Cycling through Albania and North Macedonia

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105
Min Age : 7
Max People : 12

Overview

On this 10-day tour, we will cycle through 2 countries with thousands of years of history, legends, mountains, waterfalls, thermal baths,  rich cuisine, and where mountains meet the Ionian Sea with clear rocky beaches. We won’t miss 4  UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Berat UNESCO World Heritage City, Gjirokaster UNESCO World Heritage City, Butrint UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site, Ohrid World Heritage City)

Is this trip right for you?

On this trip, we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a back marker.

While the bike trails are relatively long, sometimes as long as 68 km, and the terrain is sometimes steep, you’ll need a certain level of fitness to enjoy the trip. But remember, if you need to take an hour or a day off, we always have a support vehicle on hand and will help you on the steeper sections

As there are potholes and cobblestones in many cities, it’s recommended that you leave any wheelie bags/cases at home and bring a backpack instead. As this is a five-day trip, a large backpack should be enough to carry all of your belongings.

As accommodation on this trip is multi-share, single travelers will share a room with another traveler of the same sex. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details, and please note that in some hotels a single supplement exclusion applies where single rooms are not available. Also, hotels in Albania often don’t have double beds, but rather two single beds that can be pushed together.

Itinerary

The beginning point of the tour and meeting with the guide takes place at the hotel in Tirana around 17:00 o’clock, we will do a Tirana walking tour which will last for 2 hours where you will discuss the program for the coming week also have the chance to see Tirana by locals. After the walking tour, we will offer dinner in a traditional restaurant and after if you want to enjoy the nightlife of Albania we will bring you to our center point of nightlife ‘The Bllok’. Depending on the time of arrival you can visit the Museum, Bunkart’s and the artificial lake.

Included meals: Dinner 

Accommodation included in hotel in Tirana

Leaving Tirana City after breakfast where we will pack our bikes and bags in the car, and we will continue driving to Perrenjas town where we will start our biking trip to Ohrid UNESCO world heritage city also named as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans” due to the fact it was once home to 365 churches- one for each day of the year. Today, many of those churches are gone, but it’s still a glorious city full of interesting things to see and do and delicious things to eat. Ohrid is also one of the few places in the world that is both a Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site. Most of the main city was built from the 7th Century onwards and is home to a Byzantine monastery from the 11th Century. UNESCO says that the architecture of Ohrid represents some of the best examples of ancient urban architecture in the region. A multicultural city, it’s home to Albanian, North Macedonian and Turkish.

Our way to Oher will also be paved with some changes in altitudes

  • Pass by the glorious Church of Saint Sophia and the National Workshop for a handmade paper-making demonstration.
  • Enter Samuil’s Fortress and walk along its historic 4th-centrury walls.
  • Discover the Ancient Theater of Ohrid, built in the Hellenistic style.
  • Walk up to the cliff-top Church of Saint John at Kaneo for panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Cycle distance: approx. 40 km, elevation gain 515 m, elevation lose 410 m
Driving distance: approx. 93 km

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch.

Accommodation included in hotel in Oher

After breakfast, we will meet with the local tour guide to get a more detailed tour of this ancient city. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the shallow waters near the shores of the lake, three sites testify to the presence of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the small Lin Peninsula is the site of the remains of an Early Christian church founded in the middle of the 6th century.

Later we will continue our journey to go The Lake Prespa which  is located on the tripoint of North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece. It is a system of two lakes separated by an isthmus: the Great Prespa Lake, divided between the three countries, and the Little Prespa Lake, mostly within Greece. They are the highest tectonic lakes in the Balkans, standing at an elevation of 853 metres.

Accommodation will be in Prespa Lake where we will have a free evening.

Cycle distance: approx. 41 km,
Elevation gain 435 m,
Elevation loss 270 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch,dinner

Accommodation included in guesthouse in Prespa.

This day after breakfast we will start our journey to Korca another museum city also known as small ‘Paris’ or the city of Serenades. The Republic Boulevard leads to some of the city’s most important buildings, like the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral and, nearby, the First Albanian School (Mësonjëtorja) which opened on March 7th, 1887. This date has marked Teacher’s Day in Albania, one of the most celebrated days since then. A quick stop to this boulevard is a must!

We will continue our journey cycling to Leskovik the area under Ottoman rule in the 15th century which became part of the Sanjak of Ioannina. Leskovik was recognized as a town in the early 1800s. It was conceived as a relaxing and retreat center for the Ottoman administration. Now as a not very developed town we will be able to take a taste of Albanian original traditions and everyday life out of big cities.

Cycle distance: approx. 65 km,
Elevation gain 1050 m,
Elevation loss 950 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. 

Accommodation included in guesthouse in Leskovik.

