Guided tour

Cycle the Balkans

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Key Features

Albania

Country

Northern Albania

Region

Guided

Trip Type

Easy

Difficulty

Touring

Adventure type

3*

Accommodation

15

Nights

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Overview


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The Balkans offers an intoxicating mix of beautiful countryside, fast-developing cities and historic towns. Our first ride ends at the UNESCO town of Ohrid on the vast lake of the same name, from here the route leads up towards the border with Kosovo. Small towns and villages dot the route as we wind our way across into Montenegro and through the heart of the imposing Durmitor Mountains. As the route suggests, there is a good mix of climbing and flat riding, with a few stops along the way to visit or see places of interest. Sunshine and sea come in the form of the Bay of Kotor on the Adriatic, a dramatic setting to end the ride. Few other regions offer such cultural and natural variety along with a true sense of discovery.

What's the plan

Itinerary

Day 1

The group flights usually arrive in Tirana in the early afternoon and the group will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. In the evening our guide will hold a welcome meeting to discuss the week ahead, give advice on the local area and answer any questions, before we all go out for our welcome dinner.Hotel Austria or similar

Day 2

This morning we start with a transfer to the northern side of Lake Ohrid. Upon arrival, the bikes will be unloaded and adjusted to everyones comfort. Our ride starts with cycling along the scenic shore of Lake Ohrid towards Pogradec. After reaching Tushemisht, just 4 km east of Pogradec, lunch will be served at a waterfront restaurant. We will continue cycling in the afternoon, crossing over into Macedonia, and visiting the monastery of St Naum. The road then takes us through Galicica National Park to Ohrid Town.Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in the world, came into existence during the Pliocene epoch as a result of tectonic shifts. It is home to unique flora and fauna and the lake is one of the largest biological reserves in Europe; with 212 known endemic species and a surface area of 358 km2 it is probably one of the most diverse lakes in the world.Villa Royal View or similar

Day 3

Leaving Lake Ohrid behind, we start today by climbing to a high plateau bounded by mountains. We continue to follow the gorge for a while until the hills open up, leading to a vast patchwork plain of individual farms in the Debar region. Our ride finishes in the city of Debar where we rest for the night.Hotel Leon or similar

Day 4

Today we cycle toward Lake Mavrovo. Spreading over an area of about 780 square kilometres (300 sq mi), the Mavrovo National Park features deep canyons, snowy peaks and blue lakes as well as dense forests providing a habitat for an arrayof wildlife. We enjoy cycling through this diverse National Park, we reach our hotel in the afternoon at the foot of the Bistra mountains.HotelRadika or similar

Day 5

Transferring out of Mavrovo National Park, we reach the border crossing with Kosovo.We will ride through Brezovica, an area frequented by skiers in the winter. We continue into Sharri National Park, which was recently established in 2013. It is still relatively undiscovered with huge areas of intact ecosystems home to several threatened species in Europe, making it an important ecological area to protect.Hotel Pine or similar

Day 6

From the ski resort of Brezovica, we cycle up to Prevalle through the forest of Kodra e Diellit before a long descent to the historic city of Prizren, Kosovo's cultural capital. Kosovo's second biggest city is rich with history and traditions and is surrounded by incredible nature. Throughout history, Prizren has played a vital role in the region. The city is known in this region of the Balkans for its gastronomy and wines, traditional handicrafts and wonderful mix of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. This afternoon we go on a city tour to explore the old town.Hotel Theranda or similar

Day 7

Today we transfer from Prizren to Peje where we will overnight. Today we have the opportunity to visit another beautiful city in Kosovo before heading to Montenegro tomorrow.

Day 8

This morning we transfer to the border between Kosovo and Montenegro. We start cycling from the border and enter Montenegro. We will cycle down to Rozaje, the city is surrounded by magnificent mountains and we will see both Hajla and Turjak mountain. The area is covered in large forests and abundantwith flowers. We then continue to Berana,located on the Lim river where we spend the night.Hotel Berane or similar

Day 9

Leaving Berane behind, our ride this morning is along a flat road to the small town of Andrijevica. From here we take a magnificent narrow road with spectacular scenery all the way up to Kolasin. On our left hand side, we will have impressive views of the Albanian Alps and we should be able to spot the mountain of Jezerca, the second highest peak in Albania, on a good day. This evening we spend the night in Kolasin, a ski resort during the winter months.Hotel Cile or similar

Day 10

After a short transfer to Mojkovac, we start cycling through the Tara Canyon, one of the deepest river canyons in Europe. We will also have the chance to see the famous Tara bridge before reaching Zabljak our final destination for the day. The town is in the centre of the Durmitor mountain region at an altitude of 1,456 metres, it is the highest situated town on the Balkans.Hotel Enigma or similar

Day 11

Our day starts with a long climb out of Zabljak. As we ascend through the Durmitor region we see the magnificent mountain ranges with its dramatic high peaks. After our challenging ride this morning we are rewarded with a long descent to Rudinice village where we spend the evening at a small quiet farm stay.Etno Selo Izlazak (guesthouse)

Day 12

Today we have an easier cycle toward Niki, the second largest city in Montenegro, situated at the foot of Trebjesa Hill. It is the largest municipality by area and second most inhabited after the capital Podgorica.Hotel Trim or similar

Day 13

After a short transfer to Vilsu we cycle to the picturesque Bay of Kotor. Medieval towns encased by dramatic mountains surround the lake and have been inhabited since antiquity. In the afternoon we will have time to visit the old city walls. For dinner take the opportunity to enjoy a meal on the waterfront and sample the fresh seafood on offer.Hotel Marija 2 or similar

Day 14

This morning we drive to Bar. From here we cycle close to Lake Shkodra and cross the border back into Albania. This evening we enjoy a well-deserved farewell dinner in Shkodra!Hotel Tradita or similar

Day 15

End Shkoder. Those on the group flight will be transferred to Tirana Airport (approx. 1.5hrs drive).

Other key

Highlights

  • UNESCO Town of Ohrid Magnificent Mavrov Lake and National Park Breathtaking Durmitor
  • part of Dinaric Alps

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