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Day 1. Airport Tirana – Durres
Depending on arrival time, we will arrange the tour of Tirana.
If the group arrive afternoon, will proceed to the Hotel.
Tirana, the heart and capital of Albania, like all other capital metropolises has neverending 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 and finish the tour with a visit of Bunkart 2.
Visit Bunkart 2
The little cousin to the main Bunk’Art, this museum, which is within a communist era bunker and underground tunnel system below the Ministry of Internal Affairs, focuses on the role of the police and security services in Albania through the turbulent 20th century. While this might not sound especially interesting, the whole thing has been very well put together and makes for a fascinating journey behind police lines.
Have a walk from the main square through the boulevard.
After the tour of the city, transfer to Durres.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 2. Durres – Preze – Kruje – Marikaj (Wine Tasting) – Durres
Breakfast at the Hotel.
8:00 Meet with guide and transfer to Preze Castle, 30 min from Durres City.
Visit Preze Castle
It is known for its strategic location, overlooking Tirana and opposite Kruja. The small castle lies close to Mother Tereza International Airport. Construction began in the 14th century and was completed in the early 15th century. The most interesting historical event is Scanderbeg Sister’s wedding in 15th century where were invited many aristocrats of the world.
10:00 Transfer to Kruja (30 min)
10:30 Arrive in Kruja
Kruja is home of the patriots and the epicenter of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was here that Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s greatest national hero, defended the country from the invasion of the Ottomans. The National Museum dedicated to the hero is housed in the famous Kruja Castle and shows both the legendary hero’s history and the traditional way of life of the city’s population. The city’s famous bazaar serves as a bridge between this glorious past and the present, offering a rich array of traditional products made from local artisans.
Visit Kruja Castle
In the time of the Ottoman threat, it was the headquarters of Gjergj Kastrioti, an Albanian nobleman and military commander. Kastrioti was sent as a hostage to the Ottoman court early in his life, and after leaving service, led a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in Albania.
Under his command, the elliptical castle, defended by a small army usually no larger than 3,000 men, fought off multiple massive sieges from the Turks, beginning in 1444. Ottoman forces who conquered large areas like Constantinople and the Balkans could not break the castle’s defenses.
Its spacious seven-level interior displays replicas of armor and paintings depicting Skanderbeg’s struggle against the Ottomans. The museum is something of a secular shrine, and takes itself very seriously indeed, with giant statues and dramatic battle murals.
This traditional home in the castle complex below the Skanderbeg Museum houses one of the best ethnographic museums in the country. Set in an original 19th-century Ottoman house that belonged to the affluent Toptani family, the museum shows the level of luxury and self-sufficiency the household maintained by producing its own food, drink, leather and weapons. They even had their very own mini hammam (Turkish bath) and watermill.
12:00 After the tour of the bazaar, Scanderbeg Museum and Ethnographic museum, have lunch in a local restaurant.
After lunch enjoy some free time in the bazaar.
14:30 Transfer to Marikaj for Wine tasting at Bardha Winery.
15:30 Arrive at Bardha Winery and enjoy different kind of wines.
Located on a soft hilly relief, “Bardha” winery offers a gorgeous landscape surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. “Bardha” is known for its high-quality products and among its most
popular wines are: Merlot Wine; Cabernet cuvee with grape types: Cabernet, Merlot from Leskovik, etc.
17:00 transfer back Hotel.
19:00 Have dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 3. Durres – Berat – Apolonia Archeological Park – Vlore
Breakfast at Hotel.
8:00 Meet with the guide and transfer to Berati.
9:30 Arrive in Berat and start the sightseeing tour with local guide.
This upland city in south-central Albania has 2,500 years of history, which has bestowed it with stunning archaeology, quaint residential areas and preserved monuments. Berat’s appeal lies in its UNESCO World Heritage architecture and the epic mountain scenery that shelters the city. Since coming under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s Berat is also a place where Christians and Muslims have lived together in relative peace, with churches and mosques sharing the same space. The cityscape is part of Berat’s charm, where picturesque stone houses on the steep hillsides seem to be stacked on top of each other.
Visit Berat Castle
This castle is the pride and joy of the city of Berat. Its courtyard offers spectacular views of the city and the valley below, it dates back to 2500 years. It houses many historical elements. More than 20 Christian churches, and a central museum which surrounds one of the largest Orthodox churches with many 16th century paintings.
Life never ended inside the castle and still today there are living families in their traditional houses built since 17th century.
