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Cycling In Albania

From US$ 1,335 US$ 1,242
  • No booking or credit card fees
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highlights
  • Discover the beauty of this previously isolated country by bike
The Cycling in Albania tour starts in Pogradec and ends in Radhime. The Cycling in Albania is a Bicycle Tour that takes 8 days taking you from Pogradec to Radhime and other destinations in Albania.

Some say that visiting Albania is as close as you'll get to travelling back in time. It wasn't until the collapse of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania in 1991 that the world got its first glimpse of the country within. Huge snow-capped mountains, inviting beaches, pretty rural villages, a genuine subsistence culture and an exceptionally friendly welcome is what you will find here. We cycle through the very best of Europe's beautiful unknown, beginning our tour on the border of Macedonia, towards the ancient town of Gjirokastra passing soaring peaks and lush green valleys. From here we begin our descent to the Albanian Riviera passing the UNESCO site of Butrint and Llogara National Park, before relaxing by the sea at our hotel in Vlore.
Day 1 Start Pogradec.

Start Pogradec. Those on the group flight will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Pogradec, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid (approx. 3hr drive). The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy this lakeside location.

Comfortable Hotel

Day 2 Transfer to Korçë; steady climb through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers; cycle towards Grammoz Mountain and over the Barmash Pass (1159m) to Gërmenj.

Today is one of the most demanding days of the tour. After a quick transfer to Korçë we begin cycling and leave behind the agricultural plateau, climbing steadily into the border mountains through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers. Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead, climbing towards Grammoz Mountain and over the Barmash Pass (1159m) to Gërmenj, lying in its own tranquil valley. Here we relax at our accommodation, Farma Sotira, which is also a working trout farm. Meals here consist of organic produce that is reared or sourced from the farm itself. Once you’ve finished eating your hearty dinner, you can sit and relax by the open roaring fire in the dining area with a glass of homemade wine or a bottle of Korçë beer (Albania’s most popular). Cycle approx. 72km, total ascent approx. 1150m, total descent approx. 1050m.

Standard Hotel

Day 3 Cycle through high grassy plateaux surrounded by soaring peaks before descending to Carshove and on to Benje; ride to thermal springs for a swim.

In the morning there is a climb out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau close to the Greek border, surrounded by soaring peaks before reaching the source of the River Vjosa and descending through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. We continue descending to Çarshove and then follow the corniche route high above the river to Benje situated on a ridge above the river. After lunch at the guesthouse we take a short ride to the thermal springs to relax and sooth aching muscles. Both lunch and dinner will be served on the peaceful terrace. Cycle approx. 60km, total ascent approx. 687m, total descent approx. 1352m.

Standard Hotel

Day 4 Valley ride towards Kelcyra; after lunch at Tepele Waterfalls transfer to Gjirokastra for afternoon city tour.

Today is one of the easiest days. We continue along the valley towards Kelcyra with its distant shark-tooth peaks, which guard a further gorge. We ride between these gorges until the two rivers meet. After lunch at the waterfalls of Tepelene we drive (approx. 30 mins) through the wide plain toward the town of Gjirokastra (city of 1000 steps). The well-preserved town is perched on the steep side of the Drino Valley, overlooking snow-capped mountains. In the afternoon we take a cultural tour through the city and explore its narrow cobbled alleys and 18th Century Ottoman houses. We also visit the 13th Century castle and learn about the fascinating history of this town, which has seen many rulers and has inspired poets, authors and artists. Cycle approx. 46km, total ascent approx. 350m, total descent approx. 520m.

Comfortable Hotel

Day 5 Transfer up the Muzina Pass, long descent to Sarandë via coast and the UNESCO site of Butrint.

After breakfast we load the bikes on to the support vehicle and transfer up to Muzina Pass (approx. 45 minutes), the gateway to southern Albania, for a spectacular downhill ride to Sarandë. Located on the Ionian Coast, Sarandë is sandwiched between the high mountains and the sea and is close to the ancient remains of Butrint, which we visit on the way. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Butrint is located very close to the Greek border and is one of the country’s most important archaeological sites, tracing its origins back to the Greeks and the Romans. We have lunch at the site and continue along the coast to Sarandë. Cycle approx. 70km, total ascent approx. 725m, total descent approx. 1285m.

Comfortable Hotel

Day 6 Spectacular coastal ride to the long beach of Himarë Bay.

