Cycling in Albania

8 days
from
1 145 €
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4.8 / 5 from 42 reviews >
Trip code: 
MVA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Discover the beauty of this previously isolated country by bike

Some say that visiting Albania is as close as you'll get to travelling 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 cycle through the very best of Europe's beautiful unknown, beginning our tour on the border of Macedonia, towards the ancient town of Gjirokastra passing soaring peaks and lush green valleys. From here we begin our descent to the Albanian Riviera passing the UNESCO site of Butrint and Llogara National Park, before relaxing by the sea at our hotel in Vlorë.

Highlights

  • Immerse yourself in a previously isolated country
  • Cycle from mountain plateaux to the Albanian Riviera
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint

Key information

  • 5 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs
  • Trip can be combined with Cycle Macedonia & Northern Albania
  • E-bike hire available on request

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 2 dinners included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
+90 (0)850 622 33 78
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate to challenging: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

100% tarmac, where some sections are in poor condition.

Day by day breakdown
Day 272.0km/45.0miles
Day 360.0km/37.0miles
Day 446.0km/28.0miles
Day 570.0km/43.0miles
Day 654.0km/33.0miles
Day 765.0km/40.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Pogradec
to
Vlore
  • Day 1

    Start Pogradec.

    Start Pogradec. Those on the group flight will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in Pogradec, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid (approx. 3hr drive). The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy this lakeside location.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Transfer to Korçë; steady climb through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers; cycle towards Grammoz Mountain and over the Barmash Pass (1159m) to Gërmenj.

    Today is one of the most demanding days of the tour. After a quick transfer to Korçë we begin cycling and leave behind the agricultural plateau, climbing steadily into the border mountains through a landscape of barren rock interspersed with wild flowers. Numerous cols and valleys lie ahead, climbing towards Grammoz Mountain and over the Barmash Pass (1159m) to Gërmenj, lying in its own tranquil valley. Here we relax at our accommodation, Farma Sotira, which is also a working trout farm. Meals here consist of organic produce that is reared or sourced from the farm itself. Once you’ve finished eating your hearty dinner, you can sit and relax by the open roaring fire in the dining area with a glass of homemade wine or a bottle of Korçë beer (Albania’s most popular).

    Cycle approx. 72km, total ascent approx. 1150m, total descent approx. 1050m.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle through high grassy plateaux surrounded by soaring peaks before descending to Carshove and on to Benje; ride to thermal springs for a swim.

    In the morning there is a climb out from Germenj to a high grassy plateau close to the Greek border, surrounded by soaring peaks before reaching the source of the River Vjosa and descending through its spectacular gorge to Leskovik. We continue descending to Çarshove and then follow the corniche route high above the river to Benje situated on a ridge above the river. After lunch at the guesthouse we take a short ride to the thermal springs to relax and sooth aching muscles. Both lunch and dinner will be served on the peaceful terrace.

    Cycle approx. 60km, total ascent approx. 687m, total descent approx. 1352m.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Valley ride towards Kelcyra; after lunch at Tepele Waterfalls transfer to Gjirokastra for afternoon city tour.

    Today is one of the easiest days. We continue along the valley towards Kelcyra with its distant shark-tooth peaks, which guard a further gorge. We ride between these gorges until the two rivers meet. After lunch at the waterfalls of Tepelene we drive (approx. 30 mins) through the wide plain toward the town of Gjirokastra (city of 1000 steps). The well-preserved town is perched on the steep side of the Drino Valley, overlooking snow-capped mountains. In the afternoon we take a cultural tour through the city and explore its narrow cobbled alleys and 18th Century Ottoman houses. We also visit the 13th Century castle and learn about the fascinating history of this town, which has seen many rulers and has inspired poets, authors and artists.



    Cycle approx. 46km, total ascent approx. 350m, total descent approx. 520m.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Transfer up the Muzina Pass, long descent to Sarandë via coast and the UNESCO site of Butrint.

