VISIT ALBANIA & NORTH MACEDONIA
The dramatic mountain scenery, untouched beaches and crystal clear lakes of Albania and Macedonia are in a big contrast to their lack of economic prosperity. Small, unknown and hidden in the heart of the Balkans, Macedonia and Albania offer visitors a unique blend of natural wonders, traditions, culture and hospitable people. Virgin beaches, mountains and lakes, churches and chapels, remains of ancient civilizations, breathtaking gorges and diverse wildlife are all available now to tour its willing to enjoy this round trip in two of the European countries.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN ALBANIA – TIRANA (17 KM)
Arrival at Tirana airport. Transfer and accommodation in Tirana. Free time in Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 2: TIRANA – KRUJA – ARDENICA MONASTERY – APOLLONIA – VLORA (210 KM)
After breakfast we will visit the medieval town of Kruja, located on the slope of Mount Sari Salltiku. Take a walk along the old Bazaar known as the best place to find craft items. Subsequently proceeding to the 6th century fortress. Visit the ethnographic museum and the history museum. After the visit of the Kruja, continue to Ardenica. The monastery of Ardenica was built by the Byzantine emperor, Andronicus II Palaeologus in 1282, after the victory against the Angioni in the Siege of Berat. The monastery has a Byzantine orthodox architecture, with many Romanesque features, which provides an area of 2,500 square meters. Departure for the Apollonia Archaeological Park. Visit of the Apollonia Archaeological Park following the paths under the shade of olives, oaks and vigorous vegetation, we see the imposing walls of stone blocks, the agora, the Buleterioni, also known as the Agoneoteti time, marble colonnades, the amphitheater, the library, the stoa, necropolis, the baths, the gymnasium, nympheum, mosaics and other monuments that enrich this enchanted world. After the visit of the Park, departure for Vlora, known as the place where Albania’s independence was proclaimed on 28 November 1912. Overnight in Vlora.
DAY 3: VLORA – ALBANIAN RIVIERA – BUTRINT (UNESCO) – SARANDA (130 KM)
After breakfast we will travel all morning along the Albanian Riviera passing through small villages like Lukova, Qeparo, Borsh, Himara or Dhemi. Stop along the route in the Llogara National Park, where the altitude in the Llogara pass reaches up to 1010 m above sea level. Later he moved to the ancient city of Butrint. Visit the Ancient Amphitheater, the Temple of Aesculapius, the Baptistery with colorful mosaics and the ancient city walls. An old fortress that houses a small museum oversees the entire site, which is one of the last pristine and ancient natural areas of the Mediterranean. Then we drive back to Saranda. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
DAY 4: GJIROKASTRA (UNESCO – BERAT (UNESCO) (160 KM)
After breakfast we will drive to Gjirokastra, which is also one of the three UNESCO sites in Albania. The city is dominated by the fortress of Gjirokastër, where the Gjirokastër national folklore festival takes place every five years. It is the birthplace of former Albanian Communist leader Enver Hoxha and well-known writer Ismail Kadare. Many houses in Gjirokastër have a distinctive local style that has earned the city the nickname “City of Stone” because most of the old houses have flat stone roofs. Gjirokastër presents an ancient Ottoman bazaar that was originally built in the 17th century; it was rebuilt in the 19th century after a fire. Today in Gjirokastër there are more than 500 houses preserved as “cultural monuments”. Proceed to the city of “A Thousand and One” windows. Free afternoon in Berat. Overnight in Berat.
DAY 5: BERAT (UNESCO) – OHRID (160 KM)
After breakfast we will explore the City of Berat, Unesco Site. Our visit start from the Citadel where there are still families living today. In the castle there are churches that survived within its massive stone walls. Visit the “Onufri” museum. Continue to the medieval part of the city where there are other objects such as the lead mosque, the Bachelor Mosque, the Gorica Bridge and many houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. After visiting Berat we will cross the border with Macedonia and we will arrive in Ohrid. Overnight in Ohrid.
DAY 6: OHRID (walking tour)
After breakfast we visit Ohrid. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the eighth largest city in the country, Ohrid is famous for having had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, and has been referred to as Jerusalem of the Balkans. Ohrid and the Lake Ohrid has been recognized as a cultural and natural heritage by UNESCO, in fact Ohrid is one of only 28 UNESCO World Heritage sites that are both cultural and natural sites. Visit the church of St. Sophia, Castle Samuil and The Church of Saint Clement, St John at Kaneo and we will visit the monastery of San Naum. Overnight in Ohrid.
DAY 7: OHRID – TIRANA (135 KM)
After breakfast we leave Macedonia and return to Albania. Today we will visit the Albanian capital of Tirana. Positioned in the city center, this Clock 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, the main museum in Tirana, it is in the center of the city, easily recognizable because of a huge mosaic standing on top of its front facade. It contains many artifacts ranging from ancient times through Hoxha’s regime. Also we will visit, National Art Gallery, National Archaeological Museum of Albania, Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Paul Catholic Cathedral. Bunkart, this is a bunker realization of an art gallery, with many corridors full of art works to admire. Blloku (The Block), among the apartment blocks, one 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 solely for government officials and was not allowed to be entered by the commoner. It was opened to the public in 1991 and since became the number one spot for Tirana’s youth. At night the area gets full of people especially on weekends when most night clubs are full. From the Block you can go almost anywhere for less than 10-15 minutes. Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 8: TIRANA – TIRANA AIRPORT (17 KM)
After breakfast transfer to Airport. End of our service.