the best of the ionian coast in a week

Price From

1564€

Category

Multi Active

Destinations

Llogara, Ionian Coast, Gjirokastër

Difficulty

T2

Duration

8 Days

Group Size

5 – 8

Trip Code

CST04

Why join this tour?

  • Small group hiking tour – industry-leading guest-to-guide ratio of not more than 8:1
  • Hike in Llogara National Park – one of the most amazing places of Albania
  • Enjoy the hiking to Thanasi Peak and the amazing views over the Ionian Coast up to Italy
  • Jump on a Kayak for a memorable paddling tour to Pirate’s Cave
  • Enjoy the easy hike to Ngjipe Canyon and bathe in the crystal-clear sea at the Bay
  • Enjoy the scenic drive along the Ionian Coast and the visit of traditional villages along it
  • Get acquainted with the ancient and recent history of Albania visiting Ali Pasha Castle in Porto Palermo Bay
  • Admire the archaeological ruins of Butrint – UNESCO World Heritage
  • Discover Gjirokastër – UNESCO World Heritage
  • Undertake a walking tour on old pastoral trails in the surroundings of Gjirokastër
  • Visit one of the most beautiful churches of the region of Gjirokastër
  • Meet the locals and be their guest
  • Enjoy different culinary experiences during the entire journey
  • Visit Apollonia
  • Visit Tirana – The vibrant capital city of Albania

The right tour for you?

  • This journey starts in the afternoon on the arrival day. If you arrive in the evening of this day, it is impossible to participate in activities scheduled for day one.
  • This is a multiactivity tour. It includes some easy hikes, kayaking and a boat tour. Good physical condition is required, but previous alpine experience or proficiency in kayaking are not needed.
  • We kindly ask you to read our daily trip descriptions which give detailed information about: terrain, technical difficulty, estimated walking times, ascent/descent in meters.
  • Please read the packing list carefully and bring all essential items with you especially the right walking shoes.
  • Being prepared to cope with the weather conditions is an important factor to consider before you travel. Be prepared for all elements – rain, wind, heat and cold.
  • Most of the time there is no shade so remember to bring a hat and sun protection. The temperatures may be very high during the Summer and don’t forget to have always plenty of water with you.
  • Please bring a day pack/bag to carry clothing, water, packed meals, a camera etc. for the day trips.
  • We are strongly committed towards responsible and sustainable travel. We please you to follow our guidelines regarding sustainability.
Day 1: Arriving to Tirana

Welcome to Tirana. Your hotel is located in the downtown. There are plenty of attractions, cafes and bars to keep you busy. Founded in 1614, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 and is the main cultural and industrial center of Albania. The city boulevards are marked with fascinating relics of the Ottoman, Italian and communist past.
If you arrive early, you can even take the cable car to the Dajti Mountain for panoramic views over the city.
In the evening, you can have a drink at one of the numerous cafes or trendy bars of the “Blloku” district. The most animated quarter of the city lies at the place where before the democratic changes it was not allowed for the public to enter as it was inhabited only by the higher leadership.
The price includes:
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Tirana
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 2: Hiking in Llogara, the evergreen National Park: T2, 3h, ↑400m, ↓400m, 9km

The day starts with the drive towards Llogara National Park. It is one of the most beautiful places in Albania with woods, beautiful valleys, countless natural resources, as well as numerous species of plants, animals and birds.
Today’s is one of the most beautiful hikes of the Llogara National Park. The ascent follows initially through the dense forest of the National Park Llogara. As the pine forest clears, the path continues along rockier terrain and passes through a small shepherd’s settlement, shortly before it arrives at the place called “Qafa e Thellë”. From there, the view of the entire coast is magnificent. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Italian coast on the other side of the Otranto Strait, less than 90km away.
We will descend to the Llogara Pass, and board the vehicle for the transfer to the hotel in Llogara, where the accommodation is planned.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Packed Lunch
• Dinner
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Llogara
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 3: Kayaking along the Ionian coast to the Pirates Cave: 2h, 4km

After breakfast, we will start the activity of the day. We will kayak on the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea. Our destination is the Pirate’s cave. It is more than 30m long, 8m wide and 10-12m high. A stone block pillar divides the entry into two parts. You will have the possibility to enter, and admire the cave from the inside.
Then, we will kayak back to Dhërmi, where lunch is planned.
In the afternoon you will have free time to enjoy the sea and the sun on your own.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Accommodation in a 3-Star hotel in Dhërmi
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 4: Hiking to Ngjipe Beach: T2, 3h, ↑350m, ↓350m, 6km

After breakfast, transfer to the starting point of the hike to Ngjipe. We will follow a well-prepared trail to descend to the beach. Some small stops are planned at panoramic spots along the way.
The canyon of Ngjipe is situated along the lower parts of Ngjipe stream, between Vuno and Ilias. It is formed by water erosion, is more than 2km long and 100m deep. Walking along its length is a unique experience. The landscape is attractive, the beach is clean and the water clear.
After some time to enjoy the sea and the sun on the beach, we will return to the vehicle and start the scenic drive along the Ionian Coast.
On the way to Saranda lies the Bay of Porto Palermo. Apart from its natural beauty, it is known as one of the most important military bases during the cold war. From the road you can see the tunnels where Albanian military submarines were moored. During the communist years, it was forbidden to be in this area without permission. On a peninsula, just in the middle of Porto Palermo Bay lie the ruins of the Fortress of Ali Pasha. After its visit the drive continues to Saranda, where accommodation is provided.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Saranda
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 5: The coastal city of Saranda and the ancient site of Butrint, UNESCO World Heritage

