Spring in Albania
Tracking the coast and discovering the history of inland valleys
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
HOW TO BOOK
This trip has already been tested and can be adapted to small or bigger groups. We propose guided tours leaded by our guides who speak english, german, french, spanish and portuguese. We can provide this trip also without leaders as long as the group can follow the tracks using a gps since itineraries develop on broads that are not always easy to find.
On demand we can also provide other services as, for instance, a bus following the group and much more. Big groups are kindly invited to book in advance.
To contact us:
Speaking english – spanish – french
Anna Magrin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking german – portuguese
Elisa Zambelli – email@example.com
Foreseen services in our previous tours
- 8 nights with breakfast in three and four stars hotels.
- 8 three-course-dinners (or more) with typical local recipes, one drink (1/4 liter wine or 300 cl beer), tap water and bread are included. Fish dinners with an alternative for those who don’t have fish.
- 7 light lunches at small restaurants on the way (one main course or salad and water).
- 1 tour guides with the agency van.
- Hotel city tax.
- Visits (see the program).
- River crossing on raft, transfers when needed.
- Agency van, which follows the whole tour in order to guarantee: the luggage transport service and the assistance during the tour.
- Insurance for medical matters up to 100.000 euro, 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.
Bike renting. We can provide excellent mountain bikes for the entire duration of the tour. Bikes are given and handed in on the spot. Those taking their own bike may leave the case at our rental store.
Rafting (optional). Rafting is possible only if the weather conditions are good enough. This service is provided by Albania Rafting Group www.albrafting.com. Each canoe has 2 guides and carries 4 to 6 people; we provide: wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet. Those participating need to sign the dimiss Simonetta Bike Tours from any responsibility.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE BIKE TOUR
Duration: 9 days, 8 nights, 7 biking days
Period: to be defined; trip will take place upon groups reservation, small or big.
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
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).
Ardenica > Vlorë
80 km – about 300 meters height difference
Vlorë > Himarë
70 km – about 1.650 meters height difference
Himarë > Butrinti
70 km – about 750 meters height difference
Butrinti > Gjirokastër
90 km – about 750 meters height difference
Gjirokastër > Permët
65 km – about 200 meters height difference
Përmet > Çorovodë
40 km – about 850 meters height difference + about 2 hours rafting in the canyon of Osumi River.
Çorovodë > Berat
50 km – about 700 meters height difference
Transfer to the airport of Tirana according to flights departure time.
Download Pdf program