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After 50 years of political isolation, Albania has just emerged as a holiday destination, with a refreshing lack of modern development and unique, timeless quality. In archaeological terms, Albania offers some of the best sites in Europe with a host of Classical cities that were once on a par with those in Greece and Italy. A dramatic landscape of high mountains and rugged coastline adds to the experience as we tour the country and visit the best of the sites. These include Durrës on the Adriatic coast, one of the largest amphitheaters in the Balkans; Apollonia, the second largest Greek colony in Albania; the UNESCO World Heritage site at Butrint, which dates from the 7th century BC, and the remote mountain city of Byllis.

Tour highlights:

  • Archaeological ruins of Butrint
  • The Roman Amphitheatre in Durres, one of the largest in the Balkans
  • Apollonia, the second oldest Greek colony in Albania, dating back 2700 years
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint
  • Dramatic views from the remote site of Byllis
  • The medieval town of Berat, another UNESCO World Heritage site

Price Individual (except July & August)

1210 Euro per person sharing a double/twin room for a minimum of 2 paying participants Single supplement = 190 Euro. (Single rooms will usually be double or twin for single use.) Note: We work with 4* hotels.

Group Tour Price

Minimum 10 pax – please contact us for a fast quote BB, HB, or FB and including entrance fees.

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival-Tirana

Arrive at “Mother Teresa” Airport, meet and assist by our representative. Enjoy the welcome dinner in the Local Restaurant in Tirana. And then explore the nightlife of Tirana, walking in the ex-block area known as “the forbidden town” where the villas of the communists’ leaders are still standing next to trendy boutiques, expensive jewelry shops, and active local pubs. Overnight in Tirana. Overnight in hotel 4*

Day 2

Tirana – Kruja

After breakfast, we begin with a full day in Albania’s lively capital, Tirana. We visit the National Historical Museum, the early 19th-century Ethem Bey Mosque, and the National Gallery. we continue to the Archaeological Museum, home to a vast collection and opened especially for our group. Continuing with the newly opened Atonic bunker, the Bunk’art2 museum in Tirana opened to the public describing it as a museum throwing light on political persecution during the Albanian communist era. The museum – called Bunk’Art 2 – is also intended as a memorial to the tens of thousands of people who were imprisoned and executed by the communist regime,” Continue to Kruja, the capital of Albania during the resistance against the Turks under Scanderbeg, who is our national hero and was a great leader that defeated the Turks in 25 battles. Visit the Scanderbeg Museum, Ethnographic museum the best in Albania, walk through the old Bazar and time for shopping. Overnight in Kruja Hotel Panorama 4*

Day 3

Kruja – Ardenica- Apolonia- Vlora

After breakfast drive to Ardenica Monastery which was built in 1282. The monastery has a Byzantine – Orthodox architecture with many Romanesque features. Inside the monastery are the St Mary’s Church, The Chapel of Saint Trinity, a mill, and a barn. The views from the monastery walls are really dramatic and you can see Kruja, the Adriatic Sea and the Karavasta Lagoon so ensure you bring your cameras to capture some fantastic memories. Continue the travel to Apollonia which was founded in 588 BC. The ruins are located on the bank of the river Aoos and the area flourished in the Roman period when it was home to a renowned school of philosophy. There has been much excavation of the area with many artifacts on display for you to see. The area is really interesting for anyone who wants to learn about ancient history or discover the other side of Albania. Apollonia was founded by the Corinthians in 588 BC, one of the largest ancient cities on the Adriatic. Drive to Vlora, visit the Independence Monument and the Independence Museum. Hotel 4* Centre located

Day 4

Vlora- Llogara- Dhermi- Himara- Saranda

After breakfast drive up to Albanian Riviera. climbing to 3,000 feet to Llogara National Park enjoying the wonderful scenery among the pinewoods, where you can enjoy the best views, as we drive through the fertile slopes and villages. Optional lunch in Llogara here you can try the best lamb in the spit and Yogurt with honey & walnuts Continue the drive along Dhermi, Himara coastline and stop for a special Continue the route through Albania Riviera, En route making a short visit to the bay of Porto Palermo where the castle of Ali Pasha is situated. Depart for Saranda the hillside town facing the sea, famous for its magnificent, “Butrinti” archaeological site. Overnight, Hotel 4* Centre located

Day 5

Saranda- Butrint- Ksamil Village- Saranda

After breakfast drive to Butrint – a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered by most as the best archaeological site in Albania and beyond. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations, giving archaeologists the possibility to study continuity through time. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula among lush vegetation. The site has been occupied since at least the 8th century BC, although myths associated with its origins speak of the city’s foundation by Trojan exiles led by Aeneas. By the 4th century B.C. a walled settlement was established and the city became a successful cult site, dedicated to Aesclepius. This is a wonderful site to explore for archaeology enthusiasts, definitely worth spending a few hours. Afterward, drive to Village of Ksamil Optional lunch in front sea fish restaurant. We return to Saranda overnight.

