North Macedonia and Albania are some of the least explored countries in Europe, abundant in natural landscapes and steeped in history. On this unique self guided cycling itinerary, you will ride through the very best of Europe’s beautiful unknown. This is a picturesque land of snow-capped peaks, translucent lakes and pristine national parks, dotted with ancient monasteries, medieval villages and the architectural legacies of the Greco-Roman and Ottoman empires. This cycling trip will take you through rolling hills and beautiful lakes, among which lake Ohrid (Europe’s oldest) and Lake Prespa, connected by underground waters flowing beneath the Galichitza mountain. Apart from the amazing natural landscapes, you will be able to enjoy the delicious local food, get to know the friendly local people as well as explore the many sites related to the history of the region, from the medieval monasteries of North Macedonia to the favorite place for summer vacation of Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha.
Itinerary and prices for Cycling in Albania and North Macedonia:
After landing in Ohrid Airport, the group will meet the local guide and be transferred to the shores of ancient Lake Ohrid, where they will stay in the beautiful city of Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Mavrovo National Park (transfer time 2 hours) where you will check-in at your hotel and go for your first bike ride around Lake Mavrovo. This is an easy ride with almost no elevation gain on low-traffic roads, taking you through several villages with shops and restaurants. Overnight in Mavrovo.
After breakfast we will cycle along beautiful secondary roads, mostly downhill along river Radika towards the lake of Debar. We will visit the monastery of Bigorski (John the Baptist), maintained by the 20 monks (entrance fee approximately 4 Euro, not included). In Debar you have various dining options within a walking distance. Overnight in Debar.
After breakfast our ride goes through a hilly landscape along lakes and rivers. After about 45 km you cycle past the entrance gate of Vevcani, from where the road starts to rise again and the bike ride ends at the fountains of Vevcani. You cycle straight to the terrace of the bistro below your accommodation for the next two days. From your accommodation, you have a wonderful view of the valley with Lake Ohrid. Overnight in Vevcani.
After breakfast we will visit Vevcani. Vevcani is an excellent place to start a beautiful circular bike ride through the vast valley. After a short descent, the route is almost flat and you pass villages with mostly an Albanian population. The route ends with an easy climb from the village of Veleste back to Vevcani. Overnight in Vevcani.
After breakfast our ride is easy and mainly descending through small Albanian villages. The biggest challenge for the day is a climb of about 5 km before the border crossing at Kafasan. After the descent, you will cycle along the banks of Lake Ohrid on a newly constructed 20-km cycle path to the town of Pogradec, located at the southernmost tip of Lake Ohrid. Overnight in Pogredec.
After breakfast our ride is the most challenging day with some tough climbs. Exiting Pogradec you get on the first short climb. The route then continues through a vast valley with numerous farming villages. The second part of this ride is over hilly terrain with several climbs towards Lake Prespa. After crossing the border with North Macedonia, you will cycle along orchards to the hotel in Otesevo. Overnight in Otesevo.
After breakfst we will take a walk along the lake, with a little luck you can spot pelicans. Today’s ride will be the highlight of this cycling holiday. You will cycle from Lake Prespa through the National Park Galichitza to Lake Ohrid. These two lakes are connected through underground waters and separated by Mount Galicica. The top of this mountain is 1,600 metres, the climb is long but not steep. The road runs for 15 km at 5% incline on average over a small paved road, through a sea of greenery. Along the way, a spectacular view unfolds over the bay where you started today. After a long descent with stunning views at Lake Ohrid, you will reach your hotel at Sveti Naum. Mount Galicica is also part of a protected natural area with unique flora and fauna. At the top, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of mountain ranges and Lake Ohrid. Your overnight location on Lake Ohrid is the beautiful 9th-century monastery of Sveti Naum, which now operates also as a hotel.
After breakfast is the last ride of your holiday brings you back to Ohrid along the eastern shores of the lake. After about 15 km you will pass the Bay of Bones: a replica of a settlement on the water from the Bronze Age, definitely worth a visit. At the end of the ride you will cycle through the fertile hinterland of Ohrid with its wide variety of fruit orchards. Overnight in Ohrid.
Enjoy free time in Ohrid until we transfer to the airport. End of our service.
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