    After breakfast we load the bikes on to the support vehicle and transfer up to Muzina Pass (approx. 45 minutes), the gateway to southern Albania, for a spectacular downhill ride to Sarandë. Located on the Ionian Coast, Sarandë is sandwiched between the high mountains and the sea and is close to the ancient remains of Butrint, which we visit on the way. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Butrint is located very close to the Greek border and is one of the country’s most important archaeological sites, tracing its origins back to the Greeks and the Romans. We have lunch at the site and continue along the coast to Sarandë.

    Cycle approx. 70km, total ascent approx. 725m, total descent approx. 1285m.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Spectacular coastal ride to the long beach of Himarë Bay.

    Climbing steeply out of Sarande to a rocky plateau we enjoy a spectacular coastal ride over cols into bays and around headlands. Always with the stunning mountain scenery to the right and sea to the left we continue along before descending to Himarë, a small communist era fishing village with a small promenade filled with cafes, restaurants and ice cream stands. There is plenty of time for a swim in the Ionian Sea; our hotel is a short walk to Potam Beach.

    Cycle approx. 54km, total ascent approx. 1064m, total descent approx. 1064m.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Ride towards Vlorë; optional 1043m climb to the Llogara Pass; long descent through Llogara N.P. finishing by the coast.

    Today’s route is as challenging as it is spectacular. This day is the most demanding ride of the tour and will show you how strong you have become. In the morning there is a climb out of Himarë, which naturally is rewarded with an enjoyable downhill. We then have another climb before our coffee break. Our break is followed with a nice downhill, but we must climb yet again before we regroup. We then come face to face with the long steady climb to the Llogara pass. At 1043m above sea level, this climb is completely optional, so if you think it is too much then you can jump in the support vehicle. However, if you are looking for an extra challenge this climb comes with a real sense of achievement, and the views are fantastic. At the pass itself (which you will also see if you take the van) it is possible to see across to Italy on a clear day. We recommend taking a warmer layer for reaching the top of the pass. From the top you enter Llogara National Park, home to black pine, Eurasian otter and golden eagles. The park is a scenic expanse of protected woodland that encompasses the forests on the northern side of the Llogora Pass. We begin to descend and have lunch in the National Park. In the afternoon we continue descending towards our hotel, which is located by the sea just outside of the city. Here we can relax and take a dip in the sea, the perfect reward for a hard days cycle.

     Cycle approx. 65km, total ascent approx. 1630m (including the optional climb), total descent approx. 1630m.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Vlorë.

    End Vlorë. Those on the group flight will be transferred to Tirana airport in the morning (approx. 2.5hr drive).

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

Albania

No visa required for most nationalities, including UK passport holders, most other EU nationalities, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand.

Vaccinations

Albania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 dinners included.

Food in Albania is quite varied thanks to the many influences on the country and particularly Mediterranean combining Turkish, Greek and Italian tastes. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt are present in almost every meal, usually locally sourced.

Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha (the communist leader of Albania from 1944-1985), Albania became a self-sustaining country due to its isolation to the world. However due to the lush fertile valleys, fresh mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, they are still very much a subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. In the countryside expect your food to have been reared/grown not too far from your plate.

Breakfasts are typically eggs, fresh bread, jam, honey and coffee or tea. For lunch and dinner, meat dishes are often goat or lamb, with fish dishes ranging from trout to whitebait. Courses often come in mezze form complimented with a variety of succulent vegetables, salad, freshly baked bread, homemade cheeses, local wines and of course, raki. Your guide will recommend the best options when in the towns.

Weather

Albania has a temperate, Mediterranean climate. March 15th is officially the first day of spring and things really start to hot up toward the end of the month when clear skies and balmy temperatures provide a nice way to ease into the heat of summer. Summer brings sunshine and maximum temperatures of between 20-35 degrees Celsius. Summer days are long with sunrise before 6:00am and sunset after 8:30pm.

