hiking in South Albania

The mountains in South Albania, such as the Ceraunian Range, are characterized by rugged terrain and scenic landscapes. These mountains, extending along the Ionian Sea coastline, offer a mix of steep slopes, deep gorges, and dense forests. The region is known for its diverse flora and fauna, creating a picturesque setting for nature enthusiasts. Traditional villages are scattered throughout, providing a glimpse into the local way of life amidst the mountainous beauty of southern Albania.We journey through the Zagoria valley, a hidden gem in southern Albania, nestled among four mountain ranges and sliced by the Zagoria River. It boasts of natural and cultural wonders, such as gorges, cascades, stone bridges, Ottoman architecture, and rural villages. We cross the Mount Dhembel and the mountain peaks and passes that offer breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and Corfu. We trace the old caravan's road of Ali Pasha, which leads us through a mix of medieval culture, mountains in southern Albania, churches, medieval forts and the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea.

Included: A 11-day excursion featuring stays in 3 guesthouses and 7 nights at a hotel.  10 breakfasts, 6 packed lunches, 3 restaurant lunch, along with 10 delightful dinners. Expert guiding, and an abundance of heartfelt moments, and combination between culture, history, antique and medieval cities, and refresh in the turquoise waters of Ionian Sea

Day 1.  Airport - Berat
Arrival at the airport where we will be met by the local guide who will accompany us throughout the trip and familiarize with the rest of the group and leave for the museum city of Berat. Upon arrival and accommodation at the hotel, we will take a walk to the city's impressive castle, as well as visits to the two museum districts that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards a traditional dinner and a walk along the pedestrian street. is time to have the first taste to the traditional schnaps, Raki and the local wines of the region.

Bus Transfer 125 km
Day 2. Berat - Limar
Early departure from the town of Berat towards the starting point of our trekking, the village of Peshtan. Part of the journey winds along the Vjosa River, which is one of the last pristine rivers in Europe and is also called the blue heart of Europe and a national park. In Peshtan we start our trek to our destination, the village of Limar. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the mountains of southern Albania, as well as the Mediterranean vegetation of these mountains. A stop at the local shepherd's house to taste the turkish coffee together with the strong homemade raki of the mountains, as well as the organic honey of its bees that grow in the green mountains of Cajupi. After saying goodbye to our shepherd, we will continue our path, which is also the ancient caravan route of the famous Pasha Ali Pashe Tepelena (Janina), where the crossing of the river from one side of the mountain to the other is through the 300-year-old Ottoman-style bridge built by this famous pasha. The trail continues with a moderate climb to the village of Limar, where we will spend the night at the house of the village teacher, who will also be our host, where he will offer us a simple but very tasty dinner together with his wife with the products of his farm.

Bus Transfer 145 km, 2h, Hiking +750hm - 425hm 5h, ca 11km

Day 3. Limar - Hoshteve
We follow the old caravan road, now a trail for hikers and travellers who seek adventure, to the village of Hoshteve. On the way, we visit the small village school, where a dedicated teacher instructs a handful of students, and the ancient church that has stood for two centuries. We stop at the village of Doshnice, where some locals still cling to their ancestral home. They offer us coffee, fruit brandy, honey from their own hives, and fresh fruits that we can pluck from the trees. We continue to the Doshnice waterfall and back, enjoying the view from above. Some of us may choose to stay longer and experience the daily life of our host. We resume our walk to Hoshteve, passing through fields, hills and picturesque landscapes. There, Katerina and her husband greet us warmly and prepare us traditional dishes with ingredients from their farm.

Bus Transfer NO, Hiking + 486hm, -474hm, 6h, ca 14km.

4. Hoshteve - Sheper
Our walk to Sheper begins with a visit to the old church from the 17th century, which reveals the village’s history and culture. We take the road that follows the mountain and the valley until we reach Nivan, where we explore its interior. We meet the locals who live in their ancestral homes, which are hundreds of years old, and work in farming and animal husbandry. We also visit another old and renovated church in the village, and enjoy the local cuisine, fruits and trees along the way. We descend through the woods to the old monastery, which was once a resting place for the caravans in the Middle Ages. We also see the famous bunkers that were built in Albania during the Cold War. After seeing the Nivan Monastery, we ascend the hill to our host’s house in Sheper. The family meal shows us the lifestyle of the Albanian families in these mountainous areas.

Bus Transfer NO, Hiking + 725hm -575hm, 5h, ca 12.5km.
Day 5. Sheper- Permet

Today is the longest day of hiking over Dhembel Mountain, with the aim of reaching the small and clean town of Permet. In the meantime, the transport of our luggage will be transported by mules before departure, as well as by local carriers who take us to our destination in the hotel reserved for us, so we have to make sure that everything must be well packed. Our trek will continue with the ascent to the Dhembel Pass along the mountainside and immediately after reaching the pass we will take a lunch break with a view of the town of Permet from 2000 meters altitude. After lunch, we continue the descent, which is relatively difficult and sometimes slippery. After descending from the mountain to the first village, in Leuse we will have the opportunity to visit another medieval church, nicknamed the Capela Sistina of the Balkans due to its frescoes and icons. And after your visit, we will continue to the hotel. We will stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel, while dinner will be in one of the restaurants with traditional cuisine.

