Horseback riding in Central, Albania

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Horseback riding vacations in Albania, Central

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Equestrian tours in Albania, Central
King Skerdilajdi Trail


Itinerary for King Skerdilajdi Trail




Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Please note that this itinerary is given as guidance only and may be altered.

Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival
Plan your flight to arrive at Tirana airport ideally in the morning, but no later than 3:00 pm - this leaves time for the transfer and to be able to visit the town of Gjirokstra with your guides. From the airport the transfer will be by mini-van or off-road car and will take around 3-4 hours (250km). Settle into your hotel, 10 minutes walking from the centre of historical Gjirokastra .You can have a walk around the historical town of the old Bazaar: visit Enver Hoxha’s house, Gjirokastra castle, the church of the Old Bazaar, the mosque of the Bazzar and Skenduli house representing an ideal sample of Gjirokastra traditional life. Dinner will be served at a traditional restaurant. During dinner your guides will be able to speak to you about the trail: possible requests or needs, advice and things which are good to know. We recommend that you buy a map of the area before dinner in order to gain a good understanding of the itinerary.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Gjirokastra


Day 2 (Sunday): Ride to Fushbardha
You will start riding from the lake of Gjirokastra, Viroi Park at 220m above sea level. You will be astonished by how this mountainous ecosystem changes so suddenly. You will ride through hilly terrain, small rivers, pine woods, steep down and up hills. Lunch will be a home prepared picnic, taken at the monastery of Cepo. We can visit the monastery which is an important orthodox cult object and has one of the most strategic views of the Drinos Valley. Located on a historical scale it cuts down a rocky slope on the north side of the “Wide Mountain”.  Today, only two objects remain from the former monastery complex: the basilica with a dome and dozens of former guesthouses which have hosted travellers for centuries. After lunch, we ride down to the river of Kardhiq. There are some really interesting things to see in this area such as pillar rocks “Gods of the Light” and other nature monuments- these have got specific forms of pillars or columns 3-4 m high, which differ from far away. Today’s ride finishes at the village of Fushbardha, one of the most important centres of Laberia´s area. Labëria Laws originate from ancient times and were reintroduced by Julie Pope, who lived in the XI century. During the Norman invasion in 1081 he was described as a priest and Mayor of Kurvelesh. You will spend the evening and night in a village house enjoying homemade traditional food and drinks.
Riding hours 5-6
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family House in Fushbardha


Day 3 (Monday): Fushbardha to Borsh
After a traditional breakfast at the family house, we will get ready for a very long riding day. Our ride will follow the tracks of the King Skerdilajd Army which passed through the "Neck of the Rock" around 2,300 years ago. King Skerdilajdi was known as the commander of the 5,000 troops sent by Queen Teuta in 230 BC against Epirus. He was the youngest brother of King Agron and one of the main supporters of Queen Teuta. He led the invasion army in 230 BC to the capital of Epirus Phoinike (Finiq). King Skerdilajd played a determined role in Teuta´s plans to create an Adriatic Front against Rome. The path combines beautiful woods, mountain climbing, rocky landscapes and ruins of ancient civilizations. Basha Stones, Dhespina cave, the Rock of Kaze, The Valley of Cheries, the Crooked Brook, Shameti Brook, Trullas Neck and Derrasa Hole are some of the local sights en route today. Our lunchbreak will be at a mountain valley surrounded by a small oak wood. We continue  through the mountain of Borsh towards the next village. The whole day´s landscape offers images of wild unspoiled nature. Flowers, old trees, streams of water shepherds, hundreds of goats, sheep and cows will be part of this riding experience. Be prepared to walk around 1 hour 30 minutes during the day in difficult paths and steep downhills. Good mountain hiking shoes are recommended for today. We will arrive at a family house late in the afternoon and enjoy traditional food, rich in olive oil. Wine, raki and mountain tea will comfort you to sleep after the long day.
Riding hours 8-9 (including walking by leading the horses)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family House in Borsh


Day 4 (Tuesday): Borsh to Piqeras
After a traditional breakfast with the shepherd's family, we will start a shorter but very pleasant riding day. First, we will visit the castle of Borsh (known in history as Castle of Sopot) located on a hill in Borsh´s village at 500m above sea level and dating back to about IV-III century B.C. Its surface is rocky. In the Byzantine Empire, Emperor Justinian put it on the list of fortifications in the years 527-565. Sopot is mentioned in 1192 in memory of Anna Komnenes, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexis I Komnenai. In 1266, Sopot was in the French power of Charles I of Azhuin and then under German jurisdiction, and later on, for a long time under the Republic of Venice. In the Middle Ages, it was adapted for military garrison and took full view of the fortification at the time of Ali Pasha. The mosque was built at the castle by Haxhi Bendo, one of the supporters of Ali Pasha.
After visiting the Castle ruins, we will start our ride from Borsh and take the old road along the seaside. Olive trees, oranges, lemons, citrus and grapefruits are planted everywhere on the upper part of the road. Many defence bunkers remained along the seaside of Piqeras, an old fishing village. We will stop the ride in the village and drive to the sea for a lunch break on the beach. After lunch we can enjoy a fairly long break to enjoy the sea and to rest. You will spend the night in a family house tasting seafood, the special local cheese and salad. Homemade raki and wine will be offered with the meal.
Riding hours : 3-4
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family House in Piqeras


