Albania mountain bike tour, 8 days

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Albania mountain bike tour, 8 days

Environment

A tour by mountain bike is, after walking or horse-riding, the most ecologically friendly and sustainable way to travel. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, and are involved in several projects to develop mountain bike trails throughout north and south Albania in an effort to bring zero-emmission tourism to the less-developed and less-connected areas.

Due to the nature of the terrain in Albania, we do use our own four-wheel-drive vehicle on a couple of days to make riding distances manageable. This is a Swiss-registered 4x4, with a Swiss technical control certificate, so complies with some of the toughest emissions and pollution regulations in Europe.

When we stay with local families we try to educate them in plastic use and recycling - which thankfully is beginning to be introduced in Albania now. We try to moderate our own use of plastic, and leave any trash we create in cities rather than villages, where it has a better chance of being collected for recycling.

Community

The founding ethos of our mountain bike tours is to bring tourists to the more remote and less-visited areas of rural Albania. As well as bringing much-needed money to the villages, this also helps the locals build an understanding of tourism and the needs of foreign visitors, and encourages them to improve local tourist infrastructure. For instance, of one family restores their old stone house with the aim of accommodating tourists, you soon see the neighbours following suit!

For this tour, we are involved in helping the Hupi family restore their traditional stone kulla and develop it as an eco-hostel for trekkers and cyclists. The son, Luli, is trying to create one-day tours in the vicinity, with a focus on local cuisine and crafts, and Bulqize's chrome-mining heritage, and we are assisting him in grant applications and building awareness of what the Bulqize area has to offer visitors.

Our driver and support staff are all recruited locally in Albania.

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