DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO TIRANA
Welcome to Albania where the local people refer to themselves as shqiptarë—often taken to mean “sons of eagles. They generally consider themselves to be descendants of the ancient Illyrians, who lived in central Europe and migrated southward to the territory of Albania at the beginning of the Bronze Age, about 2000 BCE. They have lived in relative isolation and obscurity through most of their difficult history, in part because of the rugged terrain of their mountainous land but also because of a complex of historical, cultural, and social factors.
Private transfer from the airport to your hotel. The rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Tirana
DAY 2: TIRANA HIGHLIGHTS EXPLORER
Founded in the early 17th century by a Turkish general, Barkinzade Süleyman Paşa, who is said to have built a mosque, a bathhouse, and a bakery in order to attract settlement. The town gradually became a trading centre at a junction of roads and caravan trails. It was chosen to be the capital of Albania in 1920.
Your guide will take you to its streets and you will get to see the Skanderbeg Square, whose Etehem Bey Mosque (1819) is now flanked by the Soviet-built Palace of Culture. Nearby is the University of Tirana (1957). The old city stretches to the east and north of the main square and features alehouses and historic architecture. Tirana has museums, a national institute of folklore, a national theatre, and a concert hall. Skanderbeg Square has a large statue of Skanderbeg (Gjergj Kastrioti), the Albanian national hero. The tour will show you the highlights of this town and you will have the rest of the day to enjoy it on your own.
DAY 3: DURRES – ARDENICE – APOLLONI – VLORA
After the breakfast, you will head to explore coastal area of Albania, starting with the nearby Durres
“The eternal city” over the Adriatic has a 3,000-year history, its founding dating back to 627 B.C.E. when the Corinthians and settlers from the ancient Greek city of Corcyra, situated in the island of Corfu, invaded the Illyrian territory of the Taulantii people. Because of its long history, the city is naturally brimming with ancient archaeological sites and findings, including the famous amphitheater of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, whose 15,000-seats capacity make it the second biggest amphitheater in the Balkans.
After Durres, you will see Ardenica Monastery and be transferred to Apollonia to visit Apollonia Archeological Park, Odeon, Library , Theatre and stop for a meal.
Final transfer to Vlora, check in the Hotel and the rest of the night is your time out.
DAY 4: VLORA – DAY AT LEISURE
Founded in the 6th century B.C.. Vlorë was built in one of the most beautiful spots in southern Albania. Its shores present a unique mixture of rocky and sand beaches, and the gorgeous vistas of the Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Islands stretch in front of the city.
It has heavenly beaches and natural wonders, and is of historical importance for Albania, having hosted its First National Assembly, where Albania declared independence from the Ottoman Empire on November 28, 1912. Visitors interested in learning more about this event can easily visit the Museum of Independence which was dedicated to it. Enjoy this beautiful spot weather you decide to just explore its nature, or history or culinary treat.
DAY 5: VLORA – PORTO PALERMO – SARANDA
After the breakfast you will be driven to Porto Palermo, with many stops on the route for photoshoot.
Visit of the Castle of Ali Pasha in Porto Palermo and transfer to Butrint. Stop in Borsh for a meal time. The Butrint National Park is the most famous attraction in the south of Albania and the UNESCO World Heritage site is the most visited archaeological park.
After the park visit, transfer to Saranda, check in the Hotel.
DAY 6: SARANDA – DAY AT LEISURE
Saranda is one of the most important coastal towns of the Balkans and one of the best places to spend the summer in Albania. The town is surrounded by gorgeous pristine beaches, perfect to spend some time to relax.
DAY 7: SARANDA – BLUE EYE SPRING – GJIROKASTER
After your check out, you will head towards Gjirokaster. On the way, you will stop at Lekursi castle overlooking Saranda Bay, Corfu Island and Butrinat lake. The castle was built by the Ottman’s to protect the settlement of Saranda from any attack from Corfu in Greece.
Transfer to Blue eye spring, a water spring and natural phenomenon. The clear blue water of the river can be seen from a depth of more than fifty metres. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karst hole is.
Driving to Gjirokaster, check in the Hotel and the rest of what is left for the day, enjoy this beautiful “Stone City” that looks as if it is carved out of a Mountain.
DAY 8: GJIROKASTER – BERAT
This morning we head to Berat, “The City of a thousand windows”, due to the many large windows of the old decorated houses overlooking the town. Berat is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It’s known for its white Ottoman houses. On a hilltop, Berat Castle is a huge compound now inhabited by townspeople. The tap water is fresh from the mountain spring. Within its walls are Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque and the Onufri National Museum, with Christian icons. East is the Ethnographic Museum, in an 18th-century house, displaying traditional crafts and part of a reconstructed medieval bazaar
Although being a big centre for tourism in Albania, Berat has managed to retain its easy-going charm and friendly atmosphere.
DAY 9: BERAT – ELBASAN – TIRANA
Heading back to Tirana with a short stop to Elbasan.
Elbasan, town, central Albania. It lies on the north bank of the Shkumbin River, in the highlands at the eastern end of a fertile, well-watered plain.
It was founded in 1466 by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, on the site of ancient Scampis, as a base for his military operations against the Albanian commander Skanderbeg. The town was a principal centre of Albanian nationalism during Ottoman rule.
Arrival ti Tirana in the evening hours and leisure time before heading back home (or to another destination).
DAY 10: DEPARTURE
You will be transferred to the airport or the port. Bon voyage!