Embark on an enchanting journey along the medieval Zagoria caravan routes, immersing yourself in a realm of timeless legends, folklore, and melodies. Explore the remnants of the ancient Ilirian civilization, meander through medieval villages, and discover hidden gems like secluded churches and monasteries. Marvel at the exceptional mountain bridges constructed during Ali Pasha's rule, boasting rare and exquisite designs. The climax of this extraordinary trail awaits you at Swallow’s Rock, a breathtaking ascent..
Connect with the warm-hearted locals, gaining insights into their customs and way of life, all while experiencing the genuine hospitality of authentic homestay accommodations. Our knowledgeable guides not only prioritize your safety but also make excellent companions, sharing their expertise and engaging in delightful conversations.
Lets celebrate the harmonious bond between humanity, horses, nature, and culture!
Kristina, born in Albania, is a journalist with a unique background in history and archaeology,
adding depth to her perspective. Having worked in various national and international media outlets, she
has honed her skills in storytelling. However, her professional journey takes a distinctive turn as she
intertwines her passion for horses with her journalistic pursuits.
Kristina`s deep affinity for horses goes beyond a mere interest, it is a lifelong passion that has become a
driving force in her endeavors. Recognizing the potential of Albania`s cultural and natural treasures, she
has committed herself to building some of the finest horse holidays in the country. Her vision extends
beyond tourism, emphasizing the importance of partnerships with horses, the preservation of nature,
and support for local communities.
In Kristina`s philosophy, a horse represents more than a companion on the trails it symbolizes a
partnership rooted in mutual respect and understanding. Her commitment to nature protection
underscores a belief in sustainable practices, ensuring that the beauty of heritage, culture, and nature is
preserved for future generations.
Away from the bustling world of journalism and equestrian ventures, Kristina finds solace in her
hobbies—reading, travel, horse riding, and writing. These activities not only reflect her diverse interests
but also contribute to the well-rounded perspective she brings to her role as a journalist and an
advocate for responsible tourism.
Kristina Fidhi stands at the intersection of passion, profession, and purpose, weaving together a
narrative that celebrates the rich tapestry of Albania`s history, culture, and natural beauty while
championing the symbiotic relationship between humans and horses. Her story is one of dedication to
sustainable practices, community empowerment, and the enduring connection between people, horses,
and the environment.
Enjoy the Breathtaking Views
Prepare to be amazed as the mountainous ecosystem rapidly transforms before your eyes
Live Like a Local
Experience the evening and night in a village houses, relishing homemade traditional food and beverages
See the Extraordinary Monuments
Pass by the remnants of different heritage sites - castles, churches, bridges ans many more
Arrive at Tirana airport, aiming for a morning arrival but no later than 14:30 to allow time for transfer and a visit to Gjirokastra. The drive to Gjirokastra will take approximately 3 hours. Once you reach your hotel, conveniently located just a 10-minute walk from the historical center of Gjirokastra, settle in and get ready to explore. Before dinner, take a leisurely stroll through the captivating historical town and the old Bazaar. Along the way, you can visit various attractions such as Enver Hoxha’s house, Gjirokastra castle, the church of the Old Bazaar, the mosque of the Bazar, and the Skenduli house, which offers a glimpse into traditional life in Gjirokastra.
For dinner, enjoy a delicious meal at a traditional restaurant. During this time, your guides will be available to discuss the trail with you, addressing any questions or requests you may have and providing valuable advice and insights. We highly recommend purchasing a map of the area before dinner to familiarize yourself with the itinerary and enhance your understanding of the upcoming journey.
Ride towards the village of Karjan
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we will proceed to the next part of our adventure—a horseback ride through the picturesque countryside towards the charming medieval village of Karjan. This village embodies tradition and serves as a rural haven for passing caravans, boasting quaint churches and an ancient Roman bridge. As we traverse the rural landscape, we will encounter small houses, gardens, and witness traditional farming and cultivation practices. The journey unfolds amidst a backdrop of rolling hills, serene valleys, babbling water streams, and majestic cliffs. Along the way, we will be treated to breathtaking views of the River Drino, also known as the “Tree of Life” river, a significant water source deeply rooted in ancient pagan beliefs.
En route, we will encounter the remnants of the Santa Triada castle, which was reconstructed by Ali Pasha between 1809 and 1810. This strategically positioned castle once served as a control point for caravan routes and later found utility in military affairs during the socialist era. We will pause for a well-deserved lunch break in the scenic Shen Toder village. Afterward, we will continue our journey, riding for approximately 1.5 hours, until we finally arrive at the enchanting village of Karjan. Here, we will be warmly welcomed by a local family who will provide us with accommodation. For dinner, we will have the opportunity to savor delectable dishes made from locally grown ingredients sourced from their own garden, accompanied by raki and wine, offering a true taste of the region.
