Start Shkoder in Northern Albania. Those on the group flight 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*
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*
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*
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*
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*
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*
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 flight will be transferred to Tirana Airport (approx. 3hrs drive).
* 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 Cycling in Albania * E-bike hire available on request
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.
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