This is one of our most sold tours which, explores two neighbouring Balkan countries, Albania and Macedonia. It has proven to offer the right mixture; of cultural elements with 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the religious mix and tolerance of the region, delicious cuisine be it really traditional homemade or more elaborated, daily life, and the genuine hospitality of the inhabitants. Enjoy this unique experience which fuses together similarities and differences.;
Location: Albania, Macedonia
Duration: 11 days, 10 nights
Meet at airport and transfer to Tirana for a visit at the National Museum of History which is a great introduction to the history of the country and its people. 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 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 drive to Shkodra centre of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historic routes, the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences and depart for Kruja the centre of Albanian resistance against the Ottomans. Lunch is a culinary delight of local food in a village where organic tourism is promoted (optional). After lunch drive to Kruja where we visit the Castle with Ethnographic Museum and the Old Ottoman style bazaar. Overnight in Tirana.
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 built to honour Apollo. Caesar chose to send his nephew Augustus Octavian to study oratory in Apollonia which is testimony to the importance of this ancient city. After the visits continue on to Vlora where in the centre we have a look at Muradie Mosque, one of the early works of the famous architect Sinan of Albanian origin. After a free lunch we drive to a beautiful natural peninsula where we visit the Monastery of Zvernec amongst wonderful nature. Overnight in Vlora.
After breakfast we depart to Saranda through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. At Llogara National Park we stop at around 1100 metres where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea can be admired. We continue and make a visit at the castle of Ali Pasha at Porto Palermo. Lunch on your own can be enjoyed here in one of the fish restaurants overlooking the castle and the beautiful turquoise sea. After lunch we will proceed to visit to the ancient city of Butrint-another 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. Overnight in Saranda.
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 be visiting a remote village with a wonderful church called Labova of the Cross. Afterwards in Gjirokastra we will visit the Castle, part of which was turned into a political prison for dissidents of the communist 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. Dinner independently but recommendation will be made by our guide. Overnight in a Gjirokastra in a House turned hotel. A very interesting and unique experience.
After breakfast drive to Berat another wonderful Museum town and UNESCO site: Visit the Castle, Onufri Museum and several churches and mosques. Onufri was an Albanian master painter of the 16th century who had a preference 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. We have a homemade lunch in Berat. (optional). After the lunch, in the downtown we visit the Leaden Mosque, the King's Mosque, the Bachelor's Mosque and the Alveti Tekke. Also we will pay a visit to a local family to see how life is today in the Berat old quarter. Overnight in Berat.
After breakfast depart for to the city of Ohrid. On the way we drive through rural villages with wonderful countryside landscapes and pass a Communist named village “New Life”. We stop at Elbasan for a visit at the castle. Afterwards drive to Ohrid in Macedonia where we visit the Church St. Sofia, built between the 11th and 14th century, which was the seat of the Archbishop. “St. Clement”, a classic Orthodox Byzantine church, dominating the Old Town, demonstrates the link between Byzantine and Italian Renaissance art. At “Plaoshnik”, in the 9 the century, St. Clement of Ohrid founded the first University of Europe and educated 3.500 students. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast visit St. John at Kaneo, stands alone on a small peninsula which juts out into the Lake at the western end of the Old Town, and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Lake and surrounding mountains, Samuil fortress, Saint Painteleimon Church, The Holy Virgin of Peribleptos Church, Icon Galery and old Bazaar. The tour continues to St. Naum Monastery. In the monastery we follow the path of St. Naum, meeting the legends of all the miracles he made before and after he built his church on the top of the rock. Visit of the monastery and the Springs of Black Drin river, you may enjoy in the rowing boat on the springs site. Overnight in Ohrid.
After breakfast we drive to Skopje capital of Macedonia on the Vardar River. On the way visit Stobi archaeological site, thought to be the most important excavation in Macedonia. This crossroad of ancient civilizations has left a rich legacy of antique theatres, palace ruins, brightly-coloured mosaics and religious relics for visitors to enjoy today. The city of Stobi is first mentioned in documents from the 2nd century B.C. However, archaeologists believe that the town had been inhabited at least 400 years earlier. Stobi became a rich and prosperous city due to its location on the crossroads of important trade routes. In Skopje we, visit the old Turkish bazaar and Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the Castle of Skopje, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, the Macedonia Plaza and stone bridge. Overnight in Skopje
After breakfast drive to Prizren, Kosovo for a short coffee break and admiring the old ottoman architecture of this town. Then continue to Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast transfer to Airport.
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 stay in Albania. Everything went very well. Claudie was very good. Thank you for your good planning. E dua Sqiperine. We hope this says I love Albania.