Guided tour includes national parks, remote villages, UNESCO World Heritage Sites
BikeToursDirect is extending its Balkan offerings with “Discover Macedonia,” a nine-night guided program starting August 25, 2015. Company founder and president Jim Johnson, who first visited Macedonia last year, will join the tour, operated by local tour company Ride Macedonia.
“Macedonia is Europe much as the continent must have been centuries ago,” Johnson said. “Untouched nature, villages practicing centuries-old traditions, a place that welcomes travelers as if they’re family friends. I can’t wait to go back!”
The program, designed especially for BikeToursDirect and priced at about $1,000, incorporates the best of Ride Macedonia’s road bike, mountain bike and hiking tours. The portion on roads will take up most of the tour and allow travelers to cover a significant amount of area. The mountain biking, all on easy, non-technical forest roads and wide trails will allow the group to visit remote villages. The hikes will take the group to off-the-beaten-path natural treasures.
The cycling is appropriate for novices, and a support van accompanies the group most of the way. Breakfasts and many dinners and lunches are included, and lodging features traditional hotels and lodges.
Due to its location, a crossroads of sorts, Macedonia presents a mix of Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Greek history in a setting that feels both Balkan and Mediterranean.
“It’s a cultural experience as much as a cycling experience,” Johnson says. “And, I should add, a culinary experience!”
A top tour highlight will be the town of Ohrid, one of Europe’s oldest human settlements, with history dating back 5,000 years. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ohrid is one of the region’s best-preserved and most complete examples of ancient urban architecture: ancient monuments, Byzantine churches, a medieval fortress, and a Roman theater—all against the backdrop of the turquoise waters Lake Ohrid.
Other highlights include Mavrovo National Park, known for its gorges, high waterfalls, Mt. Korab (at 9068 feet/2764 meters, the country’s tallest peak) and stunning vistas; Galichica National Park, known as much for its extensive flora and fauna as for its natural beauty; the historic town of Prilep; and Skopje, the capital of Macedonia.
The program is offered with the support of the Adventure Travel Trade Association and the United States Agency for International Government, which are helping Balkan countries stabilize their economies through sustainable tourism. Full tour details available here.
BikeToursDirect serves as a central resource for bicycle tours worldwide, representing 125 tour companies with more than 450 tours in 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. BikeToursDirect offers a variety of resources to help travelers search for and choose tours and handles the entire booking and payment process. Learn more at www.biketours.com.