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Albania Trail Rides
Discover the history and culture of Albania on horseback

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from £995 or €1145

Horse Riding Holidays Albania – Albania Trail Rides

PRICES & DATES top

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Albania Trail Rides: Prices & Dates 2024

  • Winter Trail – Adventure & Culture in South Albania
    7-nights, sharing $1,270
    • GBP: 995
    • EUR: 1,169

    Single Supplement $115
    • GBP: 90
    • EUR: 106
    – single rooms only available on the 1st, 3rd, 6th & 7th night, shared rooms only on other nights
    Small Group Supplement $166
    • GBP: 130
    • EUR: 153
    – For rides with only 3 riders
    13 – 20 January
    27 January – 3 February
    10 – 17 February
    24 February – 2 March
    7 – 14 December
    21 – 28 December (Christmas Trail)
  • Zagoria Trail – Medieval Pathways
    7-nights, sharing $1,366
    • GBP: 1,070
    • EUR: 1,257

    Single Supplement $57
    • GBP: 45
    • EUR: 52
    – only applicable if single rooms available on the 1st & 7th night, shared rooms only on other nights
    Small Group Supplement $179
    • GBP: 140
    • EUR: 165
    – For rides with only 2 riders
    2 – 9 March, 9 – 16 March, 16 – 23 March, 23 – 30 March
    30 March – 6 April, 6 – 13 April, 13 – 20 April
    11 – 18 May
    25 May – 1 June, 8 – 15 June, 22 – 29 June
    6 – 13 July
    3 – 10 August
    31 August – 7 September, 14 – 21 September
    28 September – 5 October
    26 October – 2 November, 2 – 9 November, 9 – 16 November, 16 – 23 November, 23 – 30 November
  • Vjosa Trail – Europe’s Last Wild River
    11-nights, sharing $1,915
    • GBP: 1,500
    • EUR: 1,763

    Single Supplement $57
    • GBP: 45
    • EUR: 52
    – only applicable if single rooms available on the 1st & 11th night, shared rooms only on other nights
    Small Group Supplement $211
    • GBP: 165
    • EUR: 194
    – For rides with only 3 riders
    20 April – 1 May
    5 – 16 October
  • King Skerdilajd Trail – Army Route
    7-nights, sharing $1,487
    • GBP: 1,165
    • EUR: 1,369

    Single Supplement $57
    • GBP: 45
    • EUR: 52
    – only applicable if single rooms available on the 1st & 7th night, shared rooms only on other nights
    Small Group Supplement $179
    • GBP: 140
    • EUR: 165
    – For rides with only 2 riders
    4 – 11 May, 18 – 25 May
    1 – 8 June, 15 – 22 June, 29 June – 6 July
    13 – 20 July, 27 July – 3 August
    10 – 17 August, 24 – 31 August
    7 – 14 September, 21 – 28 September

Note: Rates are subject to daily exchange rate fluctuations, please refer to our ‘Terms & Conditions’ for full details.

Included – All accommodations and meals starting from dinner on the 1st night until breakfast on the last day, an English speaking guide, and a second guide (if there are more than 4 riders). Additionally, water and drinks will be provided during meals, and luggage transport will be arranged by car from one destination to another

Excluded – Flights, transfers, entrance tickets to monuments or parks, lunch on day 1, extra drinks, any other services or expenses during free time & tips

Getting There
Tirana airport (TIA) or Saranda Port – fly to Corfu and take the boat to Saranda (CFU).

Transfer
Tirana Airport to Gjirokastra (Round trip) €90 per person (€45 one way) 3 hours
Scheduled transfers every Saturday at 12:30 pm and 14:30 pm
Departure time for flights no earlier thank 12:00 pm (midday)

Transfers from Tirana can’t be organized, but it’s easy and affordable to reach Tirana Airport by bus if you arrive in the city a day earlier, Buses run every hour from the center of Tirana (behind the opera palace).

We can also organise private transfers to/from Tirana:
1 person: €140 (one way)
2 persons: €70 each (one way)
3 persons or more: €55 each (one way)

Saranda Port to Gjirokastra (Round trip):
€50 per person (round trip), 1 hour
Transfers can be organized based on the ferries’ timetable for 2024, typically with one morning and one afternoon option.

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

SUMMARY OF THE TRIP top

Caravan Horse Riding Albania have been welcoming horse, nature, history and culture lovers since 2011. The stables are situated amidst scenic hills, green valleys, surrounded by high mountains and rural life just a few miles away from Gjirokastra’s UNESCO protected city in South of Albania. They aim to offer real moments in the saddle, which mean enjoyable and professional riding holidays for all guests. They have curated four distinct trails for you to enjoy and information on each of these can found below…

Albania Trail Rides – Summary

  • Winter Trail Ride – Adventure & Culture in South Albania
    Escape into a captivating winter experience that combines four days of thrilling horse riding adventures amidst ever-changing landscapes, with two days immersed in the rich culture of South Albania. Prepare to be enchanted by valleys, hills, small forests, rivers, and exhilarating uphill and downhill rides, followed by a deep dive into the region’s history, hospitality, thermal baths, archaeological sites, the Ionian coast, and the authentic lifestyle of shepherds. This unique program offers real moments on horseback, dynamic off-road explorations of unspoiled terrain, and the chance to discover hidden hiking paths.
    The horses we ride on this journey are the local Albanian breed, a mix of Tarpan and Arab horses. Although small in size, they are perfectly adapted to the rocky terrain, surefooted, and accustomed to trekking long mountainous routes in all weather conditions. Riding these horses instills confidence, relaxation, and a sense of freedom, allowing you to fully embrace the breathtaking views along the way.
    The carefully crafted itinerary pays homage to the winter season, offering adventure, fun, smaller group sizes, cultural immersion, historical monuments, local homes, music, art, and traditions. The riding route takes you along the eastern side of the Drino River, near the Antigonea archaeological park, delving deep into the valley’s ancient, medieval, and modern history. Food and cooking experiences, wine and Raki tastings, and interaction with the local community make this trail an exceptional journey, allowing you to become a part of Albanian local life.
    Meeting people and connecting with their daily lives and activities is a social and integral part of this program. Many unique experiences offered in this itinerary are best enjoyed during the slower pace of winter, where you can truly embrace the spirit of slow life, dynamic rides, slow food, and slow adventure.
  • Zagoria Trail
    Embark on a captivating journey through time along the medieval Zagoria caravan pathways, immersing yourself in a realm of legends, folklore, and melodies. Traverse through the remnants of the ancient Ilirian civilization, meander through medieval villages, and discover hidden gems like remote churches and monasteries. Marvel at the remarkable mountain bridges constructed during the governance of Ali Pasha, boasting rare and exquisite designs. The pinnacle of this extraordinary trail awaits you at Swallow’s Rock, a majestic ascent that will leave you awe-inspired.
    Indulge in the rich tapestry of rural Albanian traditions as you forge connections with the local populace and traverse vibrant, untouched natural landscapes. Our chosen steeds for this adventure are the Albanian horses, a blend of Tarpan and Arab breeds. Despite their compact size, these horses are perfectly adapted to the rugged terrain, boasting surefootedness and familiarity with arduous mountain paths. Their presence instils a sense of confidence, relaxation, and the freedom to revel in breath-taking vistas.
    Interact with warm-hearted locals, gaining insights into their customs and way of life while experiencing the warm embrace of authentic homestay accommodations. Our knowledgeable guides not only ensure your safety but also make excellent companions, sharing their expertise and engaging in delightful conversation. Ultimately, this equestrian expedition seeks to celebrate the harmonious bond between humanity, horses, nature, and culture.
  • Vajosa Trail – Europe’s Last Wild River
    This exhilarating trail offers a captivating riding experience through diverse landscapes, presenting ample opportunities for swimming in rivers, river hiking, canyon exploration, camping, and immersing yourself in local culture. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to visit rare cultural monuments and encounter remnants of Albania’s communist dictatorship. Indulge in local traditional cuisine, savor the famous Permeti Raki and wine, witness livestock rituals, and even delve into city nightlife, making this trail an incredibly diverse and enriching adventure.
    The highlight of this trail is encountering the majestic Vjosa River, known as the last wild river in Europe. Riding alongside its untamed, free-flowing waters and camping in the river bed offers a breathtaking experience. The Vjosa, also referred to as “the blue heart” of Europe, spans over 270 kilometers and boasts stunning canyons, braided river sections, islands, oxbows, and meandering stretches. It serves as a complex habitat for spawning fish and migratory birds.
  • King Skerdilajd
    Immerse yourself in the captivating journey of King Skerdilajd as you follow in his historic footsteps on his conquest of Kaonia 2,300 years ago. This extraordinary tour invites you to experience the untamed beauty of nature, vibrant cultural heritage, warm hospitality, and the thrill of riding reliable, sturdy horses. Traverse diverse landscapes, including mountain ranges, steep hillsides, river crossings, lush forests, and the stunning seaside. Along the way, encounter ancient ruins, majestic castles, picturesque churches, and monasteries that stand side by side with remnants of communist-era bunkers and military infrastructure.
    Embark on this mountainous trail ride, where you’ll spend approximately 5-6 hours on horseback each day, complemented by some walking. Our horses, a crossbreed of Arab and Tarpan, may be small in stature but are incredibly resilient and surefooted. This trail allows you to truly immerse yourself in the authentic Albanian experience, indulging in the finest local cuisine, delving into the rich historical tapestry, and basking in the warm hospitality of the locals. Each night, you’ll be accommodated in local or family guesthouses, where your host families will treat you to delicious homemade meals, fostering engaging conversations over dinner. Expect the freshest ingredients sourced from local gardens and farms, providing a true taste of the region.

THE RIDING top

Horses – homebred Albanian Horses known for their excellent climbing abilities and surefootedness

Albania Trail Rides: Level of Riding & Pace – Intermediate to Advanced. A good level of fitness is required as you will be spending long hours in the saddle.

Tack – English.

Weight Restriction – 14 Stone / 90 kg / 198 lbs.

Group Size – Maximum 12.

ACCOMMODATION top

1st and last night are in a hotel, the rest of the trail ride you will stay with local families in their homes. The rooms are all clean and simple.

Meals are served family style with soups, salads, meats, cheeses with sweet treats and fruit. All washed down with lots of home made wine and raki.

  • SAMPLE ITINERARY top


Zagoria– An example of one of the the trail rides in Albania
All the other trail ride day to day itineraries are available on request.

Day 1
Arrive at Tirana airport, aiming for a morning arrival but no later than 14:30 to allow time for transfer and a visit to Gjirokastra. The drive to Gjirokastra will take approximately 3 hours. Once you reach your hotel, conveniently located just a 10-minute walk from the historical center of Gjirokastra, settle in and get ready to explore. Before dinner, take a leisurely stroll through the captivating historical town and the old Bazaar. Along the way, you can visit various attractions such as Enver Hoxha’s house, Gjirokastra castle, the church of the Old Bazaar, the mosque of the Bazar, and the Skenduli house, which offers a glimpse into traditional life in Gjirokastra.
For dinner, enjoy a delicious meal at a traditional restaurant. During this time, your guides will be available to discuss the trail with you, addressing any questions or requests you may have and providing valuable advice and insights. We highly recommend purchasing a map of the area before dinner to familiarize yourself with the itinerary and enhance your understanding of the upcoming journey.

Day 2
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we will proceed to the next part of our adventure—a horseback ride through the picturesque countryside towards the charming medieval village of Karjan. This village embodies tradition and serves as a rural haven for passing caravans, boasting quaint churches and an ancient Roman bridge. As we traverse the rural landscape, we will encounter small houses, gardens, and witness traditional farming and cultivation practices. The journey unfolds amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, serene valleys, babbling water streams, and majestic cliffs. Along the way, we will be treated to breathtaking views of the River Drino, also known as the “Tree of Life” river, a significant water source deeply rooted in ancient pagan beliefs.
En route, we will encounter the remnants of the Santa Triada castle, which was reconstructed by Ali Pasha between 1809 and 1810. This strategically positioned castle once served as a control point for caravan routes and later found utility in military affairs during the socialist era. We will pause for a well-deserved lunch break in the scenic Shen Toder village. Afterward, we will continue our journey, riding for approximately 1.5 hours, until we finally arrive at the enchanting village of Karjan. Here, we will be warmly welcomed by a local family who will provide us with accommodation. For dinner, we will have the opportunity to savor delectable dishes made from locally grown ingredients sourced from their own garden, accompanied by raki and wine, offering a true taste of the region.
Riding Hours: 4-5

Day 3
After breakfast we will continue further north to the villages of Small Labova and the valley of Cajupi. We will follow the ancient merchant’s coble stone road of Zhapa with its mountain panorama, wide view of the hills and valleys. The first break will be in Small Labova, a village well known all over the south for its wonderful Church and the big houses belonging to the merchants which are now mostly ruined. Labova is the birthplace of Vangjel Zhapa, the organizer of the first Modern Olympic Games. Zhapa was a well-known businessman and philanthropist who lived around 200 years ago. After visiting the church a very unique mediaeval building you will start riding up the mountain. You will be impressed by the mountain’s rare vegetation such as mountain tea, oregano, wild rose and other endemic plants like digitalis or ‘Dig–Dag’ as it’s known locally. We follow the mountain path to the valley of Cajupi where we stop by a cattle of 1000 sheep to visit shepherds and spent lunch with them. You will have the chance to taste the Brati famous spring water, a typical station of the old caravans with its small tower “karakoll”. After a nice gallop through Cajupi valley, the trail will follow the medieval Caravan pathway with its famous bandit hideout ‘Hija e Mallkuar’ or ‘The Cursed Shadow’. From here, medieval thieves could rob the caravans passing through Zagoria. The final destination of today will be the village of Nderan, placed in the heart of Zagoria region. This village will be our destination for two nights. Dinner will be a delicious mixture of local products, raki and wine. You can join the local life and accompany the family during the milking process, dinner preparation or have a look at the families, farming animals and garden.
Riding hours: 6

Day 4
Wake up to the refreshing mountain air and savor a traditional breakfast of homemade bread, cookies, butter, jam, eggs, cheese, honey, and milk. Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of mountain tea, a local specialty. Embark on a captivating horseback ride through Lliar, Hoshteva, Koncka, and Nivan villages, encountering diverse landscapes of cliffs, rivers, woods, and hills. Take in the scents of wildflowers, the presence of shepherds, and the charm of roaming animals. Follow an ancient horse pathway that connected major commercial centers in Southern Albania, passing by the impressive Rock of Zhej. Pause at the reconstructed Lliar water spring, commissioned by Ali Pasha. Experience a thrilling downhill ride to the ruins of a medieval stone bridge (now collapsed) and perhaps take a summer swim. Explore the unique church of Hoshteva, adorned with pagan-inspired wall paintings, and pass by the Byzantine church of Lliar and the 1702-built Nivan Saint Mehilli monastery. Cross the medieval bridge to reach Nderan village, a historical center of medieval livestock fairs, where you’ll spend the night in the welcoming embrace of a local family.

Day 5
Prepare for an exhilarating morning as we embark on an unforgettable equestrian adventure. Following a delightful country breakfast, we will journey through a picturesque mountain valley, perfect for invigorating gallops. Along the way, we’ll pass by secluded farms, majestic cliffs, and hidden historical trails, veering away from the typical tourist paths. This route through the captivating Pogoni region offers a true journey through time, where ancient ruins and mythical natural wonders await our discovery.
Our midday picnic will be enjoyed near the renowned stone bridge of Hllomo or Kacarello’s, a remarkable architectural gem from the merchant era. This isolated marvel can only be reached by horse, adding to its mystique and allure.
After a thrilling five-hour ride, we will arrive at the heart of the Pogoni region, the charming mountain village of Polican, predominantly inhabited by a Greek minority. You will have the opportunity to spend the night with a Greek minority family, immersing yourself in their rich cultural heritage. In their company, you can explore fascinating medieval cult monuments that hold a special place in the village’s history.
As evening descends, prepare to indulge in the gastronomic delights of the region. Polican is renowned for being one of the foremost producers of mountain honey in South Albania. Here, you will have the pleasure of savouring an array of honey flavours, with nearly ten different varieties available throughout the seasons, each capturing the essence of the local bee pastures.
This day promises an exciting blend of adventure, cultural exploration, and culinary delights, as we delve into the hidden treasures of the Pogoni region.
Riding hours 4-5

Day 6
Today, we bid farewell to the Greek minority as we set our sights on the town of Libohova. The journey ahead will take us through challenging yet breath-taking mountain landscapes, culminating in a grand finale at Swallow Rock, perched 500 meters above the glistening Suha River. Depending on the weather, our chosen picnic spot will either be alongside the Suha River, allowing for a refreshing swim, or at the historic Church of Labova of the Cross. In both instances, we will have the opportunity to explore this extraordinary monument, the oldest church in Albania, constructed by Justinian the Great in 554. It holds great significance as the site where Justinian married his wife, Teodora, with the villagers preserving her wedding dress for generations. Adorned with a captivating wooden iconostasis adorned with floral and symbolic animal scenes, the church exudes a timeless charm. We will pause for lunch at a delightful local restaurant known for its exceptional regional cuisine.
In the afternoon, our journey continues to Libohova, a charming town nestled at the base of the majestic Bureto Mountain. Archaeological evidence indicates its ancient roots, but it flourished in the 17th century, evolving into a bustling commercial hub. During the afternoon, you may opt to take a leisurely stroll, approximately one hour in duration, to visit the historic Libohova Castle, an esteemed Bektashi spiritual site, and the tomb of Shanisha, sister of Ali Pasha.
For the night, you will be warmly welcomed into a local family’s home in Libohova, where you will have the pleasure of savouring delicious local cuisine. Immerse yourself in the farm life by engaging in activities such as assisting with chores, cooking, feeding the horses, or even enjoying local music. It’s a chance to truly experience the local way of life and forge unforgettable memories.
Riding hours: 5

Day 7
Today’s ride will be relatively short but filled with captivating scenery. We’ll begin our morning by traversing rolling hills, passing through the picturesque Drino’s Valley, and crossing a few charming water streams. As we ascend a steep hill, we will enter the magnificent Antigonea National Park, where we will pause for a visit. This ancient site, constructed by King Pyrrhus in 295 BC, holds the name of his first wife, Antigona, who was the daughter of King Ptolemeus of Egypt. Take your time to explore the rich historical significance of this remarkable place before we continue our journey.
After our visit, we will ride for an additional hour until we reach the stable, where you will have the unique opportunity to experience the joy of releasing your horses and witnessing their freedom. Following this exhilarating experience, a delightful picnic lunch, prepared by your previous host family, awaits us in the village of “Asim Zeneli,” just a short five-minute drive from the stable.
Once we have satisfied our appetites, we will return to the same hotel in Gjirokastra for accommodation. The entire afternoon will be at your leisure, providing time to make preparations for your departure, explore local museums, or indulge in some souvenir shopping. As the day draws to a close, we will gather for a memorable farewell dinner at a cosy restaurant in the old Bazaar, savouring the last tastes of the local cuisine. Later in the evening, you may choose to join us for a drink at a popular bar, reflecting on the incredible experiences shared throughout our journey.
Riding hours: 3-4

DESTINATION MAP top


Zara’s Planet Horse Riding Holidays Guarantee:

All our horse riding holidays hold a price guarantee. We believe in your piece of mind on price when you book one of our horse riding holidays and will refund the difference should you find the same horse riding holiday elsewhere at a lower price.

If you are having trouble finding exactly the right horse riding holiday for you from our horse riding holidays collection, please contact us directly using the form below and tell us in your own words what you would like to do and we will use our extensive knowledge to make sure we find that perfect horse riding holiday.

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