Inspired by a video film on YouTube about a trip through Albania in Landrover Series cars, we decided last year to include a tour through this beautiful country in our calendar. We did a recce and have designed a fantastic trip, parts of which we haven’t driven yet, making it a true venture of discovery. It will be a journey with experiments.
Albania is a bit smaller than Belgium, which you wouldn’t say if you based yourself only on travel times in the country: these tend to be long. Its southern coast is very beautiful; inland it is mountainous, empty and rough. In the north we find the Albanian Alps and two national parks. In the centre there is mount Korab, with 2756 meters the highest peak of the country. In the south the Southern Mountainrange forms the border with Greece.
The coast is easily as beautiful as that of the Mediterranean, with fewer tourists, although that is changing and some areas such as Dhërmi and Himara are overdeveloped and swarming with people. On the coast are the remains of a Roman settlement, Buthrotum (now Butrint), which is worth a visit. While we’re there, we can camp right beside the beach of Lukovë, north of Butrint, which is paradise-like attractive.
Albanians are very hospitable and friendly. Food is great and coffee is of Italian quality. The country is safe; you will never feel threatened or uncomfortable – on the contrary.
The itinerary roughly looks as follows:
We start in the town of Shkodër, which we have chosen because it gives easy access to the Alps and is convenient both for those who arive in Durrës on the ferry and those who travel overland. From here we drive to Teth, first on tarmac to Prekal, then over a winding track into the mountains to an altitude of about 1800 mtr. The landscape is breathtaking. For those who wish, we organise a hiking tour of a day with a local guide.
We drive south, take the ferry across Lake Komani, one of the world’s great boat rides, and reach Lura National Park, a mountainous terrain around the Crown of Lura (Kurora e Lurës) Massif, which rises at its peak to 2,121m. The area was designated as one of Albania’s national parks because of the spectacular lakes which lie within it, and a road into the park was constructed to give access to the seven largest. Each of these lakes has a subtly different atmosphere. Several of them are covered in white and yellow water lilies, and huge dragonflies dart around them. Others have no flowers in them, and the stillness of their water is dappled with the reflection of the surrounding trees.
Further south we find lake Ohrid on the eastern border, with great view on the mountains at the other side.
Via all sorts of mountain tracks, passing interesting towns (Berat for instance) and villages, we come to the southern coast. Here we will visit Butrint with its Roman ruins, camp on the coast and visit some great beaches.
Here are a few links to video films giving a further impression of Albania:
Bradt, famous for its travel guides, has a number of interesting things to say about Albania. Or check Lonely Planet.
Six weeks before the trip starts, you will get extensive information with all its details about the itinerary, hotels, campsites and so on. Below you find some practical information that is useful for now.
Start and end points
We have 15 days in Albania. We get together in a hotel in Shkodër the day before the first day of the trip, enjoy our welcome dinner and leave the next morning. The journey ends in the afternoon of day 15 in the neighbourhood of Dürres.
Driving in Albania
In the 15 days of our trip we cover about 1600 kms, of which some 60% on tracks. The condition of the tracks varies from easy gravel roads to steep ascends and descends, rocky and full of holes. You need good AT tyres with strong sidewalls to reduce the chance of a flat tyre.
If you haven’t got a suitable car but would like to take part in this trip, please contact us. We have a Land Rover Defender available at an additional cost.
Hotels and camping
We plan to stay eight times in a hotel and (wild) camp on the other nights. Wild camping is allowed everywhere and the best way to experience Albania’s nature. We will wild camp for three of four nights.
Breaksfast is included when we stay overnight in a hotel. We offer you a welcome and farewell dinner, plus the boat ride on Lake Komani.
The cost of this 15-day journey is €2950 per car based on two people per car. Additional occupants pay €450 per person.
Included in the price are:
- Welcome and farewell dinners
- Eight overnight stays in hotels, inclusing breakfast
- Seven times (wild) camping
- Ferry across Lake Komani
- Twice entry fee to museum
- Two guides in support car
- Comprehensive preparation of the trip
- Tourist information
- Hand-held radio in each car
- Lots of adventure and fun
- Meals other than breakfast in hotels and welcome/farwell dinners
- Hiking tour near Teth
- The cost you incur to get to the starting point
- Travel and car insurance