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AlbaniaGrand adventure of the Balkans

  • Highlights
While visiting Albania, it is a must that you also discover the neighboring countries and be able to distinguish our similarities in culture and traditions but also to see what makes each of these places unique and worthwhile visiting them. You are going to discover old towns and bazars, learn about the history of many castles and visit some of the oldest and most famous churches and mosques of th...

While visiting Albania, it is a must that you also discover the neighboring countries and be able to distinguish our similarities in culture and traditions but also to see what makes each of these places unique and worthwhile visiting them. You are going to discover old towns and bazars, learn about the history of many castles and visit some of the oldest and most famous churches and mosques of the Balkans.

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Trip highlights
  • Lake
    Lake
  • City
    City
  • Local culture
    Local culture
  • Sightseeing
    Sightseeing
  • Local cuisine
    Local cuisine

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Day 1: Arrival in Tirana

Once arrived at the airport, our agent will be there waiting to take you to your hotel.  Depending on arrival time you might also start to explore the city or join an afternoon/evening yoga class or massage session to relax after the long flight.

Airport to Tirane, 25min

- Optional: Yoga: An hour yoga class at one of the capital’s best studios.

- Optional: Massage: A massage session in one of city’s wellness centers.

Visited:
Tirana

Day 2: Kruja – Shkodra

Today you will head north to the town of Kruja, located less than an hour away from Tirana. Kruja is known as the hometown of Skanderbeg, a 15th century Albanian leader, considered as our national hero for his fight against the Ottoman Empire. You will have the opportunity to learn more about this great leader by visiting the museum which was named after him, “Skanderbeg Museum”. The ethnographic museum is also an opportunity to discover the local culture, lifestyle and family traditions. Finally, you can have a stroll between the stalls of the old bazar located on a charming square with cobbled streets: ideal to pick some souvenirs!

You will head towards another city in Albania, founded more than 2000 years ago. Shkodra is one of the oldest cities and the perfect example of the harmony between the three main religions in Albania: Islam, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. The city is home to the Great Mosque (built-in 1995) and also a Catholic cathedral, St Stephen's Cathedral, where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass during his visit in 1993.

You may also visit the Marubi Phototheque which has assembled an impressive collection of 150,000 photographs to explore the Balkans as they were between the nineteenth and twentieth century. Then you join the Rozafa fortress. This fortress represents an Albanian legend and offers a breathtaking view of the city, rivers and surroundings.

Tirana to Kruja, 50 min: Kruja town - Tour of the castle, old bazaar, and town - Kruja caste, Old Bazaar.

Kruja to Shkodra, 1h 30 min: Visit of Shkodra: Tour of the Rozafa fortress to discover the legend behind its building - Shkodra, Rozafa Fortress.

Visited:
Krujë, Shkodër

Day 3: Budva (Montenegro)

Departure to the city of Budva. It is a Montenegrin town on the Adriatic Sea. Part of the Budva Riviera, it's known for sandy beaches and nightlife. Stone walls built by the Venetians surround the narrow streets of the medieval old town (Stari Grad). This historic district is home to a seaside citadel and religious sites like the Church of Santa Maria in Punta, established in the 9th century.

Shkodra to Budva, 2h: City tour of Budva to discover its citadel and traditional architecture- Budva Old Town.

Visited:
Shkodër, Budva

Day 4: Bay of Kotor

Departure to Kotor, a city that attracts its visitors by both: natural beauty and historic importance. It is surrounded by 4.5 km of Venetian Walls and is situated on the Bay of Kotor. You may decide to visit the city during the morning and to take your time by visiting the bay and also do a trip with a ferry along the bay. After visiting all there is in Kotor, you will return back to Budva to stay the night.

Optional: Boat tour along the Bay of Kotor.

Budva to Kotor, 30 min - Kotor: Tour of Kotor Bay and Kotor Town, tasting traditional local dishes and drinks and exploring the coast with a ferry trip.

Visited:
Kotor

Day 5: Cetinje - Ostrog - Moraca - Kolasin

Cetinje is a town of great historical significance, being founded in the 15th century and since then becoming the center of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin culture and an Orthodox religious center. Its status as the honorary capital of Montenegro is due to its heritage as a long-serving former capital of Montenegro.