Day 5 (Wednesday): Piqeras to Shen Vasil
This morning, we enjoy breakfast on the terrace with the beautiful view of the Ionian Sea. You can enjoy traditional coast byrek (cheese pie) and cookies, butter, fresh milk and honey. Today, we head down to the sea through olive tree terraces to the beach of Bunec. We will ride up again to Lukove village and down to the sea again through some challenging landscapes. You will reach the Shpella beach for lunch. The lunch stop includes possibilities to swim and relax for several  hours. Later, we continue by first entering a small “jungle” of trees, bushes and rocks, meeting the remains of an old road connecting the sea with the villages of the upper coast. In the afternoon, you will visit the village of Shen Vasil, a very old mediaeval center. The village suffered a long period of terror during the dictatorship being a labour camp for political prisoners. Hundreds of intellectuals suffered and died in this camp during 4 decades. The family can share with you memories of a very dark period of Albania. Traces of the past are visible everywhere. Your accommodation place was the ex-dormitory for soldiers that served the camp.   
Riding hours: 4
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family House in Shen Vasil


Day 6 (Thursday): Shen Vasil to Fushbardha
After breakfast, you will reach the valley of Kalasa river and later the hilly valley of Prapanica, and use the chance for a very nice and long gallop. We will ride back along King Skerdilajd Army´s route. South of the river Kalasa valley you can see the Foinike Hill. Exactly there, Skerdilajd’s army stopped to face the Epirot army in 229 B.C. Olive trees and nice paths for gallops will make this day very interesting and picturesque. You will continue to ride through the village of Fushe – Verri . You can see the bunkers of the cold war along the ride, representing the military ideology of the system. You can stop for a picnic lunch under olive trees.
You will reach the Skerfica mountain neck named after the King Skerdilajd Army pass in the afternoon hours. Here you can enjoy the cold mountain water and another short break You will pass an old Phosphor Mine, an ex-labour camp for the political prisoners of the communist regime. Further on inside the village of Fushbardha, there still exist the old abandoned buildings of the ex-labour camp. Fushebadha, is a destination that you have already visited in your first riding day. Dinner served in the garden will let you enjoy the homemade food, the fresh mountain air and the hospitality of the local family.
Riding hours: 6
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family House in Fushbardha


Day 7 (Friday): Ride back to Gjirokastra
After a traditional breakfast you will start ride back to our start point, Gjirokastra town. Today is going to be a diverse landscape ride. We will ride first to the Valley of Kardhiq river and later will meet the traces of the first riding day. The ride will finish right where it started - near Viroi lake. Pine woods, mountain valleys, water springs, fresh air and flowered landscapes will be the panorama of this day. We will drive you to our horse stable to introduce you to our way of managing and to the horse’s life.
Your accommodation will be the same hotel in Gjirokastra town. A farewell dinner late in the afternoon will be enjoyed by all.
Riding hours: 4-5
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Gjirokastra


Day 8 (Saturday): Departure
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Tirana airport.
Meals included: Breakfast

Please note that although this trail includes some beach riding, any fast riding takes place along an old path 100-200m from the beach. The sand is rocky and therefore is only suitable for walking on. The mountain horses are also not too keen on the water so will not tend to want to paddle!

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King Skerdilajdi Trail
Tour Code: IT-ALBCV02
8 days / 7 nights ~$1,385.00
Dates : May to September

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
ABeginner
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
BNovice
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
CIntermediate
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
EAdvanced
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Basic
Lodging Level Explained
   
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
   
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
   
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
   
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
   
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
   
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

Online Reservation

Check here for details and availability
Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 05/07 - 05/14 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 05/21 - 05/28 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 06/04 - 06/11 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 06/18 - 06/25 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/16 - 07/23 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/30 - 08/06 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/13 - 08/20 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/27 - 09/03 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/10 - 09/17 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
A 2022 09/24 - 10/01 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 3 /10 Reserve
Introduction
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Accommodation
Tack: English Trekking
Horses: Albanian Local Breeds
Pace: Moderate with some trots and canters. ...
Walk, Trot, Canter,
Airport: Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza (TIA)
Location on Google Map
Image Gallery
Image Slide Show
Customer Trip Rating
Climate
What To Bring
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