GREECE & ALBANIA
Sunday 29 May - Sunday 5 June 2022
Seven days. Two countries. Memories that will last a lifetime
Join us for seven memorable days and connect with the culture, communities,
conservation and civilisations of Northern Greece and Southern Albania.
The all-inclusive price is £1,500 per person and factors in a contribution to local projects focused on monitoring bears and their environment; preventing human-wildlife conflict; researching the impacts of climate change and deforestation on bear populations and addressing other critical bear conservation challenges.
No interest charges. No hidden fees.
7 nights accommodation at well-reviewed hotels
8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 sumptuous dinners
Albanian/Greek/English speaking professional guides
All transfers including complimentary airport transfers
Prespa Lake boat trips. Visit little-known World Heritage cities
Entrance fee to Arcturos Brown Bear Sanctuary
Organised by The Brun Bear Foundation
We look forward to warmly welcoming you onboard!
OUR EPIC ADVENTURE - GREECE
DAY ONE - ARRIVAL
SUNDAY 29 MAY 2022
For those arriving at Thessaloniki Airport we will be waiting for you. Our transportation and knowledgeable guides will whisk you to our accommodation situated close to the centre of Kastoria with wonderful views of Lake Orestiada and the mountains. Later that evening we’ll gather for the first of many sumptuous meals, get to know each other, briefed on the region and its bears and preview the days ahead in anticipation of an adventure. For those with the energy there is the opportunity to explore Kastoria!
Day two starts with a scenic drive to the village of Nymfaio, home of the Arcturos Brown Bear Sanctuary. A pristine spot at an altitude of 1,350 metres, covered by a natural forest of beech trees and the setting for your memorable encounters with the bears. Afterwards, we’ll explore Nymfaio, one of the 10 most picturesque villages in Europe (UNESCO). We’ll also visit neighbouring village Xino Nero, have time to explore beautiful stone mansions, have Greek coffee in traditional tavernas and lunch will be at an award-winning local restaurant which stocks wines from over 200 local vineyards! Back in Kastoria, we’ll take in the picturesque neighbourhoods of its Old Town. Our day will (of course!) be punctuated by the finest traditional food and one-of-a-kind interactions with nature.
DAY TWO -
VISIT BEAR SANCTUARY
MONDAY 30 MAY 2022
DAY THREE - PRESPA LAKES
The Prespa Lakes are home to rich and varied flora and fauna and a 10 km hike is the perfect way to get acquainted with it while taking in breathtaking, panoramic views of the mountains over the basin. The boat trip that follows will allow us to take in the natural environment from another perspective as well as the Byzantine monuments. We will explore three hidden hermitages of great historical and cultural importance. Lunch will be in the Psarades village .The one-street little island of Agios Achillios, only accessible by foot, is also on the agenda. Dinner is in a small hidden village called Mikrolimni (Small Lake). The restaurant has a magical view of the water and is the perfect location to watch the sun go down on for a warm summer’s night and reflect on another magical day before setting off for Albania in the morning!
TUESDAY 31 MAY 2022
DAY FOUR -
TRANSFER TO ALBANIA
WEDNESDAY 1 JUNE 2022
After breakfast we transfer to Albania!
OUR EPIC ADVENTURE - ALBANIA
DAY FOUR - ARRIVAL
WEDNESDAY 1 JUNE 2022
Our first day in Korça includes a traditional Albanian lunch; a visit to the Morava Bee Farm, famous for its flavourful honey; a tour of the famous Birra Korca Brewery, the birthplace of one of Albania’s most famous beers; a delicious dinner and Albanian music. We will also have free time to explore the city’s beautiful alleyways, markets, museums, and the famous Old Bazaar where we will spend the next four nights.
DAY FIVE -
NATURE AND LOCAL FOOD
On Thursday morning we will pack our backpacks for an exciting adventure involving lakes, nature, and lots of local food. We will drive to the village of Pustec, situated on the shore of Lake Prespa and the location of Prespa National Park.After a tasty lunch, we will visit Pogradec, a beautiful city situated on the banks of Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in Europe. There we will have some time to swim in the clear lake waters and visit Enver Hoxha’s (communist dictator of Albania) favourite holiday spot, the Drilon National Park. We will end our day in the picturesque village of Tushemisht.
THURSDAY 2 JUNE 2022
DAY SIX - KORCA
FRIDAY 3 JUNE 2022
Friday will be a unique day that will give us the chance to forge important connections with the community of Korca and learn more about the local culture, food, and traditions. We will spend our morning at a village primary schoool called Avdulla Isabella, where we will try local food prepared by the students themselves and their families. They will talk to us about the history of various dishes and what makes each one special. In the afternoon we will visit the Kennedi Foundation; a well-established non-profit organisation doing vital community work. Afterwards, we will have free time to explore the city. Over dinner we will enjoy musical entertainment - fittingly - given Korca is known as ‘The City of Serenades’.
On our last day in Albania, we will explore Korca’s beautiful national park ‘Bredhi I Drenoves’. We will hike to the park’s natural monument ‘Guri I Capit’ and stop at the ‘Bear Spring’ for some cold, clean spring water. If we are lucky, we will be able to find bear footprints or even spot bears from afar! We will also have a picnic prepared to have at the park. After the hike, we will get some free time to do some last sightseeing before we head to the restaurant from a traditional Albanian Cooking Lesson and our goodbye dinner. With the help of a chef and two cooks, we will learn how to prepare some of the most famous local dishes, such as lakror (pie), so you can bring a taste of Albania back home. After the cooking lesson, we will spend our last night eating the Albanian dishes we prepared and recount our experiences of Greece and Albania. The following morning will see a scheduled transfer to Thessaloniki Airport.
SATURDAY 4 JUNE 2022
You will need to book your own flights as your flights are NOT included in the costs of this Challenge. You will need to be at Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia airport on Sunday 29 May at 12.00 to take advantage of the group transfer to the first night’s accommodation. If you are making your own additional plans and travelling outside of the Epic Adventure dates then please do let us know well in advance. Transfers are only included if meeting the group at the scheduled times and meeting places.
You are not required to take your luggage with you on trekking days. We advise you bring a day pack for personal sundries, bottled water, light snacks, sun lotion and any medication you may require.
You must hold a valid passport which is entirely compliant with the requirements of the country or countries being visited and the country or countries that represent the next step in your onward journey. For example, UK nationals must have at least six months validity from the date of return to the UK. Some destinations will require two blank pages within it. We will provide guidance. It is your responsibility to ensure that all passport information provided is accurate and that you are compliant.
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