After the visits of the former capital, you will make your way to Ostrog to visit the monastery of the Serbian Orthodox Church. This monastery was built in the 17th century situated against an almost vertical background. You spend the rest of your time to discover the area of Kolasin and the Biogradska Gora National Park which has a great diversity of flora and fauna and splendid landscapes. On your way to Kolasin, shortstop to visit the Monastery of Moraca. This monastery, built-in 1252, is one of the most monumental Orthodox medieval monuments of Montenegro.

Tour of monasteries in Cetinje, Ostrog and Moraca.

Visited:
Cetinje, Ostrog, Morača, Kolasin

Day 6: Pec / Peja (Kosovo)

The city of Peja or Pec (in Serbian), is a city and municipality located in the Peć District of Kosovo. The highlight of this day is the Patriarchate of Peja which is a Serbian Orthodox monastery. The complex of churches, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is the spiritual seat and mausoleum of the Serbian archbishops and Serbian Patriarchs.

Visited:
Pec

Day 7: Decan - Prizren

Departure to Decan, which was one of the strongholds of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Therefore, Decan was of the cities who suffered the most destruction during the war. Nowadays the city has been fully reconstructed. It is well known because of the Monastery of Viosko Decani, built between 1327 and 1355. Visoki Dečani was declared a Monument of Culture of Exceptional Importance in 1990 and was protected by the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 2004, UNESCO listed the monastery on the World Heritage List, citing its frescoes as "one of the most valued examples of the so-called Palaiologan renaissance in the Byzantine painting".

Prizren is a charming city of mosques and monasteries dating back to the 14th century. Fortunately, spared from both the "destroy the old, build the new" drive of the communists during the early years of their rule in Yugoslavia, as well as the ethnic and religious atrocities that plagued the Western Balkans in the last decade of the 20th century, Prizren has the best-preserved old town in the country by far, and is often referred to as the cultural capital of Kosovo.

Pec to Decan, 30 min: Tour of Decan, Visit of Viosko Decani Monastery.

Decan to Prizren 1h 30min: Tour of Prizren to see the church of Saint George, the Siman Pasha Mosque, the Turkish Hammam and Kaljaja fortress.

Visited:
Deçan, Prizren

Day 8: Prishtina (Kosovo) - Skopje (Macedonia)

Prishtina or Priština is the capital and largest city of Kosovo. It is the administrative center of the homonymous municipality and district. The city has a majority Albanian population, alongside other smaller communities. Pristina is the second-largest Albanian-speaking city in the world (after Tirana in Albania). Geographically, it is located in the north-eastern part of Kosovo close to the Goljak mountains.

Departure to the North Macedonia capital, Skopje. You use the day to get to know the capital better and visit the Stone Bridge, the Memorial House of Mother Theresa, the Museum and all there is to discover. Then, you may continue your journey in direction of Canyon of Matka.

Prizren to Pristina, 2h 20 min - Pristina to Skopje, 1h 50 min.

Skopje city tour with highlights: Stone bridge, Memorial house of Mother Theresa.

Visited:
Pristina, Skopje

Day 9: Tetovo - Ohrid (Macedonia)

You will depart to Tetovo, another city in North Macedonia. In this city you may visit the area of the “Painted Mosque”. It is one of the most important cultural and historical structures of Tetovo and represents the style of early Ottoman architecture.

Guided tour of Ohrid the jewel city of Macedonia classified by UNESCO. The city is located on the northern shore of Lake Ohrid, the 2nd largest lake in the Balkans shared between Albania and Macedonia. It is one of the oldest lakes in the world with Baikal and Titicaca. Deep at 289m and 700m above sea level, it contains more than 200 endemic animal and plant species. Sheltered by the ramparts of its citadel, basilicas and orthodox churches, vestiges of ancient temples attest to the ancient influence of the city. At the end of the Middle Ages, it was an important artistic center of the Slavic world, both in painting with the Ohrid School and in literature, poetry and philosophy.

