Discover the mountainous landscapes of southern Albania on hardy local horses, whilst staying with local families and learning about their traditions and cultures. Follow ancient caravan routes or trails followed by pre-Roman armies to uncover ancient artefacts and ruined castles. The challenging landscape holds a wealth of beauty and wildlife as you get well off the beaten track.
The local horses are a mixture of Tarpan and Arab and ideally suited to the mountain landscape. Although small they are strong and tough. Living always outdoors in this rocky environment ensures they are sure-footed and trusting even across difficult terrain. For centuries these horses have been used by local inhabitants to pass through the mountains and transfer their livestock and bees from summer to winter pastures. During times of conflict and war, their horses transferred entire families to new villages. This breed was in existence in medieval times and even during the period of King Skerdilajd the breed was very similar.
Rides start from the town of Gjirokaster - known as the City of a Thousand Steps - which is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005. The town is surrounded by charming villages, Byzantine churches, ancient ruins and spectacular mountain landscapes with forests, rivers and wildlife.
A highlight of the trails is the opportunity to stay with local families in their traditional homes and sample homemade meals and chat to the families over dinner. Your luggage is transported each day by vehicle, whilst saddlebags carry what you may need during the day.
There are three trails to choose from; Zagoria - following caravan routes into the mountains east of Gjirokaster; King Skerdilajd - following the King's route over the mountains to the west of Gjirokaster to the coast and Vjosa River - a longer ride taking you deeper into the mountains east of the city. Both have some very technical sections across challenging mountain paths. For this reason, you must be fit, active and not afraid of heights.
Far and Ride team member Natalie has ridden with our partners in Albania and will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about any of the rides.