Kayak to Ali Pasha Castle
4.3
| 11 reviews

Raft, Kayak and Hike Albania

2 nights
Moderate

Explore Albania and help save the Vjosa - Europe’s last wild, free-flowing river - whilst rafting it with local activists

What's Included?

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 16 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.3
| 11 reviews
Getting out in unspoilt nature on land and...
April 2019
Rebecca
Getting out in unspoilt nature on land and...
April 2019
Rebecca
Great mix of culture and adventure. 
...
May 2018
James
Kayak to Ali Pasha Castle
Gjirokastra
Raft the Vjosa River

Experience first-hand an adventure destination steeped in history and biodiversity

Raft the Vjosa, the last wild and free-flowing river left in Europe and now under threat by plans to build a hydroelectric dam

Kayak to breathtaking beaches, snorkel in crystal clear waters and hike through Albania's historic cities and villages

Key Information

Day 1

Butrint to Ali Pasha Castle

Kayak to Ali Pasha Castle

Hiking

3hr

Kayaking

1hr

Swimming

1hr

Meet your host at Saranda harbour and then kayak along the Ionian coast from the Butrint amphitheatre to the historic Ali Pasha Castle - both UNESCO world heritage sites. Head to Lukove, a small, traditional village and hike to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Krorez Bay where you can swim in the crystal clear water and get up close to its inhabitants - don’t forget your snorkel and underwater camera.

Day 2

Raft the Vjosa

Raft the Vjosa River

Hiking

3hrs

Rafting

2.5hrs

Head to the small town of Permet, the staging point for your expedition onto the Vjosa and tackle Europe’s last free-flowing river. Its entire 270km course is wild, untamed and adorned with beautiful canyons, braided river sections, islands and oxbows as well as class III rapids - prepare for waves of up to four feet and narrow passages that can send the boat shimmying and water gushing over the sides. Wind down in the thermal baths of Benja and then hike to the Canyon of Lengarica where you can relax and enjoy a swim before heading to a local homestay and a barbecue of local food eaten to the sound of traditional music.

Day 3

Gjirokastra

Gjirokastra

Hiking

4.5hrs

Hike around the beautiful and culturally rich city of Gjirokastra, including the archaeological park of Antigonea, Saraqinisht village and the Spille Monastery. After lunch, it’s time to say goodbye, head back to the seaport and cross the water to Corfu airport. You can decide whether you're going to spend your last hours at the beach of Saranda or in Corfu before flying back home. (Ferry departs at 16:00)

Day 1

Apartment · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Homestay · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Albanian restaurants use lots of local, natural produce, usually accompanied by wine from the local vineyards. You're likely to taste local specialities such as pies (byrek) with meat and leek, stuffed zucchini, pispili with cornflour and of course lamb/goat meat served with vegetables and the dairy products that the area is known for. Fresh seafood is also possible close to the coast. Typical desserts are kabuni with raisins (a sweet rice dish) and marmalade (gliko) of walnut, fig, plum, etc. Most dietary requirements can be catered for, just let your host know when booking.

What is the accommodation like?

Saranda

You’ll spend your first night in a comfortable apartment in Saranda. The apartment is air-conditioned with a TV, lounge area and free WiFi.

Peshtan village

On your second night, you'll stay at a homestay in Peshtan village, close to Permet where you can exchange stories with the local residents.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Saranda Seaport

9:45

Ends

Saranda Seaport

16:00

Transfers

Your guide will meet you at the seaport in Saranda from the Corfu ferry. At the end you'll be returned to the seaport with plenty of time to return to Corfu Airport and your flight home. Please note, there is a 1-hour time difference between Corfu and Saranda.

Travel options

There are direct flights from across the UK and Europe to Corfu Airport but your host advises that you book one that allows you to catch the 9:00 ferry to Saranda. They will contact you before you leave to check your arrival and departure plans.

What about all the carbon?

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Neoprene suits (rafting & kayaking)
  • Life jacket
  • Helmet
  • Kayaks
  • Snorkelling equipment

What do I need to bring?

  • Breathable light-weight waterproof gear (Goretex, Sympatex, etc)
  • Wind-stopper jacket
  • Small backpack with rain coverage
  • Long trousers for hiking
  • Hiking boots
  • Cap
  • Sunblock
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Headlamp
  • Hiking poles
  • Water bottle
  • Sunglasses and sunblock
  • Camera
  • Mobile phone
  • Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)

No optional extras are available for this trip.

Helen(June 2019)

The rafting was great! Totally awesome - loved it. Also, the hike as felt pushed, homestay with sheep and mountain mini hike.

Rebecca(April 2019)
Getting out in unspoilt nature on land and...
Getting out in unspoilt nature on land and...

Getting out in unspoilt nature on land and water was great.

Rosie(April 2019)

Everything was great! The whole trip and activities were well organised. The hosts were great and very professional. I would like to especially mention Linkest who was incredibly attentive and made sure we were all well looked after. I hadn’t done water sports before as I’m not a swimmer and I’m a little afraid of heights he made sure I felt safe and comfortable during all the activities which meant I was able to enjoy them to the fullest. He was also full of passion about his country and its people and was full of knowledge about its history which made it also a very interesting trip as well as fun.

Guy(September 2018)

Homestay, hospitality, food and the guide were great.

Rachel(August 2018)

The people, activities and the hosts were great.

Kathryn(June 2018)

I thought the overall trip was fantastic and Albania is such a beautiful country. The stops that we did were in incredibly beautiful locations, the activities were a good mix and this is a great itinerary and varied trip. The homestay was gorgeous, the rafting was amazing fun and the lunch at a local house on the third day was incredible.

Dominique(June 2018)

Exploring a completely unspoilt country. Although a short trip, you cover so much ground so get a real feel for the natural beauty of the country. Very active - so ideal for proper adventurers!

Dominique(June 2018)

A fantastic opportunity to really explore an unspoilt country that is off the beaten track. Good mix of activities to make the most of a short trip.

James(May 2018)
Great mix of culture and adventure. 
...
Great mix of culture and adventure. ...

Great mix of culture and adventure.

Finlay(March 2018)

I've travelled much of Europe, but Albania was the first time I'd felt like I was off the beaten track. Other than my friendly fellow travellers, I encountered no other tourists meaning that the spoils of this gem of a country could be enjoyed to myself - of which there were many. From kicking back in thermal springs in the shadow of the Nemeckes mountains to enjoying unbelievably kind hospitality in Peshtan, this trip isn't one I will forget in a hurry.

Robert(March 2018)

The hosting was particularly good; all of the staff were particularly friendly and a pleasure to get to know. They always ensured we had everything we needed and seemed passionate about both explaining and involving us in Albanian culture. Our homestay was a particular high point as it really thrust us into Albanian culture... and involved copious amounts of alcohol. Drinking Raki ( a somewhat potent local drink) and Scotch together whilst snacking on roasted walnuts sure helped create a real sense of camaraderie for the group.

To enjoy this trip to the full you should be in good physical condition and ready for some class III rafting.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

The climate is decidedly Mediterranean across the whole coastal area with hot summers bordering on straight-up heat waves. The best time to visit Albania is between May and June and September. The average temperature in June is between 16.5°C and 27.5°C, with possible peaks as low as 6°C and as high as 37°C.

Generally, yes. Crime and violence does occur in some areas, but is not typically targeted at foreigners.

Scientific knowledge of the river is still extremely limited and we know more about the eco-systems of waterways in South America and Asia than we do the Vjosa. Many endangered species, like the European eel and the greater flamingo, depend on the free-flowing waters of the Vjosa for their livelihood, however, the Albanian government is currently planning to build a series of hydroelectric dams upstream, which would threaten both the local wildlife and the livelihood of the river-bank's residents. By supporting the Vjosa's local businesses, we can help them continue their fight against the proposed plans to destroy this wild and beautiful place.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. Read more information about the local teams we partner with.

Private trip

Got questions? We've got answers

Our friendly and expert team is on hand to help you choose one of our adventures. So if you want answers to questions like "Who else is going?" or anything else about this trip – please get in touch.

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You'll be invited to join a WhatsApp group to get to know each other before your big adventure together. Full details

DEPARTURE DATES

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