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Overview

Hiking in Scenic Southern Albania

This tour is for people who enjoy a balanced mix of hikes, cultural visits and relaxation in the beautiful South of Albania. Traveling from the Adriatic to the Ionian coast, you can marvel at the splendour of Llogora Pass, see the mighty Cika peaks towering above the crystal waters and the white gravel beaches of the Ionian Sea.A few days are spent enjoying the picturesque villages of the Riviera. Then we proceed to explore a succession of archaeological sites and the historically significant towns of Butrint, Gjirokastër and Berat. 

Itinerary

Hiking in Scenic Southern Albania

Day 1 - Welcome to Tirana
The hotel is located right in the centre of Tirana and has a cozy atmosphere. After checking in, you will meet your guide at the agreed time (18.00 hours) and go over the program for the coming week. Later we will take a walking tour through the city's most known spots like Scanderbeg Square, The Clock Tower, the Mosque of Tirana, etc.
We will also walk to the Blloku district before stopping in a nice restaurant for dinner, and then return to the hotel for the night.
Optional: after dinner, people can go for a drink in "Blloku" - once the district of the communist elite, it is now the "hip" bar district of Tirana (in walking distance from our hotel).
In case you arrive earlier in the day, you can visit the national museum.

Overnight: 3 star hotel in the center of Tirana
Dinner: traditional restaurant


Day 2 - Driving South
Today we will drive south towards the coastal city of Vlora and the national park Llogora. Before getting there, we will visit the ancient ruins of Apollonia, its Byzantine Monastery and, if you wish, the Museum of Archaeology.
Founded in 588BC by Greeks from Corinth, the city quickly grew to 50,000 residents by the second century BC. Apollonia later became a free Roman city after it sided with Julius Caesar during the war against Pompey. It developed into a cultural center until the 3rd century AD when an earthquake rerouted a river and led to the city's decline.
We will have lunch under the shade of the trees in the restaurant of the Apollonia Park.
Before we drive to our hotel in Llogora Park (750m), we will have a short stop in the bay of Vlora, to have refreshment with a beautiful view!

Overnight: 3 star hotel in Llogara National Park.This is a family- run mountain hotel situated right in the middle of the park, specialized in homemade wine and raki, lamb roasted on a traditional spit and a variety of tasty mountain dishes to enjoy for dinner.
Dinner: traditional restaurant

Transfer information:
Distance: 120 km
Duration: 4 hrs driving


Day 3 - Over the ridge of Saint Thanas
The surroundings of Llogora Park have been described as one of the most dramatic mountain and sea combination panoramas. It will be here that our first trekking will take place. The trekking will offer splendid views of the Vlora Bay and of the western steep slopes of the Karabruni peninsula, dropping off into the waters of the Ionian Sea. (Gradient 600 meters) In the afternoon, upon return, we will have an optional walk or the possibility to relax in the hotel until it is time for dinner.

Overnight: 3 star hotel in Llogara National Park
Dinner: Mountain restaurant

Hike information:
Gradient: 600m ; - 400m
Distance: 7 km
Duration: 3.30-4 hrs


Day 4 - The Riviera of Flowers
In the morning, we will hike up to Mount Çika, (Qafa e Eres 1600m). The Cika mountain (2045m) is the highest massive of southwestern Albania. From the summit, you can admire the mighty view of the highlands of "Labëria" - land of southern shepherds – and the splendor of the Ionian Sea with Corfu and other minor Greek islands on the horizon.
After completing the hike, we will drive further along the Ionian coast, via Himara, until we reach the village of Qeparo at the sea.
Before reaching the village we will stop to visit the bay of Porto Palermo and the Ali Pasha Tepelena fortress.
The splendid bay of Palermo served as an important submarine base during the regime days. The semi abandoned base, its tunnel and structures are still visible and the main attraction of the bay is the 19th century fortress in the central promontory, built by the powerful Ali Pasha Tepelena.
After the visit, we will drive for 15 minutes to the nearby Qeparo, where we will check in at a guesthouse by the sea.
In the afternoon, we have also the possibility to walk up to the old village on top of the hill.

