The Mini Albanian Alps Experience


Oct 23, 2019
Albania
12:00
£ 349.00

8th Day Adventure

Overview


Do you like exploring mystical countries? Unspoiled nature, ancient culture and breathtaking views? Look no further than Albania, land of all that, and so much more.

Details


  • Family Friendly : Yes
  • Beginner Friendly : Yes
  • Disabled : Yes
  • Food & Accommodation : Included
  • Flights : Not Included
  • Price : £ 349.00

What months will it be on?


Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep and Oct

Full Description


One of the least explored countries in Europe with its gorgeous mountains and ancient history awaits you. Twenty centuries of history in Skhodra with a clash of East and West through religion and culture, combined with Albanian authenticity is making a remarkable mixture. A Catholic church next to a mosk with communism monument nearby makes up for only part of their incredible history- Skhoder with its lake will surely stun you.
A scenic bus drive and an incredibly beautiful ferry trip later, you’ll be in Valbona valley. Just stargazing for two nights in Valbona and Teth- on 700 meters of altitude with virtually no light pollution at all, makes this trip worthwhile. Cue in wild rivers and unspoiled nature. Then a hike over the Valbona pass, a waterfall in Teth and a hike over the magnificent Alps to walk back into Montenegro. Add unprocessed local food and beverages, unprecedented traditions and lovely welcoming locals, and you got yourself a real treat.

The phrase ”hidden gem” is sometimes overused, but Albania is just that for Europe.

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The Experience

Day 1: Arrival in Podgorica (capital of Montenegro) followed by an airport transfer into Albania to Shkodra, known as the city of birds and bicycles. Here, you’ll check-in to a traditional Albanian guesthouse which is a museum in itself and has an incredible authentic restaurant with local cuisine and entertainment. There will be time in the afternoon to explore the crumbling ruins of Rozafa Castle.

Day 2: Early morning transfer to the ferry port for the magical Lake Koman Ferry Ride journey. Arrive in beautiful Valbona, check in to your accommodation and spend the rest of the day enjoying the serene mountain setting and the fresh traditional food listening to the locals talk about the legends of the blood feuds and sworn virgins. For those eager for some exercise they can hike up to one of the local stans which offer stunning views of the mountain scenery.

Day 3: Morning transfer to the start of the Valbona – Thethi hiking trail. You’ll trek through the Valbona Pass over to the remote village of Thethi led by a local boy whose horse will carry your bags. The trek lasts approximately 5 – 6 hours. On arrival in Thethi you’ll check in to the welcoming guesthouse and enjoy a traditional evening meal.

Day 4: Early morning drop-off at the start point of the trek across the mountains into Montenegro. The trek lasts approximately 6 – 7 hours. You’ll be collected at the end point of the trek and transferred to Podgorica where you’ll check in to your accommodation.

Day 5: Transfer to Podgorica airport for the flight home.

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The Price

The price for this experience includes:

Includes   Transfers Airport pick-up and drop-off, all in-country transfers

Includes   Accommodation 1 night in a traditional guesthouse in Shkodra with breakfast, 1 night B&B mountain accommodation in Valbona, 1 night full board guesthouse accommodation in Theth, 1 night B&B accommodation in Podgorica

Includes   Activities Tickets for the Lake Koman River Ferry, Valbona – Theth hike, Theth – Plav hike, horse and boy for treks

Includes   Other The services of a bi-lingual guide, the Albanian Alps Experience booklet

Please Note: Our prices are based on two people sharing.

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The Group

2 – 12 people

Please note that the trip may not be suitable for very young children given the active nature of the experience, journey times of longer than an hour, and possible disturbance to others travelling in the group. If you’re unsure, please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we can always tailor something specific to your needs.

The Country

Wild and rugged Albania is truly a hidden Mediterranean gem.

Situated just north of mainland Greece, Albania is an undiscovered country full of outstanding natural beauty with a wealth of history just waiting to be explored. From the Romans and the Greeks to the Ottomans, past civilisations have left their distinct marks on Albania’s landscape, architecture and archaeological sites as showcased in fascinating ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Berat and Butrint, and other dramatic mountain citadels dotted across the countryside.

