UNESCO Tour

7 customer review

This part of the world is hotter than hot right now, and we aint gonna lie, this trip's name says it all. Sunshine, sunsets, and sights are served up left right and centre, with a nature fix dotted in-between to keep every explorer tuned in. 10-days of life changing experiences are yours for the taking.

Some say that visiting Albania is as close as you'll get to traveling back in time. It wasn't until the collapse of the People's Socialist Republic of Albania in 1991 that the world got its first glimpse of the country within. Huge snow-capped mountains, inviting beaches, pretty rural villages, a genuine subsistence culture and an exceptionally friendly welcome is what you will find here. We ride through the very best of Europe's beautiful unknown.

This diverse tour will lead you from the tranquil beauty of Lake Ohrid, via picturesque mountains and sparkling rivers, to the inviting beaches of the Albanian Riviera, providing a taste of all the very best Albania has to offer. This incorporates visits to UNESCO heritage sites, as well as fascinating glimpses into an untouched subsistence culture. A challenging route, providing a feast for the senses and plenty of opportunity to experience the hospitality of the friendly Albanian people.


At a glance


  • 9 Nights, 3-4* hotel accommodation with breakfasts
  • 9 riding days with 100% vehicle support
  • 100% tarmac
  • Group size 6 to 16 bikes plus local leader
  • Contries Visited 2 : Albania, Macedonia
  • 473 km / 5972m total climb


Highlights


  • Enjoy wild landscapes in this undiscovered country.
  • Journey through the beautiful Albanian Riviera.
  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage citys of Butrint and Ohrid.
  • Get lost in the UNESCO city of Gjirokaster and its history.
  • Relax in the thermal waters of Bënjë.
  • Visit Enver Hoxha's nuclear bunker in Tirana.
  • Discover the local cuisine where organic food is a standart.
  • Witness Bënja's bridge that has spanned the river for centuries.

Arrival

Rendezvous at Tiranë airport and transfer to hotel in Tiranë city centre. Meet the rest of the tour group over a relaxing dinner.

Driving distance : 17km / 25min

Tiranë - Pogradec

After a two hour transfer we will reach the northern side of Lake Ohrid, from where we will start cycling along the scenic shore towards Pogradec. Lunch at a waterfront restaurant before arriving in Pogradec. The afternoon can be spent either relaxing at the beach in front of the hotel or crossing over into Macedonia by bike and visiting the monastery of St Naum.

Driving distance : 120km / 2hr | cycling distance : 40km | elevation : 62m

Cycle from Pogradec to Korcë

Leaving Lake Ohrid, we climb to a high plateau bounded by mountains. Continue following the gorge for a while until the hills open up, leading to a vast plain and a colourful patchwork of individual farms. Day ends with a short walking tour of Korcë, climbing cobbled streets and steps to a viewpoint overlooking the town and surrounding countryside.

Distance : 51 km | elevation : 412m

Cycle from Korcë to Sotirë

We leave behind the agricultural plateau of Korcë, ascending steadily into the border mountains through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers. Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead, climbing into the heart of the Grammoz Mountains and over the Barmash Pass at 1,159m. Overnight at Sotirë farm, nestled in its own tranquil valley.

Distance : 71 km | elevation : 1171m

Cycle from Sotirë to Përmet

A climb out from Sotirë 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 Çarshovë and then follow the corniche route high above the river to Përmet, famed for its cuisine and strong raki. Option of a 4km excursion to thermal pools accessed via an ancient bridge.

Distance : 52 km | elevation : 615m

Cycle from Përmet to Gjorokastër

Continue along the valley towards Këlcyrë, 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 Gjirokastër (city of 1,000 steps) high above on the right. Gjirokastër, a ‘museum’ town, is perhaps the most beautiful in Albania. Explore the charming cobbled alleyways between the white-walled buildings, visit a fascinating traditional house and climb to the citadel.

Distance : 70 km | elevation : 412m

Cycle from Gjirokastër to Saranda

After a brief transfer, we cycle to Sarandë. This is the gateway to southern Albania on the Ionian coast, sandwiched between the high mountains and the sea. A short ride on a rustic ferry brings us to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint, one of the country's most important archaeological treasures, where the influences of various ancient peoples including the Greeks and Romans are clearly visible.

