Albania & Macedonia – the UNESCO heritage

This seven-day tour is designed for those who have limited time but want to dive right into the most interesting of Albania and Macedonia history and heritage (from Roman to Ottoman times and beyond!) Encompassing the sunny southern part of the country, the drive times are all very reasonable and you get much cultural stimulation in a short period -make the most of your days with this intensive and educational tour! You’ll enjoy this fully escorted tour with a friendly and knowledgeable guide and will be pleased to know that we will also be focusing on interesting local culinary experiences – all exquisitely prepared and healthy, too!
This is not a guaranteed departure tour which means you can tell us your travel dates!  We are flexible with what you might want to do, so let us know your plans. We can assist you in staying longer if you wish!
Itinerary
Day 1
Tirana
  • Arrival at Rinas airport in Albania’s interesting and chaotic capital.
  • Transfer to Tirana and check in at a hotel two steps from the downtown core.
  • Visit the Bunk’Art, the National History Museum (depending on arrival time), the Mosque of Et’hem Bey, the Block (former communist neighborhood) and get a taste of a relaxing evening
  • Dinner in a traditional restaurant with delicious local cuisine.
  • Overnight in Tirana.

Day 2

Tirana – Ohrid

  • Depart to the area of Lake Ohrid. (approx. 2h30′ drive)
  • Cross border to Macedonia.
  • Visit the Old Town of Ohrid (UNESCO Heritage List)
  • Take a boat tour in the Lake (Lake is a UNESCO site being one of the 4 oldest lakes in the World).
  • Overnight in Ohrid in a coastal hotel closed to the Old Town.
Day 3
Ohrid – Berat
  • Drive to Sveti Naum for a visit of the beautiful ancient monastery (9th century)
  • Transfer to Berat, another UNESCO World Heritage Site (approx. 2 hour 20. min drive.)
  • Check into a local hotel located in a picturesque part of town with architecture dating to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
  • Visit the traditional low neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica, (which gave Berat the nickname “Town of a 1001 Windows.“)
  • Unique traditional dinner in town.
  • Overnight in Berat.
Day 4
Berat – Gjirokaster
  • Breakfast and tour of the Castle of Berat with its chapels, typical houses, the ancient walls of Antipatrea and the Orthodox Cathedral with its art collection from 16th century iconography artist Onufri.
  • Transfer to Gjirokastra, full of marvelous architecture (approx. 2 hour drive.)
  • Check-in at a hotel situated in a typical town house.
  • Visit the Ethnographic Museum (communist dictator Enver Hoxha’s birth house) and the Skendulaj house (a private visit that will ensure the family who owns it keeps the place preserved, as it’s one of the most beautiful and special houses of the region – its 42 doors and 62 windows are only some of the elements which have impressed visitors we’ve brought here!)
  • If time permits we’ll visit the Castle of Gjirokastra, its Weapon Museum and the former prison of the Castle (if not today, we’ll try to squeeze it in tomorrow morning!)
  • Traditional dinner with local specialties – try the qifqi (rice balls!)
  • Overnight Gjirokaster.
Day 5
Blue Eye Spring – Butrint – Saranda
  • Depart for Blue Eye Spring (approx. 1 hour drive), checking out Enver Hoxha’s concrete bunkers on the way (there are than 700 000 of them, built in an attempt to keep the population under a constant threat of terror; they are a modern symbol of the isolation and suffering that Albanians went through.)
  • Visit the stunning natural spring Blue Eye: a spectacular park and perfect place for a relaxing break.
  • Depart for the famous UNESCO archaeological site of Butrint (approx. 1 hour drive.)
  • Learn the history and walk the grounds of this large site perched among hills and with stunning views of Lake Butrint.  We’ll also visit the museum on site.
  • Depart for the coastal city of Saranda (approx. –hour drive) stopping for a traditional seafood lunch in front of the turquoise waters of the Bay of Ksamil.
  • Enjoy a sunset digestive on the Fortress of Lekuresi dominating the Bay of Saranda with a breathtaking panorama of Corfu.
  • Check in at the hotel; free evening to explore town and nightlife.
  • Overnight in Saranda.
Day 6
Albanian Riviera (Porto Palermo – Vlora) -Airport or Check-in to Beach Resort…
  • Early morning breakfast and trip along the spectacular Albanian Riviera (about 120 km of mountains coming down into the blue waters of the Ionian Sea!)
  • Stop for pictures of the landscape and of the beautiful little villages on the way; refreshments by natural springs or on the beach.
  • Lunch in the Bay of Porto Palermo; visit the beautiful and romantic Castle of Vasiliqia (built in early 19th century by Ali Pasha of Tepelena, the “Mohametan Bonaparte” made famous in Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo and poet George Gordon Byron’s Child Harold’s Pilgrimage.)
  • Go over the stunningly high Caesar’s Pass with views that will be unlike anything you’ve experienced!
  • Arrive in Vlora and visit Independence Square (where, in 1912, Albania became independent after 500 years of Ottoman domination.) Have a little taste of Albanian polyphonic music – another element from Albania having made its way to the very well respected list of Human Heritage of UNESCO.
  • Overnight in Vlora

Day 7

Airport transfer

  • Transfer to the airport for flight back home or to other parts of the region if prearranged with us (can recommend beach hotel, visit of the North, Montenegro, Kosovo or other).
Price
The dates and prices shown are only for the duration of the tour itself but we will happily assist you with a longer stay. The price is 799.0 Euros in a double room with a 99.0 Euros single room arrangement for a group of minimum 4 participants. Of course, we can also take Albanian Lek, GBP and USD, too. We will discuss payment options with you.
The tour price includes:
  • Transfer in an AC 4WD car or minivan (if group bigger than 4 people.)
  • Car or van rental and fuel.
  • Professional English-speaking tour guide and driver.
  • Accommodation in double or twin rooms in 3 star character hotels or local B&B
  • All breakfasts.
  • Entries into Museums, Archaeological sites and Natural Parks as in the program
The tour price does not include:
  • VAT tax.
  • Air tickets.
  • All other meals besides breakfast.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Anything which is not mentioned in the above section.

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