Bus Transfer NO, Hiking + 650hm -1250hm, 6.5h, ca 12km.

Day 6. Permet- Gjirokaster
We will depart from Permet in the morning by minibus to visit the Strembec waterfall. After visiting the waterfall, we will return to have lunch in one of the restaurants along the Vjosa River. Following lunch, we will have free time at the thermal baths of Benje in Permet. After visiting the thermal baths, we will head towards the museum city of Gjirokasta, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road winds along the Vjosa valley and between the mountains of southern Albania. Upon arrival in Gjirokaster, we will check in and do some shopping in the medieval town, which is full of cafes and traditional shops. We will also visit the house of Skendulaj, a medieval Ottoman-style house of a rich family of the time. This will give us an idea of Albanian life and society in the Middle Ages. The tour in the house will be led by the heir of the family. We will end the day with dinner at a local restaurant.

Bus Transfer 80 km, 1.5 h, Hiking + 350hm -350hm, 3.5h, ca 6km.
Day 7. Gjirokaster - Himare
After breakfast, we will visit Gjirokastra Castle, which offers a fantastic view of the city from its height. We will then continue our journey over the Muzina Pass, which is the old caravan route from Ioannina to the Albanian coast, to the Blue Eye. The karst spring with clear water is a unique natural monument of its kind. The source of Blue Eye is also the main source of the Bistrica River, which feeds two small electric hydroelectric power plants and irrigates the entire area of Delvina, Sarande. It is also the main source of fresh water for Lake Butrint. After visiting the Blue Eye, we will head to the ancient city of Butrint, located between the lake, the lagoon, and the Ionian Sea. The city has thousands of years of history and tells us about the civilizations that it has carried from the Illyrians to the ancient Greek, Roman and up to Ottoman rule in the Balkans. After visiting the archaeological site, we will have lunch at one of the coastal restaurants in front of the island of Corfu, which is a popular destination for locals and foreigners in the summer. Depending on the time and weather, there is also the possibility of diving in the crystal clear and turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. After lunch, we will drive along the Albanian Riviera towards the small coastal town of Himare, where we will spend the night. We will stop at the old fortress of Ali Pasha, which is in front of the war tunnels of the Cold War submarines. This will give us a clearer idea of the history of this small and unknown country in the Balkans. We will end the day with dinner in Himare, where we will enjoy fish dishes.

Bus Transfer 80 km, 1.5 h, Hiking NO, 40 minutes walking.
Day 8. Himare - Llogara
We will depart from the town of Himare along the southern coast of Albania and head towards the Akeraunian Mountains. We will pass through the gorge of the Gjipe and descend to the virgin bay of the same name, which is a paradise on earth. We will take a break and swim in the crystal-clear waters of Gjipe to refresh ourselves and prepare for the trek towards the picturesque village of Dhermiu. Upon arrival in Dhermi, we will refresh ourselves at the beach bars of this tourist place and restart our journey through the path of the mills, which has been used for centuries by the inhabitants of the area. During the hike, we will have the opportunity to visit one of the first hydropower plants built in Albania in the 20s. Depending on the possibility and time, we can also visit the Church of St. Mary in Dhermi. We will then depart by bus from Dhermi to Llogara National Park, where we will arrive at the mountain pass at over 1000 meters above sea level. The view from the pass offers us a fantastic view of the Ionian Sea from the strait of Otranto to the coast of Corfu. We will end the day with arrival and accommodation in an alpine hotel in the national park, surrounded by coniferous forests.

Bus Transfer 30 km, 45minute, Hiking + 250hm -500hm, 3.5h, ca 6km.
Day 9. Llogara – Vlore
Today is a challenging day towards the top of Cika, which climbs up to 1000 meters above sea level and 2044 meters above sea level. The ascent begins at the Llogaras Pass through the most natural forest with coastal pines with a small stop in Dhjopuri. We arrive at the summit of Cika and have an impressive 360-degree view of almost the entire south of Albania, from the island of Corfu in the south to the Adriatic and the bay of Vlora in the north, as well as the entire valley of Albania the valley of the Vlora River. After the descent, I drove to the coastal town of Vlora, we stay in a hotel near the sea and dinner with fish dishes.

Bus Transfer 56 km, 45minute, Hiking + 950hm -950hm, 6h, ca 11km.
Day 10. Vlore -Tirane
We drive about 150 km in the direction of the capital of Albania, Tirana, check in at the hotel and city tour that shows us the interweaving of different architectures over the centuries from the Ottoman to the modern face of Tirana today. We have the opportunity to touch the lively life of this city, which had the leading position of the European capital last year. After lunch, we have time in the afternoon to visit the city individually.

Bus Transfer 150 km, 2h, Hiking NO

Day 11. Tirana - Rinas Flughafen
Our trip is over and after buying souvenirs and memories of this picturesque and diverse country, we prepare for the journey home and then we share email photos of this trip with each other. Transfer to the Airport

Bus Transfer 17 km,