Venetians – Venice to Dubrovnik

Tour Overview

Venice, one of the most romantic cities in the world with its unique architecture, bustling canals, and magical feel. The Venetian Empire lasted just over 1100 years: 697 - 1797. The location of Venice spurred creativity, imagination and exploration, and was also home to one of the most famous explorers, Marco Polo.

Marco Polo was not the first European to travel to Asia, but he was the first to chronicle his adventures and share it with the rest of the world. In the spirit of adventure, we will also explore the former Venetian Empire through food, wine, and travel.
Our journey will have us circumnavigate the Adriatic Sea heading north out of Venice, with its series of islands, marshy lagoons, and intriguing architecture. See for yourself why people claim this to be the most scenic coastline in the world.

We will experience the charm of the Istria Peninsula, the amazing sunsets of the Dalmatian Islands, and the unique cities of Venice, Split, and Dubrovnik. This odyssey encompasses scenic cycling routes, exquisite local food, wine, cheese, and olive oils, along with amazing UNESCO Cities. Get the real feel from the saddle, and experience why the Venetian Empire lasted for 1100 years.

 

Tour Highlights

Venice > Split > Dubrovnik

  • Start in Venice, Europe's most famous city of canals.
  • Immerse yourself in the Istria Peninsula with its ancient history and towns of marble stone streets...
  • Roll through the gorgeous Dalmatian Islands of Cres & Losinj.
  • Explore the historical city of Sibenik & St. Michael’s white walled Fortress with views of the bay.
  • Ride through the historical town of Trogir (Trau by the Venetians).
  • Enter Split passing the fortress of Klis, which has been a stronghold for over two thousand years.
  • Enjoy Diocletian’s Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the second largest city in Croatia.
  • Ride past Solin, the birthplace of Diocletian, into the interior of Croatia and explore its stunning landscape.
  • Climb the highest peak of the Adriatic coast on the Island of Brac.
  • Explore the ancient theatre in Hvar, along with its storied bay.
  • Cruise through Adriatic on a boat exploring the topaz colour of the sea.
  • Spend time on Korcula Island, which some Venetians claim to be the birthplace of Marco Polo.
  • Try the unique and delicious tastes of Dalmatia from Peka to Olive Oil and Wine.
  • Finish your journey in Ragusa, or now known as Dubronik, and witness for yourself why this is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world.  

 

Tour Leader – Jonathan Hershberger

Jonathan is an American who has spent the last 20 years in the tourism industry and for the last decade he has spent most of his time in Western & Eastern Europe . Six years ago he began exploring the Croatian coastline and fell in love with the people, their culture, and the country. He loves cycling, connecting with others, and feels that there is no better way to explore the world then by bike, which makes him the perfect host for our Venetian trip.

2018 Tour Dates and Prices

* The Venetians - Venice to Dubrovnik is slightly more expensive than our other tours due to the multiple ferries and amazing accommodation on tour. If you have any questions at all please get in touch - hello@bikeodyssey.cc

Tour Accommodation

A tour with stunning views of the Adriatic allows us to hear the sea and experience stunning sunsets from our chic and luxurious hotels. Look below at some of the places where we will stay...

Relais & Chateaux, Meneghetti

Relais Chateaux Wine Hotel
Nestled inland near the town of Bale, this stunning white walled Relais & Chateaux mansion will allow us to relax by the sounds of crickets and the breeze blowing through the olive trees and vineyards.

Hotel Park, Split, Croatia

Hotel Park, Split
Just a 5 minute walk to the centre of Split, Hotel Park allows us to enjoy the city while remaining far enough outside for peace and quiet. Truly the perfect location to explore and rest.

 

Lesic Dimitri Palace, Korcula

LD Palace, Venetians
What could be better than exploring the hometown of the great Venetian Explorer Marco Polo, then staying near to his home? The LD Palace is a true example of luxury apartments themed after Marco Polo travels.

 

Do you fancy a massage?

Massage on Tour - Soigneur
What could be better after a long day's ride than to have your weary legs massaged back to health? We have a soigneur travel with us so each guest can have massages 2-3 times a week as part of your tour.

Food and Wine

Following in the footsteps of the Venetian Empire, the food will leave you wanting more. Starting off with amazing coffee and gelato in Italy, we will then begin to explore the heart of Dalmatia with its amazing and award winning cheese, wine, and olive oil. You will enjoy the fresh fish and unique dishes of the Adriatic sea, along with ancient traditional dishes.

RANC MAHA

Ranc Maha
In the heart of Korcula island, we will experience a true Dalmatian delicatessen, Peka. The Dalmatian Hospitality and food at this family run konoba will leave you wanting to return again and again.

Paradox Wine Bar, Split

Paradox Wine and Food Bar
Nestled on a small side street in Split, this small wine bar will allow you to experience wines from all over Croatia, along with the various cheeses and honey that have placed this country on the foodie map.

