Northern Greece / southern Albania
August 15th – 27th 2021
The Balkans peninsula is the last oasis of unrestricted 4×4 offroad travel in Europe. It’s wild and beautiful mountainous terrain harbours some of the most picturesque and dynamic offroad trails, many of which were previously known only to smugglers and local shepperds. They reach more than 2500 m in height, descend into the deepest canyons, cross mighty rivers, and pass through muddy mazes of virgin forests in a way that represents a true adventure you’d normally have to search for in the distant corners of the world. But this is a nomadic quest you can experience in the heart of Europe!
What? How long? How hard? How much?
Duration – 13 days
Wild camping (+ 2 nights in hotels)
Covering approximately 1.500 km
Difficulty – moderate
Payment instructions will be mailed to you upon registration
Price per vehicle with driver – 1.390 €
(passengers pay 150 € each)
Approximate area of the tour
The tour will start from the little mountain town of Metsovo, the headquarters of the northern Pindos national park, which is just an hour and a half of driving along E92 highway away from the port of Igoumenitsa, which is your most logical arrival point into Greece (ferries from Ancona or other ports in Italy are the simplest and fastest way to get from central Europe to Greece). From there we’ll head straight into some of the highest ridges of northern Pindos mountains, ending the day at our highest campsite in Peristeri mountain, at the altitude of 1900 m. A zig-zagging itinerary, with many dramatic mountain passes, will takes us through the most breathtaking landscapes of the northern Pindos, also visiting places such as Meteora rocks or Portitsa gorge, Prespa lake and the majestic Gramos mountain, until we cross into southern Albania some time towards mid tour.
The second part, through the mountains of southern Albania, will be no less engaging, raising the definition of wilderness and offroad challenges to a completely new level. Southern Albania also features many notable highlights, such as the Tomorrica riverbed, Tomorri peak (almost 2400 m high), Osumi canyon (a fantastic wild campsite), ending the tour after almost two weeks in the famous Gjipe beach, giving you a true mediterranean, fitting experience to enjoy after all the mountain excitement. Those who have arrived by the port of Igoumenitsa need about 3 hours of driving along good quality coastal roads to return to the ferry on the last day (day 13), while others can enjoy a prolonged stay at Gjipe, if they’ve reserved more free time after the tour.
During those two weeks we will drive through landscapes of breathtaking beauty, on trails that are at moments challenging, stretching over vast uninhabited areas, We’ll cross several rivers on our way, drive through sandy riverbanks, as well as conquer some very rocky mountain trails. We’ll navigate muddy paths deep in the ancient forests of south Balkans. Throughout the tour we’ll camp in remote wilderness areas far from any sign of civilization, free from restrictions and rangers. The dynamic, everchanging landscapes will make this a true offroad adventure, which is guaranteed to fulfill every true overlander’s dream!
During the tour we’ll be sleeping on nice natural campsites in total wilderness, often near rivers, streams or lakes. Our average time of arrival to campsite is around 17:00, and morning departure time will be around 9:00. Athough these are wild and remote areas, risk from wildlife is only theoretical, so you can be relaxed during camping, requiring no extra protection. However, you’re advised to have warm clothing and warm, good quality sleeping bags, because in the high mountains temeperatures can drop to single digits during the night (our average campsite altitude will be in the range 1200-1500 m). To make camping more comfortable, you should have folding tables and chairs, as well as cooking equipment for food, mobile refrigerator (12 V), etc. Twice during the tour we will sleep in some discrete, out of the way hotels, and once in official camp. We’ll stop for resupplying food and fuel every 2-4 days of the tour (whenever our trail passes by a town). The participants normally prepare their own food during the tour, but on occasions there will be an opportunity to eat in restaurants.
Minimum requirements for Balkans Wild Tracks offroad tour
- AT tyres recommended, MT optional
- a shovel
- 1 or more kinnetic ropes for recovery, and (at least) 1 shackle
- camping gear (a rooftop or classic tent, or conditions to sleep inside the vehicle)
- basic tools for car repair and maintenance
- insurance green card (required for Albania)
- CB radio
You should also consider
- Protective sheets over your paint (in case you mind contact with branches)
- A moderate lift – makes you more relaxed and safer when crossing obstacles
- a winch – speeds up and simplifies recoveries, if you get stuck
Vehicles with low gear are mandatory
We expect you to…
Be flexible and relaxed – it can be helpful in handling unexpected events, such as route changes due to weather conditions or damaged trails, vehicle breakdowns or other event beyond our control. We will be thankful for your help in the daily preparation of the campsite (gathering firewood, building the fire, setting up stuff, etc.), as well as your readiness to help fellow overlanders in solving problems on the trail.
Understanding and tollerance is the key to building a good mood on the tour!
Tour price covers
Included in the tour price
- dual GPS navigation systems in the guiding vehicle(s)
- all fuel and other expenses for the guiding vehicles
- personal counceling before and during the tour
- appropriate GPS maps and data, that can be made available to the participants, if they have compatible hardware
- technical assistance in tricky situations by the guides
- accomodation costs, where they apply
NOT included in the tour price
- individual fuel and toll costs
- individual food and drink expenses
- servicing expenses by third parties
- individual accomodation expenses before and after the tour (on your way to Igoumenitsa)
- ferry Ancona – Igoumenitsa – Ancona
- other individual expenses
What else you should know about the tour?
As the tour time approaches, we’ll supply you with detailed access instructions to our meeting point in the Igoumenitsa port, including necessary coordinates and GPX/KML tracks. You will meet our guide in Igoumenitsa harbour as you arrive (we assume) by the ferry from Ancona, Italy (the shortest route from western Europe). Please secure that you have your travel insurance before starting the tour. We expect you to arrive with a vehicle in good technical conditon, which can endure two weeks of serious offroading. This tour is not for total offroading beginners – experience will help you in many tricky situations. During the tour a chance to refuel will be available each 250-300 km (petrol and diesel everywhere, in some places also LPG). All major credit cards (Visa, Master, Maestro, etc.) work in Greece (both on ATM machines and for paying goods), while you should prepare cash Euros for Albania (that you will get an oportunity to exchange into the local currency LEK in the first town that we drive through in Albania). It’s advisable to have a small amount of cash for small expenses in the mountainous areas.
In case you can’t continue the tour due to a serious defect on your vehicle, we will do our best to connect you with skilled mechanics who may be able to repair the vehicle quickly on the spot or in nearby workshops (at your expense). In case you have to be delayed for some days due to a lack of parts, we will supply you with a new meeting point along our route, so that you can rejoin the tour when your vehicle is functional again.
Image gallery from the tour area
Extra galleries on our Serbianoutdoor 4×4 blog
Tour booking form
(please note that the 2020 BWT tours are booked out and no further 2020 bookings for this tour are possible – we’ll put up 2021 dates soon)
If you have any more questions,
ask your guide!
Invoice and payment instructions will be e-mailed to you upon filling out and sending this registration form