Tirana, Albania

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road

Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging)

The Activity Level was increased from a 3 (Moderate) to a 4 (Moderate/Challenging) in 2016 following the visit of the Product Manager

Average daily distance 60km (37 miles)

No. of days cycling: 6

Full vehicle support

Terrain and route: 100% tarmac, where some sections are in a poor condition with pot holes and some unsurfaced areas. The terrain is undulating with some long, but gradual climbs. The optional climb on day 7 (1043m) is the most challenging, although there is always the option of the support vehicle to get you up to the pass. We aim to use quiet roads where possible. On one occasion we need to pass busy sections in order to reach the quiet roads beyond.

Call for general departures:
+90 (0)850 622 33 78
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Guesthouses

On Days 2 and 3, we are deep in the Albanian countryside and we stay in comfortable guesthouses. In Germenj we stay in Sotira Farm that is nestled in a tranquil valley, with fresh water running down from the mountains. It is also a trout farm, so you may find dinner to be fresh from the stream. Here we stay in wooden cabins that contain two rooms with twin beds in each room. Each cabin of two rooms will share their own communal bathroom. In Benje we stay in a guesthouse that is only a few kilometres from the thermal springs and Ottoman bridge. Run by a local family, dinner will often be taken out on the veranda where you will be served their own homegrown produce. Again, rooms here are a little more basic than hotels, each with an ensuite bathroom.

For the remaining nights, we use hotels that are of a comfortable 3 and 4-star standard, all with ensuite rooms.

Single accommodation available on request from £120. Please note, single rooms may not be available in the guesthouses in Germenj and Benje due to a limited number of rooms.

Call for general departures:
+90 (0)850 622 33 78
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
+90 (0)850 622 33 78
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Forget feeling lethargic on your travels – cycling is one of the easiest ways to blend cultural and active expl

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Nigel Copestake

    Cycling Albania

    Didn't know what to expect, but it didn't disappoint. Really excellent tour guide. Fantastic scenery. One of those trips that just went smoothly, almost certainly due to the guides organisation. The cycling is described as moderate to challenging. At the time I would have said it was more challenging. However, upon reflection, I was pushing myself, which almost certainly made it feel more challenging. However, the last day of cycling was definitely challenging. It was also very rewarding and as with all of the Exodus trips I've been on, there's always the option of the bus, which for various reasons, some of our party took. The food was really good. Plenty of choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. There are plenty of mountain springs for water top-ups which was brilliant - tasted great! A fantastic trip which I won't forget with a guide who really did look after everyone!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I like the challenge of a hill climb, so I would have to say the last day, cycling up and over the pass.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was truly amazing and really did go the extra mile. As previously mentioned, a trip doesn't run that smoothly without a lot of planning. He was also without a doubt a group leader you would want in any unexpected situation that might occur!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The mountain spring water is fine to drink. You get a bit of a taste for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Another tick for Exodus! Really excellent! I knew very little about Albania, which has now changed. A beautiful friendly country with fantastic scenery and food! Did I mention the spring water :)
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Bill Thornton

    'Albania' why go there!

