ENVIE D'ALBANIE
Myths, Culture and Sun Albania

12 Days 11 Nights

Group: 6 - 12 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

Information and inspiration are everywhere... history, art, architecture, everything an illustrator needs. Albania is, after all, the land that has generated most of the enduring myths and legends of Balkan culture. A trip through the Albanian Alps, locally known as Prokletije which translates “cursed mountains. A journey to an hamlet offering picturesque and dramatic landscapes, a place of legends and myths, but where nature seems to be the cult of its inhabitants A  hint of culture  with the discovery of Tirana, the capital of Albania, well-known for its colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture and Berat, the so-called city of thousand windows. And, finally, a relaxing time by the crystal clear water of the Ionian sea where the time has stopped but entertainment clubs move. 

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

Hotels

Gallery

Tour Plan
  • Day 1. Tirana International Airport – Theth

    Welcome by an English-speaking guide at the "Mother Theresa" airport in Tirana. Departure to Theth in the heart of the National Park.  

    Theth National Park combines the beauty of mountains with majestic rivers, stunning waterfalls and pools as blue as one could ever imagine. No mere picture will do justice to its true beauty. Spectacular peaks from the Accursed Mountains loom above Theth. Once upon a time Jezerca was famed for housing nymphs, goddesses and other mythical beings. To the more cynical minded traveller these myths might seem farcical, but what cannot be denied is the magical and otherworldly landscapes that control Theth National Park. Enjoy the magnificent of Theth. 

    Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 2. Theth – Grunas canyon – Theth

    Hike: ~ 4: 00 hours 

    Maximal ascent: ~ 150 m. 

    Maximal descent: ~ 150 m.  

    Distance: ~ 7 km 

     

    Direction a place of rare beauty listed as an Albanian heritage site, the Grunas waterfall, whose last waterfall is 30 meters high. 

    Then the hike continues along the river Lumi i Thethit. to reach the Grunas Canyon where 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. Icy and clear water flows. 

    Back to the village of Theth where it will be possible to walk around to admire its cultural sites such as its small church and the Nikoll Koceku tower.  

    Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 3. Theth – Valbona

    Trek: ~ 7: 00 hours 

    Maximal ascent: ~ 1050 m. 

    Maximal descend: ~ 850 m.  

    Distance: ~ 14.5 km 

    Luggage Transfer: Horses 

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

    The route will offer a magnificent glimpse of Mother Nature's jewels. Sailing between forests, slopes, torrents and neighbouring 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 accommodation in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 4. Valbona – Valbona

    Nature has been wonderfully generous with the Valbona Valley. Located at the very centre of the Dinaric Alps and in the heart of the Valbona National Park, the valley is watched by some of the most impressive peaks, such as the Jezerca (2692 m) or the Kollata (2556 m). Meanwhile, the crystalline Valbona River flows in its bed, surrounded by beautiful beech, oak, and pine forests.  

    Hike: ~ 4:00 to 5:00 hours 

    Maximal ascent: ~ 250 m. 

    Maximal descend: ~ 250 m.  

    Distance: ~ 5-7 km 

    Luggage Transfer: No 

     

    Kukaj hamlet: the hike starts close from the guesthouse and gently climbs the hill following a gravely road up to the hamlet of Kukaj. Here, it is possible to admire the majesty of the Kolates (2552m), the 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 accommodation in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 5. Valbona – Tirana

    Edith Durham, a British artist, anthropologist and writer, best known for her time spent in the North of Albania in the early 20th century, quoted “There is a peculiar pleasure in riding out into the unknown. A pleasure which no second journey on the same trail ever affords”.  The Koman lake is a reservoir on the Drin river. It is surrounded by dense forest hills, vertical slopes, deep gorges and narrow valleys.  

    Short transfer between Valbona and Fierze with a public van and then enjoy a 2hrs 30 “fairy” cruise trip across the enchanted lake where time is suspended to the magical unspoiled landscapes. 

    The same van will bring its passengers up to Tirana. Short transfer with a taxi and drop-off the luggage the hotel.  

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

    Discover this gorgeous city by strolling in its center. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 6. Tirana – Berat

    Beautifully split by the Osum River into two historic neighborhoods, the city of Berat is unified by the grandiose bridge of Gorica. The characteristic windows of the traditional houses mirror one another beautifully from across the river. Surrounded on both sides by Tomorr and Shpirag, two of the most mythical mountains in Albania, Berat is also a nature lover’s paradise. Mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, rafting and kayaking are only some of the preferred outdoor activities around this region. The medieval Castle of Berat houses old churches, museums and iconography by the greatest Albanian artists as well as old bazaars, cafes, and a surprisingly vibrant local life. 

