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Albania Guided Bike Tour
Tour Dates: 10 Days, May 7 – 16, 2018

This tour will be accompanied by Chuck & Judy Nichols

On our Albania Guided Bike Tour you will be introduced to the fascinating culture and natural beauty of one of Europe’s most interesting and off-the-beaten-path cycling destinations. Beginning in the capitol city of Tirana, we enter into a rural landscape punctuated with small villages, family farms, historic medieval towns, lakes and mountain valleys. Bike touring in Albania is relatively new and it is always fun to see the cheerful smiles and waves from locals as you pass by on a bike.

After Albania emerged from communism in 1991 it became a vibrant democracy with a strong middle class. The Albanians have done a good job preserving many of their historical treasures like Butrint and Gjirokaster which are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The food is scrumptious, you can drink the water everywhere and you will fall in love with this wildly beautiful country called Albania!

Charter Tours & Self Guided Tours Available

2018 Price: €1850 Euros/pp double occupancy

Single Supplement: €250 Euros

Price Includes:
  • 9 nights lodging
  • all meals beginning with dinner on day 1
  • van support and luggage transfers
  • hybrid bike rental
  • hydrofoil transfer to Corfu, Greece
Price Does Not Include:

International flights, beverages, Electric Bike Rental €160

“The trip was absolutely fantastic .. More than I could have hoped for .. Great group of people and loved getting to know Chuck and Judy .. Having them there was like frosting on the cake. Food was out of this world delicious .. So many fresh vegetables .. Loved the roads and the people, sheep , goats , horses along the way .. Loved learning about the history of a country I knew nothing about .. It was great all around.” ~ Sandy M. (Guided Bike Tour of Albania)

Itinerary

While we strive to create the most accurate itinerary possible, the nature of international travel demands that participants remain flexible to any changes. We will do our best to substitute activities and services of equal quality for those listed.

Day 1- Arrival in Tirana

Transfer from Tirana airport to our hotel in Tirana. Rest day to get over jet lag. Late afternoon tour orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2 – Cycle to Pogradec

2 hour transfer out of the city of Tirana to Ohrid National Park where we begin a lovely ride to Pogradec. Due to its historic culture and its unique flora and fauna, in 1980, Pogradec was declared by UNESCO as a place of worldwide natural and cultural heritage. Our hotel overlooks the lake. This afternoon we’ll cycle into Macedonia to visit the monastery St. Naum and the multi-colored peacocks that can be seen strutting around and luxuriating in the grass. (cycling distance: 42 km)

Day 3 – Cycle from Pogradec to Korçë

A climb from the lake into a high plateau bounded by mountains. Continue following the gorge for awhile until the hills open up leading to a vast plain, a patchwork of farms and colors.(cycling distance: 52 km)

Day 4 – Cycle from Korçë to Gërmenjë

Leave behind the agricultural plateau of Korce, climbing steadily into the border mountains through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wildflowers. Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead, climbing into the heart of the Grammoz Mountains and over the Barmash Pass to the tranquil valley of Germenj. (cycling distance: 72 km)

Day 5 – Cycle from Gërmenjë to Përmet

A climb out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau surrounded by soaring peaks before reaching the source of the River Vjosa and descending through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. Continue descending to Cashare and then follow the Corniche route high above the river to Permet situated on a bluff above the river. (cycling distance: 65 km)

Day 6 – Cycle from Përmet to Gjitrokastër

Continue along the valley towards Kelcyra, the distant shark’s tooth peaks, which guard a further gorge. Ride between them to the confluence of the Drinos following yet another gorge. This opens out into a wide plain with the town of Gjirokastra (city of 1000 steps) high above on the right. A chance to explore its narrow cobbled alleys and Ottoman houses. (cycling distance: 70 km)

Day 7 – Cycle from Gjirokastër to Sarandë

Down into the valley heading south before climbing over several cols through woodlands, gorges, forests and hairpin bends on the descent to the sea. We will spend 2 nights in Sarandë. (cycling distance: 65 km)

Day 8 – Cycle from Sarandë to Butrint

Our final ride is a lovely loop ride to the archeological wonder of Butrint and we return to Sarandë for our farewell dinner.

Day 9 – Transfer to the port for a hydrofoil (25 minute) ride to Corfu, Greece

Morning hydrofoil from Sarande to Corfu, Greece. Hotel in the historical center of Corful. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy walking around the town.

Day 10 – Departure

Transfer on your own to the airport in Corfu for flights home. The airport in Corfu is just a few miles from the town. There are flights to Athens. You may choose to spend a night or two enjoying Corfu, or there are inexpensive flights to Athens and you can book your return flight home from Athens.

Tour Difficulty

This is a challenging tour. The route is quite hilly with one day of 1,155 meters of climbing. We will have the support vehicle that will be available to give riders a lift.

  • Difficulty: Very Hilly
  • Road Conditions: Paved with rough patches
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid - you can bring your own road bike if you feel comfortable riding in rough conditions

Tour Highlights

  • Europe’s newest cycling destination!
  • Pristine mountain valleys
  • Snowcapped peaks
  • Historical cities
  • Ride in the lovely seaside city of Sarande on the Ionian Sea
  • See the archaeological wonder of Butrint

Albania Bike Tour

Join us for an unforgettable bike tour that will introduce you to the people, history and majesty of southern Albania. From the seat of a bike, we will explore southern Albania, a region known for its pristine mountain valleys, snowcapped peaks, picturesque lakes and rich agricultural land dotted with small family farms.