It is in Ohrid that St Naum and St. Clement, who raised missionaries Cyril and Methodius, invent a new alphabet to evangelize the Slavic tribes: the Cyrillic alphabet was born. Today you can stroll its narrow streets lined with houses with typical architecture of white walls with openings bordered by black beams, discover beautiful churches. The tour will allow you to admire the ancient theater in its beautiful setting facing the lake, the Plaosnik plateau with archaeological excavations near the church of St Panteleimon, the St. Sophia Cathedral ranked among the masterpieces of Byzantine architecture and medieval Macedonian painting.

Skopje to Tetovo, 45 min: Tour of Tetovo with the visit of the most important historical sites

- Tetovo to Ohrid, 2h 10 min: Ohrid: Enjoy the amazing view Lake Ohrid UNESCO Heritage offers us, pay a visit at the Cathedral of Saint Sophie and try delicious local food and drinksOptional: Boat tour on the lake, the visit of the picturesque Byzantine chapel of St Jean Kaneo overlooking the shores of the lake and which has become the tourist emblem of the country.

Visited:
Tetovo, Ohrid

Day 10: Sveti Naum (Macedonia) - Korca (Albania)

You will start the visits with the beautiful monastery of Saint Naum. This is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the Republic of Macedonia, named after the medieval Saint Naum who founded it.  You will then visit "Korca the French". Why French? Because the presence of French troops has allowed the creation of a symbolic, although short-lived autonomous republic in the First World War. Moreover, this town has welcomed the first French school of the country from 1917 to 1939. Its population is said to be proud and well-educated, and the town is often nicknamed "little Paris of Albania", a city of art, love and romanticism. You will be able to see the Medieval National Museum and its great collection of Orthodox icons and the main monument to visit: The Orthodox Cathedral.

Ohrid to Sveti Naum, 45min - Sveti Naum to Korca, 1h: Tour of Saint Naum in Ohrid, the orthodox cathedral and the town of Korca where you will try the delicious Kernacka, Lakror and Raki in traditional restaurants.

Optional: Visit of a beer factory in Korca (Birra Korca).

Visited:
Sveti Naum, Korca

Day 11: Thessaloniki (Greece)

Thessaloniki was considered for a long time as one of the most important crossroads of antiquity and has multiple monuments. In this city, you will visit Saint Dimitris Church. Being the largest in Greece, it is also very rich in ornaments and frescoes. The Saint Sophia Church is also one of the most visited. It has the distinction of having served as a mosque for 5 centuries before becoming an Orthodox Church. The White Tower is designated as the symbol of Thessaloniki. At the top of the old town are still the remains of the imposing ramparts protected by Thessaloniki during the time of the empire.

Korca to Thessaloniki, 3h  - Thessaloniki: Tour of the old town of Thessaloniki, you discover the churches of Saint Sophia and Saint Dimitris - Old town, White tower.

Optional: Boat tour along the coast of Thessaloniki.

Visited:
Thessaloniki

Day 12: Meteora (Greece)

The Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. There you will have the opportunity to enjoy the bent roads which look like they are made especially for motorcycles. The breathtaking view of the monastery of Meteora will let you speechless.  Meteora is also included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Thessaloniki to Meteora, 3h: Tour of the monasteries of Meteora.

Visited:
Meteora

Day 13: Ioannina (Greece)

Ioannina often called Yannena within Greece, is the capital and largest city of the Ioannina regional unit and of Epirus, an administrative region in north-western Greece. Ioannina is known from Antiquity and got famous from Ali Pasha Tepelena of Yannena who lived and died there. Here you can pay a visit to his last cavern, where he lived prior to his death, which is placed in the small island in the lake of Janina.

Visited:
Ioannina

Day 14: Gjirokastra (Albania)

Today you will drive on the direction of Gjirokastra. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, this city is full of distinctive districts and shaded terraces. But its main touristic sites are the ethnographic museum and its citadel, which will take you back in time, years ago, through the history of Albania. Gjirokastra has retained its characteristic “old Albanian houses” architecture.

Ioannina to Gjirokastra, 1h 40 min: Tour of the town, the fortress, and the traditional houses while also tasting traditional cuisine.

Visited:
Gjirokastër

Day 15: Butrint Archaeological Park - Albanian riviera

You will visit today the site of Butrint, which is near the Greek border. Butrint is an ancient Greek city on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1992. You will discover a historic landmark, an open ancient city testifying of centuries of human occupation. Later during this day, you are going to discover the sublime Albanian Riviera!