    'Albania' why go there? was something we heard many times from friends and family when we told them of our plans. Well firstly its off the beaten track, it isn't full of mindless tourists and its got some sense of mystique still. But mostly it is such an interesting place with such lovely people. My third Exodus cycling trip and the most challenging, it is more challenging than moderate in my opinion. We went in September and it was still fairly hot so the long climbs were a bit of a 'push'. I was tail end Charlie for most days, partly due to my frequent stops to take photos and I was not going to be rushed, all at my own pace. The point is that this trip allows this to happen, no pressure whatever you capability. The rear-guard van is never far behind so you are not on your own. The scenery here is amazing, both mountains and the coast. Albanians we met were lovely and you always felt safe and welcome. Bikes were good and days were planned well. Hotels were varied but all were more than adequate. There was a bit of culture thrown in which was interesting but not overdone. We were a large group of 16 but in no time at all we had all gelled and were supportive of each other and had many laughs and shared experiences. We have all shared our photos so we have a great bunch of memories. Most of my memories are of quiet roads, no people anywhere and incredible views made more amazing by people still living in a bygone age. Apart from start and end there are no significant transfers so this is a positive. Food was excellent and plenty of it too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first and last days are the most challenging climbs and so to finish them (last) I did feel I had achieved the challenge I knew lay ahead when I booked. Also to see real Albanian subsistence farming in action, people actually supporting themselves without food imports, selling food at the side of the road.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimo was 1st rate, very friendly, easy going and good at communicating. He was well organised and had all the food/snack stops well organised. Seamless all the way! He has a good knowledge of Albania in many ways and answered all kind of questions put to him. He worked well with our van driver as well. It was nice they both ate and socialised with us, something I didn't always witness on other trips I have done. Safety and accommodating everyone's wishes was always top priority.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the Group Leader suggestion to pool money for group meals, it saves so much time and works out cheaper too. Waterproofs may well be needed and long sleeve top for down hills. If you are partial to white wine then perhaps take a couple of bottles as there is none available on a couple of nights early in the trip. Also black tea is a rarity in some places so bring you PG Tips! Agree with Exodus/guide up front to go to Tirana for a short tour and lunch after arrival. This is a real bonus. Either bring £cash with you and change a lot on first day or use an ATM in Tirana. Food and drink is relatively cheap in Albania so for a 'full on' week week I only spent £200!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off by the challenging nature, but try to be as fit as you can before arrival, spinning classes helped me. Remember its a holiday, take your time if necessary. Padded shorts a must as are gloves. they will provide a pannier if wanted but a small handle bar bag would be better for phone, camera and money etc. We arrived a couple of days earlier and hired a car and went to Berat, well worth the effort. We then met the group at the airport for the transfer.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sandra Calfe

    An excellent way to see Albania

    My husband and I have recently returned from cycling in Albania. What a fantastic adventure it was. Prior to going on this trip our bikes came out of the shed about once a year and since we are not in the flush of youth we had to go out cycling every weekend for the previous 5 months to make sure we were fit enough and boy were we glad we did. It was a challenging trip but we loved every minute of it. The scenery is fantastic, we could not fault the food and the hotels were a lot better than we anticipated and even quite luxurious at times. Armand is an excellent guide with plenty of local knowledge. He offered to run a kitty for meals and drinks and ordered a variety of food at every meal which made meal times so easy and enjoyable. It is a fast paced trip and we had to be up early every day for breakfast and be ready to leave by 8.30 every morning but we were glad of this because at least it was cooler when we set off and we always had a nice stop for coffee to look forward to after a couple of hours. It is a great way to see Albania and it was great to start inland and then move to the coast offering different scenery and a chance to have a swim in the sea. We enjoyed the cultural stops and the chance to learn about the history of Albania. The minibus driver was always there with extra water, bananas and snacks when you needed them and greeted us with a smile at the top of every climb. I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone but to enjoy it make sure you do plenty of hill training. We hired the bikes offered by Exodus and these were of good quality although we took our own saddles. We used the pedals on the bikes ie. no clip ons and managed it okay so if you fancy it go for it - you won't regret it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting through the first day without hopping on the bus and actually thinking I might be able to actually cycle the whole route - I had been panicking before we went that maybe we had overstretched ourselves. it was harder than I imagined but we had trained enough and so were able to do it. A great feeling!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armand was a good leader. He made sure we always knew what time we had to be ready, where we were going and when the next stop was. He ordered all our food for us and made excellent choices at every meal. We have never enjoyed food so much on holiday before.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit enough to cycle up hills and for consecutive days. Take energy drinks and snacks as you definitely need these as well as the Zero sports drink tablets to stop you getting dehydrated. We didn't have these and had to beg, steal or borrow some from the rest of our group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't hesitate - just go ahead and book this. It's a fantastic trip. Not sure how we are going to top it next year!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Jo Locker

    Definately a challenging cycle!

