Albania’s UNESCO Sites with Rivers, Valleys, and Gorges

    4.7/5 (23)
    9 nights | 37 miles/day
    Guided from EUR € 950
    Self guided from EUR € 780
    Rider Level: Enthusiast Electric bike tours
    4.7/5 (23)

    9 nights | 37 miles/day
    Guided from EUR € 950
    Self guided from EUR € 780

    Rider Level: Enthusiast Electric bike tours

    Tap above to jump to different sections of this tour

    • Albania’s UNESCO Sites

      9 night guided or self guided bike tour in Albania

      Highlights of this tour include four UNESCO sites, snow-capped mountains, inviting beaches on the Albanian Riviera, a genuine untouched subsistence culture, and exceptionally friendly people.

      Some say that visiting Albania is as close as you'll get to traveling back in time. Until the dissolution of the People's Republic of Albania, it was rare that foreigners had a chance to visit this mystery-shrouded country. Since the borders opened in 1991, anyone visiting Albania quickly realizes that this is a very special place. Unlike Croatia, just a few hundred kilometers up the coast, Albania has remained undiscovered by mass tourism.

      We feel that this sets it apart among our destinations. People in many isolated areas are still filled with excitement and curiosity to see visitors in their villages, especially those traveling by bicycle. You will be welcomed with open arms and warm, sincere hospitality.

      The history of Albania is long and complex. This area has been populated for over 4000 years, and has been conquered by the Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Normans, and Serbs. In 1468 Albanian came under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which remained the case until 1912, when they declared independence.

      The country's economy has seen an upturn since 2002, resulting in significant upgrades in infrastructure, which you will surely appreciate. The roads are mostly paved, and although at times quite steep, you will be distracted from the climb by stunning views, and rewarded by adrenaline-pumping descents.

      Highlights

      • Albanian Riveria - Picturesque trails and villages
      • Gjirokastra and Korce- Walking tour of the historic UNESCO towns
      • Butrinti - Visit 2,500 year old archaeological site (UNESCO site)
      • Lake Ohrid - with its beautiful beaches
      • Macedonia - optional visit to the monastery of St. Naum
      • Grammoz Mountains and Barmash Pass
      • The Rivers Vjosa and Drinos and their spectacular gorges
      • Saranda - the gateway to southern Albania on the Ionian coast
      • The Bay of Himare and its long beaches

      Learn More

      Not sure whether to book a guided or self-guided tour? Learn about the differences between guided and self-guided tours.

    • Traveler photos

      • on way to Permet from Sotire, great routes (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      • Leskovic range (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      •  (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      • on route to Permet, very good road conditions (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      • on route from Pogradec to Korcë (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      • on route from Korce to Sotire, biking through mountain ranges (photo by Roxana Miranda)
      • Time to enjoy an evening in the historic city, Gjirokaster. (photo by Bill P)
      • Great local meals and camaraderie throughout 8 days. (photo by Bill P)
      • Our amazing tour leader, overall historian and guide. (photo by Bill P)
      • Plenty of local flavor on this trip. Albania is fascinating! (photo by Bill P)
      • Looking at mountains separating Albania from Greece. (photo by Bill P)
      • Looking across the Ionian Sea to the island of Corfu. (photo by Bill P)
      • View from hotel (photo by Lady Di)
      • Photo 2 (photo by Lady Di)
      • The coolest place we stayed. Watched the fish swim and then had fish for dinner. (photo by Lady Di)
      • Korce. During communism many places of religion were torn down or used for other purposes. (photo by Lady Di)
      • Getting ready to enter the main bunker. Very interesting. (photo by Lady Di)
      • Beautiful scenery. Hard day of riding. (photo by Lady Di)
      • Photo 1 (photo by kath)
      • Photo 1 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Photo 2 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Photo 3 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Photo 4 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Photo 5 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Photo 6 (photo by Ashley A)
      • Beautiful start Lake Ohrid (photo by Wendy)
      • Last day descent (photo by Wendy)
      • Cabin neighbors (photo by Wendy)
      • Gjirokaster (photo by Wendy)
      • Up from the sea! (photo by Wendy)
      • Lovely ending to a wonderful tour (photo by Wendy)
      • Excited to begin our cycle tour of Albania! (photo by Anne and Bob)
      • Very typical of Albanian countryside. (photo by Anne and Bob)
      • Ate more seafood in 3 days, than we have in a lifetime! (photo by Anne and Bob)
      • Chugging up a hill was more than rewarded with spectacular views! (photo by Anne and Bob)
      • Good looking roadblock! (photo by Anne and Bob)
      • The view from the hotel at Lake Ohrid (photo by Bowsermania)
      • Beautiful mountain passes...... (photo by Bowsermania)
      • Enver Hoxha, dictator in Albania for 40+ years, built over 700,000 of these to "protect" Albania from invasion. (photo by Bowsermania)
      • Beautiful, historic Gjirokaster, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites you will visit.... (photo by Bowsermania)
      • Follow the switchbacks to the top.....your tough last day of cycling over the Llogara Pass....you WILL make it! (photo by Bowsermania)
      • Your reward at the end of the ride..... (photo by Bowsermania)
    • Daily program

