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NY Times - New Bike Tours of Macedonia

On the road to Leshnica Valley, Macedonia.
Jim Johnson, of Bike Tours Direct, was so impressed with Macedonian culture and sights that he worked with Ride Macedonia, a local outfitter, to develop Discover Macedonia, nine-day guided tours with moderate cycling and hiking. The first one, now sold out, departs Aug. 25; the second, Sept. 23. The cost is 1,010 euros a person, about $1,093, at $1.09 to the euro. (Bike Tours Direct doesn’t operate tours but represents operators in more than 70 countries.)

“So many traditions we envision in Europe, they’re gone in many places,” Mr. Johnson said. “But you go to Macedonia, and you have villages with people who have been there for generations. ”

A highlight will be Ohrid, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of Europe’s oldest settlements, dating back 5,000 years. Other stops include national parks, remote villages and Skopje, the capital.

Mr. Johnson is joining the inaugural tour as a traveler. “Because it’s an emerging country and still very foreign, me being there is a way to give our customers a peace of mind,” he said. “But also I can’t wait to do it myself.”



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