Albania, bike and sea

An almost circular route in Southern Albania: the coastline between deserted beaches and high mountain passes, the inland among stone-made cities, enchanted springs and wild valleys

guided tour
From

€ 1.070,00

  • from 1 to 10 june 2018
  • 10 days, 9 nights
  • intermediate/challenging
  • Min. 8 participants
  • La spiaggia nei pressi di Valona
  • Occhio blu, la sorgente del fiume Bistrice
  • L'arrivo a Argirocastro
  • Berat, la città dalle mille finestre
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The tour is almost a circular route and runs through one of the most beautiful areas of Albania: the south of the country. The first part of the tour follows the coastline, from north to the very south, at the borderline of Greece, from where we will then head north again crossing the inland valleys.

We start cycling in the countryside and along beautiful lonely beaches. Then, we ride up to Llogarà Pass, right in the middle of a natural park rich of Macedonian pinewoods: the view from here is just amazing. From the pass we go down following the almost wild coastline, towards the archaeological site of Butrinti.

The sea is very clear and there are only a few small villages to stain the landscape. Olive groves alternate with Aleppo pinewoods and oak-trees. We cross very different landscapes: dry and steep mounts, forests and cultivated terraces, badlands with red or gray soil and canyon dug out by the rivers. Water is everywhere: creeks, sources, lakes and rivers.

Once we leave the coast, we will bike through some lovely inland valleys and we overnight in two stone-made towns: Gjirokastër and Berat, both UNESCO World Heritage Towns. Then, we explore a wild valley, practicable only by SUV or mule, and we close our day with a special experience: we will go down the Osumi River with rafting boats through a unique and uncontaminated canyon with sheer cliffs and thin waterfalls.

Albania, in its original language Shqipëria, fascinates and conquers us, not only because of its beautiful sea, the landscapes and the nature, but also for the smiling, respectful and hospitable people you can come across with. These people are proud of their simple life, which looks to us like a scene from 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 history talks about the 40 years of very strong oppression of the communist regime. The tradition, tied to a very strong morality, is very important for this people but it got knotted to a surprising open mind. In this country, three different religion communities live harmoniously together: the Orthodox Christians, the Orthodox and the Muslims.

In Albania there is no security problem and in every village you can 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. 

 

  • DAY 1 / Arrive in Tirana

    Arrive in Tirana
    • Individual arrival to Tirana’s airport, meeting not later then 12:00 h. Transfer to Krujë and visit of Skanderberg Museum. Transfer to Fier. The visit of Skanderbeg Museum in Krujë in not guaranteed for who arrives to Tirana Airport after 12:00. After the visit the group move towards Fier by car. Those who arrive by ferry to Durazzo and to Tirana airport after 18:00 shall bear the any expenses for the transfer to Fier. Bike cases can be kept for those who bring their own bike on the airplane.
      Overnight in Fier.

       

  • DAY 2 / Fier > Valona

    65 km – altitude approximately 100 m
    • We start our bike trip from Fier, located near the archaeological site of Apollonia. We cycle through the countryside and along beautiful lonely beaches. After a small ford, we flank the Lagoon of Narta, we get to the Orthodox Monastery of Zvernec and finally we visit Vlorë, the third biggest city in Albania.
      Overnight in Valona

       

  • DAY 3 / Valona > Dhërmi

    42 km – altitude approximately 700 m
    • We ride up to Llogara Pass, right in the middle of a natural park full of Macedonian pinewoods. From the pass we ride down and we follow the almost wild coast, with great views over the clear sea. We stop in Dhërmi, the first village we find after the pass. The climb to the pass is challenging, it’s not for everybody. Van transfer up to the pass is available. 
      Overnight in Dhërmi

  • DAY 4 / Dhërmi > Himarë

    27 km – altitude approximately 400 m
    • The southern coast is almost wild. The sea is clear, there are just a few villages on the way. Olive groves alternate with Alleppo pinewoods, bleak lands and big oak trees. We coastal itinerary is split in more stages in order to enjoy the sea. 
      Overnight in Himarë

  • DAY 5 / Himarë > Sarande

    58 km – altitude approximately 200 m
    • We cross many different landscapes: steep and barren mountains, forests and farm terraces, rolling hills, badlands with red or grey soil, canyons dug out by the rivers. Water is everywhere: creeks, sources, lakes and rivers. We finally get to Sarande, an ancient city facing the sea but unfortunately devastated by the irresponsible building. 
      Overnight in Sarande

  • DAY 6 / Sarande > Butrinti

    20 km – altitude approximately 200 m
    • Really relaxing stage, we first enjoy the sea in Ksamil and then we cycle to Butrinti, where we visit the archaeological site. 
      Overnight in Butrinti

