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Albania - Accursed Mountains (with flight)
30th August 2019 - 13th September 2019 (15 days)
In 2014 the New York Times rated Albania 4th among 50 recommended destinations and in 2011 Lonely Planet ranked it number 1. Visit Albania as it emerges from its political constraints. This is a new tour starting in Tirana. After cycling to Skhoder, take the Koman ferry into the heart of the Accursed Mountains before heading south to the World Heritage town of Ohrid in Macedonia. The route continues south alongside beautiful Prespa Lake before heading west to the southern tip of Lake Ohrid and the quiet resort of Tushemist in Albania. There will be the opportunity to visit Saint Naum monestary close by. After cycling north alongside the western shore of Lake Ohrid, the route will continue via Elbasan to Berati, another World Heritage site and reputably the most beautiful town in Albania. Suitable for fit cyclists able to cycle up to 90km. Fly London Gatwick/Tirana (places limited).
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Pat and John Ashwell
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Air
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 03251
Friday 30th August
Fly from London Gatwick (South) to Nënë Tereza Tirana on British Airways flight BA2648, departing at 0810, arriving 1210. Vehicle transfer to hotel in Tirana. Assemble bikes. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 31st August
Vehicle transfer to Reps. 85km. Cycle to Puka. 48km (1,149m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Sunday 1st September
Cycle to Shkoder. 56km (428m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Monday 2nd September
Vehicle transfer to Komani Gorge. Spectacular ferry ride to Fierze. Cycle to Dardhe. 37km (1,311m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 3rd September
Cycle to Kukes. 97km (2,213m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 4th September
Cycle to Peshkopi. 73km (1,607m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 5th September
Cycle to Ohrid in Macedonia. 90km (1,048m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Friday 6th September
Day at leisure in Ohrid, a World Heritage Site.
Saturday 7th September
Cycle to Oteshevo. 54km (110m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Sunday 8th September
Cycle to Tushemisht, near Pogradec (Albania). 72km (836m total ascent). Optional cycle ride to nearby Monastery of Saint Naum (in Macedonia) and return to Tushemisht. 12km (120m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Monday 9th September
Cycle to Ballkan Resort, midway between Librazard and Elbasan. 74km (775m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 10th September
Cycle to Berati, reputably the most beautiful town in Albania. 78km (620m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Wednesday 11th September
Optional out and back ride to Polican. 46km (701m total ascent). Afternoon at leisure.
Thursday 12th September
Transfer to hotel in Tirana. Pack bikes for return journey to UK. Afternoon at leisure to explore Tirana. Stay 1 night.
Friday 13th September
Vehicle transfer to Nënë Tereza Tirana airport for British Airways flight BA2649 to London Gatwick (South), departing 1300, arriving 1510 where the tour ends.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will be in 2- to 4-star hotels of the Albanian Tourist Board grading system with ensuite facilities, based on two people sharing. 14 breakfasts and 12 evening meals are included. A picnic or light lunch is included on all cycling days. Vegetarian/fish meals may be available if requested.
Transport will be provided for the transfer of the group and bikes from Nënë Tereza Airport to the centre of Tirana, from Tirana to the start of the cycling, from Skhoder to the ferry at Koman, from Berati to Tirana and from Tirana to Nënë Tereza airport at the end of the tour. There will be a support vehicle for luggage, capable of carrying up to three riders and bikes if required, and a large trailer for carrying all bikes to the start of the tour and to Koman.
Passports, Visa & Health
EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa.
There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card. You should contact your doctor at least 3 months prior to travel to obtain the latest advice to travellers.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, Travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £1,630 is based on a minimum number of 16 participants taking part in the tour and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 euro to £1 sterling (based on exchange rates published on www.x- rates.com on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). If there are insufficient bookings by 21st June 2019 we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the tour may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- Return flights between Gatwick and Nene Teraza airport, Tirana
- 14 nights hotel, sharing room
- 14 breakfasts and 12 evening meals
- Picnic or light lunch on all cycling days
- Vehicle transfers from Nene Teraza airport to Tirana/return, from Tirana to the start of the cycling, from Skhoder to Koman ferry and from Berati to Tirana
- Support vehicle with English speaking driver/guide to carry luggage and up to 3 riders and bikes if required
- CTC Cycling Holidays and Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from London Gatwick
- Evening meal on two nights
- Lunches on non-cycling days or refreshments at morning/afternoon stops
- Gratuities for support crew
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel insurance
A deposit of £165 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £1,465 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 21st June 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 21st June 2019
From 21st June 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
The cycling starts to the west of Albania's capital city, Tirana, and for the first two days heads west to Skhoder before taking a short vehicle transfer to Koman and one of the world's great boat trips to Fierze, a small town in the heart of the Accursed Mountains. Cycling south through Dardhe and Peshkopi leads into Macedonia where two nights are spent in Ohrid, a World Heritage Site before cycling alongside Great and Small Prespa Lakes and crossing back into Albania.
