This tour includes all the highlights of South Albania including the three UNESCO sites which are situated in this part of the country. Devised for travellers who can save considerable travel costs by flying to Corfu, it is a budget conscious tour which combines cultural monuments with wonderful natural landscapes.
Location: Albania and Greece
Duration: 5 days - 4 nights
Meet with our guide at the Saranda Port off the morning ferry and drive to visit the ancient city of Butrint - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 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. It is situated on a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation. 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. Afterwards continue on to Gjirokastra, a museum town under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with beautiful and very distinct architecture where we will visit the Castle 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. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
After breakfast we drive to the attractive town of 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 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. Afterwards drive through the coastal town of Vlora and overnight at the Llogara pass where we take a walk in the wonderful nature and admire spectacular views at 1100 metres above sea level with the coast below. Overnight in Llogara.
In the morning we drive down the coast with spectacular views and stop in the coastal villages ending up at a complex of bungalows in Porto Palermo at an exclusive beach location where you can relax. The sea offers breathtakingly beautiful colours while the quiet beach and surrounding area will give you a feel of exclusivity. The complex is next to a fort on the beach known as Ali Pasha’s fort as well as to the only submarine base of Albania during communist times. Four submarines where left in Albania by the Russians when relations between the countries broke off in the 1960-s and they were stationed here in a tunnel deep into the rocks.
After early breakfast our guide will accompany you to the port to take the ferry to Corfu. Extensions on the beach combined with walking or bike tours can be organized for those who would like to spend more time on this amazing coastal stretch.
Best months: March, April, May, June, September, 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.
Albanian Holidays guide Klodian, is one of the best I have ever travelled with. He is warm, friendly, professional, and knowledgeable and brought the group together very well “