Travel with our experienced tour guides and stay in our selected accommodations, meet locals, enjoy local food and explore everyday life and history in the “Land of the Eagle”.
After this trip, you may be sure that you will not only see Albania, but you will know it intimately!
Nene Tereza, Airport
Arrival – Tirana airport or by ferry from Italy to Durres. Transfer to the hotel, dinner and accommodation in Durres.
In the morning we will first visit the center of this ancient city. From the Venetian tower from 15th century we walk along the city walls to once used to be the largest amphitheater in Balkans. We will learn about the history of this site, will see the small church inside. After a walk through the modern main square we will see “agora”, antique center of the city. From there we will see the Fan Noli’s Orthodox church . Father Fan Noli was the founder of the Orthodox Church of Albania. After lunch in Tirana, the capital of Albania, we visit the church of St. Paul. We will also see the “Pyramid”, built as a mausoleum for Hoxha, the communist dictator and pass through “Blok” the part of town, where only Hoxha’s closest comrades lived. After that we will visit the new Orthodox cathedral near the main square. Dinner and accommodation in Tirana
After breakfast we will travel to Shkodra, one of the oldest and biggest cities. We start our tour at what used to be the largest cathedral of 19st century. The Roman Catholic cathedral is dedicated to Saint Stephen. From there we walk through the pedestrian historic center to the Mosque of Abu Beker, newly constructed mosque. After lunch on the shores of lake Shkodra, we visit the citadel of Rozafa. Its castle and walls overlook the valley and lake below. The ruins date back to Illyrian time. The name of this beautiful castle relates to a known legend about the princess, called Rozafa. On the way back to Tirana we will stop in Lezha. In this small town are ruins of a Benedictine monastery, which houses the tomb of Scanderberg, Albanian national hero. Dinner and accommodation in Tirana.
Today at first, we transfer to Berat, city which has been added on the list of UNESCO’s protected historical cities. We will visit a citadel with many orthodox churches. One of them houses Onufri’s museum. Here you can see a large collection of icons, some dating back to the 14th century. We will walk along the narrow streets and enjoy the beautiful views to the river and city below. After lunch in local tavern we transfer to downtown. We will cross the river Osum and visit the catholic part of town, Gorica. We will see across the river the Muslim part of town, Mangalem. Its houses look like there are glued along the cliff. Later we visit the St.Demetrius Orthodox Cathedral on the main square and 16th century Lead mosque. Dinner and accommodation in Berat.
We start around day with a visit to the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Ardenica, one of the oldest monasteries still serving the believers. The monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Scanderbeg, with Andronika Arianiti. Later we visit The Monastery of Saint Mary, also known as the Monastery of Zvernec, is an important cultural monument on the Zvernec Island in the Narta Lagoon. The Byzantine church, build in the 13th century is a spiritual oasis for Christians in the area. Next, we will pass through Vlora, the city which has played an important role in 1912, as Albania’s independence was declared here. We will have lunch in The National Park of Llogara, the park is located on the Ceraunian Mountains along the Albanian Riviera. After lunch, we pass through Dhermi and other old villages of Ionian Riviera. Many of these villages and towns have small old churches, dating back to 15th century. We will make a short stop in the Porto Palermo bay to see the ruins of Ali Pasha’s Summer Castle, he built for his wife Vasilica. Dinner and overnight accommodation in Saranda.
In the morning visit Butrint, antique city placed on the UNESCO’s list. Buthrotum as it was known, was an ancient Greek and later Roman city and bishopric in Epirus. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Buthrotum was a city of the Greek tribe of the Chaonians, later a Roman colony and a bishopric. After lunch near the sea in Saranda, we will continue to one of the oldest churches of the region in village of Mesopotam, the 13th century Orthodox Church dedicated to St. Nicholas. After this shortstop we transfer to Blue Eye, which is a water spring and natural phenomenon. We cross the Muzina Pass and continue through the valley of river Drino to Gjirokastra. We will visit the 17th century Ottoman style house, Skenduli House. These grand houses are typical to this region. We will have some time in the old bazaar, where you can buy some hand made products and souvenirs. Dinner and accommodation in the town.
In the morning we will visit the large fortress, clearly visible over the roofs. The citadel has existed in various forms since before the 12th century.Extensive renovations and a westward addition was added by Ali Pasha of Tepelena after 1812. The government of King Zog expanded the castle prison in 1932. We leave the town behind and travel to town of Tepelena. Here we see the ruins of Ali Pasha’s castle and walls of the city. After lunch we drive through the town of Permet. Near the town on the edge of the Bredhi i Hotoves National Park, are famous thermal waters of Benja, which are located in a very scenic surrounding: under the Katiu Ottoman bridge. The bridge marks the end of the 5-km long Lengarica Canyon. After this unique experience we continue the road to town of Leskoviku. When we start climbing the roads though the Gramos Range, you will see some scenic views. For this night we will stay at a local farm. Sotira Farm is a great example of local agriculture. We will try here some local meals.
After this interesting break we will continue through the beautiful nature to a museum city of Korca. Here we visit torthodox church in Korca. The cathedral was completely rebuilt in 1992 after the previous church on this site, St. George cathedral, was destroyed by the Communist authorities in 1968. Inside, the modest white interior is dominated by a huge carved wooden iconostasis. After lunch and some free time roaming the streets of the old quarter we will travel to the small village of Voskopoja. It was the cultural and commercial center of the Aromanians in the 18th century. At its peak, in the middle of 18th century, it hosted the first printing press in the Ottoman Balkans outside Istanbul, educational institutions and numerous churches and became a leading center of Greek culture. Today it is along with a few other local settlements considered a holy place by local Orthodox Christians. You will see here some remnants of 18th century orthodox churches. For accommodation we will travel to the shores lake Ohrid, in the town of Pogradec.
Today we will be slowly returning the Tirana. At first, we will stop in a small village of Lin and see the ruins of roman town and church. We will leave the deepest and oldest lake behind and travel inland through the valley of river Shkumbin to a town of Elbasan. You visit the castle area of ancient Scampis. The town was located on the roman road Via Egnatia and still some parts of it are visible today. After lunch in the town we travel to Tirana. Later in the afternoon we visit the Bektashi World Centre. The centre features a vast and impressive tekke with a fascinating museum in the basement. The Tekke is adorned from top to bottom with marbled mosaics in the most breath-taking array of colors and patterns.The Bektashi Order is a dervish sect that fuses elements of predominantly Shia and Sufi thought into a unique blend of Islamic belief and philosophy. The order has been banned in 1923, in Turkey, an event that led the order to move its headquarters to Albania in 1925. Albania is well known throughout the world for its religious tolerance. The farewell dinner and accommodation will be in Tirana.