North Albania & Kosovo Tour

An eight-day circuit through North Albania and Kosovo, including one night in a forgotten corner of Montenegro

North Albania & Kosovo Tour - Overview

Our North Albania & Kosovo tour takes us on a loop through the famous Prokletije (or “Accursed”) Mountains. We spend two nights in Kosovo, in the historic cities of Gjakova and Prizren, before returning to Albania on the famous Lake Koman ferry.

Although the intention is to stay on asphalt road throughout, there is a chance that a few kilometres of the new road to Theth will be unpaved till summer 2020 – if this is the case we might have to use local transport for a short stretch.

Accommodation is very comfortable in most place (though basic in Theth). Our overnight in Gusinje will be dictated by group size.

The North Albania & Kosovo Tour starts and ends in either Tirana or Shkodër, to maximise flight options (you can use either Tiran or Podgorica airports). You can also combine this tour with our South Albania Cultural Tour, which runs immediately before.

Itinerary

Day 01 Tirana to Shkodër

Day 02 Shkodër to Theth

Day 03 Theth

Day 04 Theth to Gusinje

Day 05 Gusinje to Gjakova

Day 06 Gjakova to Prizren 

Day 07 Prizren to Shkodër

Day 08 Tour Ends

 

Key Information

Group size – 04-12

Minimum age – 16

Accommodation – 3* en suite hotels 

Transport – Air-conditioned minivan 

2020 Tour Dates

Sunday 03 to Sunday 10 May 2020

Sunday 27 September to Sunday 04 October 2020 

2020 Prices (Euro & GBP)

Euros €1,290 per person (GBP £1,090) based on two sharing a Twin or Double room

Single room supplement euros €195 (GBP £165)

Prices exclude international flights

Combine our North Albania & Kosovo Tour with our South Albania Cultural Tour  

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Tour Gallery

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North Albania & Kosovo Tour Day-to-Day

Day 01, Sunday - Tirana to Shkodër

We’ll pick you up from your hotel in Tirana at 09.00 this morning, and begin the journey north to Shkodër. We’ll detour into historic little Kruja for a look-round (it’s tiny and can be explored easily in a couple of hours), and a quick lunch, then push on. The aim is to arrive in Shkodër by about 15.30, giving us time to check into our hotel, meet any arrivals from Podgorica, then make the short walk to the fascinating Marubi Photographic Museum, which houses photos taken by the Marubi family from 1858 right through to the early 1990s. Afterwards, we can take a beer on Shkodër’s Pedonale and catch the well-attended evening xhiro (promenade) before heading back to our hotel for a welcome supper of traditional northern Albanian dishes.  

  • Hotel Tradita Shkodër 
  • Evening meal (set menu)  

Day 02, Monday - Shkodër to Theth

This morning we’ll have more time to explore Shkodër, and we can check out Mesi Bridge, Rozafa Castle and the Venice Art Mask Factory, which creates papier-maché masks for the Venice Biennial and other glamorous events. After breaking for lunch on the shores of Lake Skadar we’ll hit the road to Theth. In theory, we’ll be able to drive all the way there, but this depends on whether the government keeps its promise to complete the asphalt road. If conditions dictate, we’ll arrange local transport to get us up and down the final stretch. We’ll arrive at our very simple guesthouse in the early evening – in time for a beer and to enjoy the dramatic scenery before sitting down to a communal supper prepared by our hosts.  

  • Shpella Guesthouse Theth  
  • Breakfast; evening meal (set menu)  

Day 03, Tuesday - Theth

A day to explore the village. There are numerous trails of varying levels of ability, but anyone of reasonable fitness can make it to the famous waterfalls a little to the south.   

  • Shpella Guesthouse Theth 
  • Breakfast; evening meal  

Day 03, Wednesday - Theth to Gusinje

We’ll make a bright and early start this morning, and be on the road for 09.00. We’ll be looping our way north through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Albanian Alps, winding our way down the Rrapshë Serpentine pass and then on to the southeastern corner of Montenegro (crossing at a very sleepy border post). We’ll end the day in the small town of Gusinje, hidden away deep in the Prokletije mountains.   

  • Hotel TBC (depending on group size)  
  • Breakfast; lunch  

Day 05, Thursday - Gusinje to Gjakova

Into Kosovo today! The logical border crossing, a little to the east of Vusanje, has been closed since the 1990s, so rather annoyingly we have to drive up to the forgotten little city of Rozaje, then pass through about 10km of no-man’s-land till we reach Kosovo! We’ll be rewarded with a wonderful view when we finally cross the border, and then lunch at an excellent restaurant within easy walking distance of the White Drin Waterfalls. From here it’s a straightforward run to our next stop, the extraordinary 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery of Visoki Decani – in our view the finest religious monument in the region. We’ll end the day at nearby Gjakova, a historic little city that suffered hugely in the conflict of the 1990s – not that you’d realise today when you sit in one of the lively bars in its buzzing bazaar.

