Guide from Caravan Travel riding holidays

Sea and Mountains of Albania

This horseback trail in Albania is a fast-paced ride for experienced riders. This is a perfect holiday for those eager to discover a preserved environment and ride across varied ecosystems during the week. Riding sure-footed local horses, you will go over exciting mountain paths before you reach the Ionian sea and its pathways lined with olive trees. This trail also follows the tracks of King Ilirian Skerdilajd, on his way to conquer Kaonia 2,300 years ago, and is a great historical and cultural experience!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days (6 riding)
From £1,145

From the horse’s mouth

  • Sea and Mountains of Albania
    May 2019 Marcos aged 47
    There is not enough time or space here to write about how wonderful this trip was and what a life changing experience it was for me. It was a true adventure with amazing ever changing scenery in a gem of a country with honest hard working people and incredible food. The riding was incredibly varied and second to none.... Read all
  • Horseback riders on a mountain trail ride in Albania
    This is a mountainous trail ride for riders with a good head for heights
  • Group of riders cantering Albania
    Although this is a mountainous ride, you will pick up the pace as often as you can
  • Riders walking down a ramp in Albania
    Discover the Albanian culture and heritage on horseback
  • Riders on a riding holiday in Albania, Europe
    Ride from the Albanian mountains to the coast
  • Group of riders arriving to the Ionian Sea
    Riding to the Ionian sea on this trail ride in Albania
  • Albania trail riding holiday
    Riding holiday in Albania with Equus Journeys
  • Rider giving water to her horse during a trail riding holiday
    The horses are local Tarpan and Arab crosses
  • Albania riding holiday, rider and sheep
    Trail riding in Albania
  • Two riders on a trail ride in Albania
    Exploring Albania in the saddle



- A horseback vacation through history: you will find ancient ruins, castles, churches and monasteries sitting adjacent to the bunkers and military infrastructure from Albania's communist past.
- Experience true Albania with the best local cuisine, history and hospitality.
- Accommodation is in local or family guesthouses every night where your host families will provide a delicious local meal.
- From May to the end of September you can enjoy swimming in the sea (without horses) on two of the trail days.

    Your flight to Tirana should ideally land in the morning, but no later than 14:30 to allow time for the transfer and a visit of Gjirokastra with your guides. From the airport the transfer will be by mini-van or off-road car and will take around 3-4 hours (250km).

    Flights are not included but can be booked upon request.

    Quick tip: you can also fly to Corfu and catch the ferry to Saranda, where you will be picked-up. The ferry times can be unpredictable due to local conditions and we advise you arrive a day early.

    Your hotel is a short walk from the historical centre of Gjirokastra: you will have the opportunity to visit the town and old Bazaar before dinner.You can also visit Enver Hoxha’s house, Gjirokastra castle, the church of the Old Bazaar, the mosque of the Bazaar and Skenduli House: this is a good glimpse into the traditional life as it is in Gjirokastra!

    This evening dinner will be served at a traditional restaurant, and you will accompanied by your guides. This is a good time to discuss your riding ability and learn more about the trip before the start of your riding adventure begins in the morning.
  • Day 2 2 : VIROI PARK - PLESAT - FUSHBARDHA - 5-6 hours riding

    A short drive to the stables where you will meet the horses. You will start riding from the lake of Gjirokastra, Viroi Park at 220m above sea level. You will be surprised by how this mountainous ecosystem can change so suddenly, and will see you riding through hilly terrain, small rivers, pine woods, and steep hills. Lunch will be a home-made picnic at the monastery of Cepo - there will be the opportunity to visit the monastery, which has one of the most strategic views of the Drino Valley. Today, only two parts remain from the former monastery complex: the basilica with a dome and dozens of former guesthouses which have hosted travellers for centuries.

    After lunch, you ride down to the river of Kardhiq. Today’s ride finishes after around 5-6 hours at the village of Fushbardha, one of the most important centres of Laberia´s area. You will spend the evening and night in a village house enjoying homemade traditional food and drinks.

