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  • The Authentic Albania Experience
  • The Authentic Albania Experience
  • The Authentic Albania Experience
  • The Authentic Albania Experience

The Overview

Take a step back in time and experience the real Albania with this short five night break. Based in the wild frontier of the Valbona Valley, you’ll get a taste of rural mountain lifestyle where the locals will treat you like royalty and welcome you into their homes and lives with genuine hospitality and warmth.

With plenty of opportunities to get out and about in the great outdoors, you’ll be greeted with natural beauty at every twist and turn, taking the wonderful journey to Thethi or exploring the rich diversity of flora and fauna. Travel on towards Shkodra on one of the most spectacular ferry rides in Southern Europe along Lake Koman and discover the ruins of Rozafa Castle before finishing with an evening feast of authentic cuisine and local entertainment.

As a complete contrast, you’ll also get to experience the buzzing capital city of Tirana for one night before heading into the land of wildlife and legends in the north of the country.

 

The Experience

Day 1: Arrival in Albania followed by an airport transfer to the centre of Tirana then check-in to your boutique accommodation in the buzzing Blokku district of town. The rest of the day and/or evening is left for you to enjoy the city’s sights, bites and highlights and to experience the life of the locals in the capital.

Day 2: Transfer to Rozafa Castle with time to explore the crumbling ruins before heading into Shkodra – the city of birds and bicycles. Here, you’ll check-in to a traditional Albanian guesthouse which is a museum in itself and has an incredible authentic restaurant with local cuisine and entertainment.

Day 3: Early morning transfer to the ferry port for the magical Lake Koman Ferry Ride journey. Arrive in beautiful Valbona, check in to your accommodation and spend the rest of the day enjoying the serene mountain setting and the fresh traditional food listening to the locals talk about the legends of the blood feuds and sworn virgins.

Day 4: Day based in the Valbona Valley and/or the surrounding area; enjoy the great outdoors with a hike around the Albanian Alps under the shadow of the Accursed Mountains; take the wonderful journey to Thethi or get involved with some traditional activities with the locals.

Day 5: Day spent in the Valbona Valley experiencing the authentic life of rural Albania; head out on a nature trail with the knowledge and expertise of an experienced mountain guide admiring the rich flora and fauna and the overwhelming natural beauty; get your hands dirty helping the locals milk cows, herd sheep and pick berries for an afternoon.

Day 6: Day spent in the Valbona Valley getting involved with local village activities, or enjoying the Great Outdoors.

Day 7: Early morning transfer to the ferry port for the ride back through Lake Koman on the ferry then onwards to Kruje with time to explore the preserved fortress before heading onto Tirana for your final night.

Day 8: Transfer to Tirana airport for the flight home.

 

The Price

Prices start from £495 per person. This includes:

For bookings and enquiries, please click here.

Albania

Wild and rugged Albania is a truly a hidden Mediterranean gem.

Situated just north of mainland Greece, Albania is an undiscovered country full of outstanding natural beauty with a wealth of history just waiting to be explored. From the Romans and the Greeks to the Ottomans, past civilisations have left their distinct marks on Albania’s landscape, architecture and archaeological sites as showcased in fascinating ancient sites of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Berat and Butrint, and other dramatic mountain citadels dotted across the countryside.

A country of stunning contrast, Albania boasts both wild and rugged landscapes peppered with jagged mountains and traditional villages alongside long stretches of sandy coastline, lush meadows and green pastures. Albania’s coastlines is the ultimate draw with miles of deserted pristine beaches, beautifully sun kissed along the Ionian Coast while the north of the country preserves rural traditions and maintains its reputation as a wild frontier. Here, legends of blood feuds and sworn virgins tumble through menacing mountains and desolate valleys, creating an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

With spectacular alpine scenery and local people that offer warmth and genuine hospitality, the fact that Albania is still one of Europe’s poorest countries makes it all the more incredible. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this undiscovered country is only for the adventurous backpacker-type; we have made it easy to explore and enjoy its wild beauty and hidden depths in a way that suits you.

