This is basically an extended Albanian highlights tour which is devised for travellers who can save considerable travel costs by flying to Corfu, or those who would like to combine a Corfu holiday with an Albanian discovery tour. In addition to the major highlights visited, this tour includes also the south eastern part of Albania which offers a combination of cultural monuments, magnificent natural landscapes and tasty cuisine.
Location: Albania and Greece
Duration: 8 days - 7 nights
Meet with our guide at the Corfu airport and transfer to take the ferry to Saranda and continue to Gjirokastra. Time permitting we will stop at the Blue Eye spring on the way for a short visit at this beautiful natural monument. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Gjirokastra is a museum town under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with beautiful and very distinct architecture. Afterwards drive to Gjirokastra where we will visit the fortress of Gjirokastra, part of which was turned into a political prison for dissidents of the regime and the Arms Museum. Visit to the Ethnographic Museum, which is also the house the Albanian dictator was born in, as well as a 300 year old house next to it, where the grandeur of Gjirokastra’s master builders can be observed. After the visits we drive to Permet through the wonderful Kelcyra gorge following the magnificent valley of Vjosa river. A half an hour walk to visit the beautiful Leusa church is possible. Overnight in Permet.
After breakfast depart for Pogradec through one of the most breathtaking roads of Albania. A combination of gorges, mountains colorful fields, river canyons and forests accompanies us in this long but with amazing natural beauty. Visit the Museum of Medieval Art in Korca the Mirahori mosque and The Holly Resurrection Church at Mborje, built in the 14th century and known as one of the oldest in Albania . After the visits we continue to Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid and overnight at the village of Tushemisht where the old fishing villa of the dictator is situated.
After breakfast drive to the capital Tirana. On the way we stop for a quick visit at the Elbasan castle. In Tirana we take a driven tour of the major sites of Tirana, including the colourful buildings for which the Albanian capital is now popular for. The dull grey communist architecture buildings have been transformed into modern art canvases through splashes of bright colours and abstract shapes. An ingenious way to uplift the facades of buildings and the moods of the inhabitants. We will also visit the National History Museum which gives an extensive account of the countries journey through the centuries. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we drive to Kruja - the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under our National Hero Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Champion of Christ” given by the Pope of the time. We visit the Skanderbeg Museum, a very rich Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar where the best handmade souvenirs can be purchased. Afterwards depart for Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania under the protection of UNESCO as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness. Berat castle is of 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 40 churches of which 7 still remain including St. Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. We visit the Castle and the Onufri Museum. Accommodation in Berat in characteristic house turned hotel in the old district.
After breakfast we finish Berat visits and depart for the archaeological site of Apollonia one of the most important ancient centres in Roman times on the famous Via Egnatia. Due to its fame and importance it was known as Apollonia Prima built to honour Apollo. Caesar chose to send his nephew Augustus Octavian to study oratory in Apollonia which is testimony to the importance of this ancient city. Visit the city and an Orthodox monastery turned into an archaeological museum. After the visits continue on to Vlora for overnight.
After breakfast continue through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. At the Llogara National Park we stop at around 1100 metres where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea can be admired and lunch can be had. Afterwards continue along the wonderful coast past Saranda to reach the ancient city of Butrint another UNESCO World Heritage considered the best archaeological site in Albania and probably one of the most important in the Balkans. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations, giving archaeologists the possibility to study continuity through time. The site has been occupied since at least the 8th century BC, although myths associated with its origins speak of the city’s foundation by Trojan exiles. After the visits return to Saranda for overnight.
After early breakfast our guide will accompany you to the port to take the ferry to Corfu.
Best months: March, April, May, June, Septemmber, October, November
Note: The above dates are for orientation purposes, to help people book on the same dates, and pay the cheaper price. However we will run this tour on other dates as per clients’ requests.
I'd like to thank you Ilia again in my name and in the name of the group you guided during our trip to Albania. The tour became a fascinating experience to all of us, due to the depth of your historic insight, your general knowledge and your reach English language. Your ability to organize and your attention to every little detail made us all feel secure and free during the whole tour. We felt connected to you, and you connected us to the beautiful sites and landscapes of Albania. It was as though we have known you for many years. If you fulfill your dream and come to Israel, I would be delighted and honored to host you here. Best Regards
My wife and I we were very impressed by the beauty of the country, the history, the people, the safety (! - very important) , the tourist accommodation and the price/quality ratio in Albania. We are very satisfied with the quality of services rendered by Roland- our (French-speaking) guide.
I am just writing to thank you for organising the most excellent l tour of Albania for me. I had a wonderful time throughout and all the arrangements worked perfectly; I loved your country and its people, and I particularly enjoyed the company of my driver, Kledi. I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending to anyone Albania as a destination for a holiday, Albania Holidays as the company to organise such a holiday, and Kledi as the ideal driver/guide to take them around.
When leaving my country I didn't know what to expect: by my knowledge in communist times your country was the lowest developed from all of Europe and you only had time trying to match up for about twenty years! I couldn't imagine the effect of painting the grey communist buildings in bright colours. So I was pleased by the result: Tirana looked great. A happy, peaceful, safe city, the feeling I got in almost every place we visited. Trying not to see the rubbish people had dropped, I enjoyed the environment, nature is very beautiful. We had a very skilled driver, never taking unnecessary risks or owefully bad roads The people in the hotels were helpful; the rooms clean-at-the-eye; breakfast o.k. but we wondered if there is no other bread than the all-over served big, a little dry white ones? Our guides -Gerd and Ed-jon - tried to show us everything that possibly could interest us and - very important! - spoke very good English. Thanks to Ed-jon we knew what we saw in the museums: it is a pity there are very few texts translated in English and I fear there are only a few western Europeans that can understand your language I liked my trip: for a group history teachers there was a lot to discover, but the only not historian in the group was a little disappointed, for her the cultural part of the trip was not spectacular. May I suggest to tell your guides to give the members of their groups more choices for dinner when the restaurant chosen offers that opportunity (paying some extra often is no big problem!) [for instance: some people in my group refused to eat salads or other not boiled food, fearing travelers diseases] In the hope of returning once to see in what way your beautiful has developed the next ten, fifteen years