Climbing steeply out of Sarande to a rocky plateau we enjoy a spectacular coastal ride over cols into bays and around headlands. Always with the stunning mountain scenery to the right and sea to the left we continue along before descending to Himarë, a small communist era fishing village with a small promenade filled with cafes, restaurants and ice cream stands. There is plenty of time for a swim in the Ionian Sea; our hotel is a short walk to Potam Beach. Cycle approx. 54km, total ascent approx. 1064m, total descent approx. 1064m.

Comfortable Hotel

Day 7 Ride towards Vlorë; optional 1043m climb to the Llogara Pass; long descent through Llogara N.P. finishing by the coast.

Today’s route is as challenging as it is spectacular. This day is the most demanding ride of the tour and will show you how strong you have become. In the morning there is a climb out of Himarë, which naturally is rewarded with an enjoyable downhill. We then have another climb before our coffee break. Our break is followed with a nice downhill, but we must climb yet again before we regroup. We then come face to face with the long steady climb to the Llogara pass. At 1043m above sea level, this climb is completely optional, so if you think it is too much then you can jump in the support vehicle. However, if you are looking for an extra challenge this climb comes with a real sense of achievement, and the views are fantastic. At the pass itself (which you will also see if you take the van) it is possible to see across to Italy on a clear day. We recommend taking a warmer layer for reaching the top of the pass. From the top you enter Llogara National Park, home to black pine, Eurasian otter and golden eagles. The park is a scenic expanse of protected woodland that encompasses the forests on the northern side of the Llogora Pass. We begin to descend and have lunch in the National Park. In the afternoon we continue descending towards our hotel, which is located by the sea just outside of the city. Here we can relax and take a dip in the sea, the perfect reward for a hard days cycle.  Cycle approx. 65km, total ascent approx. 1630m (including the optional climb), total descent approx. 1630m.

Comfortable Hotel

Day 8 End Vlorë.

End Vlorë. Those on the group flight will be transferred to Tirana airport in the morning (approx. 2.5hr drive).

what’s included
  • All breakfasts and 2 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Pogradec and from Vlore are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Cycling in Albania tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 8 days
Tour Type Group Tour  
Minimum Participants 4 people
Age Requirement 16+ yrs
guiding method Live guide/instructor
guide language English
Starts/Ends Pogradec, Albania/Vlore, Albania
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Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Cycling in Albania
customer reviews
4.8 - Excellent Based on 30 reviews
Scenic splendour and cycling endeavour
5 - Excellent
“This was a splendid trip, made all the better by the staggering beauty of the Albanian mountains and countryside and the excellent company of all on the tour. The cycling was immense, challenging all of us on the tour with the long and arduous climbs and then providing thrills and big smiles as we sped down the long, winding descents with endless views stretching ahead of us. The first half of the trip is in the mountains but then descends to the coast for a day or two before climbing once again for more mountain scenery and finishing with a long descent to the final hotel, once more on the coast. A good variety of scenery and culture that provides an excellent taster of life in present day Albania as the country moves from its communist past and trys to adapt to modern day capitalism and all the challenges that this poses.”
Cycling in Albania: Big Hills, great food!
4 - Very Good
“Cycling in Albania is not easy, but is rewarding. The views commanded from some of the many climbs were spectacular. We enjoyed staying in some of the more remote parts of the country and then on to the slightly more commercialised coast. The evenings were great fun, with superb food, and an interesting group of cyclists. Despite the mixed ability almost everyone completed every ride including the final climb over Llogara pass.”
A trip worth taking
4 - Very Good
“Beautiful scenery, interesting country, real contrast between the mountainous interior and scenic coastline, lovely food, great weather and lovely friendly people - both locals and in our group. This was definitely a trip worth taking. Cycling was good and like many other reviewers,we thought this was more challenging than its current grading. We couldn't believe how little we spent over the week - though to be honest there wasn't much to buy, other than the essentials.”
Beautiful Albania!
5 - Excellent
“Had read the reviews before going and it lived up to expectations! Fab scenery, food and great cycles!”
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Good to know Payment

A deposit of 204 USD is required to confirm this tour. For any departures within 17 November 2017 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Cycling in Albania tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Cycling in Albania tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

Cancellation No additional cancellation fees apply for this Cycling in Albania tour. You can cancel the tour up to 57 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 56 days of departure.
other information
Exodus / Product Category: Cycling holidays
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