From Tirana to the Riviera coast, explore Southern Albania on an 11-day private bike tour. Bike through Albania's rugged mountains and thickly forested Leskovik region and see country life in small mountain villages like Përmet. Explore its Ottoman past at Gjorokastra and the Butrint archaeological site. End your trip on the shores of the Ionian Sea where a casual atmosphere, seaside accommodations, and long road descents await.

Highlights

  • Bike through Albania's premier landscapes, including Galichica National Park
  • See diverse cultures and cities, from Communist Burrel to Ottoman Gjarokastra
  • Explore the ancient Roman site of Butrint
  • Enjoy the comfort of a support vehicle and modern accommodations  

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Tirana Tirana
Day 2 Tirana Tirana
Day 3 Tirana to Burrel Burrel
Day 4 Burrel to Ohrid Ohrid
Day 5 Ohrid to Korça Korça
Day 6 Korça to Leskovik Leskovik
Day 7 Leskovik to Përmet Përmet
Day 8 Përmet to Riviera Riviera
Day 9 Riviera to Saranda Saranda
Day 10 Saranda to Gjirokastra Gjirokastra
Day 11 Transfer to Berat or Tirana TBC  

Detailed Itinerary

Tirana, Albania's capital
Tirana, Albania's capital

Day 1: Arrival in Tirana

Welcome to Albania! You'll be welcomed from the flight and whisked to your accommodations in central Tirana. After settling in, head out for a welcome dinner and to get to know the city. 

Fruit stand in downtown Tirana
Fruit stand in downtown Tirana

Day 2: Tirana

You will have all day to explore Tirana with a local guide. Stops will include the "secret" nuclear bunker built by the dictatorship in the 1970s, the secret police museum, and the National Museum of History. There will also be plenty of free time for those who want to catch up on sleep before a big week! 

A shaded avenue in Tirana
A shaded avenue in Tirana

Day 3: Tirana to Burrel

Today is a relaxed introduction to your week of biking with no major ascents. Transfer north of the city just beyond the village of Milot, located on the main drive to Kosovo, an hour away. From here continue on two wheels along the river Mat to your first overnight stop in Burrel. This will be your first glimpse of dictator-era Albania—Burrel was a Communist prison city for many years. Despite its heavy history, the town now hosts many tourists, and your hotel for the night is comfortable and welcoming. 

Distance: 27 miles/ 43 km

Lake Ohrid sits between Albania and Macedonia
Lake Ohrid sits between Albania and Macedonia

Day 4: Burrel to Ohrid

A quick hour-long car transfer brings you to the border with Macedonia, near the town of Debar. After crossing the border switch to bikes and ride the scenic road south to the UNESCO city of Ohrid, which sits on the shore of Lake Ohrid. Catch a ride with the support vehicle for the last few miles from the town of Struga and arrive in time for a relaxed dinner and a dip in the lake. 

Distance: 34 miles/ 53 km

Galichica National Park in Macedonia
Galichica National Park in Macedonia

Day 5: Ohrid to Korça

After two relatively easy days to get your legs and lungs working you will face your first big ascent today. Circle around the eastern shore of the lake, then climb up the challenging pass into Galichica National Park. From here it's a fast and easy descent to Stenje to break for lunch, with an easy ride back into Albania and along the shore of Lake Prespa to Zaroshkë for a celebratory drink. Take it easy on last few miles to Korça with a ride in the support vehicle before settling in for a well-deserved rest. 

Distance: 48 miles / 77 km

Farmland in a valley in the Leskovik region
Farmland in a valley in the Leskovik region

Day 6: Korça to Leskovik

Today's ride follows a famous cycling route from Korça to your lodging near the town of Leskovik. There are a number of challenging climbs and lots of fun descents on today's route. This region is remote, with tall mountains and thick forests. Settle in for dinner after arriving at your accommodations for the night—a series of log cabins near a small farm outside of town. 

Distance: 49 miles/ 78 km

A dramatic sky illuminates the Vjosa River
A dramatic sky illuminates the Vjosa River

Day 7: Leskovik to Përmet

You have an easier ride ahead of you today. Continue riding west through the Gramoz and Pindus mountains along a long descent from Leskovik down to the Greek border. Here the road joins the Vjosa River and flattens out in the valley. End your ride today at the hot sulfur springs in Benjë for a well-earned soak. Afterward, finish the last few miles in the support vehicle and spend the night in the small village of Përmet, famed for its restaurants and raki, a strong Balkan spirit. 

Distance: 39 miles/ 63 km

Ionian Sea from Llogora National Park
The Ionian Sea from Llogora National Park

Day 8: Përmet to Riviera

Get an early start today for an easy morning riding mostly flat roads through Këlcyrë Pass. Once you reach the main road, load the bikes in the support vehicle and drive north up the highway to Vlorë. Once you're through the city get back on the bikes and cycle along the Bay of Vlorë, a fast and easy ride until you get past the town of Orikum.  From here, the road begins a long scent into the forests of Llogora National Park. This section of the road is challenging, but the views from the top are more than worth it. If the weather allows, you will be able to see the Albanian Riviera to the south, including the island of Corfu. From the top of the pass, there is an incredible and winding descent down to the Ionian Sea and the village of Dhermi, where you will stay the night. 

Distance: 36km / 46km.

Rocky coast near Saranda
Rocky coast near Saranda

Day 9: Riviera to Saranda

You have the whole day ahead of you to make your leisurely way south along the Mediterranean Riviera to the port town of Saranda. There are steep ascents and descents today, but the views along the way make up for the challenging ride. 

Distance: 35 miles/ 57 km

The Butrint archaeological site is part of an ancient town
The Butrint archaeological site is part of an ancient town

Day 10: Saranda to Gjirokastra

A transfer from Saranda in the morning will drop you off at the archaeological site of Butrint, an old Greek and Roman city. After exploring for a few hours, hit the road again to make a leaisurely loop back to Gjirokastra and a stop at the Blue Eve spring. The final ride of the day is a long and spectacular descent into the Gjirokastra valley, where you will meet the support vehicle and complete the last few miles by car. 

Distance: 42 miles/ 67km

Old stone houses in the Mangalem district in Berat
Old stone houses in the Mangalem district in Berat

Day 11: Transfer to Berat or Tirana TBC

You can enjoy a well-earned lie-in this morning! Once you're up, take the morning to explore Gjirokastra, before making your way to Berat in the afternoon. Alternatively, you can transfer directly to Tirana if you're not extending your tour north to Albania, Kosovo, or Montenegro.