Chats & History Over Coffee in Albania – A Multi-Day Tour

This is a very unique tour that will invite guests to have conversations with some of Albania’s most rare and most popular individuals.  Depending on who we can get a hold of while guests are here, it will certainly be a trip like no other and will teach you about Albania’s recent and past history.

We can arrange to have guests speak with children from families affected by the infamous Blood Feuds (they will share stories and we can discuss reconciliation efforts); visit locals who make masks at a factory (they even made masks for the movie Eyes Wide Shut!); speak with high-standing members of the Albanian government; chat with a member of the Bektashi sect (a peaceful sect of Islam with its headquarters in Albania); and speak with a Sworn Virgin, a woman whose stories will surely change your perspective on gender roles.

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
  • Arrival at Mother Teresa Airport in Tirana
  • Transfer to Shkodra
  • Visit the Rozafa Castle and learn about its legends while taking in stunning views of Lake Shkodra, the rivers and the Accursed Mountains
  • Traditional dinner with local specialties; with the help of partner NGOs, we could invite a few children from families affected by the “Blood Feud” phenomenon to have dinner with us in order to share positive stories; these children spend their lives in seclusion because of the threat of revenge that weighs over the heads of their families (“blood feuds” are a primitive, complicated and tragic tool to resolve law issues)
Day 2 
  • Breakfast and visit of a local factory that makes masks for the best shops of Venice, Paris or Las Vegas (rumour has it that they produced the masks for the famous Hollywood production Eyes Wide Shut!; it’s a nice story of Albanian entrepreneurship, hard work, modern management, passion and talent and all of the people employed in the factory are local ladies from the area around Shkodra – we could chat with them!)
  • Departure to Lake Komani via beautiful mountain roads
  • Private boat tour that brings us through the gorges of Lake Koman and upstream to the amazing Shala river – we’ll have a picnic on the shores of the river
  • Transfer to Valbona
  • Check in and overnight in a comfortable hotel
  • Traditional dinner with local delicacies
Day 3
  • Explore Valbona valley’s attractions
  • Option to do a simple or a more extensive hike (we can do a two-hour hike with a change of level of about 300 meters on a marked trail that ends in a spring near a little village)
  • Meet with a “Sworn Virgin” from Valbona; these women are assigned male status at birth and represent the families in the Council of the Elderly (a village government); we’ll learn about their lives and exchange opinions and stories with a nice glass of raki or Turkish coffee, experiencing the true hospitality of the Albanian mountains
  • At dinner we’ll invite a friend and local artist to play traditional music of the north while we discuss the flora, fauna and primitive but impressive traditions of the area
  • Traditional dinner and overnight in Valbona
Day 4
  • Transfer to Kosovo
  • Visit the old town of Gjakova for coffee in the recently restored bazaar; the conflicts with Yugoslavia damaged this part of Europe’s newest country but it remains an excellent example of international cooperation because of its fast reconstruction and new peace and prosperity
  • Lunch break and transfer to Prizren with its pleasing combination of Byzantine and Ottoman heritage (and a peaceful coexistence of Orthodox, Islamic and Catholic influences!)
  • Re-enter Albania through the border of Morina and follow the recently built Highway of the Nation that penetrates the Albanian mountains
  • Arrival and overnight in nice hotel in Kruja
  • Traditional dinner at the hotel
Day 5
  • Visit Kruja at a relaxed pace; the castle hosts many stories as well as two fine museums: one dedicated to the National Hero, Skanderbeg, and an exquisite ethnographic museum situated in an elegant Ottoman house
  • We can visit an Albanian Bektashi teqe, a mosque belonging to one of the most tolerant and relaxed sides of Islam (Bektashism has its world headquarters in Albania and most Albanian Muslims have chosen this philosophy that respects both humans and nature and gets its inspiration from Hinduism, Christianity and Paganism)
  • Free time to wander in the Bazaar of Kruja (a good opportunity for shopping for souvenirs, some of which are fabricated by local families!)
  • Transfer to Tirana after lunch
  • Evening stroll and dinner in an elegant downtown restaurant
  • Overnight Tirana
Day 6 
Tirana- Cape Rondoni- Tirana
  • Visit the Red School neighbourhood, a charming part of old Tirana that hosts a produce market, little shops and plenty of elegant houses built in the interwar period
  • Visit the Gallery of Arts that has a beautiful collection of Socialist Realism Art; we’ll be guided by one of the artists that lived and worked in that period (if desired, we can bring you to a personal collection of art, too); the works from this period illustrate how paranoid life was under Enver Hoxha
  • We can try to organize a meeting with one of the high representatives of the Albanian government in the afternoon, taking the opportunity to ask questions and get open and honest answers; we’re pretty good at lobbying with any governing team!
  • Transfer to the Bay of Durres and have a relaxing picnic lunch on the beach (with an option to swim in the beautiful Adriatic Sea!); here there will be plenty of nature, a nice little Medieval church, communist bunkers and a small fortress built by Skanderbeg on Cape Rodoni
  • Drive back to Tirana in early evening
  • Evening at leisure
Day 7
  • Drive to Berat via Durres where we can visit the impressive Roman Amphitheatre and have a coffee break
  • Visit the castle and the cathedral hosting a beautiful icon museum named after our most famous iconographer, Onufri
  • Lunch break in the castle and time for relaxation
  • Evening stroll through the lower neighbourhoods of the town, the river Osumi and the beautiful bridge of Gorica
  • Turkish coffee in one of the houses with a local family
  • Traditional dinner with Berat specialties made of local vegetables, fine olive oil and dessert
Day 8
  • Free time in Berat until we transfer to the airport in Tirana
  • See you soon for another visit; mirupafshim!

Socialist Realism Art Tour in Tirana, Albania


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.