Expect the unexpected and prepare to be blown away.

 

Central Albania – Old Meets New, East Meets West: The heart of Albania is home to the country’s capital city, Tirana, and boasts a remarkable natural and cultural heritage. Blessed with a beautifully mild Mediterranean climate, the central region is warm and inviting and given its superb location both in relation to the coast and the mountains, offers the perfect base from which to explore the country with a wealth of history.

The Albanian Alps – Legends & Wildlife: An enticing mix of dramatic mountain scenery, rich wildlife and living legends, the Northern region of Albania remains a wild frontier overflowing with natural beauty and rural treasures. The rugged peaks of the Accursed Mountains tower over lush valleys punctuated with clusters of remote mountain villages. Get a taste for the rural mountain lifestyle and experience the warm hospitality of the local people who honour guests like royalty. Set off on an adventure through the wild paths of the Valbona Valley, exploring untravelled paths and witnessing the diverse flora and fauna on offer, revitalised with clean fresh air in your lungs and a dash of colour in your cheeks.  Experience the most spectacular boat ride in Southern Europe and conquer castles along the way.

The Albanian Riviera – Beautifully Blue: Punctuated with sweet little villages, small fishing ports and jaw-droppingly astonishing scenery with extensive mountain ranges populated by ancient olive and citrus trees, the Albanian Riviera is unmissable and utterly unforgettable. Boasting deserted beaches, cerulean waters and lively seaside towns, the Riviera also plays host to the magically hypnotic Blue Eye Spring and the magnificent archaeological site of Butrint. Whether you’re happiest soaking up the sunshine with your toes in the sand or discovering the history of civilisations past among ancient ruins, the Albanian Riviera has it all.

Southeastern Albania – Lakes, Mountains & Mystery: A veritable melting pot of culture and ethnicity, the south east of Albania represents a journey through the ages that crosses borders and uncovers the beauty of nature. Also home to two historical towns boasting bustling bazaars, magnificent churches and culture aplenty, the south east contains some of the most evocative and breath-taking scenery yet! Discover the ethereal lakes of Prespa and Ohrid, home to a unique aquatic ecosystem and a sprinkling of quaint lakeside villages that rest on the shore. Admire the tranquillity and loveliness of the Macedonian town of Ohrid and spend the evening exploring its quaint cobbled streets and charming restaurants.

The Season

With increasingly long summers and winters, the climate in Albania is rather extreme and plays host to some scorching months as well as a period of severe cold and snow which is why the Authentic Albania Experience does not run through the winter months. Spring, summer and all the way up to early autumn, however offer beautiful weather with warm sunny days and cool evenings along with a wider range of local village activities that vary slightly according to the season.  As there are barely any tourists there are no restrictions based on avoiding summer crowds, the only factors to consider revolve around temperature. See below for more information.

 

The Months

April & May: As the temperatures in the mountains tend to average around 10-20 degrees cooler than they are in the lowlands, travelling to Albania and the Valbona Valley during the spring months mean mild temperatures – perfect for those that enjoy long hikes through the mountain passes and valleys. Spring time also means that the meadows and hills burst into life with colourful wildflowers and other flora and fauna. While April can bring a fair amount of rain, May tends to be drier and warmer with the chance of the odd thunderstorm here and there.

June, July & August: Expect warm days and clear blue skies throughout Albania in the peak summer months of June, July and August. In the mountains you’re likely to experience cool evenings but elsewhere temperatures can soar to over 30 degrees so it’s best to come prepared with lots of layers to accommodate any change in climate.

September: September brings with it slightly fresher temperatures and a certain sense of tranquillity as the rush to get the hay in from the fields is usually over by this point. You’ll still have warm and very pleasant days with cooler evenings. September is one of our favourite times to spend in Albania.

