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Grand Tour of Albania - Europe’s Hidden Gem

From $1,927/pp

Created by

From $1,927/pp

Albania

Trip Length

15 days

Availability

All year round
Created by

Grand Tour of Albania - Europe’s Hidden Gem

Discover the adventurous, mysterious, un-tamed, Albania in this two-week vacation. The region is a diverse landscape of rugged hills, high cliffs, and endless, rolling agricultural land. The Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes and other fruits. It's the ideal place to get off the beaten path and have a unique Balkans experience.

Description

Discover the adventurous, mysterious, un-tamed, Albania in this two-week vacation. The region is a diverse landscape of rugged hills, high cliffs, and endless, rolling agricultural land. The Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes and other fruits. It's the ideal place to get off the beaten path and have a unique Balkans experience.

Itinerary

Day 1

Pack rafting Shkodra lake

Arrival in Tirana airport and meet with the local guide. Departure to Shkodra. Local fish lake lunch in Shiroke village and 2 hours of pack rafting in Shkodra lake. Arrival in Shkodra and accommodation in the hotel. During the afternoon we will visit the Promenade of Shkodra and enjoy a traditional dinner.

Activities

  • Packrafting
  • Visit The Promenade Of Shkodra
  • Traditional Dinner
Day 2

Exploring the spectacular Koman fjords

Ferry Ride | Fjerze Village | Valbona village | Hiking

Early Breakfast (6:00-7:00). Leaving to Koman. A spectacular ferry ride into the Albanian Fjords. Arrival at village Fjerze at 12:00. Drive to Valbona village and local lunch. Hiking in beautiful Valbona Valley to Xhema Lake, Old Milling. Typical dinner.

Enjoy a spectacular ferry ride into the Albanian Fjords, before a delicious local lunch

Activities

  • Ferry Ride Into The Albanian Fjords
  • Local Lunch
  • Hiking In Valbona Valley
  • Traditional Dinner

Accommodation

Guesthouse or camping

Day 3

Hiking the Accursed Mountains

Albanian Alps | Camping in Theth | Grunas waterfall

Early Breakfast (5:30 – 6:30). Drive with a local minibus to Rragam village. There we get ready for the hike into the Albanian Alps. The pass is about 8 hours. The hike is long and sometimes tough, but anyone that’s reasonably fit can do it. Local lunch. Walking to Grunas waterfall, visit the Saint John’s Church and the Isolation Tower.

Activities

  • Hike Into The Albanian Alps
  • Local Lunch
  • Grunas Waterfall
  • Visit Saint Johns Church & The Isolation Tower

Accommodation

Guesthouse or camping in Theth

Day 4

Exploring Theth National Park

Blue Eye of Theth | Qafe Thore | Dinner in Boge

Breakfast (07.30-08.30) and departure with local minivan to Nderlyse. Visit of the stones basins and of the Blue Eye of Theth. Local picnic lunch. Back to Theth in the afternoon and departure to Lezha. Short stop in Qafe Thore. Dinner in Boge. Arrival in Lezha late in the evening.

A local picnic awaits you after visiting the stones basins and of the Blue Eye of Theth!

Activities

  • Blue Eye Of Theth
  • Local Picnic Lunch

Accommodation

Hotel in Lezha

Day 5

Emerging into the magnificent Berat

Durres | Onufri Museum | Berat Castle

The first destination is the city of Durrës founded in 627 B.C. as was one of the most important Greek City States and later Roman centre. The most notable tourist attraction in Durrës is the amphitheatre of the Roman Emperor Hadrian with 15,000 seats, the second biggest amphitheatre in the Balkans. After a visit to the amphitheatre and the archaeological museum, we will travel towards another UNESCO site. The town of Berat is well known for its unique ottoman style houses built around two hills facing each other with the castle on top and the river in between. We will visit the Onufri Museum, Berat Castle and the historical quarters of the city. Traditional dinner.

Activities

  • Visit The Amphitheatre Of The Roman Emperor Hadrian
  • Onufri Museum
  • Berat Castle

Accommodation

Guesthouse in Berat

Day 6

Adventure in the Osumi Canyons

Osumi Canyons in Skrapar

This day will be dedicated to an unique natural monument. We will head towards the famous Osumi Canyons in Skrapar for an unforgettable sightseeing trip. We will hike along the canyon and if there are the weather conditions enjoy some swimming. Local lunch in Skrapar and wine tasting in a local winery on the way to Berat.

Explore the famous Osumi Canyons in Skrapar for an unforgettable sightseeing trip.

Activities

  • Hike Along Osumi Canyons
  • Local Lunch In Skrapar
  • Wine Tasting

Accommodation

Guesthouse in Berat

Day 7

Speed boat & Snorkelling

Ancient town of Apollonia | Karaburun Penisula

We will resume the tour after breakfast towards Vlora and stop to visit the ancient town of Apollonia which was one of the most important cities in the Balkans where the Roman Emperor Augustus was educated. Than we will leave to Vlora, a beautiful coastal city which hosted the first Independent Albanian government, where we will have a fish based lunch. We will visit Karaburun Penisula with a speedboat and snorkel in the pristine beaches. Free dinner

Activities

  • Visit The Ancient Town Of Apollonia
  • Speedboat Around Karaburun Penisula
  • Snorelling

Accommodation

3 Star Hotel in Vlora

Day 8

Sunset kayaking in Butrint theatre

Monastery of Zvernec | Kayak the UNESCO’s heritage site Butrint

The first destination to explore is the Monastery of Zvernec which is situated in a beautiful natural small peninsula in Narta lagoon. Birdwatching in one of the most important sites in the country due to its amazing biodiversity. Then we will enjoy a beautiful drive through the Albanian Riviera towards Saranda. On the way we will have a local lunch. Very close to Saranda we will explore with kayak the UNESCO’s heritage site Butrint, Albania’s top archaeological attraction. After the visit to Butrint we will have dinner in Saranda

Enjoy a beautiful drive through the Albanian Riviera towards Saranda, then explore the UNESCO’s heritage site Butrint via kayak.

Activities

  • Visit The Monastery Of Zvernec
  • Drive Through The Albanian Riviera
  • Kayaking
  • Visit Butrint By Kayak

Accommodation

3 Star Hotel in Saranda

Day 9

Walking in the city of stones Gjirokastra (UNESCO)

Blue Eye | UNESCO’s town of Gjirokastra

After breakfast we will head towards a spectacular natural monument called the Blue Eye which is an underground spring that creates a very distinct shape resembling a beautiful human eye. From there we will head for UNESCO’s town of Gjirokastra where we will visit the fortress, ethnographic museum which is also the childhood home of Albania’s infamous communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

Activities

  • Blue Eye Underground Spring
  • Explore Gjirokastra

Accommodation

Overnight in Permet

Day 10

Canyon exploration of Lengarica & thermal springs

Thermal Bath | Canyon of Lengarica | Rafting

We will head to Përmet and depending on the time of the year we will go rafting on the Vjosa River which is Europe’s last wild river. We will also make a visit to the natural thermal baths of the Lengarica Canyon (Vjosa River) and enjoy a great organic meal in one of the local business.

Go rafting on the Vjosa River, known as Europe’s last wild river!

Activities

  • Thermal Baths Of The Lengarica Canyon
  • Rafting

Accommodation

3 Star Hotel in Përmet.

Day 11

Exploring the Albanian rural life

Visit Korca | Erseka

The day will start with our trip to Korça and several stops on the way to enjoy the beautiful natural sceneries. Lunch will be served in a local agro-tourism farm in Erseka. We will use the rest of the day to visit Korça, its impressive city centre, traditional market and cathedral.

Activities

  • Explore Korca
  • Lunch At An Agro-tourism Farm In Erseka
Day 12

Kayaking in the protected lake of Prespa

Prespa Lake | Church of Holy Mary

After breakfast we will drive to Prespa Lake and take an inflatable kayaks to reach the beautiful island of Maligrad, which hosts the Church of Holy Mary. After a quick walk within the island we will get the kayaks to get back to Korça and enjoy a traditional dinner with traditional music (serenades).

Take an inflatable kayak to the beautiful island of Maligrad, which hosts the Church of Holy Mary!

Activities

  • Kayak On Prespa Lake
  • Walk Within The Island Of Maligradwhich
  • Traditional Dinner

Accommodation

Guesthouse in Korça.

Day 13

Sightseeing in the Natural Park of Drilon

Medieval Museum of Arts | Pogradec | Drilon

The day will start with a visit of the Medieval Museum of Arts, the Mirahori Mosque which is one of the oldest in Albania and the Mbroje Church (14th century). We will continue to Pogradec and lake Ohrid. We will visit the national park of Drilon and the beautiful villa where the dictator would spend his fishing holidays and have a local lunch. On our way back we will visit the castle of Elbasan and continue to Tirana for an overnight stay. Dinner in Tirana in a guesthouse.

Activities

  • Visit Medieval Museum Of Arts
  • Visit Mirahori Mosque
  • Visit Mbroje Church
  • Visit The National Park Of Drilon
  • Visit The Castle Of Elbasan

Accommodation

Guesthouse in Tirana

Day 14-15

Exploring the vibrant city of Tirana

Visit of Tirana city | Ethem Bey Mosque | BUNK'ART 2

Breakfast. Visit of Tirana city. 20 years ago Albania’s capital used to regularly top the list of Europe’s underdeveloped cities. Decades of Stalinist rule left Tirana grey and grim, lacking in both infrastructure and services. The collapse of communism in 1992 required rapid changes for the City.

Considered one of the safest cities in Europe you will be able to spot remnants of its past and traces of the fast changes that it has gone through. We will visit the main sites like the Ethem Bey Mosque, clock tower, Scanderbeg Square, Orthodox Church and the BUNK’ART 2. BUNK’ART 2 is the first major video museum exhibition dedicated to the victims of communist terror. Traditional lunch. Optional hiking and exploration of Pellumbas Cave or free evening to the vibrant capital of Tirana. Free dinner.

The next morning, enjoy one last Albanian breakfast before your departure to the airport.

Considered one of the safest cities in Europe, by exploring Tirana you will be able to spot remnants of its past.

Activities

  • Explore Tirana City
  • Visit Bunkart 2 Museum

Optional Activities

  • Hiking & Exploration Of Pellumbas Cav

Accommodation

Guesthouse in Tirana

What's Included

Accommodation

14 Nights' Accommodation at Hotels and Guesthouses

Ground Transport

Airport and local transfers, as per itinerary

Exclusions

Meals not mentioned, Personal expenses and Travel insurance

Guides

  • Expert, friendly, English-speaking guides

Flights

All International/Domestic flights and visas

Meals

Meals as per itinerary

Skills/level of fitness required

Difficulty (1-4): 3 Previous hiking experience is required.

Group size, Extra nights

  • Minimum 6 people, maximum 16 people.
  • Additional nights pre/post trip can be arranged on request.
Created by
Blerina Ago

I am Blerina and I come from the city of Berat, Albania. At the age of 14, I had my first rafting experience on the Osum River. The adrenaline rush and magical scenery in the spectacular Osum Canyons had a serious impact on me throughout my personal and professional journey.

Back then, I showed one of the first printed photos taken inside the magnificent Osum canyons to one dear Italian friend of mine and he said, “Nooo, it is not real, it’s photoshop.” But when he came to do rafting and saw everything with his own eyes, he was stunned and all he could muster was …. “Mamma mia …. mamma mia”.

Of course not many people shared this opinion. Some thought I was unconscious, that I did not know what to fantasise about, that it was just a ridiculous idea and that I was an immature teenager. But I have turned even the biggest sceptic into a believer of the natural beauty to be seen here!

After continuous and unstoppable efforts promoting Albania, accompanying friends, journalists, artists, and athletes we managed to attract an infrastructure investment of the Albanian government. This allowed us to save visitors about a 2 hours ride to the canyon. From year to year we created an active and sustainable team with a wide network of local communities, connecting several areas of Albania through different outdoor activities in nature. These include canyon exploration, hiking, kayaking, mule caravan, visits to local wineries, and so much more.

While all this is happening, I graduated with a Law degree and thanks to various international exchange programs, I was able to pursue an in-depth education in tourism and entrepreneurship too! All of my hard work and energy is worth it when I see the joy in the eyes of tourists, especially those Albanians, who are now able to feel the pride as I did and still do!

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