Walking Holiday In Albania

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Albania is perhaps one of the last great off the beaten track places to be found for trekking in Europe. The scenery of Albania is simply stunning and the Highlander locals are friendly and very hospitable. Sometimes for genuine travel experiences you have to go to far- places like the Himalayas, however trekking in Albania is a genuine revelation.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Discovery, Family, Guided Tours, Wildlife
    • Activity Level Challenging
    All about the Walking Holiday In Albania.

    Albania is perhaps one of the last great off the beaten track places to be found for trekking in Europe. The scenery of Albania is simply stunning and the Highlander locals are friendly and very hospitable. Sometimes for genuine travel experiences you have to go to far- places like the Himalayas, however trekking in Albania is a genuine revelation.

    Day 1: Mother Teresa Airport – Shkodra

    Meet at airport with our guide and drive for about 1 hour 45 minutes to Shkodra the most important town in the North of Albania. Shkodra was the capital of an important Illyrian Kingdom in the 3rd century BC, with its centre where the Rozafa fortress is situated today upon entry into the modern city. Shkodra was also the centre of the Roman Catholic minority in Albania due to its traditional centuries old ties with Venice. In fact Italian architecture is present also in the buildings of the beginning of the 20th century. We will take a walk in the newly renovated pedestrian area of Italian and Austrian architecture influences, testimony to this town historic links with both these countries. Overnight in Shkodra. (Dinner can be had at its wonderful traditional stone restaurant).

    Day 2: Shkoder – Theth

    After breakfast we drive towards to Thethi, before starting to climb through stunning Limestone Mountains. Once the road reaches Boga village, we twist and turn past breathtaking scenery and arrive at the mountain village of Theth in the middle of the Thethi National Park, passing through the neck of Thore. After unloading our discovery equipment we will take a familiarization tour of the village lasting between 3-5 hours, staring with the church of Thethi originally built in 1892, rebuilt and reroofed in 2005. Roughly opposite the church across a field is the “Kulla e ngujimit” or “Lock-in Tower” which can be seen only from outside, testimony to a system of rigid and cruel codes to the modern visitors, but which has regulated an isolated lifestyle in these far away mountains, for centuries. Another inaccessible monument inside, the old water-mill, situated just below the tower was used by the locals to grind corn. Then we walk up the mill, following a footpath leading to the bridge of Gerla which hangs more than 30metres above Thethi canyon which wide only 2 metres is providing a spectacular site. At the wonderful Grunasi waterfall the waters plunges tens of meter’s into a deep pool, and its crystal clear water is so cold that any thoughts of a swim will be quickly dispelled, the moment it reaches your ankles. Overnight at local guest house in Theth village.

    Day 3: Theth – Valbona (no driving)

    After breakfast walk to Valbona through some of the wildest scenery into the Tropoje District, known as the home of Albanian folk culture. We walk for about 8 hours through forests and alpine pastures and from Valbona pass (1950m), we take a few moments to enjoy the spectacular views down Valbona and Theth Valley. As we pass Valbona River, some beautiful waterfalls and the quaint village of Rragam, our luggage is transported by horse to the next guesthouse. The National Park of Valbona valley is situated 30 kilometers north-west of the town of Bajram Curri. It has a surface of about 8,000 hectares. This park is considered a miracle of the Albanian Alps offering an amazing diversity in shapes, forms, colors, flora and fauna. The forests and pastures, the rivers and alpine lakes, the miscellaneous flowers, the characteristic houses and the hospitality of the inhabitants altogether create a unique place which can be explored on different levels. Our journey of today will provide you with plenty of material to satisfy your senses and brag about to friends and family. During the communism period , only members of the government, locals and authorized forest technicians and a handful of important visitors from foreign countries with which Albania had political relations – such as Russia, Bulgaria, Poland – were allowed to enter this region needed a special authorization from the government. Luckily the beauty of Valbona is nowadays available for all to explore and respect. Overnight at Hotel Margjeka or Local Guest House

    Day 4: Valbona

    After breakfast ,Our route today takes us through beech and pine forests down Rosi Peak and leads us onto the “White Circle”, where we enjoy panoramic views across the peaks and valleys of the Albanian Alps (approx. 6 hours walk). Valbona Valley is part of Tropoja district which in turn falls under the Albanian Alps with numerous mountains reaching a height of above 2,000 meters. There are mountainous massifs like the Eastern Block of Jezerca (its peak is 2,694 meters high). The Block of Maja e Hekurave (2,561 m) is distinguished for its asymmetric slopes and the peak which has a conical form. Shkelzeni peak (2,407 m) lies among the tectonic formations and has a pyramidal shape. The ridge is covered with forests of oaks, beech wood and some conifers up to the carbonic slopes whereas on the top there are some alpine pastures. Overnight at local guest house.

    Day 5: Valbona – Koman Lake – Kruja

    An after breakfast  departure to take the Koman Lake ferry. A spectacular boat trip through the artificial lake created by the hydro power stations built on Drin River. The depth of the lake has given it an opal green colour while the surrounding mountains have created the magnificent effect of a fjord. After the trip ends we drive toward Kruja, the Albanian center of resistance against the Ottoman invasion led by the Albanian National Hero, Scanderbeg. He kept the Ottomans engaged in Albanian territories for 25 years during the 15th century, thus hampering their progress north into Western Europe. This was recognized by the pope of the time who named Scanderbeg “Athleta Christi” translated Champion of Christ. Visits the Scanderbeg museum where we gain an incredible amount of knowledge about Albanian history, and also Kruja’s Ottoman bazaar, the best place in Albania to find handmade, traditional crafts. Overnight in Hotel Panorama Kruja. Possibility for group tours to organize a Albanian Night with live folk music show.

    Day 6: Kruja – Tirana – Kepi Rodonit – Lalzi Bay.

    After breakfast drive to Tirana  we begin with a sightseeing tour  Albania’s lively capital, Tirana. We visit the National Historical Museum, the early 19th century Ethem Bey Mosque, and the National Gallery. Continue with the new opened Atonic bunker, the Bunk’art2 museum in Tirana opened to the public describing it as a museum throwing light on political persecution during the Albanian communist era. The museum – called Bunk’Art 2 – is also intended as a memorial to the tens of thousands of people who were imprisoned and executed by the communist regime,” Continue to  “Kepi i Rodonit” a wonderful Cape only 55 km from the Capital. Here we take a walk in the beautiful natural small peninsula which has much to offer. As we walk we explore the history of Albania from the 15th century at the Church of St Anthony, one of the oldest in Albania thought to have healing powers, to its communist recent past with anti-aircraft huge bunkers built by the regime thinking of a possible “enemy” Invasion. We walk through lush vegetation for about 2 hours and explore the place called Scanderbeg castle at the edge of the Cape overlooking the sea. Overnight at Rezidenca Primavera. (Gjiri Lalzit Lalzi Bay)

    Day 7: Lalzi Bay  – Durres-  Berat (UNESCO)

    After breakfast we drive to Durres stop to visit the centre of Durres with its ancient amphitheater considered the biggest in the Balkans, City walls & Archeological museum .Continue to  Berat known as the museum town of a “one over one windows” due to the fact that its characteristic houses are built on a slope and have many windows which to observes seem as if the windows stand on top of each other. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and it is a must visit place in Albania. Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which 7 still remain including St. Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. Onufri was a famous Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece, using a special red color. We suggest lunch in the castle at the little place of a family which serves homemade specialties. Overnight in Berat

    Day 8: Berat – Airport

    After breakfast you are left free to explore on your own until time of transfer to Airport for the flight back.

    Including: Hotels & guest houses 3,4* BB, Transportation with comfortable a/c vehicle, English (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese etc.)  speaking tour guide, Transfer of luggage with horses from Theth to Valbona. Transfers with alternative vehicles from Shkodra to Theth. Dinners at Local restaurants, museum entry fees, all taxes.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • Transfers with Modern A/C private car/ bus or minibus with driver on tour
    • Good standard Accommodation at 3*, 4* hotels
    • All parking’s
    • Professional English-French-German-Italian-Russian or Spanish speaking local guide throughout the tour
    • All the museum entry fee
    Hotels, Farm Houses and Lodges

    Hotels in Albania

    Hotels in Albania are not to the same standard as those in the UK, EU or USA as tourism has not long been a major industry here. However, here are comfortable options and, in some places, very characterful places to stay. We use always the best possible selection boutique 3, 4 -star hotels BB, all en-suite. Below is a small selection of some of our favorite hotels in Albania.

    Hotel Vila Alba Tirana

    Situated in the heart of the Old Town, Vila Alba is a boutique-style hotel. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the property. A private parking area is reserved for all guests and is free of charge. Hotel Vila Alba All rooms at Vila Alba feature high ceilings and a combination of classical and modern design. They feature air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a safe and a minibar. Private bathroom provides a walk-in shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Some rooms have a balcony.

    Hotel Panorama Kruja

    Situated in the centre of Krujë, Hotel Panorama Kruje is set just 400 m from the historic fortress Kalaja e Krujes. The hotel features an on-site restaurant serving traditional Albanian specialties and offers free Wi-Fi and free garage parking. All rooms are air-conditioned and fitted with a flat-screen TV, a desk, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a shower. Some rooms feature a balcony.

    Hotel Mangalemi – Berat

    A 3+ -star hotel built on the ruins of Turkish mansions in the historic centre of Mangalem Quarter, close to the town centre. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 15 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.

    Hotel Brilant – Saranda

    This 4-star hotel is close to the town’s main boulevard. Bar, WiFi (free) and 33 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.

    Hotel Argjiro – Gjirokastra

    A modern 4-star hotel in traditional style. It is close to the castle and Ethnographic Museum. Restaurants, bar, WiFi (free) and 30 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer and satellite TV.

    Bujtina Leon Korca

    Set in a building with traditional features of the local architecture, Guest House Bujtina Leon is located in the centre of Korca. Featuring free Wi-Fi and free bike rental, it offers rooms and suites with an LCD cable TV. The property is situated behind the Orthodox Cathedral, in a street paved in cobble stone and surrounded by old houses. The reception area has a fireplace in front of which guests can enjoy wine, tea or homemade food. A common wooden terrace is also a good spot to relax. Likewise, a porch and a garden with flowers and oil lamps contribute to the specific ambiance of the guest house.

    Breathable light-weight waterproof gear (gore-tex, sympatex, etc), fleece/wool pullover, wind-stopper jacket and gloves, small backpack with rain coverage, cap, sun block, mosquito repellent, headlamp, hiking poles, water bottle, sunglasses.

    We try to direct our tours with overnights in a guesthouse. This will give you a real experience, while staying with the locals, and will bring a direct economic benefit to the guesthouse owners in rural Albania. Depending on where the overnight is, we also use family run hotels, 4 and 5 star hotels .

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