If you plan a Balkan journey, you cannot omit Albania, and especially the three extremely interesting and beautiful places, the Qeparo town, the canyon of the Lengarica River and the ruins of the ancient city of Butrint.
The town on the hills
Who had once visited Qeparo, will miss it. This charming town can be found when travelling through the Albanian coast, near Himarë. Now we won’t see crowds of tourists there, but it is worth to hurry, because the situation changes from year to year. The original name of the town by the account of a nineteenth century topographer, William Martin Leake is Kiepero or Kiparos, originating from the Greek word kipos, which means garden. Probably the etymology of the name is connected with the numerous olive groves, which up to this day can be admired by us in Qeparo.
The village is separated into two parts- the top (old) and bottom (new). It is necessary to see the old settlement situated on the western slope of the Gjivlash Mountain. A partially abandoned, with astonishing folk architecture and a lovely view on the Ionian Sea- a certain stop on a tourist map. In the new part of the village one can sightsee amongst others the Church of the Saint Dmitry from the 18th century. Apart from the centre Qeparo is almost a heaven of peace; a few local bars and restaurants, friendly locals and beautiful beaches.
A natural SPA
A few kilometres from the Përmet town, we can see the place that would probably become a popular tourist resort in any other country- but not in Albania. Lengarica Canyon offers us not only a journey into the depths of the river valley, sightseeing of mysterious caves, but also a type of a natural centre of wellness. All of that completely without any charges. A complex of five warm thermal sources can deter due to the particular hydrogen sulphide smell, but is still worth to try it! Every source helps another disorder, some cure the abdomen, and other strengthens the skeletal system. In each of them one can spend a maximum of 15 minutes, making sure to protect eyes and ears. There are no problems with camping, you could spend even a few days enjoying the beauty of nature and benefiting from the treatments.
For the hardy travellers, just by the border with Greece awaits a small settlement and an archaeological site inscribed on the UNESCO list of the world cultural heritage- Butrint National Park. It is the remainder of a large urban centre established in the 12th century BC, which operated till the 15th/16th century AD. The place that in the ancient times was an Illyrian settlement, then a Greek colony, a Roman town and finally a seat of a bishopric, astonishes with its history. We can see amongst others the ruins of an amphitheatre from the 3rd year BC, a Temple of the God- Asclepius, Roman Baths, Babtysterium and the remainings of a 14th century Venetian Castle. Sightseeing can begin at 8 AM, and the ticket price is equivalent to 20 zł. The best time to see Butrint is in July, that’s when a one and only international theatre festival takes place. An amazing scenery make the climate, that is hard to forget.