Trekking (12 nights/13 days)

Itinerary: Tirana - Lezha – Shkodra –Boga ( Gajtan) – Kruja – Durres – Pogradec – Korca – Permet – Gjirokaster – Berat - Apollonia – Ardenica – Tirana

Day 1: Welcome  at Mother Teresa Airport. Assistance and transfer to Tirana. Check in at the hotel dinner and Overnight in Tirana. Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel.
-The sightseeing tour of Tirana the capital of Albania, which since 1920 includes the busy Scanderbeg Square, the Clock Tower (35m high) built in 1830, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, the National Museum, the Archeological Museum, the National Gallery of Fine Arts, the Palace of Congresses, etc.
-Lunch in Petrela Castle (15km southeast of Tirana). After lunch a short visit in Petrela village and its fortress built on a rocky hill which dates back to 4th century B.C.
Back to hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to visit Lezha.
-Visit the Scanderbeg tomb,the cathedral of Saint Nicholas and the hunter’s lodge 7km away from the city. The visitors may enjoy the forest and the big hunting ground of the tourist site.The lodge has a special and original architecture.       
-Lunch in a local tradition restaurant.
- Continuing with a walk up the hill to the old castle (Lissus) overlooking the modern city of Lezha. The early walls on the castle date back to the Hellenistic period (4-3 ct. BC), with later additions of the Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman period. Nearby in situated Acrolissus, a higher dominant hill from where you can enjoy magnificent views over Adriatic sea and the landscape. Dinner and overnight in Lezha.
Day 4 : Breakfast in Hotel. Leaving Lezha and arriving to Shkodra to visit by walking up the hill to the Rozafa Fortress. From the castle you can see , Buna river, Drin River and Shkodra Lake. Visit the museum inside the castle and the fortification walls. A short walk down from the Castle towards the lead mosque.
Lunch by the DRIN river. Drive inside the city of Shkodra and take a walk around the old neighborhoods and visit the Catholic Church. Visit the mosque and archeological museum housed in characteristic 18th ct house. An important monument worthy to be seen and walked into  is the Mesi Bridge on the Kiri River, 8km away from the city dating to the 17 – 18 th century. – Dinner. Overnight in Shkodra.
Day 5 :
Breakfast in Hotel. Leaving Shkodra heading north towards the alpine village of Boga, situated at the bottom of the Albanian Alps. You can enjoy the scenery, the traditional houses covered with wooden slabs and refresh yourselves with the cool mountain water. (Given the harsh conditions that this area experiences during the winter we may be faced with a blocked road during the month of March because of the snow that usually stays in the area until late May. Nevertheless, we have also experienced that sometime during the years there are gaps that would allow travelers to reach Boga without problems). If the road is blocked, then we suggest this alternative trip to the south of Shkodra, yet physically challenging for the crew.
Second Option
Leaving Shkodra in the direction of the prehistoric site of Gajtan, situated near the lake and hydro plant of Vau i Dejes. Walk up the hill and see the remains of the prehistoric walls and the entrance of a cave where abundant archaeological material has been revealed in excavations conducted there in the late 1980’s. Enjoy the surrounding view, where the mountains, lake and the plain come together in striking colors.
Walk down the hill and start driving in the direction of the small coastal town of Shengjin. Have lunch (set up tents) and stroll along the fine sandy beach. Overnight in Shengjin.
Day 6: Breakfast at the hotel. Departure to visit Kruja.  
-Visit Kruja Castle, housing the museum of national hero Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg situated on a very strategic position offering an impressive view over the landscape.
-Sightseeing of this town continues walking through the narrow path, formerly used as a characteristic medieval bazaar which leads to the Citadel of Kruja which was built by the local population after the invasions of the Goths. The bazaar is still in use and you can shop for various objects; bargaining is common.  
-Lunch at a local restaurant with a panoramic view.
-Afternoon, continue to Durres the ancient Greco-Roman port city of Epidamnus/Dyrrachium. Visit the Byzantine-city walls, Roman Amphitheater and the Archaeological Museum. A short visit along the sea. Dinner and overnight in Durres.
Day 7: After breakfast, travel towards Pogradec. Stop at the lakeside village of Lin and see the late antique mosaic of the old basilica. Have lunch in the city of Pogradec, where you can taste the traditional fish called Koran.
