Europe and Mediterranean Region

Vjosa – Europe’s Last Wild River

Cost

£ 2,395

Nights

7

Fitness level

Prior rafting experience recommended

Group size

Min 6, max 14

Location

Vjosa River, Albania

Cost

£ 2,395

Fitness level

Prior rafting experience recommended

Nights

7

Group size

Min 6, max 14

Location

Vjosa River, Albania

Vjosa – Europe’s Last Wild River

The Vjosa River is often referred to as the last wild river in Europe. The waterway is a near-natural river system which has been largely lost elsewhere in Europe. 

From its source in the Greek mountains the river flows largely unobstructed for over 270 kilometres to the Adriatic Sea. It’s an enormous mosaic of large and small habitats with over 1100 plant and animal species across the catchment, including 13 globally threatened animal and 2 plant species.

With 40 small and large dams having been planned for the Vjosa River and its tributaries there has been enormous concern both from international and Albanian conservation groups.

In addition to the catastrophic environmental loss caused by large dams there is the human impact as the river is the lifeblood of many traditional farming communities.

A new agreement between the Albanian government, the Save the Blue Heart of Europe coalition and the outdoor equipment and clothing company Patagonia was signed in early June 2022. The aim of the agreement is to create an IUCN Category II Level National Park that would severely limit the potential for future hydropower and dam construction in the Vjosa Basin, in order to conserve its biodiversity and ecosystems.

Rewilding Europe Travel supports efforts to protect the Vjosa River and make it Europe’s first Wild River National Park. Join us to raft the wild Vjosa and learn how you can help protect this unique ecosystem.

Highlights

  • Small group trip.
  • Spectacular scenery and remote villages.
  • Rafting Europe’s last wild river.
  • No previous rafting experience necessary, but recommended.
  • Wild camping and authentic village guest houses.
  • Scenic walks, thermal pools and waterfalls.
  • Traditional Albanian culture, wine, food and music.
  • Meet with grass roots conservations and community activists.
Day 1 

Arrival in Tirana Airport. Welcome dinner.

Days 2

After breakfast departure by vehicle for a 4.5-hour drive to Permet on the border with Greece.

On arrival we’ll have a safety briefing and introduction to rafting before we enjoy our first taste of rafting in the Vjosa River. We’ll raft for approximately 15 kilometres which will take about 3-4 hrs enjoying a packaged lunch en route. If time allows, we’ll enjoy a late afternoon hike to Sopoti waterfall.

Rafting class III

Tonight, we’ll camp in Stermbec village and enjoy a local dinner in a village guesthouse.

Days 3

After an early breakfast, we’ll raft the 18 kilometres between Stermbec and Petran.

Class III-IV (about 4-5 hrs)

As we float downstream, we’ll enjoy a lunch of local fresh caught fish and hike in the river canyons of Lengarica and thermal pools at Benja. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a typical local dinner with traditional saze folk music in Permet. Accommodation at a local guesthouse in Permet.

Day 4

Today we’ll raft between Petran and Grabove which is about 15 kilometres taking in class II-III rapids over about 3 to 4 hours. Today’s float is spectacular through the remote and spectacular Përmet Alps. We stop for lunch to enjoy a gastronomic treat of cheese and local wine and our visit to the isolated village of Limar is like stepping back in time to another age. Dinner and accommodation in a local guesthouse.

Day 5

We depart early to raft 26 kilometres between Grabova and Tepelena. It’s an easy Class II float that will about 6-7 hrs. We’ll stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Before dinner we’ll visit of the Castle of Tepelena. Overnight at a local guesthouse in Tepelena.

Day 6

Our last day of rafting is approximately 23 kilometres and will take us to Qesarat. For those that wish, we will use packrafts on this stretch of the river. We will then transfer on to Kalivac where the construction of one of the 2 main proposed hydro-electric dams was planned. It’s a long but rewarding day of about 6 to 7 hrs with lunch in Memaliaj. Here we’ll meet with the local community that has been opposing the construction of the hydropower dam. Overnight in a local guesthouse.

Day 7

Today is our final day in Albania and we’ll transfer overland to Tirana where we’ll overnight. There’s free time to explore the capital. Overnight in a central hotel.

Day 8

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.


Dates

1-18 July 2023. 

1-8 August 2023. 


 What’s included

  • Local rafting guide with cultural/natural history knowledge.
  • 5 days of rafting on the Vjosa River.
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 6 dinners.
  • 1 night camping, 2 nights hotel and 4 nights village guesthouses.
  • Walks and activities listed in the itinerary.


 Not included 

  • Alcoholic drinks (other than those listed in the itinerary).
  • Gratuities.
  • Limited mobile phone access.
  • Wifi in Tirana only.


 Accommodations

2 nights in Double/Twin hotel room with en suite bathroom in Tirana.

1 night camping.

4 nights in a twin room in a local guesthouses with en suite bathrooms.

 Special Dietary Requirements

Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free and other allergy free meal options are available on request. Please inform us of your dietary requirements in advance of travel.

What to bring

Bags

• Small daypack (35L or under) or back pack style dry bag.

• Rucksack or soft sided duffel bag for the rest of your gear.

Clothing

Light-weight waterproof jacket.

• Breathable, light-weight t-shirts & trousers for hiking (synthetic not cotton).

• Underwear and Bathing suit.

• Socks.

• Fleece.

• Shorts.

• Cap or hat.

• Wind stopper jacket.

Footwear

• Comfortable lightweight hiking boots.

• Trainers or river sandals/rafting boots.

Other

• Cash.

• Credit/Debit card.

• Camera (Battery packs and storage) / waterproof GoPro or similar.

• Ear plugs.

• First aid kit (Optional for personal medication).

• Sunscreen and lip balm.

• Plugs, chargers, headlamp.

• Reusable water bottle.

• Travel towel.

• Sunglasses.

• Toiletries.

• Insect repellent.

Enquire about available trips

2 + 6 =

Accommodations

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