Cycle Macedonia & Northern Albania
Cycle through Macedonia and North Albania, the last hidden gems of Europe.
Reviews 9 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Small Group
The border lands of Northern Albania and Western Macedonia are truly one of the last hidden gems of Europe. Sweeping gorges are carved by crystal blue waters that flow into tranquil lakes, while rocky peaks and plateaux rise high above the lush green landscape. Ancient villages, rarely visited by tourists nestle themselves into the valleys, some of which retain a way of life that has been unchanged for centuries. Our carefully chosen route heads through some of the best scenery these fascinating countries have to offer, complimented with some really exciting cycling that equally challenges and rewards.
* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners included
* 5 nights hotels, 2 nights guesthouses
* Airport Transfers (at designated times)
* Local bike rental
Group normally 4 to 16, plus local cycling leader and driver. Min age 16 yrs
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Cycle along the Black Drin Valley
- Enjoy spectacular scenery at Komani Lake
- Visit the UNESCO town of Ohrid
- Trip can be combined with Cycling in Albania
Start Shkoder in Northern Albania
Start Shkoder in Northern Albania. Those on the group transfer will be met at the airport and transferred to Shkoder, one of the oldest and most historic cities in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic center (approx. 1.5hrs drive). Please note that due to the remoteness of this tour, Shkoder is a good opportunity to make any last minute purchases, such as bike equipment or items you may have forgotten to bring with you.*Comfortable Hotel*
Transfer to Komani Lake; ferry ride from Komani to Fierze (3hrs). Cycle through gorges, forests and lakes to Dardhe
After an early transfer to Komani we take a ferry to Fierze across the beautiful Komani Lake (which takes about 3 hours). The ferry ride allows you to take in the spectacular scenery, winding its way between high cliffs and towering peaks. From here we get on our bikes and the climbing begins as we ascend from the lake up to a high plateau. Following the line of an ancient trade route, along which the Romans built one of their great arterial roads, the Via Publica, we cycle up through spectacular gorges, forests and lakes towards Dardhe.Cycle approx. 40km, ascent 1175m, descent 500m.*Standard Hotel*
Cycle along spectacular mountain roads with high peaks on your left and Fierze lake 800m below on your right; continue to Kukes
Today we will cycle one of the most spectacular roads in Albania with high mountain peaks on your left and Fierza Lake, 800m down on your right. We continue along Fierza Lake until we reach the dam, which is part of a huge hydro-electric system constructed in the 1970’s.Cycle approx. 81km, ascent 1500m, descent 1950m.*Comfortable Hotel*
Ride to Peshkopi along the Black Drin Valley
Today we cycle along the Black Drin Valley from Kukes to Peshkopi, following the river. The Black Drin River originates at Lake Ohrid and meets with the White Drin River at Kukes. This is the toughest day of the trip and includes a 12km climb.Cycle approx. 73km, ascent 2000m, descent 1700m.*Comfortable Hotel*
Cross the border into Macedonia and on to the UNESCO town of Ohrid; afternoon city tour
After riding past farms and villages our route passes over into Macedonia. We then continue through the Macedonian countryside until we reach the beautiful UNESCO town of Ohrid. After checking in to the hotel we will head out on a city tour through the town famed for its 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Ohrid itself is situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, with winding cobbled streets and traditional Macedonian architecture that you will find in the old town. There is the option to take a city tour with a local guide for approximately €3 per person (price dependent on the size of the group).Cycle approx. 93km, ascent 900m, descent 900m.*Comfortable Hotel*
Climb to rocky plateau above Ohrid; ride over passes before descending to Big Prespa Lake in Stenje
In the morning we start cycling along the lake before another 12km climb to a rocky plateau with wonderful views of Lake Ohrid. We then have a long descent to the shores of Lake Prespa, where there’s time for a swim.Cycle approx. 52km, ascent 1350m, descent 1200m.*Standard Hotel*
Cycle along the shores of the lake to Small Prespa Lake, bordering Albania, Greece and Macedonia; crossing the border back into Albania, pass Lake Ohrid en route to Pogradec
Our route today follows the shores of the larger Prespa Lake and also the smaller Prespa Lake that borders three countries (Albania, Macedonia and Greece). Once past these lakes on the southern side we reach Lake Ohrid and eventually Pogradec in Albania. There is then a chance for a relaxing afternoon at the bay in front of the hotel.Cycle approx. 75km, ascent 900m, descent 1050m.*Comfortable Hotel*
End Pogradec. Those on the group transfer will be transferred to Tirana Airport (approx. 3hrs drive).
Hotels & Guesthouses
Hotels & Guesthouses
Throughout the tour we stay in comfortable hotels and guesthouses which are in prime locations. All rooms have en suite facilities. We use locally run accommodation (some are family-run), serving locally sourced produce from the nearby farmers as much as possible. We are usually surrounded by nature. In Dardhe, we stay in the beautiful Hotel Alpin, high in the mountains amidst the forests. In Stenje we stay at Lake Prespa in a family-run hotel. While in Ohrid and Pogradec, our hotels are located on the shores of Lake Ohrid.
Single rooms are available in the hotels for a supplement. Please note, single rooms may not be available in the guest houses.
All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 2 dinners included.
Under 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. On some days lunches are picnic style eaten en route outside, whereas on other days we will eat in restaurants. Meat dishes are often goat or lamb, with fish dishes ranging from trout to endemic species from Lake Ohrid. Courses often come in mezze form complimented with a variety of vegetables and salad, freshly baked bread, homemade cheeses and local wines. In the cities there are a number of restaurants to choose from with an array of Mediterranean cuisine. In Macedonia you will find a similar Balkan cuisine that reflects its Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. A typical Macedonian dish is tavce gravce, a baked dish of beans, onions red peppers and parsley. It’s a delicious dish worth trying.
This trip is classified ‘Road’
Activity Level: 5 (Challenging)
No. of days cycling: 6
Vehicle Support: 100% (with limited seats)
Terrain and route: 100% tarmac, where some sections are in poor condition. The terrain is undulating with some long, steep climbs and descents. We aim to use quiet roads where possible, but occasionally we need to pass busier sections. Distances per day vary from 40km to 93km (25 miles to 58 miles). Previous cycling experience is essential and a good level of fitness is required. The itinerary is physically challenging, particularly when it is a hot day.