ENVIE D'ALBANIE
In the Footsteps of the Shepherd - Albania

8 Days 7 Nights

Group: 4 - 12 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

Go on a journey with your family which will lead you in the off-the-beaten-path of the mountainous region of northeastern Albania. Dibër district offers beautiful natural attractions and possesses a rich cultural heritage and an abundance of locally grown and made products.  

This trip is specially designed for families with or without children, wishing to share a part of their leisure time with local families. For those who wishes to integrate a community in order to enrich their knowledges with the cultures, traditions and history of an unknown population and country but also to discover fantastic landscapes and places, many of which tell by themselves the myths and legends that have shaped them.  

Live an unforgettable experience in company of 2 Albanian families. Share some of their moments of life. Discover the surrounding nature by following the shepherd's paths. Taste traditional dishes - which you may have helped to prepare. Visit historical, sometimes unusual places and let your imagination guiding you in this adventure. Live your holidays.  

Guide

Experienced English-speaking guide

Luggage

Backpack or equivalent 15 to 20 kg max

Hotel

3☆ or 4☆ Hotel and Guesthouses

Departure

Tirana International airport

From

mid of May to October/Noveber

Price Includes
  • Accommodation in guesthouses (shared room) and Hotel 4☆

  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Picnics and 6 Dinners

  • Transportation – Car rental (see below)

  • 1 Mobile number in case of emergency

  • All local taxes

Price Excludes
  • All personal expenses

  • All visits not mentioned in this program

  • Beverages not mentioned above, such as alcohols

  • Lunches under request

  • Picnics days 1, 7 & 8

  • Dinner day 7

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Any expenses related to the car rental as per contract agreement between the hirer and the car rental company.

  • Air transport

  • Travel insurance

Gallery

Tour Plan
  • Day 1. Tirana International Airport – Çaje

    Welcome at Tirana International Airport by a member of Envie d’Albanie  and handover the vehicle. Departure to Kukes. This is an approximately 2 hours trip.  

    The road and then the highway head to the northeastern Albania to reach the city of Kukes. The city sprawls across the Luma Plain within the Albanian Alps between the banks of Lake Fierza and the hills of the northernmost Galiica Mountains and Sharr Mountains 

    Kukës traces its history back over a thousand years. The region that nowadays corresponds to the city territory was inhabited by several ancient Illyrian tribes, as most of Albania. Numerous tombs from the Illyrians has been identified at Këneta and Kolsh nearby the city. The residential estate served as a stopping point on a branch road leading to the Via Egnatia, which connected Durrës on the Adriatic Sea in the west with Constantinople on the Marmara Sea in the east. In modern times and due to the close proximity to Kosovo, the city achieved worldwide recognition during the Kosovo War as thousands of Kosovo-Albanian refugees crossed the border and found security in the city. 

    The city was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in regard to hospitality and for embracing thousands of refugees during the Kosovo War. It was the first time a town was nominated for the prize. In 2017, the city applied for the 2018 European Green Capital Award to become Europe's Green Capital.  

    However, due to the absence of investments, the city did not yet success to emerge as touristic place. 

    According to the arrival time at TIA, a lunch can be taken along the banks of the White Drin river in Kukes. Then full south to reach the hosting destination in Çaje hamlet. The road will twist and turn following the hills and ridges of the Gjallica, and Korab mountains, and the Black Drin valley. The itinerary offers breathless views on these wonderful natural attractions. The road will also cross or pass-by some typical Albanian villages which host many old farms dating from the Ottoman empire and usually named “kulla” (towers).  

    Caje is a typical Albanian hamlet located in the heart of a valley long ago dug by the erosion created by the tumultuous river Reka e Çajes. It is also at the door of the three borders formed by Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo. The surrounding mountains are rich in summer pastures where shepherds lead their herds. During the season, the blueberries harvest is one of the main local distraction and activity. 

    Installation in the guesthouse and sharing some moments of life with the host family while discovering the place. In the evening enjoy a moment inside the “Oda”, the traditionally room which is generally reserved for the honored guests. Seat in circle onto sheep skins and share your stories. 

    Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  •  Day 2. Çaje – Çaje
    • After the breakfast, get the picnic, take the direction of Grykë-Cajës and enjoy a walking day in the surrounding pastures (Bjeshkët e Cajës) by following the so-called “Path of colors”. Many sheep herds can be seen, sometimes some half-wild horses let during all the spring-summer period by their owners gaze in the colorful meadows. Admire the surrounding peaks and ridges which mark the borders of the 3 countries. 

      Once back at the guesthouse, it will be time to prepare the dinner for all the guesthouse’ guests and to share insights to each other culinary specialties and culture. 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  •  Day 3. Çaje – Çaje
    • Be the craftsman of your day. Take the time to discover your environment and the population that occupies it. Take part in the activities of your host family. Go to the heights of the village and explore the surrounding green hills in search of blueberries. 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  • Day 4. Çaje – Rabdishte
    • After the breakfast, it will be time to departure to Rabdishte. It is approximately a 1 hour drive. The road will wind its way, up and down, following the curves of the hills and mountains. The transfer will offer magnificent views, especially of Mount Korab and its surroundings, but also on the horizon, which will offer deep landscapes along the detours, revealing the beauty and curiosities of the nature, but also those created by man. 

      Rabdishte village is one of the most interesting villages in Albania. The mountain location, the traditional stonework, as well as the cobbled streets, give its appearance and its name, the “stone village”. Rabdishte is located at the top of the Healing Valley, which has taken its name from the curative properties of the thermal springs of Peshkopi and from the mountainous part of Rabdishte highland pasture, part of the Deshat-Korab mountain range. Agriculture is the main part of the village economy, specializing in potatoes, different types of nuts, apples, forest fruits and medicinal plants. Rabdishte is only 6 km from Peshkopi and offers a combination of natural beauty, thermal waters and fresh mountain air.  

      The guesthouse is located approximately 6 km from Peshkopi. The village is very well-known for its surrounding virgin nature and splendid mountains and forests. Much more than a Guesthouse, the place is an unique experience that offers traditional intertwined with modern. The family will treat the guests with royalty and within its traditional Albanian hospitality. Feel like being home. They will tell you the secrets of their virgin region. The friendly place offers great ambiance, areas to chill out and a great atmosphere. Enjoy the hospitality of the welcoming family. 

      Installation in the guesthouse and sharing some moments of life with the host family while discovering the place. 

      After the homemade lunch, visit of the village which hosts many traditional stone houses with great views of the surrounding nature and mountains. Many old footpaths and shepherds trails crossing the region are still used today, leading nature lovers through fields and meadows, past streams and waterfalls and through forested areas in the mountains. Visit of Rabdishte’ apple plantations and potato fields which surround the village. 

      While kids are playing inside the garden or watching the horses passing-by, it is time to put your hands inside the kitchen and experience the preparation of a traditional dinner with the hostess and taste authentic flavors. 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  • Day 5. Rabdishte - Rabdishte
    • After the breakfast direction Peshkopi for a city tour. Peshkopi is the center of Dibër Municipality. It is thought that the name of Peshkopi is related to the existence of the “Episcopate of Stefanika”, since 1020. Peshkopi was a secondary hub for the province of Dibër, following the town of Dibër e Madhe (Great Debar), in modern day North Macedonia. Debar was a renowned trade and craft center in the past and has played an important role in the history of the entire region. The role of this position faded by the imposition of arbitrary boundaries in 1913, where the Great Debar, which was the  commercial center for the time, remained out of Albanian borders. After 1913 Peshkopi became the center of Dibër, where the administration, bazaar and several stores of various crafts were established. In July 1920, local administration was established at the prefecture and municipal levels. In 1920the postal service began, telephone lines were established and army barracks were built. After 1945 Peshkopi was the center of the district of Dibër and was built as a multifunctional city, according to the socialist model of the time, including all administrative, social, cultural, educational and economic aspects. 

      Visit of the old city of Peshkopi including the Saraçi water mill. 

      After the lunch at the guesthouse and some free time, a walk of approximately 1:30 to 2:00 hours is proposed inside the Lugu Arushës “the Bear valley”. The Lugu Arushes is one of the torrent canyons of Rabdishte. The beautiful woods of Boravik growing on the gypsum and rock composition offer an environment suitable for wild fauna. Due to the water resources, legend says that the bears come from the mountain to drink water. 

      Free time and moments to share with the host family up to the dinner. 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  • Day 6. Rabdishte – Rabdishte
    • After the breakfast, preparation of the picnic and lets go for a hike in the surrounding gorgeous mountains, where horse or mule will accompany the guests to offer some horse rides to the kids. It will be an early departure to avoid the heat of the summer period specially from 15 July to end of August. 

      For those who are not well-trained hikers and/or have little kids, direction the Highlands Pasture. The journey will take approximately 4  to 5 hours (without the lunch stop). The itinerary crosses the village and start climbing the hills up to a glacial lake. The place offers beautiful views on the surrounding nature and on the Zagradi’s Stone natural attraction. Then it continues on the Sheep Pens pastures where shepherds and herds can be seen. Adults and kids can share a moment with the farmers and their animals. A little further, the path passes-by an artificial lake built in stone centuries ago and used as drinking through for the animals. Later, the itinerary arrives at the legendary Old Nanny’s Fountain – let your guide telling you the story of that legend. The itinerary arrives at the old glacial lake named the Fish Meadow and further at the Hameku’s Pond where lunch will be taken. The place is surrounding by beautiful forests and virgin meadows. Horse will be free in the pasture to enjoy the flourishing green grass. After the lunch, it will be time to start descending towards Rabdisht. The path goes through the Argeshi forest to see the famous Serbs stone, or if you feel tired, a shorter way will be proposed. 

      For those who love to hike, direction the Fish’s meadow. The goal of this hike being to climb the Maja e Veshasve (2300 m.), the highest peak of this part of the region and to reach the border with North Macedonia. There one more step and the border is crossed. The top of the peak offers wonderful views on the surrounding Sharr Mountains (the colorful mountains) which touristic interest is raising through the High Scardus and Diber Trails and Tradition project. 

      Free time and moments to share with the host family up to the dinner. 

      Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse. 

  • Day 7. Rabdishte – Tirana
    • Direction Tirana by the Arberit road. Discover a rather young city founded under the Ottoman Empire, 400 years ago. Tirana has been proclaimed capital of Albania in 1920. The city started to take shape under the Italian presence before WWII when Mussolini sent his best architects. Their constructions are still widely visible and used nowadays. Later, under dictatorship which lasted more than 40 years, Tirana saw its image turning into a harsh communist style. Ottoman, Fascist and Communist buildings are today sharing their heritages with a city under amazing development making the today Albanian capital one of the most enjoyable, dynamic and attractive place. Tirana offers a safe haven offering infinite choices such as bars, clubs, restaurants, art galleries, museums, green parks which bring people from all ages under a cozy atmosphere. 

      Enjoy a dinner that we can book for you in a traditional restaurant. 

      Overnight at the hotel. 

       

  • Day 8. Tirana – Tirana International Airport

    Transfer to Tirana International airport. 

Strengths
  • Moments of life to share with 2 tremendous Albanian families

  • For families from 0 to 77+ years

  • Journey in 2 remote mountainous locations in the Eastern part of Albania

  • Unforgettable moments

  • Fly & drive concept

Car rental 

Category SUV: Up to 4/5 persons: Vehicle type Skoda Yeti, Hyundai Tucson or equivalent.   

Note: Vehicle models are given for information only. Another model can be proposed or given according to availability. No credit card will be requested to finalize the location of the car. Insurance included. Does not include fuel or any other fees such as parking. 

Driver needs to be above 25 and below 65 years old. Below or above this period of age surcharge may apply as per international and local rules. 

Notice:

This program is an example and can be the object of many variants. Ask us to send you a proposal based on your time, wishes and budget. 

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:

Tour based on arrival and departure times before 11:30 am. 

Additional services (such as 2 horses or mules) can be provided upon request. 

Child: any children between 0 and 11.99 years of age is considered as a child.  Infant: any children between 0 and 2.99 years of age is considered as an infant.  In hotels, when possible family room or equivalent may be proposed.

According to the seasons, visitors may participate to milk the cows, collect the eggs, go to the farm fields to collect apples, cherries, etc.