This fascinating, Mediterranean country has a pristine, rugged and wild landscape waiting to be discovered. Our trek is focused in the remote Albanian Alps in the north, where ancient blood feuds and folklore mark its past. We explore the remote regions of Theth and Valbonaon foot, where Agricultural life has remained unchanged for centuries. We then have time to explore the historic towns of Berat and Kruja and delve into the captivating history of this hospitable country.
Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza
Immediately after Flight
The tour starts at our centrally located hotel in Tirana, Albania’s trendy capital. Those on the group flight arrive at lunch time and will be transferred to the hotel.
We have an early start this morning and drive to Shkodra. where we visit the Castle of Rozafa and the city center of one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania. We recommend that you also take this opportunity to shop for anything you might want for the next three days (snacks, chocolate etc.) before we head into the more remote regions. Our journey continues into the breathtaking Albanian Alps and Theth National Park, an area admired for its rich flora and fauna. After checking into our quaint guesthouse in Theth, we set off on a gentle walk through the valley nestled between the wonderful surrounding peaks, gaining an insight into agricultural life as we pass locals going about their day. We continue to the Roman Catholic Church of Theth, built in 1892, which was once used as a health center during the communist regime. The highlight, however, is a visit to the shutting tower (or lock-in tower) of Theth, known locally as ‘Kulla’. These historic stone ‘lock-in towers’ were used for protection of families that were involved in blood feuds and this is one of the few that remains today.
Theth Valley is predominantly an agricultural region, where age-old farming practices and horse-drawn carts are still used today. We observe rural life as we begin walking to Grunas Waterfall. From here we continue on to Nderlyse where we find a string of natural water pools and a feature known as the ‘Blue Eye of Kapre’. There is an opportunity to swim here, so don’t forget your swimming things.
We walk through some of the wildest scenery into the TropojaDistrict, known as the home of Albanian folk culture. We firstly ascend through forests and alpine pastures to reach the Valbona Pass (1800m), from where we take a few moments to enjoy the spectacular views down Valbona and Theth Valleys. We then follow a trail which brings us alongside the Valbona River, passing some beautiful waterfalls along the way. We finish at the quaint village of Rragam, where the minibus will wait for us to transport us to our hotel. Expect some rocky mountainous terrain today, particularly as we descend.
Our route today takes us through beech and pine forests down Rosi Peak and leads us onto the ‘White Circle’, where we enjoy panoramic views of the peaks and valleys of the Albanian Alps. There is the option to either do the full length of the ‘White Circle’ or walk as far as the ridge of the ‘White Circle’, then back down the valley. For those who wish to opt out of the ‘White Circle’ walk, you can instead walk independently in the local area, or head to the slopes to collect some mountain tea. Please note that the total ascent/descent is 1000m if doing the full length.
After breakfast, we drive to Fierza. We then take a boat through the beautiful KomaniLake . The boat journey allows us to take in the spectacular scenery whilst we wind our way between high cliffs and towering peaks. Three hydroelectric power plants have been built here at the lake, which produces approx. 70% of Albania’s electricity. We then drive to Kruja, the center of Skanderbeg’s resistance to the Ottoman invasion in the 15th century. This afternoon we walk to Krujamountain, at the top we will be rewarded with fantastic views of Kruja and of the Adriatic sea. In the evening we will enjoy an authentic meal and watch a local musical performance.
This morning we travel to Berat. On arrival, we enjoy a guided tour around the old district of Berat, with its pretty white buildings perched on the hill amid pine forests. Our tour includes a visit to the Ethnographic Museum (a 18th-century Ottoman house) and the King Mosque. We walk through the narrow cobbled streets to finally reach Berat Castle on the slopes of Mount Tomorr, where we are rewarded with breathtaking views. Within the castle walls are dwelling houses and the Onufri Museum (Museum of Iconography). There is free time to enjoy the other sites of Berat or to perhaps absorb the relaxed café culture on the promenade. Our hotel is situated in Mangalem, the historic quarter of Berat, where the castle peers down upon the area from its hilltop.
Those on the group flight will be transferred back to the International Airport of Tirana for their flight back home.