Luka’s Ice Cream & Cakes, Split

Luka's Ice Cream Bar
Always in search of the best Gelato & Ice Cream, we have found one that leaves the rest behind. Unique flavours, fresh ingredients, and perfect on a warm summer’s night, find out why Luka’s has become the most popular ice spot in Croatia.

The History

Gondolas gliding through tranquil canals, the melodies of gondoliers filling the air, all with the backdrop of baroque architecture slowly passing. This is Venice. Considered one of the most romantic cities in the World. Venice has been woven into the histories and imaginations of generations.

The Venetian Empire began with the formation of Venice on the 25th of March, 421 A.D. and flourished for the next 1100 years. The strategic position of Venice not only provided the city with an ideal location for trade through the Mediterranean, but it also protected the city from invasions by land and sea. As the Venetian Empire flourished, its territory grew and expanded. The Lion of San Marco could be seen through most of the Adriatic and even into the Aegean Sea as far east as Athens, Crete, and even Cyprus.

The Venetian Empire gave us notable characters and household names such as Marco Polo, Casanova, and Titian. The sun began to set on the Venetian Empire when the new world was discovered and the trade routes began to shift. This allowed for an opportunistic and strategic mastermind, Napoleon, to close the door on one of the world’s longest running empires.

Testimonials

I was captivated from the first by the notion of historically themed epic cycling journeys, but I had no idea about the level of real support that Sam and his team was going to provide. Our journey was certainly epic in every way; the daily distances stretched me physically and we were unlucky to cop some really wet weather during the first weeks of the tour. The support really amazed me. There were days when we arrived at our destination soaked and nearly done in, but our bikes were whisked away for clean up and we were met with enthusiastic congratulations from the team and snacks and drinks for an immediate pick-me-up. This was always followed by utter relaxation in wonderful accommodation and great food. On the ride itself, the bike guides were a revelation to me. The last part of the climb to the Gotthardt was looking a bit grim until a smiling face appeared at my side and suggested a pause for a photo opportunity might just let me catch my breath. Despite being the last rider at the col who wanted to make the cold descent in the mist, companion riders and guides all encouraged me to go for it.

Dianne Batten

Despite having had a “one in a century event” as far as the amount of rainfall is concerned (there have been record floods in this part of the world), and precipitation for 5 out of the past 6 days, everyone is still in good spirits and, if anything, the sense of a group identity is stronger than ever. This in itself is a fine testament to both Sam’s organisation and the great team he has put together to support us. And the service in making sure all our bikes are cleaned up, re-lubed, and with gears tuned each morning – often in the rain – through these days of inclement weather has been magnificent. Through it all, Sam has remained totally unfazed and this has helped us all through. With the fantastically conceived historical nature of this trip, the brilliant route and wonderful accommodation as well – not to mention Sam’s excellent historical interpretations – it’s hard to imagine a more interesting, rewarding and challenging tour.

Doug Bruce

As a 65 yr old with 2 metal hips, I joined Sam’s very first Hannibal tour, with some appreciable trepidation. But any misgivings I might have entertained dissipated quickly. Stunning views, friendly and ever helpful guides, scrumptious local fare and excellent accommodation more than compensated for the fading grumblings of an initially reluctant body. By the 3rd day all fatigue was forgotten as I made friends with riders from very different backgrounds, learnt some useful lingo and soaked up sights, smells and history of a most interesting part of the World.

Bob Hofman

Sam did a faultless job running the tour from the hotels to the food, the support, the hire bikes and the incredible history of Hannibal along the way, I cannot imagine how it could have been executed any better. The guides were professional, dedicated, friendly and supportive. Their experience shone through and is their greatest asset.
I already have my next epic tour planned, and it wont be the last.

Jason Langer

The Hannibal Expedition has been the major riding highlight of my 20-year riding career. The scenery, food wine and accommodation were something I have no hesitation in recommending. For me, the greatest plus was achieving the challenge the Hannibal Expedition’s thoughtfully crafted route provides. Plenty of personal challenge, in beautiful and historic countries, with almost no traffic. What more could you ask for.

Stephen Seymour

The guides? What a team! On and off the bike the guys could not have been better. Their focus was on ensuring that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. They handled sometimes difficult situations , with grace, and good humour. And as an added bonus Mark and Dirk’s photography is simply stunning. So I’ve done 2 epic trips now, thoroughly indulged and enjoyed myself both times.

Sharon Watson

Max, Sam and Mark, what a trip! The finest food and wine from France, the best roads of Germany, Polish castles, new age Baltic states, and behind the romance of Russia. We did more than follow Napoleon’s footsteps, we opened up a new world. My life is enriched because of the 2015 Napoleon tour.

James Sulzburger

Sam, a fan​tastic tour for the adventurous with the usual epic adventure standards – well researched, great accommodation and meals and the best of guides and support. This tour has a variety of landscapes, terrain, cultures and is filled with history both ancient and modern.  There wasn’t a day when I thought I’d prefer to be somewhere else.