Visit Onufri Museum
Part of the tour will be also Onufri Museum, situated in the Kala quarter’s biggest church. Today Onufri’s spectacular 16th-century religious paintings are displayed along with the church’s beautifully gilded 19th-century iconostasis. The red of Onufri used in his Icons were very unique and is mysterious still today.
12:30 After the guided tour of Berat have lunch in a local restaurant inside the castle.
14:00 Spend some time at Gorica Bridge, which was built during 18th century to connects 2 neighborhoods Mangalemi and Gorica, once a time divided Managlemi lived by Muslims and Gorica by Christians. During free time enjoy panoramic view of Mangelemi neighborhood.
14:30 Transfer to Apolonia Archeological park.
16:00 Arrive at the park and start the sightseeing tour with Local guide.
Visit Apollonia Archeological Park
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.
18:00 Transfer to Vlora.
19:00 Arrive in Vlora.
Have dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 4. Vlore – Amantia Archeological Park – Kanine Castle – Monastery of Zvernec – Vlore
Have breakfast in Hotel.
9:00 Start the city tour of Vlora with local guide.
The city carries historical importance to Albania as it hosted the First National Assembly, which declared the country’s independence from Ottoman rule on November 28th, 1912. Vlora is the starting point of the Albanian Riviera and is one of the most frequented areas of Albanian tourism.
Visit National Museum of Independence
As the building which hosted the operations of the very first Albanian government. This museum offers the most comprehensive information regarding the most culminating events in the life of a country. It was in the famous balcony of this bright yellow, traditional house that Ismail Qemali raised the Albanian flag in 1912.
10:30 Transfer to Amantia Archeological Park.
Visit Amantia Archeological Park
The Illyrian city of Amantia is nowadays one of the largest archaeological parks in the country and a testimony to the rich ancient history of the Ionian coast. What makes this particular park unique is its semblance of being not entirely discovered.
12:00 transfer to Kanine Castle.
Visit Kanine Castle
Built in the 3rd century BC on one of the oldest settlements in the area, the castle features Byzantine, Venetians and Turkish elements and a beautiful view over the Vlora city due to its position on top of a 380m hill above the sea level.
13:30 Have lunch in a local restaurant.
15:00 transfer to Zvernec Monastery.
Visit Zvernec Monastery
The monastery is an impressive object of significant cultural and religious value. Its construction is thought to have occurred between the 12th and 13th centuries and, thus, boasts an architecture that is typical of the Byzantine era. To reach the monastery, you follow the charming bridge that, stretching over the water, connect the island with land.
16:30 Transfer back to hotel and enjoy some free time at Lungomare Boulevard.
19:00 have dinner in a local restaurant.
Overnight at Hotel in Vlora.
Day 5. Vlore – Llogara – Himare – Sarande
Breakfast at Hotel.
8:30 Meet with guide and depart towards Llogara National park and on the way visit Oriku Ancient City.
Visit Oriku Anchient City
During the communist period in Albania, archeological excavations in Orikum were limited. At the time, the area functioned only as a military base. Indeed, the establishment of the Archaeological Park of Orikum, within the military base of Pashaliman, is open for the tourists. Except many bunkers on the way to the park, the houses built within the rocks and the wells make this ancient city very special.
Depart toward Llogara Pass.
10:30 Arrive at Llogara National Park and enjoy the scenery.
Visit Llogara National Park
Where the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas meet, begins the journey towards the Llogara National Park. The lush forests of pines and oaks are only the beginning of this “mountain of panoramas”, which is beautifully surrounded by numerous mountain ranges and the majestic Ionian Sea.
It was there where Julius Caesar asked for help to attack and ruin the Pompeii. The road he prescribed passed through Llogara and the first place where the army set the camp was later named after him and since then it has been called ‘Caesar’s Pass’. From this place you can see the whole Dukat valley and the Vlora Bay.
We will walk same pass as Caesar in 48 AC.
12:00 Transfer to Himara.
The largest village of the southern Riviera, because of its strategic position along the Ionian coast, the village has had a long history of consistent growth. The mixture of Albanian cuisine and Greek spoken language will make you feel in a diverse country.
13:30 Have lunch in a local restaurant.
15:00 Transfer to Porto Palermo Castle.
15:20 Arrive at Porto Palermo Castle.
