Horseback riding in Central, Albania

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- Albania Winter Explorer
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Horseback riding vacations in Albania, Central

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Equestrian tours in Albania, Central
Albania Winter Explorer

Itinerary for Albania Winter Explorer

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

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

Day 1 (Friday): Arrival
Plan to land at Tirana airport ideally in the morning, but no later than 1:00 pm - this leaves enough time for the transfer plus a visit of Gjirokstra. The transfer from the airport of Tirana will take around 3-4 hours (250km).
Tonight, you will be accommodated in a traditional hotel, in the heart of the historical Gjirokastra: the new Bazaar. If you have some spare time before dinner, we recommend having a look at Enver Hoxha’s house, Gjirokastra castle, the church of the Old Bazaar, the mosque of the Bazar and Skenduli house.
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 in hotel in Gjirokastra

Day 2 (Saturday): Ride to Libohova  
After breakfast at the hotel and allocation of horses, we will start to ride through the countryside towards the small town of Libohova, nestled at the foot of the Bureto Mountain. The route to Libovoha is of intermediate difficulty and combines hilly landscapes, valleys, small water streams, cliffs and many opportunities to canters. Once we have accommodated the horses next to the small farm where you will spend the night, we will drive to the center of the town (10 minutes) for a lunch break in a small traditional restaurant. There, you can taste the local food, wine and Raki.
During the afternoon, we will take a long walk to visit Libohova and its castle, a Bektashi cult object and the tomb of Ali Pasha’s sister, Shanisha. The archaeological evidence indicates a very ancient settlement which reached its zenith in the 17th-century when the town of Libohova became an important commercial centre. 
Later on feeding the horses and taking care of them is part of you evening activity. You will overnight at the local family farm and will taste delicious local food. You can also participate in cooking a local dish with the family.
Riding 3-4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Family house in Libohova

Day 3 (Sunday): Libohova to Antigonea National Park
This morning, you will ride through rolling hills, Drino’s valley and few water streams before climbing a steep hill to reach Antigonea National Park, where we will stop for a visit. Antigonea was built by King Pyrrhus  in 295 BC and named after his first wife Antigona, daughter of King Ptolemeus of Egypt. After the break, we will ride 1 more hour before reaching the stables. Lunch will follow immediately after, in a village close to the stable.
After a short break, we plan to visit the cold war tunnel in Gjirokastra, a building of communism defence paranoia that has a lot to tell. Then, before dinner, you will visit a painter studio and learn from him about local art and special techniques of painting and installations, as well as about many elements of tradition that were involved in his works. Ideological art during communism can be one of the topics to be discussed. 
Dinner will take place at a small local restaurant in the historical area of Gjirokastra and a well-known iso-polyphonic group will be invited to talk, sing and explain about their complex role. South Alabian Iso-poliphony is a UNESCO protected world heritage.
Riding 3-4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in hotel in Gjirokastra

Day 4 (Monday): Drino Valley Cultural Visits
This morning, we will focus on cultural visits to a few very important monuments close to each other, over the hills next to Drino’s valley:
- The old paleo Christian church of Peshkepia, an ex-episcopal center of the 9-th century. The place itself has evidence of building since the 3-rd century. 
- The Melani Bektashi monastery. We plan a guided visit by the bektashi father (priest) who will let us tour inside the Sufi object placed over the ruins of an antic city that is thought to be Justinianopolis. Bektashism this sect of Islam has its world center in Albania. The religious place is very peaceful and welcoming for foreigners. You will be introduced to some of the main concept on the basis of bektashism and rules of their life.
- The church of Labova of the Cross in Labova, which will also be our lunch stop. This monument is representing one of the oldest church in Albania. The legend says that was built by Justinian the Great in 554. Justinian married Teodora his wife at the small chapel of this village and the women of the village inherited her wedding dress for centuries. This church is decorated with an old wooden iconostas full of floral and symbolic animal scenes.
After lunch, we will drive up Lunxheria’s mountain and will stop at Çajupi’s valley, located at 1300 m above sea level. A shepherds camp (very basic but pleasant) will be your accommodation for the night.
Before dinner (if still daylight) we can hike around the place on the slopes of the mountains that surround the valley. Dinner will take place next to the fire with lots of mountain food raki and wine.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at shepherds camp in Çajupi’s valley

