Your holiday summary
Make your own way
|Price range||From £1380|
|Travel partner||Wild Frontiers|
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Wild walk in Albania
During our journey we will explore the Ottoman charms of Gjirokastër, take a 3-day walk through the dramatic landscapes of the Kelcrya Gorge and the Vjosë Valley and explore the World Heritage setting of Butrint National Park, one of the most unique archaeological sites anywhere in Europe.
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage City of Gjirokastër
- Visit the ancient sites of Durres and Bylis and the castle of Ali Pasha of Tepelenë
- A 3-day walk through the Kelcrya Gorge and the Vjosë Valley
- Visit Butrint, one of the most important archaeological sites in Albania
- Trek through the diverse UNESCO landscapes of Butrint National Park
- Full services of a Wild Frontiers tour leader with local guides and drivers.
- Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with mineral water as required.
- All transport as outlined in the itinerary
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees, as per itinerary
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
- Visas (if applicable)
- Local airport taxes
- Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the predeparture information pack you’ll receive after booking)
- Beverages and any costs of a personal nature.
- International Flights
- Airport transfers (unless booking suggested flights through WF office)
Meet at the joining hotel and overnight in Tirana. Hotel (no meals)
This morning we travel south, a journey by road which takes us towards the UNESCO World Heritage city of Gjirokastër. En route we will call in at Durres, Albania’s main port and one of Europe’s oldest cities, which was once a major commercial outpost under the Romans. Stopping to visit its archaeological museum, we then move on to Bylis, an old Illyrian city that can trace its ancestry back to the 3rd century BC. Bylis once flourished as the region’s political, economic and cultural centre and one of its most important ancient monuments is its cathedral, home to the largest mosaic discovered in Albania to date. Following lunch we then continue to Tepelenë, to visit the castle of Ali Pasha, the ‘Lion of Yannina’, who ruled Albania during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. From here we continue on to Gjirokastër and the end of our day’s journey. Hotel (B,L,D)
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. 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. We’ll visit the castle and the city’s Ethnographical Museum, before leaving the city behind for the beautiful landscapes of the Kelcyra Gorge. Part of the Vjosë Valley, considered by many to be one of the natural highlights of the Albanian landscape, the Kelcyra Gorge provides a glorious backdrop for today’s walk, as we follow the course of the river, passing through thick forest and the small deserted village of Kala en route to our overnight camp. Approx 3hrs walking Camp (B,L,D)
Days four and five
Over the next two days we will hike through the stunning natural beauty of the Vjosë Valley. Running along part of the Trebeshinë – Dhëmbel - Nemërçkë Mountain chain, the Vjosë River crosses through nearly 200 kilometres of southwestern Albania and on our first day we travel part of its length from Kala to Sheper, where we camp overnight. Breaking camp on the second morning we then continue to follow the gentle course of the river as its snakes its way through a landscape peppered with churches and villages. Enjoying the genteel pace and the splendid setting we aim to visit some of the more interesting religious monuments that lie along the route, including the lovely Byzantine church in the little village of Leusë. Our final destination is the small town of Permet, a place renowned for its fine food and strong raki.
Day four Camp (B,L,D) approx five hrs walking
Day five Hotel (B,L,D) approx five hrs walking
This morning we drive 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 a private beach to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, having lunch and swimming in the sea. Hotel (B,L,D)
Butrint National Park covers over 85 square kilometres of historic landscapes and protected environment, with a number of marked walking trails leading to many of the main sites. The natural habitats around the park encompass a rich diversity of environments including lush pastureland, wetlands, Mediterranean maquis and olive groves. The lagoon that surrounds the park is also a haven for endangered Hermann’s tortoise and white-tailed sea eagles and during the winter the flooded wetlands become home to a variety of migrant birdlife. Heading back into the park again today we have a chance to explore a little more closely some of its natural beauty and rural charms, spending our time exploring the rich diversity of the landscapes and taking in some of the small farms and settlements that lie amongst this protected wilderness. Approx 5 hrs walking Hotel (B,L,D)
This morning we will drive back to Tirana, where we will have the afternoon to explore the city. Tirana was founded by Sulejman Pasha during the early years of the 17th century. Established under Ottoman rule, its position along the caravan routes saw Tirana’s rise in importance culminate in its choice as the capital of the newly independent Albania in 1920. A mix of grandiose 1930s design and Communist inspired urbanisation, the city is an interesting architectural mix of ideologies. Before we head to the airport we will have an early dinner in a local restaurant. (B,L,D)
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