    Your guides will go back to Gjirokastra in the evening. It is your responsibility to ensure the horses are fed and watered in the evening, and again in the morning.
  • Day 3 3 : FUSHBARDHA - BORSH - 8 hours riding (incl. leading)

    After a traditional breakfast at the family house, get ready for a very long day riding (8h - up to 9 hours). The ride will follow the tracks of the King Skerdilajd Army which passed through the "Neck of the Rock" around 2,300 years ago. He led the invasion army in 230 BC to the capital of Epirus Phoinike (Finiq). The path combines beautiful woods, mountain climbing, rocky landscapes and ruins of ancient civilizations. Basha Stones, Dhespina cave, the Rock of Kaze, The Valley of Cheries, the Crooked Brook, Shameti Brook, Trullas Neck and Derrasa Hole are some of the local sights en route today. Lunch break will be in a valley surrounded by a small oak forest.

    You continue through the mountain of Borsh towards the next village. Today's landscape offers wild unspoiled views. Flowers, ancient trees, streams, hundreds of goats, sheep and cows will be part of this riding experience. Be prepared to walk for approx. 1h30 during the day on difficult paths and steep hills going down (good mountain hiking shoes are recommended).

    You will arrive at a family house late in the afternoon and enjoy traditional food, rich in olive oil. Wine, raki and mountain tea will be a welcome addition at the end of this long day in the saddle!
  • Day 4 4 : BORSH - PIGERAS - 4 hours riding

    Today is a shorter but very pleasant riding day. First, you will visit the castle of Borsh (known in history as Castle of Sopot) located on a hill at 500m above sea level and dates back to about IV-III century B.C.

    After visiting the Castle ruins you will start a 3 hour ride from Borsh and take the old road along the seaside. Olive trees, oranges, lemons, citrus and grapefruit are planted everywhere on the upper part of the road. Many defence bunkers remained along the seaside of Piqeras, an old fishing village. You will finish your ride in the village and drive to the sea for a lunch break on the beach. After lunch you can enjoy a fairly long break - a siesta and a swim are on the cards! You will visit the village of Shen Vasil, a medieval center with a dark history during the dictatorship era, as it served as a labor camp for political prisoners. Traces of this tumultuous past can still be seen throughout the village.

    You will spend the night in a family house, and perhaps a lovely dinner of seafood, local cheese and salad. Home-made raki and wine will be offered with the meal.
  • Day 5 5 : BUNEC - SHPELLA - HUNDECOVA - SHEN VASIL - 5 hours riding

    This morning you will enjoy breakfast on the terrace with beautiful views over the Ionian Sea. You can enjoy traditional byrek (cheese pie) and cookies, butter, fresh milk and honey. Today's trail will take you to the sea through olive tree terraces to the beach of Bunec. You will ride up again to Lukove village and down to the sea again through some challenging landscapes, reaching Shpella beach for lunch.

    The lunch stop includes the chance to swim (without the horses) and relax for several hours. As you explore the challenging landscapes of the region, you will continue your journey towards the village of Shen Vasil, which you visited the previous day. Along the way, you may encounter herds of sheep and goats accompanied by local shepherds. This region has a strong rural tradition, and you might get a glimpse into the daily lives of the local population.

    Overnight with a local family.
  • Day 6 6 : SHEN VASIL - PHOINIKE - FUSHBADRHA - 6 hours riding

    After breakfast you will reach the valley of Kalasa river and later the hilly valley of Prapanica, where a great gallop awaits. You will ride back along King Skerdilajd Army´s route. South of the river Kalasa valley you can see the Foinike Hill, where Skerdilajd’s army stopped to face the Epirot army in 229 B.C. Olive trees and nice canter tracks will make this day a great riding day in picturesque surroundings. You will continue to ride through the village of Fushe – Verri; you can see the bunkers of the cold war along the ride, representing the military ideology of the system. Picnic lunch under olive trees.

    You will reach the Skerfica mountain neck in the afternoon, where you can enjoy the cold mountain water and another short break. You will pass an old phosphor mine, an ex-labour camp for the political prisoners of the communist regime. Further on you will continue to the village of Fushbardha, that you will have encountered on your first riding day.

    In the evening, dinner served in the garden will let you enjoy homemade food, the fresh mountain air and the hospitality of another local family.
  • Day 7 7 : FUSHEBARDHA - GJIROKASTRA - 4-5 hours riding

    On the final day of the ride, you will make your way back to the stables near Gjirokstra. The trail will take you through diverse landscapes, including pine woods, valleys, and the picturesque Drino's valley.