Day 6

Saranda- Blue Eye- Ancient Hadrianopolis- Gjirokastra

After breakfast, we will depart to Gjirokastra City known as “Museum City”. On the way, we will make a stop and visit, Visit the “Blue Eye” spring, formed by underground springs and the unusual. Drive to Hadrianopolis Just outside Gjirokastra we visit the ruins of ancient Hadrianopolis at Sofratike. It was built in the middle of a field without protective walls, at the time of emperor Hadrian whose name it took, at a time known as Pax Romana which translates as Roman Peace, hence surrounded by vast Roman territories the city did not need fortifications. Continue to the museum city of Gjirokastra, birthplace, of the former iron-fisted dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha. Gjirokastra is a strikingly picturesque town, perched on the side of a mountain above the Drino River. The tour includes the district museum, housed in the building in which Enver Hoxha was born, and the pre-Ottoman citadel, a former political prison and now a weapons museum. Hotel 4* Centre located

Day 7

Gjirokastra- Bylis- Berat

After breakfast, we continue north through the rugged and changing landscape to the ruins of the remote city of Byllis. According to legend, the city was founded by warriors led by the son of Achilles, returning from the Trojan wars. Archaeologists have yet to find evidence of Homeric heroes but have uncovered a Hellenistic era stadium, theatre, and fortifications. Despite being founded by Illyrians this city has been mentioned relatively late by historians and ancient geographers. In 49-48 B.C. the city surrenders to the forces of Caesar and served as a base for his large army. Byllis became a Roman colony, during the first years of the dominium of Augustus, and its name became Colonia Iulia Augusta. During the Late Antique period, several large Palaeo-Christian basilicas were constructed, all of them carrying lavishly decorated mosaics, some of which can still be admired today. We visit the site and afterward optional lunch at a local restaurant close to the site. Continue to Berat this evening in Berat. Overnight in Berat Hotel 4* Centre located

Day 8

Berat

After breakfast full day to explore the Unesco town of Berat known as the ‘town of a thousand windows’, Berat’s Ottoman architecture and ancient history have given it UNESCO World Heritage Status. The town is home to Berat Castle which is perched on a rocky hill, inaccessible from the south. The fortress was so large that it could house a substantial proportion of the town’s inhabitants. The influence of different cultures can be found in Berat’s mosques and Byzantine churches. Today, we will walk from Classical to Medieval times in the attractive town of Berat. We will visit the castle, Onufri Museum. Ethnographic Museum. Overnight in Berat Hotel 4* Centre located

Day 9

Berat- Durres- Airport

After breakfast drive to Durres one of the oldest towns in Albania and the first and perhaps the most important of the Greek colonies in the country. It was founded at Epidamnus in 627 B.C. by Greeks from Corcyra (present-day Corfu) and Corinth. Greek and Roman authors called it “the Admirable City” for its temple, statues, and other monuments. Fertile soil and a large seaport accounted for the colony’s prosperity and success in commerce. Growth brought to the lower classes wealth and a subsequent desire to have more of a government voice, leading to a civil war between the small ruling class (oligarchs) and most of the population. The people requested Corinth’s assistance in battle, while the oligarchs sought aid from Corcyra. Corinth was allied with Sparta and Corcyra upon this request, applied for aid from Athens giving start to what was later known as the Peloponnesian War. However, only a few remains remind us of this city’s glory days, mainly because Durres has been continuously inhabited through time, therefore being transformed accordingly. We will visit some of the remains such as the Amphitheatre, forum, Venetian Tower, city walls, and Archaeological Museum, transfer to Airport

Included in the tour price:

Hotels 3,4* BB, Diners, Transportation by comfortable air-conditioned vehicles. Expert English-speaking local guides throughout the tour + 2 Archaeological Guides in Butrinti and Apolonia. Comprehensive sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary. Entrance fees to monuments and museums as shown in the itinerary. Baggage assistance for one suitcase.

  • Transfers from and to Airport
  • All the transfers with modern a/c vehicles/throughout the tour
  • Experienced English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Polish. Speaking tour guide/driver (separate driver and guide only for 7 or more participants)
  • Accommodation for 8 nights in good 4* hotels, with breakfast
  • All taxes
  • Flight Tickets
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities/Tip to Driver/Guide
  • Entrance fees (approx. 45 Euro pp)

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