Albania Coast downhill walk to sea
Albania Coast downhill walk to sea

Albanian Coastal Trail

Level
2
Distance
58 km
Duration
8 days | 7 nights
period
Apr May Jun Sep Oct
price from
€ 828
CO2 footprint
340 Kg/person
  1. Albania
  2.  | 
  3. Hiking Tours
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ALSWCT

Beyond the Karaburun Peninsula and right beneath the 2000 m high Ceuranian Peaks, the Albanian Riviera stretches until the Greek border and attracts thousands of beachgoers during the hot summer months. In spring and autumn, the mountains and beaches are all yours to enjoy, ideally combined on this self-guided tour. Start underneath the highest coastal peaks with stunning views of the deep blue sea and the rugged coastline. Hike on empty shepherd’s trails, through citrus groves and olive trees, from one quaint stone village to another. Swim in the shimmering, crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea in some of the most secluded beaches. Breathe in the herb-scented mountain air every day and enjoy the finest of Albanian food, a mix of fresh Mediterranean and hearty mountain cuisine. Experience what lies beyond the seashore and what most are missing out on, all at your own pace and carefree, while we take care of your accommodation and transfers for a hassle-free adventure.

Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Vlore

Arrival in Vlore

Welcome to Albania! We meet in Tirana (airport or city), hand out the materials (roadbook, maps, GPS unit, SIM-Card), and brief you on the upcoming days. Then, the transfer to Llogara National Park follows. Passing the salt pans of the Narta Lagoon and the historic city of Vlore, enjoying the coastal vista of the bay, you drive up to Llogara in the late afternoon. Located in the heart of the Ceraunian Mountains, it is an important biosphere reserve, famous in particular for its 500-year-old black pines and firs. The curious shapes the trees take from the winds, especially when engulfed by fog, create the atmosphere of an enchanted forest. Tonight you stay 800 m high in a comfy mountain hotel. Chose between the hotel's restaurant and other places nearby, to enjoy your first Albanian mountain meal.

Day 2

The 2000m high coastal mountains, 12 km

The 2000m high coastal mountains, 12 km

A short transfer takes you to today's trailhead, at the highest point of the Llogara Pass (1.043 m). A narrow, partly steep trail takes you up through ancient snakeskin pines. During communism, the tree giants were tapped for resin, today they rest peacefully surrounded by chamomile and sage. You steadily walk up the zig-zag shepherd's trail, and the first viewpoint rewards with views over the endless blue of the Ionian Sea and the Albanian Riviera. Today’s goal lies beneath the rocky peak of Qorre (2.018 m) at the Dhjopuri Saddle (1.600 m) . There you can take a rest and enjoy the views of the Llogara Pass, separating the Karaburun Peninsula from the rest of the riviera, and the village Dukat at the foot of the mountain. Why not use the time for a high-up picnic? Later on, stroll down the same way down to one of the beer-garden restaurants. A transfer on a winding road, with an optional stop to visit Dhermi, takes you through the charming Mediterranean villages of the Riviera further down south to the small seaside city Himara. This will be your stay for the upcoming four nights, in a hotel by the sea, from where you will start your daily hikes through the picturesque pebble beaches and the idyllic villages of the Riviera.

Distance: 12 km

Altitude difference: +1550 / - 1500 m

Day 3

Mediterranean flair in the back country, 12 km

Mediterranean flair in the back country, 12 km

The scenic morning drive along glistening bays ends at the foot of the inland village Kudhes. The winding cement road takes you through olive trees and houses up to the heart of the village, where the generous shade of the plane trees invites for a coffee in the company of the friendly locals. The rocky shepherds' path that follows upon exiting the village is adorned by bright pink oleanders and lush green cypress trees. Slowly ascending, flocks of goats grazing the grounds raise their heads towards you with curiosity. Arriving at the terraced fields, the view opens to the deep blue sea and over to the island Corfu in the close background. Soon, you arrive at the Oldtown Qeparo on the hilltop. Time seems to stand still in the maze of stone houses and cobbled streets, and a “hidden” viewpoint overlooks the olive fields and tranquil shore. From here, you can descend to the New Qeparo by the beach or continue the walk above the shoreline, across the hillside towards Borsh, to enjoy the coastal landscape a little longer. On the drive back to Himara, there’s the option to visit the castle at Porto Palermo, overlooking the submarine tunnels. Inside, you can learn more about the life and reign of Ali Pasha of Tepelena and the castle’s well thought through architecture. 

Distance: 12 km

Altitude difference: +425 / -425 m

Day 4

Wonders of the Ionian coast, 12,5 km

Wonders of the Ionian coast, 12,5 km

Instead of mountains, today's route takes you across cliffs and through Mediterranean macchia from one dazzling beach to another. It is by no means a flat walk, but it offers the perfect hike & swim day through the beaches that have turned the Albanian Riviera into a rising hot-spot. In the morning, a 30-min drive takes you to one of the most distinct upper coastal villages, Vuno. The white, stacked up houses on the hillside, the centuries old orthodox churches, the central open-air café and the partisan memorial next to it invite for a exploratory stroll. The idyllic descent through olive groves is enjoyable, as you slowly feel the salty aroma nearing the sea. Jal was dubbed the country’s Ibiza, and close to it is the secluded “Aquarium”. Reachable on foot only, it is named after it’s unusually clear water. Accompanied by the awe-inspiring colors and the sound of the crashing waves, you walk the red-earthed trail until you reach Livadhi beach. You can choose to stop here for some more swimming, walk through the city to reach your hotel or go the thousand-year-old cobblestone path up to Oldtown Himara and it’s castle of ancient origins. The hilltop town offers a similar atmosphere to Qeparo, a high-up view of the surroundings and is especially beautiful right before sunset.

