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Food

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners included. Three of these lunches are packed lunches. In the itinerary, we state which meals are included on each day. Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha (the communist leader of Albania from 1944-1985), Albania became a self-sustaining country due to its isolation to the world. However, due to the lush fertile valleys, fresh mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, they are still very much a subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. In the countryside expect your food to have been reared/grown not too far from your plate. Food in Albania is quite varied thanks to the many influences on the country and particularly Mediterranean combining both Turkish and European tastes. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt are present in almost every meal, usually locally sourced. Meals are reasonably priced at around GBP£3-5 per dish for traditional dishes such as baked rice, casseroles, stuffed aubergine and Jani Meat (beef or lamb sautéed with onions, garlic and spices). Fresh fish is also plentiful, from the sea or lakes and is an important ingredient in many dishes. Dishes that must be sampled are Tirana stew, Elbasan yoghurt and baked phyllo pie. For dessert, there are the classic cookies and puddings but most importantly the Baklava is very popular. Drinks are reasonably priced with a bottle of local beer costing around £1 yet traditional drinks need to be tried as well, Raki and ‘Scanderbeg’ Cognac for example (noted for its unique flavour and aroma). Your leader will recommend restaurants for each evening. Vegetarians are well-catered for in Albania as long as the hotels are advised in advance - please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. If you follow a vegan diet you should expect that the variety of food may be limited whilst on this trip. This diet is relatively uncommon in this region and we cannot guarantee that the hotels and restaurants will provide meals that have the necessary variety.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Tirana

    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 (approx. 30 mins drive). *Standard Hotel*

  • 2

    Drive via Shkodër and Rozafa Castle to Theth; short walk around the village

    We have an early start this morning and drive to Shkodër (approx. 2 hrs), where we visit the Castle of Rozafa and the city centre 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 (approx. 3 hrs), 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 centre 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. *Basic Hotel*

  • 3

    Walk to Grunas waterfall, Nderlyse and the 'Blue Eye of Kapre'

    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. *Basic Hotel*

  • 4

    Trek over Valbonë Pass to Rragam village; transfer to Valbonë, home of Albanian folk culture

    We walk through some of the wildest scenery into the Tropojë District, known as the home of Albanian folk culture. We firstly ascend through forests and alpine pastures to reach the Valbonë Pass (1950m), from where we take a few moments to enjoy the spectacular views down Valbonë and Theth Valleys. We then follow a trail which brings us alongside the Valbonë 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. *Standard Hotel*

  • 5

    Follow a route below Rosi Peak, passing through forest to the 'White Circle'

    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. *Standard Hotel*

  • 6

    We take a boat on Komani Lake; continue to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Berat

    After breakfast, we drive to Fierza (approx. 1.5 hrs). We then take a boat through the beautiful Komani Lake (which takes approx. 2 hrs). 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 for another 1.5 hrs and have lunch in Vau I Dejës, near Shkodër. After lunch, we make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Berat (approx. 3 hrs), our final destination for today. Our hotel is situated in Mangalem, the historic quarter of Berat, where the castle peers down upon the area from its hilltop. *Standard Hotel*

  • 7

    Visit the Ethnographic Museum and the King Mosque in Berat; drive to Krujë in the afternoon, followed by a folklore evening

    This morning 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. In the afternoon we drive to Krujë (approx. 3 hrs), the centre of Skanderbeg's resistance to the Ottoman invasion in the 15th century. The town's old bazaar is an excellent place for souvenir shopping, with traditional wares, antiques and rugs. We visit the Skanderbeg Museum and Krujë Castle and take a short walk to a teqe (a small place of worship for those practising the Bektashi branch of Islam) dedicated to the saint Sari Saltik, located on Krujë Mountain. Our hotel this evening is situated in the historic centre of Krujë. We are in for a treat tonight as our evening is filled with music and dance. *Standard Hotel*

  • 8

    End Kruje

    Those on the group flight will be transferred back to Mother Theresa Airport for their lunchtime flight to London (approx. 1-hour drive to the airport).

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