Mountain roads provide us with the best views, mountain roads are also often quieter than other roads. The downside is that mountain roads are tough. And the Albanian mountain roads have been very tough. It has given us an amazing experience this week with nice reflective opportunities cycling through the mountains.
Leaving Berat we decided to choose a yellow road to cross through to Tepelene, because we had planned to go to Gjirokastra. Yellow roads usually are roads we avoid because of busy traffic, but not in Albania! We cycled the first kilometer out of Berat and were warned immediately that the road would change into a gravel road. We were okay with that, let the adventure begin! Well we weren’t really prepared for the amount of gravel kilometers, the steep ascents and descents and the amazing views that accompanied the road. The going was amazingly tough and slow but the experience was very special. We managed to cover 32 kilometers, which is not enough in our eyes for a full day of cycling, before camping on top of a mountain in the rain. It cleared up a little bit and we had amazing views to multiple sides, it was breath taking.
We made slow progress and didn’t know when the road would be better again. All of a sudden when we were in Buz the gravel turned into asphalt and we had a road again! The feeling is very different 🙂 We had decided to skip Gjirokastra but still head down to Tepelene so we could cycle up the Vjosa valley which was very pretty. At some points the river was almost colored turquoise. From Permet we were back on the highway. In this case a potholed, rough road, which was quite narrow and with one car every thirty minutes. For us it was a new experience to have roads like this in a European country. The road leading all the way up to Leskovik and Erseke is really an amazing road and we would recommend it to anyone who is on a cycling trip or road trip in Albania. Look at our photos for an impression of the scenery.