Discover Albania and Kosovo

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Mesi Bridge, Shkodra, AlbaniaThis tour is designed for the travellers who would like to discover these two unknown destinations. The interesting part is that Kosovo has an Albanian ethnic majority and therefore is in a way a continuation of traditions of north Albania, and yet at the same time there is diversity in habits, culture, nature and sites.

Duration: 11 days -10 nights
Location: Albania and Kosovo

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tirana-color-visit-albania.jpg Day 1: Tirana
Meet at airport and transfer to Tirana for a visit at the National Museum of History which is a great introduction to the country and its people from antiquity to the present. Afterwards take a driven tour of the major sites of Tirana, including the colourful buildings the Albanian capital is now recognized for. The dull grey communist buildings have been transformed into modern art canvases through splashes of bright colours and abstract shapes. It is considered an ingenious way of uplifting the facades and the moods of the inhabitants. Overnight in Tirana.
Durres-amphitheater-Albania Day 2: Tirana –Durres - Berat (UNESCO) (3 hours driving time)
After breakfast drive to Berat - a wonderful Museum town and UNESCO site. On the way stop in Durres for a quick visit of the amphitheatre considered the largest in the Balkans. Continue on to Berat a strikingly beautiful town representing the best of Ottoman architecture outside of Turkey. Visit the Fortress, Onufri Museum and several churches and mosques. Onufri was an Albanian master painter of the 16th century who had a weakness for a particular red colour he used so much that it is known today as the Onufrian Red. Many of his wonderfully painted icons still remain in the museum while others can be found in churches in Albania and Greece where he worked. Berat is also known for its ties with religious practice, two of the oldest Christian bibles in the world have been found here. One dates from the 6th century AD and the other from the 9th century AD and both recognized as important documents of theology. In the downtown we visit the Leaden Mosque, the King's Mosque, the Bachelor's Mosque and the Alveti Tekke. Afternoon free to explore on your own. Overnight in Berat.
Apollonia-visit-Albania Day 3: Berat – Apollonia – Zvernec - Vlora (3.5 hours driving time)
After breakfast depart to Apollonia one of the most important ancient learning centres in Roman times on the famous Via Egnatia. Due to its fame and importance it was known as Apollonia Prima out of around 16 ancient cities built to honour the ancient God, Apollo. Caesar chose to send his nephew Octavian who later became Augustus Octavian, to study oratory here which is a testimony of Apollonia’s importance. We will visit the ruins and the well organized archaeological museum adjacent to the site in an old monastery. After the visits continue on to Vlora where we drive to the beautiful peninsula of Zvernec among a pine forest where we visit the monastery with the same name. Return to Vlora for overnight.
Butrint-mosaic-saranda-albania Day 4: Vlora – Butrint (UNESCO) – Saranda (4 hours driving time)
After breakfast drive through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. We stop at Llogara pass which is impressive climbing to a height of over 2000metres at its peak, the mountain of Cika, while we pas at around 1100 metres where spectacular views of the Ionian sea can be admired. Afterwards we visit the castle of Ali Pasha at Porto Palermo. Continue on to Butrint a UNESCO world heritage site. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of different civilizations, making it an important discovery in the Mediterranean. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation offering visitors more than just old ruins. Afterwards we return to Saranda where we overnight.
gjirokastra-tours-albania Day 5: Saranda - Blue Eye – Gjirokastra (UNESCO) - Permet (3 hours driving time)
In the morning we depart for Gjirokastra a museum town under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with beautiful and very distinct architecture. On the way we will stop at the beautiful Blue Eye spring shaped like an eye with beautiful blue and turquoise green colours among old maple trees. Afterwards drive to Gjirokastra where we will visit we visit the fortress of Gjirokastra, part of which was turned into a political prison for dissidents of the regime and an Arms Museum. Visit to the Ethnographic Museum, which is also the house the Albanian dictator was born in, as well as a 300 year old house next to it, where the grandeur of Gjirokastra’s master builders can be observed. After lunch continue on to Permet on the shores of Vjosa rivers. Dinner and overnight in Permet.
National-muesum-medievial-art-Korca-albania Day 6: Permet –Korca – Pogradec (4-5 hours driving time)
After breakfast depart forPogradec through one of the most breathtaking roads of Albania. A combination of gorges, mountains colourful fields, river canyons and forests accompanies us in this long but with amazing natural beauty. In Korca we visit a rich icon museum called The Museum of Medieval Art. Continue on to Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid and the village of Tushemisht where the old fishing villa of the dictator is situated. Overnight at Tushemisht village by the lake Ohrid.
Prizren-tours-kosovo.jpg Day 7: Pogradec – Tetovo - Prizren (5 hours driving time)
After breakfast drive along the side of the lake and continue toward the town of Tetovo in Macedonia with an Albanian majority population where we stop for refreshments. Continue onto Prizren, a true open air museum and one of the most beautiful towns of Kosovo. It is situated on the slopes of the Sharr Mountains and on the banks of the river Bistrica. The craftsmen of Prizren are well known for their beautiful gold and silver articles and other folk handcrafts. From all the cities of Kosovo, Prizren has best preserved the architectural style of the past. Overnight in Prizren.
prishtina-new-born-kosovo tours Day 8: Prizren - Gjakova – Decan Monastery (UNESCO) – Prishtina (3.5 hours driving time)
After breakfast we drive to Gjakova for a visit of this town which has one of the oldest bazaars built in the 17th century which has survived till today. This ancient shopping center has many stores and stalls where you can buy all sorts of handicrafts. Aside from shopping, the Gjakova Old Bazaar also has a 15th century mosque which is one of the major attractions at the site. Afterwards drive towards Peja through the magnificent the Rugova Gorge to the Decani Monastery near it. This monastery complex is a wonderful example of the Orthodox religious architecture and art part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must for anyone visiting Kosovo. After visits continue to the capital Pristina where we take a walking familiarization tour and overnight.

gracanica-monastery-tours-in-Pristina.jpg Day 9: Prishtina – Gazimestan- Gadima Cave – Gracanica Monastery –Ulpiana – Prishtina (2.5 hours driving time)
After breakfast we visit the 1389 Kosovo Battlefield and Sultan Murat’s grave (both about 15 min away from Prishtina). Continue toward the wonderful Gadima Cave, a true monument of nature with 1.3 kms of tunnels with million year old stalagmites and stalactites. It is also known as the marble cave due to the marble like colours and feel of its interior. Visit Gracanica Monastery which was constructed on the ruins of an older 13th century church of the Holy Virgin, which was built on the ruins of a 6th century early Christian basilica. Visit Ulpiana an ancient Roman site also named Justiniana Secunda. Under the Roman Empire, Ulpiana flourished and it is mentioned as a glorious city "urb splendidissma". Ulpiana suffered numerous attacks from barbarian tribes (Huns, Goths), it was destroyed in 479 by the Goths. A final blow came when an earthquake struck in 518 AD and destroyed what remained of Ulpiana. Overnight in Prishtina.
Kruja-museum-albanian-tours Day 10: Prishtina – Kruja – Tirana (4 hours driving time)
After breakfast depart to Tirana. On the way we stop to Kruja the centre of Albanian resistance against the Ottomans under our national hero Scanderbeg who defeated them in 22 battles including one of the most warriors like sultans Mehmet the Conqueror and resisted the Ottoman occupation for 25 years. We visit the Castle with two great Museums and the Old Ottoman style bazaar. Return to capital Tirana where free to explore on your own. Overnight in Tirana.
  Day 11: Departure
After breakfast free to explore until time of transfer to the airport for the flight back, where we say Good Bye.


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