      Day 1: Arrival in Tirana
      Individual arrival to Tirana.
      Overnight in Tirana.

      Day 2: Ohrid Lake – Pogradec (25 miles/40km; elevation gain: 203ft/62m)
      After a transfer (2 hours) we will reach the northern side of Lake Ohrid from which we will start cycling to Pogradec. We will enjoy lunch at a waterfront restaurant before arriving to Pogradec. In the afternoon, you can choose between relaxing at the beach in front of the hotel or crossing over to Macedonia by bike and to visit the monastery of St.Naum.
      Overnight in Pogradec.

      Day 3: Pogradec – Korcë (32 miles/51km; elevation gain: 1352ft/412m)
      We'll star the day with a climb out from the lake into another high plateau surrounded by mountains. We then continue along the gorge for awhile until the hills open up leading to a vast plain, a patchwork of individual farms and colours.
      Overnight in Korce.

      Day 4: Korcë – Sotire (44 miles/71km; elevation gain: 3842ft/1171m)
      Leave behind the agricultural plateau of Korce, 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 Grammoz Mountains and over the Barmash Pass (1159m) to Sotire farm lying in its own tranquil valley.
      Overnight in Sotire.

      Day 5: Sotire – Përmet (32 miles/52km; elevation gain: 2018ft/615m)
      Climb out from Germenje 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. Continue descending to Cashare and then follow the corniche route high above the river to Permet situated on a bluff above the river and famous for its cuisine and strong raki.
      Overnight in Permet.

      Day 6: Përmet – Gjorokastër (45 miles/70km; elevation gain: 1352ft/412m)
      Continue along the valley towards Kelcyra under the distant shark's tooth peaks which guard a further gorge. Ride between them to the confluence of the Drinos following yet another stunning gorge which opens out into a wide plain with the town of Gjirokaster (city of 1000 steps) high above. In the afternoon, you will have a chance to explore its narrow cobbled alleys and Ottoman houses.
      Overnight in Gjorokastër.

      Day 7: Gjirokastër – Saranda (45 miles/70km; elevation gain: 1722ft/525 m)
      The gateway to southern Albania, Saranda, 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.
      Overnight in Saranda.

      Day 8: Saranda – Himarë (32 miles/52km; elevation gain: 3491ft/1064m)
      Today's route is a roller coaster of a ride as you climb 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 you descend to the long beach and the bay of Himarë.
      Overnight in Himare.

      Day 9: Himare – Vlore (39 miles/63km; elevation gain: 5439ft/1658m)
      Today’s ride is not only the most challenging but also the most spectacular in Albania. You will gradually climb from sea level up to 1,000m through forests, gorges and hairpin bends. After lunch in the beautiful national park of Llogara we will descend towards Vlorë for an afternoon’s relaxation by the Ionian sea.
      Overnight in Vlore.

      Day 10: Transfer to Tirana Airport and departure
      Depending on flight times, we may have the opportunity to visit the city of Vlorë before our transfer back to Tiranë and Mother Teresa Airport.

      Surface and terrain

      The roads we use are all sealed and have a very good surface, some being totally new. Going into the more remote villages they are some that are not sealed but have a good base. There is only one day, from Permet to Corovoda, and we will use this road to visit one of the most beautiful places in Albania.

      Approximately 70% of this tour is on quiet roads, 20% roads shared with traffic and 10% on dirt or gravel roads.

      This tour has considerable climbing on nearly every day, and electrically-assisted bicycles are also available.

      The guided tour also offers a support van which is available at most times.


