Day 1: Tirana
Arrive in Tirana and transfer to your hotel.Depending on when you arrive there may be time to explore the city.
Day 2: Tirana - Kruja – Shkoder
We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated toAlbania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildingsin Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. We then head toKruja, one of Albania’s most important towns due to the part it played inresistance against the Ottomans. Visit the Skanderbeg Museum and castle as wellas the old bazaar. Later we continue to Shkoder which is one of the oldestcities in the Balkans and was once a capital of the Illyrian state. We visitits old bazaar, cathedral and mosque before heading to Rozafa castle forspectacular views of the city, lake and the surrounding mountains.
Day 3: Koman Lake – Valbona
Today we journey from Shkoder to Valbona viaKoman Lake. The 2-hour trip on Lake Komani was called “One of the Great BoatTrips of the World” by the Bradt Guide, and certainly the scenery is stunning.The Drin River was flooded along part of its most mountainous passage to createthe lakes in this region. The journey takes you along glassy clear water,twisting and turning through narrow passes and past.
Day 4: Junik - Gjakova
We cross the border into Kosovo and drive toJunik where we visit the famous Kullat e Junikut. The towers are castle-likehouses with a special architecture built in white rock, where Albanians havefor centuries sheltered to survive wars and conflicts. Then continue to DecanMonastery. The medieval church houses some of the most preserved frescodecoration in the Balkans. Continue to Gjakova which lies on the banks of theRiver Erenik where we take in the sites of the old town including the oldbazaar and clock tower.
Day 5: Rahovec Vinery – Prizren
Visit a local winery where we can tour the cellarand taste some Kosovo wines. We explore the city of Prizren; an absolutehighlight of any visit to Kosovo to see the old houses of the old town in lowlight as the sun sets is a delight.
Day 6: Pristina
Explore the city visiting its main sites such asthe Orthodox Church and the Carshi Mosque, dating back to the early 15thcentury. We then head to the ruins of Ulpiana, an ancient Roman city that wasonce one of the most powerful in the Balkans.
Day 7: Skopje
Visit the spectacular Gracanica Monastery, one ofKosovo’s most beautiful sites and containing some impressive frescoes. Wecontinue to Macedonia and head to its capital Skopje. Upon arrival we visitsome of the most important parts of the town, including the old Ottoman market,the monastery of Sveti Spas and the ancient Kale Fortress which dates back toIllyrian and Roman times.
Day 8: Skopje - Mavrovo National Park –Ohrid
Continue to Mavrovo National Park, the biggest inMacedonia. We follow the Radika River along the way and stop at monasteries andchurches en route. We then drive to the beautiful town of Ohrid and explore itsmixture of western and oriental architecture.
Day 9: Ohrid
Today is at leisure for you to enjoy the beautifultown of Ohrid at your own pace or relax before the second half of the tour.
Day 10: Sveti Naum Monastery – Voskopoje– Korce
Before crossing back into Albania we visit SvetiNaum Monastery, a truly beautiful site with impressive views over Lake Ohridacross to Albania. We then continue to the ancient village of Voskopojawhere we explore the village including the Monastery of St. John the Baptistwith its original structure from the 15th Century. Continue to thehistoric town of Korce and explore the town including the Old Bazaar.
Day 11: Benja – Permet
Today we take an amazing drive though spectacularscenery to Permet. The road is bumpy in parts but the views of this remote partof Albania are incredible. We visit the village of Benja situated close toPermet. The Ottoman Bridge of Katiu is the frame of this wonderful place andlies over the Langarica’s river.
Day 12: Gjirokastra
We continue our scenic drive to Gjirokastra. AtGjirokastra, visit the local museum, housed in the building in which the formercommunist dictator Enver Hoxha was born, as well as the pre-Ottoman era citadelwhich affords spectacular views and houses an impressive range of artillery andalso bizarrely a reconnaissance US Air Force plane that was forced to land afterlosing its way in the 1950’s. Gjirokastra is a pretty town with traditionalhouses and cobbled streets spilling down the sides of the mountain.
Day 13: Blue Eye National Park – Butrint– Llogara
This morning we travel to Syri i Kalter (Blue EyeNational park). Continue to the ancient city of Butrint, Albania’s mostimportant archaeological site and given special status by UNESCO. Spend timeexploring this impressive site with the added bonus of it being situated in abeautiful natural setting. The walls, basilica, acropolis and theatre atButrint are truly impressive. We then drive towards Albanian Riviera, via somepicturesque seaside villages and narrow roads overlooking the sea. Our finaldestination is the National park of Llogara situated at over 1000 metres abovesea level and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea.
Day 14: Apollonia – Berat
Visit the ancient city of Apollonia, dating backto the 6th century BC. We then drive to Berat, one of the oldest inhabitedregions of Albania and with a superbly preserved historic centre that has beendesignated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit its citadel which containsold churches, mosques and museums before heading to a vineyard to sample someof the excellent local wines. This evening we enjoy a traditional dinner inthis historic town.
Day 15: Durres – Tirana
Enjoy a morning tour of Berat. We visit thecitadel which contains numerous churches and an interesting museum, and hasbeen listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Visit the Iconographic museumof Onufri located inside the castle walls. We then continue to Durres and visitthe largest Roman amphitheatre in the region, dating back to the 2nd centurywhich we will visit. Drive back to Tirana for our final night where you will enjoya farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 16: Tirana
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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