Peak of the Balkans

 

Experience

Albania

8 days

 

Reference: HA1-8-UK

“When we get closer to nature—be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree—we do our overstressed brains a favor”. Experience has been specially designed for those who wish to find or retrieve harmony with nature. Let your soul be overwhelmed by an explosion of colors and the vividness of your surroundings, look at a glimpse of the past as you gently walk along a forgotten path, and soak up its immensity.

In brief:

2/2+
Difficulty
Experienced English-speaking guide
Maximum 20
5 hikes
0 trek
Made by photo3idea_studio of flaticon.com
1 cultural visit: Kruja (afternoon day 7)
Made by Smashicons from flaticon.com
Outdoor activity: No
Made by bqlqn from flaticon.com
8 days / 7 nights
Made by ultimatearm from flaticon.com
Luggage: Backpack or equivalent 15 to 20 kg max.
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Hotel 3* and 4* and guesthouses
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Tirana airport
Made by freepik flaticon.com
From May to October
Made by freepik flaticon.com
Porting: A small backpack is required for your daily equipment
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com
Transfer of luggage by mules and/or vans from one accommodation to another

Strengths:

  • A discovery hike for unforgettable memories
  • Route on the paths of the Accursed mountains
  • Step-off the beaten paths
  • Meeting with a warm population
  • Visit of exceptional places
  • Private transfers
Day 1

Tirana – Shkodra - Lotaj


Welcome by a French-speaking member from Savatours Incoming team at Rinas airport. Direction Shkodra.

In the north-west of Albania lies the magnificent Lake Shkodra, the largest lake of the Balkan Peninsula. It is one of the many natural wonders of this part of the country. Covering an area of 368 km2 – 149 km2 of which are in Albania, the lake shares its expanse with Montenegro. The lake beautifully connects with the historic and artistic city of Shkodra, a soothing and refreshing region.

Perhaps the best way to discover the beauty of Lake Shkodra is to take the road to Shiroka through the delta of the Buna River. The shores of the lake are wonderful alternatives for walkers and nature lovers. The crystal-clear and pure waters offer refuge to many species of animals, especially migratory and non-migratory birds, which take advantage of the fishy waters. The deltas, the banks and the islands offer admirable places for the accommodation and protection of the nests.

Lunch in Shiroka, then change of vehicle and head for the small hamlet of Lotaj clinging to the hills forming the banks of the Lumi I Shales River. The vehicle will take an unpaved road, which will make this journey “uncomfortable”, but there is a reward.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 2

Lotaj - Nderlysaj

Hiking: ~ 6:00 hours
Maximal ascent: ~ 250 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 700 m.
Distance: ~ 12 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com 4×4

The daily path will follow the river of Shales up to the mountain hamlet of Nderlysaj. From the ancient ages, the water has carved its bed between the cliffs offering beautiful and amazing sceneries. Its blue and cold colour water are rich in trout that sharp eyes can see between the rocks. The itinerary will reach the “Portat e Shales”, the gate of truth. The river has long ago dug a notch between the cliff and when it is crossed, gives the real impression to pass from one world to another.

The trail will then pass through several small hamlets or places said. A resting halt will be proposed at the Breg-Lumi Shales church. After reaching “Palna e Tasit” Nderlysaj will not be far. That’s the village where hikkers will enjoy some refreshing moments in the famous Vaskat e Gurit (Stone Bathtubs), awe-inspiring rock formations carved by the river.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3

Nderlysaj - Theth

Hiking: ~ 5:30 hours
Maximal ascent: ~ 250 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 500 m.
Distance: ~ 15 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Vehicle

Discovery of this land of legends, myths and traditions where the law of Kanun was the moral code that served as jurisprudence based on the concept of honour. This very ancient way of life reflected the austere reality of these mountain people whose traces are still visible today. Surrounded by mountains, some of which reach over 2000 meters, Theth owes its development to nature lovers.

Walk to the hamlet of Kaprre and its Blue Eye. Formed by erosion, it is about 100 m² and has a depth of up to 5 meters.

Then back to Nderlysaj, the walk continues along the river Lumi I Shales, which becomes the Lumi I Thethit. Then the path pass-by the Grunas Canyon where the water has carved its bed into the limestone rock to form a gorge about 2 km long, 60 meters high and between 2 and 40 meters wide. Icy and clear water flows..

Short detour to admire a place of rare beauty listed as an Albanian heritage site, the Grunas waterfall, whose last waterfall is 30 meters high.

Finally the village of Theth where it will be possible to walk around the village to admire its cultural sites such as its small church, the Nikoll Koceku tower or its ethnographic museum (*).

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 4

Theth – Valbona

Hiking: ~ 7:00 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1050 m.
Maximal descend: ~ 850 m.
Distance: ~ 14.5 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com Mules or horses

The itinerary invites you to climb the famous Valbona Pass (1759 meters) and will follow the old road used by mules to reach the Shala to Nikaj region.

The route will offer a magnificent glimpse of Mother Nature’s jewels. Sailing between forests, slopes, torrents and neighboring peaks (Jezerces – 2692 m., Radohimes – 2568 m.) it will pass through the top of the Valbona pass to offer a splendid view of the Theth and Valbona valleys.

Dinner and night in a guesthouse.

Day 5

Valbona – Valbona

Hiking: ~ 4:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1100 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 950 m.
Distance: ~ 10 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com No

The morning trail will lead up to the glacial valley of the mountain hamlet of Kukaj. The trail runs through meadows and enters the beech forest. It will pass by very few farms composing the hamlet of  Kukaj. Then, the path follows the right side of the valley until a small grassy plateau with a mountain hut, where drinks will be offered from the local shepherds. From there can be seen the beautiful Valbona Valley with its peaks, Maja e Thate, Pecmara, Cet Harusha and Brijaset.

Dinner and accommodation in a guesthouse.

Day 6

Valbona – Bajram Curri

Hiking: ~ 4:30 hours
Ascent maximum: ~ 1100 m.
Descent minimum: ~ 950 m.
Distance: ~ 10 km
Made by Eucalyp of flaticon.com No

After a short transfer from Valbona to Bajram Curri and the check-in at the hotel, the hike will lead up to a glacial small impressive lake, the Liqeni i Ponarit or also called the Liqeni i Markajt. To reach it, the itinerary will go through several chestnut forests and pastures. The unpaved road will gently climb the hills and mountains offering time to time beautiful views on the valleys and surrounding peaks of the Valbona National Park. Then it will be necessary to go back to Bajram Curri by the same path to get a real well-deserved rest.

Dinner and accommodation in a hotel.

Day 7

Bajram Curri – Koman Lake – Kruja

Short transfer to Fierze to get the ferry from Fierze to Koman. This navigation of about 2h30 to 3h00 allows you to discover unique landscapes resulting from the erosion of the Albanian Alps by the Drin River, it is simply an incredible experience.

Drive to Kruja, an ancient medieval city. The Skanderbeg Museum, one of the most visited places in Albania is accessible via the bazaar and is located in the heart of the historic citadel of Kruja. It is dedicated to the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum has collections of objects dating back to most of the wars that took place during the 15th century between the Albanians and the Ottomans.

if it is not too late, visit of the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, which is located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the richest families of the 18th century. In a setting of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous murals, it presents objects and scenes of life that help us understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Departure

Private transfer to the airport.

INCLUDED

Experienced English-speaking guide for the duration of the stay Accommodation in hotels (double room and local standard) or guesthouses (shared rooms)
Meals (breakfasts, lunches or baskets, dinners) and drinks (table water) All luggage transport (1x backpack or equivalent of 15 kg maximum per person)
Private transports Private taxi transfer between the hotel in Podgorica and the airport
Local taxes (except day 7 for those departing from Montenegro – local taxes should be paid directly at the hotel)

NOT INCLUDED

All personal expenses Costs related to specific requests or those not mentioned above
Meals and drinks other than table water were served during meals The plane ticket
Accommodation in single rooms Travel insurance
  • This discovery trek includes walks over normal distances and elevations in snow and nature. It is not recommended for children under 15 years of age.
  • It is advisable to have good experience and resistance on walking.
  • Beginners are welcomed (daily trail lengths will be adapted accordingly)
  • Depending on the depth of the snowpack and the quality of the snow, it will be possible to complete the route either by walking on the snow, using snowshoes or both.
  • It is recommended to be in good health and physical condition.
  • Avoid drinking tap water or spring water, unless your guide allows you to do so.
  • Respect the environment in which you operate. He’ll give it back to you.

It is strongly recommended to bring clothing suitable for winter conditions and walking on snow coats. A pair of boots can be extremely useful.

Snowshoes and walking sticks are provided. Innok brand rackets model AXM, supporting a weight from 45 to 120 Kg, adjustable in size from 34 to 47. The use of mountain or trekking shoes is strongly advised. Soft shoes are advised.

  • For safety reasons and in case of force majeure, the guide has full authority to adapt or even cancel an itinerary. This is all the more valid depending on the evolution of the weather or for medical reasons.
  • As the guide is responsible for all the people in his care and for the cohesion of the group, he can at any time adapt the pace of the walk, the effort, the itinerary… in order to avoid the isolation of one or more participants.
  • The guide has a duty to ensure that the environment in which the group operates is respected.
  • In order to respect the rules and laws in force in the countries crossed, Savatours Incoming can call upon the support of local partners licensed in these countries (guides, transport, equipment, logistics, etc.). We have ensured that these companies share the same values as those established by Savatours.
  • The distances and walking times are given as an indication.
  • In some accommodation places, if the group is over 15 participants, it might be divided into 2 due to the small accommodation capacity of the guesthouses.

Passport:

A valid passport or an ID (at least 6 months from the start of the stay) is required to enter in Albania

Insurance:

International travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the consequences of incidents that may occur while travelling, travelling and staying abroad. It is the traveller’s responsibility to check with his travel agent or insurer before departure.

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