- Discover Albania on this action-packed 10-night holiday with a stop in Corfu, Greece.
- Explore Corfu with a tour of the Old Town & a kayaking excursion around Mouse Island.
- Experience the beautiful turquoise pools & majestic power of Bogova waterfall.
- Sample Albanian culture with a traditional folk show & lunch with a local family.
- Hike through Llogara National Park & visit the islands of Apollonia & Zvernec.
- Enjoy a drive along the Albanian Riviera including free time to explore independently.
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Travel with us to discover the rugged coastlines, towering snow-capped peaks, lush national parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites and authentic local charm of Albania on this 10-night guided group holiday. Whether discovering ancient ruins in Gjirokastër, sampling traditional food with the locals, hiking towards hidden waterfalls, or independently wandering the colourful streets of Tirana, our small group tour of Albania is designed to uncover one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Beginning with a 2 night stay on the Greek Island of Corfu, we’ll spend the next 8 nights going off the beaten track in a country that has remarkably managed to avoid mass tourism. If you’re looking for something different, look no further than our Albanian adventure holiday.
Activity Level: Challenging
Travel to Corfu, Greece
Fly to Corfu
Your Albanian adventure will begin with a flight to the Greek island of Corfu, home to lush scenery, rugged mountains and pristine beaches. On arrival in Corfu airport you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel near Corfu Town.
Explore Corfu by foot & kayak
This morning you will have a 1.5 hour walking orientation tour with your local expert guide. You will discover all the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee in Corfu as well as seeing some of the main monuments and places of historical interest including Saint Spyridon church, Old Venetian Town and the Esplanade. Next up kayak around Mouse Island, with a short stop to do some snorkelling, to see Corfu from a different perspective. You will cover 1.56km by kayak making for an active introduction to this stunning Greek island.
You will have the remainder of the day to continue exploring Corfu independently as you wish. Your local expert guide will be happy to make suggestions to suit your taste. We recommend renting a bicycle to explore the mazes of narrow streets in the old town further, or checking out one of the many other activities that are available down at the beach such as swimming, diving and boat trips. Once you have worked up an appetite there is plenty to be discovered on Corfu’s food scene with plenty of eateries, coffee shops and local open markets to tempt you with traditional delicacies.
Travel to Albania
Travel to Albania
This morning it will be time to say goodbye to Greece and your local Greek guide as you head to Corfu port for a ferry ride to Sarande, a resort on the Albanian Riviera. (Approximate duration of the ferry: 30 minutes). Upon arrival in Sarande you will be met by your local expert Albanian guide and travel to the beach village of Ksamil where you will have some free time for lunch at your leisure.
In the afternoon continue towards the UNESCO World Heritage city of Butrint. Considered to be the best searched archaeological site in Albania, the ancient ruins of the city are famed for their size, beauty and tranquillity. Set in a national park on the peninsula of the lake with the same name, Butrint is also well known for its rich ecosystem. Explore the ruins which span a history of over 2,500 years before continuing to your hotel in Gjirokastër, a city situated on a valley between the Gjerë and the Drino mountains. A welcome dinner will be served at a local restaurant in Gjirokastër for you to taste local delicacies and you will have the remainder of the evening at leisure to get accustomed in to your new surroundings. (Approximate driving duration: 2.5 hours. Approximate driving distance: 110km)
This morning you will visit Gjirokastër Castle, which is situated at 300 metres above sea level, offering fabulous views of the surrounding area. Built in the 12th Century, the castle was used as a prison from the 1930s right through the communist times. Today the UNESCO protected site possesses five towers and houses, the Gjirokastër Museum, a clock tower and the stage of the National Folk Festival. After visiting the castle enjoy an authentic Albanian lunch at Shoksat Village with a local village family. (Approximate driving duration: 1 hour. Approximate driving distance: 30km)
After lunch return to Gjirokastër where you will explore a traditional home that dates back nearly 300 years, where you can see examples of ancient craftsmanship. You will have the remainder of the day at leisure to continue exploring Gjirokastër independently at your own pace. Your local expert guide will be happy to make suggestions to suit your taste. We recommend checking out one of the modern hidden gems of the city like the Cold War Tunnel, a giant bunker which was built under the castle during the 1960s and remained unknown to locals until the 1990s.
At leisure or optional excursion
Optional Excursion: Horse Riding in Drinos Valley
This morning there will be an optional excursion to Drinos Valley to go horse riding. Visit a local horse farm where you will be briefed on riding techniques before setting off in the saddle. The ride will pass through green hilly terrain, rolling pastures, and a small forest and so is intended for those with some previous riding experience. (From €49 per person. This excursion is subject to minimum numbers)
Dhoksat Village & Berat
In the afternoon you will depart for Berat, with a stop included en route at Dhoksat Village for lunch with a village family. (Approximate driving duration: 4 hours. Approximate driving distance: 200km). Berat is a city located on the Osum River in central Albania, and is well known for its white Ottoman houses, the hilltop Berat Castle and its reconstructed medieval bazaar. It is one of the world’s longest inhabited cities. Upon arrival in Berat you will have some free time to explore the area independently.