After spending an evening at Tushemisht, a small lakeside resort on the banks of Lake Ohrid, the route continues alongside the west coast of the lake, visiting the interesting village of Lin on the way, and into an impressive gorge en route to the riverside Ballkan resort, midway between Librazard and Elbasan. From here, cycle to Berati, reputably the most beautiful town in Albania with its castle, university and numerous Ottoman houses. There will be time for sightseeing and an optional last cycle ride into the hills and valleys to the south of Berati before returning by vehicle to Tirana.
Rides & Rest Days
This tour is classified as challenging and suitable for experienced touring cyclists capable of riding up to 90kms per day. Roads are sealed and generally in good condition, but there are some rough stretches. On several days there are demanding climbs, but the distances are generally modest, and a support vehicle will carry all luggage and provide assistance to tired riders if requested. It is not practical to ride as one group, and you are free to progress at your own speed, regrouping occasionally throughout the day. There will be rest days in Ohrid and Berati (with optional cycling).
GPS files and detailed route instructions will be provided approximately 3 weeks prior to the start of the tour.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will be in 2- to 4-star hotels of the Albanian and Macedonian Tourist Board grading systems. Adequate breakfasts are provided at the accommodation. Lunches will be picnics or at local restaurants. Evening meals are traditionally meat based, but vegetarian food is also available on request (in advance). Desserts are not normally served.
British Airways operate the only direct flights from the UK to Tirana, and they have limited the number of bikes carried on these flights to 15. As your Tour Managers will be travelling on these flights there will be 13 group seats available with bikes. Any further bookings will be sold either with flights from Gatwick without bikes or ‘land only’ (hire bikes are available from the agent in Tirana).
The maximum number of participants will be 18 excluding the Tour Managers.
Weather & Clothing
At this time of year the weather should be sunny and warm, with cool early mornings and temperatures dropping rapidly at night in the mountains as the sun goes down. Rain or thunder storms are possible in the mountains. It is recommended you take a fleece and long trousers for evenings and waterproof cycling jacket and gloves in case of rain. Sunscreen is essential, as is a covering for your head.
Cycles & Equipment
Touring bikes, lightweight mountain bikes or hybrid bikes will all be suitable if geared for long climbs. Ensure that your bike is well maintained and that you have tools and spares for simple roadside adjustments and puncture repairs. You will not need to carry luggage as this will be transferred, but a bar bag, rack pack or saddlebag will be needed for wet weather gear, camera and snacks etc. Mudguards are optional. Lights are not required.
Giant Rove and Giant Roam bikes are available for hire directly from the agent in Tirana. These bikes are well maintained and the gearing is suitable for the terrain.
British Airways’ current free checked-in baggage allowance is one bag (or bike) with a maximum weight of 23kgs. Your bike must be properly boxed or bagged, handlebars turned, pedals removed and tyres deflated. If you are taking an additional checked-in bag, there is a charge of £35 each way (payable at the check-in desk at Gatwick - price correct as at 1 October 2018). You will be able to avoid this cost if you pack some items with your bike and travel with hand luggage only. The current free cabin baggage allowance is 23kg, up to a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, together with one personal bag up to 40cm x 30cm x 15cm. The cost of an extra checked-in bag is not included in the tour price.
Maps & Guides
Reise Know-How Veriag Map - ISBN-10: 3831772673 has been used when planning this tour. Detailed route sheets, daily profiles and gpx tracks for Garmins will be provided. Bradt Travel Guide (Albania – ISBN-13 978 1 84162 387 0) is a useful source of information.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Before booking you should check the Foreign Office 'Travel Advice by Country' at www.fco.gov.uk or on 0845 850 2829.
In Albania the currency is the Lek (approximately 150 Lek = £1). Euros are accepted in some places. There are ATM's in Tirana and towns on the route. Credit cards are not always accepted.
In Macedonia the official currency is the denar (MKD) where credit cards are accepted in most hotels and shops, and ATMs increasingly accept international bank cards. You will not be able to exchange Scottish and Northern Irish bank notes.