Travel by road though landscapes of southern villages, high mountains, endless olive groves, beautiful palaces and the warm Ionian sea. From the best known highlights to barely visited corners, this trip combines the very best of southern Albanian landscapes, people, food and culture. The tour covers some of the most scenic rural parts of Southern-east of Albania and visits to the three most known UNESCO World Heritage sites in Albania.
Special highlights of this tour are:
- Berat – UNESCO World Heritage City
- Butrint – UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site
- The Blye Eye – UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site
- The crystal clear water of Ksamil Islands
- Gjirokaster – UNESCO World Heritage city
- Thermal waters of Benja
|Self Drive holiday
|Starting with 599,00 Euro per person
|April – October
|Tirana International Airport
|3* Hotels / Local guesthouses
|As per your request
Drivers must produce a full, current driving license and must be at least 23 years old. If you are under 23 years old a surcharge will apply. Special rates may also apply if you are over 65, have held a driving licence for less than 2 years, or you have any driving endorsements.
Please ensure all drivers bring their driving license.
Our package prices include the following elements as well as touring information; maps and detailed directions to ensure you enjoy discovering Albania independently.
All the hotels selected have parking lots also additional information of security parking will follow under road-book.
Rental Cars available for this tour are
Skoda Octavia / Sedan; Year 2012; Engine 1.6; Diesel; Manual Gearbox
Mercedes C Class / Sedan; Year 2007; Engine 2.2; Diesel; Automatic Gearbox
Ford Fusion; Year 2008; Engine 1.4; Diesel; Manual gearbox
Skoda Fabia; Year 2006; Engine 1.4; Benzine & Gas; Automatic Gearbox
Renault Clio; Year 2006; Engine 1.2; Benzine & Gas; Manual gearbox
Level of the tour: Easy
It’s better if you are in good physical shape. You should note that there could be weather changes in the mountains. Therefore, it is recommended that you wear appropriate shoes for a walk in the mountains (hiking shoes or trainers) and carry an extra layer (preferably wind and water proof) in case of any weather change.
We have a simple accommodation category for this tour which includes shared facilities in guest houses, country hotels, farmhouses and etc. In some you might find a TV and a washbasin. All offer breakfast that is included in the price.
What to bring:
Breathable lightweight waterproof gear (gortex, sympatex, etc), fleece/wool pullovers/windstopper jackets and gloves, small backpack with rain coverage, cap, sunblock, mosquito repellent, headlamp, hiking poles, water bottle, sunglasses/block.
GOOD TO KNOW
Rented vehicle pick-up location
Rented vehicle drop-off location
Children joining this tour should have experience with hiking. An adult need accompany children under 18.
Terrain during the hikes
This trail is characterised by lots of descents and ascents. The route passes 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.
The “OA” tours are Land Only; the prices do not include your flight, nor transport to and from the airport to hotel. You must make your own way to the starting point of every tour. If you would like us to arrange a transfer for you from the airport to your hotel or from your hotel to the beginning point of the tour please let us know at booking or contact us via the enquiry form.
We reserve the right to modify the hiking route, in case of presence of snow or bad weather conditions
What is the difference between guided and self-guided?
Self-guided individual tours have become increasingly popular because of the flexibility and independence they offer. They cost less than guided bicycle tours but still maintain a level of support and convenience that allows you to explore on your own schedule without sweating the logistics.
If you enjoy traveling with a group, meeting new people, and having a guide and structured daily schedule, then a guided group tour is probably the best fit for you. The guides point out places of interest, organize excursions and activities and are there in case of breakdowns (mechanical or human).
How flexible is a self-guided tour in terms of itinerary?
While most of our travelers opt for one of our pre-planned self-guided itineraries, we can modify any of our tours to suit your particular needs. We typically offer a variety of hotels to fit your budget. And unlike guided trips with set departure dates, there is no chance of an operator cancelling the trip for low participation. Your tour can only be cancelled by you you.
How do you create and plan the routes?
