ENVIE D'ALBANIE
The land of the Dalmatian Pelican

8 Days 7 Nights

Group: 6 - 12 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

The bird has always fascinated and inspired by the man who tried to imitate it by trying to fly like Icarus or Leonardo da Vinci. It has also been the subject of many legends and has been associated with goddesses. The relationship between bird and man is very old and has led to several forms of cooperation.

This circuit is for nature enthusiasts of all ages, who wish to discover biodiversity, learn to recognize species, understand their behavior or simply discover an environment that until then was unknown to them.

The journey takes place in the heart of the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, offering a great experience for all nature lovers and a must for ornithologists, enthusiasts or simply amateurs. During migrations, the park can gather some fifty thousand birds. As such, it offers the extraordinary opportunity to be part of another world. Taking a look at the natural habitat of these birds as well as their behaviors is a rare pleasure.

Take advantage of the fall migration to come and admire the behavior of different species present on the spot, such as ducks, herons, cormorants, Dalmatian pelicans, flamingos or even the many passerines and their predators such as the peregrine falcon, eagles and goshawks.

The observation days are accompanied by a local French-speaking ornithologist guide, passionated for more than 27 years and specialist in the conservation of birds and their habitats, who will be able to take the spotter to the privileged areas and will help to discover in exceptional conditions this world of beaks and feathers.

Take advantage of this stay to discover a country recently opened to tourism by immersing yourself in its past, its present and imagining its future.

2 to 2+

Difficulty

Guide

Experienced English-speaking guide

Treks

No

Outdoor activity

No

Cultural Visits

0 visit

Luggage

Backpack or equivalent 15 to 20 kg max

Hotel

4 ☆

Departure

Tirana International airport

Porting

A small backpack is required for your daily equipment

Transfer of luggage

Vans from one accommodation to the next one

Price Includes
  • Hotels: See list below

  • 7* Breakfasts

  • 4* Lunches

  • 7* Dinners

  • English-speaking guide throughout the stay

  • Birdwatching guide in Narta

  • Transportation

  • All visits mentioned in this program.

Price Excludes
  • All personal expenses of participants

  • Beverages not mentioned above, such as spirits

  • Tips

  • Travel insurance

  • Transportation by air

  • Travel insurance

Hotels

Description

Tour Plan
  • Day 1. Tirana International Airport – Tirana

    Reception by an English-speaking guide at Tirana's "Mother Theresa" airport. Depart to Tirana.

    The metropolitan capital of Tirana has undergone lightning-fast modernization while much of its Ottoman, Italian and Communist architecture recalls its history and spirit of yesteryear. There are plenty of churches, mosques, museums, galleries and shopping malls to visit, but Tirana is more generous when the visitor is carried away by the city's vibe. The best way to discover this city is to take a leisurely stroll through its various areas and streets to discover its authenticity.

    Visit of Skanderberg Square and the city center with its famous "Block".

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

    Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.

  • Day 2. Tirana – Tirana

    Direction the Grand Park of Tirana. In a bustling city like Tirana, the visitor may be surprised to find such sparse and open nature in the heart of a capital city. Well, the Grand Park offers just that, and much more.

    The park includes an artificial lake and many other monuments such as the Saint Procopius Church, the Presidential Palace and memorials to several Albanian personalities. It remains one of the most relaxing places in the city, despite the increase in the number of buildings built near the park. A morning walk is a daily routine for many citizens.

    The park is teeming with life. The attentive walker will be able to unearth the Syriac woodpecker, the middle-spotted woodpecker, the great spotted woodpecker or the lesser spotted woodpecker, but also wryneck and many other species. On the lake, the goosander will easily distinguish itself despite the presence of many ducks and other inhabitants of the wetlands.

    Head to the suburbs of Tirana to enjoy an aerial journey of more than 4.5 km with the longest cable car in the Balkans. It offers the shortest and most magnificent route to a panorama showcasing Albanian nature in all its glory.

    Immersion in the Dajti National Park. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the park as Category II. The park has been recognized as an Important Area for Plants of International Importance by Plantlife. It is inhabited by wild boar, Eurasian wolf, red fox, European hare, brown bear, squirrel and European wildcat.

    Many sparrows have made the park their main activity area. And when there is a bait predators are never far away. Kites, buzzards, hawks, sparrowhawks occupy the air. Carried by the currents, they travel long distances in search of their prey.

    Lunch in a panoramic restaurant then walk in the park.

    Descent to Tirana with the cable car and free time until dinner.

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 3. Tirana – Durres – Delta of Vjosa Narta – Vlora

    Departure to Durres, the second largest city in Albania which was once the start of via Egnatia. The road made possible to go to Byzantium crossing Albania and the north of the ancient Greece.

    Visit of the Roman Amphitheater built in the 2nd century. This site considered as the second in terms of importance in the Balkans is inscribed on the UNESCO list. Few works have been carried out for its restoration but it is possible to imagine the effervescence that could reign there during its greatness. Nowadays it is used as an open-air museum.

    Direction the historic center where you can stroll along the ancient Byzantine walls, then route towards the city of 1000 windows.