 

The Experience Duration

The Authentic Albania Experience takes place over seven nights and eight days and typically commences every Saturday during the season. However, the arrival and departure times of your chosen flights may well affect the exact duration of your stay. Many use the flexibility of booking their own flights to add an additional night or two (or three) in Tirana at the beginning and/or end of the experience to make the very most of their time in Albania.

 

The Calendar

The calendar on the right shows exactly when the Authentic Albania Experience trips are available throughout the season. As well as displaying which trip dates are fully booked or available, the calendar also highlights specific dates that have been discounted or are on special offer.

Once you’ve decided on the dates you’d like to travel, head over to the HOW tab and fill out the enquiry form with all the required details. Once submitted, we will get back to you with confirmation and/or next steps within 24 hours.

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£595 per person

£495 per person

Fully Booked

Unavailable

Out of Season

yes
1409529600
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Our Highlights

There are tons of reasons why we think you would be blown away by the Authentic Albania Experience, but here are a few of our personal trip highlights to help persuade you…

 

Your Trip Motivation

Whether it’s for some peace and quiet with plenty of time to unwind or to experience a unique and authentic way of life, the Authentic Albania Experience is perfect if you’re looking for any of the following.

To Escape, Chill Out & Get Away From It All: If you’re after a complete change of scene and you’re fed up with the humdrum of everyday life then this retreat has your name all over it. You can choose to be as active or as lazy as you like whether you’re into trying your hand at something new or you just want to absorb the traditional surroundings.

For Peace & Quiet & Rest & Relaxation: Remote natural locations, traditional accommodations in the heart of the Valbona Valley and its dramatic mountain scenery, this trip is perfect for anyone hankering for some time out away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in an area of peace and antiquity.

To Live Like The Locals, Step Back In Time, & For A Kick of Culture: See how the other half live as you get involved with local village activities including shepherding, rustic cooking and jam making along with visits to the most remote villages in the Valbona Valley.

For A Slice of Life & To Learn Something New: As well as giving you an insight into peasant life, this experience also gives you the opportunity to try your hand at a new skill such as making your very own elderberry jam and hay stacking, or having a go at milking a cow or sewing.

To Get Back To Basics & Find Yourself: With plenty of time for soul-searching and contemplation, the natural environment and lower pace of living in the Valbona Valley will help you get back to basics so that you return refreshed and revived with a new perspective.

 

The Grapevine

Don’t just take our word for it, have a read of what our clients have to say about their experiences on the trip.

‘We want to truly thank you for a great trip to Albania. I am so impressed with how smoothly everything went. Your planning and coordination were perfect.  Everyone who was supposed to show up to take us somewhere did so on time and knew what to do.  Your instructions to us were also perfect.  If we had rented a car it would not have been a pleasure at all – and the whole experience would have been ruined.  As it was, all was great.  What was very helpful is that you listened to what we wanted and provided just the perfect experience, along with a little guidance.’Cheryl and family, June 2014

The Booking Process

So you’ve found the perfect experience for you… what happens next? Once you’ve chosen the dates you’d like to travel on using our availability calendar all you need to do is head over to the booking page and fill in your details where necessary on the enquiry form. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours, answering any questions you may have and confirming availability for the experience over the dates you’ve enquired about. If that’s all good to go, we’ll hold your places for you and ask you to look into booking your return flights.

Once you’ve booked your flights please send us over the details via email including flight times, numbers and departure airports. We’ll then process your booking and send you an RBS payment link for the deposit or full balance depending on how soon you’re travelling. If your trip departs in less than 6 weeks we require full payment in order to guarantee your places on the experience, however if you are travelling in more than 6 weeks we will only take a 25% deposit at the time of booking. The outstanding balance is then taken 6 weeks before your departure date.

After your payment has been received we’ll send you confirmation of your booking along with a personalised trip itinerary, information pack and any other appropriate materials. All you need to do now is write the dates in your diary, prepare your packing list and look forward to your next adventure!

