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Walking In Southern Albania - Coastal Trails & Ancient Empires

Group Tour

8 Days From C$2,441

Overview

With a rich heritage that can trace its influences back to the Macedonians, the Greeks and the Ottoman Turks, Albania is one of the most fascinating and least known countries in Europe. It is also blessed with some of the Adriatic’s wildest landscapes as well as possibly the continent’s least developed tourism infrastructure, not to mention some captivating history.

If that thought fills you with excitement then join us for this wonderful adventure into the wilds of the mountainous ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

7 x Breakfasts
7 x Lunches
6 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour we will use a minibus and our own two feet!

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

5 nights x Premium
2 nights x Superior

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in small 3* hotels. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Moderate / High

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Walking In Southern Albania - Coastal Trails & Ancient Empires
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA - VLORE

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA - VLORE

Those arriving on the group flight will meet at Tirana airport. We will then set off south through the plains of western Albania as we make our way down to the beautiful bay of Vlore.

Hotel Partner or similar

DAY 2: VLORE - LLOGARA

DAY 2: VLORE - LLOGARA

Continuing south we head towards the magnificent mountains of the Llogara National Park where we will begin our hike today. Following a beautiful forest trail we will slowly make our way up and along the famous ridge running to the Karaburun Peninsula, taking in breath-taking panoramic views of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas on one side, and the dramatic 2000-metre-high mountains on the other. We’ll have time to enjoy these stunning vistas with a well-earned picnic lunch, before continuing on along the ridge and down onto the Llogara Pass via an old army dirt road. A short transfer will then take us back to the hotel in Llogara where we can relax for the rest of the afternoon, or take some time for another walk to the colourful ‘Caesar Meadows’ before dinner. Approx. 5hrs walking (695m ascent, 450m descent. Total distance 10kms, highest point 1380m)

Hotel Sofo or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: LLOGARA - HIMARE

DAY 3: LLOGARA - HIMARE

This morning we will take a short drive to the pass at Mount Çika, the tallest peak of the Ceraunian Range and situated dramatically on the edge of the Ionian Sea at a height of 2044m. From the pass we will set off on foot and wind our way through pine forests and up the mountain slopes reaching just below Kore’s Summit, where we can take in the magnificent sea views. After enjoying lunch we will continue to soak up the scenic views by road as we make our way further along the coast to our base for the night - Himare. Approx. 4hrs walking (510m ascent, 510m descent. Total distance 4kms, highest point 1550m)

Rapo’s Resort Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: HIMARE - BUTRINT - SARANDE

DAY 4: HIMARE - BUTRINT - SARANDE

After breakfast we leave the lovely town of Himare, and drive along the celebrated bay of Porto Palermo to visit the castle of Ali Pasha, the ‘Lion of Yannina’, who ruled Albania during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Continuing our journey along the Albanian Riviera we will stop at the quaint little hillside town of Qeparo, where we’ll hike to the hill that overlooks the old village to enjoy the views over the bay and the large island of Corfu in the horizon. We’ll then descend to the village for lunch at the beach and possibly a swim in the sea. In the afternoon we’ll drive on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Butrint National Park, an ancient archaeological site that lies on the shores of the Mediterranean. Located on the Straits of Corfu and surrounded by a picturesque lagoon, the site has, at various stages of its development, been a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. Today it is a site of major historical significance and remains one of the most important archaeological finds in the country, with artefacts and monuments being unearthed that date back as far as the Bronze Age. Its setting, against the natural backdrop of native woodland and the fresh waters of Lake Butrint and the Vivari Channel, makes it a particularly attractive site to explore. After our visit we will drive to the coastal town of Sarande where we will settle for the night. Approx. 3hrs walking (330m ascent, 330m descent. Total distance 5kms, highest point 316m)

Porto Eda Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: SARANDE - GJIROKASTËR

DAY 5: SARANDE - GJIROKASTËR

This morning we head further inland to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Gjirokastër. We’ll enjoy the scenic drive as we pass through the valley of Drinos, crossing the picturesque Muzinë Pass, and stopping along the way to pay a short visit to the magical Blue Eye Spring. After about an hour we will reach the foothills of the mountains and set off from the village of Libohova and its fortress, along the trail which Lord Byron himself took centuries ago. Our walk will end in the village of Labovë where we will visit the Labovë e Kryqit Church, one of the oldest churches in Albania, from here we will take a short transfer to eventually reach the historic town of Gjirokastër. A beautifully preserved example of an Ottoman town, dramatically situated between the Gjerë Mountains and the Drino River, Gjirokastër is still dominated by its Ottoman citadel, believed to be the second largest in the Balkans. Originally built in the 12th century, the citadel has undergone a number of makeovers since its original construction, and now operates as a historical site with a selection of interesting post-War era weapons and memorabilia, including a US Air Force plane which was captured in Tirana during the 1950s. Filled with a lovely collection of charming 17th and 18th century buildings and palatial residences, the old part of the city still reflects something of Gjirokastër’s once favoured status amongst the Ottoman elite of the 19th century, and stands as the perfect base for us this evening. Approx. 3hrs walking (200m ascent, 270m descent. Total distance 7kms, highest point 680m)

Hotel Kastro or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: GJIROKASTËR

DAY 6: GJIROKASTËR

After breakfast and a short drive to Asim Zeneli we will head east on the trail towards the ancient site of Antigonea, a city founded by King Pyrrhus of Epirus in 295 BC and one that, before its destruction during the Macedon Wars 150 years later, was once one of the most important trading centres in southern Albania. Following the trail along the slopes of the Lunxheria Mountains we will come in proximity of the village of Dhoksat, where we will be treated to a traditional lunch in the heart of the village and learn more about life in this more remote area. This afternoon we slowly start making our way back towards Gjirokastër, where we will spend another night. Approx. 5hrs walking (470m ascent, 160m descent. Total distance 12kms, highest point 730m)

Hotel Kastro or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: GJIROKASTËR - TIRANA

DAY 7: GJIROKASTËR - TIRANA

Our final journey will take us back to the country’s capital today, Tirana, travelling via the Shkumbin Valley, which once formed an important section of the Via Egnatia, the Roman road that connected the western and eastern parts of the Roman Empire. We will stop for some lunch just south of the capital before taking a short hike along the River Erzen to the Cave of Pellumbas, also known as the Black Cave, one of the earliest known pre-historic settlements in the region and home to a wonderful array of majestic stalagmites and stalactites. Mid-afternoon we will drive on to Tirana, stopping along the way to visit Hope Made, a locally run organisation which provides training for women from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn arts and craft skills which then lead to more employment opportunities. This evening we will enjoy our final dinner in a local restaurant in the centre of the city. Approx. 3hrs walking (167m ascent, 167m descent. Total distance 3kms, highest point 470m)

Vila Tafaj Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: SIGHTSEEING AROUND TIRANA. TOUR ENDS.

DAY 8: SIGHTSEEING AROUND TIRANA. TOUR ENDS.

Today we have some time to explore the colourful town of Tirana with a walking tour, taking in the recently renovated Skanderbeg square and the historic Et'hem Bey Mosque. We will also visit the Bunk'Art underground galleries to learn about the country’s unique communist past as well as seeing some of the buildings which date back to the 1930s Italian-influenced era. The tour will finish after lunch.

Breakfast, Lunch

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Mid-Range
Good quality service and overall comfort
Superior
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.

If travelling to/from the start/finish of the tour from another European country you might also want to consider reducing your carbon footprint by travelling there by train.  We are unfortunately not (yet) in a position to help you with the actual booking of the train tickets but lots of good information can be found here - www.seat61.com

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 2648 London Heathrow (LHR) 14:20 Tirana Airport (TIA) 18:25
BA 2649 Tirana Airport (TIA) 19:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 21:25

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders do not currently require a visa for Albania.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Tirana

Take an extra day or so to explore the country’s quirky capital.

Northern Albania

Check out our Northern Albania itinerary which connects perfectly with our Southern Albania dates and will give you an incredible insight into the north’s stunning landscapes of the Albanian Alps.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

Albania has a variety of climatic conditions, being situated in the transition zone between the typical Mediterranean climate in the west and the moderate continental in the east. In early/late summer you can typically expect daytime temperatures to be around 27-29C and night-time temperatures to be around 14- 16C. Rain is always possible so please come prepared.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

You will need to be in a reasonable state of health and have a good level of fitness to be suitable to join this tour. The trek is graded as moderate with average daily walking time of around 4hrs. In many places the paths are rocky and uneven.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation, but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £200 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2234 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION