Spring in Albania
Tracking the coast and discovering the history of inland valleys
27th April > 5th May 2013
The tour is almost a circular path and runs through one of the most beautiful areas of Albania: the south of the country. The first part of the tour tracks the coastline, from north to the very south, at the borderline of Greece, from where we will then head up north again, crossing some inland valleys.
The starting point is Ardenica, where we find a lovely monastery. We will then go by the archeological site of Apollonia, cross the countryside and the Narta’s lagoon and finally reach the city of Vlorë. From there we will go up to the Llogorà pass, the center of the homonymous natural park with thick pinewoods.
From the pass, with the sea on our side, we will track the almost wild south coast to the archeological site of Butrinti. The sea is very clear and only a few small villages are there. They cultivate olive trees, on a side of Aleppo pinewoods and oak-trees.
We will cross very different landscapes: dry and steep mounts, forests and cultivated terraces, badlands with red or gray soil, canyon dug out by the rivers. We will see a lot of water: torrents, sources and lakes.
Once we will leave the coast, we will bike through some lovely inland valleys and stay in two stone towns, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Gjirokastër e Berat. We will later explore a wild valley, practicable only by SUV or mule, and then close our day with a special experience: rafting the Osumi river, in a unique uncontaminated ambient with sheer cliffs and thin waterfalls.
Albania, in its original language Shqipëria, fascinates and conquers us, not only for its beautiful sea, the landscapes and the nature, but also for the smiling, respectful and hospitable people you come across with. These people are proud of their simple life, which to us looks like of 50 years ago. The oldest history of this country goes back to a great past of struggle against the Turks, and the most recent and known talks about the 40 years of very strong oppression of the communist regime (1946-1990).
In this country there are 3 different religions in community together: the Orthodox Christian, the Orthodox and the Muslim. In Albania there is no security problem and in almost every village, you can leave the bikes unlocked and walk around at any time.
The tour has an additional value because our Albanian business partner Bashkim Hyka will come along and help us understand, appreciate and love his country.
Sites of interest
PRICES AND CONDITIONS
The tour fee includes the full board and other services
- 8 nights with breakfast in two, three, four and five stars hotels *.
- 8 three-course-dinners with typical local recipes, one drink (1/4 liter wine or 300 cl beer), tap water and bread included. A couple of times we will be having fish for dinner. An alternative menu is available for those who don't like it.
- 7 packed lunches, which includes sandwiches, fruit, a dessert, water, or lunches at small restaurants.
- 1 tour guide driving the off-road vehicle.
- Visits (see the program).
- Rafting down the Osumi River, provided that the conditions are good.
- Agency off-road vehicle with bike cart, which follows the whole tour in order to guarantee: the luggage transport service, the picnics for lunch and snacks and the availability and the assistance during the tour. The tour guide will also explain the history and the stories of Albania.
- Insurance for medical matters up to 100.000 euro and insurance in case of loosing the luggage, and for the risk of tour cancelation.
- Color tour handbook with historical and artistic information and information about the tour itself.
* In Albania the hotel classification we are used to (stars) is not required by the laws in forced. The chosen hotels are two or three stars, compared to our classification, they are all of excellent or good quality, and often the best in the area.
The hotels’ names are written in the program. Just in case of problems, it could be possible that the hotels would be replaced with others of the same or higher category.
The fee does not include
The tour guide (a person coming by bike for the whole duration of the tour); the travel from the private address to Tirana (Albania), tips or personal extra costs.
1.150 euro in double room
1.330 euro in single room (180€ additional charge): 2 places available
Bike renting: renting an excellent bike costs 120 euro for the nine days of the tour. Renting a bike includes: safety lock, water bottle and a waterproof Ortlieb back bike pack.
Number of participants
It is expected a minimum number of 4 participants and a maximum of 8, with 1 tour guide driving the off-road vehicle. There will be no tour guide by bike.
Information about the fee
The fee is calculated with a minimum of 4 participants. If the minimum number of participants is not reached, the tour cannot start and the registration fees will be returned as soon as possible through bank transfer. The agency can suggest, with no obligation, a higher fee in order the tour to take place, or an alternative tour. 35 euro is the inscription fee, already included in the tour fee, which includes assurance and administration costs; this sum will not be refund if the trip will be canceled. The people coming alone and willing to stay in single room and if this is not available are asked to pay an extra sum of 110 euro. This is the contribution to the single room extra charge.
Booking, substitutions and penalties
200 euro are to be paid with the reservation; the rest of the sum when the tour will be confirmed. Substitutions are possible, but the agency needs to be informed about it. In case of substitution 20 euro are to be paid to the agency and other extra substitution costs, if the agency had to go to them.
If a participant renounces a tour, the following penalties will be applied, which could be refund if and with the conditions of the assurance for cancellation risk, included in the package:
- from the booking to 44 days before the start of the tour, penalty of the 20%
- 45 days before the start of the tour, penalty of the 50%
- 30 days before the start of the tour, penalty of the 75%
- 15 days before the start of the tour, penalty of 100%
Documents and visas
Identity card valid for foreign travel and health Card.
Information and program changes
The information given before the tour starts, will be sent by email. The program above can be subject of changes for organization or weather grounds.
Deadline for enrollment 1st March 2013
INFORMATION ABOUT THE BIKE TOUR
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights, 7 biking days
Period: from Saturday 27th April to Sunday 5th May 2013
Tour description: The tour is a 7 days bike route. The meeting point is Tirana’s airport. The trail tracks secondary roads with low or medium car traffic. The road bank is mostly asphalt, and 2 days we will bike almost entirely on dirt road, which are quite hard and challenging. The path goes up and down, and there are demanding climbs. One of the 7 days, at the end of our daily distance, we will go down the Osumi River with rafting canoes, provided that the conditions are good.
Visits: Skanderberg museum in Krujë, archaeological sites of Apollonia and Butrinti, the fortress of Alì Pascià Tepelene, the naturalistic site the Blue Eyes, the castle and the traditional house in Gjirokastër, castle and the icon’s museum in Berat.
PROGRAM OF THE BIKE TOUR
Day 1 - 27th April 2013
Independent travel and arrival at Tirana’s airport, from where we will go by van to Krujë to visit the Skanderberg museum, then to the hotel for dinner. This first touristic tour is guaranteed only with the arrival in the early afternoon (the exact time is not set down yet). For those who arrive in the late afternoon – evening the meeting point at 8 p.m. will be in Durazzo, in a place to be defined.
Ardenica – Hotel Altini ***
Day 2 – 28th April 2013
Ardenica > Vlorë
80 km – about 300 meters height difference
Valona – International Hotel *****
Day 3 – 29th April 2013
Vlorë > Himarë
70 km – about 1.650 meters height difference
Himarë – Hotel Dhimas ***
Day 4 – 30th April 2013
Himarë > Butrinti
70 km – about 750 meters height difference
Butrinti – Hotel Livia ***
Day 5 – 1st May 2013
Butrinti > Gjirokastër
90 km – about 750 meters height difference
Gjirokastër – Hotel Gjirokaster **
Day 6 – 2nd May 2013
Gjirokastër > Permët
65 km – about 200 meters height difference
Përmet – Hotel Permeti***
Day 7 – 3rd May 2013
Përmet > Çorovodë
40 km – about 850 meters height difference + about 2 hours rafting in the canyon of Osumi River.
Çorovodë – Hotel Osumi**
Day 8 – 4th May 2013
Çorovodë > Berat
50 km – about 700 meters height difference
Berat – Hotel Mangalemi***
Day 9 – 5th May 2013
Transfer to the airport of Tirana according to flights departure time.
Download Pdf program