Distance : 70 km | elevation : 525m

Cycle from Saranda to Himarë

A rollercoaster ride, we leave as the early morning mist is burnt off by the sun, climbing steeply out of Sarandë to a rocky plateau. Then it's over cols into bays and around headlands, always with the stunning mountain scenery to the right and coastal views to the left before descending to the long beach and the bay of Himarë, where there’s plenty of time for a swim in the clear blue water.

Distance : 53 km | elevation : 1064m

Cycle from Himarë to Vlorë

Today’s ride is not only the most challenging but also the most spectacular in Albania. You will gradually climb from sea level up to 1,000m through forests, gorges and hairpin bends. After lunch in the beautiful national park of Llogara we will descend towards Vlorë for an afternoon’s relaxation by the Ionian sea.

Distance : 63km | elevation : 1658m

Departure - Transfer to Tirana Airport

Depending on flight times, we may have the opportunity to visit the city of Vlorë before our transfer back to Tiranë and Mother Teresa Airport.

Driving distance : 160km / 2.5hr

Guided Tour

950

Self-Guided Tour

780

Electric Bike

160

Single Supplement

135

* Prices above are sharing room


What's included
  • 9 Nights Accommodation
  • Bicycle
  • Multilingual tour guide
  • Support van


  • All Lunches and dinners
  • All breakfasts
  • All attraction site fees
  • Snacks on the road
What's not included
  • Single supplement
  • Electric bike
  • Transport to/from Albania
  • Riding gear or helmet


  • Drinks with meals
  • Hard case panniers
  • Gratitude for guides
  • Airport shuttle service
2018 Tour Date Tour Status
April 6 - April 15 Available & Guaranteed
May 3 - May 12 Available & Guaranteed
May 29 - June 7 Limited Availability
June 30 - July 9 Available & Guaranteed
August 28 - September 6 Available & Guaranteed
September 24 - October 3 Available & Guaranteed
October 9 - October 18 Available & Guaranteed
  • Airline Lost & Found
  • Riding Gear
  • How much money do I need?
  • Medical conditions and food allergies
  • Bicycle Models and Sizes
  • Crossing Borders
  • Ferry ride into the Fiords of Albania
  • Riding in Albania
  • Food and Meals
  • Riding Style
In the event that your flight has lost you luggage please give the following information to the lost and found office that unless there will be another flight the same with your luggage on it, you will be traveling the next day and the destination for your luggage to be delivered should be determined by calling Cycle Albania at +355673080000. Cycle Albania and Lost & Found will make further arrangements to bring the luggage to you as soon as possible.
It is important to layer your clothing for different climates, as our tour may go through cool high mountain passes on one day and warm valley lowlands on the next. Rain in the mountains can occur unexpectedly, so you should bring a rain suit. Helmet is a must unless you have made further arrangements with us. In the event of lost luggage we will provide you with a helmet and riding gear until the arrival of yours.
You will need money only for meals and drinks. A typical dinner cost between 5-10 € and a litter of house red wine from 3-7€. Coffee is 50cent and beer 1€. Although ATM machines are common in most cities and towns there will be days where finding on could be challenging. But more challenging is trying paying with a credit card. Cash in the most easy form of payment and luckily, because of the prices in Albania, you don’t need much of it.
Because of the remoteness this tour will take us, is quite neccessary that you let Cycle Albania know in advance of possible medical conditions of food allergies that you might have. All our guides are competent first aid responders and will do everything to sort out the situation in the most professional manner.
We have updated our bicycles by providing 2017 model for all our tours. After you make you booking make sure to talk to us about the most appropriate size for you.
Crossing borders is easy and straight forward. Everyone must have their passports and driving license on them at all time. Because of our agremenst with Border Custom Controle, you can cross any border independent from the rest of the group and don't need to do any customs paperwork.
Because of limited accesabilito to most mountainous vilages this is the only way in or out for a lot of people and because of tourism and water level of the lake loading/unloading of the bikes on the ferries can be challenging. Therefore your guide might have to do that job for you.
All the roads exept for big citys are free of trafic and very well maintained. The drivers are quiet patience and forgiving.
Organic food is still the standart in the Albanain cousine. All the farmers grow their own heirloom varieties and because of the cost of chemicals used in developed countries they have followed more natural methods of agriculture. Combine the good flavor with the rich variety of traditional dishes and low prices and you landed on food paradise.

Because of the cheep prices of meals we decided that everyone should have the abundant option of choosing their own dish. Nonetheless your guide will suggest the best places and dishes and make reservations beforehand. If it is favorable to you, you can let the guide choose and order the best at each destination.
Every group is different but the most common style of riding is where the guide leads and you all make the same stops and rests to which we came to know from our long experience. All the helmets will be equipped with an intercom, where you can listen the guide telling stories and histories of the traveled area or interact in private conversations with other riders from the group. There is usually two coffee stops, one before and one after lunch stop as well as common regroups in attractions sites and beautiful view points.

Nonetheless with our GPS and and easy to follow route, you are free to ride at you own pace and enjoy the ride from your own prospective.
Maxwell Hopper

Riding in Albania was quite easy and rewarding. The views commanded from some of the many climbs were spectacular. We enjoyed staying in some of the more remote parts of the country and then on to the slightly more commercialised coast. The evenings were great fun, with superb food, and an interesting group of riders. Armand (Group Leader) and Juli (Driver/Support) were fantastic. A great couple of guys. Attentive to all our needs, sociable and informative.

Gail Longworth

Beautiful scenery, interesting country, real contrast between the mountainous interior and scenic coastline, lovely food, great weather and lovely friendly people - both locals and in our group. This was definitely a trip worth taking. We couldn't believe how little we spent over the week - everything is so cheap and good. I loved the house wine which was apparently everyone made his own. Armand was very good, well organized, calm and friendly - looked after us well. We've done a number of this trips and thought this was a little different - the first few days in particular did feel like stepping back in time. Would recommend it.

Christopher Cross

So to the holiday itself, everything was absolutely spot on. Armand the leader was one of the best I have ever come across and I have been on a lot of adventures over the years!!The group was great, the scenery amazing and the food was lovely…this was my first riding a electric bike and I will be back on it for next years adventure. Albania is a great place and I could not recommend it enough, this guys have thought of everything so you will love it. The bikes ware all new 2016 with all the bells and whistles you might need.

Lynne Porteous

I enjoyed this trip even more than I had hoped - the country is so interesting, the scenery glorious and the food wonderful! Our guide was proficient and professional and ensured the whole week provided fun, variety and (optional) challenges! I was amazed at how fast the bike came to a full stop after I slammed on the brakes in front of a donkey running cross the road. There were so many "wow" moments in terms of the scenery and I stopped often to capture that perfect shot! Every day as we rod toward the unknown provided amazing mountain views and the coastal rides above the sparkling seas were just magnificent. Armand was an excellent leader - he was very calm and measured and at all times a consummate professional. I liked the fact that he stressed each day that this was a vacation and we should travel at our own speed, enjoy the ride and take photos and stop as we wished. Armand's knowledge of his country and its history was impressive and his love for Albania shone through!

Tony Glaser

Go! Don't be misled by very-outdated tales of Albania as lawless and full of criminals . . . it is quite the opposite . . . you will feel very safe everywhere. I would suggest doing what we did - spend a day or two (no more) in Tirana before the trip to get a little oriented, see the capital, learn about Albanians. Pretty much everything in Albania is cheap, and standards of everything were much higher than I would have expected from what is almost the poorest country in Europe, and it is remarkable how they have recovered from decades of communism-like life without violence or ethnic or religious strife - an inspiration to us all. From all the organized tours i have been, this tour had definitely the best available bikes. All were 2016 models with panniers.

Muddy Boots

If your thinking about booking this trip and not sure... Here is my review. With shameful ignorance I knew almost nothing of Albania before I went, Macedonia way... Ex-communist country... I didn't even know the currency however I have come away with a very good impression of the country and it's friendly people, the food, history, geography and scenery. If your undecided - Just GO!!! Go now and see this amazing country that's emerging from the clutch of communism, is still rustic, rural, basic and beautiful. Go before it gets commercialised with the globalised chains of fast food and coffee shops. I upgraded to an electric bike. Worth every penny. I loved the chats with Armand. He was quite smart and informative.

Alexander McDonald

Great holiday. Who knew Albania is so beautiful. The trip covers all of Albania - interior and coastline. Great guide - helpful and knowledgeable always taking time to tell us about his country. Making plans to return on the Balkan tour next year.

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