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A Green Albania to discover

Where: Kelmend

WhoConsorzio "Frima e Kelmend"

Three young women from Info Point exemplify a project that has involved 3000 families

3star

Albania is in vogue. The valley of Kelmend, in the north of Albania, is one of the latest discoveries by lovers of unspoilt nature, rugged landscapes, hiking, pony trekking, mountain biking, staying at family run guesthouses, traditional recipes, village festivals with music and dances in costume, from May to September. In the midst is the town of Tamare, the base of the “Frima and Kelmend” Consortium with its’ integrated rural development project, which has involved more than 3000 inhabitants and today, is under the watchful eyes of an ever growing number of tourists. Here, one can find information and maps, and all around, one can explore caves, fortresses, waterfalls, canyons, mountain pastures, orchards, dairy farms, artisan shops of timber and weaving, restaurants where one can enjoy fish stew, cheese and potato fondue and roasted meat on a spit. And take in the peaks of Pojence, the stone houses and the barns made of wood and straw.

Drita, Stela and Arjeta are the operators of Info Point in Tamare. They organize transport, trips, accommodation, gastronomic tours and visits not only in Kelmend but all around Albania, working closely with tour operators and guides, ensuring something for all tastes. There are at least 3 reasons for organizing a trip with them. First of all, it is one way of supporting this exceptional project. Secondly, there is no stress of coordinating the logistics as they arrange everything. And lastly, it is definitely a great way of creating a personalized trip, with the freedom of waking up or going to sleep with the sun, to dive in the lakes or to just chat with the people of the villages in the local coffee shops.

For example, in five days, leaving from the airport of Tirana in a bus with a guide, one can travel along the Scutari Lake, enjoy lunch with meze, ? and trout and then visit the Rozafa Castle. In the town of Tamara, one can taste the delights of fresh honey straight from the honeycombs, enjoy coffee with desserts, visit a brewery or buy grappa made from gentian roots, jams and syrups made from figs, blueberries, plums, corgnolo and quince. A dinner made up of lamb, goat cheese, Vermosh potatoes, sheep yoghurt, and fresh vegetables finishes off the first day nicely, accompanied by accommodation in the delightful guest house of Jerina. The second day is dedicated to the village of Selce, the church of Saint Nicola, the waterfall of Silap, climbing amongst dogwood, walnut and hazelnut trees , up to the beautiful pastures of Jeshnica, where Astrit Pllumai plays host and cooks, using harvests from his land. The trip continues along the road of Jeshnica, on foot or by car: enjoying breathtaking views from the mountains of Trestomalit, wide open pastures of Greben, the silence and colours of the canyon of Gercara, coffee in the piazza with the villagers of Vermosh, meeting with an expert in local herbs in Lepushe, the highest village in the Albanian Alps. The evenings are spent under the stars, listening to the stories of legends, by the lime and stone guesthouse of Prele and Antonio Vuktilaj, surrounded by fields. Or at the Alpin guesthouse, a delightful villetta that Luigi Cekai has equipped for visitors with typical local food delicacies to discover and trips organized with a guide. Not to be missed: the festival of the pastures of Logu I Bjeshkeve, with the crowning of Miss Bjeshkeve, which takes place on the second Saturday of August. It is an ancient festival when the women of Kelmend compete for the crown of beauty and elegance with dancing, singing, traditional rituals and even for example, how they draw water from the well. In the Lepushe village, all are involved, they eat, they dance, they enjoy music, as per tradition.

As from this year, trekking trips are also organized with Italian guides from Walden Viaggi, who take visitors from the Scutari Lake to the valley of Teth, or in the valley of Velmosh along a ring path to Tamara, passing waterfalls, castles, springs, valleys, to Montenegro or Kelmend for a 2 or 3 day excursion (http://www.waldenviaggiapiedi.it/)

Information:
Zyra e Informacionit Turistik, Tamare, Kelmend, Malesi e Madhe, Albania
Mob 00355 694724658
info@kelmend-shkrel.org
www.kelmend-shkrel.org

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