ALBANIA & KOSOVO ADVENTURE TOUR 2019
A “soft-roading” adventure combining key cultural sites with untouched landscapes and village experiences.
Albania, Montenegro & Kosovo
Shkodër / Dibër / Mt Korabi / Prizren / Rugova / Gjakova / Lake Koman / Lake Skadar / Ulqin
When to go
June to September
Sunday 09 to Thursday 20 June
Sunday 28 July to Thursday 08 August
Group Size: 02-08
This adventure tour through north Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro is aimed at active, physically fit travellers with a sense of adventure. Over the course of 12 days we’ll make a loop through this beautiful region, including visits to the famous village of Theth in the Accursed Mountains, Lake Koman, Lake Skadar and more. We’ll also climb the highest mountain in all three countries, Mt Korabi (2,764m).
DAY 01 / SUNDAY
Theth, in the Accursed Mountains of Albania. This is the kind of scenery you can expect to see on a north Albania and Kosovo tour[/caption]
We’ll begin the tour with a bang, and head straight to the village of Theth, hidden deep in a valley in the famous Accursed Mountains. We’ll be driving up from Tirana in the morning, but can also arrange a pick-up from Podgorica (gratis). If you’re coming from Ulqin, there are buses to Shkodër, we we can pick you up en route. All things being equal, we’ll arrive in Theth around 17.00. Time to take a stroll around the village and enjoy a beer before sitting down to an evening meal in our guesthouse.
Included: transfer from Tirana or Podgorica. Village guesthouse accommodation. Evening meal (set menu).
DAY 02 / MONDAY
A day to explore the village and surrounding mountains on foot, including a visit to the Blue Eye spring.
Included: Breakfast. Village guesthouse accommodation. Evening meal (set menu).
DAY 03 / TUESDAY
We’ll climb back up and over the Boga Pass this morning, and then head straight to our hotel in the northern city of Shkodër. We’ll have plenty of time to explore, including a visit to the impressive ruins of Rozafa Castle which dominates the region, and even be able to take a swim if the weather’s good. In the evening we’ll head to the lively Pedonale for a beer before eating together at one of our favourite restaurants.
Included: Breakfast. Evening meal (set menu). 3* hotel accommodation.
DAY 04 / WEDNESDAY
We’ll head southeast today, to the little-visited Mat region. Our route will take us past one of Albania’s best wineries, and it would be silly not to stop for a tasting. Afterwards we’ll break for lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, where we can also have a cookery class and afterwards, a quick dip in the Adriatic Sea. In the afternoon we’ll complete our journey by driving along the course of the Mati river, to the “city” of Burrel, where we’ll spend the night. Enjoy the rooms, as the next couple of nights will be a little less luxurious!
Included: Breakfast. Wine tasting. Lunch (set menu). Evening meal (set menu). 3* hotel accommodation.
DAY 5 / THURSDAY
A very special day. We’ll continue east into the remote Dibër region, passing through some wonderful scenery and traditional villages. There’s also the chance for a swim in the river Drin, which carves its way through the mountains here. In the early evening we’ll arrive at the village of Radomire, which sits beneath the highest peak in this part of the Balkans, Korabi (2,764m). Here we’ll be staying at a very simple guesthouse (shared facilities). We’ll eat together in the village café, and get an early night as tomorrow we’re going to be up at 06.00 – our one early start of the tour..
Included: Breakfast. Picnic lunch. Evening meal (set menu). Village guesthouse accommodation.
DAY 06 / FRIDAY
The climb to the top of Korabi isn’t technical, but it’s a challenge! The effort is well worth it, though, as the views are simply wonderful, with vistas across Albania and Macedonia. We’ll eat a picnic lunch somewhere close to the top, then descend back down to the village, arriving around 16.00. Time for a beer, a shower, and then a hearty meal of roast lamb.
Included: Breakfast. Picnic lunch. Evening meal (set menu). Village guesthouse accommodation.
DAY 07 / SATURDAY
After two nights in the mountains, some civilisation is in order! We’ll take a particularly scenic road into Kosovo, where we’ll be overnighting at a very comfortable hotel in the lively little city of Prizren. There’s plenty to see, and at night it’ll be very busy – night owls will easily find bars to keep their attention till the early hours.
Included: Breakfast. Picnic Lunch. 3* Hotel Accommodation.