      Stories

      On our blog:


      Hotels

      These are sample hotels and may vary by availability.

      Accomodations are a mix of guesthouses and 3- and 4-star hotels.

      Hotel Sky Tower, Tirane
      www.sky2hotel-al.com

      Hotel Millenium, Pogradec
      www.hotel-millennium.com

      Hotel Life Gallery, Korçë
      www.lifegallery.al

      Guesthouse Farma Sotira, Gërmenjë
      www.farmasotira.com

      Guesthouse Coli, Bënje, Permet

      Hotel Cajupi, Gjirokastër
      www.cajupi.com

      Hotel Porto Eda, Sarandë
      www.portoeda.com

      Hotel Rondos, Himarë
      www.rondos-hotel.com

      Hotel Coral, Vlore
      www.facebook.com/Hotel-Coral

      Interested in visiting other areas before or after your tour? Visit our hotels page to learn more about lodging options.


      How to get there

      Tour start and end
      Nearest airport and train station: Tirana (TIA), Albania

      Transfer from the airport to the start of tour is available for €20 (booked in advance). Transfer at the end of the tour back to the airport is included in the tour price (at specific times only).

      Tips on getting to and from your tour

    • Dates

      • Self-guided, daily, upon request: Apr 1-Jun 30; Aug 26-October 20, 2022 (minimum 2 participants)
        Guided: Apr 1, 11, 21; May 1, 12, 22; Jun 1, 11, 21; Aug 25; Sep 3, 12, 22; Oct 1, 10, 19, 2022 (minimum 6 participants)

      • Self-guided, daily, upon request: Apr 1-Jun 30; Aug 26-October 20, 2023 (minimum 2 participants)
        Guided: Apr 07, 20; May 01, 11, 23; Jun 03, 24; Jul 01; Aug 26; Sep 02, 11, 19, 28; Oct 07, 16, 2023 (minimum 6 participants)

      Prices

      • Self-guided package

        Per person, double occupancy € 780
        Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room) € 135

        Guided package

        Per person, double occupancy € 950
        Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room) € 135

        Bike Rentals

        Electrically assisted bike, Giant Explore E+ € 200

        Extra Nights, Tirana

        Per person, double occupancy € 35
        Single room (1 person/1 room) € 56

        Transfer

        Tirana airport to tour start, per person (1-3 persons) € 20

        Discounts

        Child, ages 0-12 (on base package price) 50%
      • Tour package

        Self-guided tour Guided tour
        Per person, double occupancy €890 €1090
        Single use room (1 person/1 room) €1070 €1270

        Bike Rentals

        Electrically assisted bike, Giant Explore E+ €200

        Extra Nights, Tirana

        Per person, double occupancy €35
        Single room (1 person/1 room) €60

        Transfer

        Tirana airport to tour start, per person (1-3 persons) €25

      Included services

      Self-guided package includes:

      • 9 nights hotel accommodation in double rooms
      • 9 Breakfasts
      • Luggage transfers
      • Tour documentation
      • Local support by phone
      • Transfers from tour end to airport
      • Bicycle rental with other bike accessories

      Guided package includes:

      • 9 nights hotel accommodation in double rooms
      • 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 9 Dinners
      • Luggage transfers
      • Professional, English-speaking cycling guide
      • Transfers from tour end to airport
      • Support vehicle
      • Bicycle rental with other bike accessories

      Bike rentals

      Bikes available on this tour, and included in the tour cost (reserved in advance at the time of booking):

      • Hybrid bikes

      Bikes available to rent:

      • Electrically assisted bike, Giant Explore E+ (50.5-55.5 cm)*

      *More about electrically-assisted bikes >

      Bikes come equipped with:

      •  Pannier rack
      • Handlebar bag 

      Bike Protection:
      Bike protection can be purchased at the time of booking. You can read more about that HERE.

      Pedals:
      The bikes will have flat pedals. You may bring your own SPD pedals, but be sure to bring your own shoes and also the necessary equipment to change the pedals.

      Helmets:
      Helmets are available on this tour. However, we recommend that you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene purposes.


      Tour Company

    • Route Map

      Maps are for information purposes only and reflect typical routes between overnight locations. They may not reflect your actual route.