Hike to Bogova Waterfall & Traditional Folk Show
Explore Berat Castle
This morning you will visit the hill top Berat Castle, which still has people living within its walls in traditional style houses, offering a unique glimpse in to centuries past. The castle was once home to over 40 churches, however now only 7 still remain, one of which is St Mary’s Church. Within St Mary’s is the Onufri Museum, which displays the spectacular 16th-century religious paintings of the famous Albanian painter of the same name. Two of the oldest bibles in the world can also be found in the Onufri Museum. After your visit here you will drive towards the village of Bogova. (Approximate driving duration: 2 hours. Approximate driving distance: 100km)
Hiking in Bogova
This afternoon hike towards Bogova waterfall. Situated in rural Albania, you will get completely off the beaten track as you make your way along a winding dusty track surrounded by lush green mountains. The hike, while relatively short, covers some challenging terrain as you cross the river, so sturdy footwear with full ankle support is essential and walking sticks are recommended. (Difficulty: Moderate / Distance: 3km / Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes)
Traditional Folk Show
In the evening there will be an authentic dinner served at a local restaurant along with a folk show performance so you can get a unique glimpse in to Albanian cultures and traditions.
Durres & Tirana
This morning you will discover one of the oldest towns in Albania, Durres. Hear the stories of this former Greek Colony as you explore the ancient ruins during a walking tour of the many temples, statues and monuments with your local expert guide. Afterwards you will head towards Albania’s capital city, Tirana. (Approximate driving duration: 2.5 hours. Approximate driving distance: 150km)
Explore Tirana by foot
Upon arrival in Tirana you will embark on a walking tour with your local expert guide, taking in the centre’s major monuments such as Scanderbeg Square, Orthodox Church and the National Historic Museum. Your guide will point out the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee during this orientation tour of Albania’s lively capital city. To round off the day you will have a meal in a local restaurant to sample some traditional cuisine before having the remainder of the evening at leisure to get to know your new surroundings
Tirana at leisure
You will have the full day at leisure to explore the vibrant city of Tirana at your own pace. Often referred to as the beating heart of Albania, you will be spoiled for choice to keep yourself entertained. Tirana underwent a transformation of fascinating proportions following the fall of communism in the early 1990s and the buildings in the city centre are now painted in vibrant primary colours. We recommend renting a bicycle to explore Tirana from the saddle or taking a ride on the Dajti Express, a cable car that can whizz you from the suburbs of Tirana high up in to the mountains of Mt Dajti National Park in just 15 minutes. The views from the top are breath-taking, and there are plentiful hiking trails to enjoy. In the evening, the options are endless with many buzzing bars and cafes where you can immerse yourself with the locals at one of the popular hangouts. Your local expert guide will be happy to make recommendations to suit your taste.
Apollonia & Zvernec Island
Today will begin with an early departure towards the ancient city of Apollonia situated on the famous Via Egnatia, a road constructed by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Apollonia was one of the most important cities in Roman times, built as one of the 16 cities to honour Apollo. Explore this historic location with your local expert guide before continuing towards Zvernec, an island within the Narta Lagoon.
Explore Zvernec Island
Zvernec Island is connected to the mainland by a 270 metre long wooden bridge. Covering an area of approximately 9 hectares, this island is abundant with tall pine trees. After crossing the bridge you will visit the well preserved 13th-14th century Byzantine Zvërnec Monastery. Admire the natural beauty of the area as you enjoy a short walk around the island with your guide before continuing to your hotel in Llogora National Park. (Approximate driving duration: 4.5 hours. Approximate driving distance: 220km)
Llogora National Park & Albanian Riviera
Hike in Llogora National Park
Get to grips with Albania’s rustic landscapes during a half day hike in Llogora National Park, exploring large alpine meadows, vertical rock faces and dense forests by foot with your local expert guide. Your morning will begin as you set out walking along a forest path that leads to the crest of St Thanas. Take in the stunning views, with the Ionian Sea on one side and 2000 metre high Ceraunian Mountains on the other. Continue the hike following a ridge before going downhill to the Llogora pass via an old military road. A picnic lunch will be included along your hiking route before making your way back to the coach to continue the journey towards Sarande. (Difficulty: Moderate / Distance: 8.6 km / Duration: 3 hours / Incline: 830 m / Decline: 590 m)
Drive along the Albanian Riviera
The drive from Llogora National Park to Sarande, will take you along the stunning Albanian Riveria. Several stops will be made along the way so you can admire the views and take advantage of some idyllic photo opportunities. A visit to Ali Pasha Fort, a small castle located at Porto Palermo, is also included en route. Upon arrival in Sarande you will have the remainder of the day at leisure to spend as you wish. Your local guide will be happy to make suggestions for places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee in your spare time. (Approximate driving duration: 2.5 hours. Approximate driving distance: 90km)
Albanian Riveria, Corfu at leisure & return home
Sarande at leisure or Optional diving excursion
You will have one final morning at leisure in Sarande to enjoy all the Albanian Riveria has to offer. Relax at the beach and soak up the atmosphere or take a stroll along the promenade. Please note: Optional Diving Excursion. If you are keen for more activity there will be an optional diving excursion available. A professional diving guide and underwater photos are included (From €62 per person. This excursion is subject to minimum numbers)
Corfu at leisure
In the afternoon transfer to the port for your afternoon ferry ride to Corfu, Greece. (Approximate duration of the ferry: 30 minutes). On arrival in Corfu port you will be met by own local Greek representative and taken to a central location in Corfu old town for some time at leisure. This is the perfect time to do any last minute shopping or simply relax and enjoy a meal at one of Corfu’s many bars or restaurants.
In the late afternoon you will transfer by coach from Corfu old town to Corfu airport for your return flight home.