Be Gjirokastrian for a while


Experiencing the living tradition of Gjirokastra, is a Day visit. The visitors are Introduced to the history and heritage of Gjirokastra such as the: ancient handicrafts and artisan traditions; the mastery of home made food; the unique architecture of the Gjirokastra; the challenge of restoration and preservation of the authenticity.

A hands-on experience with the living tradition of Gjirokastra – be Gjirokastrian for a while. This Tour is designed to last 7 days. The visitors will experience features and aspects of daily life, culinary, heritage sites, in UNESCO Gjirokastra and its rural area.

Additional information


Babameto House or similar. Traditional breakfast included.



Day 1: Gjirokastra at first sight – a Chronicle in Stone

Starting time 09.00
Introduction to the history and heritage of Gjirokastra: Visit the Castle and the Gjirokastra Museum.
Ancient handicrafts and artisan traditions of Gjirokastra: Meeting artisans and handmade souvenir producers in the Medieval Bazaar. Shopping for personalized souvenirs
Tasting the mastery of Gjirokastra home cooking: Lunch with homemade food in a typical historic house. Tasting traditional dishes of Gjirokastra: qifqi and hoshaf.
Written in Stone, the unique architecture of the Gjirokastra: Walk upon the unique cobblestone streets. Medieval Bazaar, Palorto neighborhood, and meeting a stone-carving master. Socializing with the locals
Ottoman-style Gjirokastra houses and life in the past: Visit the tower house of Zekate and meet the family. Visting the Babameto House. An example of revitalization in the effort to save the stone city.
Evening of entertainment and traditional dinner at the 19th century Babameto House: Cooking, dancing, and singing together. Iso-polyphonic singing, traditional dance, and local jokes and anecdotes.

Day 2: Life in Gjirokastra – the challenge of saving the historic city

Starting time 09.00
Visiting the Skenduli House: The challenge of preservation and keeping the authenticity.
A visit to the newly restored home of the most famous Albanian writer: Ismail Kadare: The architecture and life of Kadare’s hometown,
Traditional dresses and costumes: Visit the Ethnographic Museum and meet a senior artisan who works on costumes
Lunch from a traditional wood stove: Lunch cooked together. Three local recipes prepared for guests with written recipes to take home
Iso-polyphony: the UNESCO-listed Art of Singing: Meeting an Iso-polyphonic group. Learning some traditional dance.
Relaxation: Visit the “Mother of the Waters” source and lake park. Walking/cycling/driving 4 km from Gjirokastra. Dinner at “Freskia”, restaurant by the lake.

Day 3: A day in the Gjirokastra Countryside

Starting time 09.00
Traveling through picturesque Drino Valley, its rich history and villages: Amazing landscape overlooking the Drino Valley. Ancient heritage and rural life
Visit the Archaeological Park of Antigoneia: The ancient town Antigoneia of famous King Pyrrhus of Epirus a city built by his love and burnt by the hatred of his enemies. Tasting the genuine natural food of the Saraqinisht village. A picnic on- site.
Visiting the village of Saraqinisht and Saint Nicolas church built in 1666: Meeting Albanian and Aromanian local communities a Latin speaking people native to the southern Balkans.
Life in countryside: Visit Karjan village and the garden of Krisafi family. A dinner made exclusive from the family garden products. Visit Krisafi family’s garden. Choose your fresh vegetables for dinner in the family garden. Taste dhalla, homemade raki (strong alcoholic distillation of grapes) and more.

Day 4: Albania’s inter-religious harmony and religious heritage in the Gjirokastra region

Starting time at 09.00
Bektashi Muslim Order, its mysticism, and rituals: Visit the Bektashi Monastery at Melan
Visit Libohova: Have a drink under the 220-years-old monumental Plane Tree
Lunch at Libohova: Local delicacies from chef Sedat.
The village named after the Holy Cross: Visit Labova e Kryqit village and the Cross Church (13th c) socializing with the locals at the square of the village.
Tour of other religious buildings in Gjirokastra city: The Mosque of the Bazaar, Mechite Mosque, and Saint Sotira Church. Dinner : on your own.

Day 5: In the footsteps of Lord Byron and warrior leader, Ali Pasha of Tepelena

Starting time 09.30
Visit to the town of Tepelena, the castle of Ali Pasha and the cable-stayed bridge at Vjosa River: Stop at Bënça. Visit the Aqueduct built by Ali Pasha.
Lunch at the Cold Water sources near Vjosa river: Visit a farm in the valley (Humelica) and taste traditional drinks. Isolation and Paranoia under Communism.
Visit to the Cold War Tunnel under the Castle and the Armament’s Museum: Meeting with two locals who tell their different stories about life under Communism.
Optional visit at the standing bridge of the Ali Pasha: Part of aqueduct built for supplying water to the castle.
A walk in the upper part of Gjirokastra: Dunavat neighborhood: Dinner at Kuka tavern.

Day 6: Old routes to the Sea- Butrint UNESCO World Heritage Site

Starting time 09.30
Following the Drino river Valley and drive through Muzina Pass: In the trails of the ancient caravan routes to the sea through a picturesque landscape full of history and archaeology. A stop at Ksamili at the coast in front of Corfu Island
Enjoying the coast view and telling the story: A new small town established first in the communist era, Ksamili, was intended to be a “proud window” of the regime as a splendid example of the “voluntary” work of the youth – it is not.
Visit the National Park of Butrint, and one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the Balkans: The archaeology and nature of Butrint forge a unique combination of ancient ruins,Mediterranean forests, and salted lakes
Lunch at the seaside: Local fish and mussels from the lake will be on the menu of the day. Crossing the Vivari Channel and meeting the local community at Xarra and Shëndëlli village.
On the way back to Gjirokastra stop at: Monastery of Mesopotam (11th c. AD). Blue Eye water sources. Dinner organized at Terihat village in the Drino Valley where the Greek minority lives. A fine restaurant with some traditional Greek flavor.

Day 7: Vjosa treasures – Vjosa is the last wild river in Europe

Starting time 09.00
Visit the hot springs of Lengarica: The springs are almost in a natural state. The sulphurous water temperature is 26-320 C (79-900 F)
and is highly appreciated for its remedial qualities. Bathing in the hot springs and walk along the canyons of the river.
Visit the Bënja village and its medieval Saint Mary Church: The village has recently been declared a Protected Historic Area by the Albanian government. Organised lunch in the area of Bënja National Park. Picnic besides the river. Afternoon visit in the town of Përmet. The city of flowers and of typical “saze” music.
Meetings with artisans and traditional food producers of the ProPermet Association: Taste the jams and sweets of Përmet (the famous Gliko).
Organized dinner with a local family: Enjoy food in a traditional courtyard with traditional music.


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