Day 1: Welcome to Albania
Flight to Tirana, reception of the group at the airport and transfer to Vlora (150 km, 2hrs).
On the way we can stop for lunch\dinner in Maminas to enjoy the famous traditional Albanian meal “Tava e Dheut” (This is optional depending on the arriving time of the group)
Day 2: Boat Ride to Western Part of Karaburun Penisula
After a relaxing evening in Vlora we will take an amazing boat ride to Grama bay through the National Marine Park of Karaburun. The western part of Karaburun Penisula has a series of caves very riches with biodiversity and history and virgin’s hidden bays like: Dafina bay, Gjon Gjileka bay, Bristai bays ect. You will get lost in history and nature and enjoy Grama crystal turquoise water. On the cliff sides surrounding the beach, we will explore over 1500 ancient Greek and Latin inscriptions which were placed there throughout the centuries by seamen who found shelter from the stormy seas. After a delicious dinner with local food we will sleep in a thousand star hotel.
(Camping in Grama Bay)
Day 3: Hiking Grama - Shen Andre - Palase
Today, in an early morning we will start hiking the other part of Karaburun peninsula, from Grama to Palasa. On the way we will stop at Shen Andrea church and St. Andrew’s Bay, that is a small but intense bay. It is perfectly isolated and has a very interesting cave before the entry and an abandoned Valanidhi depo. Valanidhi trees is an industrial wood very typical in this area, which was used for the leather industry during Komunist regime. If we could pick the one place along the Riviera that will make you feel like a true explorer, this is it!
A short transfer will bring you to Himara to spend the night.
Day 4: Hiking Pilur- Kudhes and Ali Pasha’s Castle of Love
A transfer takes us to Pilur, which has been known for a long time as the “Balcony of the Coast”.
The dirty road at the beginning is very narrow and hugs the mountain in one point. We will follow the trail and meet the shepherds, knowing more about their life and culture until descending into the Kudhes Valley.
We will take short transfer in the afternoon, Ali Pasha Castle in Porto Palermo and enjoy the swimming and if time permit we can visit Himara castle on return.
Day 5: Discovering Old Qeparo Village and Magic Evening with Albanian Iso-Polyphony (Optional)
A short drive will bring us to Qeparo. The Old Qeparo Village is a medieval village with authentic character and local architecture preserved beautifully. We will take a walk around the stone houses and the cobbled paths admiring the half-abandoned village, which sits on the edge of a mountain. Lunch with traditional local food and free time to explore the beach and return to Himara to prepare for another hike along the beach passing over a hill and for a couple of kilometres arriving at Livadhi beach. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania not spoilt and overdeveloped yet.
Optional: Tonight, after dinner we can get lost in traditional Albanian Folk Music. A local group from Himara will perform live Albanian Iso-polyphony that is a traditional part of Albanian folk music and, as such, is included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. In this performance you will see traditional costume of southern Albania (the unique Fustanella) and get to know more about songs history.
Unlike many other cultures that have excluded polyphonic music from mainstream society, Albanian polyphonic music is known by most Albanians and is well practiced and enjoyed by all age groups.
Day 6: Exploring Llogara and Spend the Night in the City of a Thousand Windows
Today we will leave Himara driving along the costal road until arriving at National Park of Llogara. The Llogara Pass divides the mountains into a western and an eastern range. In some places the mountains fall directly into the sea. The Mountains have been remarked upon already by ancient authors such as Ptolemy, Strabo and Pausanias. We will start hiking and the trail goes up hill constantly through the pine forest so typical in this area. Just remember to stop and check the view on your back that often opens in amazing panoramic points where the slopes of 2000m high mountain drop to meet the crystal beaches of Ionian cost.
Lunch with local traditional food in the forest and we will continue our journey to Berat, the city of thousand windows where we will spend the night.
Day 7: Visit Berat and the Capital of Albania
In the morning we will visit the old town of Berat. This 2,413 years-old city is the pride of Albanian architecture which is under the protection of UNESCO.
Return to Tirana (100 km, approx.1 hrs drive). At the entry of the capital, a delicious culinary surprise awaits us: On a winery we are greeted with a traditional Albanian lunch and taste a glass of homemade wine. Afterwards we take a guided tour of Tirana Boulevard on foot and visit Bunk art museum.
Evening in a restaurant near Blloku, the most famous and expensive area in Tirana. It became very attractive after the fall of communism in Albania because during communism it used to be the area where only the communist elites lived, but now is full with modern bars, restaurants, hotels and clubs.
Day 8: Leaving Albania
Free time in town followed by a transfer to the airport and departure.
For private transfers please contact us.