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Grand Tour of Albania
(11 nights/12 days)<< back
Day 1. Tirana
Transfer to hotel in the heart of the city to freshen up. Afterwards an overview of the major sites of Tirana by car. At leisure in the afternoon to explore the city center. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 2. Tirana – Kruja
After breakfast, travel to Kruja, a small town perched high on the face of a hill, center of the Albanian resistance against the Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Albania's national hero Scanderbeg. Visit the fortress of Kruja, the Scanderbeg Museum, Ethnographic Museum, and the old bazaar full of local handicrafts. Traditional Albanian Lunch in Kruja. Afterwards depart for Durres. We arrive in Durres in the early afternoon in time to visit the Amphitheatre and Archeological Museum. Overnight in Durres.
Day 3. Durres – Elbasan – Pogradec – Tushemisht
Morning departure for Elbasan, visit Elbasan Castle ( interesting as it is the only castle in the country givento a private entity which has proved very successful in preserving and restoring this monument). Along the way we stop for refreshments. Continue on to Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid for lunch. Lunch at Villa Art, which used to be the old fishing villa of the dictator. After lunch we proceed to the small village of Tushemisht to explore traditional village life in this picturesque area of the country. Overnight in Pgradec.
Day 4. Pogradec – Korca – Voskopoja – Korca
After breakfast depart for Korca where we visit the Museum of Medieval Arts and the Mosque of Mirahori one of the oldest in the country built in 1469. Afterwards we depart for Voskopoja one of the most important towns in the European part of the Ottoman empire during the beginning of the 18th century. Testament to this are the first printing house in the Balkans in 1720, the Academia of Voskopoja founded in 1744, the famous Basilicas, the painted house walls by the famous Albanian painters including David Selenica and the Zeografi brothers. We visit a number of monuments and churches with frescoes that have been restored. Lunch in Voskopoja. Afterwards we return to Korca where you are left at leisure to explore this important town of south Albania. Of particular interest is the old Korca bazaar opposite our hotel. Overnight in Korca
Day 5. Korca – Gjirokastra
Today after an early breakfast we depart to Gjirokastra, museum city and UNESCO heritage site. We drive through breathtaking scenery of the mountainous area of Leskovik and Kolonja, stopping in Permet for an early lunch. Gjirokastra is the birthplace of former iron-fisted dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha. Visit in the pre-Ottoman citadel with a weapons museum and ex- political prison. Afterwards free to stroll around town, where many of the buildings retain their original wood and stone work. Overnight will be in one of the characteristic Gjirokastra houses restored to a small family run guest house.
Day 6. Gjirokastra – Saranda – Butrint – Saranda
After breakfast we drive to Saranda. On the way a quick visit to the Blue Eye, a fresh water spring in the shape of an eye, amongst dense vegetation. A beautiful and relaxing natural site. We stop at the Mesopotam Church where carvings of mythological creatures can be admired. Afterwards proceed to Saranda for lunch stop. Afternoon visit to the World Heritage site of Butrint, Albania's most important archaeological site and one of the most important in the Mediterranean as it provides proof of continuous inhabitation for thousands of years forming layers of civilizations. We have dinner at the Lekursi castle from where the Island of Corfu and the Bay of Saranda with its dazzling lights can be admired
Day 7. Saranda
A free day in Saranda to relax on the beautiful Ksamil beach, take a boat trip or independently take a day trip to Corfu. Overnight in Saranda
Day 8. Saranda – Vlora
A morning departure takes us north along the Albanian Riviera towards the coastal town of Vlora, where important events in the struggles for freedom and independence have taken place. A drink and rest break at the coastal town of Himara and several small coastal villages. We will probably stop to visit a village house or possibly a school at the village of Bosh. Stop for lunch at the beautiful mountain gorge of Llogara before arriving in Vlora. In Vlora we visit the Independence Museum, situated in the original house that was the seed of the first independent Albanian government. Overnight in Vlora.
Day 9. Vlora – Apollonia – Berat
We depart early from Vlora towards the ancient city of Apollonia, founded in 558 BC by settlers from Corfu and Corinth. After a tour of the Roman site's library and beautiful Odeon and a visit to the Old Monastery nearby serving as an open Archaeological Museum. Next we proceed to the beautiful museum town of Berat, sometimes called "the city of a thousand windows." It is one of the most attractive Albanian towns and must see for anyone. Lunch in Berat. After lunch, sightseeing in Berat: the Fortress, Onufri Museum (an old Orthodox church which displays many of the icon paintings by Onufri and his followers) and several churches and mosques. In the downtown we visit the Leaden Mosque, the King's Mosque, the Bachelor's Mosque and the Alveti Tekke. Visit an Albanian Winery to taste one of the best local Albanian wines. Dinner and Overnight in a traditional Berat House turned hotel.
Day 10. Berat – Shkodra
In the morning proceed to the northern city of Shkodra, the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC. Visit Rozafa Castle from where spectacular views all around can be admired and the feel of supremacy the Illyrians would have felt against enemies standing in such an imposing fortress. Lunch in Shkodra by the lake of Shkodra the largest in the Balkans. Afterwards we visit the Marubi Museum (master photographer of the end of 19th century). It has an exposition of old prints starting with the oldest photograph in the Balkans in 1856. Experience authentic life and people from 150 years ago through the print exposition. Afterwards visit to the Mesi Bridge an old bridge built in the mid 18th century with beautiful mountain scenery as backdrop. Dinner at traditional restaurant. Overnight in Shkodra.
Day 11. Shkodra – Tirana
Morning drive 2 hrs to Tirana. Half day tour of the capital including Ethem Bey Mosque, Clock Tower, National Museum. We visit two inhabited old houses where two master artists live. The Buneci house, built in the 17th century, is the house of a master cooper craftsman and displays his life's works in his living room. The house of Albanian master painter, Sali Shijaku, built in the 15th century, displays his paintings. Free afternoon for more exploration on your own. Dinner and overnight in Tirana.
Day 12. Tirana – Airport
leisure until time for transfer to the Airport.
Minimum 6 pax:
Price: - 959 Euro p/person HBsharing a double room.
- 1095 Euro p/person HB sharing a single room.
- Transportation with a/c vehicle. Does not have a washroom. (Toilet stops will be scheduled into the itinerary)
- English speaking tour guide.
- Acommodation in good standard hotels
- All meals Except Lunches ( Half- Board)
- All taxes
Tirana: National historic Museum, Archaeological Museum
Korca: Museum of Medieval Arts
Berat: Fortress and Onufri Museum
Gjirokastra: Fortress , Ethnographic Museum
Apollonia (and Orthodox Church)
Durres: Amphitheatre (and Archaeological Museum)
Shkoder: Archaeological Museum, Marubi Museum, Rozafa Castle
Kruja: Fortress, Scanderbeg Museum (and Ethnographic Museum?)
Butrint & Blue Eye
- Flight Tickets
- Everything that is not specified in the “Includes” section.
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