Albania Encompassed

Group Tour

12 Days From £2,295

Overview

Blessed with some of the Adriatic’s wildest landscapes as well as possibly the continent’s least developed tourism infrastructure, Albania remains one of the most fascinating and least known countries in Europe with a rich heritage which can trace its influences back to the Macedonians, the Greeks and the Ottoman Turks.

During our journey we will soak up the dramatic landscapes of the northern Valbonë Valley and the coastal charms of the ‘Albanian Riviera’, explore the famed Ottoman towns ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

11 x Breakfasts
10 x Lunches
8 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Minibuses, public ferry, and a boat will be used on this tour.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

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

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

Flexible booking conditions regarding transfers and cancellations

ACCOMMODATION

Wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience. This can obviously vary greatly across both countries and tours. On this particular trip we will be in smaller local hotelsPlease note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

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.

Book With Confidence

We understand that flexibility is now a key factor when booking a holiday, and we believe our Covid Promise and Covid Viable Test provide that.

We believe these terms and conditions for making a booking are amongst the most generous in the travel industry right now, and we hope they will give you the confidence, when you feel ready, to go ahead and book your next adventure.

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

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

Albania Encompassed
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TIRANA

The tour starts this afternoon at the hotel. Those on the suggested group flights (see the GETTING THERE section below for details) will receive a complimentary arrival transfer from Tirana airport. This afternoon 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, as well as seeing some of the buildings which date back to the 1930s Italian-influenced era. For our first evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner in a local restaurant.

Lot Boutique Hotel or similar
Dinner

DAY 2: TIRANA

DAY 2: TIRANA

This morning we will visit the House of Leaves, once the headquarters of the Albanian secret surveillance apparatus during the cold war and now a museum. From here we then drive into the foothills of Mount Dajte and visit the Bunk'Art underground galleries to learn about the country’s unique communist past. We then take the scenic cable car up the mountain, the longest cable line in the Balkans, and enjoy a walk around the park at the mountain top and take in the stunning views of the city, weather permitting! After lunch the afternoon is free to explore at leisure. Discover the nearby Blloku district with its trendy cafes, shops and galleries, or have a wander around the Grand Park, popular with locals and home to a large artificial lake.

Lot Boutique Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 3: TIRANA – VISOKI DECANI – VALBONË VALLEY

DAY 3: TIRANA – VISOKI DECANI – VALBONË VALLEY

Travelling north today we journey along the scenic highway that carves its way through the Mirdita Mountains and up into Kosovo. Here we spend a brief time visiting the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Visoki Decani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains. Re-entering Albania, we then head into the stunning Valbonë Valley, home to dramatic vertical limestone scenery. In the afternoon we can enjoy some free time to explore the beautiful landscape before settling in for a cosy evening of local food and hospitality.

Hotel Margjeka or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: VALBONË VALLEY

DAY 4: VALBONË VALLEY

Today we will explore these stunning jagged landscapes. Following a simple shepherd’s path up through beech and pine forests and lush green meadows we can enjoy dramatic views of the rocky domes of Maja Jezercë (2695m) and Mount Rosi (2560m) as we explore the depths of this remote region and head for the quaint little hamlet of Kukaj. We slowly then make our way back down into the valley, surrounded by nature’s finest in the valley. There is then the option of a leisurely walk this afternoon to the beautiful meadows of Grykat e Hapta, or you can simply relax at the hotel.

Approx. 2hrs walking (200m ascent, 200m descent. Total distance 5km, highest point 1117m).

Optional hike – approx. 2hrs walking (300m ascent, 300m descent. Total distance 5km, highest point 1345m)

Hotel Margjeka or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: VALBONË VALLEY - LAKE KOMAN - SHKODËR

DAY 5: VALBONË VALLEY - LAKE KOMAN - SHKODËR

We travel once more through the valley this morning, this time to the Fierza Dock, where we board a small public ferry and embark on a spectacular boat ride through the deep gorge of Lake Koman. As part of a major hydroelectric project dating back to the 1980s, Lake Koman was created by a dam, and the result is quite breathtaking. This idyllic ride will take us along the Drin River, which over the centuries has carved its way through the mountains to create some magnificent canyons and narrow passageways that are reminiscent of the celebrated Norwegian fjords. Unlike the fjords however, in comparison this area is vastly unpopulated by tourists and offers some spectacular unspoiled views as we slowly cruise south for about 2½ hours. En route we can enjoy lunch in Shala Canyon, known for its turquoise waters and white beaches. Once we reach the dam, we then continue by mountain road until we reach Shkodër. Historically an important trading post for centuries, the city is home to the ancient Rozafa Fortress, strategically located on the hill overlooking the city and surrounding vistas, and we will spend some time exploring this as well as other places of interest.

Hotel Tradita or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 6: SHKODËR - DURRES - VLORË

DAY 6: SHKODËR - DURRES - VLORË

Today we set off south through the plains of western Albania as we make our way down to the beautiful coastal town and port of Durres. Here we visit the impressive Roman Amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century and the largest of its time in the Balkans. Continuing south we reach the Lagoon of Narta where we then walk to the Zvernec Monastery, before reaching Vlorë. Here we’ll enjoy a wander around the picturesque waterfront before dinner.

Hotel Partner or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: VLORË – LLOGORA NATIONAL PARK - HIMARË

DAY 7: VLORË – LLOGORA NATIONAL PARK - HIMARË

Continuing south we head towards the magnificent mountains of the Llogara National Park where we will enjoy a walk this morning. 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. We then continue on by road along the stunning Albanian Riviera to the waterfront town of Himarë, where we visit the castle and stay this evening.

Approx. 2hrs walking (130m ascent, 130m descent. Total distance 2km)

Rapo Resort Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: HIMARË – BUTRINT - GJIROKASTËR

DAY 8: HIMARË – BUTRINT - GJIROKASTËR

After breakfast we leave the lovely town of Himarё, and drive along the Albanian Riviera to the lagoon of Butrint. Here we embark on a boat trip and learn about how the mussels are farmed, followed by a delicious lunch to sample this local specialty. We then visit 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 the 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 inland to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Gjirokastër.

Hotel Kastro or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: GJIROKASTËR

DAY 9: 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. Today we have the full day to enjoy its charms, including a visit to the Ethnographic Museum housed in the birthplace of the ex-dictator, Enver Hoxha and enjoying some local treats in one of Gjirokastër’s old houses.

Hotel Kastro or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: GJIROKASTËR - BERAT

DAY 10: GJIROKASTËR - BERAT

Today we leave Gjirokastër and follow the valleys of the rivers Drino and Vjosa towards Berat - the best preserved historic town of Albania, with a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site listing. En route we will stop for a wine-tasting at the Cobo Winery, known for making some of the best wines in Albania. Next we’ll visit the fortified citadel and the outstanding Onufri Icons Museum, enjoying also the sweeping vistas over Mount Tomor and the Osumi Valley. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring Berat’s historic districts of Mangalemi and Gorica, where we will stay for the night.

Hotel Mangalemi or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: BERAT – KRUJË

DAY 11: BERAT – KRUJË

Our final leg of the journey takes us along an alternative road inland, passing the rural area of the Belshai Lake where we can stop for some lunch, before continuing north to the charming town of Krujë, located just north of Tirana. Here we visit the the imposing castle, home to its acclaimed Skanderbeg Museum, dedicated to Albania's national hero, before settling in for our final dinner and evening.

Hotel Panorama or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: TOUR ENDS IN KRUJË

DAY 12: TOUR ENDS IN KRUJË

The tour ends at the hotel after breakfast. Those on the suggested group flight (see GETTING THERE below) will be transferred to Tirana airport, located not far from the town.

Breakfast

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 offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
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 offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
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 offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
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 offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
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.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

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.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 928 London Heathrow (LHR) 08:15 Tirana Airport (TIA) 12:20
BA 929 Tirana Airport (TIA) 13:15 London Heathrow (LHR) 15:20

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 a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

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

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

Tirana

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

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 spring and autumn you can typically expect daytime temperatures to be around 20-25C and night-time temperatures to be around 10-15C. 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

All the walks mentioned are optional but in order to get the most out of the tour you should be in a reasonable state of health and be sufficiently fit to partake in and enjoy walking up and downhill in the great outdoors. None of the walks are difficult but in many places the paths are rocky and uneven. On Day 3 we will briefly drive into Kosovo to visit the Visoki Decani Monastery as we make our way into the Valbone Valley, a route typically used in the region.

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.