Grand Albania Tour
Introduction of the tour:
This Grand Albania tour is the longest tour we offer and is for people who are interested to discover the culture, the history and the hospitality of Albania in a more in-depth way by also exploring the South-East of Albania. This tour provides access to a variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, old towns, beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, the Albanian Riviera and hospitable small villages with interaction with the local community. Visit Albania before mass tourism discovers it!
This tour last 10/11/12 days (tailor-made up to your wishes) and the visits may include:
Tirana – Durres – Berat – Ardenica – Apollonia – Vlora – Llogara – Dhermi – Porto Palermo – Borsh – Saranda – Butrint – Blue Eye Spring – Gjirokastra – Permet – Voskopoja – Korca – Pogradec – Tushemist – Elbasan – Shkodra – Kruja
Day 1: Tirana
Arrival at “Mother Teresa” Airport, meet & greet by our representative and transfer to hotel. Visit the National Historic Museum in Tirana offering an in depth introduction to Albanian history from prehistoric times to present day. Welcome dinner at a traditional Albanian restaurant with live music. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 2: Tirana – Durres – Berat
After breakfast we visit the Statue of Skanderbeg on the Skanderbeg Square, the Et'hem Bey Mosque at the south east corner of Skanderbeg Square, The Clock Tower next to the Et'hem Bey Mosque and some of the government buildings at the south end of Skenderbeg Square. Afterwards we will depart for Durres (one of the oldest and most important cities of Albania) where we will have lunch in a fish restaurant at the beach. After lunch we visit the Amphitheatre and the Archaeological museum, located in the middle of the modern city. After this stop in Durres we continue for Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is also known as “the city of thousand windows”. After the check in into the hotel, we will have lunch in a traditional restaurant. Afterwards we have a walk in the neighbourhood called “Mangalem” and visit the ethnographic museum. We continue our tour to the Castle and the Onufri museum. People are still living within the walls of the castle, just like their ancestors did. Onufri was an Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece. After these visits the group is left at leisure for further exploration of this beautiful town. Overnight in Berat.
Day 3: Berat – Ardenica – Apollonia– Vlora
In the morning there will be some time to stroll along the streets of Berat before departure to Vlora. On the way to this beautiful coastal town we visit Ardenica and Apollonia. Ardenica is an Orthodox monastery built in the 13th century. It is thought that it was in this idyllic place that the marriage of the Albanian national hero Scanderbeg was celebrated in the 15th century. After Ardenica we proceed to Apollonia, situated on the famous Via Egnatia. Apollonia was founded at the beginning of the 7th century BC by the Greek colonists and in Roman times, it was a large and flourishing city (with 50.000 residents in the second century BC) near Aos river (today Vjosa). The monastery (which houses the museum) courtyard enclosed a Byzantine church dating back to the 14th century. We will have lunch in Apollonia. After lunch we continue our trip to Vlora where we will visit the Independence Museum which is situated in the original house where the first independent Albanian Government had its seat. Afternoon & evening at leisure. Overnight in Vlora.
Day 4: Vlora – Llogara – Dhermi – porto Palermo – Borsh – Saranda
After breakfast we depart for Saranda. This day we will only drive along the Albanian Riviera overlooking the Ionian Sea. 30 minutes from Vlora we will stop at Llogara National Park for a quick break to have a stunning view of one of the most dramatic mountains of the Mediterranean and with panoramas overlooking the sea. After this quick stop we proceed to Dhermi beach, which is a gem with its crystal clear waters. We will have a traditional lunch in a fish restaurant. After lunch we continue for Porto Palermo, where the Ali Pasha Castle stands like a barrier in front of the blue rocky sea as a protection for the country. The bay of Porto Palermo once served as an important secret submarine base during the regime days. The semi abandoned base and the tunnel are still visible. After the visit of Porto Palermo we proceed to Borsh, where we will have a coffee break in an oase of peace surrounded by waterfalls and running water. After this coffee break we will continue along the breath-taking road to Saranda, our final destination for today. Upon arrival in Saranda (only a few miles across the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu), check in at the hotel and enjoy a stroll along the sea side promenade and prepare for dinner. Overnight in Saranda.