All of our routes are thoroughly researched and ridden annually by our staff to ensure you will have the best possible experience. We also plan our routes so you’ll have plenty of time to see small towns and villages along the way and enjoy interacting with the locals.
Do I have to carry my backpack?
Yes, please make sure you will need one day backpack with you and water.
Can I book a single room on the guesthouses?
On the villages, we use local guesthouses where you share a room up to about 5 persons per room. But yes with the private tours and tailor-made tours it is possible to book a single room at extra charges.
Can you read a map and follow road signs?
This normally is very easy, but if you are not comfortable or you don’t enjoy reading a map, self-guided may not be for you. To really enjoy a self-guided trip, you’ll need to be flexible and have a sense of humor. So if do you miss a turn and have to backtrack or even ask a local for assistance, you’ll be okay doing so and remember the most memorable trips always have a little unscripted adventure built into them.
What is the terrain like during the hikes?
This trail is saturated with lots of descends and ascends. The route passes over engraved relief representing alpine terrain with steep slopes, mountain river valleys incised on the mounts, rocky peaks, belts of mountain pine, etc. However, the chosen paths are mostly well trod underfoot and safe.
What should I bring along on this hiking trip?
Breathable lightweight waterproof gear (gore-tex, sympatex, etc), fleece/wool pullovers/windstopper jackets and gloves, small backpack with rain coverage, cap, sunblock, mosquito repellent, headlamp, hiking poles, water bottle, sunglasses/block.
Are these family-friendly vacations?
Children are welcome at many of our hotels, but keep in mind some of the routes and tour activities may not be very interesting for children. We recommend discussing the proposed routes with us to determine whether the route is suitable for kids.
What kind of support does Outdoor Albania offer during the trip?
Our representative will give you the roadbook, vouchers and detailed information containing accommodations and up-to-date recommendations for dining, cultural attractions and other on-tour highlights. And should any urgent issues arise, you have 24-hour access to our support phone line.
In case your question is not answered yet, after reading the FAQ, please feel free to contact us via the enquiry form.
Welcome to Albania!
The rented vehicle will be handed from an appointee of Outdoor Albania representative, at the airport.
Soon after, start driving towards Berat, the best-preserved historic town. The civic life of Berat has an impressive history span of more than 2500 years. Time permitting visit Kala – the panoramic fortified citadel that houses the outstanding “Onufri Icons Museum”.
Evening in the serene historic quarter of Mangalem.
Transfer: Rinas – Berat: 120 km / 2hrs
Llogora National Park
Drive south to Llogora National Park, contouring the bay of Vlora, and check in a mountain hotel on arrival.
Start the first hike from the notorious Llogora Pass and get to the ridge that opens into impressive mountain and sea panoramic contrasts. The walk will than continue on a fine trail through mixed forest, descending all the way to the hotel.
Relax, or why not walk to the Meadows of Caesar to enjoy the sunset over the Bay of Vlora just before dinnertime.
Overnight in mountain hotel in Llogara
Transfer: 120 km / 2hrs30min
Hike information: +500m; – 500m /9 km / Walking time: 4 – 5 hrs
The Albanian Riviera
Drive shortly, again to Llogora Pass to start another hike in the green slopes of Mount Çika.
With its 2000m sheer peaks above the Ioanian sea, it is the highest massif of the coast, known also as the ‘Lightning Mountains’. Return to the pass, where you can have fresh food and drinks at the panoramic terraces. Continue to drive along the outstanding coastal road, discovering village after village until reaching the town of Himara, for an evening by the waterfront.
Overnight in hotel in Himara.
Distance Llogora – Himara: 40 km / 1hr
Hike information: +485m; – 485m / 6 km / 4 – 5hrs/ Highest Point: 1524m
Porto Palermo Bay
Drive to the splendid bay of Porto Palermo, south of Himara, and visit the fortress of Ali Pasha in the central promontory.
The bay served as a secret naval base during communism, and large fractions of the military structures are still visible, such as the entrance of the submarines tunnel. Take your time to enjoy the beach at this lovely spot, before driving shortly to Qeparo, your next stop by the sea. The small village is a favourite spot for local family holiday goers.
