Cultural discovery and active holidays on the Ionian coast

Booking code SHG28

8 Days € 690

Travel dates:2017-07-15 to 2017-07-22           Reservation

Travel dates:2017-06-10 to 2017-06-17           Reservation

Travel dates:2017-09-16 to 2017-09-23           Reservation

The vibrant Tirana and Dajti mountain.
The ancient and modern city of Durrës and visit to its Roman amphitheater.
The coastal city of Vlora and visit of the old St. Mary’s monastery in Zvërneci island.
Guided visits of the characteristic village of Dhërmi, old Himara, Castle of Ali Pasha.
Memorable boat trips along the Ionian coast and around the Karaburun Peninsula.
Saranda and guided visit of Butrinti, the most important archaeological site in Albania and UNESCO World Heritage.
Free time to relax on the wonderful beaches along the coast and enjoy the clear and warm waters of the Ionian Sea.
Accommodation at three star hotels.
Opportunities for: guided walk through the National Park of Llogara and paragliding.

This is a unique tour, which gives you the possibility to enjoy the best that Ionian coast has to offer, its cultural jewels and natural wonders.
The Albanian Ionian Coast runs from Vlora to Saranda. The coast line is famous for its small bays, pebbly beaches and crystal clear waters. The Riviera is one of Albania’s natural beauties and certainly one of the most picturesque places in the whole Mediterranean. Since ancient times, the Albanian Coast has seen different cultural influences come and go, leaving behind a host of archaeological and historical treasures, such as ancient sites, Roman or Greek cities, hillside castles and fortresses, walled towns, monasteries, churches, mosques, temples, museums and other interesting jewels. A typical Mediterranean climate offers ideal conditions for a beautiful holiday encompassing many different activities.

Day 1: Tirana, the vibrant capital. After arrival at noon, transfer from “Mother Teresa” airport to the hotel in downtown Tirana. Founded in 1614, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 and is the main cultural and industrial centre of Albania. The city boulevards are marked with fascinating relics of the Ottoman, Italian and communist past.
In the afternoon, a tour of the city is planned along with a visit to the National Historical Museum, Et’hem Bey Mosque, Skanderbeg monument, clock tower and a journey towards Dajti mountain, part of Dajti National Park. Here we will have dinner at a traditional restaurant (a la carte) and then return to hotel in Tirana. (-/-/D)

Day 2: Durrës and Vlora, the ancient and modern coastal cities.
Journey towards Durrës, the city founded in 627 BC which has much to tell of its colorful story, beautiful beaches and attractions. We will have time for a guided visit of the city and its Roman amphitheater and lunch in one of the restaurants by the sea. The journey continues in the direction of Vlorë, where a short stop is planed, to visit the old St. Mary’s monastery in Zvërneci island, which is connected to the mainland through a 250 long wooden bridge. Dinner and accommodation are provided at a hotel in Radhimë, near Vlora, with a special location by the sea. Here you can enjoy not only the view, but also the delicious cuisine. Wt.2 h (B/L/D)

