Albania is an undiscovered adventure destination that is steeped in history. Help to preserve its natural biodiversity by experiencing it first-hand, rafting on the Vjosa river.
The Vjosa River is under threat by plans to build hydroelectric dams, which could have a devastating impact on the livelihood of the river’s locals and endemic species.
Over 3 days you’ll kayak to breathtaking beaches, snorkel in crystal waters, take an adrenaline ride on the free-flowing Vjosa River and hike through Albania’s historic cities and villages.
This adventure includes:
Those who are looking to explore this up-and-coming adventure hot-spot, and help support it’s growing tourism industry.
The only extra costs are:
Albanian food is hearty and healthy, usually based around meat and vegetables much of which is seasonal and sourced locally. Popular dishes include turkey, lamb or goat Pershesh, served with a local bread known as Kulac, a meat and leek pie made with thin pastry called Byrek and freshly caught fish served in a Mediterranean style. Fish dishes are often flavored with white vinegar and olive oil grown in Southern Albania and many dishes are served with wine from one the local vineyards.
The best months for hiking and adventure activities in Albania are February to June and September to November when the weather is warm and sunny, reaching temperatures of around 30 degrees. July and August can be hotter, however this is usually broken up by cool coastal breezes.
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 16.
Active Albania provides:
Scientific knowledge of the Vjosa river is extremely limited. We know more about the eco-systems in the rivers of South America and Asia than the Vjosa. Many endangered species, like the European Eel and the Greater Flamingo, depend on the providence of the free-flowing waters of the Vjosa for their livelihood.
However, the Albanian government is planning on building a series of hydroelectric dams upstream, which would threaten the homes of the river’s species and the livelihood of the river-bank’s residents.
By supporting the Vjosa’s local businesses, we can empower them to continue their fight against the proposed plans to destroy this wild place.
Absolutely! The trip runs with a minimum group of 4 people and a maximum of 16, so you’ll be exploring with other like-minded travellers. Lot’s of people book our trips as a solo traveller - it’s a great way to meet people.
No previous experience is needed, however a moderate level of fitness is required along with the ability to swim.
Yes! When booking this trip as a private trip, children from the age of 5 can join this adventure.
You’ll need to arrive into Tirana before lunchtime on day one, or the night before. On day five you can depart at any time.
We’ve teamed up with the guys at Eurosig to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across the country that includes medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
Besides offering the perfect insurance for our kind of adventures, Eurosig are also helping our community development projects.
Other recommendations are: - Camera - Mobile phone - Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)
Please be aware to wear long trousers and hiking boots for the hike on day 1.
Saranda is a city on the Albanian Riviera, southern Albania. Sandwiched between the Ionian Sea and hills of olive groves, the town is edged by beaches and a promenade. Close-by, Butrint is an ancient city, protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Vjosa River has a special and crucial place in the daily lives of the people that live along its banks. Many small-scale businesses and new emerging eco-tourism companies have based their existence on the free-flowing waters of the Vjosa. Moreover, the Vjosa and its crystal-clear water have had an impact on the hearts of Albanians and their cultural values. Naming newly-born girls after the Vjosa continues to be very popular among Albanian parents since the name stands for the beauty of the river. The more tourists that visit, the more support we’re able to provide the local community to protect it.
You’ll be met by your guide on Friday at 9:45 at the seaport of Saranda, which matches the arrival time of the ferry coming from Corfu. Your host suggests booking one of the many flights to Corfu on Thursday to catch the ferry at 9:00 to Saranda.
You’ll head back to the seaport for the ferry departing on Sunday at 16:00, which provides plenty of time to get to Corfu Airport for your flight at 22:30.
Getting there and away?
There are direct flights to Corfu Airport from a number of different airlines. Choose any flight that suits you best. Your host will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.
For extra financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, we recommend you book your flights using a credit card.
Day 1: Kayaking from Butrint to Ali Pasha Castle
At 9:45 you’ll be met by your hosts at Saranda harbour. The action begins as you kayak along the Ionian coastline from the Butrint amphitheatre to the historic Ali Pasha Castle. Amidst visiting these UNESCO world heritage sites, you’ll be in awe of the magnificent views along the way.
After lunch, you’ll be taken to Lukove (1.5-hour drive), a small, traditional village with breathtaking beaches and characteristically clear waters.
When you arrive, you’ll embark on a relatively easy hike to one of the most beautiful beaches in this area, Krorez Bay. In the afternoon, it’s time to see what this unspoiled cove has to offer; get closer to those crystal waters and go for a swim among its inhabitants. Don’t forget your snorkel and underwater camera.
Heading back to Saranda for the evening, you’ll stop off at the Porto Palermo castle if time allows it; a historic site with a story almost as romantic as the views you’ve seen throughout your hike today.
2 hours kayaking, 3 hours hiking, 1 hour swimming, 3 hours driving
Day 2: Rafting on the Vjosa River
After breakfast, the minibus will pick you up and take you to the small town of Permet (3-hour drive).
After lunch, you’re in for an adrenaline-fueled afternoon as you go rafting on the Vjosa River, one of Europe’s last free-flowing rivers. Its entire 270km course is wild and untamed and adorned with beautiful canyons, braided river sections, islands and oxbows.
The Vjosa River is a class III rafting course. Prepare for waves up to four feet and narrow passages that send the boat shimmying and water gushing over the sides.
To wind you down into the evening, you’ll visit the Thermal Baths of Benja and hike to the Canyon of Lengarica where you can relax and enjoy a swim in their natural waters. You’ll then head to a local homestay for the evening in Permet, where you can enjoy a barbecue of local food to the sound of traditional music.
2,5 hours rafting, 3 hours hiking & swimming, 4 hours driving
Day 3: Hiking the historical sites of Gjirokastra
This morning, you’ll be taken to a short hike around the village.
Later after being collected from the guest house you'll drive to Gjirokastra and walk around this ancient city there are plenty of pit stops that are sure to fulfil your appetite for history.
After lunch, it’s time to say goodbye as you head back to the seaport for your forwarding journey to Corfu airport. You can decide whether you’re going to spend your last hours at the beach of Saranda or Corfu before flying back home. (Ferry departs at 16:00)
2 hours hiking
Please note that the itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.
You’ll spend your first night in a comfortable twin room at a bnb in Saranda. All rooms are air-conditioned with a TV and seating area. The rooms also offers free WiFi.
On your second night, you will stay at a homestay in Permet where you can exchange stories with the local residents.
Optional single room supplement is available.
The trip fare doesn’t include coffee and any kind of drink except water. You’ll have extra activities (optional tour) if you choose them, and you’ll probably feel like tipping your guides at the end of a fabulous trip, though you won’t need to pull out your wallet every few minutes on your Active Albania adventure tour!
We’re really flexible and none of our itineraries are written in stone, so if you have a particular interest you’d like to include or you need to leave a trip earlier or join later (at a pro-rated fare), just let us know and we can almost always make it happen. Likewise, all adventure travel requires a certain amount of flexibility and we sometimes have to make minor changes to the activities because of weather and availability, but we have plenty of options up our sleeve.
Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices, which can be confirmed with you during booking.
Horseback riding in Lengarica Canyon (60 Eur/person). Payable before departure
Single Occupancy Supplement (55 Eur/person), Payable before departure
Additional Night Accommodation (55 Eur/person), Payable before departure
Private Port Transfer (30 Eur/person), Payable before departure