Hiking in Spilea
About The Place
Gjirokastra, a picturesque town nestled in the southern part of Albania, is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty converge to create a unique and enchanting destination. This UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.
The town itself is a living museum, with its cobblestone streets, stone houses, and distinctive slate roofs. These architectural elements are a testament to Gjirokastra’s Ottoman past, dating back to the 13th century. One of the town’s most iconic landmarks is Gjirokastra Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the town. This imposing fortress is an architectural marvel, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Gjirokastra is often referred to as the “City of Stone,” and it’s easy to see why. The town’s unique stone buildings, with their tall, narrow windows and wooden balconies, give it a timeless and almost magical quality. Wandering through the winding streets, visitors can explore the many shops, cafes, and restaurants that line the historic center. The Bazaar area is particularly charming, where you can find local crafts, textiles, and handmade souvenirs.
One of the most significant cultural attractions in Gjirokastra is the birthplace of Ismail Kadare, Albania’s most renowned author and a Nobel laureate in literature. His childhood home has been transformed into a museum, showcasing his life and works, offering visitors insight into the country’s literary heritage.
Beyond the town’s boundaries, the surrounding area is equally captivating. The landscape is dominated by rugged mountains and lush valleys, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Drino Valley offers opportunities for hiking and exploring pristine natural beauty. The Blue Eye, a natural spring and pool located just a short drive from Gjirokastra, is a must-visit spot, known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant blue hue.
Food lovers will delight in the local cuisine of Gjirokastra and the surrounding region. Traditional Albanian dishes, such as qofte (meatballs), tave kosi (baked lamb with yogurt), and flia (a layered pastry dessert), can be savored in the town’s restaurants. The hospitality of the locals adds to the culinary experience, making dining in Gjirokastra a true delight.
In summary, Gjirokastra and its surrounding area offer a remarkable blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The town’s well-preserved Ottoman architecture, charming streets, and cultural attractions make it a unique destination in Albania. Beyond the town, the rugged landscapes and outdoor opportunities add to the allure of this enchanting region, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking a taste of both Albania’s rich heritage and its stunning natural scenery.
- 5 Hours
Embark on a captivating hiking adventure through the picturesque landscapes of Gjirokastra, as we take you on a low to medium difficulty walk starting from the Antigone turn. As we begin our journey by car, traversing the gravel terrain on the road to Spilea, immersing yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you.
At the heart of this expedition lies the magnificent monastery of Spilea, a cultural monument of the highest significance. Dating back to 1634, the monastery captivates visitors with its stunning architecture and rich history. Explore the intricately painted church of St. Nicholas, adorned with vibrant frescoes that showcase the rebellious style of mural painting. Delve deeper into the monastery’s secrets as you discover the small cave church, nestled within the karst rock formation.
Once home to hermit monks who sought isolation as a testament to their devotion, this sacred space adds a profound dimension to your experience. Although the monastery was abandoned during the communist regime, its allure remains intact.
Allow approximately 1.5 hours to fully appreciate the monastery and its surroundings before continuing your journey towards the charming village of Saraqinisht. Here, amidst the warmth of local hospitality, indulge in a delightful picnic lunch served in the yard of a traditional house. Sample the flavors of authentic recipes passed down through generations, offering a glimpse into the religious celebrations and culinary heritage of the region. Immerse yourself in the local culture as you learn about Lunxhëria’s traditions and the bountiful produce that inspires the rich cuisine.
Following the satisfying feast, we embark on our return journey to the village of “Asim Zeneli.” The descent unveils a diverse landscape, meandering through the quaint village of Tranoshishtë and the ancient path of Epirot village. Traverse meadows and pastures teeming with pastoral life, capturing the essence of rural existence. Upon reaching “Asim Zeneli,” transportation will be provided back to Gjirokastra, ensuring a seamless and comfortable conclusion to your remarkable hiking experience.
Prepare to be enthralled by the natural wonders, cultural heritage, and culinary delights that await you on this unforgettable hiking expedition through Gjirokastra.
What to Bring
Clothing and footwear suitable for hiking
2 liters of water
a Change clothes
Round trip transportation
Guides in Albanian or English
- Minimum 2 Participants
- Maximum 10 Participants
- Over 12 Years Old
- Starting Time 10:00
- EndingTime 15:00
Cancellation Policy - Flexible
- Whenever you cancel 4 days or earlier than the confirmed activity starting date, your fee will be refunded for the entire activity charge.
- In case of cancellation within 48 and 96 hours before the scheduled activity starting date, you'll get 50% reimbursed.
- Those who cancel 48 hours or beyond are considered last-minute cancellations. There will be no refunds