I’m an experienced traveler, worked and lived abroad and I can assure you that this type of traveling / cycling is special. It’s truly intense. And yes, it is also hot, heavy, painful, exciting, sometimes dangerous and insecure. But that’s exactly why it is intense and so special. Besides that it brings a whole lot of energy. Waky wake at 05:30 to start cycling at 06:30 for a 3 hour climb? Happens.
Cycling in Croatia was dangerous. I can only judge about the coast but it was terrible. It sucked all the energy out of me. Cars doing 100 km / hour and passing by at 30 centimeter. I was in constant hyperfocus going up and down with strong winds and looots of crazy drivers. And that includes busses! Not to mention the signs of people who were in accidents and got killed (about every 5 to 10 km). So, and this is my opinion so do with it what you like, when you go cycling in Croatia, apart from the far south, go inland and avoid the coast line.
Montenegro is surprisingly beautiful with a gorgious inland sea following the coast at Kotor. I cycled this ‘circle’ in two days but it could have lasted a week if I would have the time. Cycling in Montenegro I also went to the biggest lake in the Balkan region, the Skadarsko lake. It’s a steep climb going there. In fact it was really tough every now and then but definitely worth the effort. Also because these little mountain roads are low on traffic.
Now what about Albania? I’ve had so many warnings about safety, criminals, and that I was crazy to go there. And as it turned out this was the country where the people have treated me best. Hospitality is great and people are interested and friendly. Besides that they speak relatively good English compared to surrounding countries. By the way, this is not just me telling this. I’ve met many travelers who agreed on the ‘great people’ part.
A highlight in my Albania experience was the Marku family who took me in their house and fed me like I was one of the family. One of my most valuable experiences of the entire trip. So to summarize it up, another cycling lesson learned which is that you, or at least I, can only judge and make conclusions based on my own experience. And for those who want to go cycling in Albania. Go for it.