Albania and Macedonia, grand tour in 12-14 days i an unique possibility to explore the natural beauties and the historical treasures of Albania and Macedonia. Visiting the best archaeological and historical sites of Albania and Macedonia, the most well preserved religious monuments (some dating back to the Byzantine Empire) you will get to know Albanians and Macedonians.
Suggested general itinerary:
Tirane -Kruje- Shkoder – Durres – Apolonia – Vlore – Himare – Saranda – Butrinti – Gjirokastra – Tepelena – Berat – Elbasan – Pogradec – Korca – Sveti Naum(Mk) – Ohrid(Mk) – Bitola – Skopje(Mk) – Tetova (Mk) – Mavrovo(Mk) – Vevcani (Mk) – Tirane.
Our representative will meet you at Tirana International Airport and escort you to your hotel near the center of Tirana. Depending on your arrival time in Tirana, we may do a short info meeting with your tour director at your hotel short city tour. Evening at leisure.
Overnight in Tirana
After breakfast we start our tour of Tirana including a visit to Et’Hem Bej Mosque, Tirana’s Clock Tower and the recently discovered ruins of the Justinian castle near the center of Tirana. (check detailed program)
In the second half of the day we will visit the historical town of Kruja, where we will visit the Othoman fortress, the Museum of Scanderbeg. Next visit will be at the Ethnographic museum, an Othoman style house of the XIX century, rich in traditional and cultural artifact from the area of Kruja. We will end our visit in Kruja with a short visit in the local bazaar XVIII century.
In the afternoon we will return to Shkodra by the lake where we will check in our traditional accommodation in late afternoon. in the evening we will explore the old neighborhood of Shkodra.
Overnight in Shkodra
In the first part of the day we will explore the Ilirian fortress of Shkodra located on a hill overlooking the lake of Shkodra and the mountains of Montenegro. Next we will drive south towards the town of Durres, once the largest Greek Colony founded by the Corinthians in 627 bc, today one of the biggest harbors in the Mediteranean sea. After lunch by the sea we will visit the Archaeological museum and the Roman Amphitheater (II century AD) located within the walls of the fortress. We will wander through the galleries of the Amphitheater, walk over the arena and explore the “Enigma of Durres”, a little hidden gem within the dark galleries of the Amphitheater.
In late afternoon we will check in our hotel located near the sea.
Overnight in Durres
After breakfast we will drive towards Ardenica Monastery (XIII century) located on a hill overlooking the valley. Here we will visit one of the most beautiful churches in Albania, famous for its wooden carved altar and its walls covered with frescoes.
After a short drive, we will continue our tour at the 7th century BC archaeological site of Apollonia, the second largest Greek colony in Albania. Apolonia is one of the biggest archaeological parks in Albania thanks to Leon Rey, the French archaeologist who uncovered the first ruins of Apolonia in the early 30”. Now days, we can admire, the Agora, the Pritaneon and the temple of Artemis/Diana. We will end our visit in the XIII century orthodox monastery nearby where we will visit the Museum of the park.
In the afternoon we will continue our drive south towards the town of Vlora by the sea where we will check in our hotel near the sea.
Overnight in Vlora
We start our day with a scenic drive along the coast of Vlora Bay. The landscape dramatically changes as we climb to 1100 meters above sea level through the forest of Llogara National Park and further south through the seven villages of the Himara region. In Dhermi we will visit an hidden gem in the village of Dhermi and the canyon of Gjipe, before continuing towards Himara where we will have a stop by the sea.
Our next visit will be at Ali Pasha castle 1803 located in Panormi bay. We will have a short coffee break at the water springs of Borshi and we continue towards Saranda where we will arrive in our hotel near the sea in the afternoon.
Overnight in Saranda
Today we will visit the ancient 7th century BC city of Butrinti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Butrinti is believed to be one of the best archaeological sites in Albania thanks to excavation since 1930 which first started under the supervision on the Italian archaeolog Ugolini. Located in a small peninsula surrounded by water on three sides, Butrinti is one of the Oldest Greek colonies founded by the Corcyrian in the VII century bc.
In the second part of the day we will continue our tour driving towards Gjirokastra a UNESCO World Heritage town since 2004. On the way we will visit the Blue Eye water springs and a Greek minority village. In late afternoon we will check in our traditional accommodation in the old neighborhood.
Overnight in Gjirokastra
After breakfast, our first visit will be at the 14th century castle of Gjirokastra, with a chance to admire the old town from the castle summit. The town, however, is best known as the birthplace of the dictator (1908-1985) and his house, now an ethnographic museum, is open to visitors. Next we will visit an old traditional house of Ismail Kadare (famous Albanian writer) build in the late XIX century, a classic example of Gjirokastra architecture.
After breakfast we will continuing towards our destination Berat, UNESCO World Heritage site. On the way we will visit a local winery to taste some good Albanian wine. In late afternoon we will check in our hotel located in the old neighborhood of Mangalemi.
Overnight in Berat
In the first part of the day we explore Berrat, starting from the IV century BC castle where we will admire the Byzantine era icons in the Onufri Icon Gallery, located within the old cathedral of the town. (check detailed program)
In the second part of the day we will drive towards lake Ohrid located in the East part of Albania. On the way we will stop in Elbasan where we will visit the XIV century Othoman fortress. After a scenic drive through Shkumbini valley we will arrive at the borders with Macedonia where we will continue towards the town of Ohrid where we will check in our hotel which is located by the lake. Evening at leisure.
Overnight in Ohrid
After breakfast, we begin our guided visit in Ohrid UNESCO World Heritage town. We will start our visit at the Icon Gallery located near the Virgin Merry church which is one of the most impressive in the town. Next visit will be at the Roman Amphitheater nearby. We will continue with a visit at Plaoshnik archaeological site. We will continue our visit downtown by the lake. After a short walk downhill we will arrive at Kaneo church, a symbol of the Slavik orthodox church. A short walk on the shore will take us at Sveti Sophia cathedral where we will end our visit of Ohrid. Afternoon and evening at leisure to explore the town on your own.
Overnight in Ohrid
After breakfast we will drive towards Bitola, our first stop at the archaeological site of Heraclea Linkestis, an ancient town founded by Philip II in the IV century bc. Next visit will be in the old town of Bitola where we will visit the old Orthodox cathedral and the old bazaar.
After lunch we will drive to Skopje the capital of FYR Macedonia where we will check in our hotel near the center of the town. We will arrive in our hotel in Skopje in late afternoon.
Evening at leisure
Overnight in Skopje
After meeting our local guide we will start the tour of Skopje from the old part of the town where we will visit the byzantine fortress, the mosque, the old Slavic Orthodox cathedral and the old bazaar. After crossing the Stone bridge, the symbol of the town located over Vardari river, we will continue our visit with the new part of the town which is famous for its huge collection of statues and recently renovated main square. The town is also famous for the fact that Mother Teresa grew up in this town.
Afternoon and evening at leisure to explore the town on your own.
Overnight in Skopje
After breakfast we will drive to the town of Tetova where we will visit the old part of the town which is famous for its beautiful othoman architecture and mosques. Before crossing the borders into Albania, we will make a short stop in the town of Struga. Next we will drive through Mavrovo national park where we will visit the Monastery of John the Baptist, which has one of the most beautiful churches in Macedonia.
In the afternoon we will drive towards Albania. We will check in our hotel in Tirana in late afternoon.
Overnight in Tirana
After breakfast, we will drive you to Tirana international airport for your flight back home.
End of our services
This is a general overview of the program. Detailed program is available on request.
Note: This tour is not recommended to people with walking problems or physical disabilities.
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