A country of stunning contrast, Albania boasts both wild and rugged landscapes peppered with jagged mountains and traditional villages alongside long stretches of sandy coastline, lush meadows and green pastures. Albania’s coastline is the ultimate draw with miles of deserted pristine beaches, beautifully sun kissed along the Ionian Coast while the north of the country preserves rural traditions and maintains its reputation as a wild frontier. Here, legends of blood feuds and sworn virgins tumble through menacing mountains and desolate valleys, creating an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

With spectacular alpine scenery and local people that offer warmth and genuine hospitality, the fact that Albania is still one of Europe’s poorest countries makes it all the more incredible. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this undiscovered country is only for the adventurous backpacker-type; we have made it easy to explore and enjoy its wild beauty and hidden depths in a way that suits you.

Expect the unexpected and prepare to be blown away.

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Shkodra

Renowned for its association with Mother Teresa, where the nun’s Catholic family originated, Shkodra is regarded as a centre of culture and is the biggest city in northern Albania. Set on the shores if Lake Shkodra, the largest lake in the Balkans, against a dramatic backdrop featuring the rugged peaks of looming mountains, the dignified town of Shkodra is the perfect base to explore the abundant natural surroundings and marvels of the north.

Also known as the city of birds and bicycles, Shkodra’s predominant atmosphere is one of relaxation and ease, punctuated by the sweet cadence of birdsong and the whirring of bicycle wheels as the locals pedal to and fro along the many wide communist-era boulevards that criss-cross the city.

The strong Italian influence is reflected in the architectural style of the town as well as being showcased within the walls of the impressive Rozafa Castle, which towers above the city with a sense of deep historical presence and harks back to the Ottoman era.

Accommodation choices in Shkodra:

Includes Hotel Tradita

Includes Alis Hotel

Please Note: Accommodation will be allocated by  the tour operator subject to availability. In the event there is no availability we will use alternative accommodation of similar standard and quality.

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Valbona

Nestled in the heart of the rugged alpine Valbona Valley, the isolated village of Valbona is truly the stuff of legend. Albania’s wild ‘Accursed Mountains’ loom powerfully over the lush valley where lovely pockets of rural farmhouses and patchwork-quilt fields huddle in clusters amongst the mysterious surroundings. An icy cold and crystal clear river meanders through the valley, twisting and turning between thick forests, craggy rocks and remote villages.

Get a taste for the rural mountain lifestyle and experience the warm hospitality of the local people, who honour guests like royalty.

Accommodation choices in Valbona:

Includes Rezidenca Guesthouse

Includes Margjecka Guesthouse

Includes Rilindja Guesthouse

Please Note: Accommodation will be allocated by the tour operator subject to availability. In the event there is no availability we will use alternative accommodation of similar standard and quality.

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Theth

Set in a lush green valley encircled by the dramatic snow-dusted peaks of the Shala Mountains, Theth is peppered with traditional farmhouses and is home to a 19th century Catholic church as well as the infamous kullas, or defence towers used by those caught up in the blood feuds.

On her visit to the remote village in 1908, Edith Durham, the famous English writer and traveller has this to say: ‘I think no place where human beings live has given me such an impression of majestic isolation from the entire world. It is a spot where the centuries shrivel; the river might be the world’s well-spring, its banks the fit home of elemental instincts-passions that are red and rapid.’

We couldn’t agree with her more and we’re sure you will too!

Accommodation choices in Theth:

Includes Villa Gjecaj Guesthouse

Includes Zorgji Guesthouse

Please Note: Accommodation will be allocated by  the tour operator subject to availability. In the event there is no availability we will use alternative accommodation of similar standard and quality.

The Season

With increasingly long summers and winters, the climate in Albania is rather extreme and plays host to some scorching months as well as a period of severe cold and snow which is why the Mini Albanian Alps Experience does not run through the winter months. Spring, summer and all the way up to early autumn, however offer beautiful weather with warm sunny days and cool evenings along with a wider range of local village activities that vary slightly according to the season.  As there are barely any tourists there are no restrictions based on avoiding summer crowds, the only factors to consider revolve around temperature. See below for more information.

June, July & August: Expect warm days and clear blue skies throughout Albania in the peak summer months of June, July and August. In the mountains you’re likely to experience cool evenings but elsewhere temperatures can soar to over 30 degrees so it’s best to come prepared with lots of layers to accommodate any change in climate.

September & October: Autumn brings with it slightly fresher temperatures and a certain sense of tranquillity as the rush to get the hay in from the fields is usually over by this point. You’ll still have warm and very pleasant days with cooler evenings. September is one of our favourite times to spend in Albania.

 

TO BOOK – from £349

To book please register interest above and we’ll get in touch with the tour operator to liaise with you directly. If you’d like to make the whole experience a bit more social then please do let us know when you register and we can put you in touch with others from our community who are also keen on this trip.

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