Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Kayak, Snorkel and Hike the Canyons of Albania

Kayak on protected waters, wild swim in natural pools and trek into the spectacular, permanently green ecosystem of the Osumi canyon

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Trip Ref #9614

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Kayak, Snorkel and Hike the Canyons of Albania

Kayak on protected waters, wild swim in natural pools and trek into the spectacular, permanently green ecosystem of the Osumi canyon

DURATION

5 nights

LOCATION

Albania

ANNUAL LEAVE

4 days off work

SEASON

Mar—Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Tirana International Airport, Albania

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse · Hotel

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No previous experience is needed but you should be in relatively good shape and a confident swimmer.

Trek the rugged Tomorr Mountains around Mount Tomori (2416m) with some of the best views in the whole of Albania

Kayak the clear waters of the protected Karavasta lagoon - home to the Dalmatian Pelican.

Explore the green waters of the unspoilt Osumi Canyon - one of Europe's most spectacular natural attractions - and wild swim in natural pools along the way

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Diane, May 2022

    A great mix of adventure and beautiful scenery. As tourism is still in its infancy in Albania, make allowances for teething problems, but it does mean fewer tourists. The mountain hike is at least twice the duration stated; and take bug spray on this trip!

    John, May 2022

    This was a fantastic and varied trip in a beautiful country with great activities and a packed itinerary of adventure and culture. The local hosts were superb and made us feel very welcome. We would highly recommend this trip.

    Fin, May 2022

    A thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Albania and it's beautiful landscapes, friendly people, and delicious food. Our guides/hosts did an excellent job of taking care of us, and were highly entertaining. All the accommodation was clean and comfortable (I paid a supplement for single occupancy), and the food plentiful. The highlight for me was the hike around Mount Tomori, which is the only activity that warrants the moderate difficulty rating for the trip in my view (mainly on account of the 33 degree heat). To help you assess what 'moderate' is it was around 12km and 530m total ascent. However, this wasn't a circular walk as initially intended; the 4x4s picked us up at a more convenient location so your mileage may vary. It was fine in trail shoes/hiking trainers if you prefer those to boots.

    Angharad, May 2022

    This was a fantastic trip that felt very adventurous! I can't believe how much we squeezed into 6 days, and yet I never felt rushed. The variety of activities is definitely a strength of this trip, as was the wonderful friendly welcome by our guide Stive! This was my first time snorkelling and rafting and found the level was perfect. The hike is challenging in places, but absolutely stunning and worth the effort! The landscapes in Albania are breath-taking, I definitely recommend a visit.

    Hannah, May 2022

    Albania is such a beautiful country with lovely friendly people. I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves a action packed week. Top tip, it’s extremely hot with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees in May so would recommend going in the shoulder months.

    Lucy, May 2022

    Such a lovely trip with beautiful scenery, the highlight for me was definitely the rafting which is an experience I will never forget and also speed boating to swim in the cave. Our host Stiv was wonderful and cared about all of us and was always checking in to make sure we were all ok and having a good time. The only thing I would change about the trip is having more food options. On set menu days there was a lot of muscles and other things that I don’t eat so I sometimes found it hard to eat a full meal. Also it says on the website that we would be eating fish but we didn’t have any so think this might be a translation problem. There is alot of car travel on this trip so if you get car sick then definitely bring car sickness tablets with you. Also there are a lot of steep up hill hikes so I would recommend getting your fitness levels up before coming on the trip.

    Diane, May 2022

    A great mix of adventure and beautiful scenery. As tourism is still in its infancy in Albania, make allowances for teething problems, but it does mean fewer tourists. The mountain hike is at least twice the duration stated; and take bug spray on this trip!

    Bridget, May 2022

    This trip is packed with activity is a beautiful country. The rafting in the canyon and the Tomorr trek the main highlights. A great way to get an insight into a fascinating country.

    Dave, April 2022

    Great trip. Nice mix of town and countryside, and activities and downtime. The rafting was the highlight for me: an exhilarating experience in a stunning natural landscape. The town of Berat was very picturesque, and it was super atmospheric hearing the evening call to prayer. The seaside town of Vlore had lots of nice restaurants, hotel skyscrapers and a charming (if small) old town. The local host Alma and guide Stiven were friendly, knowledgeable and clearly loved sharing some of the highlights of their country with us.

    Joshua, April 2022

    A great adventurous trip in Eastern Europe but with some potential areas of improvement… An amazing trip filled with some great activities such as hiking, rafting and exploring caves - all of this within an amazing country, hosted by friendly locals and also having a great guy to lead us throughout the trip. The accommodation was great in each location and provided a welcome place to relax at the end of each day. On the flip side, a few areas to be aware of include the length of time between locations/activities (if you get car sick easily, bring some tablets!), the food selection which was quite beige and didn’t taste too exciting along with the basic packing list provided; have a read through the itinerary and use your common sense to consider what else might be useful to bring with you Overall a really good trip in a great location with a friendly host and adventurous activities; the food could be better and travel times could be shorter but otherwise a highly recommended trip!

    Included

    Guides

    Local, expert, English-speaking guides

    Accommodation

    5 nights in small local guesthouses and hotels

    Meals

    Munch on traditional local cuisine throughout

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in between

    Equipment

    Everything you need for kayaking, rafting and snorkelling

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Personal expenses

    Some meals as described

    Travel insurance

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Tirana International Airport (TIA)

    Arrive any time on Day 1

    Ends

    Tirana International Airport (TIA)

    18:00 on Day 6

    Transfers

    Any time on Day 1 your host will arrange your transfer from the airport to the hotel in Tirana. On Day 6 you'll be dropped off at the airport in time to catch any flight leaving after 19:30.

