9. Vlorë: Boat Trip to Karaburun Peninsula
You will be located on the Ionian Sea, at the eastern end of the Otranto Channel, in the center of the Bay of Vlora. Here we have the Marine Protected Area of Karaburun. A natural park that was established in 2010 by the Ministry of the Environment of Albania in order to preserve the characteristic features of this area. Where we find uniqueness and biodiversity. Visit the Pirate's Cave You will leave by boat in the early morning from Vlora, to reach the Haxhi Ali Cave, located at the end of the Karaburun Peninsula, after about half an hour on the water. Arriving at the cave by boat is a unique experience. You enter a cubic-shaped area that extends for 30 meters in length, with a maximum height of 18 meters, and 12 meters in width. Inside this cave, the view is lost between the rock formations and the stalactites, the result of the constant work of water on the rocks over thousands of years. In addition, at the end of the cave there is a source of freshwater. After a half-hour guided tour, the participants are free to choose between snorkeling in the wonderful crystal clear water, full of life, of the cave, or enjoy a pleasant drink on the boat. The best beaches on the Karaburun peninsula After the stop, you will set off again to travel along the wild coast of Karaburun. Here you will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful beaches with caves, of the peninsula up close. Corners of paradise such as Shen Jani, Aquamarina Beach, and San Basil Beach. After lunchtime, you will stop on the beach of Zhanpovel Beach, refreshing yourselves with the best specialties of the local gastronomic tradition at the restaurant located on the beach. Returning in the early afternoon, you will cross the bay, flanking the Vlora coast, approaching the beaches with caves, of Zhironi and Kalasa and skirting the entire Cold Water district. The story of the pirate Haxhi Ali cave owes its name to the legendary pirate Haxhi Alia Ulqinaku. Born in Calabria in 1569, he moved with his family to Ulcinj, Albania and received military education under the Ottoman Empire. After serving in the Ottoman fleet, in 1609 he moved with his children and some Albanian sailors to the Karaburun peninsula. Here he began to defend the coasts from the incursions of the Venetians and the French, cooperating with the local population, which supplied the pirate with timber and raw materials. It was an episode that handed him over to the legend. Haxhi Alia was attacked in 1623 off the coast of Otranto by a powerful fleet of Venetians and British, but he heroically defended himself, until he earned legendary fame among the inhabitants of the Karaburun peninsula, who still sing songs in his honor.