Distance: 12,5 km

Altitude difference: +250 / -550 m

Day 5

Quaint villages of the south, 6 km

Quaint villages of the south, 6 km

Today you visit the lesser known southern part of the riviera for a coastal mountain hike, opposite to the beaches. From Lukova, an initially steep shepherd’s path takes you towards the ridge, with views of the terraced hills plunging into the turquoise sea. Soon, Corfu appears in the horizon too, and once at the pass you peek at the wild, solitary inland on the other side of the mountain. Weather permitting, it’s even possible to follow a steep and trail-less, yet straightforward path up to the Lavani peak, the highest point in sight. The olive tree covered coastal landscape and the bays of tomorrow’s walk offer one of the most special views of the entire trip, yours to fully enjoy in peace on your picnic break. The descent follows a wide, exposed gravel road, allowing you to immerse yourself in the views all the way down to Piqeras, where you regain contact with the world again. Driving over the serpentine, you're transferred back to Himara for some rest. In the evening, you can go on an evening stroll at the busy center or for a cocktail by the beach. 

Distance: 6 km

Altitude difference: +450 / -500 m

Day 6

The prisoners Trail, 12 km

The prisoners Trail, 12 km

A relaxed and diverse walk takes you to the southern side of the Riviera once more. Starting in Lukova, you walk through the flower adorned houses, down the old cobblestone alleys and even discover a small waterfall. Continue through uniform paths and endless terraces of olive groves, constructed by human hand only, without the help of any machinery. Here, during communism, political prisoners were converted to forced labourers. After a smooth descent, you land in Bunec beach. The open skyline, tranquil sea, and the unusual emptiness of the pebbly shore make it seem like a scene from a stranded film. You walk along the shoreline, pass by a relict concrete quay and ascend on a little-used path, admiring the shimmer of the turquoise waters from above. Continuing the stroll along the hillside, dwelling into the Mediterranean atmosphere, the endless seeming Borsh beach slowly comes to view. It calls for a refreshing swim and one last mental picture of the romantic surroundings, before parting ways with the Ionian Sea. The driver picks you up, and you head for the heights of the Ceraunian Mountains and the Llogara National Park, at the same mountain hotel of your first overnight.

Distance: 12 km

Altitude difference: +150 / -400 m

Day 7

The Karaburun Peninsula, 11 km

The Karaburun Peninsula, 11 km

After a rich breakfast, the last and also longest hike of your journey calls. The trailhead lies at the highest point of the Llogara pass again, this time opposite of the Cika and Qorre peaks. A wide gravel path steadily leads to the radio towers at the ridge. Here, the lush green Karaburun Peninsula's western slopes plunge steeply into the deep blue Ionian Sea. Panoramic views of the rugged Albanian Riviera and the Bay of Vlora on the other side accompany the walk along the peninsula’s spine. A rocky, partly trailess path gives the opportunity to climb Mt. Gjipali (1.446 m) for a high-up picnic break, taking a moment to memorize the harsh beauty of the entire coastal line. Afterward, you descend into a mountain pasture and then enter the Deep Pass, a rainforest-like green corridor that offers generous shade in the afternoon. Returning to the hotel, the driver picks you up shortly and you transfer to Tirana. There you can go on an evening stroll along the main boulevard to discover the influences that shaped the city. Choose one of the many restaurants and enjoy a last, delicious dinner, as you look back on an eventful week along the beautiful Ionian coast of Albania.

Distance: 11 km

Altitude difference: +425 / -625 m

Day 8

Farewell Albania!

Farewell Albania!

Time permitting, Tirana invites you to explore its streets and sights on a stroll. Sip an espresso in one of the charming bars, observe the busy morning flow and select special treats as edible souvenirs at the lively “New Bazaar”. Interested to learn more about the communist past? “Bunkart 2” and “The House of Leaves” provide insights and are only a 5 min walk away from Tirana’s main "Skanderbeg Square". Your multi-faceted journey in Albania ends with a 40 min transfer to the airport. Thank you for joining our adventure, we hope to see you again in the country of warm hospitality, countless mountains and sun-kissed beaches. 

Details

Is this for me?


Hiking routes at the Albanian Riviera and in the Ceraunian Coastal Mountains are often narrow and uneven, sometimes they're also steep and rocky. This being a coastal hike, shouldn't create an impression of man-made, maintained and easy to walk paths. Because the marking is not on par with the quality of the Central Europeans Alps and some trails are only infrequently used, we provide a backup GPS unit to resolve unclear situations.

Included


What is included

  • 7 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels with breakfast
  • 2 lunches
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • transfers as described in the day by day program, including the airport transfer
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary in digital form, app
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance

Accommodation


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

 

Alpin - Llogara

+355 69 205 5936

http://hotel-alpin.al/

Dhima - Himare

+355 69 543 4836

http://www.dhimahotel.com

Vila 60 - Tirana

+355 69 558 1022 

www.vila60.com

When to travel


Spring and autumn experience moderate climate with pleasant temperatures. Enjoy the landscape and flowers in spring or the warm Ionian Sea in autumn. Beware that the Llogara National Park experiences an alpine microclimate with strong winds. At sea level and lower altitude, summer temperatures of 35-40°C are too host for most activities.

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


Airport to fly into and from is Tirana. The airport transfer to the first accommodation is included in the price

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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