    We signed up for this trip having done a few other cycle holidays and always finished feeling more cycling would have been good. Not so on this one! It's certainly a challenging route, with many long hills and often some long climbs before you get to the start of the days longest climb! But the bikes are good, the roads are mostly in good condition, with very little traffic and we were very well looked after along the way. As always, cycling is the best way to see a country and this tour certainly gives you an insight into way of life in the Albanian countryside, how things are developing and a lovely few days in Macedonia too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A few moments of relief on reaching the top of some big climbs - and the time in Macedonia around Lake Ohrid, including visiting the old town (UNESCO site).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vimo (maybe not the right spelling, sorry) was excellent. Managed the group really well, gave a good briefing about the next day each evening, set out meeting points so that people could cycle fairly large chunks at their own pace and was always on hand with snacks at the re-grouping point.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long tough climbs. If that's what you like and what you are expecting then you'll will have a great time! Do consider the impact the weather, particularly the heat, might have on your cycling and ability too when deciding to go. August in Albania is HOT!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great trip - some people in our group were combining it with the Southern Albania cycling trip the week after too - this also looked good but a bit too much in one go for me, might go back another time to try that one!
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Julian Ainley

    Fantastic country and cycling tour

    The country was wonderful - everyone was very friendly, the views were stunning, and the new roads made it perfect for cycling around. Don't be put off by preconceptions about Albania - we were all delighted to find it much more pleasant to be in than many other European countries, and will no doubt be full of tourists in the next 5-10 years. Definitely go before everyone else realises how good it is. It's very cheap too, especially in the more rural parts. My only complaint would be the repeated promises of ice cream, which mysteriously never materialised!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The long descent on the second day, speeding down a mountain with amazing views, a new road surface, and no cars!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very sociable, organised, and clearly passionate about his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Withdrawing 30,000 LEK at the airport should be sufficient for the whole week.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Diana Maynard

    Embrace the unknown!

    Don't let the fact that you almost certainly know nothing about Albania (and if you do, it's probably wrong) put you off this trip. If you like cycling, embracing the unknown, don't mind a few steep hills, and are prepared to take things as they come, then this is the holiday for you! So many positives about this holiday: fantastic fresh, local food and drink (and outstanding coffee), exploring new cultures, mountains, beaches, and above all a great adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Llogara Pass was definitely challenging (especially in April, when it got very very cold - though apparently it can be just as challenging in mid-summer when it's very very hot) but making it all the way to the top without walking or getting in the bus (even if at the pace of an injured snail) and the support from everyone else was fantastic. We didn't hang around long enough to enjoy the view at the top as it was so cold, but I'm sure it was lovely (the views on the way up were awesome, in between the rain).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Literally could not fault Junid - he was super organised, friendly, sociable, and always happy to try to find a solution to any problem.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared! Around Easter, the temperature can vary between factor 50 suncream and 4 layers of clothing in the course of a single day (and at night it can get quite chilly, since some of the hotels had no heating). be prepared for things to not work and roll with it (e.g. power cuts, dodgy showers etc.) If that's not your cup of tea, then you may want to reconsider. The trip isn't hard for the grading, but there are a couple of challenging hills in there, so have a practise on a few first, or hit the gym. Packing a few energy gels will help also. Also, get enough money for your trip at the airport, as there are few opportunities to use a cash machine along the way. On the other hand, there's almost no opportunity to buy anything, so you won't spend much.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    For more info, I wrote a couple of blog posts about the trip: https://expandyourlimits.wordpress.com/category/europe/albania/
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Kathy Chellew

    Stunning scenery and epic hills in extreme heat

    This was our 5th cycling trip with Exodus and the most surprisingly fun. Despite an uncharacteristic heatwave in early July, which meant our first day took us up very challenging hills in 37 degree heat and forced some cyclists to abandon their bikes for the van, we all bonded as a group and had as much fun in the evenings as we did pedalling through the stunning scenery of Albania.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The sense of achievement on reaching the summit of the final day's epic climb towards Vlore.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimo was delightful. Coped calmly with all the usual dramas of a cycling holiday despite his youth (26).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you're hill-fit as it's a very challenging trip, especially in the heat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Probably best to choose the Spring or Autumn departure dates as July was very hot - although we were unlucky to experience a heat wave so struggled with the heat more than probably usual.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Shane Brown

