|05 Jun - 12 Jun|
09 Sep - 16 Sep
Albania has natural beauty in abundance, and this group tour will introduce you to as much of it as possible in a week.
Loop around the country from the Albanian Riviera, where the landscape transforms from Adriatic to Ionian, to the majestic river valleys, mountains and lakes of the east. Along the way explore flourishing cities full of promise and fascinating museums, UNESCO listed towns peppered with Ottoman architecture and painstakingly preserved Roman archaeological sites.
Stay in boutique-style hotels, enjoy delicious food and fall in love with a land of unspoilt countryside and little visited historical gems.
This is a small group tour that operates with a minimum of 8 persons/maximum of 16.
Arrive in Tirana, meet the local guide and group in the arrivals hall and transfer to the charming UNESCO listed town of Berat. En-route, stop in one of Albania's top wineries for a wine tasting session and some paired snacks. Spend the afternoon exploring the lower quarters of Berat passing by splendid Ottoman era architecture, Byzantine churches and elegant mosques. Get to know your group over a welcome dinner this evening. (wine tasting/snacks, D)
Continue the exploration of Berat and its Upper Quarter this morning. Visit the Kalaja Fortress, the icon museum and the ethnographic museum. Several of Berat’s Orthodox churches have frescoes by the celebrated painter Onufri. Move on to the archaeological site of Apollonia, a vital Roman stronghold, and the coastal city of Vlore before reaching the beautiful Albanian Riviera and the Llogara National Park. Enjoy dramatic views of the coast below as you drive up above the clouds and over the Llogara Pass and on to Llogara National Park for a leisurely walk. Stop to taste delicious locally produced yoghurt and honey before reaching the picturesque Castle of Porto Palermo, built by Ali Pasha of Ioannina in the early 19th Century. The final destination of the day is the coastal city of Saranda for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Today head to the far south-west corner of the country and perhaps its most famous tourist attraction, the archaeological site of Butrint. Prospering under Ancient Greek and Roman rule, and abandoned after the Byzantines, the settlement has seen a lot in its 2,500 year history. The site is set within an area of National Park, making the experience of visiting all the more pleasurable. Enjoy some free time in the scenic coastal resort of Ksamil, before heading on to Gjirokaster via the calming and hypnotic blue waters of the Blue Eye Spring. Enjoy another group dinner this evening in Gjirokaster. (B,D)
Spend the day in Gjirokaster and its surrounds, visiting ‘Labova of the Cross Church’. The Church is one of the oldest in Albania and once contained a relic believed to be part of the true cross of Christ. Get a real taste of Albanian hospitality during lunch with a local family in the village before returning to Gjirokaster for a walking tour. Known by many as the ‘City of Stone’, Gjirokaster comprises hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. A walk around the network of cobbled streets will transport you back in time. Visit the vast 13th-century Castle to bring the adventurous tales of medieval rulers and communist atrocities alive. Stop off for a coffee in the best preserved house in town, the House of Skenduli. (B,L,D)
The journey between Gjirokaster and Permet is one of the most scenic highlights of the tour, with imposing mountains rising up alongside beautifully green meadows covered in wild flowers and the river Vjosa running alongside. Along the route, stop off to taste local cheese and the Permet speciality of ‘Gliko’, preserved fruits in syrup, before lunch and a short cooking class with a local chef to make another local speciality ‘Lakror’, a pie filled with various fillings, associated with the Korce region. On arrival enjoy a walking tour of Korce, known as the country’s centre of culture and the arts. Visit the Old Bazaar, the Museum of Medieval Arts and the ABC Museum, the site of the first Albanian school from 1887. (B,L,D)
Head towards Tirana this morning, stopping off in the town of Pogradec, on the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid. The city benefits from the same lakeside views as Ohrid (on the Macedonian side) but without the crowds. The city is experiencing a revival recently seeing some much-needed investment to bring it back to its former glory. Arrive in Tirana in the early afternoon. Located on the site of a Byzantine fortress, Tirana has been the capital of Albania since 1920. Enjoy a city tour including visits to the Mosque of Ethem Bey, the Clock Tower, the National Museum, and various government buildings. (B,D)
Leave Tirana behind for the day, heading north to reach Shkodra. Set on the banks of a sparkling lake with a backdrop of mountains, Shkodra is the cradle of northern Albanian culture. Embark on a city tour of the town visiting the ruins of Rozafa’s Castle, the city centre with its monuments, and Marubi Museum. En-route to Kruja, stop off at one of Albania’s most renowned restaurants and pioneer of the slow food movement ‘Mrizi i Zanave’. Enjoy a relaxed lunch of regional organic specialities. Kruja, perched atop a hill and famous for its fortress, is the birth place of the national hero Skanderbeg . Enjoy a city tour including the castle ruins and wander through Kruja Bazaar to pick up some last minute souvenirs before the transfer back to Tirana for the last night and farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Pay a short morning visit to the National Art Gallery before heading to the airport for the return flight. (B)
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
05 Jun 2024
12 Jun 2024
09 Sep 2024
16 Sep 2024