    You will have the opportunity to enjoy cantering and galloping through open fields. During the ride, you will stop in Asim Zeneli village for a lunch break. This village, like many others in the region, retains its traditional character, providing an authentic glimpse into rural life in Albania. After lunch, you will resume your ride, gradually approaching Gjirokstra. By late afternoon, you will arrive back at the stables, marking the end of your equestrian adventure.

    Farewell dinner in Gjirokastra and overnight at a hotel.

    After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred back to the airport of Tirana. Your flight should depart in the afternoon.

    If you are flying out of Corfu please allow for an extra day to ensure you have time to cross over with the ferry.

Dates & prices

Price details

• Flights to your destination are not included. We can look into the best flight options for you upon request.

• Rates are per person and based on sharing a room (up to 4 beds) in the homes of local hosts.

• Groups are made up of 3-12 riders, with an English-speaking guide.

• Please note: the ride will also confirm for 2 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €158/£140/$175 per person. Once the group has reached 3 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

• Return transfers are not included and will be invoiced:

> Tirana airport to Gjirokastra: €90/£80/$100 return per person, 225 km, 3-4 hours. Flights that fit the normal transfer’s schedule should be planned to arrive no later than 14:30 pm and departures not earlier than 12:00 noon.
If your flights do not match these transfers, a private transfer can be organised from Tirana airport:
- 1 rider: €140/£120/$160 one way
- 2 riders: €70/£65/$80 one way
- 3+ riders: €55/£50/$65 one way
We cannot organise transfers from the city centre. There is a bus every hour starting from the centre of Tirana (behind the opera palace) to the airport, or you can take a taxi.
> Saranda Port to Gjirokastra: €50/£45/$60 return per person, 64km, 1 hour. Transfers departing from Saranda no later than 15:00. If flying in and out of Corfu, please allow one extra day as ferry schedules can be unpredictable due to local conditions.

• It is not possible to guarantee single rooms during the trail. However, you can guarantee a single room for your first and last nights, spent in hotels, for a €25 supplement (per night payable locally in euros)

• Younger riders are welcome on the trail, as long as they have reasonable levels of fitness and sufficient riding abilities.

• The euro is widely accepted in Albania, but please do not bring large sums of money as your holiday is fully inclusive.

• Rider weight limit: 80 kilos, 12st6lb. This is a strict limit as the horses are small and the terrain is demanding.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide


1 support vehicle


Room in private home on D2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Room in a standard hotel on D1 and D7


Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8

Price doesn't include


Return airport transfers, invoiced before you go - see above for details
International flights


Tips to the local team
Entry fees to the museums and local attractions
Small group supplement - see above for the details


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation
Visas and personal purchase



Single room supplement - only possible on the first and last nights.
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    01/06/2024 08/06/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    15/06/2024 22/06/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    29/06/2024 06/07/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    Guaranteed departure
    Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    13/07/2024 20/07/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    27/07/2024 03/08/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    10/08/2024 17/08/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    Guaranteed departure
    Book now
    24/08/2024 31/08/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    Last seats
    Book now
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    07/09/2024 14/09/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420
    21/09/2024 28/09/2024 £1,145 €1,317 $1,420

Equestrian info


The horses are a local breed of Tarpan and Arabian horses. They are small but robust, and perfectly suited to the rocky terrain. There are 23 horses in total, well used to long trail rides and the rocky grounds: steady, brave and sure-footed, they make ideal equine companions.

Guide & local team

Ilir, Aurel and Kristina are specialised in mountainous trail rides. Their objective is to offer a trail combining culture, history, nature, and always in the respect of the horses. They love their country and its history. All trails are accompanied by a lead guide and a back up guide. They speak English, Italian and Greek.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a competent rider, capable of riding at all paces in the outdoors, over steep and technical paths. Previous trail riding experience is recommended.

Rider weight limit: 80kilos, 12.6st, 175lb. This is a strict limit as the horses are small and the terrain is demanding.


The pace is varied to include trots, canters and possible gallops in the valleys. Some of the riding is across varied terrain so you need to be secure in the saddle. There are some technical paths and steep hills where you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot (please make sure to wear appropriate footwear). The horses are sure-footed, make sure to trust their judgement!

Tacking ability and participation

You will be asked to help look after the horses in the morning, at lunch time and dinner time. Please note that the horses stay in paddocks near your guesthouses while the guides go back to the stables for the night, wich means you will be asked to feed the horses in the evening and morning.

