This tour as the title shows is a tour designed to be the most basic version of our other Balkan tours, for those who are limited in time and budget but would still like to discover Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.;
Location: Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro
Duration: 10 days, 9 nights
Meet at the airport and transfer to depart for Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania under the protection of UNESCO as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness. Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which 7 still remain including St. Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. We visit the Castle and the Onufri Museum. Accommodation in characteristic house turned hotel in the old district.
After breakfast, depart to Saranda through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. At the Llogara National Park we stop at around 1100 metres where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea can be admired. Afterwards continue along the wonderful coast to the ancient city of Butrint another UNESCO World Heritage considered the best archaeological site in Albania and probably one of the most important in the Balkans. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations, giving archaeologists the possibility to study continuity through time. It is situated on a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation. The site has been occupied since at least the 8th century BC, although myths associated with its origins speak of the city’s foundation by Trojan exiles. After a thorough visit of the site return to Saranda for overnight.
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 colors among old maple trees. Afterwards drive to Gjirokastra where we will visit the fortress of Gjirokastra, part of which was turned into a political prison for dissidents of the regime and the 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 river. Overnight in Permet.
After breakfast depart for Pogradec through one of the most breathtaking roads of Albania. A combination of gorges, mountains colorful fields, river canyons and forests accompanies us in this long but with amazing natural beauty. Visit the Museum of Medieval Art in Korca and the Mirahori mosque. After the visits continue for Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid and the village of Tushemisht where the old fishing villa of the dictator is situated. Overnight in Pogradec.
After breakfast visit St. Naum Monastery, the Cathedral of St. Sofia built between the 11th and 14th century, which was the seat of the Archbishop. St. Clement, a classic Orthodox Byzantine church which demonstrates the link between Byzantine and Italian Renaissance art, and the Icon Gallery. After these visits we depart to Skopje for a tour of the main sites. Visit the old Turkish bazaar, Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, stone bridge and the Macedonia Plaza. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast we drive to visit Prizren, through the beautiful Sharri Mountains. Prizren is a true open air museum, one of the most beautiful towns of Kosovo which has best preserved the architectural style of the past. The craftsmen of Prizren are well known for their beautiful gold and silver articles and other folk handcrafts. Take a short tour and we suggest traditional lunch here in the old town. Afterwards continue towards Peja through the magnificent 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. Overnight in the Rugova valley near Peja.
After breakfast a long drive through magnificent natural beauty of the North West Kosovo and Montenegro takes us to Kolašin which is Montenegro's most famous ski resort, and its capital Podgorica. We will take a driven tour of the capital Podgorica, and continue on another panoramic drive toward Budva where we overnight.
After breakfast drive to visit the Old City of Kotor a well preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor an UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”. Cetinje is a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the centre of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin and an Eastern Orthodox religious centre. It is because of its heritage as a long term Montenegrin capital that it is today the honorary capital of Montenegro. Afterwards drive to Shkodra, centre of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historic roots, the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences and the Castle. Overnight in Shkodra.
After breakfast drive 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 warrior 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. Afterwards drive to the capital Tirana where we take a driven tour of the major sites of Tirana, including the colourful buildings for which the Albanian capital is now popular for. The dull grey communist architecture buildings have been transformed into modern art canvases through splashes of bright colours and abstract shapes. An ingenious way of uplifting the facades and the moods of the inhabitants. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast transfer to Airport.
Supplement single occupancy of a double room will be 180 Euro.
March, April, May, June, Septemmber, October, November
Note: The above months are for orientation purposes, to help people book on the same months, and pay the cheaper price. However we will run this tour on other months as per clients’ requests.;
We enjoyed our tour very much indeed, we especially enjoyed Albania. Our guide Kledi was marvellous, his knowledge of the history, geography, culture and politics in the Balkans was endless and he was also very good company...and an excellent driver. We felt safe and well looked after. Similarly we found Bledi and his staff at Dolce Vita warm, efficient and hospitable and the hotel and its surroundings very pleasant. I am not sure we could recommend Durres as a holiday destination but having arrived in Albania by boat it was an ideal place to stay.As for the other hotels we particularly liked Kodiket and Tradita and we did not like Semitronix at all! It was kind of you to change our last hotel after the mistake at the Victoria but it was not your fault.Overall we thought Albania a beautiful and fascinating country. Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro were also interesting but our visits there were much shorter. Thank you for all the time and attention that you gave to organising our trip.
Judie Welsh / UK
We returned finally last night and are back to routine!
We already miss our Balkan tour! It was great, we especially liked your beautiful country (our favourite from all the Balkan countries), with its unforgettable diverse scenery, mountains, rivers, lake Ohrid, unique villages and most interesting ancient ruins, paradoxal Tirana and friendly people. It truly is a hidden – secret treasure, but not for too long!! Everything worked out very well, hotels were very good, especially charming boutique hotel Theranda and unique Mangalemi in Berat. Only the heat in Shkodra’s hotel Colosseo was disturbing, since they had switched the entire system to heating when it was already so hot outside!
Klodi was an excellent guide for the Albanian part of the tour, very knowledgeable, giving excellent explanations. Also a super driver, very responsible, cautious and safe. A most friendly person, always punctual and efficient in every aspect. A big applause for him!! We only felt we missed some more explanations and guidance in the other 3 Balkan countries, which could perhaps be added to the tours in the future. It was a wonderful trip! Good memories remain.Thank you! Yes, of course you may put my review on your website! All the best of lucks in the future!
Ana Christina Souza / Brazil
Thanks to you, Klodi, and everyone who helped make our visit so enjoyable. The land portion of the trip which you organized complemented the cruise perfectly. Kay and I were watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics the other night and she saw the Albanian flag carried by your team. It was a beautiful reminder of our trip. Cordially,
Charles Barnell / USA,