Planning From Tirana To Dubrovnik

So… The next couple of countries are coming up fast; Montenegro & Croatia. Today is Monday 15th and the plan is:
Tuesday 16th – Tirana to Ulcinj (Montenegro)
This might be a long day in the saddle but I have just had a decent rest here in Tirana. I’m meeting a contact at the British Council for a chat over coffee at 9am on Tuesday so this will delay my departure from the capital slightly (but I’m looking forward to speaking to someone about the Albania of 2013 so I’m not willing to change this!) but I will be sticking to the main roads between the capital and the border so that should hopefully speed me on my way. There are two potential issues that I may have. Firstly if those pesky sign makers have classified any of the roads between here and the border as motorways (green signs – see earlier post for my comments on these) I will have to deviate slightly from the direct route. Secondly, mountains! From what I can see on Google maps the route should be relatively flat although I do expect some climbing towards the city of Shkodra and the border slightly further to the west. The Albanian Alps (the clue is in the name!) don’t seem to kick in until you are east of Shkodra. I hope… Once I cross the border into Montenegro near a small town called Sukobin (where there is a hotel should I need it), I’m hoping to have time to continue to the coast to a town called Ulcinj where there is at least one campsite. Monica Piercy who cycled a similar route to mine earlier in the year stayed here and recommends it (especially the ice cream!).
Wednesday 17th – Ulcinj to Tivat
This is where it gets really technical. The dimensions of a mini iPad are 20cm by 13.5cm. The distance as the crow flies between Ulcinj and Dubrovnik is two lengths of a mini iPad. So that’s 40cm. My map is 1:300,000 so 1cm = 3km which makes the direct distance between the two towns 120km. My route won’t be direct, it will have plenty of wiggle so let’s add 50% to that which makes 180km. Two days cycling of around 90km? Tivat is one mini iPad from each town and has campsites so I’ll aim for that for Wednesday night. It’s a good job they didn’t have me working on the moon landings… Twitter contact Aleksandar Jahaj lives in the town of Bar and I’m hopefully going to meet up with him. He has also confirmed that there is a campsite in Ulcinj (just in case Monica was dreaming) and its called Velika Plaza. He also notes that there is a campsite further along the coast from Bar called Maljevik. I will however probably need to press on to Tivat. This may change…
Thursday 18th – Tivat to Dubrovnik
Continuing along the coast. Nothing complicated here I hope. As I will be taking another day off (yes, another one!) in Dubrovnik I’ll probably be in a hotel again although if anyone wants to suggest a good campsite that is close to the city centre, please do.
Friday 19th – Rest day in Dubrovnik
I have a journalist contact in Dubrovnik and hopefully I’ll be meeting up with him for a coffee.
That’s the plan. Thought, comments, criticisms welcome. They may be welcomed or indeed ignored but they will at least be read.

Categories: Cycling

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9 replies »

  1. Hi Andrew,
    I cycled from Durres to Shkodra last year and I missed the internal road that goes more on the north through the lakes (Vau i Dejes). There’s also an interesting restaurant along that road, Mrizi i Zanave, the first Albanian Slowfood convivium. I cycled along the highway SH1: it’s not so safe but quite direct and flat. Shkodra is a “cycling city” (see the website) and has a lot of interesting spots: I think you can’t miss the Marubi Photo Collection. I suggest you to stop there and take a room at the small hotel and very good restaurant Tradita Geg & Tosk.
    From Shkodra to Ulcinj the road is fine and quite scenic (but I cycled directly to Bar).
    Have a nice day and good luck with your trip!

    • Thanks Cosimo.
      Your comments may be very useful if I decide to cut short the route today because of conditions on the road. The SH1 probably isn’t the safest if roads but at least it will have a decent surface upon which to cycle. See my ‘option A v. option B’ comments in the post about cycling day 11.

  2. HI, I plugged in to Ulcinj to Tivat into Garmin Connect’s course planner and it came at 87km, Tivat to Dubrovnik was a much shorted 67km (but includes what appears to be a ferry) Dunno how Garmin picks the roads but it doesn’t let me pick motorways in the UK. Looks like your guestimate wasn’t too far off

    • No more sore than it was when I arrived in Tirana! Enjoy the final few days of the school year (especially your INSETSs)

  3. Remember the ‘Buza’ bar in Dubrovnik! Also if you want a real quirky bar, go to the ‘art cafe’ strongest mojitos out! It is a really beautiful town, go up the able car to look down on the town! But just nimble around its amazing!

  4. Seems to me you have a plan assuming the roads turn out as expected and the hills not too bad and the weather not too hot. As you have people to see, which must be good to have some expected company, and you have proved yourself on the hills, it could well be possible. As for unexpected events cropping up, well, they are to be unexpected so there is no plan that can account for them.

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