Albania Heritage by Bicycle
This tour takes in the hilly country south of Tirana and passes through three UNESCO sites. Here many main roads follow the valleys, often following the rolling rivers that have carved out huge gorges. Particularly the Vjosa Gorge, where huge rock walls and cirques dominate the horizon. Extensive plateaus around Lake Ohrid and Gjirokastra provide a patchwork landscape of fields, the remnants of the collective farms. Farmers tend individual cows or some sheep, they cut hay with scythes, stack it in mushroom-styled ricks and follow the idyllic rhythm of the seasons. Here the outstanding majority of farm crops are organic, as chemicals are just too expensive to use. We cycle from the mountains to the Ionian coast and follow a shady road through pine forests that snakes its way through fishing villages. We land at Saranda and make a side trip to the architectural ruins of Butrint, a UNESCO site. We spend our last night at the mountain ‘museum’ town of Berat, also known as the "Town of a Thousand Windows," due to its white-washed and wood Ottoman villas. The town is protected by ‘mushroom’ type blockhouses built for defence and legend has it that the architect sat inside one, took a direct hit from a tank round, survived, and was commissioned to build 38,000 more of them. We end our tour in the capital Tirana where you can enjoy the cafe culture.
Sign up for the first departure (May 19) and receive a US$150 discount!
|Tour Cost||US$1,995||Single Supplement||US$275|
|Bike Hire||US$175||Total Cycling Distance||475 kilometres|
|Tour Grade||out of 5||Number of Days||10 Days/9 Nights|
|Number of Cycling Days||7 full days/1 half day||Tour Meets||Tirana|
|Tour Ends||Tirana||Countries Visited||Albania|
|Group Size||Min. 2. Max. 16.||Minimum age on scheduled departures||18 years old|
- Day 1
- Meet at our Tirana hotel in time for a welcome dinner and a trip briefing.
- Day 2
- We transfer to Librazhd, the start of our ride to Pogradec; designated by UNESCO as a place of worldwide natural and cultural heritage. Our ride will begin with a gentle uphill to the summit at 900 m. From here we'll have a view of expansive Lake Ohrid before we start our descent down to the lake shore.
- Day 3
- We start by climbing up from the lake onto a high plateau. Our route follows the gorge through this scenic region until the surrounding hills open up leading us into a vast open plain filled with a patchwork of individual farms and spectacular colours. We ride on and end our day in Korce; once dubbed the Paris of Albania.
- Day 4
- Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead on our undulating route which offers up plenty of stunning landscapes as we skirt the Albanian-Greek border. Our climbing takes us into the deep heart of the Grammoz Mountains and over the Barmash Pass(1159 m) to the town of Germenj which lies in its own tranquil valley.
- Day 5
- Our morning route rises easily out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau surrounded by some magnificent soaring peaks. We reach the source of the River Vjosa before descending through its spectacular gorge to the sleepy town of Leskovik. The descent continues to Cashare and then we follow the wonderful cliff road high above the river to Permet, situated on a bluff above the river.
- Day 6
- Today's ride is fairly flat without any sharp climbs as we head for one of Albania's most scenic destinations - the 'City of 1000 Steps', Gjirokaster. This UNESCO World Heritage site city clings to the slope of Gjere mountain above the valley of the Drinos river. Gjirokaster has a charming bazaar area with Ottoman houses and small shops facing narrow cobbled streets.
- Day 7
- A great days cycling ahead as we descend through absorbing countryside to Saranda, on the Ionian coast. The city is close to the ancient remains of Butrint, our third UNESCO World Heritage Site. Butrint is one of the county’s most important archaeological sites, tracing its origins back to the Greeks and the Romans.
- Day 8
- We have a roller coaster of a ride today, ascending and descending as the morning mist is burnt off by the sun. Then it’s over grand cols into picturesque bays and around broad headlands, always with the stunning mountain scenery to the right and sea to the left. We finish our ride at seaside Qeparo.
- Day 9
- We cycle north before climbing over several cols, pure crisp woodlands, small gorges, forests and hairpin bends and descend to the heart of the Albanian Riveria -- Dhermi Beach. After lunch we transfer to the ‘museum’ town of Berat and explore the cobbled alleys between the white-walled houses and visit the citadel high above before a farewell dinner of traditional specialties.
- Day 10
- Before we head back to Tirana this morning, we pay a visit to the Onufri Iconographic Museum, located in the sanctuary of St Mary’s Church in the inhabited quarter of Berat Castle. We can either drop you in Tirana to visit the capital and the National Museum or transfer you to Mother Teresa Airport.
Day 3 - Pogradec-Korce
Day 4 - Korce - Germenje
Day 5 - Germenje - Permet
Day 6 - Permet - Gjirokaster
Day 7 - Gjirokaster - Saranda
Day 8 - Saranda - Qeparo
Day 9 - Qeparo - Dhermi
|Date||Availability||Price||Single Supplement||Bike Hire||Book|
|June 9, 2013||Available||USD 1,995.00||USD 275.00||USD 175.00|
|September 1, 2013||Available||USD 1,995.00||USD 275.00||USD 175.00|
|September 29, 2013||Available||USD 1,995.00||USD 275.00||USD 175.00|
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