In no particular order these are 16 of the things I have discovered while on a cycle tour of Croatia. The easy-going tour starts in Dubrovnik and heads north to Split via three beautiful islands of Korcula, Hvar and Brac. Here are some of the things I have discovered and enjoyed:
1) The roads on the mainland and the islands of Croatia are some of the smoothest I have ever cycled. Even the smaller back roads offer a high quality of beautifully smooth tarmac.
2) Croatian people are extremely friendly and many speak very good English. They want you to love their country, its history and its traditions. They want to tell you all about it and to offer you food, drink and tours. It's easy to enjoy the many experiences.
3) The standard of hotels, even at three-star level, is superb. It's worth treating yourself to four or five star if you want even more luxury at the end of a day of cycling.
4) Cycling around a corner or over the brow of a hill to be met with yet another stunning sea view is always a delight, and amazingly uplifting.
Hvar town at night
5) The island of Korcula boasts hilly routes and rolling seashore routes, so there is a cycling option to suit all kinds of cyclists and enough for several days of cycling entertainment.
6) A late summer cycling holiday to the Adriatic can bring with it a wide ranging mix of weather. During a week in Croatia cycling in mid-October I have experienced fabulous sunshine and bright blue skies; rain showers and dark clouds; full-on storms with torrential rain and thunder; and warm spring-like days.
7) Days off the bike can be spent enjoying many other outdoors activties including sea kayaking, lazing on the beach, walking in lofty hills, sailing and visiting historic towns and old cities.
8) Croatian history is truly fascinating and it is worth joining a guided tour of Dubrovnik Old City and Korcula town.
Fabulous view from a hotel bed!
9) A cable car to the high point of Std in Dubrovnik is not to be missed for a fabulous view of the old city and a visit to the Homelands War museum.
10) The five-star Amorfa Hotel on Hvar island boasts the best sea views from any bed/balcony that I have ever seen.
11) Dining on Croatian fish stew or beef goulash is hard to beat after a day of cycling.
12) Croatian wine is not exported. If you want to taste their full-bodied reds and delicious white wines, you need to visit. And if you only come to this country to taste their fabulous wines you will not be disappointed! Cycling and wine tasting makes a fantastic partnership!
13) Even late in the autumn, the land is filled with the heady scent of growing fruits and flowers. Everywhere you go, there are olive groves, vineyards, trees bursting with oranges and pomegranates, or aromatic lavender bushes and lime trees.
View from Std, Dubrovnik
14) Limestone is in massive abundance in Croatia and has been used to create streets and buildings that shine white in the sunshine or in the rain. With red-tiled roofs, every village and town looks as pretty as a picture postcard.
15) Don't expect the weather to be the same all week! Croatia in autumn can be very hot, dry, wet, warm and then damp again! So make sure you pack for cycling in all weathers. For wet weather, you'll need a good quality waterproof cycling jacket, a lightweight insulated jacket for warmth while having lunch or after a wet cycle and a dry for keeping all kit dry in your rucksack or panniers while cycling. For sunny weather, add sunscreen, SPF 15+ lip screen, sweat-wicking cycle kit, sunglasses and a bandana/buff to keep the sweat from rolling off your forehead and into your eyes.
16) There is too much to see in Croatia for just one week. I will need to return to see more - and I will bring my bike again. Check out Macs Adventure Bike and Boat holidays in Croatia.