Kay Jacob

Sam, Max, and Mark, thanks guys, in your role as tour operators and guides your professionalism, work rate, attention to detail and commitment was second to none.

 

 

Gary Powell

Sam, your team did a magnificent job in the planning & executing of this tour – the castles, chateaux, monasteries & mansions we stayed in were amazing ( who could forget Ziggy?)!

Ruth Kerr

What an amazing holiday! You can eat and drink as much as you like and you still go home fitter and trimmer than when you left! Wait till Woman’s Weekly or Cosmo hear about this holiday! You guys’ll be booked solid till early retirement. This was undoubtedly the best long weekend of my life so far. I’ll be back next year for at the very least a full stage, if not more! My legs look forward to cashing this cheque which my hand is currently writing!

Will Wetherall

The guides on the Hannibal Expedition were excellent. They are excellent organisers, who think ahead, and are always looking to make the best possible experience for the riders, whether this be making sure the bikes are in top condition, or the picnics lunch is in “the spot”, or the evening meal is an experience to remember. The guides are happy to answer to questions on the route, and change things as weather or circumstance require. Sam’s historical knowledge and has willingness to share this knowledge really added to the trip.
I am very much looking forward to riding with them again.

Stephen Seymour

This was by far the most fun I have had on a bike. It was a pretty stern physical test for me, and thus perfect. I eyed off the van once or twice but never had to get in it. Lovely places and lovely routes that you would never find by yourself, and all fully supported.

Ted Robinson

Hannibal Barca, the wily Carthaginian General, was a fine strategist and leader. His attempt to conquer Rome by taking war elephants across the Alps was a real feat. If you wish to ride across the Alps, in fine style, without the support of war elephants, then you should sign up for this tour. They are great operators and their tour is first class.

Roddy Johnson

It is a rare thing to experience something that changes your perspective on life permanently, even more rare when that something is a choice, and not a challenge that life has forced upon you.
The Hannibal Tour did just that, it changed my perspective on life. I started the tour with very high expectations, to see the best of Europe, to make friends, to challenge myself physically. What it achieved was well beyond this. The Hannibal Tour covered some of the most extraordinary landscape I will ever see, including times when I truly was on top of the world. Meeting the physical challenge of 26 days of cycling when I have never in my life before been a cyclist has left me with an incredible belief that anything is possible in life. I have made lifelong friends from across the globe. On this tour, I felt more alive than I had since I was a kid. We all laughed hard, ate and drank like kings, and at the top of the Alps I cried with joy. And all this, from the seat of a bicycle.

Jason Langer

Sam had obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching and organising the Hannibal Epic. The detail in the planning is obvious from the start and resulted in a magnificent experience every day. The hotels, restaurants, routes, lunch stops including several picnics, coffee breaks and extras such as wine tastings and farmhouse meals were superb. An added feature of their tours is the historical aspect which was regularly explained to us in regard to our location. I feel very lucky to have found this tour and to have been able to participate as it was challenging, unforgettable and a great opportunity to meet other like minded cyclists and create new friendships. It was hard coming home after such a unique experience. Thank you Sam.

Kay Jacob

To go on a trip that has congruency with the challenge of the ride -the epic and the history, gastronomy, the culture, the landscapes and to provide such intelligent support is amazing . I loved it, felt challenged, gave myself to the whole experience and have no criticisms, just grateful for a marvellous trip.

Bernadette Redfern

The 25 days I spent on the road with Sam was the best month I have had in my life. To be able to travel through Spain, France and Italy, and to see, do, eat and enjoy so much, was a real privilege. Sam eliminates any stress that may come with such a huge undertaking. Really, all you have to do is keep pedalling and not lose control of your bike when you pinch yourself to check you are not actually dreaming.

Felix Lowe
See all our testimonials

Some Light Reading

Polo

Marco Polo Venetians
The tale of the Venetians most well known adventurer, Marco Polo. Learn of his tales in the East and his time spent with the great Emperor Khan.

Morris

Jan Morris - Venice
A charming read of Venice, its people, and the rise and fall of the Venetian Empire. This story will give you true insight.

Magno

Magno - Bound in Venice
Looking to fill in gaps in history with the written word, this book will showcase why Venice became the hub of the printing press. This book is translated from Italian and at times can seem disjointed and difficult to read, however, it will give you an overview of the printing press and its place in Venice.

Kaplan

Kaplan - Balkan Ghosts
Explains the explosive nature the Balkans played during WW1, WW2, and the recent Bosnian/Serbian War. Great insight into the cultural turmoil of the war driven Balkan’s.

Obreht

Obreht - The Tiger's Wife
A beautiful story based in the Balkans explores the ideas of war, life, death, the connections between loved ones, and the power myth plays when dealing with tragedy.