Riding Hours: 4-5
After breakfast we will continue further north to the villages of Small Labova and the valley of Cajupi. We will follow the ancient merchant’s coble stone road of Zhapa with its mountain panorama, wide view of the hills and valleys.
The first break will be in Small Labova, a village well known all over the south for its wonderful Church and the big houses belonging to the merchants which are now mostly ruined. Labova is the birthplace of Vangjel Zhapa, the organizer of the first Modern Olympic Games. Zhapa was a well-known businessman and philanthropist who lived around 200 years ago. After visiting the church a very unique mediaeval building you will start riding up the mountain. You will be impressed by the mountain’s rare vegetation such as mountain tea, oregano, wild rose and other endemic plants like digitalis or ‘Dig–Dag’ as it’s known locally.
We follow the mountain path to the valley of Cajupi where we stop by a cattle of 1000 sheep to visit shepherds and spent lunch with them. You will have the chance to taste the Brati famous spring water, a typical station of the old caravans with its small tower “karakoll”.
After a nice gallop through Cajupi valley, the trail will follow the medieval Caravan pathway with its famous bandit hideout ‘Hija e Mallkuar’ or ‘The Cursed Shadow’. From here, medieval thieves could rob the caravans passing through Zagoria. The final destination of today will be the village of Nderan, placed in the heart of Zagoria region. This village will be our destination for two nights. Dinner will be a delicious mixture of local products, raki and wine. You can join the local life and accompany the family during the milking process, dinner preparation or have a look at the families, farming animals and garden.
Riding hours: 6
Towards the Nderan village
Wake up to the refreshing mountain air and savor a traditional breakfast of homemade bread, cookies, butter, jam, eggs, cheese, honey, and milk. Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of mountain tea, a local specialty.
Embark on a captivating horseback ride through Lliar, Hoshteva, Koncka, and Nivan villages, encountering diverse landscapes of cliffs, rivers, woods, and hills. Take in the scents of wildflowers, the presence of shepherds, and the charm of roaming animals. Follow an ancient horse pathway that connected major commercial centers in Southern Albania, passing by the impressive Rock of Zhej. Pause at the reconstructed Lliar water spring, commissioned by Ali Pasha. Experience a thrilling downhill ride to the ruins of a medieval stone bridge (now collapsed) and perhaps take a summer swim. Explore the unique church of Hoshteva, adorned with pagan-inspired wall paintings, and pass by the Byzantine church of Lliar and the 1702-built Nivan Saint Mehilli monastery. Cross the medieval bridge to reach Nderan village, a historical center of medieval livestock fairs, where you’ll spend the night in the welcoming embrace of a local family.
Riding hours: 5-6
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Through the Pogoni region
Prepare for an exhilarating morning as we embark on an unforgettable equestrian adventure. Following a delightful country breakfast, we will journey through a picturesque mountain valley, perfect for invigorating gallops. Along the way, we’ll pass by secluded farms, majestic cliffs, and hidden historical trails, veering away from the typical tourist paths. This route through the captivating Pogoni region offers a true journey through time, where ancient ruins and mythical natural wonders await our discovery.
Our midday picnic will be enjoyed near the renowned stone bridge of Hllomo or Kacarello’s, a remarkable architectural gem from the merchant era. This isolated marvel can only be reached by horse, adding to its mystique and allure.
After a thrilling five-hour ride, we will arrive at the heart of the Pogoni region, the charming mountain village of Polican, predominantly inhabited by a Greek minority. You will have the opportunity to spend the night with a Greek minority family, immersing yourself in their rich cultural heritage. In their company, you can explore fascinating medieval cult monuments that hold a special place in the village’s history.
As evening descends, prepare to indulge in the gastronomic delights of the region. Polican is renowned for being one of the foremost producers of mountain honey in South Albania. Here, you will have the pleasure of savouring an array of honey flavours, with nearly ten different varieties available throughout the seasons, each capturing the essence of the local bee pastures.
This day promises an exciting blend of adventure, cultural exploration, and culinary delights, as we delve into the hidden treasures of the Pogoni region.
Riding hours 4-5
Reaching the Libohova
Today, we bid farewell to the Greek minority as we set our sights on the town of Libohova. The journey ahead will take us through challenging yet breath-taking mountain landscapes, culminating in a grand finale at Swallow Rock, perched 500 meters above the glistening Suha River. Depending on the weather, our chosen picnic spot will either be alongside the Suha River, allowing for a refreshing swim, or at the historic Church of Labova of the Cross. In both instances, we will have the opportunity to explore this extraordinary monument, the oldest church in Albania, constructed by Justinian the Great in 554. It holds great significance as the site where Justinian married his wife, Teodora, with the villagers preserving her wedding dress for generations. Adorned with a captivating wooden iconostasis adorned with floral and symbolic animal scenes, the church exudes a timeless charm. We will pause for lunch at a delightful local restaurant known for its exceptional regional cuisine.
