Mountain Biking in the Albanian Hinterland

Mountain Biking in the Albanian Hinterland

A bike-tour through Albanian mountains is a journey back in time - and probably the last genuine adventure in today’s Europe. Touching is the hospitality, impressive are the traditional villages, and of stunning beauty the mountainous landscape. A real discovery on a mountain bike, driven by your own power. On wild dirt roads we cycle through remote valleys, over passes of solitude and past mysterious hamlets. Latest at dinner in the guesthouse of a family, the table full of home-made food, you realize: Sometimes it’s worth to leave the beaten path and take a new one!

Highlights:
♦ Lonely bike trails in remote mountains
♦ Accommodation in traditional guesthouses
♦ Home-made meals from own garden & animals
♦ Various optional mountain transfers included


Itinerary: 

Day 1. Arrival in Tirana
Pickup transfer from airport to hotel and welcome-dinner in the city.

Day 2. Off-road to the birthplace of Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg
We get on our bikes and start directly from the edge of the capital city Tirana. Suddenly a very different, rural world appears. Welcome to Albania, land of contradictions! Along gentle hills, green meadows, small lakes and sleepy villages, we bike on this first day to the historical important city of Kruja, birth place of Albania’s national hero and located spectacularly in the mountains. We sleep and eat in the best hotel of the area, with good food, comfort and a great view.
Distance for the day: approx. 35km, 950m+ / 500m-

Day 3. Biking along old military roads to Tirana’s hinterland
Today we climb on a spectacular and nearly traffic-free asphalt road into the mountains. The highest point of the day is in the middle of pine trees and part of a national park. Here begins the natural world of central Albania, far from the beaten path, with even more tradition and the literal hospitality. A 20km long downhill over wild natural roads, built a hundred years ago by the Italians and today what nature has left, brings us down to the central Albanian region of Mat. The last section we bike relaxed along a pleasant river, characterized by farming and subsistence agriculture. We sleep and eat in a 300 year old guesthouse of a once powerful family of the region, built majestically on top of the village. Here we are proudly shown traditional costumes in a small exhibition, before receiving a welcome with coffee & home-made spirit.
Distance for the day: approx. 60km, 1200m + / 1600m- or optional mountain transfer, after that approx. 38km, 500m + / 1400m-

Day 4. Solitude in the remote passes of central Albania
We start the day with a short transfer, which takes us half way up the mountain area. Soon after we are biking over earthy natural roads into a high plateau, seemingly from another time: Old houses built of stone, horses pulling ploughs, as good as never a car – and everywhere friendly greeting people. Another great and long downhill brings us to the "black river", from where we receive a last short transfer to the small regional city and our final destination for today. We sleep again in the best hotel of the town, newly renovated and with modern comfort.
Distance for the day: approx. 43km, 1100m + / 1300m –

Day 5. Relaxing in rural Albania (Rest day)
After three bike days behind and another two ahead of us, today we treat ourselves to some sweet relaxation. We`re in the rural town not far from the border with Macedonia, and today offers different options: Doing sweet nothing between hotel, café and the pedestrian area, a small bike excursion to a village with nice old houses, or a swim in the nearby clear mountain river (seasonal). The night we spend for a second time at a comfortable hotel in town.

Day 6. Biking Over hidden tracks to the old mining town
Cherry trees welcome us on the first stretch of this day, which takes us over asphalt away from the farming town and down to the black river. Here a dirt road starts and we bike into a remote mountain valley. The trail takes us along one of the most authentic villages of Albania, with fences woven from branches, cattle in the alleys, and local youngsters rather perplexed by us bikers. The highest point and the following downhill past alpine huts we earn by a walking section – for once the other muscles in action. The accommodation on this day is a memorable one. We are guests at the Hupi-family in their centuries old defense house, where rather simple conditions are compensated by far with warmth and authenticity. The sister cooks delicious food, the son entertains enthusiastically – and we dive deep into Albanian life.
Distance for the day: approx. 52km, 1500m + / 1550m -, or optional transfer followed by approx. 28km, 1100m + / 1000m-

Day 7. 'Downhill with a view' and transfer back
Todays last day of the tour is a relaxed ride – mainly downhill – over a great asphalt road with scenic views. Pleasure pure, and some pride for your achievements of the last few days! From here a bus transfer brings us back in approx. 2h to the capital Tirana, where we celebrate our common tour week with a farewell-dinner in a delicious fish restaurant. A week full of lastingimpressions – from this so positively surprising country, full of adventure, wild nature and friendly people.
Distance for the day: approx. 27km, 400m + / 750m -

Day 8. Transfer from hotel to airport, individual travel to your home country.
In case of interest we can organize an additional week of after-tour relaxing on one of Albanias un-spoilt Mediterranean beaches.


Price Includes:
6x guided bike day tours in a small group of max. 10 guests.
Accommodation (5x in comfortable hotel double rooms; 2x in traditional family guesthouses (only dormitory rooms); all meals & beverages (hearty breakfast in accommodations; lunch in simple inns along the route or picnic; traditional Albanian dinners in the guesthouses
in Tirana grill / fish)
All transfers (including from/to airport; and optional mountain transfers as described)
Luggage transport to the accommodations
Assistance-vehicle for technical support / support in case of emergencies (but not “follow-car” permanently available to hop in)

Not Included:
Travel to and from Tirana Albania
Personal expenses for souvenirs tips etc.
Bikes (upon request we have some 2016er Trek Superfly 5 for 180 Euro available – or bring your own)
International valid accident insurance (mandatory)


Gallery


Mountain Biking in the Albanian Hinterland (Rated 4.89 / 5 Based on 406 Reviews.)
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