Cycling in Albania 680 , 8 Days

Penguins new Albanian cycling adventure takes you to one of Europe's secret treasures. As recently as 1991 Albania opened up to the outside world after years of isolation. Tourism is still in its infancy and Albanians give visitors a warm welcome. 70% of the country is mountainous with spectacular landscapes and pristine coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. There are many national parks and several World Heritage Sites. Albania offers exciting and relatively unchartered cycling routes and temperate weather conditions, with a Mediterranean climate in the lowlands and is second only to Spain in annual sunshine quotas. Whilst journeying through unparalleled natural panoramas you'll enjoy traditional Albanian hospitality, wonderful cuisine, a colourful blend of eastern and western influences, and have opportunities to discover the country's rich history and culture. Albania is fast growing in popularity as a cycling destination. Take the opportunity to visit now.

Our 8-day Albania itinerary begins in the vibrant capital Tirana. We transfer to Lake Ohrid and begin cycling from Pogradec up into the mountains, heading southwards to Korçë. We stop at the hot springs in Benje and reach majestic Gjirokaster. Crossing countryside and more mountains to the Ionian coastline we then follow the Albanian Riviera to Himare where our cycling ends.


Day 1: Arrive Tirana.
Arrive Tirana and transfer to our hotel for overnight. This evening we will have a group meeting and tour briefing. -/-/-

Day 2: Tirana - Pogradec – Korçë
This morning we will transfer by vehicle to Pogradec. In 1980, the town was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Located on the shores of Lake Ohrid, in the past the town has compared less favourably to its Macedonian neighbours on the far side of the water. Lately Pogradec has been enjoying a renaissance. The surrounding area is rich in historic culture and unique flora and fauna. We set out on the bikes northwards along the shores of Lake Ohrid. The first 10km are relatively flat, followed by 15km uphill as we head away from the water up to the mountain plateau. Heavily wooded and populated by many species this is a beautiful area and we'll enjoy stunning views. We head downhill through a gorge for the next 15km towards Lake Prespa. From here we follow wide open road cutting a path through farmland and small holdings south west to Korcë. The route gently undulates for 20km before a final flat stretch. Korçë has Illyrian and Ottoman historical roots, close to the border with Greece this is Albania's cultural capital, with a traditional bazaar and a museum of medieval art.

Cycling Distance: 60km (37 miles). Hotel B/-/-  

Day 3: Korçë to Germen
Heading into the mountains the landscape changes from an agricultural collage of fields into rocky mountainside scattered with forget me nots and other wild flowers and the odd shepherds hut here and there. We climb the Gramoz Mountains, with a view of snow-capped peaks in the distance, cycling over the Bramash pass. We then head down into the valley beyond to reach the remote and beautiful Germen.

Cycling Distance: 77km (48 miles); Total Climb: 1,470m (4,823ft):Total Descent: 1,375m (4,511ft).
Accommodation: Bungallows B/-/D

Day 4: Germen to Përmet
The day begins with an uphill cycle through dramatic mountain scenery onto the verdant plateau. We then descend on a steep ravine road to the River Vjosa; the pathway, which was originally created by waterfalls, bends and curves dramatically down into wide open valley where animals graze. The Vjosa is one of Europe's last existing wild rivers. Along its entire course, it is free flowing and in some areas the riverbed expands over more than 2 km. Sadly, it is under threat from hydropower development although proteset groups are campaigning for the area to be given national park status. We continue uphill on a tiny road cut into the mountainside up to Përmet perched on the cliff
high above the river. The town is famed for its cuisine, especially sweets and its wine and strong raki. Named the "city of roses" it is said to be the greenest and the cleanest town in Albania. Përmet is also famous for folk music. We cycle on a little further to nearby Benje where there are popular thermal springs - a perfect antidote for tired cyclists legs.

Cycling Distance: 59km, Total Climb: 675m (2,215ft)m Total Descent: 1,425, (4,675ft)
Accommodation: Hotel B/-/-

Day 5: Përmet to Gjirokaster
Today we continue along Kelcyra valley through scenery of peaks and gorges, cutting westward through a gap in the mountains. We reach a wide plain; high above us sits the majestic Gjirokaster (known as the Stone City because of the many roofs covered with flat stones). Built by wealthy landowners, Gjirokaster is a beautifully preserved Ottoman town with steep cobbled streets. The town has UNESCO world heritage status. Gjirokaster Castle, at the heart of the town, dates all the way back to the 4th century. The fortress overlooks the plateau, and route along the river valley with an imposing presence. The town is the birthplace of Albania's former communist leader: Enver Hoxha.

Cycling Distance: 61km (38 miles), Total Climb: 325m (1,066ft), Total Descent: 350m (1,148ft)
Accommodation: Hotel B/-/-

Day 6: Gjirokaster to Sarande
We head west today up over a 700m pass in the mountains followed by a twisting descent down onto the coastal plain. We pass villages, farms and roadside fruit vendors. There are more concrete bunkers dotted in the hillsides. Sarande is described as the gateway to southern Albania, nestled between the mountains and the Ionian coast. The city is close to the ancient remains of Butrint, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Butrint is one of the county's most important archaeological sites, tracing its origins back to the Greeks and the Romans.
We can relax this evening and enjoy panoramic Mediterranean views in this lovely coastal resort

Cycling Distance: 96km (60miles), Total Climb: 1,035m (3,396ft), Total Descent: 1,315m (4,314ft)
Accommodation: Hotel B-/-

Day 7: Sarande to Himarë
We follow the coastal route northwards today towards the resort of Himarë. The day begins with a steep climb we continue cycling a series of climbs and descents with mountains and of stunning sea views. Himarë is a popular beach side town stretching along white sanded shore line. Terraced hills where olives and citrus trees grow reach down to the sea.

Cycling Distance: km (32 miles), Total Climb: 1,075m (3,527ft), Total Descent: 1,080m (3,543ft)
Accommodation: Hotel B/-/-

Day 8. Departure
Transfer to Tirana for departure. B/-/-

Necessary equipment: We strongly recommend you wearing a helmet during the cycling. You can bring your own helmet or rent on of ours. Cycling gloves, breathable clothes, waterproof gear, cycling shoes/trainers. (for list with recommended items see “General” in the trip dossier).

Our bikes


Price Includes:
6 nights at hotels
one night in a bungallow incl. breakfast
dinner on day 3
English speaking guide and vehicle available during the cycling hours
all transfers and transportation of luggage
1.5l water/day pp.
snacks on the road
technical support

Not Included:
Single supplement 160EUR
rental of pannier bags and helmets
entrance fees
meals not mentioned as included
drinks and tips

Additional Services:
Supplement per pers. at 2-3 p. in a group - 160 EUR


Gallery


Cycling in Albania (Rated 4.76 / 5 Based on 23 Reviews.)
Price
680 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
680 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Moderate. Tour for bikers in good physical condition.

Group Size
4 - 12
Reservation System Code
ALCYK
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