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Local discoveries in SOUTHERN Albania

Between the Vjosa valley and the southern port cities Vlora and Saranda, the high mountains extend to the coastline of the Ionian Sea. The Llogara Pass (1,000m) is a natural bareer you have to surpass to enter the Albanian Riviera, a nature and recreational paradise. Numerous bays line up on 80 km. Except for the small town of Himara and some mountain villages, there are only few settlements in this area. The Riviera is framed by two cultural-historical highlights, the archaeological park Apolonia north, and the archaeological park Butrint south of it. In the hinterland, the fortress of Gjirokastra is visible from afar. It is part of the Ottoman old town acknowledged as UNESCO world heritage site. The upper valley of the Vjosa River is lined with mountain ranges and deep gorges. Fruit and vegetables thrive particularly well around the town of Permet, as can be judged by the local wine and raki production.

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Vlora region

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VLORA: Southern Albania in a nutshell

Duration: 3 days

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: all year round

The Albanian Riviera is one of the country's scenic highlights, the highest mountains reach more than 2,000m high to the sky, directly above the sea. On clear days you can even see the coastline of Italy from here! During this discovery tour through south-west Albania, you will visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Archaeological Park of Butrint and the old town of Gjirokastra – each a "must see" on every Albania trip. The Mediterranean flair is accompanied by two delicious dinner menus. Including transport from/ to Vlora, qualified tour guide, 2 nights with half board, selected entries.

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VLORA: Boat trip to Karaburun / Sazani Island

Duration: 1 day

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: ca. May to October

From the port in Vlora you start a trip by boat to the mysterious island of Sazan and the peninsula Karaburun which protects the wide bay of Vlora to the sea. For a long time this area was used for military purposes and was inaccessible to simple visitors. Sazani has a small harbor, and probably the largest bunker density in the country. On Karaburuni anchors the boat on a beautiful beach before it goes back to Vlora in the afternoon. Including boat trip, tour guide, picnic lunch.

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VLORA: Cultural Historical Excursions

Apolonia & Bylis / Amantia & Kanina

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: all year round

For those interested in cultural history, some of the most important archaeological sites of the country can be reached most easily from Vlora. We offer two different day trips: one day you will visit the archaeological parks on the banks of the Vjosa river, Bylis and Apolonia. The next day, you can explore the realm of the Illyrian tribe of the Amantians in the hinterland of Vlora, with the Archaeological Park of Amantia and the Kanina fortress. In the parks and places you will receive historic information by qualified local guides specialized in their site. Including transport from/ to Vlorë, entrances and guided tours, as well as a lunch menu on each day.

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VLORA: Hiking in Llogara National Park

Duration: 1 day

Profile: nature/ leisure

Activities: mountain hiking, nature observation

Travel period: ca. May to October

The Llogara National Park is located in about 1,000m altitude, here you still find one of the few dense, pristine forest stands of Albania. Here also comes along the road over the Llogara Pass to reach the remote Albanian Riviera. The day hike leads through the cooling jungle, then on the ridge of the Karaburun peninsula opening up great views over the Ionian Sea; finally it ends on the Llogara pass. Including transfers from/ to Vlora, hiking guide, lunch picnic on the way.

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Gjirokastra region

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GJIROKASTRA: City tours (UNESCO heritage)

Duration: 0,5 days

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: all year round

The old town of Gjirokastra has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site since 2005 . The Ottoman influence on the unique appearance and architecture of the city is still impressively preserved. On a tour in the old city you will visit the castle, one of the largest fortifications in the Balkans, and the informative city museum of Gjirokastra. You walk through the historic quarters of the upper town and visit one of the typical houses from the 18./19. century. Even today, these are sometimes privately owned by a former feudal family. Including local guide, selected entries. Optionally a lunch menu (without drinks) in a good restaurant in the old town can be included.

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GJIROKASTRA: Horseback riding around Gjirokastra

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: nature/ leisure

Activities: horseriding

Travel period: all year round

The day starts with the transfer from Gjirokastra to the horse farm. From there there is the possibility for horse rides of different duration and difficulty. Even those who have no experience at all with horses and horseback riding will slowly be introduced here. Before each ride, for your own safety, there is an approx. 1-hour introduction to the horses, the riding rules and the daily routine. On the ride through the countryside there is always something to discover, and you enjoy a shared picnic lunch. At the end of the day you will be driven back to your point of departure in Gjirokastra.

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GJIROKASTRA: Hiking in the upper Vjosa valley (Permet)

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: nature/ leisure

Activities: mountain hiking

Travel period: all year round

The Vjosa valley has a particularly attractive landscape: the shape of the riverbed is natural, and the mountains reach over 2,000m. It is the perfect setting for enjoyable soft hiking, with a couple of routes and alternatives. Together with a local hiking guide you can choose the daily program according to your own requirements. After the walk you should not miss a visit to the thermal springs of Benja where you can relax in one of the natural hot water pools. After a stop in the friendly little town of Permet it goes back to Gjirokastra. Including transport from/ to Gjirokastra, hiking guide, picnic on the way.

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GJIROKASTRA: Rafting on the Vjosa river

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: nature/ leisure

Activities: rafting

Travel period: ca. May to October

The Vjosa valley has a particularly attractive landscape: the shape of the riverbed is natural, and the Vjosa river is largely untamed. In the spring months, the Vjosa is considered a demanding whitewater river. In the summer, the water level is lower, and the river easier to handle. You will be picked up in Gjirokastra. Before the river rafting can start there is first a safety briefing. Professional equipment and well-trained, experienced team leaders are the standard, so you can enjoy the fun and beauty of the journey without hesitation. Including transfer from/ to Gjirokastra, well-trained rafting guides and all necessary equipment, picnic lunch.

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Saranda region

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SARANDA: A Day Trip to Butrint (UNESCO heritage)

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing, swimming (optional)

Travel period: all year round

The archaeological park of Butrint is perhaps the most famous sight in Albania! From the port city of Saranda we organize a day trip for you, which includes not only the cultural values of the park and the city of Saranda, but also the beautiful surroundings. A perfect day includes a tasty lunch menu with fresh fish, and a little time to relax on an idyllic stretch of beach. But of course, Butrint Park, with its rich cultural heritage, is at the center of today’s interest.

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SARANDA: The ancient heritage of the Saranda region (without Butrint)

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: all year round

In the region of Chaonia you find a number of sites of cultural and historical interest being rather unknown, lying in the shadow of the Butrint archaeological park. These include, for example, the archaeological park Phoinike , the church in Mesopotam and numerous other places in the Vrina plain. Therefore, in addition to the day trip to Butrint, this second day trip will allow a wider picture of the history of this ancient region, under the guidance of a qualified local guide. Preconditions are sturdy shoes, sure-footedness and physical health, because the terrain can be a bit impassable at times. Including transport from/ to Saranda, qualified tour guide, entrance fees, lunch menu (without drinks).

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SARANDA: A day trip to Corfu

Duration: 1 day each

Profile: culture/ leisure

Activities: sightseeing

Travel period: ca. May to September

The island of Corfu was the starting point of the Greek colonization along the Albanian coastline and retains many of its own historical secrets. Visit the old town of Kerkyra and some of the island's most important historic highlights along with your local (Greek) tour guide. Including transfers by ferry from/ to port of Saranda; local guide and transport on the island; entrance fees; optionally with lunch menu (without drinks).

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