

It's a short ride today so we have plenty of time to go visit Ancient Olympia.  We arrive at the archeological site nice and early before the bus tours arrive and wander through the museum.  We time it perfectly and have the original Olympic field all to ourselves.  After a couple of hours wandering through ancient history we make our way back to the hotel and change into our riding gear.  What follows next is a masterclass in Greek mountain riding.  Route 74 is seemingly made for two wheels, interrupted only by an an excellent lunch in a small mountain village.  Riding through narrow valleys we arrive at the coast at the beautiful town of Kalamata. We spend the rest afternoon lounging by the pool before an alfresco dinner above the roofs of Kalamata. 

Good night from Kalamata.

Day 10: Delphi to Olympia

It's a another fantastic day for a ride,  so that's exactly what we shall do. From Delphi we head east into the mountains on one of the best roads so far. Grippy tarmac,  stunning views and balmy temperatures, all topped off with the best coffee stop of the trip so far in a hidden taverna on the side of a road. It's also time for the first picnic of the trip,  expertly prepared by Björn. We chow down on local delicacies while admiring the beautiful Corinthian Gulf. Next we cross the Rio-Antirrion bridge and begin the climb into the mountains that make up the heart of the Peleponnesian Peninsula.  After a rollercoaster ride on roads less traveled we arrive in Olympia,  perfectly timed for a drink at the pool before dinner. 

Rio-Andirrio-bridge

Day 9: Meteora to Delphi 

Lake Plastira is the first highlight of the day and road along its shores is rated as one of the most beautiful drives in Greece. We can only agree with this assessment.  Endless twisty roads take us through the mountains and down towards Mount Parnassus,  home of Apollo and the Muses. The ride over Mount Parnassus is a motorcycle lover's dream and it takes us all the way to Delphi. We arrive early in the afternoon and use the spare time to walk through the breathtaking temples of Delphi.  Unfortunately the Oracle is not in, but we know what the next few days will bring,  more fantastic riding!

The 500 years old Pyli bridge.
Lake Plastiras

Day 8: Restday Meteora

Oh Meteora, you never cease to amaze! Stunning sandstone columns topped with ancient monasteries,  Meteora should be on everyone's bucket list! We ride the awesome Meteora Ring Road, take multiple picture stops and visit the charming monastery of Saint Nicholas. After all this culture we deserve an excellent iced coffee in the small town of Kalambaka before setting off on an epic rest day ride,  170km of stunning mountain roads. We finish our second rest day of the day with an excellent meal in a traditional Greek taverna, conveniently located just a short stagger from the hotel

Monastery of the Holy Trinity
Can you spot the climbers?

Day 7: Sarande to Meteora

Today marks our final border crossing of the tour, but first a visit to the UNESCO world heritage site if Butrint, an old Greco-Roman city with over 3000 years of history! As we wander around the ancient ruins we have the site almost to ourselves, which lends a special atmosphere to this stunning site!  After a thorough examination at the border crossing ("Cigarettes? " "No." "Ok, go.") we arrive in Greece where we celebrate our final country of the tour with an excellent seafood meal in the small harbour of Sagiada. From here it's an easy ride to Meteora, another UNESCO World heritage site and our home for the next two nights. 

Welcome to Butrint!
Old school graffiti
Bay of Butrint
Waiting for the "ferry".
Last boarder crossing on this tour. Albania to Greece.
Lunch time.
An iced coffee is just perfect on days like today.
Almost in Meteora.
Boooooot beeeeer!!!

Day 6: Ohrid to Sarande

Not too many pictures today as we tackle the longest riding day of the tour. After a remarkably easy border crossing back into Albania we blast our way to the coast and the Albanian Riviera! Here we find Llogara Pass which rises from sea level to over 1000m! As we crest the top we are rewarded with a fantastic view of the beautifully twisty road that will take us towards Sarande. Here we end our day with a taste of Raki, the traditional grape schnapps that Albania is rightfully proud of! 

Day 5: Shkodra to Ohrid

Today is one of longest riding days of the trip so far. We leave the busy morning traffic of Shkoder behind and begin to climb back into the Albanian Alps. After a quick lunch on the shores of Fierza lake we continue our climb into the remote hinterland of Eastern Albania. Tight turns, gorgeous views and tiny villages perched precariously on the steep slopes make for an amazing ride towards the border to North Macedonia,  whe6we will spend the night on the shore of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in Europe. 

Lake Fierza, is man made and our lunch spot for today.
Albanian-Macedonian boarder
Lake Ohrid

Day 4: Kolasin to Shkodra

We say goodbye to Montenegro and hello Albania! Our route takes us over the hidden Tresnjevik pass and across a tiny border crossing high up in the Albanian Alps. As we descend towards the coast the mountain valleys open up and we enjoy one of the best roads of the tour so far. A beautiful black band of tarmac snakes it's way through breathtaking scenery and we take full advantage of the excellent grip it offers! Arriving in Shkoder we park our bikes at the hotel and head into the charming city centre for a well deserved beer!

Coffee stop at the top of Trešnjevik pass
Do we really need rain gear again?
The next boarder crossing. Montenegro to Albania.
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Training after lunch!
"wild east"
The albanian alps
No words needed!!!
Enjoying Shkodra
Ebu-Bekr-mosque

Day 3: Rest Day in Kolasin 

It's our first rest day, but it doesn't mean we're resting! We set out for a fantastic ride through the Durmitor National Park and up through the Tara Gorge. Here we fly over the canyon on one of Europe's longest ziplines,  then make our way back on small mountain roads. We arrive just in time for some relaxing spa time, the head out for dinner at a traditional Konoba.

A quick safety briefing and we're off!
A perfect post card moment.
Donning our safety gear for the zipline.
Jeanette, Tony, John, Carmella and Peter in the well deserved sunshine at the beginning of Tara Gorge.

Day 2: Dubrovnik to Kolašin

Our first day on the bikes takes us south towards the first of many border crossings on this trip. Good bye Croatia,  hello Montenegro! Climbing high above the bay of Kotor, we enjoy the spectacular mountain roads that crisscross the Black Mountains that give Montenegro its name. We stop in Podgorica to visit the beautiful Orthodox cathedral, then begin our climbing towards Kolasin, our home for the next two nights. 

Moraca River Canyon
High above a river there once sat a tour guide...
Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Podgorica
Bay of Kotor
A short ferry ride takes us across the bay of Kotor.
First coffee of the tour for Art, Carol and David. There will be many more!
First border crossing of the tour. Croatia to Montenegro

Day 1: Dubrovnik - arrival day

Our group from Germany, Austria,  the United States and Mexico arrive in Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea. From here we will begin our journey south towards Athens, along some of the most beautiful roads in the Balkans. 

Welcome dinner
Art by TG Tony, design by history.
New toys!
Oh so shiny!
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Add a comment Rate this post
Pierre Baumgärtner
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 13:59

Hi Jeanette & Carmella, John & Peter,
great to see you again. It seems you are enjoying the tour and having a fantastic time. Challenge Tony and Bjoern… they like it Keep on Rolling,
Cheers, Pierre
Jeanette Guma
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 22:31

Good to hear from you! Still hoping to see you on another tour, Pyrenees was amazing and so much fun. John and I knew Tony from New Zealand so it was great to reconnect. Stay well, maybe we'll see you on our next adventure

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