This is a tour for the traveller who is also a car enthusiast. Albania offers varied landscapes which can be explored in different ways and this is one of the more adventurous and luxurious way of exploring the magnificent north. Mountains, gorges, canyons, glacier lakes, lush fields, dense forests, traditional picturesque mountain villages, rivers with clear waters and more are all part of this jeep tour of the country.
Duration: 8 days - 7 nights
Pick up group at Tirana airport - transfer to hotel. After check we take a walking tour of Tirana’s main attraction: Scanderbeg Square, E’them Bey Mosque, Ministry buildings of Italian style, Boulevard “Deshmoret e Kombit”, Tanners Bridge, Blloku area and National Historical Museum. After the tour nominated drivers will be assisted to complete the vehicle pick up procedures. Dinner will be at a local, traditional restaurant. Overnight in Tirana.
After an early breakfast ( pick up the jeeps if arrival on the first day is a late one) depart towards Theth situated north of Shkoder in the heart of the Albanian Alps part of the Dynaric range formation which stretches parallel to the Adriatic shore. On the way we make a short stop in Lezha to visit the Memorial of our National Hero Scanderbeg and a part of the Illyrian walls next to it. We will continue on through inhabited areas till the village of Boge where the asphalted road ends and where nature takes over. A photo stop is due at the imposing Thora Gorge 1600 km above the sea level, offering gorgeous view of Radohima’s ranges, the second highest peak of the Albanian Alps. The village of Thethi itself is situated in a wonderful valley surrounded by more than 6 peaks of above 2500 metres high. The drive provides great satisfaction with spectacular valleys, gorges, mountains and rivers. After arrival and accommodation at villagers homes transformed into clean and authentic housing, we take a walking tour in Thethi valley surrounded by huge mountains and visit the Thethi’s Church, XVIII century and the Blood feud Tower. The evening meal and overnight will be in villagers houses, where the hospitality and tradition more than make up for the lack of luxury. A unique experience not to be missed.
In the morning we return to the northern city of Shkodra, the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC. Just before Shkodra we take a deviation to head slightly north east of the town to visit the Mesi Bridge an arched stone bridge of the 18th century with wonderful mountain panorama as a backdrop. Afterwards drive to Shkodra a city of considerable Italian and Austrian influence and also an important centre of Albania’s Roman Catholic population. We will take a walk in town through the beautifully restored pedestrian area of Italian architectural influences and will visit the Roman Catholic Cathedral, one of the few in the country prior to abolition of faith by the communist regime in 1967. During this time public religious practice cease and it was an offence punished severely with prison time. The Cathedral unlike many religious buildings which were completely destroyed was turned into a palace of sports and luckily survived. Today is restored but only the wooden carved ceiling remains original. Afterwards we drive to visit Rozafa Castle from where spectacular views all around can be admired and the feel of supremacy the Illyrians would have had over their enemies standing in such an imposing castle. Return to Shkodra where we check in at the hotel and you are free to explore the rest of the town on your own. Overnight will be at a traditional restaurant/hotel in old restored stone house.
This morning after an early breakfast we make our way to Koman to take the ferry to Fierza in the Tropoja region bordering Kosovo. The building of a hydropower station on Albania’s biggest river, Drin, has created the artificial lake of Koman, with a wonderful opal green water colour, while surrounded by high rocky mountains. If you didn’t know that you were in North Albania you could very well assume you were in a Norwegian Fjord, as the panoramas of this two hour navigation are simply breathless. After getting off the ferry there will be a 1 hour drive to arrive at Valbona valley which stands almost back to back with Theth, which we visited the previous day. The accommodation and meals here are of the same style as Theth in villagers homes structured to offer clean and comfortable lodgings for visitors who love nature. The idea of the villagers homes very much suites the efforts of sustainable tourism development in Northern Albania which we are trying to promote in conjunction with its rare beauty.
Today we take a wonderful drive through mountains and forests to reach the town of Kukes. There will be plenty of stops on the way in spectacular natural spots to take in nature as well as take photos. A sudden visit to a local home on the way is always a real possibility in these areas, considering the renowned Albanian hospitality which is still very much alive, especially in this part of the country. Overnight and dinner at hotel in Kukes.
Today we follow the Drin River towards the source to reach the North Eastern town of Peshkopi. The drive is magnificent with mountains, forests, waterways, ponds appearing on our way. The road passes next to Albania’s highest mountain the mountain of Korab, with a height of 2752m. There will be the possibility of a wonderful picnic close to a section of the river were group members can sunbathe if the weather is warm enough. Arrive at Peshkopi where we overnight.
After breakfast through a side road depart for Kruja the centre of Albania during the resistance against the Ottoman Turks under Scanderbeg in the 1400s. He is our National Hero and was a great military leader that defeated the Ottoman armies in 25 battles impeding their progress into Western Europe. For this he was given the title Champion of Christ by the Pope while, Vivaldy dedicated an opera to him. We will visit the Scanderbeg Museum as well as the Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar. There are several very nice traditional restaurants in Kruja castle where you can have lunch on your own accord. After the visits proceed to Tirana where we return the vehicles. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the capital at your own pace. Overnight in Tirana.
At leisure until time of transfer to Airport. End of our Service.
Best months: March, April, May, June, September, October, November
Note: The above dates are for orientation purposes, to help people book on the same dates, and pay the cheaper price. However we will run this tour on other dates as per clients’ requests.