Antigonea Archaeological Park

1041 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

2/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

September, 2019

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Partner

Reasons for trip

Whilst staying in Gjirokastra, we visited the archaeological site of Antigonea, located in the Drino Valley at 600m above sea level.

Our guide for the day was Irving, who had a good command of English which he said he’d learned from watching TV, as had many Albanians we chatted to.

On route, Irving told us about the 5 ghost villages; Asim Zeneli, Arshi Lengo, Krinë, Tranoshisht and Saraqinisht which form the municipal unit of Antigonë. They were all agricultural villages, allowing people to live near the fields they worked. The road was the narrow twisting steep variety and it took around 30 minutes.

On arrival at the entrance, we found a barrier manned by a ‘jobsworth’, who for some reason wouldn’t let our car, a small Vauxhall Astra through. However, he provided a leaflet and having abandoned the car, we set off on foot. We hiked for around 20 minutes before seeing the first sign. We passed a 4WD with two British tourists who had obviously been allowed in, but who dogged us which was irritating bearing in mind the scale of the site which is around 90 hectares. We suspect they were taking advantage of our guide’s knowledge by following our route.

Having read the Bradt guide, I had high hopes, but basically all we saw were a few stones meaning lots of imagination was required. The leaflet, as well as providing an extensive overview of the site’s history, listed 16 numbered points of interest.

Unfortunately, many of the accompanying photos were aerial shots and it was hard to get the same impression at ground level. The first site we came to was a dwelling which, according to the leaflet, was a leather workshop in the 3rd century BC. The second, was thought to be a carriage driver’s house as discoveries made, had included a wagon wheel and coins.

There were a few green way markers but there really wasn’t much to see apart from flies buzzing irritatingly around us, geckoes and a variety of small butterflies. We were pleased we were wearing hiking boots we as the grass was relatively long.

To be honest, the views of the white mountains, the clouds over them and the town of Gjirokastra in the distance was more interesting than the ruins. Annoyingly, we appeared to be on a tight timetable and had to turn around before we got to the ‘highlights’ of ruins and mosaics, which were at the fare end of the site. There was also a building, said to be a B&B.

This was a very disappointing experience, although maybe more time and a guide who could bring the site to life would have made a difference.

Back into the car, we set off the drive to the Church of Labova e Kryqit which involved retracing our tracks back down the hill and up another. On route Irving said, ‘I’m quiet as I’m going to spill my guts when we arrive’ which made us unsure which films and TV channels he’d been learning his English from.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.