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 Royal Vila Hotel 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, and the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana. We then visit Bunk Art 2 – an old atomic bunker, now a museum representing the days of the communist regime in the country. Leaving Tirana we 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 the castle. Today lunch will be included and you have the opportunity to try some traditional food in Kruja. There is time enjoy some time in the old bazaar, where you can see the local artisans and their handmade souvenirs before 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 the castle then have time to walk in the pedestrian area, visit the cathedral and mosque before we check in to the hotel. Overnight Hotel Tradita (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, Vlore and Llogara National Park

Today we visit Ardenice Monastery, a 13th century Byzantine site locally famed for hosting the wedding of the hero Skanderbeg. We 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 in the day we travel to the coastal city of Vlora and have a short sightseeing tour of the city, including its museum, before heading for our overnight stay in the National park of Llogara. At over 1000 metres above sea level and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Ionian sea and white sandy beaches, we spend the overnight in a traditional style hotel, in the forest area. Overnight Hotel Alpin or similar. (BL) 

Day 5 - Butrint

After breakfast, we continue to the south of Albania, 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 in the day we will 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 and Korce

We stop at the castle of Tepelene, famous for Ali Pash Tepelena, the leader of Ioannina Province under the Ottoman Emperor reign. 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 - Voskopoja, Pogradec, and Tirana

This morning we continue to Voskopoja, once an ancient city rich in history, with interesting Romanesque architecture and Orthodox churches featuring some of the best 18th century frescoes in Southern Europe; today it is a small mountain village around 1300m above sea level. We will continue for lunch in Podgradec, the small town located on the shores of Lake Ohrid before we continue to Tirana were we stay on our last night and enjoy a farewell dinner with our guide. Overnight Hotel Royal Vila or similar. (BLD) 

Day 9 - Departure

Transfer to the airport for your departure (B) 

 

*Tour itinerary amended 2/5/17


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