Our Albania Self Guided Bike Tour is wild, beautiful and definitely off the beaten track! The tour route highlights the fascinating culture and natural beauty of southern Albania. Be one of the first to visit Albania, one of Europe’s newest cycling destinations. (See below for more information)
2016 Price:€1120 Euros per person, based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: €140 Euros
International flights, lunches, dinners, entrance fees to sites, hydrofoil to Corfu, hotel in Corfu
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.
This unforgettable bike tour will introduce you to the people, history and majesty of southern Albania. From the seat of a bike, you 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 archeological wonder of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You end your 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 you spend one night in a guest house with share bathrooms. 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.
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.
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.
Transfer from Tirana airport to our hotel in Tirana. Rest day to get over jet lag. Tour orientation and bike fitting.
2 hour transfer out of the city of Tirana to Ohrid National Park where you 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. (cycling distance: 28 km)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Down into the valley heading south before climbing over several cols through woodlands, gorges, forests and hairpin bends on the descent to the sea. You will spend 2 nights in Sarandë. (cycling distance: 65 km)
Your final ride is a lovely loop ride to the archeological wonder of Butrint and you return to Sarandë for your last dinner in Albania.
We have chosen to depart from Corfu to avoid 8 hours of driving back to Tirana. The airport in Corfu, Greece is a short distance from the port. 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 that evening.
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.
THIS TOUR BEGINS IN TIRANA, ALBANIA AND ENDS IN CORFU, GREECE.
LODGING AND MEALS: All of the accommodations but one will be in 3 star hotels with private bathrooms. One night you stay in a guest house where 2 bedrooms share a bathroom. Only breakfasts are included. Lunch and dinner are on your own and our local partner will suggest restaurants in the area..
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.
We rent good quality hybrid 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.
Local Currency: Albanian Lek.
We suggest a tip of around $100 USD for our local staff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let us know if you would like us to make additional hotel reservations for you in Tirana prior to the tour.
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.
To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!
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