• Cities to visit during this tour

Package 1 – 7 days tour

Albania, a country full of history,art,culture,legends and myths. Come and explore it.

Day 1: “Mother Teresa” AIRPORT – TIRANA (20 km)

Pick up at Mother Teresa Airport ,Tirana and transfer to Hotel. Tirana is the capital city of Albania ;established in 1614 by Sulejman Pasha Bargjini, a native feudal lord from Mullet. Firstly he built  a mosque, a bakery and a hamam (Turkish bath). On February 8, 1920 Tirana was made the temporary capital by the Congress of Lushnje, and it was proclaimed the permanent capital on December 31, 1920.

What to VisitClock Tower (Kulla e Sahatit), Scanderbeg Square. Positioned in the city center, this tower has become a symbol of Tirana. It is one of the oldest constructions in Tirana, built in the 1820. Et’hem Bey Mosque, construction of this mosque took about 28 years and finished in 1821. It is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania with very interesting decorations and art-work within it. National Historic Museum, Tirana  main museum , it is in the center of the city.  A huge mosaic standing on top of its front fasade makes this museum easily recognizable . It contains many artifacts ranging from ancient times until  Hoxha’s regime. Also it is planned to  visit ,National Art Gallery, National Archaeological Museum of Albania, Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Paul Catholic Cathedral.

Bunkart, a distinguishable building . An art gallery inside a bunker , with many corridors full of art works to admire.

Blloku (The Block), among the apartment blocks, you can find some of Tirana’s best cafés, shops, and restaurants. Here is also located the villa of the former dictator, Enver Hoxha. During communism, the area was reserved only for government officials and was not allowed to be entered by the citizens .In 1991 it was opened and everyone could visit it and since then it  became the number one zone for Tirana’s youngsters. At night the area gets full of people especially on weekends when most night clubs are full. If you need to have a coffee or relax while taking a look at the latest fashion trends and elegant people, the block is a perfect place for you.

Day 2: TIRANASHKODRAKRUJATIRANA (196 km)

After breakfast we drive to Shkodra the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC.

What to visit: Rozafa Fortress, (2 km southwest of Shkodra, near the southern end of Lake Shkodra). Founded by the Illyrians, rebuilt by the Venetians and the Ottomans.This castle has the name of the woman who is buried in these walls in order that this castle would be finished.She is considered the  supporter of  the structure. Visit the renovated museum. This museum will help you have a full view of different historical periods  of this incredible city. Shkodra Historical Museum,” Oso Kuka “ Museum,  situated at a traditional Shkodra House featuring valuable artifacts on every sphere of social life in the area. Also we will visit ,Ebu Beker Mosque ,Shkodër Cathedral, Shkodër Orthodox Cathedral ,Mesi Bridge, built by Kara  Mahmud Bushati, the local Ottoman Pasha, and spans the Kir River ,Museum of Witness  and Memory ,an important reminder of communist regime.

After we will proceed to Kruja – the centre of Albanian resistance against the Ottoman Empire under our national hero Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus gaining  the title “Protector of Christianity” given by the Pope.

What to visit: Scanderbeg Museum ,Kruja Ethnographic Museum , located next to the castle in an old ottoman house full of furniture and artifacts, Old Bazaar. Return to Tirana ,enjoy a delicious dinner. Overnight in Tirana.

Day 3: TIRANA – ARDENICA – APOLLONIAVLORA (165 km)

After breakfast we drive to Vlora

What to visit: On the way we stop at the Monastery of Ardenica, supposed to have been built by Byzantine Emperor,Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282.The monastery is famous because there was celebrated the marriage of Scanderbeg.

Proceed to the ancient city of Apollonia situated on the famous Via Egnatia – it was an ancient Greek city located on the right bank of Vjosa River.It flourished in  the Roman period  and was home to a renowed school of philosophy.  Afterwards we continue to Vlora where we visit the  Museum of Independence situated in the original house where the first Independent Albanian Government had its offices.  Overnight in Vlora.

Day 4: VLORABUTRINT (Unesco) – SARANDA (160 km)

After an early breakfast we drive to Saranda.

What to visit: Drive on the spectacular Albanian Riviera looking down at the Ionian Sea. Breathtaking views of the sea  await us at the Llogara pass – 1000 m above sea level. We continue on to Saranda, make a short stop at the Lekuresi Fortress in Saranda with beautiful views of  Saranda bay and the  Corfu Island. Ksamili village has a beautiful beach with several small islands. Ksamili is now very  developed, with lots of crystal blue water beaches .

Then we proceed the  visit to  the ancient city of Butrint.  a UNESCO World Heritage site. Butrint was an ancient city throughout Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods. The city was finally abandoned during the Middle Ages after a major earthquake  flooded most of the city.

Despite being one of the greatest classical cities of the Mediterranean, Butrint remains largely unknown. The current archaeological site includes an impressive Roman amphitheater, The Grand Basilica ,Acropolic Basilica  and the Triconch Palace .  Furthermore, what you see is just 15 per cent of what lies beneath.  The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula overlooking the Vivari Channel  and it  is close to the Greek border. Back to Saranda .Overnight in Saranda.

Day 5: SARANDAGJIROKASTRA (Unesco) – BERAT (Unesco) (225 km)

After a quick breakfast,early in the morning , we drive to Berat. Stop in Gjirokastra a UNESCO site  with a  beautiful and very distinct architecture, called The Stone Town.

What to visit: Gjirokastra Castle ,the Castle is considered to be  as the second largest in all the Balkans, and is worth to visit. The Armaments Museum is located in the castle and contains a collection of mostly post-War  weapons, photographs and artwork: the main gallery, with its  lit corridor, contains two columns of large German and Italian field guns of WWII. The Castle also contains two Bektashi temples. Gjirokaster National Folk Festival, a prison (now part of the Armaments Museum and available with an extra charge) and numerous chambers, some in ruins, open to visit. A second museum gallery, the Zenebishi Gallery, features occasional free art exhibits. Underneath the castle is the recently discovered underground bunker built in the Cold War. Ethnographic Museum ,Enver Hoxha’s house, it is a well-restored Ottoman house which displays clothing, kitchenware, tools and other cultural artifacts.

Old Bazaar and Historic Ottoman Homes The old bazaar is still the social and commercial center of the Old Town of Gjirokaster. The bazaar and its surrounding homes dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries still tries to make Gjirokastra as active as possible. Several of the houses are at various levels of restoration and are open to the public. Traditional houses include Cabej House, Kadare House, Topulli House, and Skenduli House. The Bazaar is totally renwed as a result of a wide  reconstruction.

Zekate House, located in the historic Palorto quarter of the city, is one  the most visited of Gjirokastër’s monumental stone houses. Saint Sotira Church, located in the Old Bazaar quarter, this is a well preserved 18th century Orthodox Church. Gjirokaster Mosque, located in Old Bazaar, this mosque is a true testimony of the communist religious ban which was present in Albania during the late 1900-s .On our way to Berat we can stop and have lunch in Tepelena.  We check in at the hotel and the group is then left free  to explore Berat. Overnight in Berat.The   house are   turned into  boutique hotels of the same standard. Mangalemi, Muzaka, Osumi.  Overnight in Berat.

Day 6: BERAT (Unesco) – DURRES (97 km)

Berat .In 2008 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. It is one of the country’s most beautiful towns, and is known as the “town of a thousand windows”.

What to visit: The castle, is  mostly built in the 13th century, but with origins dating  back to the 4th century BC. A very beautiful place with great views of the nature. Getting to the Castle requires a steep walk up a cobbled path. The citadel is still inhabited, with many churches. Onufri Iconography Museum located within the Castle at the site of a Dormition Cathedral, features the spectacular  iconography works of the famous 16th century painter Onufri and others. The museum hold other artifacts gathered form nearby churches and others around Albania. Berat Ethnographic Museum located in the grounds of a traditional house, on the way up to the castle. It features traditional local furniture and house utensils.

Also in Berati you can visit, old town areas – Mangalem north of the river, and Gorica south of the river ,Numerous Byzantine Churches, dating from the 13th century ,several Mosques from the Ottoman period  (starting from 1417). After this interesting experience we drive to  Durres one of the oldest (founded in 627 B.C.) and most important cities in Albania where we have lunch (optional).

What to Visit: Durres Amphitheater, the biggest in the Balkans it also features renovated iconography works. Durres, Ancient City Wall and Medieval Hammam are located inside and around the wall, Venetian Tower (Rotonda) is a  tower at the city center built in the 16th century with a restaurant on top, Archaeological Museum featuring archaeological artifacts found in and around the area. Overnight in Durres.

Day 7: DURRES – “Mother Teresa” AIRPORT (35 km)

Breakfast.

You are free to explore the city until time of transfer to Mother Teresa Airport. End of the tour.