Overnight: Family-run hotel at the beach
Transfer Himara – Qeparo: 15 km / 25 min
By the Ionian Sea
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast and the beach of Qeparo, without rush.
A nice activity in the afternoon can be a walk to explore the old village on top of the hill. Its elevated location will than offer grand vistas on the olive groves of the bay, the blue sea and the island of Corfu right across in the horizon – especially in the sunset hours.
There are also a couple of small terraces where to taste some Turkish coffee and a local ‘raki’. Return to the waterfront for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Family-run hotel at the beach
Optional*: Walk up to the old village of Qeparo on the top of the hill.
Hike information*: +300m; – 300m / 3 km / 2-3hrs
Treasures of Butrint and Gjirokaster
Pass by the town of Saranda and follow the road along the lagoon to reach the entrance of the Archaeological Site of Butrint by the Vivari channel. The park is classed as a UNESCO Patrimony, and the walk under the fresh shade of trees is truly interesting.
Continue for lunch at the white beaches of the Ksamili Islands, than drive inland towards the Blue Eye Springs, and further over the scenic Muzina Pass until Gjirokastër – the City in Stone.
Gjirokastër is one of Albania’s most beautiful historic towns, with a panoramic fortress that dates from the 13th century, and a web of stone cobbled alleys inviting to be explored.
Transfer: 145 km / 3hrs20min
Overnight in a hotel in Gjirokastra.
In the Vjosa Valley and Forests of Germenj
Drive along river Drinos and the Gorge of Kelcyra, while advancing slowly into the strikingly beautiful valley of River Vjosa. Optional stop in Benja where it is also possible to bathe at the open-air thermal pools near the arch of the Ottoman bridge over the stream of Langarica, or hike along the river bed to access the canyon higher up.
The afternoon drive brings to the heights of Leskovik, while facing the rocky domes of Nemerçka, into a magnificent remote plateau.
Our next stop will be in the natural reserve of Germenji. Time permitting, hike in the forest before the evening falls again.
Relax at the restaurant, tasting the fresh products of the area.
Transfer: 130 km / 3hrs
Overnight in wooden cabins in Germenji.
The orthodox Churches of Voskopoja
Continue the scenic drive through Germenj forest, directed to Korça. The most known town of eastern Albania has a lovely pedestrian area and several historic monuments, all nearby the hotel.
Later, drive to the nearby village of Voskopoja, to taste traditional food and visit the orthodox churches with original frescoes. Different interesting hikes of short to average duration are also possible in the surrounding hills, in particular, the circular to the village of Shipcke and back.
Return to Korça for a pleasant evening in the relaxed atmosphere of the town.
Transfer: 95 km / 3hrs
Overnight in a hotel in Korca.
Tirana, the Albanian Capital
The first part of the drive brings us to Pogradec, where we can have a stroll and refreshment, by Lake Ohrid – the deepest of the Balkans.
The road will contour the western shores of the lake that sits between the mountains, and climb sharply to the Pass of Thana, that marks the border with Macedonia. Continue down the valley of Shkumbin, and Elbasan to access Tirana from the east.
After checking in a hotel by the centre, there will be plenty of time in the afternoon to discover the main attractions, beginning from Skanderbeg Square and the Et’hem Bey mosque, and making way towards the lively ‘Blloku’ where the energy of the city seems to be concentrated in the evenings.
Transfer: 190 km / 3hrs30min
Overnight in a hotel in Tirana.
Leaving Albania, Mirupafshim!
Free time in town, followed by a short drive to the airport (about 30min), to return the vehicle and prepare for departure.
In the case of a late flight schedule, there are several interesting alternatives, such as: the ‘Dajti Express’ cable car to the mountain park, the Bunk’Art experience, museums, and many more.
Transfer: 18 km / 30min
Book this tour through our mailbox: email@example.com
Note that this tour is fully customisable and days and activities can be added upon request.
This tour is also offered as a fully guided private tour.