Meet at our Tirana hotel in time for a welcome dinner and a trip briefing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A great day of cycling ahead as we descend through the scenic 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.
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 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 -- Vlore.
One last seaside breakfast before we transfer you to Mother Teresa Airport or to your hotel in Tirana, in case you have extended your stay.