This tailor-made holiday uses the gateway of Corfu to access the highlights of south and central Albania, with time spent on the coast mixed with guided visits to the UNESCO sites of ancient Butrint, Gjirokaster and Berat.
Those looking for beach time will want to make a bee-line for Ksamil Beach, located around 8 miles outside of Saranda. Here, swim and snorkel in the clear Ionian waters amongst small emerald-green islands.
Spend evenings grazing on juicy green olives and sipping raki in one of the many cafés on the promenade in Saranda with the lights of Corfu twinkling across the sea.
Ask a Regent Albania specialist about upgrading your hotel in Saranda or altering the itinerary to suit your requirements. Stays can be arranged in Ksamil as an alternative to Saranda for those looking for a smaller coastal resort.
Fly to Corfu and transfer to the port for the 30 minute ferry across to Saranda. Check in to your hotel for a 3 night stay (stays can be in Saranda or Ksamil).
Set beside a beautiful horseshoe bay, the the name Saranda is derived from an early Christian monastery dedicated to Agioi Saranda. The town is one of the largest coastal resorts in Albania with many restaurants along its seafront promenade and small beaches in the surrounding areas. Spend the day relaxing at your hotel or on the beach. (B)
You will be met at your hotel by your guide and transferred to spend the morning on a guided tour of the UNESCO heritage site of Butrint, a designated national park which includes well preserved archaeological ruins and unspoilt Mediterranean flora and fauna. The park has a lake which connects to the Ionian Sea by a small channel and the wetlands which surround the lake are a wonderful protected habitat for animals and aquatic species. During Roman times, Butrint was a popular holiday resort for the Roman aristocracy and the well preserved baptistery, with its richly decorated mosaic floor and the Great Basilica, date back to this period. Return to your hotel for a leisurely afternoon. (B)
This morning your local driver/guide will meet you at your hotel. Continue to Gjirokaster for lunch, visiting the ‘Blue Eye’ water spring en route. Gjirokaster is another UNESCO heritage site, known to many as the ‘City of Stone’, due to its hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with their distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. Spend time here walking around the ancient cobbled streets and visit the vast 13-century castle, which dominates the city. In the afternoon, continue the journey on to Tirana for an overnight stay. (B)
Take a morning city tour of Tirana, often described as a cross between Istanbul and Naples with a pinch of Minsk. Visit the National Museum, Bunk Art and House of Leaves- housed in the headquarters of the Communist secret police. After the tour of Tirana, head on to Berat, known as the ‘town of a 1000 windows’. Berat is one of Albania’s oldest cities and arguably one of the best-preserved Ottoman settlements in all of the Balkans. Attractive white houses wind their way up to the famous hilltop citadel, whose walls encircle a smattering of medieval orthodox churches and ruined mosques as well as a superb ethnographic museum. Overnight in Berat. (B)
This morning, visit the excellent Onufri museum which contains a wonderful collection of Albanian icons, before heading south to visit the ancient archaeological site of Apollonia. Founded in 558 B.C, Apollonia was an important point along the route between Rome and Byzantium. Next stop will be Narta Salinas, an important wetland habitats for birdlife, and the town of Vlore. Continue along the stunning coastal road, up and over the Llogara Pass, to Saranda/Ksamil and check back in to the hotel for 2 nights. Say goodbye to your driver/guide. (B)
Day at leisure to relax at the hotel or visit one of the countries best beaches in nearby Ksamil. (B)
Transfer to Saranda’s port for the ferry to Corfu Town. Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)
Departures may be possible from your regional airport - please contact us for details