Overnight: Family-run hotel at the beach of Qeparo
Dinner: home-cooked dinner

Transfer information:
Distance: 40 km
Duration:2 hrs

Hike information:
Gradient: 600m ; - 600m
Distance: 5 km
Duration: 4 hrs


Day 5 - Saranda and the ancient town of Butrint
The drive will bring us further south along the splendid Albanian Riviera. Saranda it is set in a lovely horseshoe bay. It has been a holiday resort destination since communist times. Mentioned by Cicero, it acquired its current name in honor to forty (Saranda in Greek) Christian legionnaires who were put to death in 320AD. Nearby, following a panoramic road along the lagoon are the ruins of the ancient Butrint that we are going to visit.
"Butrint is undeniably a beautiful place. Close to modern civilization yet with its monuments in thick woodland. With remains dating from so many different periods covering two and a half thousand years. Set in a marshy landscape besides the busy straits separating Corfu from Albania, it is also an environmental haven rich in bird life".
We will have lunch in a restaurant not far from Butrinti, after this we will go to a hotel at the sea where we can relax at the beach or stroll through the city, until it is time for another tasty dinner at a fish restaurant.

Overnight: 3 star hotel in Saranda
Dinner: restaurant

Transfer information:
Distance: 75 km
Duration: 2.30 hrs

Hike information:
Gradient: 70m ; - 70m
Distance:1.5 km
Duration: 2 hrs


Day 6 - The City of Stone
We will leave the coast and drive inland towards Gjirokastër - the City of Stone. Here, we will visit the Castle, the Museum of Weapons, the Ethnographic Museum and we will take a walk along the stone paved alleys of the town.
Gjirokastër is one of Albania’s most beautiful historic towns, with a citadel dating from the 13th. century. From the walls of the castle, one can admire the view of its districts and the large valley of river Drinos. Walks along the stone paved streets will bring you to discover its charming Albanian traditional architecture. It was in these gray-colored streets that Enver Hoxha (the notorious Albanian dictator) and Ismail Kadare (the notorious Abanian writer) grew up.
At the end of our visits in Gjirokastër, we will drive to our stop for the night, Berat.

Overnight: 3 star traditional hotel in Berat
Dinner: traditional restaurant

Transfer information:
Distance: 200 km
Duration: 6 hrs



Day 7- The city of thousand windows
Berat is the best-preserved historic town of Albania. Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Socialist buildings accumulated over 2400 years, showing the importance and the rich history of Berat.
We will walk in the characteristics neighborhood "Mangalemi" to visit the Ethnographic museum. Then we will hike up to visit the citadel district of Berat, its splendid orthodox churches and the Onufri Icons museum - named after the famous 16th century master painter of icons and murals. The building where the museum is housed shows the important architectonic values of Berat's buildings.
In the afternoon, we will drive on to the port city of Durres (92km/1hr30min), where we will have a stop for refreshment by the sea, before we continue our way back to Tirana.

Overnight: 3 star hotel in Tirana
Dinner: traditional restaurant

Transfer information:
Distance: 92 km
Duration: 1:30 hrs


Day 8 - Leaving Albania
Today you can explore Tirana freely before it is time to go to the airport and catch your flight.

*Private tour
If you wish to do this tour on a different date, please contact us via the enquire now button. We have guides who can speak Albanian, English, Italian, French, German, Italian, Dutch or Spanish.”

Essential Info

Hiking in Scenic Southern Albania

Level: Fit
These tours can be physically challenging, and demand you to be in good physical shape. The paths are not always in the best of conditions and markings can be scarce. Day treks may have big ascents and descents. Changing weather conditions (even in mid-summer) can play an important role when trekking in remote areas, and may cause changes in the scheduled route.
Prior trekking experience is an advantage, but not necessary for those who are in good shape. During the hikes, you are required to personally carry your own day backpack.

What to bring:
Breathable light-weight waterproof gear (gore-tex, sympatex, etc), fleece/wool pullover, wind-stopper jacket and gloves, small backpack with rain coverage, cap, sun block, mosquito repellent, headlamp, hiking poles, water bottle, sunglasses.

Terrain during the hikes
Some trails along the way are characterised by lots of descents and ascents. The route might pass over engraved relief representing alpine terrain with steep slopes, mountain river valleys carved into the mountains, rocky peaks, belts of mountain pine, etc. However, the chosen paths are mostly well trodden underfoot and safe.

Availability & Prices

Hiking in Scenic Southern Albania

Included:
- Accommodation for 7 nights (based on sharing twin rooms)
- Food: 7 x breakfast, 6 x lunch, 7 x dinner
- English speaking guide (Day 1-Day 7)
- All transport as per itinerary
- All museum fees described in the itinerary.

Excluded:
- Drinks
- Snacks
- Airport pick up/ delivery
- Breakfast and lunch on day of arrival
- Lunch and dinner on departure day
- Bank transfer fees
- If you wish to pay bu credit card or paypal there is a 4,5% service charge over the paid amount

Online bookings

All bookings and reservations are handled by our whl.travel partner websites:
Albania Hotels
Tirana Hotels
Shkoder Hotels
Whl.travel offer total online security for your booking.