There’s a magical quality to driving through the winding roads of the southernmost Albanian countryside. The evocative landscape of mountains, hills and sweeping vineyards studded with trees and its cluster of small villages and bucolic farmhouses of Kolonja region looks like a painting at this time of the year. Yet while a visit here is always a good idea, in our opinion, the fall is the very best time to go -when the endless green vistas begin to ripple with varying shades of orange, red, brown, and yellow foliage and the scent of the harvest perfumes the crisp autumnal air.
As temperatures drop and fall foliage emerges, fall becomes the most beautiful time to explore the village of Leskovik and spend a weekend at Max Mavrud, a family run winery-agrotourism surrounded by hills, woods, and precious vineyards, of course. Max Mavrud offers a range of immersive experiences and activities geared towards the fall season and travelers can experience grape season first-hand. From wine tasting to vineyards tours and great food, this stay is one of the best in Albania to experience fall in all its glory.
Situated between Shelegur Germenj and Piskal Shqeri natural reserves, with private vineyards, farmland, and forests, this country house retreat features three cozy and comfortable rooms with mountain views. Wine tastings are, of course, available year-round, but fall is undeniably the best time to go. The most common cultivars you can find here are Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pearl -used for raki and brandy- and the indigenous cultivars Debinë and Mavrud. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the Rosé, one of the best in Albania, and Mavrud, a red wine that won local prizes.
For a deeper culinary experience, the in house restaurant provides a farm-to-table dining experience. The menu offers a range of Albanian delicacies -read: byrek, lakrore, yogurt sauce, freshly baked bread, shepherd cheeses, aromatic herbs, and the freshest seasonal vegetables. Finally, when you’re ready to explore the surrounding area, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the idyllic 19th St. Eleni Kostandini Church, once used from believers asking for blessings. Or if you are a more adventurous visitor, you can even take hiking and biking tours to explore the surrounding forests, lakes, villages, and woods, and live the best this region has to offer.