Our cycle route passes through numerous small towns, historical cities and the archaeological wonder of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We end our ride in the lovely seaside city of Sarande on the Ionian Sea. The tour finishes on the Greek island of Corfu where there is a convenient international airport.

Our accommodations are in 3 star hotels with private bathrooms, and we spend one night in a guest house with share bathrooms. All meals are included on the tour. Please note that this is a hilly trip with 30-45 miles per day, the asphalt is rough at times and the daily climbs range from 1300-3500 feet. A support vehicle will accompany the tour for baggage transfer and to assist tired riders. Chuck and Judy Nichols, the owners of Nichols Expeditions will accompany this tour.

We recommend this bike tour for flexible, fun loving cyclists who value the excitement and uniqueness of being one of Albania’s early cycle-tourists over the polish and comforts of our other central European bike tours.

Tour Map

Tour Video

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions bike tour?

You can expect a spirited mix of singles and couples in their 20′s to 80′s from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. Most folks are recreational riders and all seem to share the common bond of an active lifestyle, an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for fun. We will gladly supply references and the make-up of any trip that you are interested in joining.

Can I charter this tour?

Yes! You bring the people and we will take care of all the details! This tour can be chartered as either a Guided Tour or Self Guided Tour. Call us for details and availability, 800-648-8488.

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Travel Information

THIS TOUR BEGINS IN TIRANA, ALBANIA, AND ENDS IN CORFU, GREECE.

At the end of the tour,we will arrive in Corfu in the afternoon. The Corfu airport is quite close to the port. Aegean Airlines (part of the Star Alliance group) offers flights to Athens. You might be able to arrange your flights on a multi-city ticket from your local to Tirana, Albania and returning from either Corfu, Greece or Athens, Greece. You may call us for some assistance in booking your flights.

LODGING AND MEALS: All of the accommodations but one will be in 3 star hotels with private bathrooms. One night we stay in a guest house where 2 bedrooms share a bathroom. All meals are included. Lunch and dinner are served at the best restaurants in the area and breakfasts will be served in the hotels.

Weather

Weather can be changeable, so be prepared for riding in both sun and showers. Daytime temperatures are 60º to 75º F. and nights are 40º to 60º F. There is always the chance of rain, so to ensure your personal comfort please make sure you have a good quality rain jacket with a hood and rain pants, too. For the sunny days, we recommend using SPF 30 sunscreen and lip screen. If you are really sun sensitive, we suggest sun-blocking clothing.

Rental Bikes

We rent good quality hybrid and electric bikes with a bike bag, a water bottle cage and flat pedals without toe clips and straps. If you ride clipless pedals, bring your own. If you want toe clips and straps, please bring your own pedals with the toe clips and straps. If you are attached to your own saddle, you should consider bringing it without the seatpost.

Money

Local Currency: Albanian Lek.

Tipping

We suggest a tip of around $100 USD for our local staff.

Cash & Credit Cards

US CASH: bring only NEW bills with NO tears. You can exchange money at the airport and in major towns. Most transactions in Albania are done on a strictly cash only basis using the Lek. ATM Availability: Most larger towns. Credit Card Acceptance: Credit cards are not widely accepted in Albania. Travelers’ Checks: Travelers’ Checks are not widely accepted in Albania.

Credit Cards

Bring 2 or more Visa or MasterCards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATMs in most of the towns on the tour. To use your Credit Card to get local currency at an ATM, each Credit Card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. We do not recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Passport

You must have a current Passport that will not expire within 6 months of the completion of your trip. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel! No Visas are required for US citizens.

We recommend making 2 photocopies of your passport’s photo page and any other valuable documents you might carry with you on the tour. Travel with one copy stored separately from your passport. Leave the other copy at home with a relative or friend (ideally the same person you gave as your emergency contact). In the event that any of your documents are lost or stolen, this will greatly assist the process of replacement.

Phone Calls Abroad

You will receive a Pre-trip Letter listing all of the hotels and telephone numbers where you will be staying. Leave a copy of this phone list with your emergency contact person. If you bring your cell phone, it must be tri-band with international service. Be sure to activate the international service at least 1 week prior to your trip & check its operation. When you arrive in Europe, you can purchase an international calling card which is quite economical for making calls oversees.

Additional Hotel Lodging

Let us know if you would like us to make additional hotel reservations for you in Tirana prior to the tour, and/or in Corfu after the tour.

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to delays with transportation (airline or other), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies we are unable to control. For international flights, arrive at least 2-3 hours prior to departure (check with your air carrier for their requirements) and allow ample time between connecting flights. If you miss your flight and you need a special shuttle to meet up with the group, you will be responsible for the cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About Albania

Republic of Albania

Albania, officially known as the Republic of Albania, is a country in Southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, Macedonia to the east, and Greece to the south and southeast. ~ Wikipedia

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