Bee-amazed: Discovering beekeeping in the mountain scenery of Albania's North
Following Albania's long tradition of beekeeping, this Honey Trail takes us to the North of the country: We visit two important honey regions: Lezha, particularly known for its sage honey and Tropojë, famous for its chestnut honey. We discover the national park of Valbonë and the nature reserve Gashi river - one of the 'last islands' of wild virgin forests in Europe. We visit bees and their keepers, experience Albania’s amazing nature that provides such excellent conditions for beekeeping, taste the goodness of Albanian cuisine and delve into the country's ancient history at places like Shkodra, Pukë and Krujë.
Day 1: Tirana
Hotel transfer. After a walk in the city centre, we enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Tirana - Lezhë region - Shkodër
We visit the Kuqi Organic Farm and meet the head of the Albanian Beekeeping Association. She shares with us her passion for bees and honey specialties from different regions. We enjoy a wonderful homegrown lunch and a first-hand experience of organic agriculture in Albania. We continue to Lezhë county to meet an association of honey producers committed to the high quality honeys of northern Albania and get a taste of the flavours of Albania’s native Kallmet at a winery (kantina) before we reach Shkodër.
Day 3: Shkodër
We explore the south shore of Lake Shkodër from Shiroka to Zogaj, enjoying gorgeous views of the lake below Mount Tarabosh and insights into the artisanal production of qilim (the typical carpets) at a local weaving workshop. And there is of course time for a dip in the lake! In the afternoon, we drive up to Ura e Shtrenjtë, a remote village where we meet with a cooperative of farmers who expanded to honey production to learn more how beekeeping supports local livelihoods. Back in Shkodër, there is time to discover its historic centre for dinner.
Day 4: Shkodër – Koman Lake - Dushaj – Valbonë
We head for the Albanian Alps and there is no better way for that than taking the ferry along the Koman reservoir to Fierzë: It offers impressive views of the mountain gorges. We arrive in time for the harvesting of the chestnut honey and visit a beekeeper from Dushaj in the heart of Tropoja's chestnuts massif to learn more about the production of this specialty. Staying in Valbonë, we enjoy the breathtaking panorama of high peaks that surrounds the national park and a stunning spectacle of stars at night.
June 17 - 24, 2018
Price per person
Early bee rate til 15.3.2018: 925EUR
Normal price: 965 EUR
Single room supplement: 100EUR
• 7 nights accommodation & breakfast
• 5 dinner and 6 lunch meals (incl. 1x picnic lunch)
• Local German-speaking tour guide
• All transfers and activities as detailed in the itinerary
Day 5: Tropojë - Gashi river
We set off with a local ranger to discover Albania's latest UNESCO World Heritage site - the Gashi River (Lumi i Gashit). This remote Strict Nature Reserve is a hidden gem located in the border zone with Montenegro and Kosovo and forms part of the European Green Belt. With a picnic-lunch in our backpacks, we explore this extraordinary valley with its natural beauty meandering through narrow ravines, slopes covered with forests and a unique flora and fauna. After a day's hike we enjoy the traditional dinner of Tropojë.
Day 6: Tropojë - Pukë
Our journey continues via the Fierza reservoir to Pukë: Off the beaten track, the town itself is at 838 metres one of the highest in Albania. It is known for its rich tradition and alpine nature, surrounded by caves, lakes, and chestnut trees. We explore the region with a visit to the wonderful 'At Mhill Troshani' Bio-Farm: A unique village initiative in the remote Kçirë that sells their organic produce across Albania. We meet with a women beekeeper at her apiary, getting up close with her bees and the apiculture in the region. In the evening is time for a visit to the local brewery to broaden our taste horizons with some Puka Birra.
Day 7: Pukë - Vau I Dejës - Krujë
We embark on a boat trip to the lush green Shurdhah Island in the Vau i Dejës Reservoir: Once the site of the Illyrian settlement Sarda it offers spectacular views over the lake while exploring the ancient ruins. We continue to Fishtë for an excellent Albanian slow food experience at the farm of Mrizi I Zanave. The charming medieval Krujë is our final stop: It boasts enormous historical importance as the center of the first independent Albanian state. Located at the foot of Mount Krujë it offers us spectacular views all the way to the Adriatic Sea.
Day 8: Krujë - Airport
Breakfast & airport transfer