    If you are arriving or departing outside those days your host can arrange private airport transfers for an small extra cost. See Optional Extras for details.

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Tirana from major airports across the UK and Europe.

    Day 1

    Guesthouse · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3 – Day 4

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 5

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 6

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    Albanian food is hearty and healthy, usually based around meat and vegetables, much of which is seasonal and sourced locally. Popular dishes include turkey, lamb or goat Pershesh, served with a local bread known as Kulac, a meat and leek pie made with thin pastry called Byrek and freshly caught fish served in a Mediterranean style. Fish dishes are often flavoured with white vinegar and olive oil grown in Southern Albania and many dishes are served with wine from one the local vineyards.

    Please let us know of any dietary requirements in advance.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Tirana

    On night one you'll stay at the Hotel Artistic Tirana, a newly refurbished building in the heart of the city.

    Vlore

    On nights two and three you’ll stay at Hotel Semajo in Vlore, located just 150 metres from the nearby beach.

    Berat

    On nights four and five you’ll stay at Hotel Castle Park, set in a quiet area of woodland around 1.5 kilometres from the centre of Berat town.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

    Day 1

    Discover Tirana

    Head for Albania's colourful capital city of Tirana, home to a thriving café culture and check into your guesthouse in the heart of town. Get to know your travelling companions over a night of traditional Albanian food at one of the best restaurants in town.

    Day 2

    Kayaking at the beautiful Karavasta Lagoon

    Kayaking

    2.5hrs

    Hiking

    1.5hrs

    Paddle on the clear, blue waters of the largest lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea. This protected reserve offers a chance to see the endangered and extremely rare Dalmatian Pelican. After a delicious shellfish lunch you'll also get the chance to walk to a stunning lookout out across the Adriatic sea. You'll reach Vlore in the evening for a dinner by the sea.

    After lunch, head to the historic city of Vlora on the Adriatic coast, founded by the Ancient Greeks in 600BC and check into a locally owned hotel for the night.

    Day 3

    Protected waters, mysterious caves

    Snorkeling

    2hrs

    Swimming

    2hrs

    Explore the beautiful Karaburun Peninsula by speedboat and then snorkel in the Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park – the only reserve of its kind in the country. If you’re lucky you might see seals, turtles and dolphins. Visit the mysterious cave at Haxhi Aliu, used by traders and smugglers for millennia, then sunbathe on an untouched beach and have a picnic lunch by the water. In the afternoon, return to Vlore and enjoy a delicious dinner of locally caught fish and seafood.

    Day 4

    Enter the Osumi Canyon

    Hiking

    2hrs

    Swimming

    2hrs

    Rafting

    2hrs

    Enter the Osumi Canyon - one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Europe. You’ll swim in a natural pool, raft or river hike (depending on the water level, please read the FAQ for more info) along the River Osum, explore local landmarks like the Crocodile Head, Love Waterfall and Devils Gate, surrounded by the canyon’s unique, ecosystem that stays lush and green all year round.

    From there you’ll return to Berat and check into your guesthouse, after which you’re free to explore the town and eat in any of the local restaurants.

    Day 5

    Hike the Tomorr Mountains

    Hiking

    6hrs · 12km

    Trek through the Tomorr Mountains, one of the last wild sanctuaries for wolves and bears left in Europe and a spiritual place for the Albanian people. Enjoy the views over Tomori, one of country’s most magnificent mountains, then unwind in a local winery and taste some of the local wine, cheese and olives. On the subject of food, save room for dinner at the Castle Park Hotel - one of the best restaurants in the Berati area.

    Day 6

    Return to Tirana

    Hiking

    1.5hrs

    Visit the ancient, fortified city of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Descend into the mysterious Cave of Pellumbas (360 metres) and check out the huge stalagmites and stalactites (be sure to watch out for low flying bats). After lunch in one of the local villages, you’ll return to Tirana and begin your journey home.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    What's included?

    All kayaking, rafting and snorkelling equipment

    What do I need to bring?

    • Small backpack with rain coverage
    • Additional pair of shoes that can be wet (for rafting and kayaking)
    • Breathable, light-weight waterproof clothing
    • Wind-stopper jacket
    • Cap or hat
    • Sunglasses
    • Headtorch
    • Sunblock
    • Water bottle
    • Camera
    • Mosquito repellant
    • Car sickness tablets (optional)

    Optional Private Room Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room Upgrade

    Per Person

    Pre/post trip accommodation

    Payable Before Departure

    Pre/post trip accommodation

    Per Night

    Berat to Tirana Airport

    Payable Before Departure

    Berat to Tirana Airport

    Tirana Airport to the hotel in Tirana

    Payable Before Departure

    Tirana Airport to the hotel in Tirana

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 135kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    No previous experience is needed, however a moderate level of fitness is required along with the ability to swim.

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

    The best months for hiking in Albania are February to June, and September to November, when the weather is warm and sunny, reaching temperatures of around 30 degrees. July and August can be hotter, however, this is usually broken up by cool coastal breezes.

    The Osumi Canyon offers the opportunity for rafting from March until the end of June. During the winter months, water levels are too high to offer rafting in a safe environment. We will hike along the canyon and jump into pools along the river instead.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    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.

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