13-day guided tour in Albania (2)

This trip’s goal is to have a general idea of what Albania has to offer, whether is it nature, history or culture. The exploration starts with the Capital City and the mountain near it called Dajti Mountain, located in central Albania.
Than our journey continues towards North Albania. We are going to visit some historical cities like Kruja and Shkodra, and there is going to be some hike in the nature as well. But the real hike is about to come. After a very interesting trip with a ferry through Drini Canyon, we reach the Albanian Alps in the Valley of Valbona.
We are now in The Highlands. Valbona and Theth are a miracle of nature. After visiting guest houses and hiking through this magnificent woods and rocks, we will be ready for another thrilling visit to South Albania.
Durres is our first stop, located near Tirana, Durres is the most ancient city in Albania dating from 627 BC. Trip continues to Berat, a city of great history and Unesco protected.
The trip continues down south to Vlora and Llogara. With an amazing view in Llogara you are going to witness the amazing combination of mountain and sea. Through the beautiful coastal road we arrive to Saranda and the amazing Butrinti, a well known place for its historical and cultural interest.
Gjirokastra is going to be the place which is going to close this interesting tour. This city is part of the World Heritage List, so it is a must see.

Day 1: Arrival
Arrival in Tirana airport. Meet with the local guide and transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Dajti Mountain – Tirana
After breakfast in the hotel depart towards Dajti mountain, the closest mountain to Tirana with an altitude of 1614 m. Transportation to the point where the hike will start will be done by car. Arrival at Gurorja (location) and start of the hike. Arrival at the mountain peak and if it is a clear day, you can see as far as Sazani island located in Vlora.
After the hike, return to Tirana for a guided tour of the city. Visit Skanderbeg square with Ethem Bey mosque and the Clock tower. Then proceed to the main boulevard where are located some more historical buildings.
Dinner and overnight in Tirana

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure
08:30 - Arrival to Gurorja
08:45 - Hike in Dajti mountain
11:30 - Reaching top of the mountain
11:45 - Descent to Dajti Park
12:30 - Lunch
13:30 - Descent to Gurorja
14:30 - Arrival to Gurorja
15:30 - Arrival to Tirana
16:00 - Tirana sightseeing

Uphill: 800 m
Downhill: 800 m
Approximate hiking time: 5 hours

Day 3: Kruja - Shkodra
After breakfast in the hotel travel from Tirana towards Kruja where the group will hike in the mountain of Kruja to visit the Holy Land of Bektashi. The hike will take around 4 hours and apart enjoying the nice nature, the group will explore and discover more of the religious situation in Albania where in the mountain top they will visit the Bektashi tekke and get more info of Sari Salltik, considered a saint from the locals. Afterwards, start the descent. Arrival back in Kruja where we will have a tasty lunch in one of the restaurants of the Skanderbeg Castle. Afterwards visit the Ethnographic Museum. Free time in the traditional bazaar.
In the afternoon departure to Shkodra which is situated near the lake sharing the same name. It is an ancient city with a rich history. Visit the Rozafa Castle built on a rocky hill and get acquainted with its sad legend.
Dinner and overnight in Shkodra.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure
10:00 - Hike in Kruja mountain/ Teqja
10:00 - Departure from Teqja
11:00 - Descent from the mountain
12:30 - Lunch
13:30 - Visit Ethnographic museum
14:30 - Free time for shopping
15:00 - Departure to Shkodra
16:30 - Arrival in Shkodra and visit Rozafa castle
18:00 - Check in the hotel

Uphill: 600 m
Downhill: 600 m
Approximate hiking time: 4 hours

Day 4: Koman – Fierze - Drini Canyon - Valbona
In the morning departure to Koman lake when we will embark into the ferry that passes through the spectacular canyon of Drin river. The lake has been shaped after the build of Koman Hydro central in 1981.
After the ferry trip the transfer continues through the valley of Valbona river, along quite untouched nature. Accommodation in local guesthouses.
06:00 - Departure
09:00 - Ferry embarkation
12:00 - Arrival to Fierza
13:30 - Lunch in Bajram Curri
14:30 - Departure to Valbona
15:30 - Arrival to Valbona
19:30 - Dinner

Day 5: Valbona
Valbona is actually the name of the river which flows through the valley of Valbona, and the name of this village located in Tropoja district North Albania. In this village, the group will have the possibility to enjoy a perfect blending of the beautiful virgin nature and local life. Valbona together with Theth form the so called “The Highlands of Albania”. One of the most interesting parts of Valbona is the Zhapor trail which the group will discover this day. It is a mule trail, 1600 m high, which is not difficult to be climbed.
Dinner and overnight in Valbona.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Start hiking through Zhapor trail
12:00 - Arrival time at Zhapor trail
12:15 - Packed lunch
12:45 - Descent to Valbona valley
15:30 - Arrival at Valbona valley
16:00 - Accommodation and resting
19:00 - Dinner

Uphill: 800 m
Downhill: 800 m
Approximate hiking time: 6hours

Day 6: Valbona - Theth
After breakfast, travel by car for 10 km until Rragam village where the hiking will start. The trail, where the highest peak is Valbona Path (about 1900m over the sea level), is the classical trail of Albanian Alps that for centuries has served as a link between two of the most famous valleys of Bjeshket e Namuna , that of Valbona and Theth. There will be horses and mules to carry our baggage up to the next house. The villagers use this trail from the late summer to the first winter snow. Also there are some fresh fountains along the trail, making our travel nicer and cool admiring the fantastic sights that emerge from the heights of this trail. Than from the path we will descend to Theth village. Theth is the most historical alpine village in Albania. It has traditional stone houses covered with wood tiles built on natural balconies.
Dinner and accommodation in local guest houses.