Day 5: Saranda – Butrint – Blue Eye Spring - Saranda
Today we will visit Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was founded by the Trojans during the first millennium BC and was continuously inhabited for centuries. After the tour we have lunch at a restaurant inside the walls of a medieval fortress on top the hill overlooking the town of Saranda with a breath-taking view. On the way back to Saranda we visit the Blue Eye spring, formed by underground springs. Afternoon & evening at leisure. Overnight in Saranda.
Day 6: Saranda – Gjirokastra
After breakfast we depart for Gjirokastra, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is said to be one of the most beautiful historical towns in Albania and known as “museum city”. Here we visit the biggest fortress in Albania, built during the 4th century and house of the National Museum of Weapons. We will also pay a visit to the Ethnographic Museum, which is located in the house where the Albanian dictator (Enver Hoxha) was born. The group is then left at leisure to explore the rest of the city. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Day 7: Gjirokastra – Permet – Voskopoja
In the morning there will be some time to stroll along the streets of Gjirokastra before departure to Voskopoja. This day we drive through the breath-taking scenery of the Kelcyra gorge and Vjosa canyons to arrive at the attractive town of Permet where we take a walk to visit the wonderful church of Leusa and also experiencing local lifestyle. Here we will also have lunch. After this traditional lunch we continue our trip to Voskopoja through the scenery of the mountainous area of Leskovik. When we arrive in Voskopoja, one of the most important towns in the Balkans during the beginning of the 18th century, we visit the town with its most important church with frescoes from the Zeografi brothers. Overnight in Voskopoja.
Day 8: Voskopoja – Korca – Pogradec – Tushemisht
After breakfast there will be some time to enjoy the peaceful town of Voskopoja before leaving for Korca where we visit the Museum of Medieval Arts, The first school of Albania, the Mosque of Mirahori, one of the oldest in the country, and the Othodox Cathedral. Afterwards we continue to Pogradec, which is a city on the shores of Lake Ohrid. We visit the Park of Drilon and Villa Art (where we will have lunch) that used to be the old fishing villa of the dictator. Then we proceed to the small village of Tushemisht to explore traditional village life in this picturesque area of the country. Overnight in Tushemisht.
Day 9: Tushemisht – Elbasan – Tirana
After breakfast we depart for Elbasan where we will visit Elbasani Castle and the Saint Mary Church inside the castle. Afterwards we continue to Tirana where we will lunch and a free afternoon to explore the capital of Albania. (Or if there was not enough time on day 1 and 2, we visit these sites) Overnight in Tirana.
Day 10: Tirana – Shkodra – Kruja
After breakfast we will depart for the northern city of Shkodra where we visit the Rozafa castle with an amazing view all around the lake of Shkodra, the city of Shkodra and the countryside. Afterwards we visit the Mesi Bridge, an old bridge built in the mid 18th century with beautiful mountains on the background. After the visit of Skodra, we continue to Kruja, which was the centre of the legendary Albanian resistance against the Turks led by our national hero, Skanderbeg. Kruja is located on the cliffs of mount Kruja which offers superb views of the coast and the surrounding villages. Here we visit the Kruja fortress, the Skanderbeg museum, the Ethnographic museum and the famous old Bazaar street. Overnight in Kruja.
Day 11: Kruja – Airport
Free time to explore Kruja, followed by the airport transfer and departure.
Prices start from € 600 p/p BB in a twin/double room, depending on the size of the group. The supplement for a single room is € 125.
The price includes:
- Transfer to and from the airport
- Transportation with air-conditioned comfortable vehicle
- English (Italian, German, Dutch or French) speaking tour guide
- Accommodation in well selected 3* hotels with breakfast
- Entrance fees
- All taxes
Our price does not includes:
- Flight tickets
- Lunch & dinner (if you wish, we could add this to your trip)