Day 3: Llogara National Park, the characteristic village of Dhërmi and Livadhi Beach.
The activities of the day start right after the breakfast. You will be driven to the National Park of Llogara where a coffee break is planned. The park lies 35 km south of Vlora, has an area of 1020 ha and is covered with everlasting greenery. In the inner part of its forests there are beautiful meadows, countless natural resources and diverse animal and bird species. An amazing part of this geo-park is the "Balcony" in Llogara pass, at the height of 1050 m, from where the Ionian Sea can be seen.
On the way to Livadhi Beach a sightseeing tour of the village of Dhërmi is planned. The old village is set into the mountain and is one of the oldest and most characteristic villages on the Ionian Coast, with its stone, mountain houses nestling happily with historical monuments. The earliest signs of settlement date back to the 1stcentury B.C.
Lunch is planned in one of the restaurants at the seaside in Livadhi Beach. In the afternoon free time to enjoy the sun and the crystal clear water of the Ionia Sea. After dinner you have the possibility to enjoy the night life.
We can organize some optional activities for you, to be performed during this day.
1. Guided walk through the National Park of Llogara (3 hours).
2. Paragliding(weather permitting): The starting point is the Pass of Llogara and ending point the beach of Palasa.
For all those who have chosen one of the above mentioned optional activities arrival to Livadhi Beach is possible only in the afternoon. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Sun and see at Livadhi Beach.
This is a day dedicated to the sun-and sea seekers. The white pebble beach and the crystal clear water make Livadhi Beach irresistible for everyone. During the day you will have the possibility to explore some marvelous beaches in the vicinity: The beach of Spille (Here lies a cave with underwater springs with an interesting history; it used to shelter people from the activities of the pirates), the beach of Llamani and that of Filikuri.
In the afternoon visit of the old village of Himara. Here you can walk through the ruined walls of the old castle (century IV B.C. until century XVI). It had been built as a fortress for the Epirus tribe of Kaons and is an important part of the long history of the people of Himara to be safe and independent. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Boat trip to Jali and Ngjipe Beach
There are many bays in the vicinity of Livadhi Beach and some of them are reachable only from the sea. Today you will have the possibility to enjoy the privacy of these bays, to watch the marvelous colors of the sea reflecting the sun.
The first stop is at the bay, which due to its calm and clear water is called "Aquarium" and then a short coffee break is planned in Jali Beach. From there we will travel to the Canyon and the beach of Ngjipe. It is formed by water erosion, is more than 2 km long and 100 m deep. The landscape is very attractive, the beach is clean and the water clear.
The next stop is in Dhërmi Beach and from there the trip continues in the direction of Palasa Beach, and weather permitting, up to Grama Bay. Return back into Livadhi Beach in the late afternoon. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Ali Pasha Castle at Porto Palermo Bay, the coastal city of Saranda and the ancient Butrinti.
The trip starts right after breakfast. The first planned stop is at the Porto Palermo Bay, which apart from its natural beauties was also one of the most important military bases during the cold war. The tunnel where Albanian military submarines were moored can still be seen.
Here lies the Castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena, which seems to be built in the middle of the sea. It is a good example of traditional, Ottoman military architecture. Today, only some stone walls of the castle survive. However, there are underground tunnels which were used to house the prisoners of some rulers such as Ali Pasha and Enver Hoxha as well as the King Zog. There is a spectacular and rare view of the coast from the castle walls.
The trip continues up to Saranda. Its name originates from "The Forty Saints", an old Christian monastery whose ruins lay near the city entrance. After some free time for lunch, drive to Butrint
to visit the ancient city, the most important archaeological site in Albania. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is well known since the 7th century B.C. as the most important city of Epirus. The building of the city was linked to the presence of the Trojan prince Aeneas and is mentioned by the Roman poet Virgil. The dinner is organized at the restaurant that lies at "Lëkursi Caste" on the top of a hill overlooking the bay of Saranda. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Vlora and boat trip around Karaburun Peninsula.
On the way to Tirana, after a short coffee pause in Llogara National Park, a boat trip around Karaburun Peninsula is planned. Karaburun is known for its abundant nature attractions and its various archaeological discoveries. The first stop is at the north end of the peninsula, where the 30 meters long, 10-15 meters high and 9.5 meters wide cave of Haji Ali (Haxhi Ali) is found. For a long time, it served as the base in the wars against the military vessels of Venice, France and England. If the sea conditions permit, you can visit the cave. Then we continue to the Sazan island, a former cold war naval base, opened last year for the first time to the public. Another bathing break is planned at the bay of Saint Vasil which lies on the eastern side of the Karaburun peninsula.
Arrive in Tirana is planned in the late afternoon, and after a short break in the hotel, dinner will be provided at a traditional restaurant, where you can choose between various dishes on the menu. After dinner, you can spend some pleasant moments in one of the bars of the “Block” area, the most vivid quarter of the city. (B/L/D)

Day 8: Transfer to the airport, after breakfast according to the flight schedule. (B/-/-)

Additional information

If you are coming in a prearranged group, you can pick the date of this tour yourself.

On day 7, due to the length of the boat trip, it is impossible to go back to the restaurant for lunch. You will be given a lunch packet with you.

Some of the bays along the Ionian coast are totally isolated from the rest of the world and no piers are to be found there. You will be transported with little boats as close as possible to shore, if necessary.

The journey begins right after landing in the airport of Tirana with the noon flight. If your flight is in the evening, it is necessary to come to Tirana one day earlier.

The journey begins immediately after landing at the airport in Tirana where reception is scheduled. If you enter Albania through other border checkpoints and via other routes, we can pick you up against additional charge, enabling your participation in the travel. If this is the case, you should carefully fill in the appropriate field of the reservation form.

Within the journey, the schedule for specific tours may vary depending on weather conditions. Travel & walking guides will adapt the program in the best way allowed by the weather conditions.

If you wish to travel to Albania a few days earlier or extend your journey by a few days, we are at your disposal to further organize your tour according to your wishes. All related services and costs are not included in the tour price and as such will be additionally calculated. For this purpose you should carefully fill in the field "Comments" in the booking form and explain in detail all your desires through an e – mail message sent to the address of our agency.

Number of participants: 10 - 12 people

The price includes:
•  Transfer from and to the airport
•  All trips, whether by bus and boat according to the program schedule.
•  Entries and visits listed in the program.
•  7 nights hotel accommodation in a double/twin room with shower and toilet.
•  6 x full board (1x lunch packet)
•  Dinner on the arrival day and breakfast on departure day.
•  Coffee and water during all coffee breaks.
•  Selected restaurants a la carte in Tirana, Vlora, Saranda and Livadhi.
•  Accompaniment by an English/German-speaking guide during the entire journey.

The price does not include
Any type of insurance.
Beverages in hotels, restaurants and bars.
Optional activities during the third day.

Additional cost
A supplement of € 20 /day for a single room.
Paragliding 70 € pp.
Guided walk through the National Park of Llogara 10 € pp

Equipment list

Hiking shoes/boots (category A/B)
Shoes/Sneakers for traveling and sightseeing
Hiking sandals
Long legged hiking trousers
Short legged hiking trousers
T-shirts / shirts
Waterproof jacket
Drinking bottle/ Thermos Flask
First aid kit
Insect repellent