  • DAY 7 / Butrinti > the Blue Eye – Gjirokastër

    47 km – altitude approximately 300 m
    • We leave the sea behind and we flank the lagoon. We cycle on country roads and then we ride up to the Muzines Pass. We follow the river Bistrice until the road that leads us to the Blue Eye, one on the most beautiful sources of the river. After a swim in the source, the agency van takes us to Gjirokastër. 
      Overnight in Gjirokastër

  • DAY 8 / Gjirokastër > Përmet

    45 km – altitude approximately 200 m
    • We cross some lovely valleys, flanking two large rivers, the Drimos and the Vjoses. We cross the Iron Bridge in Dragot, built by the Italian army: here, violent battles took places. After a delicious meal based on lamb skewers, we get to Permet, a typical village of the interior. Here, our bike trips comes to an end. 
      Overnight in Përmet

  • DAY 9 / Përmet > Berat

    Off-road route
    • We cross a wild valley with the agency van (all-terrain vehicle). We stop frequently as there are many beautiful spots where to admire the landscape. For those who want there is the possibility to raft down the Osumi River through a unique and uncontaminated canyon with sheer cliffs and thin waterfalls.
      Overnight in Berat

       

  • DAY 10 / Transfer Berat > Tirana

    Departure from Tirana
    • At 7:00, transfer to Tirana airport. End of the tour at approximately 11:00.

Fee per person
  • € 1.070 in double room
  • € 1.230 in single room
  • € 1.040 in triple room

The route

The tour is composed of 7 biking days and one day on an off-road vehicle. The itinerary follows secondary roads with low cart traffic, and a few stretches with medium car traffic. The road bank is mostly asphalt, with the exception of some short stretches of smooth dirt roads, one of which a little bit more challenging. The itinerary goes up and down, there are some steep climbs. During our last stage we travel with an off-road vehicle, up and down among valleys and mountain passes: finally, from the valley floor we raft down (optional) along the canyon created by the Osumi River (just if there is enough water in the river).

Gallery
  • Included
    • 9 overnights with breakfast in two, three, four stars hotels
    • 9 city taxes
    • 8 dinners with typical dishes, drinks included ( ¼ l wine, 330 cl beer), bread and water. Fish dinners with an alternative for those who don’t eat fish
    • 8 light-lunches in restaurants (first course, salad, water).
    • 2 tour guides: Bashkim Hyka by bike, who will tell you some anecdotes about life and history of Albania, one on the support vehicle
    • 1 live folk music show
    • Guided visits of: Skanderberg museum in Krujë, archaeological sites of Apollonia and Butrinti, the fortress of Alì Pascià Tepelene in Porto Palermo, the castle and the traditional house in Gjirokastër, and castle and the Museum of Icons in Berat
    • Support vehicle with bike trailer during the whole tour, with luggage transportation, short transfers and assistance
    • Medical and luggage insurance
  • Not included
    • Bike rental
    • 1 dinner, entrance to museums or monuments
    • Tips and everything not mentioned in the section “included”
  • Extra
    • € 150 mountain bike rental
    • Transfer service

Please note

Bike rental

Padlock are included in the bike rental. Waterproof side bike pannier available. Bike delivery and retired on the spot. 

Hotels

In Albania the “star” classification is not required by low. We chose accommodation that can be compared to our two and three stars hotels, good and high quality: they are the best and – sometimes – the only ones of our destinations.

Participants numbers

Minimum 8 – maximum 15 participants.

Information about the price, booking, substitution and penalties

250 € needs to be deposited as downpayment at the moment of the enrolment. Once the tour is confirmed, balance needs to be deposited not later than 30 days before the departure.

Customer renouncing may be substitute by another person if the organizer receives written notice. The substitute must satisfy all the conditions necessary to the service fruition. The substitute must reimburse the organizer for all the secretarial allowances, 20 € are to be deposited plus any extra costs related with the substitution.

If the customer withdraws from the contract, penalties are applied. Penalties may be refunded by the withdraw insurance, if taken out. Penalties are: from the moment of the enrolment to 46 days before departure, the downpayment; 45 days before departure, 50% of the cost of the tour; 30 days before departure, full cost of the tour.

Information and program changes

The visit of Skanderbeg Museum in Krujë in not guaranteed for who arrives to Tirana Airport after 12:00. After the visit the group move towards Fier by car. Those who arrive by ferry to Durazzo and to Tirana airport after 18:00 shall bear the any expenses for the transfer to Fier. Bike cases can be kept for those who bring their own bike on the airplane.

Full information will send via email before the departure, with tour leaders’ name and contacts. Due to logistic or weather problems, there might be some program changes.