  • Hotel Çarshia e Jupave 
  • Breakfast

Day 06, Friday - Gjakova to Prizren

It’s under an hour’s drive to Prizren, so we’ve a very relaxed day ahead of us. We’ll begin with a walking tour around Gjakova, them aim to hit the road at 11ish. We’ll be passing by Kosovo’s wine region at Rahovec, so it seems logical to stop for a tasting at one of the wineries. From Rahovec it’s a short cruise into Prizren, which is one of our favourite Balkan cities, with an atmosphere all its own. There’ll be plenty of time to explore on foot before taking a beer at one of the bars by the river.
• Hotel Centrum Prizren
• Breakfast

Day 07, Saturday - Prizren to Shkodër

An 09.00 start today – we have to retrace our route to Gjakova, then push on back into Albania. Once we’re through the border we’ll be able to stop for a coffee before we reach Fierze, and the Lake Koman ferry. This 2h 30m ride through the Albanian Alps is widely considered one of the most scenic inland ferry journeys in the world – and who are we to disagree? After disembarking at Koman we’ve a sometimes bumpy road to Shkodër, which we should reach around 17.00-17.30. Perfect timing for a well-earned drink before we sit down to a farewell meal on the Pedonale.
• Hotel Tradita Shkodër 
• Breakfast; picnic lunch on ferry; evening meal (set menu)

Day 08, Sunday - Tour Ends

This morning we’ll be driving back south to Tirana. If you’re flying from Podgorica, a taxi to the airport is easily arranged – please see the flight info box below

  • Breakast 

Includes

English-speaking driver-guide

Vehicle description 

Fuel

Seven nights accommodation as indicated on itinerary, or near equivalents

Meals as indicated on itinerary (7 x breakfasts; 2 x lunches; 4 x evening meals)

Lake Koman ferry 

Excludes

Flights

Personal expenses

Personal travel insurance 

Museum & attraction entrance fees

Meals not indicated on itinerary 

Alcohol  

Tips

 

Joining our North Albania & Kosovo Tour - Flights From the UK

We’ve designed this tour to take advantage of flights into both Tirana and Podgorica, which is short transfer from Shkodër.

We’ll be driving up to Shkodër on the Sunday morning, with a stop in Kruja. If you fly into Tirana on the two Sunday flights we’ll be able to pick you up, but you’ll miss the Kruja visit.

If you fly into Podgorica on Ryanair’s Sunday morning service we can arrange a taxi transfer for an additional €30. You’ll also miss Kruja, too, obviously.

Friday
Luton to Tirana with Wizz Air 06.50 / 10.50
Gatwick to Tirana with British Airways 07.45 / 11.50
Gatwick to Tirana with easyJet 13.55 / 18.00  

Saturday 
Luton to Tirana with Wizz Air 06.50 / 10.50
Gatwick to Tirana with British Airways 16.10 / 20.10
Stansted to Tirana with Albawings / blu-express 20.15 / 00.15(+1)

Sunday – to Tirana
Luton to Tirana with Wizz Air 06.50 / 10.50
Gatwick to Tirana with easyJet 09.00 / 13.05

Sunday – to Podgorica
Stansted to Podgorica with Ryanair 06.45 / 10.35

Depart the Tour - Flights From Tirana & Podgorica to the UK

We’ve ended our North Albania & Kosovo tour in Shkodër, to make it possible to fly home from either Podgorica or Tirana airports. You could of course extend your adventure into Montenegro if you like.

We’ll make an early 07.30 start from Shkodër to get to the airport in time for the Luton flight (though of course if no one is catching this, we won’t need to).

If you’re catching the Ryanair service from Podgorica we’ll arrange a taxi transfer for an additional €30.

Sunday – From Podgorica   
Podgorica to Stansted with Ryanair 11.00 / 12.55

Sunday – From Tirana    
Tirana to Luton with Wizz Air 11.35 / 13.50
Tirana to Gatwick with easyJet 13.45 / 15.55
Tirana to Stansted with Albawings / blu-express 17.30 / 19.30

Monday   
Tirana to Luton with Wizz Air 11.35 / 13.50
Tirana to Gatwick with British Airways 20.30 / 22.35

Book With Confidence – We Offer Full Financial Protection

As a UK-registered company, we have to comply with tough consumer-protection legislation. That’s why we’re proud to be members of Protected Trust Services. When you pay for your holiday, your money will be held in a British HSBC trust account administered by the independent PTS trustees. We only receive payment once the tour is run, so in the unlikely event of our going bust or your not being satisfied with the tour, your money is safe. To read more about how the process works, please visit the PTS website

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