- Albania by Bike
- Getting There
- Bike Rental and Shops
- Terrain and Trails
- Safety and Traffic
- Tours and Routes
- Weather and Best Time to Visit
- Additional Considerations
- Recommended Regions
- Popular Trails
- Ride with Locals
Albania by Bike
Mountain biking in Albania offers a thrilling and diverse experience for adventure seekers. The country’s landscapes, ranging from stunning coastlines to snow-covered mountains, make it an ideal destination for cyclists of all levels.
- By Plane: Albania is easily accessible by plane from Europe. Airlines like Wizzair have direct connections to Tirana from various European cities. Bringing a bicycle on a plane typically costs around 40 euros with Wizzair.
- By Ferry: Ferries from Italy to Albania are available, with prices that include bike transport of around 60 euros.
Bike Rental and Shops
- Rental: If you don’t have your bike, you can rent one in major towns and cities in Albania. Rental options include electric, mountain, road, and kids’ bikes. For example, Cycle Albania offers Giant hybrid bikes with a pre-installed pannier rack for 15 euros daily.
- Shops: In Tirana, Rruga Qemal Stafa Street has several bike shops where you can find spare parts or a box to pack your bicycle for the flight.
Terrain and Trails
With over 70% mountains, Albania delivers endless off-road possibilities. The northern Albanian Alps and Accursed Mountains serve up rugged peaks and dizzying ridge rides with knife-edge drops. Test your technical handling picking through the overgrown singletracks of dense central forests past abandoned monasteries. In the south, canyon trails will leave your arms aching before you reach sun-drenched coastal olive groves.
Popular destinations for mountain biking include Valbona Valley National Park, the Albanian Alps, and the Tomorr Mountain Range.Some beautiful mountain biking trails can be explored in areas like Berat and along the Osumi valley.
Safety and Traffic
Tours and Routes
Several tour operators offer guided cycling tours, ranging from day trips to multi-day adventures across various landscapes. Ride Albania organizes exclusive private mountain bike day tours in the Albanian, Kosova, and Macedonian mountains, complete with quality rental bikes and 4×4 assistance vehicles.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Albania’s Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal destination for cycling holidays. The best time to visit is from April to June and September to October. July and August can be extremely hot, making cycling challenging.
Albania offers a well-developed network of guesthouses, hotels, and hostels, with accommodation prices ranging from 5 to 20 euros. Wild camping is legal and uncomplicated in Albania, especially in the mountains.
- Currency: The local currency is Albanian Lek (LEK), and euros are also accepted in many places. It’s advisable to carry cash, especially in rural areas.
- Internet: Local sim cards are available with reasonable data plans.
- Food: Albania offers a variety of food options, including vegetarian-friendly choices. Small bakeries and local cuisine are highlights.
- Stray Dogs: While they are common, they are generally not aggressive. However, carrying an air horn or pepper spray might be advisable for protection.
- Tirana: With over 270 kilometers of trails, Tirana is an ideal location for bike exploration. Tucked behind Tirana’s colorful blocks of communist-era buildings and vibrant street murals lies a wooded wonderland crisscrossed by kicky singletracks offering city cyclists an escape into nature. There is no need to drive for hours to find rugged alpine terrain when these nimble trails deliver adventure in Albania’s capital.
- Shkoder – Theth (through Thore Pass): Offers breathtaking views of the Accursed Mountains and the Albanian Alps.
- Berat – Osum Canyon – Permet: A route that passes through spectacular canyons and challenging mountain roads.
- Permet – Korce – Lake Prespa – Lake Ohrid: Showcases the beauty of the Vjosa River and the Gramos mountains.
Still relatively untouched by mass tourism, Albania offers some of the most exhilarating and picturesque mountain biking trails.
The Urban Trails of Tirana
- Arbanë-Shijon Trail: A 36.7 km moderate ride, perfect for experiencing the diverse landscapes around Albania’s capital.
- Bunkers Trail: Spanning 10.6 km, this moderate trail takes you past historical bunkers, blending adventure with a history lesson.
Berat – The City of a Thousand Windows
- Berat – MALINAT – Berat: A 41 km moderate trail that winds through the hilly countryside and vineyards and along the Osumi valley, offering a mix of natural beauty and cultural exploration.
- Lepushe Trail: A scenic and challenging trail for experienced bikers looking for an adventure in Albania’s dramatic northern landscape.
- Arbri Cycling Route: A 561.7 km difficult route, not for the faint-hearted, offering an extensive tour through northern Albania’s rugged terrain.
The Historic Shkodër
- Taraboshi MTB Trail: Located in Shkodër, this moderate trail is popular among bikers for its balanced mix of challenge and scenic beauty.
Ride with Locals
The best views might come from local riding clubs. Join their weekly rides or buy them an espresso to share hidden high-country routes where only foxes and eagles tread. Their hand-drawn maps full of faded tracks might not make sense at first. But you’ll soon bond over post-ride raki toasts as you recount getting lost and found again on Albania’s singletracks.