Still emerging from isolation, Albania is a country that is off the main tourist trail but offers a diverse range of unique attractions that are waiting to be discovered. Experience its stunning natural scenery as we journey from the Adriatic Read More
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Still emerging from isolation, Albania is a country that is off the main tourist trail but offers a diverse range of unique attractions that are waiting to be discovered.
Experience its stunning natural scenery as we journey from the Adriatic Coast across the White Mountains to the peaceful shores of Lake Ohrid. Along the way, you can see villages where time appears to havestood still and the rural lifestyle has gone unchanged for generations.
There is also a wealth of historic sites left behind by past civilizations, such as the Illyrian tribes, ancient Greeks, Romans, and the Ottoman Empire.
Whatever your interest there is something for everyone to discover in Albania.
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TIRANA AIRPORT – TIRANAFly to Tirana. Transfer to the hotel and check in for two nights. After lunch visit Buneci house, a typical house built in the 17th century, which displays works by a master copper craftsman. Take a cable car to the top of Mount Dajti.
TIRANAIn the morning visit Bektashi Tekke (World Headquarters of the Muslim Bektashi Sect), before driving to Skanderbeg Square. Discover the Mosque of Et-hem Bej and travel to Kruja for lunch. After lunch visit its fortress, the Museum of Skanderbeg and the Ethnographic Museum. Spend some free time wandering around the Kruja Bazaar - an excellent place to purchase souvenirs. In Tirana visit the ex-residential block of communist party leaders finishing at the Sky Tower. Those who wish can return to the hotel or stay to enjoy a drink or meal in The Panoramic Bar & Restaurant, which as the name suggests offers wonderful views over the city.
TIRANA - SHKODRAAfter breakfast visit the Mosaics of Tirana and the National Historical Museum before driving north to the lakeside town of Shkodra. One of the highlights of Shkodra is a visit to the ruins of the Fortress of Rozafa, an ancient Ilyrian castle built on a rock hill with spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, the lake and the Lead Mosque. Enjoy an excursion to the Mesi Bridge and the Old Kosovo Road, as well as the Shkodra Museum which exhibits typically ornate guestrooms and has a small archaeology exhibition. Here, visit a traditional dress workshop. Overnight in Shkodra.
SHKODRA - BAJRAM CURRIDepart early to Komas and board the 9am ferry to Fierza. Discover the Hydropower Dam of Koman and the town of Fierza. In the afternoon visit the Tekke of Dervish Rexhep Torcu in Luzna. Check into the accommodation in Valbona for two nights.
BAJRAM CURRI – VALBONAExplore the Valbona River Valley - the landscape here is truly majestic with great views of the mountains to the north in Montenegro. Visit Dragobi, a beautiful and evocative traditional northern village with many wooden and stone kullas. Enjoy a barbeque picnic in the village of Valbona.
BAJRAM CURRI – DURRESTravel to Prizren. After a short stop for coffee the journey continues to Lezha through Kukesi along a new highway. Visit the Memorial of Skanderbeg and the ruins of the church of St. Nicholas in Lezha. Enjoy lunch at local restaurant at Shengjini beach. In the afternoon continue to Durres and visit the Roman Amphitheatre (unfortunately at time of writing the Archaeological Museum is still undergoing refurbishment). Overnight in Durres.
DURRES - BERATThis morning drive to the museum city of Berat, also known as the city of a thousand windows, due to the plethora of windows in the city’s red-roofed houses. Built on the slopes of a mountain, the old Turkish part of the town is very picturesque, being largely encompassed by the medieval fortress. To house the growing population, a new town has been built further down the valley next to the largest textile combine in the country. Here, visit the Citadel, the Church of St Mary of Vllaherna and The Onufri Museum, dedicated to the 16th-century painter and his contemporaries and which houses restored icons in an orthodox church. After lunch, continue with the tour of Berat and visit the Ethnographic Museum, King’s Mosque, Bachelor’s Mosque and Helvetian Tekke. Overnight in Berat.
BERAT - VLORATravel to Fieri stopping en route at Ardenica Monastery and the Archaeological Site of Appolonia. Founded in 558 B.C by settlers from Corfu and Corinth, Apollonia was an important port along the route between Rome and Byzantium. Stop for lunch in a local restaurant and in the afternoon visit Independence House. Overnight at Vlora Beach.
VLORA - SARANDAContinue along the mountain coastal road of the Albanian Riviera through the Llogora Pass enjoying stunning views of the Ionian coastline. Discover the Ali Pasha Fortress at Porto Palermo bay. In the afternoon enjoy an excursion to the Greek and Roman ruins of Butrint - Albania's most important archaeological site. This rediscovered city is a microcosm of almost 3,000 years of Mediterranean history. Its sixth century B.C. fortification evokes the city's military power and amphitheatre symbolises the rich culture of this once thriving ancient city. Overnight in Saranda.
SARANDA - GJIROKASTRADepart for Gjirokastra, stopping en route at the church of Shen Kolle (St Nicholas). Continue to Blue Eye Springs, the main source of the River Bistrica before reaching Gjirokastra. In the afternoon, embark on a city tour of Gjirokastra - the birthplace of the former dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha. Enjoy exploring this strikingly picturesque town, perched on the side of a mountain above the Drin River. The city tour includes the district museum, housed in the building in which Enver Hoxha was born, the pre- Ottoman citadel, a former political prison, and the weapons museum inside the castle. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
GJIROKASTRA - KORCADrive through the stunning White Mountains, via the Kelcyra Gorge, carved by the Vjosa on its way to the Adriatic Sea. Journey through the small highland town of Permeti and its vineyards to reach the Barmash Pass, with its sweeping views of the snow-covered Grammoz Mountains which form the border with Greece. Here, we will visit a small traditional winery and a traditional cheese factory Lunxheria. In the afternoon proceed to Korca. En route visit the Kamenica Tumulus, an important archaeological site in Kamenicë. The site includes a museum dedicated to the prehistory of Albania and of the surrounding region. Check in to the hotel in Korca for two nights.
KORCASpend the day exploring the Korca region including a visit to the village of Voskopoja - one of the most important towns in the European part of the Ottoman Empire during the beginning of the 18th century. It is here that the first printing house in the Balkans was established in 1720. There are also some outstanding examples of Orthodox Christian Churches, which escaped the destruction of the communist regime. Visit a local beer factory – the Birra Korca Factory - to taste Albania's most famous beer. In the afternoon, drive to the village of Liqenas and visit Prespa Lake and National Park. The centre of the lake marks the border between Albania to the west, Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south.
KORCA - TIRANAMorning visit to the Medieval Arts Museum, which opened in 1980 and covers the period from the fifth to the 19th century and displays works by Albania's most famous painters of the Middle Ages. Followed by a delicious fish lunch in Podgradec. In the afternoon, visit Elbasan for a sightseeing tour of this former Ottoman city. Continue to Tirana along the Qafa e Krrabes mountain road. On arrival in Tirana enjoy a farewell dinner.
TIRANASpend the day at leisure in Tirana.
TIRANA - AIRPORTFree time before transferring to the airport for flight back home. End of our service.
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