Day 5 (Tuesday): Pwrmet
After breakfast and the views of a wonderful sunrise in the mountains, we will drive back to the Drinos valley and will follow the Vjosa river to reach the thermal baths of Benja, in Pwrmet. Along the river, there are splendid warm water human-made pools to soak on a cool day. People believe that the baths have healing properties. The pools are off the beaten path, and during winter months you can have enough privacy. Kadiu bridge, a monument of culture built in 1760 during ottoman period, offers a stunning view of the Langarica river. That is an entering gate to the canyons. During the day there are chances of exploring the canyons by hiking and swimming. Lunch will take place in the city of roses, Pwrmet. You will especially enjoy the local raki and the local sweets.
Later on, we will drive to a remote area close to Ballaban village to visit another unique farm that will be our accommodation for the evening. The owners will have a short presentation on how they abandoned the city life and made it possible live and dream far form everything. Tonight, we will enjoy a special wine tasting.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at farmhouse near Ballaban

Day 6 (Wednesday): Butrint & Saranda
This morning, after a fresh cooked breakfast we will drive first back to Gjirokastra and then towards Butrint, a UNESCO protected archaeological park, through a challenging off road path. The driving experience will be exceptional and the views are some of the most beautiful in your journey. Today's drive through small remote villages, old houses, winding roads, small gardens and old churches gives you the impression that time has stopped here. We will stop to visit the ruins of the church of Leshnica and will have a coffee stop by Cerkovica village, on the way. A local person will give us a short presentation on how this area lives and what was their past, and what they expect for the future.
We will later drive to Butrint to visit the archaeological park. Originally part of an area called Epirus, Butrint has been occupied by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Venetians. As a result, Butrint offers a wealth of incredible archaeological structures, including a well preserved theatre, Roman public baths, inside which lies a paleo-Christian baptistery, and a 9th century basilica. The sanctuary of Asclepius, god of medicine sits on its hill or “acropolis” and dates back to the 4th century.
Lunch will take place in Ksamil or Butrint in a restaurant next to the sea with plenty of seafood cooked the local way. In the afternoon we will drive to Saranda, where we are accommodated in a hotel by the sea. Before dinner, we will visit the local art gallery and will have a presentation by the head of the gallery, a very good painter. Dinner will take place in a small restaurant in Saranda.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at hotel in Saranda

Day 7 (Thursday): Ride to Dhoksat
After breakfast we will drive back to Gjirokastra, to the horse stables, for another horse riding day. Today's route passes through a rural environment with beautiful steep hills and small valleys reminiscent of a pastoral atmosphere. This is an area where traditional farming and old defence infrastructures from communism time co-exist.
The view of River Drino (“Tree of Life”) accompanies us during our morning ride. Drino is the most important water basin in the area and part of ancient pagan beliefs. On your way, you will meet the ruins of the castle of Santa Triada reconstructed during 1809-1810 by Ali Pasha. This was a strategic point to control all the medieval caravan itineraries. The castle ruins were used later during the time of socialism for military purposes.
We will then stop for a traditional home-made lunch in Dhoksat village and will have a local expert talk to us about the characteristics of life, tradition, folklore, costumes and ethnography of the area. The ride back to the stables in the afternoon is the most beautiful part of the ride as the landscape allows a few canters and the climbing up hills is stunning. 
In the evening, you can have a walk around the historical area before the farewell dinner. Later in the evening we can have a drink in a popular bar.
Riding 5-6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in hotel in Gjirokastra

Day 8 (Friday): Departure 
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred back to the airport of Tirana.

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Albania Winter Explorer
Tour Code: IT-ALBCV04
8 days / 7 nights ~$1,170.00
Dates : Jan-Feb

Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
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.
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.
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.

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Check here for details and availability
Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 01/08 - 01/15 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 4 /10 Expired
A 2021 01/29 - 02/05 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 4 /10 Expired
A 2021 02/12 - 02/19 8d / 7n 8 day tour, AP 4 /10 Expired
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
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
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