Albania Cycle Tour

Independent just since 1912, Albania (Shqipëria) is rising as one of Europe’s hottest and least expensive destinations. As it approaches a century of freedom from communist rule, its unspoiled beaches, snowcapped mountains, traditional cuisine, Cold War era artifacts, unique traditions, unrivaled hospitality and wild countryside are ripe for discovery by mass tourism. Some say that visiting […]

Day 1
Arrival at Tirana.

After checking in at the hotel in Tirana, depending on your arrival time, we will go for a city tour in the mystery shrouded capital.

Day 2
Qufe Thane to Tushemisht ( Pogradec) (Biking distance approx. 25mi./40km)
Morning transfer (distance: 69 mi./110 km/1.5 – 2 h) to the Albanian-Macedonian border. Start cycling along the lake, stopping for lunch at one of the many restaurants at the shore of the lake. After lunch continue through Pogradec to Tushemisht, near the other Albanian-Macedonian border on the south-east corner of the lake. After checking in the hotel we will ride to St. Naum in Macedonia to visit the beautiful Monastery. Don’t forget you passport.
Day 3
Tushemisht (Pogradec) to Korçe (biking distance approx. 32 mi./51km)
A climb out from the lake into another high plateau bounded by mountains. Continue following the gorge for a while until the hills open up leading into a vast plain, a patchwork of individual farms and colours. An early arrival in Korçë allows you to go for a cultural tour around the city known as the Paris of Albania.
Day 4
Korçe to Sotire (biking distance approx. 45mi./72km)
We start cycling leaving behind the agricultural plateau of Korçë climbing steadily into the border mountains through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers. Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead, climbing into the heart of the Gramoz Mountains and over the Barmash Pass(1,159m) to Sotire lying in its own tranquil valle.
Day 5
Sotire to Benje (Permet) (Biking distance approx. 32mi/52km)

A climb out from Sotire to a high grassy plateau surrounded by soaring peaks before reaching the source of the River Vjosa and descending through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. Descending to Çarshove and then following the corniche route high above the river to Benje situated on a bluff above the river. After lunch and checking in the guesthouse we will take a short ride to the thermal springs for a swim at the end of the Langarica canyons.

Day 6
Benje to Gjirokaster (biking distance approx. 44mi./70km)
Continue along the valley towards Kelcyra the distant shark’s tooth peaks, which guards a further gorge. Ride between them to the confluence of the Drinos river following yet another gorge. This opens out into a wide plain with the town of Gjirokastra (city of 1,000 steps) high above on your right side.
Day 7
Gjirokaster to Sarande (via Butrint) (biking distance approx. 44mi./70km)
After a fast 16 mi. (25 km) morning transfer we will start riding toward Sarandё, which lies along the Ionian coast, sandwiched between the high mountains and the sea and close to the ancient remains of Butrint. A 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.
Day 8

Sarande to Hilmare (biking distance approx. 33mi./53km)
A roller coaster of a ride, leaving as the mist is burnt off by the sun, climbing steeply out of Saranda to a rocky plateau. Then it’s over cols into bays and around headlands, always with the stunning mountain scenery to the right and sea to the left before descending to the long beach and the bay of Himarë.

Day 9
Hilmare to Vlore (biking distance approx. 41mi./65km
Today’s route is as challenging as it is spectacular. Cycling up to the Llogara pass 1,000 m above the blue water of the Ionian Sea and its 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 Llogara Pass. After lunch we cycle downhill all the way to Vlorё.
Day 10
Departure (transfert time ca.3hrs)

Farewell! Morning transfer from Vlorё to Tirana Int Airport.

Independent just since 1912, Albania (Shqipëria) is rising as one of Europe’s hottest and least expensive destinations. As it approaches a century of freedom from communist rule, its unspoiled beaches, snowcapped mountains, traditional cuisine, Cold War era artifacts, unique traditions, unrivaled hospitality and wild countryside are ripe for discovery by mass tourism.

Some say that visiting Albania is as close as you’ll get to traveling back in time. This tour includes 3 UNESCO world heritage sites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tour Rating-Moderate to difficult

Medium-difficult to difficult tours in mountainous stretches of 45 to 72 km on usually quiet asphalt or gravel roads at an average elevation of 740 meters are cycled individually at your own speed, following our route descriptions. You always have the whole day at your disposal to cover the route. The tours selected by us follow well-asphalted, sometimes completely new roads. Albanian drivers are generally very considerate of bikers.

 

This tour includes:
• 7 nights in very good 3 and 4 star hotels, in a double room with private facilities
• Breakfast and dinner each day
• Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel
• Boat fares on the lakes Wolfgangsee and Hallstätter See as per programme
• Bus transfer Strobl – Bad Ischl, Bad
• Goisern and train fare Hallstatt – Bad Goisern.
• Descent with the Salzberg cable car to Hallstatt.
• Hiking rucksack and tour book -1 per room.
• Welcome meeting and information pack.
• English/German speaking walking guide.Note: Also available as a 6 night itinerary with Day 2 deleted.

DIFFERENT OPTIONS :
If you decide to go on a guided tour, you have an escort vehicle (Van, 8 seats with a trailer for up to 20 bikes) at your disposal on each tour, which is able to transport your luggage as well as up to seven people. Your tour guide has expert knowledge of the region. Since we prefer that every person cycles at his/her own speed, it can happen that the group splits up during ascents. In that case, meeting points – usually at the mountain peak – are arranged, where the group meets again.

Should you prefer to go on an unguided tour, you receive an extensive information package, consisting of detailed maps, GPS device, list of hotels, recommendations for restaurants, information on the most important sites as well as a small dictionary for the most important vocabulary and expressions. We also supply tools and a repair kit as well as waterproof pannier for transporting everything you need en route.

 

 

Schedule & Price

Independent Tour Departure Dates 2015:     Daily departures available during the months of April, May, June, September and October. Minimum number of 2 persons applies.

 

 

Tour Departure Dates 2015:      May 27th, September 14th

Price per person (single on request extra)
CAD
Double occ. (Independent tour) $1295
Double occ. (Guided tour) $1445

 

The independent tour includes:
  • 9 nights hotel accommodation in a double room with ensuite
  • 9 breakfasts
  • 6 guided cycling tours as described in itinerary
  • Rental of a 30 speed Giant hybrid style bike with pannier, lock and bottle cage
  • Transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Luggage service from hotel to hotel
  • Emergency phone
  • Overview-maps for the daily tours

ACCOMMODATION:
We use the best accommodation standard that existS here at the moment. So far the Albania infrastructure allows us to use 4 star hotels in big cities and 3 stars hotels in smaller ones with en suite facilities (according to Albanian Tourist Board grading system). Family owned guesthouses are used at remote locations. Rooms are shared two people per room.
AIRPORT / TRANSFERS
The nearest international airport is Tirana. Transfers are available on request. POA.