      • Roxana Miranda 1 day ago

        Great adventure to be discovered, amazing places, people and food

        The tour is perfectly described online and the guides are excellent; same for food which was above average at every location; accommodations are perfect. Suggest renting e-bike unless you bike 7/365 on uphills; we had very hot weather (up to 37C) and it was hard even on e-bike just because of the heat, hard to find shade! We were 19 people in our tour and the guides (Erlis and Rimi) were wonderful, friendly and knowledgeable. Albania is waiting for you to discover, laid back people, excellent food and very cheap compared to other European cities. Highly recommend.

        What was the date of your tour?
        September 3, 2022
        How many tours have you completed?
        first one
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        First-time bike tourists, Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • on way to Permet from Sotire, great routes (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        • Leskovic range (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        •  (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        • on route to Permet, very good road conditions (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        • on route from Pogradec to Korcë (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        • on route from Korce to Sotire, biking through mountain ranges (photo by Roxana Miranda)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Rhonda Aliah 2 months ago

        Fantastic adventure!

        The perfect way to experience Albania from the saddle of great bikes. Erlis and Tani were wonderful, caring, capable and very courteous. I was the slowest cyclist and their reassuring presences made the trip very enjoyable. Had a great time! Would love to explore more someday.

      • Bill P November 1, 2019

        Better than I ever imagined.

        This tour is a great way to experience the beautiful country of Albania- a fascinating country I knew very little about. Our local tour leader was resourceful, knowledgeable, and passionate about both biking and his native country. The bikes were very good; I had and e-bike; even so, the biking was challenging, but definitely worth the challenge. Very good local meals with lots of camaraderie with my fellow travelers- an interesting and lovely mix of people from all ages, countries, and biking abilities. I have long been a passionate biker, but this was my first organized bike tour, including first one in the mountains! It won’t be my last. I can’t wait to go on my next one! Kudos to both Bike Tours and Cycle Albania.

        What was the date of your tour?
        October 12-20, 2019
        How many tours have you completed?
        First organized tour.
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • Time to enjoy an evening in the historic city, Gjirokaster. (photo by Bill P)
        • Great local meals and camaraderie throughout 8 days. (photo by Bill P)
        • Our amazing tour leader, overall historian and guide. (photo by Bill P)
        • Plenty of local flavor on this trip. Albania is fascinating! (photo by Bill P)
        • Looking at mountains separating Albania from Greece. (photo by Bill P)
        • Looking across the Ionian Sea to the island of Corfu. (photo by Bill P)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Elaine October 28, 2019

        A Fabulous Trip

        First time biking as a way to visit a country and it was fabulous! I chose Albania as it was still untouched by tourism, the reviews were good, and it looked beautiful. Experiencing this beautiful country and its people while biking through its landscape fufilled my expectations beyond what I could imagine. The scenery was spectacular! And biking is a way to go! Our guide, Arijan and his assistant, Bato, were organized, patient, helpful, informative, and fun! We were in good hands! We had a group of 4 Americans, 4 Brits, and 2 Germans, which resulted in good exchanges and great conversations. I was thrilled with the variety and challenges of the varied terrain, but at age 70 an electric bike made the trip possible and enjoyable. The climbs would have been very difficult without one. I had read some reviews before signing on and took the good and necessary advice of training before going. Without training, this trip would be difficult. The bikes were in good condition and worked well considering a few of the rough roads we encountered. Our guides handled the varied paces of the group very effectively. The hotels were quite adequate with the exception of one mountain guest house, which was minimally adequate. The food was
        abundant and very good. I highly recommend this tour company and the tour of Albania specifically! You will not be disappointed! It was a most memorable travel experience!

        What was the date of your tour?
        October 12-21, 2019
        How many tours have you completed?
        First one!
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 4/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Timr October 27, 2019

        Beautiful Country, Great Cycling Excellent Value

        So much fun. Friendly people, great food, some challenging rides and bumpy roads, but that just made it more interesting. Learned so much history of this area. Tour provider was very attentive and helpful. Bikes were excellent touring hybrids (all were new or nearly new Giant bikes. Bring your sunscreen, appetites and climbing legs!

        What was the date of your tour?
        October 2019
        How many tours have you completed?
        8
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • WSTraveler October 22, 2019

        An Unusual Experience Not to Be Repeated

        The sag driver was great despite limited English in that he was always available to help in any way possible. The tour guide was good and worked very hard but was not good at listening to understand problems with the bikes and was at times totally dismissive. The difficulty of the ride was enormously underrated and BIkeTours was evasive about providing advanced information. The road conditions were in areas extremely poor and the advertised grades were just lies. BikeTours advertised the trip as a max of 16 riders, although there were 20, considered a small group by the guide. Again, less than honest disclosure.