On your way to Himara, you will be amazed by the magnificent nature of the south coast. You will have the opportunity to visit some small but very traditional Albanian villages located by the seaside.

- Gjirokastra to Butrint, 1h 30 min

- Butrint to Himara, 1h 50 min: Tour of the famous archaeological park of Butrint and relaxing time by the beautiful crystal-clear sea of the south.

Visited:
Buthrotum

Day 16: Llogara National Park - Vlora

After a long breakfast and relaxation by the sea, you head towards Llogara. Located in the upper part of the Ducati Valley, Llogara National Park of 1,000 hectares consists mainly of coniferous forests, which provides an interesting contrast to the Mediterranean landscapes that are found nearby. Through hiking during the day, you will discover unforgettable landscapes along the Riviera, between the sea and mountains. You can enjoy the view of the turquoise Ionian Sea and the Karaburuni peninsula and also reach the neck of Cesar by a hike of 40 minutes.

Next, you will be traveling to Vlora where you are going to see one of the most beautiful parts of the south of Albania and visit the city where was declared the Independence of Albania in 1912. The city is located by the Adriatic & Ionian coast.

Himara to Llogara, 1h: Hike for about 40 minutes into the wilderness of the park in Llogara while having the chance to appreciate the view over the coast too.

Llogara to Vlora, 50 min.

Optional: Boat tour, kayak tour, stand-up paddle etc.

Visited:
Llogara National Park, Vlorë

Day 17: Apollonia archaeological park - Berat

Today you will go to Fier to visit the archaeological site of Apollonia. A former massive antique city, Apollonia is the country's largest archaeological park. You will see some relics of the city such as the Bouleuterion, the Odeon or the library (the one in which the emperor Octavius studied!). By going further, you also will see the theatre, the old fountain and even bunkers from the communist era!

You will discover today an Albanian city, on the UNESCO list for its characteristic architecture: The city of Berat. Best known as "The city of 1000 windows" you will be charmed by its white houses and steep streets that offer you the chance to go for a special promenade. You will see the castle, many mosques in the citadel, the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum.

Vlore to Apollonia, 1h -Apollonia to Berat, 1h 30 min: Tour of two of Albania’s most important sites, both UNESCO heritage, the archaeological park of Apollonia and the city of Berat rich in both historical and cultural events.

Optional: Wine tasting at Çobo Winery, one of the finest in Albania.

Visited:
Apollonia, Berat

Day 18: Back to Tirana

A city since 1614 and the capital of Albania since 1920, Tirana is the country's main cultural hub. You will be able to discover a city famous for the colorful facades of its buildings and the harmony between the various religions in the country. The visit of the National Museum located on Skanderbeg Square will be a nice introduction to the rich Albanian history!

Close to this square, you will be able to see the mosque "Et'hem Bey", which has been preserved even during the communist era for its historical value, the opera, the clock tower and the palace of culture. You discover then the pyramid (the Museum of the former dictator, Enver Hoxha), the superb Orthodox Cathedral as well as the Catholic Cathedral. Not to forget to also discover the busy nightlife with numerous bars and restaurants!

Berat to Tirana, 2h 20 min: Tour of the capital of Albania, with the most important sites such as the museum, the mosque, the cathedrals.

- Optional: Yoga: An hour yoga class at one of capital’s best studios.

- Optional: Massage: A massage session in one of city’s wellness center.

Visited:
Tirana

Day 19: Last day of our trip to the Balkans!

One of our agents will accompany you to the airport according to your flight schedule. According to your departure time, our agency is happy and ready to prepare activities just for you. Or extend your trip because you wish to continue the adventure!

Visited:
Tirana

TiranaKrujëShkodërBudvaKotorCetinjeOstrogMoračaKolasinPecDeçanPrizrenPristinaSkopje TetovoOhridSveti NaumKorcaThessalonikiMeteoraIoanninaGjirokastërButhrotumLlogara National ParkVlorëApolloniaBerat

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

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Not included in the price:

  • Arrival and departure flights
  • Meals and beverages not indicated
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