Montenegro: Is it an up and coming cycling destination?

In my mind Montenegro is the hidden gem of the cycling world and I am fairly confused as to why it hasn’t been taken advantage of by the likes of pro teams and serious amateurs looking to tear up the sides of stunning mountains.

The country is situated in the Balkans  and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northeast,  Serbia to the north west, Kosovo to the east and Albania to the south east.  It’s a land of craggy mountains nestled at the side of the Adriatic coast.

My trip consisted of large climbs, coastal roads and incredible views which meant by the end of the trip I was well and truly cooked. The roads are fairly safe, but when you get into town centres and villages you need to be a bit more cautious as they are not used to cyclists. The cyclist community in Montenegro mostly consists of local triathletes- training for their annual half ironman and bike packers coming down from Dubrovnik.

I  based most of my rides on targeting specific climbs which were all  situated around the Bay of Kotor. However, I’m sure if you felt adventurous enough you could go inland and find some heftier stuff.

Here’s a taster of just two of the rides on offer in Montenegro:

The first climb that I scoped out was the Mount Lovćen climb which we named ‘The Ladder’ due the the 25 hair pins, which sure enough, resemble a ladder. The climb had one of the most stunning panoramic views I have ever seen overlooking the whole Bay of Kotor; very rewarding

Height: 1,749m (5738 ft)

Length: 29.62km (18.40 miles)

Average gradient: 4.9%

Maximum gradient: 16%

Difficulty: 5/10

Road Surface: Near perfect, few cracks.

Risan is the other climb which I included into a few of my rides in ‘Monte’. It wasn’t the largest nor the smoothest, but is still worth the effort if you can connect to the main road which will reward you with a rapid, smooth, flowing decent. A cyclists dream.

Height: 688m (2257 ft)

Length: 12.8km (7.95 miles)

Average gradient: 5.3%

Maximum gradient: 9.2%

Difficulty: 4/10

Road Surface: Not the best, arguably should be done on a gravel bike…

Fun for a challenge though 🙂

These are just my two favourites based on my time there (not long enough) but there are tons of little climbs scattered around the bay and some fairly large beastly ones behind the initial mountain line if you are feeling particularly brave.

Overall, Montenegro should be a bucket list cycling destination as it is bursting with some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen from the saddle.  I can’t wait to visit again later in the summer and will be sure to update you all on my second visit soon!

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