Mountain bike tour in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia

 

3 COUNTRIES, 2 WHEELS, 1 WEEK: ALL ON OUR MOUNTAIN BIKE TOUR ALBANIA, NORTH MACEDONIA & KOSOVO

This tour is perfect for any avid mountain biker who wants to be among the first to explore this spectacular region and experience at first hand the hospitality that Macedonians and Albanians are famous for.  With moderate and challanging singletrack rides in an environment completely out of tourism map and gaining an understanding of the living conditions in Albania’s highest region.

The itinerary covers the historical capital of Kosovo, Prizren where we visit a Serbian enclave and family winery, much more rural villages of Albania where we sleep and eat in simple homestays and experience the hospitality at first hand, on the foot of the highest mountain bordering Albania and Macedonia, as well as one of the as well as one of the best regions to ride in Macedonia, Mavrovo National Park.

Rides are of a duration of 5-6 hours on average, but for every day transport by car is available for those preferring to take a rest. Accommodation is in simple homestays in the villages and comfortable hotels in towns.

Trip duration 8 days
average riding time: 3-6 hours
skill level: 3 / 5 & fitness level: 6/7
Comfort level basic

“High Scardus MTB week” Highlights

  • best natural singletracks in the region
  • be among the first to explore the area & experience true hospitality
  • sleep in rural homestays and understand their way of living
  • enjoying fresh, local dairy products, honey, vegetables and home-made raki

TOUR PRICE

We welcome solo travellers on our trips and if you are happy to share a room with another solo rider of the same sex you do not need to add the single supplement. If, however, you wish to have a room by yourself, a single supplement of €85 will be payable.

Price includes:

  • English speaking expert mountain bike guide(s) for the duration of the trip
  • Seven nights’ accommodation
  • All breakfasts throughout tour, lunches (usually packed) and dinners
  • All ground costs
  • Back-up vehicles and luggage/ bike transfer (as required) for duration of your mountain bike tour in Albania, Kosoovo and Macedonia
  • All group safety equipment
  • Airport/ Hotel recommended hotel pick-up on day 1 and drop-off on day 8 of tour (specified times apply)

    Price excludes:

  • Flights
  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Bike rental – we can arrange rental of a limited number of  full suspension bike at a cost of €320 for the week
  • Tips in restaurants and hotels
  • Alcoholic/ non-alcoholic beverages
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Any other items not mentioned as included

 ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE DETAILS

Your mountain bike tour will start on day 1 with a pickup at the Zbulo  recommended hotel in Tirana/Prishtina or at the airport of Pristina. Your guide and/or driver will meet you in the arrivals area of Pristina Airport, or the hotel lobby and he/she will be holding a Zbulo!-Discover Albania sign. We can also pick you up from Skopje Airport/hotel but a fee of €50/transfer will apply. 

The trip will end back at Pristina Airport on day 8.

We would ask you to arrive at Pristina no later than 12 noon on the first day, and to arrange flights home no earlier than 13:00, if possible.

Ideally, you should arrive in Pristina the day before the tour start date, to allow for any flight/ luggage delays before the start of our mountain bike tour in The Balkans. If you arrive in Tirana, prepare for an early start towards Prizren, so a day prior the tour start is essential. If you arrive in Skopje, make sure to arrive a day/two prior the tour start or not latter than 12 noon. 

Once you have arranged your flight, please let us know about your flight details and if you are not sure which flight to take, we are happy to advise. 

On arrival we will transfer you by private shuttle to our first location in Prizren, about 90 minutes’ drive from the airport of Pristina, and close to the Sharr Mountains National Park.

PREPARING YOURSELF FOR THE TOUR

The ideal bike for our mountain bike tour is a good quality full-suspension mountain bike with around 140mm of travel front and rear. We can arrange hire of a good quality full-suspension mountain bike for the duration of your trip but we should know in advance as we have only a limited number.

To get the most out of your mountain bike tour you should plan some training in advance of your tour, and it is essential that you ensure that your bike has been properly serviced before the trip. Some training would be essential to make the most out of the challenging natural single tracks of the region.  

TRAVEL INSURANCE 

You are required as a condition of booking to be insured against medical and personal accident risks. In this policy you must include cover for mountain biking and we recommend that you take out a policy which covers cancellation and baggage.

Today we allow time for everybody to arrive at the hotel in Prizren and build our bikes. Ottoman architecture dominates the cityscape on this day, and the Sinan Pasha Mosque adorns the highest minaret in the Balkans. After briefing time allowing we can visit the town further before our first traditional dinner.

After breakfast at our hotel a short transfer (30km/1h) takes us to Budakove where we start our first warm up ride and after a short climb we rich the almost a level ridge. Through the woods we enjoy the first trails crafted by the local enduro riders all the way to the village of Mushtishte. A short transfer takes us to the Serbian enclave Velika Hoca embedded in vineyards – we are invited by the friendly winemaker to test the wine and have lunch. After lunch at the family homestead we drive back to Prizren and in the evening we would have time to try some more local cusine and explore the historical capital of the country. Overnight at the same comfortable hotel in central town.

Ride details

Effective riding: 3:30 h
Distance: 22 km
Ascending: 750 m
Descending: 1400 m

A long day ahead awaits us, along the Kosovar-Albanian border where some bunkers remind us for the hevely protected & isolited Albania during the communist regime. We start the ride near Shishtavec and this area in both sides of the border is populated by the Gorani community. Now separated by 20th century borders, the formerly nomadic Slavic Muslim minority speaks a Bulgarian dialect and is spread across all three countries. For most of the day we’re following the high ridge line that forms the border and have the opportunity to climb a minor peak or two before starting our beautiful downhill track over varied ground looking down on the villages by the canyon of Caje. We sleep in a village simple homestay.

Ride details

Effective riding: 5 h
Distance: 30 km
Ascending: 1250 m
Descending: 1650 m

From our guesthouse we start riding initially on a dirt road and then on single track which are made only for cattle to cross accross to the other village. After some riding and pushing we will find ourselvs in par with the highest peak of Albania and Macedonia. Our descend will be one of the best in the tour to the village of Radomire, a starting point for most of those who are aiming the highest peak in the country. After a long day is time to seat in the veranda of our host and watch the locals return with their cattle back in the village after a long day. Overnight in a very simple mountain hotel where locals gather in the evening to watch football, chat and chain smoke.

Ride details

Effective riding: 5-6 h
Distance: 26 km
Ascending: 1400 m
Descending: 1200 m

Today we tackle one of the most difficult climbs, initially through pastures in the food of Mt. Korab and then crossing over Mt. Grama (some pushing and carrying involved, about 1.5h). We enjoy the views from the top of our pass and stop for lunch before tackling our downhill track, initially on a rocky path and than through grassland towards a small town overlooking the valley where Peshkopi town is, our destination for today. We continue on dirt roads and shortcuting to add to the excitement with footpaths all the way to the hotel.

Ride details

Effective walking: 6 h
Distance: 32 km
Ascending: 1500 m
Descending: 2100 m

After a few strenous rides, today we head for a shorter ride, crossing Drin river we start climbing on the other side of the mountains we have been riding the other days. We take the opportunity for a stop in a local family in absence of bars in this remote village to gain some energy with local raki and coffee before we start the descend on smooth ground towards Drin valley. After the ride we take a short transfer to Mavrovo National Park in Macedonia (1h/45km)

Ride details

Effective walking: 3:30 h
Distance: 25 km
Ascending: 550 m
Descending: 550 m

From our hotel we start riding on the high plateu of Mavrovo National Park – the prime area for outdoors in the country. For lunch we stop in the mountain village of Galičnik, one of the two biggest and oldest Macedonian villages in the region with a well-preserved traditional architecture.  A short transfer takes us to the starting point of the 2nd stage of the day with some exiting single track through the woods back to the same hotel in Mavrovo.

Ride details

Effective riding: 6 h
Distance: 57 km
Ascending: 1100 m
Descending: 1300 m

  • Farewell coffee and departure to Skopje, Pristina and afterwards Tirana.

Fitness level:

Is this for me?
You can handle rocky terrain and narrow trails, and have excellent bike handling skills. You’re comfortable and confident riding all-mountain trails with long, technical descents. You don’t mind the odd long day if it gets you to a spectacular and remote place that few other visitors will see. You’re not afraid to get out of your comfort zone and experience a totally different and fascinating culture.

Not into all-mountain/trail riding, check with us for exciting cross country MTB tours options in Peaks of the Balkans and through Albanian Riviera.

Level 6/7

  • You have an excellent level of bike fitness, exercising four or five times every week throughout the year, for at least an hour at a time
  • You are comfortable mountain biking up to six hours a day at a moderate pace, with snack and photo stops, for four or more consecutive days
  • You can tackle several serious climbs a day, up to 600 metres each

Skill level:

Strong intermediate (3+/5)

  • You are generally comfortable riding most types of terrain in different conditions: singletrack, double track, muddy, dry, loose, bedrock…
  • You can brake, use gears and corner instinctively
  • You’ll have a go on moderate technical features, such as small rock gardens, small drops and steeper sections, but may get off and walk certain technical features
  • You ride more than once a week throughout your biking season
  • And the ‘strong’ part of ‘Intermediate’ means that you will be aiming to tackle more of those moderate technical features

Can you tailor it for intermediate skill level and level 5 of fitness? Sure, we will swap a few of the rides with less challenging ones, with less bike pushing and no bike carrying at all.

tour price per person is 1.050€
group size 4-10 persons

Tour dates:
27.07 – 03.08. 2019 – available

13.06 – 20.06. 2020 – available 

11.07 – 18.07. 2020 – available 

08.08 – 15.08. 2020 – available 

If the minimum number of participants (4 persons) isn’t reached a month before departure, a small group fee will be charged of 100€/person. All the dates are guaranteed over the condition above. One can cancel without a fee a month before departure. 

Want to organize your private departure?Ask us for a proposal for your trip and ride of the beaten trails in High Scardus Trail with your group. 

How much? 8-day trip with 6-10 riders from €1050 p.p. including guide, accommodation, transport & meals. With 4-5 riders a supplement of €100 applies and with 2-3 riders a supplement of €300.

When? June – September

How to get there? Fly to Pristina, Tirana or Skopje.

Budget flights from the Germany, Switzerland, the UK and Netherlands: