Macedonia Trails

Day 1 Skopje Loop – Popova Shapka

We meet after breakfast for our first ride to nearby Vodno Mountain. A short transfer brings us to a cable car that will whisk us up to the top where we'll be at the base of the Millennium Cross, a 66-m high monument to 2,000 years of Christianity. We then hit single-track trails and a short ride on a quiet road to Matka Canyon, a popular outdoor destination for hikers and kayakers. The canyon is also home to several historic churches and monasteries. We stop for a visit to the 14th century monastery of St Andreja built by the son of the famous medieval King Volkashin. After lunch, we transfer an hour to Popova Shapka, a ski resort in the Shar Mountains to be well positioned for our morning ride.

Snow Patrol Lodge
Lunch, Dinner
Ride 40km
+800m

Day 2 Shar Planina- Leshnica Valley – Mavrovo

Today's ride takes us into the mountains of Shar Planina, where we follow dirt roads close to the border with Kosovo. We cycle into wild Leshnica Valley and discover a hidden paradise with astonishing views of one of Europe’s secret mountain regions. Over 44 species of game are present on this mountain including lynx, bears, and wild boar. Eagles, falcons, and hawks are also common and riding on dirt trails at high altitude will bring us close to nature. On our way back to the road, we ride by way of Ceripashina and the ski centre, then continue to the city of Tetovo. We take a short break for Turkish coffee and fresh squeezed juice and visit the Painted Mosque, unique in the area for its beautiful façade, before driving to our hotel in Mavrovo.

Villa Lazareski Leunovo
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 34km
+1000m

Day 3 Mavrovo National Park

After yesterday’s ride, we're warmed up for a new challenge as we cycle through the stunning Mavrovo National Park, home to Macedonia's highest peak, Mt. Korab (2,764 m). An ever-changing combination of asphalt, compact gravel, and dirt roads leads us through this fairy tale scenery of grassy meadows, birch and pine forests, snow-capped peaks, and the gorgeous Radika River. After a traditional lunch, we return to our hotel to relax.

Villa Lazareski Leunovo
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 50km
+950m

Day 4 Bistra Mountains – Ohrid

Biking into the Bistra Mountains takes us alongside the emerald green Mavrovo Lake, with visits to the villages of Nikiforovo and Leunovo. We continue off-road riding through green pastures dotted with ancient sheepfolds. We stop in one of those sheepfolds to try fresh cheese and pavlaka. We take a break at Galicnik to admire the well-preserved traditional architecture, including an amphitheatre. A long downhill through a forest leads to the village of Tresonche, where the way of life has changed remarkably little since the 19th century. We continue along the Tresoncehka River to Debar Lake, where we are picked up and transferred to our hotel in Ohrid.

Villa Mesokastro
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 70km
+1000m

Day 5 Ohrid Rest Day

We take a well-earned day in the picturesque and relaxing setting of Ohrid. Notable for once having 365 churches, one for each day of the year, Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for both its cultural and natural attractions. In the morning, we tour the highlights of St. Sofia Church, Plaoshnik Complex, the Amphitheatre, and Tsar Samuel's Fortress. The afternoon is free to stroll through the alleys, swim in the lake, or just sit in a cafe and soak up the pure, unique delights of this rich, ancient town.

Villa Mesokastro
Breakfast

Day 6 Galicica National Park – Pelister

Refreshed from a day’s rest, we return with our bikes to the mountains. Tackling the grand Galicica Mountain, we cycle through beautiful pastures and the bright floral life native to these slopes, as we ride under the shadow of Magaro Peak (2255 m). We stop for photos as we will have stunning views of Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Then, as we begin our descent, we will enjoy a mix of off-road and backroad biking with some sweet single tracks. From Peshtani, we drive to the picturesque fishing village of Trpejca for lunch and try the famous Ohrid trout. We'll transfer to Pelister National Park where we overnight in the heart of the park.

Hotel Teatar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 50km
+1100m

Day 7 Pelister – Skopje

Beautiful forests line our morning ride through Pelister National Park. We cycle through a rich variety of flora, from beech and oak woods to numerous healing herbs and various fruit, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Our route takes us through fabulous countryside as we head to the Big Lake, a glacial body of water, which, along with its smaller companion, are known as the Pelister Eyes. To get our daily ration of climbs, we'll ride to 2300 m, just shy of Pelister Peak’s summit. We will have an urban finish to our day with lunch in Bitola, Macedonia's second city, before transferring to Skopje to meet up for a farewell dinner of traditional fare.

Residence Inn
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 41km
+850m

Day 8 Skopje

Our tour ends after breakfast. If time allows, you can explore the centre of Skopje before your onward journey.

Breakfast