        The experience of the country was worth the trip. It was a fun collection of international participants. The accommodations were varied but appropriate to the locale and part of the fun. Food was good and the guide worked to arrange options for dietary restrictions. The sag support was excellent and eager to support the riders. The guide did a good job of keeping the group together and providing navigation guidance despite lack of any cue sheets or gps routes.

        What was the date of your tour?
        Sept 23 - Oct 2
        How many tours have you completed?
        lots
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Much harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        No
        • BikeTours.com staff reply from Chloe October 23, 2019

          Thank you kindly for this review. Overall, we're glad to hear that the experience of the country was worth the trip. We appreciate you sharing with us details regarding the guide and that information provided to you did not match up with your experience. We will follow up with the tour operator regarding the road conditions, grades, and group size to ensure the details provided to future clients are accurate. Thanks again for your feedback.

        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 2/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 4/5 Scenery
        • 2/5 Ease of navigation
        • 1/5 Tour documents
        • 4/5 Local tour company services
        • 3/5 Route selection
        • 4/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Lady Di October 9, 2019

        Interesting trip

        We had a wonderful international group with ages from early 40es to one man turning 78 on the trip. Learning about the history of Albania was very interesting and cycling to sites from BC era was fascinating. It was like someone turned the clock back in time. We stayed in a wide variety of places and all okay with several being very unique in a good way. Food was very good but watch out for the wine in small towns as it’s homemade and not very good but the beer was good. Bikes were okay and front shocks very appreciated. If in doubt get an ebike. Our leader,Ted, and the sag/bike driver were very skilled at leading us and taking card of the bikes.

        What was the date of your tour?
        September 23-October 1st.
        How many tours have you completed?
        8
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • View from hotel (photo by Lady Di)
        • Photo 2 (photo by Lady Di)
        • The coolest place we stayed. Watched the fish swim and then had fish for dinner. (photo by Lady Di)
        • Korce. During communism many places of religion were torn down or used for other purposes. (photo by Lady Di)
        • Getting ready to enter the main bunker. Very interesting. (photo by Lady Di)
        • Beautiful scenery. Hard day of riding. (photo by Lady Di)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 3/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 4/5 Ease of navigation
        • 4/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 4/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Pedal October 7, 2019

        Wonderful surprise

        Beautiful country, great food. We had a wonderful guide, Ted

        What was the date of your tour?
        Started on Sept 23
        How many tours have you completed?
        A number in the US
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 3/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Helayn October 7, 2019

        More than I expected

        What was the date of your tour?
        October 23
        How many tours have you completed?
        15
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 4/5 Included meals
        • 3/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 3/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 4/5 Ease of navigation
        • 3/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • psteckler September 15, 2019

        Excellent tour with lots of climbing

        This was my second tour booked with biketours.com. My first one was a self-guided tour in Slovenia, which was great, so I thought I'd try this one, which reviews raved about.

        The route and scenery were just great. We had superb meals with Mediterranean-style cuisine, either in restaurants or in our hotels. Each day featured a coffee stop, where we snacked on peanuts, bananas, and chocolate.

        The tour guide was very knowledgeable about his home country, super well-organized and thoughtfully attended to the needs of the participants. The support van was there when we needed assistance.

        There were a couple of thrilling long descents with stunning vistas. The price of those descents was lots of climbing, some of them long, some a bit steep.

        A few of the days were extremely hot, around 100F. I had heat stroke symptoms one day, and had to get a lift in the van for the last part of the ride. We had only a few minutes of light rain on our side trip to North Macedonia to see the monastery on Lake Ohrid. Not much the tour operator can do to control the weather, of course.

        The bikes had front suspension and a rear rack with an Ortlieb pannier. We did have some gravel and cobble sections where a road bike would not have worked. These bikes were on the heavy side, making the climbing more difficult than it could have been. My one suggestion to improve the tour would be to use lighter bikes. I think the current generation of "gravel bikes" with fat tires, without suspension, would work well, and save a few pounds. Instead of the rack and pannier, a frame bag or seatpost bag would have enough capacity and also save some weight.

        The participants on e-bikes seemed to be having a good time of it, though, as they passed me up the climbs!

