ENVIE D'ALBANIE
Cultural Heritage

12 Days 11 Nights

Group: 4 - 12 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

Explore some of the most beautiful destinations in Albania where nothing is like what rumors and media may have reported before visiting the country. With its rich array of fascinating places, Albania attracts the soul of its visitors. From the Accursed mountains to the clear crystal water of the Riviera, from unspoiled landscapes to astonishing cultural heritages, from its legendary hospitality to its dazzling atmospheres, Albania is simply incredible. 

2 to 2+

Difficulty

Guide

Experienced English-speaking guide

Treks

4

Outdoor activity

No

Cultural Visits

0 visit

Luggage

Backpack or equivalent 15 to 20 kg max

Hotel

3* or 4* and Guesthouses

Departure

Tirana International airport

From

mid of May to October/Noveber

Porting

A small backpack is required for your daily equipment

Transfer of luggage

By mules and/or vans from one accommodation to the next one

Price Includes
  • 1* Nights in a 4* hotel

  • 6* Nights in guesthouses

  • 7* Breakfasts & dinners

  • 6* Lunches or picnics (no lunch day 1)

  • Transportation including luggage transfers

  • English-speaking guide

  • (*) Free option: Visit of the ethnographic museum of Theth (Plan between 1 and 2 €)

  • Accommodation in hotel (double room and local standard) or guesthouses (double or shared rooms).

  • Meals (breakfasts, lunches or baskets, dinners) and drinks (table water)

  • All luggage transport (1x backpack or equivalent of 15 kg maximum per person) by horses, vans or 4x4 between stages

Price Excludes
  • All personal expenses

  • Costs related to specific requests or those not mentioned above

  • Meals and drinks other than table water which are served during meals

  • Lunch and dinner day 7

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Visit day 7 (if any)

  • The plane ticket

  • Accommodation in single rooms

  • Travel insurance

Gallery

Tour Plan
  • Day 1: Arrival TIA – Tirana

    Reception at Tirana International airport "Mother Theresa". Handling over of the vehicle from a member of Envie d’Albanie (English speaking) and to the necessary documents. 

    Direction Tirana. The capital of Albania, is known for its colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. But this is also an exotic city with a vibrant atmosphere. Tirana moves at lightning speed. 

    Luggage deposit at the hotel. 

    Visit of the Bunk'Art2 museum dedicated to the preservation of the collective memory by telling the history of the communist regime and its horrors.  

    Visit the city center and its famous "Block" via the Tabakëve bridge, built in the 18th century in the heart of Tirana. 

    Get the cable car and enjoy a panoramic dinner on the Dajti mountain. The place offers you a stunning view of all the Tirana surroundings and if the weather is open enough you can even see the Adriatic sea. 

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 2: Tirana – Lezhe – Shkodra
    • Depart for Lezhe. Over the centuries, Lezhe was in the hands of many rulers before being chosen by George Kastriot Skenderbeg in 1444 as a gathering place to stage the rebellion against the Ottomans. Lezhe is considered of being the seat of the League of Lezhe where Skanderbeg united the Albanian princes against the threat of the Ottoman Empire. Visit of the memorial and eventually the castle. 

      Founded in the 4th century BC, Shkodra is one of the oldest cities in Albania. It was the capital of the last kingdom of Illyria. Crossed by major trade routes, the city has known several good times throughout its history. During the Ottoman period, Shkodra was a major economic and cultural center as a trading post on the road linking Prizren to Italian ports. 

      Visit the Rozafa citadel and its museum. Dating from the Middle Ages and built on Illyrian foundations, it offers from its summit a panoramic view that allows to admire the mountains, the surrounding plains, but also the largest lake in the region which is home to one of the most beautiful bird sanctuaries in Europe. 

      Drive northeast of Shkodra up to the village of Mes to admire the Mesi 18° century stone bridge which spans the Kir river. It has an intriguing architecture with round slick stones and stone plates. 

      Drive to Shiroka and enjoy a dinner on the banks of the Shkodra lake. In the northwest of Albania is the beautiful Lake Shkodra, the largest on the Balkan Peninsula, and one of the many natural wonders of this part of the country. Lake Shkodra is also the perfect place for avid birdwatchers, home to around 270 species of birds. Besides various varieties of seagulls and cormorants, the lake is an ideal nesting place for pelicans, cranes, geese, ducks, grebes, bustards, ibises or spoonbills, to name just a few names from the menagerie of feathered creatures that can be spotted here. This proliferation obviously attracts predators, and it is possible to observe many harriers, but also the griffon vulture, the short-toed eagle and its cousins, the lesser spotted and screaming eagles. The night belongs to nocturnal creatures like owls or owls. 

      Visit of the city center of Shkodra and walk along Pedonalja – also named Kole Idromeno street where the past and present of the city blend harmoniously 

      Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 3: Shkodra – Durres
    • Yesterday Epidamnos, then Dyrrachium and today Durrës, the portal city was founded around the 7th century BC by ancient Greek colonists in cooperation with the local Iliryian community. During the Roman and Byzantine Empires Dyrrachium acquired a leading commercial position and was the departure of Via Egnatia which was leading merchants to Constantinople. The city’s long history, location and interest made Durres a privileged destination for those whom wish to immerge themselves into more than 3,000 years of evolution and progress.  

