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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
At 7:00, transfer to Tirana airport. End of the tour at approximately 11:00.
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).
Padlock are included in the bike rental. Waterproof side bike pannier available. Bike delivery and retired on the spot.
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.
Minimum 8 – maximum 15 participants.
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.
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.