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

“Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania. Just go!” — B.M.

“Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania. Just go!” — B.M.

“Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania. Just go!” — B.M.

“Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania. Just go!” — B.M.

“Don't wait for everyone else to experience Albania. Just go!” — B.M.
  • 4.9

    (12)

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  • 9 nights | 37 miles/day
  • Difficulty Level: 4
  • Guided from: €950
  • Self-guided from: €780
  • View Dates

Tours using road, hybrid or touring bikes:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

Tours using mountain bikes:

  1. Mostly flat, wide trails
  2. Some gentle slopes, wide trails
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain and/or narrow trails
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs and/or technical trails
  5. Extensive climbing and/or highly technical trails
  1. Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  2. Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  3. Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge.
  4. Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year.
  5. Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  6. Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.

Tour description

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 travelling 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 travelling 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.

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.

Route Map

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

Dates

Apr 11, 20, 29; May 9, 13; Jun 13, 22; Aug 26; Sep 14, 23; Oct 3, 12, 21, 2019 (minimum 6 participants; all departures guaranteed)

Prices

Tour 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%

Dates

Daily, upon request: Apr 8-Jun 30; Aug 26-Oct 10, 2019 (minimum 2 participants)

Prices

Tour package
Per person, double occupancy
€780
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%
Please note: Instead of operating bicycle tours ourselves, BikeTours.com represents local bicycle tour operators around the world. Review the tour operator's information and terms below, then submit your booking request through BikeTours.com. The primary benefits of booking your tour through BikeTours.com include:
  • Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge
  • Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  • Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  • Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year. Or pay in euros!
  • Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  • Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Contact us with any questions about booking and paying for your tour through BikeTours.com. We look forward to serving you!

Ratings

Ratings Snapshot

  • 5 Star 11
  • 4 Star 1
  • 3 Star 0
  • 2 Star 0
  • 1 Star 0

Average Ratings

  • Overall

    4.9

  • Difficulty level (Actual vs. expected) 3.3
  • Value 5
  • Included meals 4.9
  • Bikes & equipment 4.6
  • Hotels or boat 4.7
  • Scenery 5
  • Ease of navigation 5
  • Tour documents 4.4
  • Local tour company services 4.9
  • Route selection 4.9
  • Guides (if applicable) 4.9

Reviews

kath November 13, 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.

David19 September 30, 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.

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

Jim n Anne July 1, 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.

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.

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.

Responses from Biketours.com

Jim Johnson, founder and president February 23, 2019
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.
Jim Johnson, founder and president February 23, 2019
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.
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!

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.

Ray1 September 8, 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.

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.