Secrets of Southern Albania >

Secrets of Southern Albania

Vultures, Romans and Illyrians

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In partnership with PPNEA - Albania's oldest environmental society


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4 - 6



Join us on this intimate, small-group gallivant around the lakes, coastline and mountains of Southern Albania.

Few people know much about Albania. And fewer still have visited. Yet the Dalmatian pelicans on its Adriatic coastlines and the Mediterranean scrub awash with wildflowers remind us of strolls through Croatia and Greece.

The home of the ancient Illyrians and a stone's throw from Italy, the region was on the crossroads of the ancient Greek, Roman and Ottoman worlds. Magnificent settlements flourished, both on the coast amongst the golden jackal, and in the mountains where Egyptian vulture circle overhead.




An incredibly mountainous country with a long coastline, Albania is largely unvisited.

Nature abounds.

With visits to Egyptian vulture feeding stations and lagoons full of waterbirds 

A Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) in the Butrint National Park, Albania. Taken by Dale Martin of DalesWildlife on on of our tours

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

(c) DalesWildlife

Human History

Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans have left their marks on the coast and in the river valleys.

Guided around UNESCO Butrint and Gjirokastra, as well as Octavius's Apollonia.

Sat in the top seats of the ancient theatre in the city of Byllis, looking out over the River Vjosa

Illyrian city of Byllis

(c) Balkan Tracks


This tour directly funds the work of Albania ecologists. They are our primary guides, showing us the places they protect.

They'll introduce us to rangers, shepherds and fishermen that they work with. 

Mirjan and Shepherd

Mirjan discussing vultures




Below are the main natural and cultural sites that we visit.

To view or download the full, detailed itinerary, plus other

documents, have a look at the Download box.

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Day 1 – Arrival in Tirana


  • Overnight on the Tirana outskirts, ready to leave first thing.

  • OPTIONAL - arrive a day early for a guided tour around Albania's capital; a real unknown gem. See ADD-ONs above


Days 2 & 3: Adriatic Lagoons & Apollonia


  • Beaches and forests of the Narta lagoon and saltpans. Flamingoes and Dalmatian Pelican

  • The ancient city of Apollonia with a resident archaeologist

  • An evening excursion for golden jackal

  • Outdoor, grilled lunch with local fishermen

  • Two nights outside Narta, by a beach on the Adriatic coast

Days 4 – 6: Home of Egyptian Vultures 


  • Vulture feeding stations with PPNEA and park staff

  • 'Victorious' visit to Byllis, King Pyrrhus's city

  •  Eyes in the skies on walks for vultures & raptors

  • Outdoor dinner with transhumance shepherds

  • Explore the UNESCO protected city of Gjirokastra, walking its cobbled streets, crowned by the 'Silver Castle'

  • Three nights in Gjirokastra Old Town

Day 7: Buthroton (today's Butrint)


  • The gem of all archaeological sites, wedged between the sea and lagoons, opposite Corfu.

  • Visit the open-air museum of the ancient city

  • Take in the hoopoes, spring flowers and butterflies​

  • Dinner by a ruined castle & overnight in Butrint


Day 8 – Departure - Tirana or Corfu



  • Drive the Adriatic coast, via Ali Pasha's castle, back to Tirana for evening flights, or you may choose to overnight in the city

  • ALTERNATIVELY, we could take you to the ferry terminal near Butrint, at Sarande, and help you organise some days on Corfu before flying home. It's only half an hour away and an incredible island. 

Documents to download

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Full itinerary (PDF)


Google Drive

Full itinerary



Work of PPNEA & European Green Belt



Take a virtual tour of the itinerary, by scrolling through the photos & descriptions

If you click an image it will load the slideshow in full-screen mode.

The Route
The Route

Essentially a circular itinerary in and out of Tirana, but you could also finish in Corfu.

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Arrival in Tirana
Arrival in Tirana

Many flights from the UK arrive later on Saturday, so we book a hotel near the airport and you won't be able to see Tirana. It's worth thinking about a day to explore though. But we really recommend you come early or stay a day after to see Tirana.

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Albanian Riviera
Albanian Riviera

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The Route
The Route

Essentially a circular itinerary in and out of Tirana, but you could also finish in Corfu.

press to zoom

What's included

- Full-board, three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner

- Juice, coffee or tea at breakfast

- Accommodation
   (3-star equivalent. There's no EU star system in Albania, but every hotel is warm, clean, cosy and with Wi-Fi) 

- Transport to and from the airport 

- Transport during the full itinerary 

- Financial Failure Insurance (see section on Package Tour Regulations

- Two leaders (one from PPNEA and Chris Mounsey from Balkan Tracks) plus the cast of local ‘guides’ who join 
   along the way 

- Entry to any museums, archaeological sites or monuments 

- Water and fruit in the minibus (nb. we use tap water where we can, and ask you to bring your own reusable 
   water bottles, but there are a few sites where we have to use bottled water)

Comprehensive info on hotels and all other details can be found in the Itinerary and FAQ documents above.

Click to see our full Terms and Conditions