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Living Albania

Story by Adventure & Fun Albania

Posted: December 15, 2019
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Albania is a land where breath-taking scenery, diverse cultures and jewels from ancient times, charming villages cut into steep slopes often hugging ancient trade routes, sit side by side in visions of incomparable splendor.
Albania is a land of diverse cultures, friendly people, delicious food, a Mediterranean climate and plenty of sunshine.
This a tour full of impressions in this new destination. It is inspired from the love for the land and people and powered by our wish to share everything with our guests. We have combined different activities and local life experiences in order to give you a taste of the region and what it has to offer. Enjoy it.

Day 1: Tirana, the vibrant capital
Transfer from “Mother Teresa” airport to the hotel in downtown Tirana according the flight schedule. The guide will meet the group at the hotel to start the guided tour of the city and its main attractions.
Dinner in a traditional restaurant will be provided.
After dinner you can have a drink at one of the numerous cafes or trendy bars of "Blloku" district. The most animated quarter of the city lies at the place where before the democratic changes it was not allowed for the public to enter as it was inhabited only from the higher leadership.
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Day 2: Journey to the past
After breakfast we will depart from Tirana to start our journey to the southern region of Gjirokastra. It is the region where Lord Byron walked, where Romans and Greeks, Ottomans and medieval crusaders, modern nations and a myriad of visitors have left their mark.
We will be guests of a local family in a village in the surroundings of Gjirokastra and have lunch there. You will taste only home-made dishes cooked in a strictly traditional way.
Then we will hike to Antigonia and visit the archaeological site, founded in the 3rd century BC by the King Pyrrhus of Epirus. It has been one of the most important cities of its time.
The journey to the past continues with the visit of the village of Saraqinisht and a wool processing workshop. (Hiking to Antigonia: T2, 1h, Am↑80m, Dm↓50m)
Dinner and accommodation in Gjirokastra.
(B/L/D)

Day 3: Hike & bike and cultural discovery in the surrounding of Gjirokastra
The day starts with the transfer to the village called Labova and the visit of its church, which is known as one of the most important Byzantine monuments of the entire Balkans. After a short coffee break as guests of a local family, starts the hike of the day to the village of Libohovë. (Hiking: T2, 2h, Am↑285m, Dm↓160m).
We will have lunch at a local farm. Our journey continues towards the village called Peshkëpi, which lies right at the border with Greece. To travel up to there you can choose among:
- a mountain bike tour (G2, 2h, 12km, Am↑520m, Dm↓590m)
- an off road tour
On the way lies the Teqe of Melan, where a short visit is planned. The building of this centre of the Bektashi Order just in the middle of an Orthodox region is a perfect example of the harmonious religious coexistence in Albania.
After the visit of the St Mary`s Church in Peshkëpi, we will be transferred to Gjirokastra.
Dinner and accommodation in Gjirokastra.
(B/L/D)

Day 4: Cooking experience and guided visit of Gjirokastra
Today we will be guests of a local family and participate in a cooking experience with them. The day starts with a walk around the village, to gather the ingredients and spices. After returning to the kitchen, the very ingredients you gathered from mother nature, will be cooked into a delicious meal, right in front of your eyes. Of course, after putting in all the effort, you will also get to taste the food, which is now doubly as delicious.
In the afternoon we will be transferred back to Gjirokastra. It is an outstanding example of an Ottoman merchant town and one of the few still surviving in the Balkans. A guided tour through the alleys and the handicraft shops of the old city along with the visit of the castle, are scheduled. Then will visit a very special museum house in Gjirokastra. It is a very well-preserved representative of the past urban life of the region. There you will be greeted by the sounds of traditional Albanian folk music called iso-polyphony. It is original music and as such, is included in UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list.
Dinner and accommodation in Gjirokastra.
(B/L/D)

Day 5: Local life experiences
The day starts with the transfer to the region of Zagori. The road is windy, and we will gain more than 1100m in altitude in the hour-long drive. After being rewarded with some spectacular views, we will arrive at a small farm, where we will see how milk is turned into cheese or yoghurt, through some, to the western world long-lost techniques, Of course, you will also taste the fresh products. But don’t eat yourself too full, there is a hike planned as well. We will walk to the mountain ridgeline, from where the views on the valley of the river Drino are more than spectacular. After the walk we will descend back to the farm to have a traditional shepherd’s lunch. Then we will be transferred to the village of Nokovë, to watch over the shoulders of a real master, how he produces the very traditional, and very strong, alcoholic beverage of “Raki”. (Hiking: T2, 3h, Am↑500m, Dm↓500m)
Transfer to Gjirokastra where dinner and accommodation are provided.
(B/L/D)

Day 6: Scenic Ionian Coast and visit of its archaeological jewels
After breakfast starts the journey towards Saranda, the southernmost city of the Albanian Riviera. It is astonishing how the landscape changes as we travel in the direction of the Ionian Coast. After only few kilometres the dwellings of past pastoral communities and traditional medieval villages, leave their place to the characteristic Mediterranean villages set into the mountain sides with their stone houses nestling happily with historical monuments.
The first visit of the day is that of Butrinti. It is the most important archaeological site of Albania, a UNESCO World Heritage.
Then we will be transferred to Ksamil, a village which lies at the southernmost part of the Albanian Riviera opposite to Corfu.
After lunch there, the scenic drive continues north, to the small bay of Porto Palermo. Apart from its natural beauty, the Bay is known as one of the most important military bases during the cold war. From the road you can see the tunnels where Albanian military submarines were moored. During the communist years, it was forbidden to be in this area without permission. On a peninsula in the middle of Porto Palermo Bay, lie the ruins of the Castle of Ali Pasha. After a short stop to visit the castle, we will continue to the village of Dhërmi, where dinner and accommodation are planned.
(B/L/D)

Day 7: Llogara National Park and Tirana
The day starts with the transfer to Tirana. A coffee break is planned in Llogara National Park. It is one of the most amazing places of Albania, covered in everlasting greenery. In the inner part of its forests there are beautiful lawns, countless natural resources and diversified animal and bird species. An amazing part of this geo-park is the “Balcony” in the Llogara pass, at the height of 1050m, from where the Albanian Riviera and the island of Corfu can be seen.
After lunch in Tirana we will have some time for a guided visit of the capital and its main attractions.
The farewell dinner will be provided at a very special slow food restaurant in Tirana.
Accommodation in Tirana.
(B/L/D)

Day 8: Transfer to the airport
(B/-/-)


The price includes:
• Transfer from and to the airport and all trips according to the program schedule.
• 7 nights hotel accommodation in twin room with shower and toilet.
• Meals as described in the program.
• Coffee and water during all coffee breaks.
• Entries and visits listed in the program.
• Participation at every activity as described in the itinerary
• Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide during the entire journey.

The price does not include:
Any type of insurance.
Beverages in hotels, restaurants and bars

Additional cost:
Single room supplement: 20 Euro/day