The Local Experience in Albania and Macedonia

Truly unique, this tour is for those interested in social and environmental consciousness when visiting a new area.  Guests will get to meet children and school teachers; talk to locals; learn about environmental preservation in the northern mountain villages of Albania; meet shepherds and their families; and visit communism’s most industrial towns.  Of course, we will visit the tourist gems that people have come to love, too!  There will be some chances for exploring nature and doing some diving in a spring (for those who are interested.)
Not only do you get to indulge in truly authentic local experiences, the locations can’t be beat.  Some of them are on the usual tourist path but others are a little more rare.  This trip will please every type of inquisitive traveler!
Fully escorted, a fun and knowledgeable guide will be with you for the duration of the trip to impart the story of this fascinating country and will be your personal driver as you move from one destination to the next. We’ve designed this tour for English-speaking travelers with an itinerary that offers a pleasant lack of super-early starts – most departure times are around 9:00 in the morning.  We have managed to avoid long drives – most days you will end up at the next destination with plenty of daylight hours left to explore, relax and eat. The tour allows a lot of flexibility (a good balance of guidance and freedom) and provides opportunities to experience and learn as much as possible from this surprising region of the Balkans!
Here is the itinerary and do contact us if you have any questions!
Day 1
Tirana/Podgorica – Shkodra
  • Arrival at the airport (either Tirana or Podgorica) and meet our guide; transfer to Shkodra in Albania
  • Overnight in beautiful Shkodra
Day 2
  • Visit Shkodra’s highlights in the morning – mosques, chic boutiques and great pedestrian walkways
  • Transfer to Valbona via a stunning boat trip through gorgeous and isolated Lake Koman
  • Drive through the town of Bajram Curri to Albania’s most famous valley
  • Meet local hosts and discuss the activities to be organized at the village school
  • Overnight Valbona
Day 3
  • Meet and talk to the local children and the school teachers – with a laptop, we can show them the amazing adventures of your travels; we will also discuss the flora and fauna of Valbona (in the Accursed Mountains, a lot of the European fauna specimens are still very healthy and our little talk will help the children understand the economical and environmental importance of preservation efforts)
  • There is a chance to meet ex-New Yorker Catherine (of Journey to Valbona – check out her website); she is raising awareness among the local communities about the importance of protecting the local environmental and local traditions
  • Short hike (about 1km both ways) and lunch in a shepherd’s hut with local produce
  • Visit and relax in the Valley of Valbona
  • Overnight in Valbona
Day 4
Prizren – Tirana
  • Transfer to the prosperous Kosovar town of Prizren – old and recent histories are still very alive and the town is known for its architecture and extravagant lifestyle
  • Transfer to Tirana
  • Visit the lively city and some of the paranoid communist heritage that still exists in it
  • Overnight in a comfortable central hotel
Day 5
Elbasan – Berat
  • Visit Tirana and then head east to the ruined communist metallurgical giant, Elbasan (once the pride of Albania, today this place is a reminder of the madness and the paranoia of one of the worst dictators Europe has ever seen – Enver Hoxha)
  • Transfer south through the countryside
  • Overnight in the magic Byzantine and Ottoman town of Berat
Day 6
  • Visit Berat, the “Town of 1001 Windows” and transfer to Gjirokastra – both UNESCO heritage sites full of unique architecture, cobbled alleyways, stunning views of mountains and rivers, excellent restaurants and history from the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires (as well as a more recent past!- Ismail Kadare, one of Albania’s most famous authors, was born in Gjirokastra)
  • Overnight in traditional hotel in town
Day 7
Blue Eye-Permet
  • Transfer to the stunning Blue Eye Spring; if desired, we can dive into the spring with an expert and all the required equipment – an adventure only a few people have done! (the maximum depth divers have managed to reach is 50 meters -the stream becomes too strong and to dive lower is impossible; we propose a dive of 10 meters of depth)
  • Drive east to Permet, a friendly, non-touristic town with a beautiful river, interesting rocks and very charming inhabitants who would be happy to have a conversation with outsiders
  • Overnight in Permet
Day 8
  • Drive through the Pindus Mountains serving as the border between Albania and Greece, a long but stunning drive
  • Arrive in Ohrid, a beautiful town in Macedonia known for its lake and monastery
  • Explore the town
  • Overnight in Ohrid
Day 9
  • Dive to the neolithic village of the Bay of the Bones
  • Visit the area around Ohrid
  • Drive in the direction of the charming Macedonian capital, Skopje
  • Overnight in central hotel of Skopje
Day 10
  • Visit Skopje
  • Drive to the airport for flight back home


We will price the tour according to the number of guests and conditions.  Please remember, this tour itinerary is flexible!  We take Albanian Lek, GBP and USD and will discuss payment options with you.

The tour price includes:

  • Transfer in AC vehicle with professional driver.
  • Character boutique family-run 3-4 star hotels with breakfasts and guesthouses (we can send you more details on accommodation before you book the tour.) Accommodation in twin or matrimonial.
  • All breakfasts, welcome and goodbye meals. (This doesn’t mean we’ll be indifferent in recommending dishes, wines, rakis and restaurants where you can partake in a delicious Albanian culinary experience!)
  • All entrance fees to museums and visited areas.
  • English speaking tour guide for the whole trip.
  • Local taxes. (VAT Tax – 20%)

The tour price does not include:

  • Airfare.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Tips for the guide and driver.
  • Anything which is not mentioned in the above section.