    Fun travels in Albania

    My first Exodus trip and already planning more. A well organised trip to a beautiful, unspoilt country. Yes, the cycling was tough at times with some long climbs but the roads were not busy, the Albanian drivers very considerate of cyclists and my travelling companions very supportive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing those mountains, villages and coastlines plus of course being able to complete all rides.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimi was great, professional, caring and fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some tough climbs, enjoy the downhills but treat with caution, embrace the country and the lovely people

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks to my wonderful travelling companions. A mixture of couples and singles of varying ages.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Dean Goff

    Cycling in Albania

    What a fantastic trip! Superb cycling on quiet, scenic roads in beautiful Albania. Three of the days are quite challenging, but none the worse for it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The hotels and guest houses are all in great locations - waking up in the mountains in Benje and looking forward to another (easier) day of great cycling, good food and sunshine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimi was good fun with a great sense of humour. The whole trip was very well organised and well thought out. We all contributed towards a kitty at the start which worked really well. At every coffee stop Dhimi would organise drinks and snacks, which meant we could sit down straight away and still get served quickly, which can be challenging in a group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dhimi took us to a lovely restaurant in Tirana after meeting us at the airport, so don't worry about food on the flight or for the transfer. It's worth mentioning that you'll see a few goat herders on the trip and some of them have dogs that are fond of cyclists. If you go faster, they go faster - the trick is to stop pedalling and slow down and they soon lose interest.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've been on a number of cycling holidays with Exodus that have all been great, but this one stands out as one of the best. The cycling, scenery, food/drink and accommodation were all fantastic. You won't lose any weight on this trip, but you will come back from it with a fondness for Albania and a sense of satisfaction.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Stuart Norris

    Scenic splendour and cycling endeavour

    This was a splendid trip, made all the better by the staggering beauty of the Albanian mountains and countryside and the excellent company of all on the tour. The cycling was immense, challenging all of us on the tour with the long and arduous climbs and then providing thrills and big smiles as we sped down the long, winding descents with endless views stretching ahead of us. The first half of the trip is in the mountains but then descends to the coast for a day or two before climbing once again for more mountain scenery and finishing with a long descent to the final hotel, once more on the coast. A good variety of scenery and culture that provides an excellent taster of life in present day Albania as the country moves from its communist past and trys to adapt to modern day capitalism and all the challenges that this poses.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Undoubtedly the accomplishment of tackling and overcoming the serious climbs on this trip. All of the tour were experienced cyclists, yet none found climbing in the heat anything but a challenge. However, the splendour of the Albanian mountains all around us as we climbed eased the task of reaching the summits on every occasion and the camerarderie of the group was much in evidence throughout. Probably most inspirational were two of our travelling companions, 78 and 79 years old respectively, who tackled the climbs without complaint and earned our utmost respect.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dhimo was a good leader, calm and amusing, and he soon joined in with the generally humourous and irreverent conversation of the group. He organised snacks, group lunches and dinners every day which made everything very convenient and easy. Together with our driver it was a good team and added greatly to our overall enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't rely on credit cards - we did not find any hotel or restaurant that would take them. Exchange a small amount of money in the airport (the exchange rate was 155 Leke to the Pound) to last a few days in the mountains and then use an ATM in one of the larger towns. In practice, our leader paid for everything food related and we reimbursed him at the end of the week, but this may not be the same for every trip or tour leader in Albania. Note that the cycling really does have some challenging climbs and you will definitely benefit if you are cycle fit before arrival. There are three days of very serious climbing (the first day and the final two days - approx 5000, 5200 and 6750 feet respectively) but the views are spectacular and the downhills immense. Very enjoyable but tough. The panniers provided are excellent and our tour (all experienced cyclists) made good use of them, so a rucksack is not needed when cycling.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The quality of the food on this trip was always to a very good standard but, probably as should be expected in a country such as Albania, became quite "samey" - if you don't like most meals consisting mainly of goats cheese, simple salad and bread (this included many breakfasts, but fried eggs were added to this meal) then the cuisine may not be for you. Having said that, this is the staple food of the common man in Albania so we were very accepting of it. At the end of the tour when we reached larger towns, the dinners had greater choices. Our leader provided snacks from the tour kitty, and these supplemented our fuel intake.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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