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Day 1: Tirana Airport – Durres – Ardenica Monastery – Apollonia – Vlora
Welcome to Albania. Pick up at Tirana airport and transfer to Durres
Visit Durres. Durres is home to the biggest seaport in the country. The city is home to many ancient archaeological sites and finds. The most notable tourist attraction in Durrës is the Roman amphitheater with 15,000 seats, the second biggest amphitheater in the Balkans. It is the most ancient city in Albania, with almost 3,000 years of history.
Enjoy some free time in the pedestrian street Vollga in front of the sea then transfer to Ardenica.
Visit Ardenica Monastery built in 3rd century, where perhaps the most interesting historical event recorded in Ardenica is Skanderbeg’s (Albanian National Hero) wedding. Beyond all its historical and cultural values, the Monastery is well worth visiting for the scenery that surrounds its strategic position and we will enjoy a local lunch with bio products of the area in a restaurant near by the Monastery.
Visit the park of Apollonia. Apollonia is a gorgeous archaeological site. In the ancient times, Apollonia was one of the most important economic and trade centers of Albania and the world with a population of approx. 50.000 inhabitants. The future Roman emperor Octavian Augustus also studied in this city. The site hosts also an Orthodox monastery and an archaeological museum.
Visit Vlora, a seaside city who it’s not important only because of the port but it has a huge importance in the history of Albania. In this city Ismail Qemali proclaim the independence of Albania in 1912.
Overnight in Vlora
Estimated Duration of the tour this day 12 h
Day 2: Vlora – Orikum – Llogara – Qeparo – Porto Palermo – Himare – Saranda
After the breakfast we depart for Orikum
Visit Oriku Archeological Park. Nowadays the important site is located within Pashaliman Navy Base, thus tourists had to go through several safety procedures. The ancient city of Oriku was established during the sixth century BC. Archeological excavation that started during the 50s discovered the Acropolis, the port, stairs, the altar, the well, and the temple . Interesting fact is the houses were built inside the rocks and each house had a well.
Drive on the Albanian Riviera looking at the Ionian Sea. Stunning sceneries await us at the Llogara pass, about 1000 meters above sea level.
Visit National Park of Llogara. Enjoy a short hiking tour around the forests of Llogara National Park and have lunch in a local restaurant.
Visit Gjikondi Oil Factory at Qeparo Village. You will have the opportunity to taste and purchase the most delicious, their award-winning certified organic that is also sold abroad, Gjikondi – Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Olive Oil, directly from the factory
Visit Porto Palermo Castle. After this amazing experience have a stop to Porto Palermo Castle built on the hill of an island, connected to the shore via a narrow man-made strip of land, this castle attracts everyone’s immediate attention .The castle was built in 19th century at the request of Ali Pashë Tepelena, (was an Ottoman Albanian ruler who served as pasha of the Pashalik of Yanina) after the destruction of Justinian’s castle.
Continue to one of most charming towns of the Albanian Riviera, Saranda and have dinner at the Lekursi Castle offering a spectacular view over the city and Corfu Island.
Overnight in Sarande.
Estimated duration of the tour: 11h
Day 3: Saranda – Butrint – Mussels Restaurant – Blue Eye – Gjirokaster
Transfer the ancient city of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit Butrint National Park. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation.
Mussels House. After this amazing tour experience a local dish at a relaxing restaurant near Butrint Lake. Fresh seafood and mussels straight from the water to your table will be served and same time we will enjoy a boat ride to the mussels farm and know more about mussels .
Visit Blue eye. A water spring with extremely light blue water bubbles in a more than 50-metre deep pool. You’ll be mesmerized by how clear the water is, to the point that you’ll be able to see straight to the bottom.
Last stop will be Gjirokaster a UNESCO site and museum town with very distinct architecture.
Visit Gjirokaster. The main characteristic of Gjirokastra is the intensive use of stone in building the houses, which look like small fortresses, the streets of cobblestone, which all lead to Bazaar. You can also visit the Mosque of Bazaar here, built in 1557. Due to all these features, Gjirokastra is also known as the “The Stone City”.
Visit the Fortress of Gjirokaster. The most important structure of the city is the castle, which is the biggest castle in Albania. Inside the castle, you can visit the Museum of Weapons, opened in 1971. Weapons from the prehistoric times up to the World War II are exhibited on here. The National Folk Festival has taken place in this castle during the years.
Next visit the Ethnographic Museum which is also the house where the Albanian dictator was born in.
Have dinner in a local restaurant and enjoy a folklore show with Albanian dance and music.
Overnight in Gjirokaster.
Estimated duration of the tour: 12 h
Day 4: Berat – Cobo Winery – Tirana
After breakfast transfer to Berat and start the tour by visiting castle.
Visit Berat Castle has particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over many churches of which 7 still remain, including one turned into Onufri Museum.
Visit Onufri Museum. Onufri was an Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece and he used a unique Red color for his icons which still today no one else can copy it. After the visit of the castle, go down town.
Below the castle you can see the famous view of the facades of the houses, with windows that seem to stand above each other. With its houses built along the steep hill, the view of Mangalemi is the reason that another name for Berat is the City of the Floating Windows.
Across the Osum River lies the Gorica neighborhood, whose houses face those of Mangalemi. The arched bridge of Gorica, built in 1780, is a beautiful architectural monument constructed to link Gorica with Mangalemi.
Have some free time and enjoy a local lunch in a traditional restaurant.
Before heading to Tirana experience wine tasting at Cobo Winery.
Visit Cobo Winery. A family with a long tradition of producing wine. You will taste different local wines and Raki (Albanian Alcohol)
Overnight in Tirana
Estimated duration of the tour:12 h
Day 5: Tirana – Kruje – Airport
After the breakfast start the tour of Tirana
Visit Tirana – the heart and capital of Albania, like all other capital metropolises has never -ending movement and energy. With its clubs, bars, cafes and taverns.
Tirana is worth discovering by both day and night. The hospitality shown towards tourists is something that will mark your journey not only in Tirana but also all over the country. Have a walk from the main square through the boulevard. Your own journey might begin by visiting the museums and the key spots such as Sheshi Skënderbej, where you will be able to see the Mosque of Et’hem Bey and the 35m high Kulla e Sahatit (the Watch Tower), built in 1822 with a San Marco style cupola.
Have lunch in a local restaurant inside the castle of Kruja.
Visit Kruje – The name and the importance of the city are closely related to the 25 years of activity of Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg, who in the fifteenth century made Kruja a bastion of uncompromising resistance against the Ottoman. The Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg Museum is situated inside the castle walls, which date back to the fifth and sixth centuries A.D.
Within the walls of the castle are also the Ethnographic Museum and the Dollma Tekke. Near the castle’s entrance is a traditional market, which dates back to the period of Skanderbeg. Here, you can find Albanian craft products such as embroidered items, carpeting, silver objects, copper, alabaster, filigree, traditional clothing, antiques at the traditional Old Baazar of Kruja .
Visit workshop Mater class handmade Qeleshe
We will experience a master class fine art by Ndricim showing us all the process of doing Qeleshe (Traditional Hats).
-Accommodation in a double/twin room in hotels (3* / 4*)
-Full Board Service
-Transportation and transfers
-Multilingual Tour Guide for all the TRF-s and excursions
-Local guides in national and archaeological parks
-All excursions and sightseeing including entrance fees
-Wine Tasting in Cobo Winery
-Visiting of Gjikondi Oil Fabric
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