Albania and Montenegro are neighbouring countries on the shores of the Adriatic sea. The countries share the sea, Shkodra lake - the largest lake in the Balkans and the mountains which both have plenty of. This tour will take you to their most spectacular natural sites without forgetting your interest in their history, traditions and people as part of the experience of a savvy traveller.;
Location: Albania, Montenegro
Duration: 10 days, 9 nights
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.
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 bibles in the world have been found here. One dates from the 6th century AD and the other from the 9th century AD. 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.
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.
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 2000 metres 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.
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 river. Dinner and overnight in Permet.
After breakfast depart for Pogradec 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.
After breakfast drive along the side of the lake and stop for a quick visit at the picturesque village of Lin. Continue on to Elbasan, where we visit its Castle in the middle of town for refreshment. Continue onto to Shkodra centre of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historic roots. It is the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom in the 3rd century B.C. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences and the catholic cathedral. Overnight in Shkodra.
After breakfast drive to Podgorica the capital of Montenegro. A tour of the town and then proceed to Monastery Ostrog, a spectacle of nature and human interaction, carved almost in its entirety in a vertically positioned mountain cliff. It is today the pearl of Montenegrin spirituality which is visited by more than a hundred thousand pilgrims from around the world and of travellers of all religions every year. After the visits descent to the Skadar Lake considered one of the most beautiful natural parks in the region with wealth of flora and fauna. Afterward drive to Budva one of the most important seaside bases of Montenegro where we take a walk through the old town. Overnight in Budva.
This is an intensive day of visits rich in nature culture and heritage of Montenegro. First the Old City of Kotor, a UNESCO site built between the 12th and 14th century in the wonderful bay with the same name. Throughout the centuries, many empires battled for control of the city which leaving their mark through a variety of buildings. The largest and most impressive of these is the St Tryphon Cathedral. Afterwards we take a spectacular mountain drive to Njeguški a village best known as the birthplace of the Petrović dynasty, which ruled Montenegro from 1696 to 1918. The village is also known for its traditional folk architecture as well as its local forms of cheese and prosciutto made solely in this area. Continue onto Cetinje, founded in the 15th century which became the centre of Montenegrin life and culture as well as an important 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. Return to Budva for overnight.
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.
After breakfast free to explore until time of transfer to the airport for the flight back, where we say Good Bye.
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.;