After an early breakfast, we will pack our lunch and continue our cycling to a small town of Permet also known as the ‘City of Roses, famous for its folk music, good cooking (especially sweets) the most famous called ‘gliko’. Permeti also is the greenest and the cleanest town in Albania also there you will be served good wine and raki.

  • Before arrival we will stop at natural thermal baths. There you can rest and chill in the wonderful springs. After hot springs we will continue to arrive at Permeti.
  • Accommodation will be in Permet where we will also have the tour of the city and ‘gliko’ tasting tour.

 

Cycle distance: approx. 66 km,
Elevation gain 660 m,
Elevation loss 1450 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch.

Accommodation included in guesthouse in Permet.

We will begin again our trip to early in the morning to Gjirokastra, UNESCO world heritage museum city. The old city is famous its fortress overlooking the entire city, the old houses lean against the slopes of the hills with their beautiful old wooden facades. Being the birthplace of ‘Kadare’ one of the most known writers in Albania and also of the notorious communist leader Enver Hoxha, the city is intriguing and controversial as it preserves well all phases of history.

  • In Gjirokastra we will make the tour of the city visiting the Old Bazaar and the Castle where you will also have free time.
  • Visit Skenduli House, a 300 years old house well maintained where you will learn more about the culture of Gjirokastra and everyday life of 18-th century.
  • Free afternoon in Gjirokaster.

Cycle distance: approx. 60 km,
Elevation gain 450 m,
Elevation lose 480 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch.

Accommodation included in hotel in Gjirokaster.

After breakfast, you will start to cycle to the Blue Eye. Short brake and recharge a bit to continue the road to another UNESCO world cultural heritage Butrint.

 

  • After the Blue eye we will get to Butrint lake where ‘’Queen of Butrint Lake’’ lives and learn about the mussel cultivation and then taste them in fresh olive oil and lemon juice,with bread by the side of the lagoon with a glass of local wine while the warm breeze comes in across the water.
  • Afterwards will visit Butrint city which is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Albania. On the strength of the immense wealth of cultural, historical and natural value with a considerable history, Butrint was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and further a National Park in 2000.
  • Visit Lekurasi Castle to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets of Riviera.

Cycle distance: approx. 55 km,
Elevation gain 650 m,
Elevation lose 850 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation included in hotel in Saranda.

On this day we will cycle through the Albanian Riviera and enjoy its beautiful sights.

 

  • During our way we will visit the Castle of Porto Palermo build by Ali Pasha in 19th century, also considered one of the most strategic military points of the Albanian Riviera. There we will see a submarine tunnel and anti-aircraft bunkers.

Cycle distance: approx. 46 km,
Elevation gain 890 m,
Elevation lose 940 m
Driving distance: approx. 0 km

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation included in hotel in Himara.

After breakfast in Himara, we will start early in the morning on one of the longest routes to Vlore where we will pass from Llogara pass, we will have a big elevation gain but remarkable sceneries, also we will pass through the national park of Llogara famous for its unique flag pines.

  • We will eat a traditional dish in the restaurants in the pines meat-based (vegetarian options will be included).
  • After lunch, we will continue to Vlora where both the Ionian and Adriatic Sea are meeting together but Vlora it’s not only known for its beautiful beaches but also its history where was firstly announced the independence of Albania from the Ottoman invasion.
  • We will be able to visit the old city of Vlora and the place where the flag was firstly standing up in the air for the first time after centuries to announce Albanian freedom and independence.Our way to Vlora will also be sealed with big changes in altitudes.

Cycle distance: approx. 68 km,
Elevation gain 1600 m,
Elevation loos 1600 m
Driving distance: approx. km

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation included in hotel in Vlora.

The last day we will drive to the city of 1000 windows (window above window). Berat, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The city comprises a unique style of architecture with influences from several civilizations that have managed to coexist for centuries throughout the history.

  • Visit the old fortified city filled with churches and mosques painted with grandiose wealth of visible murals and frescos where you will also have the chance to step  inside one of the traditional houses in Berat.
  • Visit Gorica and Mangalem neighbourhoods.
  • Visit one of the most marvellous mosques in Albania, The King’s Mosque together with Helveti Tekke located at the side of the mosque.
  • Enjoy lunch in a traditional agrotourism & winery restaurant in a beautiful village near Berat.

 

After Berat we will return in Tirana where we will finalize our tour.

The way back to Tirana will be by car.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Accommodation in  hotel in Tirana included.

What is included in this tour?

Included

✅Hotel as mentioned in the itinerary

✅Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

✅All transport as per itinerary

✅Bicycles

✅The guide

✅All museum fees described in the itinerary

Not Included

❌Drinks

❌snacks

❌Health Insurance

❌Flight ticket

❌What’s not mentioned above

A Map of this Tour

Lost in Albania