Montenegro and Albania Active holiday"A fantastic holiday, where we felt privileged to have explored what must be some of Europe's best kept natural secrets."
Susan Lambert, July 2015
11 day multi-activity holiday (based on min. 4 persons)
Price - from £ 995 - £ 1,195 per person. The first week in Montenegro includes accommodation, welcome meal, use of mountain bikes and 4 guided activities with an English speaking guide. The four days in Albania include accommodation, all meals, transport and transfers and daily guided activities with an English speaking guide.
There's only one way to improve upon an adventure holiday to Montenegro, and that's to hop over the border to experience the stunning beauty of its little-visited next-door-neighbour Albania as well! More accessible than ever before thanks to budget airlines now flying into Podgorica (just a few hours from the Albanian Alps), this staggeringly pretty and near-unexplored destination is the perfect addition to a week at Lake Skadar.
Your first week is based at Lake Skadar National Park, immersed in wild natural beauty as you hike to natural springs, caves and fishing villages, plunge into waterfalls, kayak along carpets of waterlilies and go canyoning at the nearby coast. Your accommodation options for this week are in picturesque little Virpazar, the lake's main access point and just a 30 minute drive to the Adriatic sea.
The next three or four days are spent taking in the spectacular scenery and rich history of Albania, starting at the remarkable Theth National Park, and finishing in Shkodra, ancient capital of the kingdom of Zeta, and now the largest town on the shores of Lake Skadar.
This is a tailormade holiday. A sample itinerary is below, with activities selected by us. There are plenty of alternative activities, so if you want to hear about them all, just ask us! Trips are flexible and available any time between May-September - contact us for details.
Arrival at Lake Skadar. Welcome and check-in to your base for the week, Villa Miela, next to the picturesque lakeside village of Virpazar. Welcome dinner and drinks on the terrace. Transfers can be arranged.
Day 2 - Explore & Discovery
An unforgettable car and hiking combination tour (hike is 3-4 hours). We drive past breathtaking views, hike to rock-pools for wild swimming, visit bat-inhabited caves before lunching at a former royal residence in historic Rijeka Crnojevića. We jump back in the 4x4 for more stunning views, wild river swimming and then head across a magnificent plain that would not look out of place in Africa. The breathtaking view from the ancient fort of Zabljak Crnojevića is our final stop before returning to Virpazar.
Day 3 - Kayaking to the island monasteries
Suitable for all levels of fitness, this 4-5 hour kayak trip will take you across stunning mirrored waters from Murići on the southern shores, (also home to the lake's best freshwater beach), with views up to the fabled peaks of Albania's Accursed Mountains. You'll have the lake all to yourself as you swim in crystal clear waters and visit the lake's renowned 14th century island monastaries, all the while taking in the awesome views, varied bird-life and glorious solitude.
Day 4 - rest day
Day 5 - Wine-tasting in Lake Skadar Valley
Lake Skadar is also Montenegro's wine-country with upwards of 30 commercial producers on Villa Miela's doorstep. The red vranac and white krstač wines are easily a match for more famous French rivals. Our wine tasting tour will take you to two boutique wineries, all medal winners, where you can sample from the barrels yourselves, view the vineyards and learn about the proud history of wine-making from the friendliest of owners.
Day 6 - Walnut Valley hike
Our favourite hike - this circular trail passes through ancient woodland, across arched Ottoman bridges and along riverside trails
and old Roman caravan paths as it winds its way through one of Lake Skadar's most beautiful valleys. We stop for wild swimming in natural spring-fed pools before hiking to a beautiful hillside village for lunch with a local family. This is unspoiled and undisturbed nature, with wild figs, herbs and tortoises in abundance! Best of all, you won't have to share them with other tourists; this is our secret!
Day 7 - rest day
Day 8 - into Albania!
Transfer to the border at Hani i Hotit, 45 minutes from the villa, and then a further journey with our wonderful Albanian guides up to the staggering beauty of Thethi National Park. In the afternoon we will explore the attractions of Thethi on foot: the church, the blood feud tower, a beautiful waterfall, followed by dinner and overnight stay at the lovely Villa Gjecaj.
Day 9 - Thethi tour
After breakfast, we will leave on foot towards Nderlysa (12km) (510m altitude), and further to the Blue Eye pool (670m altitude) and the valley of Kaprea. On or way back, we will stop in the lovely hamlet of Nderlysa where we will have lunch at a village house with a spectacular rural setting. We return to Thethi and relax while the sun sets in the valley. Dinner and overnight at Villa Gjecaj.
Day 10 - Exploring the ancient capital of Zeta
We have a relaxed breakfast driving to the lakeside town of Shkodra, previously the capital of the region when it was known as Zeta. We visit the Ethnographic Museum and Rozafa Fortress, giving you another unique perspective of Lake Skadar, before overnighting and dinner at the remarkable Hotel Tradita.
Day 11 - transfer back to Montenegro/Podgorica airport
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