DAY 08 / SUNDAY
We’ll make a relaxed start to the day, and shake off any hangovers. In the mid-morning we’ll head to Rugova valley, where we’ll strap ourselves into harnesses and tackle the via ferrata (iron road) along the cliff-face. Then it’s an easy run to our next stop, the Ottoman city of Gjakova. All things being equal we’ll arrive around 17.00 or so. We can take a stroll around the city on foot, then hit the bazaar for a beer or two
Included: Breakfast. 3* Hotel Accommodation.
DAY 09 / MONDAY
Back into Albania, today! We’ll cross the border close to Tropoja, the home-town of the gangsters from Liam Neeson’s Taken movies (the reality doesn’t live up to the reputation). Then it’s an easy ride down to Fierze, where we’ll embark on the famous Lake Koman ferry – which does live up to its reputation. Normally the ferry would take us all the way to the “port” at Koman, but we’re going to jump off en route and spend the night at an incredible little guesthouse (shared facilities) hidden up the Shala river, which feeds into the lake. The water’s amazingly clear, so a swim will be in order. Expect some serious star-action after dark.
Included: Breakfast. Picnic lunch. Evening meal (set menu). Guesthouse accommodation.
DAY 10 / TUESDAY
We’ll travel by small boat to Koman, and once reunited with our minivan, we’ll hit the road. We’ll cross into Montenegro south of Podogrica, and then make our way to the tiny village of Virpazar, on the shore of Lake Skadar.
Included: Breakfast. Evening meal (set menu). “Glamping” accommodation.
DAY 11 / WEDNESDAY
We’ve time this morning to go kayaking on the lake (about four hours in total). After lunch we’ll make a move, and drive the simply beautiful road along the western shore before descending down to the Montenegro coast at Ulqin, an ethnic Albanian city which somehow ended up on the wrong side of the border when the Ottoman empire collapsed. We’ll actually be staying a little outside the city itself, along the Bojana river. Here we’ll toast the end of the tour with a glass of wine (or two) and have our last meal together at a very cool little restaurant on the river. Then, for those who are up for another drink or two, we can walk to a beach bar at the river’s mouth – it should be open till the early hours.
Included: Breakfast. Picnic lunch. Evening meal (set menu). 3* Hotel accommodation.
We’ll be driving back to Tirana, so can give you a lift or drop you along the way at Bar, Podgorica or Shkodër. Alternatively you might want to relax in Ulqin for a day or two before heading home.
Included: Breakfast. Transfer to Bar, Podgorica, Shkodër or Tirana.
Albanian rural roads are famously bad, and often impassable for normal cars. Many of the most beautiful and interesting regions are unreachable without a good 4×4 vehicle, which is why since we started operating in 2014 we have used Land Rovers for our tours.
For 2019 we’re entering a new era – we have taken delivery of two brand-new UAZ-452 4×4 minivans, which we’ll be using for our Albania group tours. These iconic vehicles, nicknamed “Buhanka” (“loaf” in English), will be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s travelled in the wilder parts of the former Soviet Union.
Like the Land Rover Defender, the basic design of the Buhanka is ancient. However, the cars have been heavily updated over the years.
Our Buhankas are the Jubilee special edition, built to celebrate the line’s 60th anniversary (with a production run of just 452). As well as the fancy paint job, the interior is upgraded over the standard Buhanka, and most of the drivetrain components (axles and locking differential) have been brought from the renowned American manufacturer DANA.
The Buhankas are delivered from the factory with eight individual passenger seats, but we’ve removed two to create extra interior space. We’ve also fitted air-conditioning and and added an LPG fuel system to the 2.7-litre petrol engine, so on highways the car is supernaturally quiet and more eco-friendly.
On dirt roads, the Buhanka excels, with an off-road ride quality far superior to that of our old Land Rovers. And when the going gets seriously rough, the Buhankas just keep on going – their huge ground clearance and legendary traction prove unstoppable.
All in all, we think the Buhanka is the perfect vehicle for Albanian conditions.
And they look really cool, too!
We’ve designed this Albania & Kosovo Adventure Tour to start in Shkodër, and end in Ulqin, Montenegro. This maximises flight options – you can fly in and out of Tirana or Podgorica and Tivat in Montenegro (or in one airport and out another).
We’ll be driving from Tirana to Shkodër on the morning of the tour’s first day, and back to Tirana on the Thursday morning after the tour ends. You’re welcome to hitch a lift with us gratis.
If you’re coming from Podgorica, we’ll also arrange a free transfer for you.
From €1,690 per person.
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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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