Arrival and meeting with our guide. Departure to Tirana, capital of Albania.
Visit of the city Scanderbeg Square, National Museum, clock Tower, Tabaku Bridge, the Pyramid once housing the Museum of ex Dictator Enver Hoxha, the Palace of Congress, the Ministry Buildings, the Bunker symbol of communist Area. Visit Blloku area once forbidden area for the people now the most frequented area with fancy bars, nice restaurants and clubs.
Overnight in Tirana.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards the UNESSO town of Berat known as the “city of thousand windows”.
Berat is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It’s known for its white Ottoman houses. On a hilltop, Berat Castle is a huge compound now inhabited by townspeople. Within its walls are Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque and the Onufri National Museum, with Christian icons. East is the Ethnographic Museum, in an 18th-century house, displaying traditional crafts and part of a reconstructed medieval bazaar.
In Berat will visit the citadel, the Iconographic Museum of Onufri, the Ethnographic Museum which is housed in an 18th-century Ottoman house that’s as interesting as the exhibits. Visit Mangalemi and Gorica quartiers, the Bachelor’s Mosque and several churches.
Overnight in Berat.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards the archeological park of Apollonia.
On the way will stop for visit at Ardenica Monastery of Theotokos Mary, built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282 after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat, the monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, with Andronika Arianiti.
The ancient city of Apollonia of Illyria was founded at the beginning of the VII century BC. By Greek colons coming by the cities of Corinth and Corcyra. Apollonia became an emporium of merchandising between Greeks an Illyrians and prospered very much in both Greeks and roman times. It was considered to be one of the most prominent cities at the time, selected from over twenty other cities throughout the Mediterranean, to receive the glorious name of Apollo, the god of music and poetry. Within its walls, you will find the Monastery and the Church of St. Mary, which, along with the Archaeological Museum located inside the monastery, add yet another layer of history, architecture, and culture to the Park.
Lunch at the local restaurant Leon Rey names after the French archaeologist.
Afterwards continue to Vlora the city of Indolence. Upon arrival visit the Independence Square and Marudie Mosque, cultural monument of Albania was once a Byzantine Church.
Overnight in Vlora
Breakfast in the hotel and drive along the Albanian Riviera. This is the most beautiful part of the coast in Albania and also one of the most beautiful areas in the whole Ionian Sea. The road goes through breathtaking scenery, with mountains rising dramatically up from the coast. Caesar’s Pass (Qafa e Cezarit) named after Julius Caesar who set foot in the area in pursuit of Pompey is also located near Llogara Pass. The stretch of coast where Caesar landed his troops is today a long, white almost deserted beach of Palase, and it looks pretty much as it would have done two thousand years ago.
Stop in Llogara to admire the view and enjoy the delicious sheep yogurt with honey. Then proceed to Porto Palermo bay to visit the Castle of Ali Pasha, built by Ali Pasha of Ioannina in the early nineteenth century. It’s still in excellent condition. The
castle was built on the site of an existing monastery described by British traveler Leake, and an older castle. Porto Palermo bay used to be naval base during communist time.
South of Saranda, within striking distance of the Greek border, Ksamil has an excellent location. The three small islands in its turquoise bay are an easy swim or boat ride away.
Overnight in Saranda
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards the UNESCO site of Butrinti.
Butrinti is a National Park that includes a very well preserved archaeological area, an uncontaminated vegetation area of Mediterranean maquis and has also a lake that is connected to the Ionian Sea by a natural channel. The excavations and studies have proved that during the VII and the VI centuries BC. Butrint was a protourban centre. By the V century BC Butrint has got the full form of an ancient city. During the VI century the city was equipped with new buildings such as the theatre, the agora, the small, temple and the stoa. The main importance and magnificence of the Site was in the Roman period when the City was proclaimed a Roman Colony and used by the roman aristocracy as a holiday destination. Even during late antiquity Butrint maintained its importance. The construction of the Great Basilica and of the baptistery dates to this period. The baptistery has the floor surface covered by a mosaic decoration of a very fine processing, which is very well preserved.
After the visit proceed to Gjirokastra, also known as the city of Stones.
Gjirokastra is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and comprises hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. The most important structure of the city is the castle, which is the biggest castle in Albania. Inside the castle, you can visit the Museum of Weapons, opened in 1971. Weapons from the prehistoric times up to the World War II are exhibited on here. The National Folk Festival has taken place in this castle during the years.
A walk around the network of cobbled streets will transport you back in time.
Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards the archeological Park of Bylis.
Byllis was the largest city in Southern Illyria, but despite this fact, it was mentioned relatively late by historians and ancient geographers. In 49-48 BC the city surrendered to the forces of Caesar and served as the basis for his great army. Stephen Byzantine wrote that Byllis was established by Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. Despite this consideration, the construction techniques date the site no earlier than 370-350 BC. Byllis became a Roman colony, during the early years of the dominium of Augustus, and its name became Colonia Julia Augusta. During the period of late antiquity Byllis became an important center and several large early Christian basilicas were built, all wearing ornate mosaics.
After the visits and lunch in local restaurant continue to Durres where will visit the Amphitheatre and Archeological Museum.
Some important archeological monuments that testify the glorious past of the city during different periods of history are: The ancient city walls, the roman amphitheater and baths, the byzantine forum, the Venetian tower, the ottoman hamam. The most renowned archaeological structure found in Durrës is “Bukuroshja e Durrësit,” a mosaic from the 4thcentury B.C. Today, it is exhibited in the National Historic Museum in Tirana.
Overnight in Durres.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards Shkodra.
Shkodra is very rich in cultural heritage, the city itself as well as the people bear pride in the large number of artists, musicians, painters, photographers, poets, and writers born here. In Shkodra you can visit Rozafa Castle. Rising majestically upon a rocky hill west of the city, the outcroppings and battlements paint a blazing picture against the setting sun.
The renewed Marubi National Museum of Photography famous for its big and rare collection of photos over Albanian history. Take a tour at Pedonalja so called Kole Idromeno street that is the old center of Shkodra, very Mediterranean taste passing through mosques and churches. Lunch in local restaurant the Shkodra Lake and then proceed to Kruja.
Kruja is a tourist attraction alongside a panoramic mountainside location. “Kruja is a strange town, all clustered around its bazaar.” Some of the main points of interests include the restored Castle and Citadel that it is tied to the legend of the hero who fought against the Turks for about 25 years. The Skanderbeg Museum
situated inside the castle was constructed in memory of the Albanian National Hero. Within the Castle you will find also the Ethnograhic Museum and Dollma Tekke. The Old Restored Bazaar has a truly oriental look, multi-colored and overflowing with goods of every description.
Farewell dinner in local restaurant with vies of the Castle and delicious with traditional food.
Overnight in Kruja.
Breakfast in the hotel and if time available, will drive up to Sari Salltik to visit Bektashi tekke inside a Cave. Sarisalltik was a renowned figure in the Balkan region as a symbol of religious tolerance. As such, he has historically been the main figure among the Bektashi believers and one they have relied upon when spreading their beliefs. Thousands of pilgrims visit the Sarisalltik Masjid during holidays but many of them visit daily.
From up there you can enjoy the wild and beautiful nature of the mountain.
Afterwards transfer to the airport.
END OF THE TRIP
Note: Please notice that program can be adopted as per clients’ request
Guaranteed departures *starting from 2 pax*
Min 2 pax 719 Euro p/person sharing a double room
Single supplement 99 Euro p/person