New found skills -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
Keeping control - Albania Beginners Programme
Making new friends -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
Venturing out on horsebackAlbania Beginners Programme web
Farm life -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
A welcome dip -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
You can lead a horse to water... -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
Trusty friends -   Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
A welcome feast  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
The new riding group -  Albania Beginners horseback riding Programme web
Hello good looking! - the Albania Beginners Programme

This week-long equestrian vacation in Albania is specifically designed for complete beginners from 12-years-old upward. Aspiring horseback riders will learn the all-important fundamentals of horseback riding from qualified instructors. Each day, as confidence grows, riders will experience the thrill of riding on easy trails through beautiful scenery. Most days have an optional activity or tour available, enhancing the rider's experience of this fascinating country. Accommodation is at the home of a host family, close to the stables on the outskirts of the village, in comfortable double-rooms and shared bathrooms.

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Day 1
The hosts will greet the riders upon arrival and after settling into the accommodation the day is free to take in the beauty of the surroundings before the adventure begins. In the evening, head to the picturesque village of Asim Zeneli, for a welcome dinner at "The Barrels," a charming restaurant located just outside the village. The overnight accommodation for the whole trip will be a local home on the outskirts of the village close to the farm.

Day 2
Start the day by learning the art of grooming and tacking horses and discussing the basics of horse riding. This is essential knowledge for all riders and will help bond horse and new rider. After 
lunch at local restaurant, embark on a  fascinating Cold War City Tour. (optional) Explore the historical remnants and hear captivating tales from a bygone era during this immersive 3-hour tour (additional  onsite cost: €55.00 + transport). Return to the centre for a second round of lessons and review the basics and practice riding patterns under the guidance of experienced instructors before returning to the accommodation for dinner and overnight. 

Day 3
This morning riders engage in pole exercises and pattern riding in the arena which helps increase confidence levels. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant followed by an optional unique Art/Tea Therapy session designed to develop creativity and relaxation with soothing tea rituals (additional onsite cost: €40.00 + transport 2 hours), Prepare for an exciting afternoon filled with games on horseback and a mock-style horse show. Riders can showcase their newfound skills with some friendly competition before returning to the accommodation for dinner and overnight. 

Day 4
Riders put their new knowledge to use on a morning trek to Gjinofshat. The breathtaking  landscapes unfold as the group traverse the trails. Stop for a picnic lunch in a scenic spot before joining a hike to the historical monastery of Spilea (
48.00 + transport extra onsite cost - 3-4 hours). The second session is dedicated to further horse grooming and washing techniques and discovering daily stretches that can enhance the well-being of your equine companion. Return to the accommodation for dinner and overnight. 

Day 5
The day starts with a schooling session to further improve riding skills while exploring the picturesque trails. Lunch at a local restaurant and after a rest, a trail to a scenic lake. After the ride, enjoy an off-road, adrenaline-pumping buggy tour to Qestorati lake.  (Additional onsite cost
30.00 + transport- 1,5-2 hours). During the second session we enjoy a trek to the lake, and even a quick swim if the weather is fine. Return to the accommodation for dinner and overnight. 

Day 6
Begin the day early with a ride through the village, witnessing the vibrant morning life unfold before experiencing the thrill of galloping in an open field, surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. 
 Participate in the rural life and farm activities such as gardening, milking, harvesting, watering, and cooking. Engage with the local community, learn traditional techniques, and embrace the authenticity of rural Albanian life. The second session presents an exciting challenge; a review of  skills and an obstacle course competition! Put your newfound abilities to the test and compete against fellow riders. Return to the accommodation for dinner and overnight. 

Day 7
It's a day of choice, and riders can pick the preferred activity, whether it's another invigorating trek to a previous location, engaging in more lessons and competitions, or playing exhilarating games on horseback. It's the riders choice! Enjoy a picnic before the adventure of a rafting adventure on the Vjosa River (additional cost: €40.00 + transport: 2 hours). Feel the rush of the rapids while navigating the pristine waters. On returning, b
id farewell to the horses with a heartwarming ceremony. Groom, massage, and stretch the horses, to show the gratitude for their companionship. Conclude this unforgettable day with a traditional dinner shared with the horses, celebrating the newfound bond.

Day 8
After breakfast at the host's home, savour the last moments of this enchanting journey. and take a moment to reflect on the incredible memories and newfound skills before bidding farewell to the hosts and this captivating equestrian experience.

(In trail prices correct as of 2024)

 

 

Those not wanting to go on the additional activities are free to spend the time at the farm or exploring the area.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses are a mix of Arab and Tarpan crosses. These breeds were mentioned in the ancient chronicles from the time of the King Skerdilajd  and stand up to 14hh tall (145cm).Although small, the horses are very strong and surefooted. Selected older horses (12yrs - 20yrs) which have all undergone specific training for this programme are used and new riders will find them easy to handle.



Daily riding times: 4 - 5 hours.


Rider requirements

Riding level required: No experience or beginners. This program doesn’t fit more advanced riding levels.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is with a local family in comfortable double rooms and shared bathrooms. a 10 minute walk from the stables (3 min drive), on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Asim Zeneli. 



Breakfast and dinner is at the accommodation. Lunches are either taken in village restaurants or are picnics en-route unless otherwise advised. Please advise us of any specific dietry requests before booking.



Should riders wish to be accommodated in the town's historical area instead of the village farm this may be possible for an additional charge. Please enquire.



 


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

All travellers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Albania.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/albania

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Albania.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/albania

Climate Summary

The best months to visit Albania are from April to September. Although precipitation is quite high in Albania there is less rain during these months and because of the continental air mass, most precipitation is over the central highlands. Albania has a high number of climatic regions relative to its landmass - the coastal lowlands have a typically Mediterranean climate; the highlands have a Mediterranean continental climate.

Climate Chart

Health

We still strongly advise consulting with your General Practitioner regarding any necessary immunizations or health precautions based on your individual medical history. Recommendations for travel health and safety can vary depending on various factors, such as destination, current health conditions, and other potential risks. 



It is recommended that you drink only bottled water as the tap water is not always potable. If you drink milk, make sure it is UHT (pasteurised). Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Albania and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Health (ride specific)

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

Electricity

In Albania the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 - 240 V.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Internet access will be difficult during the ride. Riders can buy an Albanian sim card/phone number for round €13 and have free internet access and around 30 minutes of free calls with most European countries.
Access to electricity is possible every evening and the whole area is covered very well with signal.

Packing List

Packing List
Attire:
Riding hat
Long-sleeved shirts (avoid expensive or favourite clothing)
Warm jacket
Riding trousers and chaps
Gloves
Footwear:
Good mountain shoes with a grip (not too thick)
Avoid smooth-soled riding boots
Outerwear:
Waterproof raincoat
Swimming Clothes:
Swimwear
Evening attire:
Casual clothes
Protection:
Sun cream
Sunglasses
Hat
Medical supplies:
Anti-allergy medicine for insect bites
Essentials:
Torch (flashlight) for walking to feed the horses in the evening
Photography:
Small camera (avoid large professional cameras)
Identification:
Copy of passport
Saddlebags:
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.

Programmes

8 Days, 7 nights programme with 6 days riding.

Departure Dates

2024: 7 Jan, 3 Feb, 2 Mar, 1 Apr, 4 May, 1, 29 Jun; 3, 31 Aug, 5 Oct, 2, 30 Nov

Pricing

2024 Single supplement €132 plus single room charge if available =/- $15 per night

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20248d/7n6double pp865
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20248d/7n6double pp989
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20248d/7n6double pp1,129
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20248d/7n6double pp11,935
Wildlife

Flora and Fauna: If we refer to the Albanian species, of which are 3250, 13% belong to Gjirokastra´s territory. There are lots of medicinal and curative plants. The number reaches up to 50 kinds of such plants. The most widely spread animals are hares, deer, wild boars, martens, bears, wild cats etc. Different kinds of fish like trout, eels and many more lurk in the rivers.

Other Information

Gjirokastra is a wonderful town in south Albania and is recognised for its history, heritage, culture and cultural monuments. Known as “the city of one thousand steps”, Gjirokastra has been under the protection of UNESCO since 2005 and is nominated as a World Heritage Site. The castle, the traditional ottoman style buildings, Enver Hoxha’s house and the New Bazaar are the main objects to visit. The town itself is surrounded by charming villages, old byzantine churches, Sufi monasteries, ruins of antique towns, historical mountain paths, nature monuments, rivers and springs, woods, hospitable families and organic traditional foods.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Tirana Airport (TIA) or Saranda Port (fly to Corfu CFU)
Transfer:
2024: Tirana airport to Gjirokastra €90 return per person 3-4 hours. Saranda Port to Gjirokastra: €50 return per person 1 hour. Transfers payable on site (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Tirana (TIA) return ticket from £75 pp
Recommended arrival time for flights: No later than 14:30 pm
Recommended departure time for flights: Not earlier than 12:00 pm (midday)
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