Durrës – IgoumenitsaDurrës – Igoumenitsa

Durrës – Igoumenitsa

Although Igoumenitsa is located in the north-western corner of Greece, most of this stage is actually located in Albania. Largely forgotten about by most tourists for the past few decades, Albania is increasingly becoming a popular holiday destination. Nevertheless, this section remains one the least developed of the Mediterranean’s European coastlines and is perfect for people that want to get off the beaten track.

The most northerly point of this stage is Albania’s second largest city, Durrës.  This lively port has much to divert the visitor, including the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans.  Travelling south, the first major attractions you will meet are the remains of ancient Apollonia (near Fier), which was once an important Ilyrian settlement.

Located just a short bike trip away is Vlorë, where the Declaration of Albanian Independence was proclaimed in 1912.  This small city was also briefly Albania’s capital but is now a quiet port in an attractive setting on the Bay of Vlorë surrounded by mountains.  Indeed to the south of Vlorë, the Ceraunian Range mountains meet the Ionian Sea creating a dramatic landscape, which can be a little challenging for less experienced cyclists.  As a reward, there are a number of small secluded beaches at the foot of the mountain range, which attract tourists during the summer months and have given the region the title of the Albanian Rivera.

From white sands of Sarandë’s beaches you will be able to choose which of the inviting detours on offer you would like to take.  Just offshore is the most northerly of Greece’s Ionian Islands, Corfu, which has much to offer visitors not least a UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town.  Inland meanwhile is the ancient town of Gjirokastër, which is overlooked by an imposing castle, and is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list.  Finally, closer to Sarandë itself, is a third UNESCO World Heritage site: the ancient Greek and Roman city of Buthrotum where there are some impressive ruins waiting to be explored.

From here there is just a short ride south to reach the Greek border.  The first city of note that you will visit is Igoumenitsa, which has an attractive promenade along part of its water front and has good ferry connections to Italy.

 

picture credit: godo godaj (flickr.com)

 

  • 26
    centuries Vlorë has been
    continuously inhabited
  • 2,044
    m height of
    Mount Çika
  • 19.8
    °C Average sea temp
    in Igoumenitsa

 

  • Vlore, Albania

    Vlorë is an Albanian town in the Adriatic coast. One of themost important economic and cultural cities in the country. Founded 26 centuries ago, it is famous for the landscapes along its cost.

  • Blue Eye, Albania

    The Blue Eye is a naturally formed water spring in the Delvinë District of Albania. A popular tourist attraction, the clear blue water of the river bubbles up from a stunning, more than fifty-metre-deep pool. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karst hole is. © SarahTz (Flickr)

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