Albania Explorer


Albania Explorer

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 9 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 – Tirana

Arrive in Tirana and transfer to your hotel. Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore the city. Overnight Hotel Kruja or similar.

Day 2 – Tirana, Kruje and Shkoder

Start the day exploring Albania’s capital. We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. We then head to Kruja, one of Albania’s most important towns due to the part it played in the resistance against the Ottomans. Visit the Skanderbeg Museum and castle as well as the old bazaar. Later we continue to Shkoder. Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and was once a capital of the Illyrian state. We visit its old bazaar, cathedral and mosque before heading to Rozafa castle for spectacular views of the city, lake and the surrounding mountains. Overnight Hotel Tradita or similar. (BL) 

Day 3 - Durres and Berat

Drive to the coastal city of Durres, Albania’s second largest. Explore its sites including the Roman amphitheatre and Archaeological Museum before continuing to the stunning town of Berat, with its white houses clinging to the hillsides. We visit the citadel which contains numerous churches and an interesting museum, and has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Overnight Hotel Mangalemi or similar. (BL)

Day 4 - Ardenica Monastery, Apollonia and Vlore

Drive to Ardenice Monastery, a 13th century Byzantine site locally famed for hosting the wedding of the hero Skanderbeg. Continue from here to the ruins of Apollonia, an atmospheric set of Roman remains on a remote hillside and once an important city in the region. Later depart to the coastal city of Vlora. Visit the city, including its museum, where Albanian independence from the Ottomans was proclaimed on November 28th, 1912. Overnight Hotel Partner or similar. (BL)

Day 5 - Llogara National Park, Himare, Saranda and Butrint

After breakfast, we continue to the south of Albania, stopping first at Llogara National Park where we enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and the Albanian Riviera. Continue via some picturesque seaside villages to Saranda and onto the ruins of Butrint, Albania's most important archaeological site, and a UNESCO site. Butrint dates from the 7th century BC, later becoming a Roman colony, then falling under the sway of the Venetians and Turks. Explore numerous buildings including an acropolis, basilica and palace. The location of the site itself is also very attractive surrounded by trees and water. Later return to Saranda. Overnight Brilant Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 6 - Gjirokaster

This morning we continue to Gjirokaster. En route we will make a stop at the hilltop settlement of Finiq first established in the 5th century by the Chaones, a Greek tribe in ancient Epirus, but it was inhabited well into the Byzantine era. Its 12-feet-thick stone walls were built to protect the ancient residents against Illyrian attacks. The ruins today include a small temple, a theatre and remains of houses and Roman cisterns. We then travel to Blue Eye National Park before we reach the UNESCO listed town of Gjirokaster known for its distinct and traditional architecture. We have time to explore this UNESCO listed site, one of the highlights of Albania with an imposing citadel and numerous typical houses. Overnight Gjirokaster Hotel or similar. (BL)

Day 7 – Tepelena, Voskopoje and Korce

We stop at the castle of Tepelene, famous for Ali Pash Tepelena, the leader of Ioannina Province under the Ottoman Emperor reign and then continue to Voskopoje, a small mountain village. On our winding journey through the mountains towards Korca, we enjoy wonderful panoramic views. This afternoon we arrive in Korca where we should have some time to explore. Overnight Hotel Regency or similar. (BL)

Day 8 - Elbasan and Tirana

Today we continue to Elbasan and stop for a short city tour, taking in the Elbasani clock, the ethnographic Museum, the Old Mosque and the Via Egnatia. We continue to Tirana were we stay on our last night and enjoy a farewell dinner with your guide. Overnight Hotel Kruja or similar. (BLD)

Day 9 - Departure

Transfer to the airport for your departure (B)

 


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