ENVIE D'ALBANIE
Hike, History and Beach

15 Days 14 Nights

Group: 4 - 12 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

The Albanian Alps, commonly called Bjeshkët e Namuna (The Cursed Mountains) offer, with its peaks and valleys, its nature and its fauna, unforgettable hiking routes. 

Albanian culture has spanned the centuries. Despite the drastic censorship of the communist regime, Albania offers visitors its heritage through the many museums, galleries, as well as through the architecture of its cities. 

The warm turquoise beaches, forgotten for decades, today leave an indelible mark. The nightlife comes alive from sunset to the sound of various DJs or concerts. 

 

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

    Arrival. Private transfer to Tirana hotel. Visit of the center of Tirana with the Skanderbeg square bordered by the Et'Hem Bey mosque built in 1798, the national opera house, the clock tower and many buildings dating from the Italian occupation and housing ministries. 

    Visit of the National Historical Museum. The museum is the largest in Albania and presents the country’s historical and cultural heritage. 

    Walk through the "Blok" area where the most popular bars, clubs and shops in the capital are located. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

     

  • Day 2: Tirana – Valbona
    • Early departure (5:00 am from departure point – Foreseen a 10’ transfer between the hotel and departure point) by public van transportation to Koman. Ferry between Koman and Fierze.  

      Boarding and departure to a gorgeous cruise on the Albanian fjord. The lake is fed by the Drin, the Shala and Valbona rivers. It is surrounded by dense forested hills, vertical slops and narrow valleys with time to time vertical canyon walls.  

      Arrival 2:30 hrs later in Fierze and transfer by public transport to Valbona. Check-in, enjoy a walk within the Valbona valley.  

      Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 3: Valbona – Valbona
    • Hiking in Valbona. Duration ~ 5:00 hrs. Difficulty: easy 

      Kukaj hamlet: the hike starts close from the guesthouse and gently climbs the hill following a dirt road up to the hamlet of Kukaj. Here, it is possible to admire the majesty of the Kolates (2552m) ridges and the Persllopit (2050m) pass used to cross to Montenegro while hiking to Vusanje from Valbona. On the other side, the Maja e Thate (2160m) shows is splendor. Then descent to Valbona by following the stream.  

       

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  • Day 4: Valbona – Theth
    • Hiking Valbona to Theth through the Valbona Pass.  

      Duration ~ 6:00 hrs. Difficulty: medium 

      The itinerary invites you to climb the famous Valbona Pass (1759 meters) and will follow the old road used by mules to reach the Shala to Nikaj region.  

      The route will offer a magnificent glimpse of Mother Nature's jewels. Sailing between forests, slopes, torrents and neighboring peaks (Jezerces - 2692 m., Radohimes - 2568 m.) it will pass through the top of the Valbona pass to offer a splendid view of the Theth and Valbona valleys.  

      Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse  

  • Day 5: Theth – Theth
    • A day of relaxation in this small village at the bottom of a valley. Land of legends, myths and traditions, the Kanun law was the moral code that served as jurisprudence based on the concept of honor. Finding for some of them pre-Christian origins, this way of life reflected the austere reality of these mountain people whose traces are still visible today. Surrounded by mountains, some of which reach more than 2000 meters, Theth owes its development to nature lovers.  

       

      Direction the hamlet of Nderlysaj, passing by a place of rare beauty listed as an Albanian heritage site, the Grunas waterfall, whose last waterfall is 30 meters high. The walk continues along the Grunas Canyon. Over time, the water has carved its bed into the limestone rock to form a gorge about 2 km long, 60 meters high and between 2 and 40 meters wide, where icy, clear water flows. 

       

      Return to Theth for a well-deserved rest. 

       

      Alternative: For those who prefer to spend a quiet day, it will be possible to walk around the village to admire its cultural sites such as its small church, the Nikoll Koceku tower or its ethnographic museum (*). 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse  

  • Day 6: Theth – Shkodra
    • Pick-up of a rental vehicle and direction Shkodra, a place of democracy and Albanian culture. This city rich in history and architecture was partially rebuilt in 1979 following an earthquake.  

       

      The city hosts the Saint Stephen's Cathedral. Destroyed in an earthquake in 1905, then partially destroyed in a bombardment in 1913, transformed into a sports palace during the Albanian "cultural revolution" during the communist period, partially destroyed again in 1967, it hosted the Communist Congress of Albanian Women in 1973 and finally reopened in 1990 and welcomed Pope John Paul II in 1993. 

       

      It is recommended to visit the village of Shiroke which stands by the Shkodra lac, the largest lake on the Balkans. 

      Overnight at the hotel. 
  • Day 7: Shkodra – Lezha – Durres – Berat

    Visit of Lezha. The city was founded by the Greek Dionysius I of Syracuse in the 8th century BC. According to historians, Lezha was the seat of the Lezha League created by Albanian hero Kastriot Skanderbeg to unify Albanian princes in the fight against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg was buried in Lezha Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and later transformed into a mosque. Today, this place is considered to be both a mosque and a church. 

     

    Departure to Durres, the second largest city in Albania which was once the departure of Via Egnatia. It allowed to go to Byzantium by crossing Albania and Greece. 

    Visit of the Roman Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century. This site, considered the second most important in terms of importance in the Balkans, is inscribed on UNESCO's list. Little work has been done to restore it, but it is possible to imagine the excitement that could reign there during its greatness. Nowadays, it is used as an open-air museum. 

    Head for the historic center where you can stroll along the old Byzantine walls, have a coffee at the top of the Venetian tower or walk along the many cobbled streets. 

     

    Departure to Berat. Luggage deposit at the hotel and visit of the antic city of “1000 windows”. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 8: Berat – Gjirokaster

    Visit of the fortress and more particularly 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.  

    Walk within the fortress walls, still inhabited, from where you can admire the Gorica and Mangalem districts separated by the Osum river. 

     

    Departure to Gjirokaster. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 9: Gjirokaster – Saranda

    Birthplace of Ismail Kadaré, 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. 

    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. 

    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… 

     

    Departure to Saranda. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 10: Saranda – Himara – Dhermi

    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. 

     

    Continuation of the route to Dhermi and enjoy the beaches, the sunset and the night entertainment. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 11: Dhermi – Dhermi

    Free time in Dhermi. Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 12: Dhermi – Dhermi

    Free time in Dhermi. Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 13: Dhermi – Kruja

    Direction Kruja. 

    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 have 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 and overnight at the hotel. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 14: Kruja – Kruja

    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. 

     

    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. 

     

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 15: Kruja – Rinas

    Transfer to Rinas airport and delivery of the vehicle to the rental 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.
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  • 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.
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  • The guide has a duty to ensure that the environment in which the group operates is respected.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • It is advisable to be in good health and physical condition.
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  • Avoid drinking tap water or spring water, unless your guide allows it.
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  • Respect the environment in which you operate. He'll give it back to you.