      Visit of the Archeological museum.  This is the comprehensive introduction of the thousands of years of the rich history of Albania. The museum holds a large collection of ancient objects and artifacts beautifully presented by periods.  

      The Prehistoric age confirms that the city was one of the oldest in Adriatic sea. The Illyrian and Hellenistic periods show the beginning of the expansion and interest that merchants gave to the port to expand their influences. The Roman era testifies that Durres became an unavoidable place for economy, cultural, political and educational development that later drawn the attention of the Republic of Venice, Charles d’Anjou, the Navarrese and the Ottoman. 

      Walk along the remains but well preserved and beautifully restored Byzantine castle walls. The castle was reinforced by several guard towers by the Republic of Venice. The Ottoman consolidated the structures of the walls. 

      Visit of the Amphitheater. Despite its size, one of the largest in the Balkan, the amphitheater was only discovered in 1966. It was capable of welcoming almost 20,000 spectators invited to enjoy the deadly games of the gladiators fights and other events. Stroll inside its tunnels and stand in its middle to get all the emotions that the place may evoke your soul.  

      Visit and lunch in an agro farm. The farm “Tree of Life” (Pema e Jetës) has numerous fruit and olive trees, a vineyard and vegetables of all kinds are cultivated. Cattle, pigs, geese, ducks, hens, pigeons can also be found. All products from the farm may be processed and turned into daily fresh meals served directly in the restaurant. Families, adults and children can enjoy spending time with the animals or strolling into the gardens. Start a conversation with a staff member or a farmer. You don’t speak Albanian, don’t worry, someone will translate or use your hands! 

      Overnight at the hotel by the beach. 

  • Day 4: Durres - Berat
    • Direction Berat, the city with 2400 years of history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, Berat, better known as "the city of 1000 windows", is unique in its kind.   

      Visit of the fortress and the National Museum of the Icons of Onufri, a 16th century Albanian painter famous for having used pink - then rare - in his works. The museum is housed inside the Sainte Mary's Church, built in the 10th century. 

      Visit of the Gorica district, then of the Mangalem district with its typical houses, which can be reached by crossing the Osum river. 

      Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 5: Berat – Fier – Tepelena - Gjirokaster
    • Direction Gjirokaster. First stop in Tepelena, a city in southern Albania. The city is located at the bay of a hill and is surrounded by three rivers, which create a magnificent landscape. Tepelena bears the name of a famous man in the history of Albania, Ali Pasha Tepelena. It is a small town but with an impressive history. Here are some of the things to see when you visit Tepelena: the castle of Ali Pashe Tepelena, the History Museum, the medieval bridge that can be crossed, the cold water of Tepelena, Nivica Canyons, Progonati waterfall, and many beautiful villages. 

      Gjirokaster is the birthplace of Ismail Kadaré, an Albanian writer often nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Gjirokaster is inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list. Its winding, cobbled streets, typical cluster-shaped houses with special roofs have earned it the nickname "city of stone".  It is an exceptional testimony to a society and way of life that has almost disappeared. 

      In Gjirokaster, head for the old bazaar in the city center, where you can immerse yourself in Albanian culture and discover a wide variety of local products. 

      Overnight at the hotel 

       

  • Day 6: Gjirokaster – Gjirokaster
    • Visit of the imposing castle and its museum of weapons. 

      Wonder inside the old city and visit of the most typical houses generally transformed into museums, such as the Ethnographic museum located into the house where the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha was born, the house of Zekati family, the Ismail Kadare house… 

      In the afternoon, visit the archaeological park of Antigone, a dip in ancient times. Antigone was built in the year 295 BC by order of Pyrrhus, king of Molloses, in honor of his wife Antigonea. The site is relatively flat and intense archaeological excavations in the 1970s exposed much of the inhabited area and road network. Like most ancient cities, the network is "hypodamic", with north-south parallels intersecting east-west roads. The ruins of a medieval church (IX-Xth century) were discovered at the main crossroads. It is a small church which was built after the destruction of the old city and the old urban system. archaeological discoveries on the spot have provided elements on the economic activities carried out by the inhabitants. For this reason, some dwellings have received conventional names such as the currier's house, the weaver's house or the coachman's house, in which an iron chariot wheel was discovered, a very rare archaeological find in itself. The archaeological excavations of Antigone revealed many interesting objects, in particular in bronze. The sphinx figurine is probably the most interesting. Other important finds are keys with the name of the city engraved on them. According to archaeologists, these were used by citizens to vote. 

      Overnight at the hotel 

  • Day 7: Gjirokaster – Blue Eye – Butrint – Ksamil – Saranda

    On the way to Saranda, stop to see the Blue Eye (Syri i Kaltër in Albanian). it is a water spring and initial water source of the Bistricë, a 25 km long river which ends in the Ionian Seat just south of Saranda. The source is a natural phenomenon with a depth of at least 50 meters, the deepest any diver has been able to go, so the actual depth is even unknown. 