        What was the date of your tour?
        August 26, 2019
        How many tours have you completed?
        20+
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 3/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 4/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • BabyBoomer June 27, 2019

        Albania-Review by a Baby Boomer

        I feel that the trip was right on he money as described. Cycling is a great way to experience a country. The food was terrific and the accommodations ranged from adequate (but best available) to reasonably decent. The bikes were well maintained, and I appreciate that the disks were replaced on the major downhills for the last few days. The route is challenging, and, if you have any doubts on your capability, go for the ebike option. Made all the difference for me. The support for water and sag, if required, was superb.

        What was the date of your tour?
        June 13
        How many tours have you completed?
        10
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 3/5 Hotels or boat
        • 4/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 4/5 Tour documents
        • 4/5 Local tour company services
        • 4/5 Route selection
        • 4/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • kath November 12, 2018

        Albania, who knew!

        A beautiful country with fresh farm to table food and mountain spring water. Our guide Tedi was friendly and knowledgeable and taught us about the history and culture of Albania as well as the beautiful sites. Hotels and guesthouses were neat and clean and comfortable. We would like to visit again to spend more time at the historical sites around the country.

        What was the date of your tour?
        Oct 2-11, 2018
        How many tours have you completed?
        3
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • Photo 1 (photo by kath)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 3/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • David19 September 29, 2018

        A vigorous adventure

        This is an excellent tour for anyone who wants to do a lot of climbing far from the beaten tourist path with the leadership of an excellent, superbly organized cyclist.
        On the other hand, it is not a great way to get to know a lot about Albanian culture or history. Even though we went to some sites of great historical and cultural significance, we didn't have much time there, and promises that we would have a guided tour were not always kept. I'd have liked to have had a rest day in Gjirokaster; it has a lot of history to explore.
        This tour has lots of climbs, some of them quite steep. The bikes provided by the operator didn't have low enough gears, so most tour members walked some of the climbs. The tour operator has told me he has recognized this problem and has already ordered more suitable bikes for 2019.
        The food was excellent in both quality and quantity, with very few exceptions. Most eating was family style. There were vegetarian options.
        Our group was large--22 participants, six more than advertised--but so well organized that meals moved briskly.
        All 22 of us regrouped several times each day on the road. This, plus the attentiveness of the guide and the sag driver, made it almost impossible to get lost, but it also meant the faster riders often waited for the laggards to arrive.
        I liked the other riders. I think few whiners choose tours in the mountains of Albania.

        What was the date of your tour?
        Sept. 13, 2018
        How many tours have you completed?
        More than ten.
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 2/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 2/5 Tour documents
        • 4/5 Local tour company services
        • 4/5 Route selection
        • 4/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Elmo September 12, 2018

        Albanian wonderland

        Amazing country. Wonderful riding. Best guides Eerlis,Yuli and Ted. Recommend highly. Maybe best ever bike trip. 4 Americans. All else Canadians,Brits,Hollanders Aussies and Germans

        What was the date of your tour?
        August 38
        How many tours have you completed?
        8
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Jim n Anne June 30, 2018

        Not To Be Missed

        Albania is a wonderful cycling destination, and the tour company did an excellent job with the route, rental bikes, support, accommodations. The hotels/inns were amazing; comfortable, beautiful, excellent locations. The bikes were well suited to the terrain and conditions. It's impossible to overstate the beauty of the country, and a bicycle is the best way to appreciate the magnificent scenery. The roads are in good condition, but the inclines can be steep; it is necessary to train for this trip. But don't put off a visit to Albania; it's a complex, exotic country with easy-going, proud citizens who are eager for visitors.

        What was the date of your tour?
        June 2018
        How many tours have you completed?
        Several dozen
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
      • riverhiker October 16, 2017

