Our Tours Are Different

With so many Balkan and Albania tours on offer, choosing the right one can be tricky. We take you to places overlooked by other tour operators – and in our own unique, informal style.

Why Choose Drive Albania Tours

 

The Drive Albania story began in 2012, when company owner Ed Reeves travelled to Albania with his mother to write a story for the UK Sunday Telegraph newspaper (Old Lady Reeves had visited Albania twice under Communism when it was a European North Korea; read the story here). Ed was intrigued by Albania, and came back later in the year in his Toyota Rav4, thinking it would be tough enough to get him into the mountains. It wasn’t.

One thing led to another, and in a bad case of mission creep Ed found himself setting up Drive Albania in 2014.

The idea behind Drive Albania was to show foreign travellers the less-visited regions – which usually require a good 4x4 to reach, due to the often catastrophic state of Albanian mountain roads. In Ed’s view that the towns and cities visited on standard Albania tours, such as Durrës, Saranda, Pogradec and Vlorë, were best driven through as quickly as possible. The most rewarding Albania experiences were to be found in the smaller towns and remote villages. The same is true four years on.

Today, Drive Albania tours has expanded its remit to include Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, and has a multi-lingual team working out of Tirana (and also an Office Dog, Bubi).

 

Meet The Team

If you join one of our western Balkan and Albania tours, you’ll be well looked after by our experienced drivers and guides.

Ed Reeves

Ed started his career in London’s “exciting media world”, beginning on Car Magazine, before going on to edit Ford’s pan-European customer magazine by way of GQ, House & Garden and even, bizarrely, Brides. After realising that working in media was a futile waste of time and effort, he decided to set up a tour company specialising in off road Albania tours so he could combine his love of Land Rovers and the Balkans… He now lives mostly in Tirana with a small dog snatched from under a bin, Bubi.

Henri Manushi

Henri might just be the best driver on the team, though we’d never let him hear us say it. The co-winner of the 2017 Rally Albania Championship is also an accomplished road-racer, and seems to know every mountain track in the country. He’s great company, too, though you might start to hate him if you’re hungry and in a restaurant on one of our small group Albania tours – he is simply incapable of making up his mind about what to eat (our tip if you’re in doubt: just order the same as Nesti). If you’ve 54 seconds to spare, you can watch Henri write off his beloved Honda Civic race car on YouTube, in slow-motion.

Languages: English, Italian, Albanian. 

Ardi Zhugjeli

Ardi was born and raised in Montenegro, came to Tirana a few years back to study dentistry, liked Albania, and stuck around. While he (very) slowly approaches the end of his studies, he doubles up as our lead driver. Ardi has driven just about everywhere in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia, yet still has an uncanny ability to get hopelessly lost. He has been trained in the dark arts of offroading by a British Off Road Driving Association instructor, and is also handy with a spanner – if you have toothache he’ll fix you in seconds.

Languages: English, German, Albanian, Serbo-Croat.

Ernesti Markeci

Nesti is from the mysterious east of Albania – the Dibër region that borders Macedonia. He hibernates through the bitterly cold winters in his home city of Peshkopi and then emerges in springtime to drive on our Balkan and Albania tours. Like Ardi, Nesti has been taught to drive 4x4s by a British Off Road Driving Association instructor. He is happiest behind the wheel of our trusty 1998 Discovery 1, known as the “Nestimobil” – it has the best stereo. After driving, his favourite pastime is correcting company owner Ed Reeves’ shaky English grammar.

Languages: English, Italian, Turkish, Albanian. 

Dori Gjoni

Dori is a bit of a freak in the Drive Albania world – he doesn’t have a driving licence. However, he’s a nice chap so we’ve made him our Number One Guy for walking and trekking tours, a role that requires him to fight off the wolves and bears which are attracted by the amazing smells coming from his makeshift campfire kitchens (he’s an amazing cook thanks to a stint working in a posh restaurant in Italy).

Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Albanian. 

Bubi

Bubi is the Drive Albania Office Dog, a demanding and sometimes challenging role that requires him to sleep on the sofa, eat Bubi Food and fart in the back of Land Rovers. He was recruited from under a trash can in Tirana after an extensive interview process, and retains many useful connections in the local street dog community.

Languages: Dog. 

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