After breakfast, transfer to Butrint, the most important archaeological site of Albania, an UNESCO World Heritage. Butrint is known since the 7th century B.C. as the most important city of Epirus. Its building is linked to the presence of the Trojan prince Aeneas.
In the afternoon, transfer to Saranda. Accommodation in Saranda.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Sarandë
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 6: Walking and cultural discovery in Gjirokastra: T1, 2h, ↑200m, ↓250m, 7km

The day starts with the transfer to the village called Labovë and the visit of its church, which is known as one of the most important Byzantine monuments of the entire Balkans. After the visit we will start the hike of the day to the village of Libohovë.
The region is known throughout Albania for its very well-preserved culinary traditions. We will have lunch at a farm in the vicinity of Libohova, where you will taste fresh homemade food, cooked in a strictly traditional way.
In the afternoon a guided visit of Gjirokastra is planned. It is an outstanding example of an Ottoman merchant town and one of the few still surviving in the Balkans. We will visit the castle and a characteristic old museum house.
Accommodation in Gjirokastra.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Lunch
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Gjirokastra
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 7: The ancient city of Apollonia and Tirana

Right after breakfast, we will start the return trip to Tirana. On the way lies the archaeological site of Apollonia. The city was originally founded in 588 BC as a Corinthian colony and was named after the God Apollo. Today, it is situated near the modern town of Fier and offers the visitor a unique insight into the immense importance this region once held. It is estimated that the city had about 60,000 inhabitants, a record for ancient times. As a trade center, the city started to decline in the 4th Century following a large earthquake which altered the course of the Vjosa river causing Apollonia’s famous harbor to silt up.
After the visit, we will continue the journey to Tirana, where you will have time for lunch. In the early afternoon, a guided visit of Tirana and its main attractions is planned
We will meet again for a farewell dinner in a traditional restaurant. After dinner you can have a drink in one of the nice bars in the “Blloku” quarter, the most animated quarter of the capital. Accommodation in Tirana.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
• Farewell Dinner in a traditional restaurant in Tirana
• Accommodation in a 4-Star hotel in Tirana
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

 

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast at your hotel, it is time to say goodbye to Albania.
The price includes:
• Breakfast
*Please see “Inclusions” section!

Performance level:

Our daily trip descriptions give detailed information about: terrain, technical difficulty, estimated walking times, ascent/descent in meters. We kindly ask you to read these very carefully and consider them while choosing your trip.

The given technical difficulty for each daily trip specifies in any case the maximum difficulty in the course of the corresponding trip. That does not necessarily mean that the whole day trip is technically that difficult.

 

Abbreviations:

↑ = Ascent in meters

↓ = Descent in meters

 

Walking time:

Estimated walking times are given for each day. These times do vary, however, according to the day’s weather conditions, and the fitness levels of the tour participants. These times do not include times taken for meals and breaks.

 

Accommodation:

During the entirety of this tour, you will be accommodated in carefully selected hotels.

The accommodation will be provided on a twin-share basis. The hotel rooms all have a private bathroom with a shower/bath and toilet. In rare occasions, the accommodation in hotels will be provided in triple rooms.

In all cases, we pair up solo travelers with other travelers of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports.

 

Solo travelers:

The tour is suitable for solo travelers.

 

Luggage transportation:

We take care of the luggage transportation between the accommodations.

 

Transfers:

All transfers described in the itinerary are included in the price and will be organized by us.

 

Extensions:

If you wish to 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.

If you wish to start or end your tour from/to a different location, we can pick you up or drop you off against additional charge, enabling your participation in the travel.

 

Sustainability:

We are strongly committed towards responsible and sustainable travel.

We please our guests to follow our guidelines regarding sustainability:

• Respect the local people, their culture and environment.
• Support locally owned businesses, restaurants and other services: Eat local food and drink local brands and brews.
• Shop from traditional artisans and for locally made products. Favor local products over imported items. This helps in keeping traditional crafts alive. Even a small amount could be extremely important to local producers.
• Always ask first before photographing or videoing people. Send them back copies of photos to help make it a two-way exchange.
• We strongly recommend bringing reusable water bottles. In places where tap water is potable, this eliminates the usage of single-use plastic bottles entirely.
• Bring a water filter. This way you can drink tap water even in places where it is otherwise unsafe to do so.
• Bring a reusable straw in case you use them regularly.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have. Our staff and guides are trained and able to advise you in detail about our approach towards sustainability.

Included in the price:
• All trips according to the program schedule
• Transport in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
• 5 nights’ accommodation in 4 Star hotels
• 2 nights’ accommodation in 3 Star hotels
• Meals according to the program schedule
• Water during the meals and for the activities
• Entries and visits listed in the program
• Luggage transport between the accommodations
• Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide during the entire journey

 

Not included in the price:
• Transfer from and to the airport
• Any type of insurance
• Any beverages
• Other services not mentioned in the included section above or in the itinerary

Essential Equipment:
• Daypack
• Rain cover for daypack
• Hiking boots (category B/C)
• Hiking trousers
• Sweater/Jacket
• Waterproof jacket and trousers
• T-shirts/shirts
• Spare socks
• Reusable water bottles (at least 1 liter in total)
• Comfortable shoes for traveling and sightseeing
• Bathing Suit
• Beach Towel
• Beach Slippers
• Sunhat
• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses
• Blister bandages
• Any prescription medication you might need
• Personal Luggage
• Passport or ID

 

Recommended Equipment:
• Water filter or alternative water purification system
• Reusable straw
• Hydration system
• Slippers
• Personal first aid kit
• Insect repellent

Departure Dates:

Please click the date you are interested in from the list below:

18 May 2024 – 25 May 2024

21 September 2024 – 28 September 2024


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