Visit Porto Palermo Castle
The castle was built in 1814 at the request of Ali Pashë Tepelena, after the destruction of Justinian’s castle. Situated 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’s great condition and its locations atop Porto Palermo’s beautiful historic beach, that is accessible to everyone, earned it first place in the Huffington Post’s list of the 15 Undiscovered European Destinations to visit in 2018.
16:30 Transfer to Saranda.
18:00 Arrive in Saranda and check in Hotel.
Dinner and overnight in hotel Sarande.
Day 6. Sarande – Butrint – Lekursi Castle Sarande
Breakfast at the Hotel.
9:00 Meet with the local guide and transfer to Butrint National Park.
9:20 Arrive in Butrint.
Visit the national Park of Butrint
Of the countless antique ruins and landmarks of Albania, Butrint is the one most responsible for putting Albania on the map. Butrint’s glorious 2500-year-old ruins, are some of the most well-preserved in Europe. In 1992, Butrint was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it sits comfortably at the top of every international list of must-sees in Albania.
What is especially wonderful about Butrint is that its many gorgeous, well-preserved monuments reflect each distinct stage of its rich history, starting from the Hellenistic period and continuing on to the Roman, Byzantine and Venetian periods. Each has left its own beautiful trace on this place!
13:00 Have lunch at Mussel’s House Restaurant.
The Mussel House Restaurant is a beautiful and relaxing restaurant near Butrint Lake where you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner with family and friends. Fresh seafood and mussels straight from the water to your table. Friendly staff and prices for all budgets. At the Mussel House everyone feels like in his own house!
14:30 have free time in the hotel area.
18:00 Meet up with guide and have the city tour of Saranda.
Considered as the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera, a city plenty of things to see and do, especially in summertime when it gives its best. Saranda is one of the favored destinations by Albanians to spend their holidays. Here, you can walk admiring the gorgeous sea views or sit at a bar, order a coffee and relax.
Visit the Synagogue
These ruins of a 5th-century synagogue are located right in the heart of town and provide evidence of one of the earliest Balkan-Jewish communities. There are four floor mosaics here, which are normally covered with sand to protect them, though photos are provided on the walls.
19:00 Transfer to Lekursi Castle.
Visit Lekursi Castle
Its strategic position on a hill of about 300 meters in height as well as its panoramic views of Saranda, the Butrint Lagoon and even the island of Corfu, make this destination a tourist favorite. Not to mention that, inside the fortress, you will find one of the best-known bars and restaurants in Saranda which also offers the most beautiful view of the sunset.
19:30 Have dinner inside the castle with Folklore Show.
Have a wonderful evening enjoying authentic Albanian folklore show and delicious four-course dinner. The meal is served in a superb restaurant located in one on top of the castle.
Transfer back to Hotel.
Day 7. Sarande – Blue Eye – Gjirokaster – Durres
Breakfast at the Hotel
8:00 Transfer to Blue Eye
8:30 Arrive at Blue Eye
Visit Blue Eye
The Blue Eye is a water spring with extremely light blue water bubbles in a more than 50-meter 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.
10:00 Depart toward Gjirokaster.
11:00 Arrive in Gjirokaster .
Visit the City of Gjirokastër
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town of Gjirokastër is famous for being a well-preserved Ottoman town. With its fortress overlooking the entire city, the old houses lean against the slopes of the hills with their beautiful old wooden facades. The birthplace of communist leader Enver Hoxha and notable writer Ismail Kadare, there’s plenty to see in this exceptional town.
Visit The castle of Gjirokastër
The most popular tourist attraction in Gjirokastër, dominates the town from up the hill. During the rule of Ali Pasha, the castle was a military fortress, while in the Second World War it served as a shelter for the city residents against aerial bombing. The castle’s prison was used extensively by Zog’s government and housed political prisoners during the more recent Communist regime.
12:30 After the visit of the Castle have lunch in a local restaurant.
14:00 Visit Skenduli House
The lovingly restored Ottoman-era Skenduli House has been in the hands of the same family for generations and you’ll most likely be shown around by a member of the family. Dating from the early 1700s, the house has many fascinating features.
Have some free time in the bazaar.
15:30 Depart toward Durres.
18:00 Arrive in Durres and Check in Hotel.
Overnight and dinner at the Hotel.
Day 8. Durres – Tirana Airport (32km – 36min)
First day and last day can be rearranged and fillet with excursions after having the flight details.
Depending on Departing time we will arrange some sightseeing.
NB! The excursion program can be changed due to museums days off and other reasons without changing the number and quality services
-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 on Bardha Winery
-Folklore Show in Saranda
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