    Visit and lunch in an agro-farm. The "Tree of Life" farm (Pema e Jetës) has many fruit and olive trees, a vineyard and vegetables of all kinds are grown. Cattle, pigs, geese, ducks, chickens, pigeons are bred. All farm products can be transformed into meals of the day served directly at the restaurant. Families, adults and children can spend time with the animals or stroll through the gardens.

    Direction the lagoon of Vjosa Narta and visit of the Zvërnec island and its monastery. The monastery is an impressive object of significant cultural and religious value. Its construction is thought to have occurred between the 12th and 13th centuries and, thus, boasts an architecture that is typical of the Byzantine era. To reach the monastery, it is necessary to follow the charming bridge that, stretching over the water, connect the island with land.

    Founded in the 6th century BC. JC and known in antiquity as Aulona, Vlora or Vlorë was built in one of the most beautiful places in southern Albania. Its shores feature a unique mix of rocky and sandy beaches, and the magnificent views of the Karaburun Peninsula and the Sazan Islands stretch past the town. Visit of its historical center - Independence Square, where Ismail Qemali raised the national flag and proclaimed the independence of Albania on November 28, 1912. Unfortunately, two years later Italian troops invaded Albania

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 4 & 5. Vlora – Vjosa Narta – Vlora

    Its official name is Vjosa-Narta-Pishë Poro-Narta Lagoon but it is most popularly known as simply Narta. Located north of Vlora, this famous lagoon enjoys the status of a protected area and is famous, on a global scale, for its rich biodiversity. It is one of the largest and most important coastal wetlands in Albania and, not to mention, one of the most spectacular. The lagoon, the untouched forest, the pristine beach with no traces of construction, the traditions, but also the locally produced wine of the village are factors that, naturally, have attracted the attention of everyone who has had the chance to visit.

    Its unique beauty consists in its rich marine life, diversity of plant species, sand dunes and the delta of Vjosa River. The wetland of  Vjosa-Narta is of great importance for migratory bird species which find shelter in the area. In terms of its national importance, Narta is one of the most important areas in Albania for waterfowl.

    The delta is one of the country's top birding destinations, with an astonishing mix of 230 species of resident and migratory birds, of which nearly 15 species are globally endangered. The sheltered open waters of these wetlands, the salina and the outlying coasts provide resting places for migratory birds on their way between Europe and Africa.

    Joined by our ornithologist guide, the group will move inside the lagoon to the observation areas.

    The aim of these two days will be to try to see, identify and then recognize the different species living in the lagoons or by the sea, but also in the forest. In addition to the famous pelicans, it will certainly be possible to meet spoonbills, cormorants, flamingos, stilts, herons, cranes, geese and various ducks and scoters as well as many other species such as teals, grebes , woodpeckers, scaups or even the red-breasted merganser or shearwaters. Hoping that luck is on the right side, a few eagles like the screaming or Bonelli's eagle, or even harriers or buzzards and sometimes even owls will be able to show their elegance.

    The days will be interspersed with a lunch break in a restaurant located in the heart of the park.

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 6. Vlora – Apollonia – Berat

    On the way to Berat.

    First stop and visit of the archaeological site of Apollonia. Exceptionally preserved, it would have been built in the 6th century BC by the Greeks of Corfu and the Corinthians. Apollonia was an obligatory point of passage for travelers taking the Via Egnatia. The city took off in the 4th century, becoming an important place of trade and commerce that could accommodate up to 40,000 people. The site houses an archaeological museum, the Church of Saint Mary and its monastery.

    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 one of a kind. Visit of the fortress and the National Icon Museum of Onufri, famous Albanian painter of the 16th century as he used pink - then rare - in his works. The museum is housed inside the Sainte-Marie church, built in the 10th century. Visit of the district of Gorica, then of the district of Mangalem with its typical houses, which we reach by crossing the Osum river.

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 7. Berat – Elbasan – Kruja

    Direction Elbasan. A Roman emperor, a sultan, fascists and communists have all made their specific contribution to the construction of this ancient city over the centuries. As such, Elbasan Castle and the resulting New Town combine distinct and perhaps incompatible styles and influences, giving Elbasan a truly unique stature. A proud city full of warm-hearted people, Elbasan hosts the country's biggest Summer Day festivities, a day when its specialty food, sweet and rich ballokume, is eaten by all. Visit of the city center.

    Road to Kruja, an ancient medieval city. Rich in history and tradition, Kruja is the homeland of patriots and the epicenter of Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was here that Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania's greatest national hero, defended the country from invading Ottomans. The national museum dedicated to the hero is housed in the famous castle of Kruja and shows both the story of the legendary hero and the traditional way of life of the town's population. The city's famous bazaar serves as a bridge between this glorious past and the present, offering a rich range of traditional products made by local artisans. Home to one of the spiritual centers of the country, that of Sarisalltik. Kruja is a crucial destination for every local and visitor.

    Visit of the Skanderbeg museum, the ethnographic museum and free time in the bazaar.

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

  • Day 8. Kruja – Tirana International Airport

    Free time until departure to the airport.

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:

Participants must bring with them a pair of binoculars or a telescope.
Depending on the season and/or the availability of restaurants, dinners may be taken in hotels.
Due to the pandemic situation, hotels and restaurants are indicative only