In the afternoon, our journey continues to Libohova, a charming town nestled at the base of the majestic Bureto Mountain. Archaeological evidence indicates its ancient roots, but it flourished in the 17th century, evolving into a bustling commercial hub. During the afternoon, you may opt to take a leisurely stroll, approximately one hour in duration, to visit the historic Libohova Castle, an esteemed Bektashi spiritual site, and the tomb of Shanisha, sister of Ali Pasha.
For the night, you will be warmly welcomed into a local family’s home in Libohova, where you will have the pleasure of savouring delicious local cuisine. Immerse yourself in the farm life by engaging in activities such as assisting with chores, cooking, feeding the horses, or even enjoying local music. It’s a chance to truly experience the local way of life and forge unforgettable memories.
Riding hours: 5
Today’s ride will be relatively short but filled with captivating scenery. We’ll begin our morning by traversing rolling hills, passing through the picturesque Drino’s Valley, and crossing a few charming water streams. As we ascend a steep hill, we will enter the magnificent Antigonea National Park, where we will pause for a visit. This ancient site, constructed by King Pyrrhus in 295 BC, holds the name of his first wife, Antigona, who was the daughter of King Ptolemeus of Egypt. Take your time to explore the rich historical significance of this remarkable place before we continue our journey.
After our visit, we will ride for an additional hour until we reach the stable, where you will have the unique opportunity to experience the joy of releasing your horses and witnessing their freedom. Following this exhilarating experience, a delightful picnic lunch, prepared by your previous host family, awaits us in the village of “Asim Zeneli,” just a short five-minute drive from the stable.
Once we have satisfied our appetites, we will return to the same hotel in Gjirokastra for accommodation. The entire afternoon will be at your leisure, providing time to make preparations for your departure, explore local museums, or indulge in some souvenir shopping. As the day draws to a close, we will gather for a memorable farewell dinner at a cosy restaurant in the old Bazaar, savouring the last tastes of the local cuisine. Later in the evening, you may choose to join us for a drink at a popular bar, reflecting on the incredible experiences shared throughout our journey.
Riding hours: 3-4
After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred back to the airport of Tirana or the port of Saranda.
Tour organizer's comments
Horse riding is a risk sport and activity and it can be dangerous. We train our horses to be friendly, confident and with a good understanding about their environment, but they are given to the rider with the understanding to ride at own risk.
Single Supplement It may be possible to pay for a single supplement on the first and last night of the trail, but riders must be prepared to share accommodation on the other nights. The single supplement, if we provide a single room, is 25 Euros per night paid here.
Group meeting place
all accommodations and meals from dinner of day 1 till breakfast of day 8;
English speaking guide (second guide if there are more than 4 riders);
water and drinks during the meals;
luggage transport by car from destination to destination.
entrance tickets to monuments or parks;
lunch on day 1;
other services or expenses during free time;
transfer from/to the airport;
the small group supplement (158 Euros/person). This is applicable if only 2 riders are booked onto the ride. If, at the time of departure, more than 2 riders are booked, the small group supplement will be refunded.
up to 10 tourists
It's important to know
Personal equipment you need for the tour
Riding hat Long-sleeved shirts (avoid expensive or favorite clothing) Riding trousers and chaps Gloves
Good mountain shoes with a grip (not too thick) Avoid smooth-soled riding boots
Sun cream Sunglasses Hat
Anti-allergy medicine for insect bites
Torch (flashlight) for walking to feed the horses in the evening
Small camera (avoid large professional cameras)
Copy of passport
Personal saddlebags welcome (provided by riders) Small saddlebags provided by the ride for food and water.
In addition to the other items, including a torch (flashlight) is recommended for walking to the horses to feed them in the evening. This will provide better visibility and ensure your safety during this activity.
Cancellation of booking
In case of early cancellation of the reservation, we will be forced to withhold from you a percentage of the price paid:
cancelling 90 days prior to starting your tour - The complete amount will be refundable
cancelling within 90 - 40 days prior to starting your tour - The deposit of 20 % is not refundable
cancelling within 40 - 30 days prior to starting your tour - 50 % of the total amount will be charged
cancelling within 30 - 20 days prior to starting your tour - 70 % of the total amount will be charged
cancelling within 20 - 7 days prior to starting your tour - 90 % of the total amount will be charged
100 % of the tour price will be charged - Cancelling within 7 days prior to starting your tour
If you want to postpone or change the dates you can do it free of charge 30 days prior to starting your tour. In case you do it less than 30 days prior to starting your tour your deposit of 20% isn’t refundable. Note Paying with a credit card at the place is not possible at the moment.