Central and South Albania Tour
Southern Albania has spectacular scenery and beaches rivaling nearby Greece and Croatia Tourists from the Balkans and Italy have been visiting this part of Albania for quite some time but the rest of Europe is just starting to discover the region. Also enjoy the beautiful ancient cities such as Berat, Apolonia, Butrint, and Kruja.
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Fairly Easy
Southern Albania has spectacular scenery and beaches rivaling nearby Greece and Croatia Tourists from the Balkans and Italy have been visiting this part of Albania for quite some time but the rest of Europe is just starting to discover the region. Also enjoy the beautiful ancient cities such as Berat, Apolonia, Butrint and Kruja.
Day 1: Airport-Tirana
Depending on the time of arrival in Tirana, we may do a short city tour before or after check-in at the hotel. In the evening, we’ll have dinner at a traditional restaurant and then explore the nightlife of Tirana, walking in the ex-block area known as “the forbidden town” where the villas of the communist’s leaders are still standing next to trendy boutiques, expensive jewelry shops, and active local pubs. Overnight in Hotel oxford Tirana
Day 2: Tirana – Durres
After breakfast, start the Tirana tour begins from Skanderbeg Square, named after the Albanian hero the main landmark of the city. Visit 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,” The Clock Tower next to the Et’hem Bey Mosque, National Museum- north of Scanderbeg Square, The Palace of Culture, The monument to Mother Albania and The National Historical Museum are the significant spots that catch up the attention of one and all who make a visit to the city. Continue to Durres– the ancient Greco-Roman port city of Dyrrachium. Overnight in Durres. Hotel 4*
Day 3: Durres- Berat
In the morning after breakfast, the tour will continue toward the charming and UNESCO-protected town of Berat. Upon arrival in Berat we will start the walking tour of the town to visit the upper castle with its characteristic houses and the museum of the icons. Walking down in the lower part of the town we will visit the medieval center and some very beautiful examples of byzantine churches and ottoman mosques. Berat is also known as “The town of a Thousand Windows” due to the many large buildings that decorate the houses of the old town. The town is still renowned for its historic architecture and particular beauty and is declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Historical Berat consist of three quarters. The quarters of Gorica and Mangalem are situated on the slopes of two hills that are divided by the river Osum. The castle (fortress) quarter stands on the top of the Magalemi hill and is enclosed by a fortification wall that dates back to the IV century BC. The town has several XVI century mosques, very well decorated and very large numbers of Byzantine orthodox churches. Several of the churches has frescoes by the well-known painter Onufri and his school and from other later famous schools of frescos and icons of the Balkan area. Of particular interest are The icons museum located in the old cathedral church of the Castle and the Ethnographic museum hosted in an old house in the Mangalem quarter. Overnight in Berat
Day 4: Berat- Apolonia- Vlora
After breakfast, our tour will continue to Archeological Park of Apollonia. Here during the walking tour, we will visit the ruins of the ancient city, the monastery of Saint Mary, and the archeological museum. The ancient city of Apollonia of Illyria was founded at the beginning of the VII century BC. by Greek colons coming by the cities of Corinth and Corcyra. Apollonia became an emporium of merchandising between Greeks and Illyrians and was taken by Aristotle as a model in his analysis of oligarchy due to the distinct and separate Greek and Illyrian communities. The city prospered very much in roman times. It was a vital stronghold in Caesar’s civil war with Pompey and also important in early Christian history as the resident bishop attended the councils of Ephesus and Chalkis in 431 and 451. The discovered monuments on the site are the fortification wall of the city, the Prytaneon, the Bouleterion, the big and small Stoas, the Odeion, the Theatre, the Nymphaeum, and many more. The museum of Apollonia is hosted in the nearby monastery of the XIV century when can be visited also the Church of St. Mary. After the visit, drive to the city of Vlora. Vlora is the second largest port city of Albania and the most important economic and cultural city of southwest Albania. It is the city where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on November 28, 1912. The city was for a short time the capital of Albania. Founded as an ancient Greek colony in the 6th century BC by the name of Aulon and continuously inhabited for about 26 centuries. Dinner and overnight in Vlora
Day 5: Vlora- Dhermi- Himara- Saranda
After breakfast, we will drive after breakfast drive up to the Albanian Riviera. Continue climbing to 3,000 feet where you can enjoy the best views, as we drive through the fertile slopes and villages. Drive along Dhermi, overnight in one of the best Albanian beaches, drive along Dhermi, Himara coastline and stop for a special lunch in a restaurant, enjoying the wonderful scenery among the pinewoods. En-route make 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” archeological site. Overnight in hotel Brilliant (few meters from the sea.)
Day 6: Saranda- Ksamil Beach- Butrinti Archeological Site
After breakfast drive to Butrint we will visit the well-preserved ruins of the ancient city of Butrint and its museum hosted in the Venetian castle, Butrint: is a National park that includes a very well preserved archaeological area, an uncontaminated vegetation area of Mediterranean, and has also a lake that is connected to the Ionian Sea by a natural channel. The wetlands around the lake are shelters for different animals and aquatic species in danger of extinction. The excavations and studies have proved that during the VII and the VI centuries BC. Butrint was a protourban centre. By the V century, BC Butrint has got the full form of an ancient city. During the VI century, the city was equipped with new buildings such as the theatre, the agora, the small, temple, and the stoa. The complex of the sanctuary of Asclepius forms the most magnificent part of the city. The main importance and magnificence of the Site were in the Roman period when the City has proclaimed a Roman Colony and used by the Roman aristocracy as a holiday destination. Even during late antiquity, Butrint maintained its importance. The construction of the Great Basilica and of the baptistery dates to this period. The baptistery has the floor surface covered by a mosaic decoration of very fine processing, which is very well preserved. .After the visits in Butrint, we will continue to must beautiful seaside village of Ksamil, free time for optional lunch in Fish restaurant 10 m from the sea. Continue to Saranda. Overnight in Hotel Brilant
Day 7: Saranda- Gjirokastra
After breakfast, we will depart to Gjirokastra 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 continue to Gjirokastra city where the dwelling houses have the form of medieval towers constituting a building ensemble with characteristic architecture. Visit the Castle and the Museum of Weapons. Drive 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. Overnight at Hotel Argjiro Gjirokastra.
Day 8- Gjirokastra- Kruja
After breakfast drive to Kruja, Lunch on the way in a traditional local restaurant. Continue to Kruja. Arrive in Kruja and start the tour with a visit to Kruja–one of the biggest cities in Northern Albania is the “city of history” and the best known as the hometown of Albanian’s National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.Visit the Castle, Skanderbeg Museum and Ethnographic Museum. After the visit to the castle, is free for you to explore Kruja’s old bazaar with authentic and antique shops. Overnight at Hotel Panorama. Possibility to organize Albanian traditional night show with live music & Dancers
Day 9: Kruja- Tirana Airport- Return Home
After breakfast, free time at your leisure or explore the Antic Bazar, before the transfer to Tirana Airport.
Including: Transfers with Modern A/C private car/ bus or minibus with driver on tour, Good standard Accommodation at 3*, 4* hotels, all parking’s Professional English-French-German-Italian-Russian or Spanish speaking local guide throughout the tour, all the museum entry fee.
- Transfers with Modern A/C private car/ bus or minibus with driver on tour
- Good standard Accommodation at 3*, 4* hotels
- All parking’s
- Professional English-French-German-Italian-Russian or Spanish speaking local guide throughout the tour
- All the museum entry fee
Hotels in Albania
Hotels in Albania are not to the same standard as those in the UK, EU or USA as tourism has not long been a major industry here. However, here are comfortable options and, in some places, very characterful places to stay. We use always the best possible selection boutique 3, 4 -star hotels BB, all en-suite. Below is a small selection of some of our favorite hotels in Albania.
Hotel Vila Alba Tirana
Situated in the heart of the Old Town, Vila Alba is a boutique-style hotel. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the property. A private parking area is reserved for all guests and is free of charge. Hotel Vila Alba All rooms at Vila Alba feature high ceilings and a combination of classical and modern design. They feature air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a safe and a minibar. Private bathroom provides a walk-in shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Some rooms have a balcony.
Hotel Panorama Kruja
Situated in the centre of Krujë, Hotel Panorama Kruje is set just 400 m from the historic fortress Kalaja e Krujes. The hotel features an on-site restaurant serving traditional Albanian specialties and offers free Wi-Fi and free garage parking. All rooms are air-conditioned and fitted with a flat-screen TV, a desk, a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a shower. Some rooms feature a balcony.
Hotel Mangalemi – Berat
A 3+ -star hotel built on the ruins of Turkish mansions in the historic centre of Mangalem Quarter, close to the town centre. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 15 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Hotel Brilant – Saranda
This 4-star hotel is close to the town’s main boulevard. Bar, WiFi (free) and 33 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Hotel Argjiro – Gjirokastra
A modern 4-star hotel in traditional style. It is close to the castle and Ethnographic Museum. Restaurants, bar, WiFi (free) and 30 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer and satellite TV.
Bujtina Leon Korca
Set in a building with traditional features of the local architecture, Guest House Bujtina Leon is located in the centre of Korca. Featuring free Wi-Fi and free bike rental, it offers rooms and suites with an LCD cable TV. The property is situated behind the Orthodox Cathedral, in a street paved in cobble stone and surrounded by old houses. The reception area has a fireplace in front of which guests can enjoy wine, tea or homemade food. A common wooden terrace is also a good spot to relax. Likewise, a porch and a garden with flowers and oil lamps contribute to the specific ambiance of the guest house.
The season for TAB usually starts in March and ends in the end of October.Our hiking season starts, depending on the weather, usually in May and ends at the end of October July and August are best to be spend near water due to the high temperatures. Our rafting season starts in April. From April to June we run trips in the Osumi Canyon and our Vjosa rafting trip last until the end of October.
Tirana, the capital, has an international airport but you can also look for flights from nearby airports such as Ohrid, Podgorica & Tivat (Montenegro). Dubrovnik (Croatia) Corfu, Thessaloniki and Pristina and then continue your journey on land or take the ferry from Italy.
Health and safety are of high importance to TAB. We perform regular audits for all suppliers (accommodations, vehicles, etc.) where we check the safety procedures and do a quality control. Furthermore we train our tour leaders to make sure that they perform their daily standard operational procedures. Additionally we are very proud to have a quality officer in our staff, who has the luck to regularly travel around Albania to do check-ups.