It will be possible to hike up the ruined castle near Pogradec and return to the city on foot. Dinner and overnight in Pogradec.
Day 8:
After breakfast, travel to Korca, visit to the Icons Museum, Archaeological Museum, the Orthodox Cathedral situated in the very city center, the Mirahori Mosque, the old Bazaar and the Museum of the First Albanian School. You can also visit the oriental art museum newly opened and the only one of its kind in Albania.
Lunch with a traditional Albanian menu.
We will take you then to Voskopoja, which has been an important economic, cultural and educational center in Middle Age. In one of the churches belonging to that period it is possible to see well preserved frescos, some of them painted by Albanian artists of the medieval period. Many of the churches in Voskopoja are in a ruined state and most of them can only be seen from outside, but walking in the old streets still offers a breathtaking experience.
Back to Korca and dinner in restaurant with live music.  “Serenade” which is typically in the region, can make an unforgettable experience for visitors, both Albanian and foreign. Dinner. Overnight in Korca.
Day 9: Departing Korca and stopping en route to Erseka for a small privately owned zoo, and then continue in the direction of Leskovik and Permet.
Lunch at Permet and drive toward the narrow pass of Kelcyra.
On top of one of the mountains that create this narrow pass are the ruins of once the famous Ali Bej, a local warlord and a hike to this location will be taken. From the ruined quarters it is possible to see the pass where over 2000 years ago the Roman and Macedonian armies fought a fierce battle during the time when this area of the Balkans was in an uproar.
From Kelcyra we depart in the direction of the “Museum City” of Gjirokastra, declared a Protected UNESCO City in 2005.
Dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra.   
Day 10: Breakfast in Hotel. Visit the characteristic houses resemble the towers and have been built one above the other. They have only one common element, the stone. Visit to the castle which stands out above the city as a balcony, providing the possibility for visitors to enjoy the beautiful landscape. The castle houses the National Museum of Weapons, which preserves all the kinds of weapons used and produced by the Albanians from antiquity. Visit also the House of Zekateve, one of the traditional houses that has been fully reconstructed and offers visitors amazing views into the life and economy of 18th-19th century people.
Depart for Berat and stop for lunch at the Cool Water at Tepelena. Enjoy the water coming down the mountain and the nearby Vjosa river.
Depart for Berat and overnight.  
Day 11: After breakfast, visit the city of Berat, known as the “city of one thousand windows“.. Visit to the castle, which has been built up on  a rocky hill 260 m above the sea level. Churches here have survived within its powerful stony walls. With interest is the church, which preserves wooden-engraved iconostasis, houses the “Onufri” Museum. Visit to the other object: Lead Mosque, Bachelor’s Mosque, Gorica bridge and many dwelling houses of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Lunch in a traditional restaurant.
After lunch hike to the castle of Gorica, situated opposite from the Much better preserved castle of Berat. There are traces of a possible Hellenistic fortification and situated in the middle of a dense pine tree forest offers nice views over the city and the countryside.
Depart for Fier. Overnight in Fier.
Day 12: Breakfast in Hotel. Trip to Apolonia, located 12 km from Fier. It is one of the most  well known  archeological sites in the country.  Visit the ancient Odeon, the market place (ancient Agora) and the Bouleterion (or otherwise known as the Town Hall building). The courtyard of the Monastery where a Byzantine style church is situated dating to the 14th century offers the possibility to see from close untouched objects from the ancient to the medieval period.  Also, walking around Apollonia you can see some monuments like the remaining fragments of the Fortification Wall, and the ancient Nymphaium (fountain).
Lunch on the site and then leaving for the monastery of Ardenica, similar to the one at Apollonia yet different in architecture and its history. Visit the monastery grounds and the church, possible to see from close the monks that live there and their lifestyle. Leave for Tirana and overnight in Tirana.
Day 13: Departure, transfer to Mother Teresa Airport, assistance with departures formalities.

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 March 2006 )