        Best of both worlds, self-guided but with an accompanying driver

        The scenery was amazing. I highly recommend this company and this trip. The roads varied from recent resurfaced smooth pavement to a slalom course of potholes. However, since on the pothole roads the traffic amounted to maybe seven cars an hour, there was plenty of space to dodge the holes. In all but a couple of stretches, the busier roads had good shoulders. And there were some roads that had both a good surface and little traffic. How often does that happen?Do be prepared to climb. Those elevation profiles don't lie.
        Hotels varied from high end to very basic depending on the locale. If you are in the middle of nowhere and have great scenery and no traffic, there are going to be compromises. When I rate the accommodations a four instead of five, it is because of the limited options out in the countryside. This is through no fault of the tour company but it would not be fair to readers of this review to have them think everything is up to US standards.
        Since we were self-guided, breakfast was the only meal provided. In all cases it was totally adequate and a couple of times, outstanding
        The bicycles were quality and in good shape.
        We did a self-guided trip and had thought that would involve just having the luggage moved for us. They gave us a driver that was with us the whole time. Not only did he transport our luggage, if the route out of town had any turns, he led us out and also waited at any tricky turns along the way. Great job Elvis!!!!
        I can highly recommend this trip. Do go in the off season like we did so the coast is not crowded and go now. They are improving a lot of the roads which I am sure will lead to more traffic. Also, as the country becomes more affluent there will be more cars on the road.

        What was the date of your tour?
        Oct 3rd
        How many tours have you completed?
        seven
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 4/5 Included meals
        • 4/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 3/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
      • Ashley A September 3, 2017

        My favorite trip ever!

        This was an incredible trip! I can't say enough how wonderful the guides were, and how much I loved seeing Albania. The meals were amazing (if you love grilled veggies and cheese as much as I do, you'll be in heaven), the accommodations were better than I expected, and the bikes were fantastic. The hills and mountains made the biking pretty challenging some days, but in a great way. Make sure you train before this trip, but don't miss the opportunity! If I could rate it a 12/10, I would.

        What was the date of your tour?
        27 August
        How many tours have you completed?
        1
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        Somewhat harder
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • Photo 1 (photo by Ashley A)
        • Photo 2 (photo by Ashley A)
        • Photo 3 (photo by Ashley A)
        • Photo 4 (photo by Ashley A)
        • Photo 5 (photo by Ashley A)
        • Photo 6 (photo by Ashley A)
        • BikeTours.com staff reply from Jim Johnson, founder and president September 4, 2017

          Ashley, thanks so much for the rave review! I'm delighted you loved the tour as much as I did last year. It ranks among my favorites--and I'm sure always will. I hope others will take the opportunity to explore Albania soon, while it remains the amazing gem it is today.

        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Wendy June 15, 2017

        First bike tour & trip over seas!

        A wonderful way to be immersed in Albanian culture, history, foods and drink! Guide was thoughtful, anticipated all our needs and was a wealth of information. Riding provided ample opportunity to experience changing topography and breath taking views. Wonderful meals of locally sourced foods. A great international group to ride, eat and relax with. This tour was outstanding!

        What was the date of your tour?
        June 7, 2017
        How many tours have you completed?
        This one only
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • Beautiful start Lake Ohrid (photo by Wendy)
        • Last day descent (photo by Wendy)
        • Cabin neighbors (photo by Wendy)
        • Gjirokaster (photo by Wendy)
        • Up from the sea! (photo by Wendy)
        • Lovely ending to a wonderful tour (photo by Wendy)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Lilia October 26, 2016

        The time of my life.

        It was my first bike tour. And this is the perfect way to explore the country. I am really impressed. Wonderful country, breathtaking views, warm friendly people and really helpful professional guides. I am absolutely happy that I chose Albania. And of course will continue bike tours to other places as well.

        What was the date of your tour?
        11 -20 October 2016
        How many tours have you completed?
        1
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Ray1 September 7, 2016

        lovely country, great guide and driver..Junid and Nick were terrific hosts for their country

        We saw the poorest country in Europe up close but one filled with hardworking, friendly people determined to build an economy and a tourist industry. Awesome scenery, and a running commentary from trip leader Junid. Great meals, and a wonderful group from a half dozen nations.

        What was the date of your tour?
        Aug 2016
        How many tours have you completed?
        8
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 4/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 4/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • JimI August 11, 2016

        Great Trip Great Biking

        The Guide was fantastic. The bikes were excellent. The hotels and guest houses were excellent' The food was excellent and plenty o it. The scenery was varied and all beautiful. The towns and villages on the tour were very interesting and beautiful. This was a great tour. Can't say one thing bad about it.

        What was the date of your tour?
        April 2016
        How many tours have you completed?
        20
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Anne and Bob July 18, 2016

        Albania: best unheard of destination in Europe!