You can help groom and tack up although this is not mandatory.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You should have experience riding outdoors on trails and be confident riding in open spaces. You need to be fit enough for this trail. On some occasions you will be asked to dismount and lead your horse on foot over steep hills and rocky terrain. Some paths are close to the cliffs, so this is not suitable for riders suffering from vertigo.

The terrain is quite rugged and stony - the horses are well trained, sure-footed and quite used to navigating terrain that would be tricky for most European/Western horses.

Please note that although this trail includes some beach riding, any fast riding takes place along an old path 200m from the beach. The sand is rocky and therefore is only suitable for walking on. The mountain horses are also not too keen on the water so will not tend to want to paddle!

Equestrian equipment

English saddles and bridles.

Personal saddlebags are welcome if riders would like to bring their own. Small saddlebags are provided by the ride but just for food and water.

Helmets are mandatory and you should bring your own.

Travel info


You will stay in modest homestay accommodation with locals, except for the first and last nights that are spent in hotels. This is a fantastic way to discover the local culture and learn about the country.

Hotel: double or triple bedrooms, WC and shared showers. Wifi.
Guesthouses: double bedrooms (sometimes up to 3 or 4 beds), shared bathrooms. Your hosts don't necessarily speak English but a little bit of raki and sign language go a long way!

Very limited internet access during the trail, with no guarantees for it at all.


The local gastronomy is delicious and varied. During the ride, you will enjoy freshly prepared meals that will give you a sample of the Albanian gastronomy.

Country breakfast with local dairy products, honey, pancakes; pies and cakes, eggs, milk, tea and coffee.
Picnic lunches. In the morning you prepare your own lunch according to your taste (bread, cheese, vegetables, eggs...). Sometimes you will bring this with you in your saddlebags, and sometimes it will be brought to you by the back up vehicle. On some occasions you may have your lunch at a local small restaurant/cafe.
Dinner is a hot meal prepared by your hosts (veal, pork, chicken, goat or fish), with local wines and raki.

Vegetarian meals and allergies can be accommodated, please contact us with your requirements.


This ride takes place in southern Albania which is around 5 degrees warmer than the rest of the country. You will experience different types of weather on the trail; from cooler mountainous air to a warmer climate down on the coast.

The best time to visit Albania is the months of April, May, June and September, with lovely warm weather. July and August are dry and temperatures can be extremely hot, from 25 to 45°C! In October, November and March, there is a chance of rain and temperatures average 10-15°C, with April starting to get warmer.


Tips are left to your discretion and are not mandatory.
The local currency is the Lek, but Euro is widely accepted. Don't bring too much money as this trip is fully inclusive.

Packing list

- Helmets are mandatory and you must bring your own helmet to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays.
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or branches and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain outside July and August and the evenings can be cooler.

- 2 Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Bathing suit and towel

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend good hiking boots with half chaps. There might be some walking over steep trails so we don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged, and normal riding boots with a smooth sole can be slippery when walking on foot.
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Other useful items
- Camera and high capacity memory card.
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre) - plastic bottles are not provided but the team will provide water for you to refill your bottles every day.
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your hold luggage
- Take any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.

Medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (passport, camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- You should also bring a copy of your passport/insurance in case you lose your documents. You can also save a copy into your mobile phone.
- You can bring small gifts or pictures from your country/family to show your hosts.

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?

The Ilyrian King Skerdilajd
Skerdilajd was the Illyirian king of the Ardiaean Kingdom. He played a major role in the Illyrian Wars against the Romans, which gave him fame and recognition amongst his army and the locals of the  region. This trail ride will take you through the route King Skerdilajad and his army took when conquering Kaonia two thousand years ago. The ride combines beautiful natural landscapes and time spent with the locals, who like to chat about their history and traditions. You will be riding through mountain paths with steep ascents and downhill paths, as well as rivers, woods, seaside, monasteries and ancient ruins.

On the blog

Kristina, Aurel and Ilir are the heart and soul behind our riding holidays in Albania.  The three of them have been inseparable since childhood and have come a long way together, from growing up in a country immersed in political turmoil to setting up their very own trail riding business in the Albanian mountains.

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Marcos aged 47 Discovery Bay 3 trips
    May 2019
    There is not enough time or space here to write about how wonderful this trip was and what a life changing experience it was for me. It was a true adventure with amazing ever changing scenery in a gem of a country with honest hard working people and incredible food. The riding was incredibly varied and second to none.... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide