Trekking in Albania
  • Albania has a rich natural and biological heritage, although its management is not always the best and most sustainable. After joining the Natura 2000 network, the Albanian legislative framework was aligned with the European’s, although the gap between rules and reality is still wide.

    Project objective: to strengthen the role of national and regional institutions and local communities in managing protected areas, paying particular attention to areas characterised by water basins.

  • 160,000 beneficiaries
    between Albanians and tourists

    1,200 students involved

    45 local producers supported

Turism in Albania


Albania is experiencing a rapid economic growth, although this is accompanied by an overexploitation of the country’s natural resources. Part of this growth is guaranteed by the rising number of tourists who, attracted by the country’s beautiful scenery, every year choose to visit the Land of Eagles. Institutions are working hard to guarantee a sustainable growth model, but this is a long road and efforts cannot carry on without the involvement of the communities.

The project aims to promote this transition through a stronger management of the protected areas and the conservation of the areas with water basins, which play a crucial role in conserving biodiversity and enhancing the country’s historical-cultural heritage.

Two specific actions need to be pursued: GREEN coAL-Ition and BLUEcoAL-Ition, which are dedicated to the eco-friendly development of mountainous and coastal areas respectively.

Albanian mountains

GREEN coAL-Ition

The environmental, economic and tourist potential of river resources is often not sufficiently exploited. In some cases rivers are used as landfills with no thought given to the negative impact this type of practice has. For this reason, in cooperation with the NGOs Vis and Cesvi, in collaboration with the University of Trento and with the technical support of the Polytechnic of Tirana and the regional administrations for Protected areas, we are engaged in protecting and enhancing the Vjosa river: we aim to protect the natural habitat of the species living in these area and to ensure the environmental, social and economic sustainability of all river-related activities.

Fostering the country’s sustainable development entails rediscovering the role of the agricultural sector, which still mostly engages family-run businesses. Offering technical support to small local producers, the project aims to enhance their products.

Rural areas and mountainous landscapes are also an important tourist destination for those keen to explore the country. Crossed by countless hiking and trekking paths, the protected areas offer excursions that attract tourists from all over the world. There is however a lack of adequate accommodation facilities. CELIM aims to refurbish traditional ones and build new ones.

The areas of intervention are the municipalities of Përmet, Gjirokastra, Valona, Tirana, Shkodra and Malësi and Madhe.

  • Drafting a development plan for the protection and management of the Vjosa river’s ecosystem
  • Boosting tourist facilities with the creation of camping areas and the refurbishment of traditional accommodation in mountainous areas
  • Enhancing local foods through the self-certifications of honey and dairy products and the promotion of products in local and international markets
  • Boosting the skills of institutions and communities through fire prevention and forest areas’ management plans as well as environmental awareness and education actions in schools
  • Carrying out biophysical, socio-cultural and economic analyses of the natural capital of some areas featuring water basins.
Caretta caretta turtle

BLUE coAL-Ition

The Albanian coast represents a fundamental habitat for two species of sea turtles: the Caretta caretta and the Chelonia myda. However, the high degree of anthropization of the coasts and the resulting coastal degradation are threatening the turtles’ egg-laying and the preservation of their nests, and in recent years have resulted in a sharp decline in the number of turtles present in the Mediterranean.

CELIM, in collaboration with the University of Bari and the WWF of Policoro, aims to create a rescue centre for sea turtles that could become the first of its kind in Albania; to monitor the nesting sites and raise awareness among local populations, fishermen and tourists on the protection of these species and their ecosystem.

The bay of Vlorë is one of the most popular destinations for those who decide to visit Albania: thanks to its beaches, the mild and sunny weather, the exceptional gastronomic offer and the military history, this is a mandatory port of call. The heavy tourist presence concentrated in the same periods of the year represents a huge challenge for the environment, as well as for tourist agencies and the few local hotels.

Together with the NGOs Vis and Cesvi, we are committed to increasing sustainable tourism in the city of Vlorë and in the neighbouring protected area of Vjosa-Narta through the creation of attractions and hiking trails that respect nature and enhance local history.

Our commitment to ecotourism does not stop here: CELIM offers support to the communities of Southern Albania in the development of activities related to ‘blue’ tourism, i.e. a tourism that develops in areas featuring water basins and supports the sustainable growth of the maritime sector. Activities such as bird watching and no-kill or catch and release fishing for example offer a great opportunity to ensure the growth of local economy and tourism, at the same time respecting both the environment and local communities.

  • Protecting sea turtles through the creation of a rescue centre and the monitoring of nesting sites
  • Enhancing the military history of the bay of Vlorë and the protected landscape of Vjosa-Narta
  • Drafting a sustainable development plan for the Himara-Porto Palermo area with a view to achieving sustainable tourism
  • Promoting sustainable tourism through the implementation of a plan aimed at supporting bird watching and no-kill or catch and release fishing, in particular for areas featuring water basins
  • Developing a management plan for the Zvërnec Lagoon
  • My name is Manuel Castelletti and I am the country manager for CELIM in Albania
  • Projects’ titles
    GREEN coAL-ITion: sviluppo eco-sostenibile del patrimonio naturale dell’entroterra albanese

    BLUE coAL-ITion: sviluppo eco-sostenibile del patrimonio naturale della costa albanese

    Project manager
    Manuel Castelletti,

  • Data
    September 2020 / March 2023

    – Vis
    – Cesvi

    Altri enti coinvolti
    – Napa, Agenzia nazionale per le aree protette
    – Wwf Costa Ionica Lucana e Aree Interne
    – Università degli studi di Genova



Support the activities

  • 20 €

    to support the construction of camping sites in protected areas

  • 50 €

    to help promote local food products

  • 100 €

    to support the tourist development of the historical-military heritage

  • 250 €

    to help create a turtle rescue centre

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