Kosovo, Albania & North Macedonia holiday
Description of Kosovo, Albania & North Macedonia holiday
This Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia holiday takes you to one of Europe’s least visited regions - a place where you’re unlikely to encounter hordes of other tourists. What you will find here are lakes, valleys, rocky mountains and Byzantine architecture, all of which can be enjoyed in relative peace. It has taken many years for the Balkans to shake off their war-torn image, but they have done so with aplomb. As well as picture-perfect historic towns such as Prizren, in Kosovo, and lush landscapes including North Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid, you’ll find hip, forward-thinking cities and a thriving cultural scene.
On this small group tour you’ll be travelling with a maximum of 12 like minded travellers. This means that we can take local transport with ease, stay in small family-run hotels and pensions throughout, and explore off-radar rural areas without a negative impact.
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PlanetAs a global tour operator, we’re committed to operating every one of our trips in a way that respects and benefits local people, their culture and economy, while minimising our impact on the natural environment.
We promote small group travelling where the maximum group size is 12. This has much less impact when exploring rural areas, reducing our environmental and social effects. Additionally, our small group sizes allow us to stay in family-run hotels and pensions throughout this trip, for example in the Valbona Valley, where we spend two nights at a local, family-owned guesthouse. We also support small restaurants and cafes, serving locally sourced produce.
The local bus journeys on this trip are excellent examples of travelling like a local, with the locals. We use this type of transportation wherever feasible. Besides having a smaller impact on the environment, public transport gives our travellers a unique opportunity to get in touch with the locals and learn more about the Eastern European way of life. The remaining parts of the trip are done by private transport, the operators of which are always sourced locally.
All our tour leaders are passionate about responsible travel, so the message is consistent at all times when it comes to environmental issues. In Eastern Europe the main issue is littering, and our leaders address this issue on the ground. Especially in Kosovo and Albania where a lot of businesses are not yet across environmental responsibility. However, we’re trying to educate them by giving them business and delivering our message to them as well. We actively educate locals by leading by example, such as picking up rubbish others have left behind. We also educate our passengers on environmental issues on all of our trips. This includes the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ philosophy. Even though Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia have no recycling schemes in place, we teach our travellers about littering in general.
On this trip, we also encourage travellers to bring their own reusable bottles instead of buying plastic ones every time. There is brilliant local water supply in the mountains in Albania, so travellers can refill their bottles and reduce plastic use.
PeopleWe support local businesses and use local suppliers for all our included activities and optional services. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community and any of the activities done on this trip are helping the local economic development. Working conditions are not dictated by us as a company. Rather, we use local services who in turn employ local people. We use only local accommodation on this trip. For example, on days three and four we stay in a local guesthouse in the Valbona Valley where the family cooks traditional meals for the group. This not only introduces our travellers to the everyday life in Albania but will also help a small local business to sustain itself.
On every tour of ours, clients and leaders are briefed on local customs, general courtesy (such as asking permission before taking photographs, dress code and conduct in places of worship etc.) and how to behave appropriately. A great way to get our travellers involved with the local community is by teaching them a few key phrases in the local language and so the tour leader will give a lesson. Kosovo is very open to receiving guests and locals are curious about visitors because previously the destination was very much off the radar, meaning there will be many opportunities to practice their newly learned language skills.
Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible and we do encourage the group to always eat at local restaurants.
Eastern Europe is a lesser-visited part of Europe and tourism is still under construction, meaning that there are structural weaknesses here and there. Understanding local life is another important part of travel and so we source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy by allowing the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience rather than remaining concentrated with tourism providers.
Our company strives to create employment opportunities in the countries that we travel to and our staff is made up of many different people from all over the world. We aim to maximise the benefits generated by tourism for local economies and communities. We want our customers to get into contact with the locals wherever possible. We have made it our goal to give our travellers a deep and authentic insight into the local culture. This tour actively encourages guests to chat with local people, visit local cafes and bars, purchase local produce, gifts and crafts and discover what life is really like in this region.