06:00 - Breakfast
06: 30 - Departure
07:00 - Start Hiking
08.30 - Stop to the first fountain
11.00 - Valbona path (a short stopover)
11.30 - Start descending to Theth
12.30 - Stop to the second fountain
16.00 - Arrival to the guesthouse
19:00 - Dinner

Uphill: 800 m
Downhill: 800 m
Approximate hiking time: 8 hours with breaks included

Day 7: Theth
On this day we will have a nice walking through the surroundings of Theth. During the first part of the day we are going to visit the church of Thethi, The tower (Kulla), The 3oo years old house of Borshi family that was the Ethnographic museum of Dukagjini. Then we will see Grumas waterfall which is the highest in Albania (30 m), Nderlysa’s wells and the “blue eye” of Kapre. Return to Theth will be by van.
Dinner and overnight in Theth.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure to Ethnographic museum
08:15 - Arrival to the Museum
09:35 - Arrival to the church
10:15 - Departure to the Waterfall
11:00 - Arrival to the Waterfall
11:30 - Lunch near the waterfall
12:00 - Departure to Ndelysa
14:00 - Arrival to Nderlysa wells
15:00 - Departure to the “Blue eye”
17:30 - Departure to Theth.
19:30 - Dinner

Day 8: Durres - Kepi i Rodonit
After breakfast start travelling to Durres. Durres is the second most important city in Albania and the one with the biggest seaport. Before reaching Durres, stop to hike to Cape of Rodon, which is the biggest cape in Albania. Arrival and visit Rodoni Castle, build by Skanderbeg during 1451 – 1452 and St. Antony church. Afterwards, travel to Durres where it is possible to visit the Roman amphitheatre from the 2nd century.
Dinner and overnight in Durres.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Travel by car to Kepi Rodonit
13:00 - Arrival at Kepi Rodonit and lunch
14:00 - Hike in Kepi Rodonit
15:30 - Departure Durres
16:00 - Arrival Durres and sightseeing
17:30 - Accommodation in the hotel
19:00 - Dinner

Day 9: Durres - Berat
After breakfast travel towards Berat, Unesco protected town. Berat is a remarkable Ottoman town, rich in beautiful buildings with great architectural and historical interest. The pine forests above the city, on the slopes of the towering Tomori Mountain, provide a backdrop of appropriate grandeur. There will be visited Berati Castle with its fortified walls and “Onufri museum” housed insider an old church. After lunch visit the rest of the town with Mangalem and Gorica neighborhoods, the medieval center and the Ethnographic museum.
Dinner and accommodation in Berat.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure to Berat
10:00 - Arrival in Berat. Visit the castle and Onufri museum
12:30 - Lunch
14:00 - Visit the rest of the city
16:00 - Free time in Berat
19:00 - Dinner

Day 10: Vlore - Llogara
Early in the morning travel from Berat towards Llogara. Llogara is the place where the mountain joins the sea. The mountain goes sharp into the sea, so it forms a steep terrain. Start the hike to Qorre mountain (2018 m) using a shepherd trail. The trail passes across the pass of Caesar. Picnic lunch at the peak. Descent back to Llogara pass.
Dinner and overnight in Vlora/ or Llogara national park.

06:00 - Breakfast
07:00 - Departure to Llogara Path
09:30 - Arrival to Llogara Path
10:00 - Start hike to Qorra Peak
13:00 - Arrival to Qorra Peak
13:15 - Lunch and free time
14:00 - Start descending
16:30 - Arrival to Llogara Path
17:30 - Arrival to Vlora
19:30 - Dinner

Uphill: 1000 m
Downhill: 1000 m
Approximate hiking time: 5 hours

Day 11: Ali Pashe Tepelena Castle – Butrint - Sarande
After breakfast, depart to Saranda traveling along the seashore. On the way on is to be visited the castle of Porto Palermo placed near Himara, also called as the castle of Ali Pashe Tepelena. The walls of the castle are 1.6m thick. After visiting this castle, the road along the seashore passes many beautiful villages such as Qeparo, Borsh, Lukove etc. Lunch in Saranda and depart to Butrint. A scenic narrow leads you to the ancient city of Butrint. Visit to the Old Amphitheatre, the Temple of Aesculapius, the Baptistery with colorful mosaics and the ancient city walls. An old fortress housing a small museum watches over the entire site, which is one of the last unspoiled natural and ancient historical areas in Mediterranean.
Back to the city of Saranda for dinner and overnight.

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure to Saranda
12:30 - Arrival in Saranda and lunch
14:30 - Visit Butrint
17:00 - Back in Saranda. Accommodation in the hotel.

Day 12: Saranda - Gjirokaster
After breakfast, we have the departure to Gjirokastra, which is a “Museum City”. On the way possibility for visiting the magical Blue Eye. When we go to Gjirokastra, the characteristic houses resemble the towers and are build one above the other. They have only one common element, the stone. All the homes have the form of medieval towers. Visit to the castle, which stands out above the city as a balcony, providing the possibility for visitors to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The castle houses the National Museum of Weapons, which preserves all the kinds of weapons used and produced by the Albanians from antiquity. In the afternoon, time for short hikes in the nearby villages like Kardhiq and Golem.
Dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra

7:00 Breakfast
8:00 Departure to Gjirokastra
9:00 visit Blye Eye
10:00 Arrival to Gjirokastra
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Hiking in Kardhiq and Golem
17:30 Back in Gjirokastra
20:30 Dinner

Day 13: back to Tirana
Transfer from Gjirokastra to Tirana (either in the city or in the airport depending on the flight time).

07:00 - Breakfast
08:00 - Departure to Tirana
12:00 - Arrival in Tirana

Read More