Secrets of Southern Albania
Vultures, Romans and Illyrians
In partnership with PPNEA - Albania's oldest environmental society
Sat, 25 April - Sat, 02 May 2020
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.
With visits to Egyptian vulture feeding stations and lagoons full of waterbirds
Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
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.
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 discussing vultures
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.
ITINERARY GALLERY SLIDESHOW
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.
- Full-board, three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Juice, coffee or tea at breakfast
(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.
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