Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro holiday

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Date
Price
Basis
15 Jun 2019
£ 1699
including UK flights
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13 Jul 2019
£ 1699
including UK flights
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10 Aug 2019
£ 1929
including UK flights
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24 Aug 2019
£ 1899
including UK flights
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro holiday

Accommodation and Meals:
During this trip we stay at a variety of accommodation types from hotels to guesthouses and shepherd mountain huts. Most of the accommodation is owned by families which brings a great contribution to the local community. Most of the food is included in this itinerary, the majority of ingredients are locally sourced. A lot of their food is also grown and cultivated on their own for consumption. For example, all dairy farm products are made in house by each hut. Same goes for meat and crops cultivated where most farmers provide potato and fresh meat to clients.

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking and trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints and strongly advise clients to produce as little litter as possible during the trip as the Alpine areas are very inaccessible and difficult to manage waste or to be even brought down to urbanised centres. This trip takes clients off the beaten track and avoids using some of the peaks of the Balkans trail.
Local Craft and Culture:
In Tirana, we will visit a local market called “Pazari i ri” also known as the new Bazaar. This new opera and ballet house in a typical Russian style market gives clients the opportunity to buy local produce and souvenirs, fostering local interaction. There are also a variety of restaurants clients can visit to try some local specialties. Of course, our guides will recommend some of the best local eateries to try.

During the trip, we have several stops at different tea houses where our visits provide an avenue of income for the local community. On our journey from Tirana to Northern Albania (Tropoja), we will stop at a turret type tower that is usually closed for most visitors but our local operator managed to strike an agreement with the custodian of the tower. As a result, our groups are able to visit this tower which is now a museum during the communist period dedicated to a local hero who died at the end of the 19th century. In return, our local operator donates money to the custodian to help with the upkeep and repair of the tower. This ensures that the custodian can gain financial benefit from our visit and the tower still remains as symbol of their history and culture.

Group size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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