    Built onto a small hill close to the village of Mesopotam, the Monastery of Saint Nicholas impresses by its unique structure. The church is the only one in the Byzantine art and architecture to propose a double apse which makes it unique in its genre. It is thought that the church has been built and used for both rites Catholic and Orthodox. 

    Route to Butrint. Of the countless antique ruins and landmarks of Albania, Butrint is the one most responsible for putting Albania on the map. Butrint’s glorious 2500-year-old ruins, within a majestic 30 km wide natural reserve, are some of the most well-preserved in Europe. In 1992, Butrint was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it sits comfortably at the top of every international list of must-sees in Albania. Yet, for all the interest that this beautiful place arouses, it has somehow remained an oasis of rare tranquility. Visitors can walk freely here, bypassing the long lines or similar hindrances commonly associated with these rare sights. Visit of this archeologic site. 

    After Butrint, drive back to the Ksamil peninsula. In Ksamil you can admire sandy beaches, the blue/green colors of the Ionian sea, islets, fish and mussel farms. 

    Back to Saranda and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 8: Saranda – Himara

    En route to Himara, located in the middle of the Albanian Riviera and close to the most beautiful white sand beaches.  

    Visit of the Porto Palermo Castle built by Ali Pasha of Tepelena. A stop in the villages of Kudhes and/or Borsh or Qeparo is recommended. These typical villages of the region have a long history. Villages of farmers or fishermen, they have managed to preserve their traditions and cultures despite the oppression exercised by communism. 

    Keep driving up to Himara and overnight in the hotel. 

  • Day 9: Himara – Himara

    Free time in Himara. Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 10: Himara – Himara

    Free time in Himara. Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 11: Himara – Kruja

    Direction Kruja. 

    Beautiful winding road to the Llogara pass. The itinerary winds along the albanian Riviera, offering plunging views of a turquoise sea, a symphony of colours and rich landscapes where each moment of the day will unfold its nuances of colours like a painter in his canvas. 

    Arrives at the pass of Llogara at an altitude of more than 1000 meters. The place offers a breathtaking view of the Ionian Sea.  

    Arrival in Vlora. Visit of its historic center, Independence Square, where Ismail Qemali raised the national flag and proclaimed Albania's independence on 28.11.1912. Unfortunately, two years later, Italian troops invaded Albania. 

    Stop for the visit of the archaeological site of Apollonia in Fier. Exceptionally preserved, it is said to the city has been built in the 6th century BC by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth. It was an obligatory passage point for travellers taking the Via Egnatia. The city took off in the 4th century and became an important place of exchange and trade that could accommodate up to 40,000 people. The site is home to an archaeological museum, the church of Saint Mary and its monastery.  

    Stop and relax inside the Divjake-Karavasta National park. It is one of the country’s foremost birding destinations featuring an astounding mix of more than 228 species of resident and migratory birds of which almost 15 species are globally endangered such as the dalmatian pelican. 

    Head to Kruja, an old medieval town. Visit of the museum of Skanderbeg, one of the most visited places in Albania. Accessible via the bazaar, it is located in the heart of the historic citadel of Kruja and is dedicated to the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum also has a collection of objects dating back to most of the wars between Albanians and Ottomans in the 15th century. 

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 12: Kruja - Rinas

    Visit of the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja. It is located in the citadel in a house that once belonged to one of the richest families of the 18th century. It presents, in a decor of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous wall paintings, objects and scenes of life that allow us to understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

    Direction Rinas airport and delivery of the vehicle to the agency. Departure. 

Strengths
  • A discovery trek for a unique experience

  • On the paths of the Peaks of Balkans

  • Climbing the most famous peaks

  • Meeting with a warm population

  • See exceptional places

  • Private and public transfers

Passport:
A valid passport or an ID (at least 6 months from the start of the stay) is required to enter in Albania
Insurance:
International travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the consequences of incidents that may occur while travelling, travelling and staying abroad. It is the traveller's responsibility to check with his travel agent or insurer before departure.
Notes:
  • For safety reasons and in case of force majeure, the guide has full authority to adapt or even cancel an itinerary. This is all the more valid depending on the evolution of the weather or for medical reasons.
  • As the guide is responsible for all the people in his care and for the cohesion of the group, he can at any time adapt the pace of the walk, the effort, the itinerary... in order to avoid the isolation of one or more participants.
  • The guide has a duty to ensure that the environment in which the group operates is respected.
  • In order to respect the rules and laws in force in the countries crossed, Envie d’Albanie can call on the support of local partners licensed in these countries (guides, transport, equipment, logistics, etc.). We have ensured that these companies share the same values as those established by Envie d’Albanie.
  • The distances, ascents, descents and walking times information are given as an indication.
  • Some visits may be cancelled due to weather conditions or other conditions which are not under the control of the agency such as daily closure.
Good to know:
  • This discovery trek includes walks over important distances in the wild. It is not recommended for children under 15 years of age.
  • It is advisable to be in good health and physical condition.
  • Avoid drinking tap water or spring water, unless your guide allows it.
Respect the environment in which you operate. He'll give it back to you.