Croatia: Zagreb to Dubrovnik

Croatian bike tour: Introduction

November 18th, 2017 tom I was spending two months in Europe after finishing a study abroad program, and a group of friends had planned a bike tour in Croatia during the time I was there. Theirs was an organized tour with van transfers (Cycling Croatia), which didn't really fit with what I was looking for on my trip, but…

Day 1: “You are in Croatia!” (Zagreb to Karlovac)

December 10th, 2017 tom The first day of the tour was expected to be mellow, only around 70km, with a high point of 220m. But, information about bike routes in Croatia is fairly spotty. Neither Google nor RideWithGPS have reliable data, and there appears to be little in the way of local cycling maps. There is a list of…

Day 2: The Hinterlands (Kalovac to Plitvice)

December 11th, 2017 tom Using our language shared language of gestures and smiles, Anna kindly offered me coffee and biscuits in the morning, followed by a coffee liqueur. Booze plays a central role in Croatian hospitality; at most restaurants and hotels, and even in some hostels, you'll be greeted with a drink, usually some form of rakia (fruit brandy).…

Day 3: It’s downhill, right? (Plitvice to Posedarje)

December 12th, 2017 tom My itinerary for this tour was partially determined by trying to match the itinerary of some friends who were doing a fancy supported tour with van transfers. Because of the relative lack of infrastructure in this part of Croatia, pretty much no one is organizing through tours like the one I was doing. Keeping up…

Day 4: Supposed to be a mellow day, right? (Posedarje to Šibenik)

December 13th, 2017 tom This was, once again, supposed to be a mellow day, Just 85 km, and only one notable climb, near the end of the day. 250m max elevation. Easy, right? (more foreshadowing...) https://www.flickr.com/photos/tholub/37537436674/in/album-72157665953523079/ After having some great pastries and coffee in Posedarje, I headed out around the bay and to the south through the inland valley.…

Day 5: White rocks (Šibenik to Split)

December 14th, 2017 tom It was going to be another easy day. Right? Only 74 km on the ride profile, max elevation 400m. Of course by now I knew that everything is hilly in Croatia, so the riding is never as easy as it might seem on paper. Still, I really liked the look of Šibenik, so I had breakfast…

Day 6: The Splitshow (Split to Hvar)

December 15th, 2017 tom Split is a major port city, with 25 berths for ferries and cruise ships, and today I'll take one of the ferries out to the islands.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/tholub/38221561992/in/album-72157665953523079/ My plan was to mostly chill out, check out Diocletian's palace, and head to Hvar Island on the catamaran Vida, which I'd read online would take bikes. The…

Day 7: Finding balance (Hvar to Vela Luka)

December 16th, 2017 tom https://www.flickr.com/photos/tholub/37558617104/in/album-72157665953523079/ I had a very pleasant breakfast on the plaza on a bright, sunny day. Finally out of the rain, I did some lubrication of a few rusting components and got on the road back to Stari Grad. Not pressed for time, today I would take the other road over the summit. It turned out…

Day 8: Marco! (Vela Luka to Korčula)

December 16th, 2017 tom Vela Luka was a pleasant town which seemed like a place for local live-aboard boat people; pretty but not super-touristy. There was a place near my hostel where you could pay 5 kuna for a shower.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/tholub/38280413281/in/album-72157665953523079/ Dave and April's group were doing a loop ride from Korčula city, so it was possible I would…

Day 9: The cheater’s home stretch (Korčula to Ston)

December 18th, 2017 tom This was the last riding day; 60km to Ston, or 110km to Dubrovnik. Last night Robbie had kindly offered to ferry me in from Ston if I made it there in time; the riding from Ston to Dubrovnik was trafficky and no fun. I woke up still feeling sick, and went back to bed for…

Croatia: Conclusion

December 18th, 2017 tom https://www.flickr.com/photos/tholub/38218547431/in/album-72157665953523079/ With 9 days straight of riding, none of them easy, this was the physically most difficult bike tour I'd ever done, and maybe even harder than the Nepal uni tour. Croatia, like Nepal, has "Nepali flat" roads, all up and down, which makes touring a lot harder than it looks on paper; there's no…