     

    Visit of Berat city and the Onufri museum which holds 200 artwork objects, icons and liturgical items dated from the 14th century to the 20th, which have escaped the craziness of the communism and brought together from several churches and monasteries of the region. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 7. Berat – Nivica

    Route to Tepelene. The city is located onto the edge of a hill and is surrounded by three rivers, which create a magnificent landscape. Tepelene bears the name of a famous man in the history of Albania, Ali Pasha Tepelena. Few kilometers after Tepelene, stop to see the so-called Ali Pasha viaduct, which was part of a larger aqueduct complex commissioned in the beginning of the 19th century by Ali Pasha of Tepelenë. The aqueducts fed the castle’s cisterns with water from the Mount Sopot, 10 km away. Gjirokastra didn’t have water service at the time, and Ali Pasha quickly understood the need of this structure to bring prosperity to the cities.  

     

    Nivica Canyons is one of the most beautiful natural places in Albania. Taken together, the canyons are 40 km long and 15 km wide. The canyons are fed by 11 waterfalls, one of which is 220 m high. It is probably one of the 10 highest waterfalls in Europe. Nivica Canyons are unique for their beauty.  

    Nivica’ project introduced this region to foreign explorers, canyoners, alpinists, and archaeologists. They all feel inspired by the place and impressed by the fact that such site has almost remained as it was in ancient times. 

    For those who wants, descent inside the canyons to enjoy waterfalls, pools and the natural heritage of mother nature. 

     

    Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse. 

  • Day 8. Nivica – Himara

    The new asphalted road will lead the travellers directly to the Albanian Riviera, offering stunning views on the Ionian sea. After Borsh, a small and quiet coastal village hosting some beautiful beaches, a stop is made at Porto Palermo to “touch” the crystalline waters. 

     

    Then, straight forward to Himara. With the taste of the salty blue/green waters deep engraved into visitors curious and impatient senses, they are longing to become swimmers. 

     

    Also known for its seaside promenade, Himare has a largely ethnically Greek population. The culture has been preserved through the local taverns. Take a dip in the Ionian Sea and enjoy the breathtaking 2000-metre high Llogara mountains to the northeast, all while perfecting your tan. 

     

    Beach time. 

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Days 9 & 10. Himara – Himara

    Beach time. 

    Overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 11. Himara – Kruja

    After the breakfast, direction the Llogara pass. From its 1000 meters above the sea, the place gives the opportunity to admire the Ioanian sea up to Greece and Corfu island. Enjoy this astonishing view. Then descent towards the Vlora bay following the Karaburun Peninsula, the only maritime park in Albania. Stretching across Vlora Bay, the peninsula is shaped like a finger which points towards the turquoise waters. A spectacular natural reserve, this entire area is now famous for the intimate, pristine bays scattered throughout and its thriving nature. 

    Direction Apollonia and experience the greatness of Antiquity. Imagine what the French archaeologist, Leon Rei, may have experienced when he first discovered the cluster of public buildings that compose the monumental complex of Apollonia in 1925. Forgotten by time but not damaged, the ruins and monuments of the city, which at the height of its prosperity boasted about 60,000 residents and which Cicero wrote extensively about, became one of the most important tourist attractions in Albania. The site includes the Buleuterion, one of Agora’s most impressive objects, dating back to the 2nd century B.C., which is today one of the emblems of antiquity in Albania. This building served as the headquarters of the City Council, and is also known as the Monument of Agonotet, in honor of the two brothers mentioned in the inscription of its lintel. This monument, along with the ruins of the Arch of Triumph, the Library, the Sanctuary and the surrounding stairs of the Odeon, immediately catapult the visitor into another era. Visit of the Apollonia archaeological site. 

    Route to Kruja. Kruja Castle was historically one of the most important defensive strongholds in the country, fending off legions of foreign invaders throughout the centuries. Today, it stands as a proud reminder of Albanian perseverance and strength. Krujë Castle has proudly stood on top of a rocky cliff, high above its city, for the last fifteen centuries. It has witnessed the long turbulent history of this place, which was once the centre of Arbëria (Albania’s ancient name). At a time when the Ottoman Empire ruled over a large swathe of Europe, including Constantinople and the Balkans, this castle remained undefeated for thirty-five years, thanks to Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, the legendary Albanian hero who defended its walls until his death. Free time in its bazar and castle. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 12. Departure

    Transfer to Tirana International Airport. 

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

    Depending on the season and/or the availability of the restaurants, dinners may be taken in the hotels. 

    Due to the pandemic situation, hotels and restaurants are given as indication only.