Albania Encompassed

Group Tour

Overview

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

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

11 x Breakfasts
10 x Lunches
8 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Minibuses and boats 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

6 nights x Premium
5 nights x Superior

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2234 Wild Miles

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 comfortable hotels throughoutPlease 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.

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

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 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.

Sar'Otel 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 Dajti and visit the Bunk'Art underground galleries to learn about the country’s unique communist past. We’ll then take the scenic cable car up the mountain and enjoy a walk around the park taking in the stunning views (weather permitting) of the city below. After lunch the rest of the day is free to allow you time to explore some more of Albania’s capital at your leisure. You could choose to visit the National Museum, discover the Blloku district with its trendy cafes and shops or venture further south to wander around the impressive Lake Park, popular with locals and foreign visitors alike.

Sar'Otel 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 Dukagjin Mountains. Re-entering Albania, we then head into the stunning Valbonë Valley, home to dramatic vertical limestone scenery. On arrival 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. With an option to extend the walk further, for those who wish, we'll slowly then make our way back down into the valley, surrounded by nature’s finest in the valley.
Approx. 2hrs walking (200m ascent, 200m descent. Total distance 5km, highest point 1117m).

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 privately charted boat and embark on a spectacular journey 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 comparatively unpopulated by tourists and offers some spectacular unspoiled views as we slowly cruise south for about 2½ hours. En route we’ll stop for lunch at 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.

Hotel Tradita or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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’ll finally reach Vlorë, the birthplace of Albanian independence, where there will be time to take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront before sunset.

Hotel Partner or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

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 pleasant walk this morning. Following a beautiful forest trail we will take in breath-taking panoramic views of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas on one side, and the dramatic 2000-metre-high mountains on the other. After lunch we'll 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.

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 a traditional Albanian town, dramatically situated between the Gjerë Mountains and the Drino River, Gjirokastër is still dominated by its Ottoman-influenced citadel, one of 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 an 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 Vjosë 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 Belshi lakes as we journey to the charming town of Krujë, located just north of Tirana. Here we visit 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

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.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

We recognise the environmental issues and challenges around single-use plastic in many countries we visit and are actively working with our partners on the ground to reduce plastic waste on our tours and within the hotels and restaurants we visit. You can help to reduce your personal plastic waste by taking a refillable, filtered water bottle with you on your trip. Filtered water bottles can be refilled from water sources including your hotel room and restaurant taps, drinking fountains and refill stations. Every time you refill your bottle without the use of single-use plastic, you will be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. Filtered Water Bottles | Wild Frontiers (wildfrontierstravel.com)

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) 08:20 Tirana Airport (TIA) 12:20
BA 929 Tirana Airport (TIA) 13:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 15:35

Visas

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 - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

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

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

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

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Albania or Kosovo.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations 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? 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*. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your requirements.

*Please note bespoke, tailor-made itineraries need to be a minimum of 7 days and we can only offer them in countries where we have a tailor-made expert

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

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional.

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 Valbonë Valley, a route typically used in the region.

This tour has a couple of medium/long driving days. These should be no longer than approx. 5/6 hours driving time (around 300km) and regular breaks will be provided.

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 some cases, these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room; however, in Albania, we do find that hotels and guesthouses can, at times, assign a room with a single bed to clients who pay for a single supplement.

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 10% 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.