What to expect
Cycle from Albania’s energetic capital to the Adriatic Coast and discover the dramatic beauty and UNESCO sites of this lesser-visited country. As a confident cyclist, you'll cycle via picturesque mountains and sparkling rivers, through wild countryside and drop into historic towns whilst knowing a support vehicle is on hand if you need a break. Unesco-listed Ohrid is a highlight on day two, with its church spires and lakeside cafés. Riding higher into the mountains, you’ll experience the cultural city of Korcë and the hillside town of Gjirokastra.
The thermal springs at Benje are a treat on day five – see the steam rising as you pedal towards the pools. Towards the end of the tour, the Albanian Riviera promises stunning cycle days with turquoise seas and sandy beaches. Riding past rugged bays and headlands, you'll swim off the beach at Himarë and visit the ruined city of Butrint. The final stretch takes you to Llonga National Park – a sanctuary for wolves, eagles and more.
At a glance
- Beauty of Lake Ohrid and sparkling Albanian beaches
- UNESCO sites of Ohrid city and the ancient ruins of Butrint
- Warm hospitality, top hotels and remote log cabins on a trout farm
- Challenging and varied cycling that’s ideal for confident riders with the security of a support van if required
Arrive in Tirana
Fly to Albania’s capital city of Tirana and check in to your hotel. Meet your guides for a tour of this exciting and energetic city.
Qafe Thane to Pogradec
25 miles (40 km)
Take a morning transfer to Lake Ohrid on the Macedonian border. Cycle clock-wise around the lake, crossing into Macedonia to reach the UNESCO-listed town of Ohrid. Stop for lunch, then continue around the lake to the settlement of Tushemisht, back in Albania. Spend the night in the neighbouring lakeside town of Pogradec.
Pogradec to Korce
32 miles (51 km)
Start by climbing away from the lake and out of the valley to a beautiful plateau surrounded by mountains. Take in the views of the valley below, then continue on quiet rural roads past pretty farmlands. Arrive in Albania’s cultural capital of Korcë, with its bustling markets and excellent museum.
Korce to Sotire
45 miles (72 km)
Leave Korcë and climb away from the agricultural plateau towards the border mountains. Ride past barren rock and wild flowers before passing mountain cols and valleys as you push-on to the heart of the Grammoz Mountains. Ride over the Barmash Pass (1159m) and stop for lunch in the town of Erseka. Finish by pedalling into a tranquil valley to reach Sotire, where you’ll spend the night.
Sotire to Benje to Permet
32 miles (52 km)
Start by climbing out of Sotire to a grassy plateau surrounded by soaring peaks. Pedal onwards to the source of the River Vjosa and descend through the river gorge to the town of Leskovik. Continue downhill to Çarshove village, then follow the mountain road above the river. Arrive in the town of Permet and the thermal springs at Benje. After lunch, ride to the hot springs and swim at the end of the Langarica canyons. Sleep in Permet.
Benje to Gjirokaster
45 miles (72 km)
Continue along the valley towards the jagged peaks that guard Kelcyra Gorge. Ride between the peaks and follow another gorge to a confluence of the Drinos River. Arrive on a wide plain beneath the hillside UNESCO town of Gjirokaster, known as the “city of a thousand steps” .
Gjirokaster to Sarande
43 miles (70 km)
Ride to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint and stop to explore this ancient Greek and Roman ruined city. Continue to the Albanian Riviera on the Ionian coast, where the city of Saranda sits between the mountains and the sea.
Sarande to Himarë
33 miles (53 km)
Wake in Sarande to see the morning mists and set off with a steep climb to a rocky plateau. Spend the rest of the day riding over cols, into bays and around headlands, with mountains to your right and the sea to your left. Descend to the long beach at Himarë.
Himarë to Vlore
40 miles (65 km)
Get ready for a final, challenging day of cycling, as you ascend 1,000 metres above the Ionian Sea to Llogara Pass in the National Park. Ride past the park’s black pines, looking out for the Eurasian otter and golden eagle. After lunch, it’s a downhill ride to the city of Vlore.
Depart from Vlore
Take a morning transfer from Vlore to Tirana International Airport (approx. 3 hours).
3* & 4* Hotels & 2 family run guesthouses
We use a pool of 3 star and 4 star hotels star to maximise our availability for this tour, so regardless of the time of year we do our best to secure your dates of choice. In big cities you will stay in 4* hotels and 3* hotels in smaller cities plus 2 nights in family run guesthouses in more remote locations.
- A mix of 3* and 4* hotels on full board
- English speaking guide
- Luggage transferred each day
- Support vehicle is always available
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance
- 9 nights accommodation in 3* & 4* hotels & 2 night in family run guesthouses at more remote locations
- Board basis: Full board
- English speaking tour guide (only language)
- Support van available for assistance (7 riders at one time)
- Bike rental
- Luggage transportation
- All transfers described in the itinerary
- Departure transfer to Tirana airport
- Flights and transfer to first hotel
- Drinks with meals
- Entrance fees to attractions
Customers requiring a single room - please enquire
Bike Hire & Extras
Bike hire included
30-gear Giant hybrid bikes with disc brakes. Waterproof pannier is included in your tour price.
You can add these when you price your trip
How to Get There
Fly to Tirana
Take the airport bus, a taxi or book a transfer to Tirana.
Morning transfer included from Vlore to Tirana Airport
Fly from Tirana
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Why are the hotels not listed in the itinerary?
We use a pool of hotels to maximise availability for you.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
The trip was very well organised. The guide and driver were excellent and the food varied from good to excellent. I found the riding very hard, as I expected. My only concern was the weight of the bicycles supplied. I understand that solid bikes are necessary for some of the roads, but the bikes supplied appeared to me to be very heavy. then again the stronger riders (and it was a strong group) seemed to have few if any difficulties.Leonard Karp, Australia , July 2019
This was my first cycling tour and it did not disappoint! The right level - exactly what I was looking for. Dhimitri, the local guide was personable and very knowledgeable. Bato, the driver was helpful and encouraging when I was always at the back of the queue! We all bonded as a team and laughed all the way. The food was amazing. Albania is a hidden gem. The booking team at Freedom Treks was also excellent. Although I rarely go back to the same country twice, I plan on doing another tour there soon.Zahidah, London, May 2019