        If we had any concerns about choosing an unusual destination in Europe for our first international cycling tour, it was quickly put out of our heads as soon as we landed in Tirana. All arrangements were taken care of by our local tour company, Cycle Albania. A very friendly Albanian man picked us up promptly at the airport and took us to our hotel. We met our group and guide (Junid) for the next 2 weeks and set off on the adventure of a lifetime. A van transferred us to our starting point and we began to see a country that has a long difficult history of oppression, but is fully alive and growing into the 21st century. From carts pulled by donkeys, goatherds in the middle of the road, young boys shouting out greetings to us, fields of crops, vegetables, flowers, magnificent mountain views, wonderful seacoast panoramas, and visits to UNESCO world heritage sites, we are totally convinced that bicycle tourism is the way to go Some members of our group chose to ride e-bikes and that was helpful in maneuvering the many hills/mountains of our routes, but still giving the complete bicycle experience.
        Junid was the best guide ever.....his knowledge of his country and ability to translate for us gave us a complete Albanian experience. He was ever eager to accommodate us in all ways. We stayed in hotels which were top of the line to the best that was available...always clean and adequate. All our meals were in restaurants along our route and more than adequate. We ate so much, we were never hungry!! Junid chose dishes that were Albanian and locally grown and prepared. Always lots of fresh vegetables.
        After 8 days of cycling and 3 days of kayaking and relaxing on the Albanian Riviera, we returned home completely satisfied with our experience and will now be looking for ways to find another adventure off the beaten path.

        What was the date of your tour?
        July 1 - 13, 2016
        How many tours have you completed?
        Only 1 international
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, Families with teens
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • Excited to begin our cycle tour of Albania! (photo by Anne and Bob)
        • Very typical of Albanian countryside. (photo by Anne and Bob)
        • Ate more seafood in 3 days, than we have in a lifetime! (photo by Anne and Bob)
        • Chugging up a hill was more than rewarded with spectacular views! (photo by Anne and Bob)
        • Good looking roadblock! (photo by Anne and Bob)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)
      • Bowsermania April 29, 2016

        Don't Wait For Albania To Be "Discovered"

        Don't listen to anyone who would have you believe that Albania is not ready for cycling. I've ridden all over North America, Europe and Asia, and I may have found a new favorite.
        Cycle Albania, the tour operator, is run by Armand and his brother Junid, who I was fortunate enough to have as my guide. He is fluent in (at least) German, Italian, and English, and has encyclopedic knowledge of the very complicated history, culture, politics and religion of this fascinating place. Ever patient with a diverse group of cyclists, Junid ensured we were treated to some of the best meals I've ever had on tour, and overnights were at some of the best and most unique lodging I've ever experienced.
        Beautiful Lake Ohrid, with a side trip to a lovely monastery in Macedonia, then on to spectacular mountain vistas, historic Korce and UNESCO World Heritage city Gjirokaster, on to Butrint, (another World Heritage city), along the beautiful Ionian Sea and the Greek border, and then over the Llogara Pass and down to the confluence of the Ionian and the Adriatic.
        There are some challenging climbs, but plenty of time to conquer them, and the always-available SAG vehicle close (but not too close) behind. And the views from above make them each accomplishments to savor.
        Better than expected roads, with only limited time on rough surfaces, great bikes, respectful drivers, and incredibly friendly locals---what more could you ask for? Oh, yeah, probably the best value for your money anywhere in the world.
        Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania and tell you about it. Just go!

        How many tours have you completed?
        10+
        Difficulty (actual vs. expected)?
        As expected
        Who is this tour suitable for?
        Solo travelers, First-time bike tourists
        Do you recommend this tour?
        Yes
        • The view from the hotel at Lake Ohrid (photo by Bowsermania)
        • Beautiful mountain passes...... (photo by Bowsermania)
        • Enver Hoxha, dictator in Albania for 40+ years, built over 700,000 of these to "protect" Albania from invasion. (photo by Bowsermania)
        • Beautiful, historic Gjirokaster, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites you will visit.... (photo by Bowsermania)
        • Follow the switchbacks to the top.....your tough last day of cycling over the Llogara Pass....you WILL make it! (photo by Bowsermania)
        • Your reward at the end of the ride..... (photo by Bowsermania)
        • 5/5 Value
        • 5/5 Included meals
        • 5/5 Bikes + equipment
        • 5/5 Hotels or boat
        • 5/5 Scenery
        • 5/5 Ease of navigation
        • 5/5 Tour documents
        • 5/5 Local tour company services
        • 5/5 Route selection
        • 5/5 Guides (if applicable)