 

The Flights

As a tour operator we are not able to offer inclusive flights as part of our experiences however we are more than happy to help you find the most appropriate incoming and outgoing flights for you. As a general rule your best port of call for UK airports is likely to be London, however there are some airlines that fly direct from other UK airports such as Manchester and Birmingham. All the listed airlines fly directly in and out of the arrival and departure airport for this experience.

We highly recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights. If the widget below plays up for whatever reason just head over to the website here.

Again, if you need any assistance, just give us a shout.

London to Tirana

British Airways (Gatwick)

Your Travel Personality

This experience is suitable for a range of personal tastes including the following specific travel personalities:

The Time Traveller, The Culture Vulture & The History Buff: The Authentic Albania Experience provides history, tradition and culture in abundance with its age-old customs and living legends including the ongoing blood feuds in the Valbona Valley and the handful of women who choose to live as men and are known as sworn virgins. Anyone interested in getting to grips with the real Albania will find this experience a real eye-opener.

The Nature Enthusiast & The Romantic: The Valbona Valley is bursting to the brim with nature and sheer wild beauty that evokes a sense of romance and contentment, of an ancient way of life where the pace of living is significantly slower and more gentle. The dramatic mountains, local village houses and lush green valleys peppered with hay stacks create the perfect backdrop for a relaxing and refreshing retreat.

The Explorer & The Free Spirit: If you’re into authentic experiences then this trip is for you – the name says it all! You’ll have plenty of time to immerse yourself into the everyday life of an Albanian peasant, with the opportunity to get a real insight into the local culture and customs with all the traditional village activities on offer. You’re free to do as much or as little as you like and at your own pace.

 

Your Group Type

The Authentic Albania Experience is a wonderful escape back in time suited to all types of groups including friends, families and even individuals who are hankering after some alone time. More information is detailed below.

The Friends & The Couple: Perfect for time away with your other half or handful of your close friends, the Authentic Albania Experience is an opportunity to enjoy some rest and relaxation together in a country that is completely off the beaten track and beautifully undiscovered.

The Family: Suitable for families of all sizes and ages, this trip is the ideal opportunity to share some quality time together in a beautiful natural environment. Children will enjoy getting involved in the plethora of rural activities while parents can take some time out for peace and quiet in the Valbona Valley.

The Solo Traveller: With plenty of time for self-reflection, soul-searching and relaxation, the trip is ideal if you’re keen to get back to basics and re-connect with both yourself and your natural surroundings.

 

Trip Assistance

Helping-Hand: As a Helping-Hand Experience, you should find the balance between being looked after and being able to enjoy some independent time to explore just right. We’ve got all your transfers covered including private airport pick-ups and drop-offs that will meet you whatever time your flight arrives or departs, as well as transfers between sights, accommodations and destinations – all you need to do is show up on time and enjoy the ride! While you won’t have a bi-lingual guide by your side constantly, you will be given plenty of information on the areas you’ll be visiting and your local Albanian hosts will treat you like royalty! Our team are always on the end of the telephone should you have any questions, problems or issues. You’ve got the freedom to decide to do as much or as little as you like, with the option to book local village activities and cultural excursions so you can tailor your experience to meet your own personal holiday needs.

The Enquiry Form

If you’d like to learn more about this experience, you’d like to check availability and prices or you have questions that need answering simply fill out the form below with all the required details using the calendar to let us know which dates you’re interested in. Once submitted, we will get back to you with confirmation and/or next steps within 24 hours.

Your First Name


Your Last Name


Email Address *


Contact Number


Which start date are you interested in


How many people are travelling in your party?


How did you hear about Untravelled Paths?


Do you have any questions or comments?


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Loading

£595 per person

£495 per person

Fully Booked

Unavailable

Out of Season

yes
1409529600
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