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South Balkan Triangle

3 Countries tour: Greece – Albania –Nord Macedonia        

Corfu -Butrint (Unesco)-Saranda-Gjirokastra (Unesco)-Ionion Riviera-Vlora-Berat (Unesco)-Durres-Kruja-Tirana-Elbasan-Struga-Ohrid-Kalabaka-Igumenitsa-Corfu.

Duration9 days
Length1100 km, total driving
Minimum group size25 Travelers
PriceStarts from 550 EUR’ PP (in double room)

01.

Arrival in Corfu (Greece)

Arrival in Corfu airport, transfer to hotel. In afternoon, visit in the historical center built in a Venetian style and the old bazaar. Accommodation in 4* Hotel. Overnight and dinner in Corfu.

02.

Butrint-Gjirokastra-Saranda  (120 km)

After the breakfast transfer to port of Corfu and departure by ferry to Saranda, (45’minutes boat trip) proceed to the ancient city of Butrint UNESCO  World heritage – since 1992, Butrint is only 18 km of distance from Saranda and includes such sights as the Askelapius temple, the theater, the stoat, the portals, the baptistery, the Venetian fortress, and more. The ecosystem surrounding the area is a national park, offering you the opportunity to walk in a real Mediterranean “jungle”.  Visit new excavations of the  Roman Colony of Butrint. Continue to Gjirokastra. Midday arrival to stony city of Gjirokastra, UNESCO’s world heritage. Lunch in restaurant. After lunch visit at the fortress, built in 4’Th century, the National museum of Weapons, the church in the old Bazaar, the characteristic shops of Gjirokastra. Return to Saranda city which  is located along the Ionian coast, near the Greek island of Corfu. These two locations are connected via ferries, making it possible for tourists to visit all the marvelous sites of the city of Saranda. The city was mentioned in the first century B.C. with the name Onhezmus.  Accommodation at 4* Hotel.  Overnight in Saranda. (L/D)

03.

Saranda-Ionian Riviera –Vlore (120 km)

After the breakfast to the hotel drive up to Albanian Riviera.

En route making a short visit to the bay of Porto Palermo where the castle of Ali Pasha is situated.

We will make a stop at a panoramic restaurant near the sea shore where you can have lunch with sea

products according the traditional Albanian cooks. In the afternoon arrival in Vlora, a historical and costal city.

which is known since IV century BC with the name of Aulona. Visit  to Muradie’s Mosque build in 1542 by architect Mimar Sinani who is even the architect of Sulejmanie mosque in Istanbul. Accommodation in 5* Hotel. Overnight and dinner in Vlora.

04.

Vlora -Berat-Durres –Tirane (220 km)

After the breakfast proceed to visit Berat named the “city of one thousand windows”, with a castle rising predominantly over the city. The city lies by the foot of the Tomorri Mountain, considered in antiquity as a sacred place. Named, “The city of one thousand windows” , Berat has three characteristic quarters, Mangalem, Kala (the castle) and Gorica, and is described as a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman city located in central Albania. Part of the city is the castle, which was built in the thirteenth century, but the origins of the site date back to the fourth century B.C. The center of the castle quarter is rich with many Byzantine churches; most of them unique for the wall paintings, icons and the values they hold. The cathedral of St. Mary houses the Onufri National Iconographic Museum.

Berat is also home to a considerable number of mosques that were built in the Ottoman period. The King’s Mosque (Xhamia e Mbretit) is the oldest one, built in the fifteenth century at the time of Bayazid II, notable for its fine ceiling. Visit to the castle build on the hills of the city, Onufer Museum, Saint Trinity Church, Saint Nicolas Cathedral and museum quarters of Mangalemi and Gorica.  Lunch at a restaurant at the edge of Osum River. After lunch continue to Durres, where you’ll learn about the history of this ancient city. There are 3000 years of civilization of the biggest sea-port city in Albania. Visit to the fortress build in the IV-V century BC with 120 hectares and 44 km circumference of surface, Roman amphitheatre with a capacity of 20.000 spectators and the Venetian Tower. In afternoon proceed to Tirana Capital city, Accommodation at the 4* hotel. Walking tour along the main boulevard the City Hall and the governmental buildings around it, also the “Gallery of Arts” “Mosque of Ethem Bey” built in 1830. Overnight  and dinner in Tirana.

05.

Tirana – Elbasan – Struga – Ohrid  (135 km)
 

After breakfast depart for to Ohrid. On the way we drive through rural villages with wonderful country side landscapes. We stop at Elbasan for a visit at the castle. Afterwards proceed to Struga famous for its wall of water where the Black Drin River flows out of Lake Ohrid on its way to the Adriatic. In August, the famous international poetry festival is staged on the bridge over the Black Drin. After a short visit continue on to Ohrid where we take a familiarization tour of the town, proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage region for its cultural and natural legacy. Accommodation in  4* Hotel. Overnight and dinner in Ohrid.

 

06.

Ohrid (UNESCO) (65 km)

Morning walking tour (3 hours) in old Ohrid with visit of most famous Ohrid sites – Church of Mother of God, the Icon gallery, the ancient theatre, Ohrid fortress, new St. Clement’s church, church of St. John, Kaneo and the main church of St. Sofia. Time at leisure in old Ohrid or optional lunch. Afternoon departure to St Naum Monastery at the south part of the lake. Visit in the monastery and optional boat ride above the springs of Black Drim river. Accommodation at 4* Hotel. Overnight and dinner  in Ohrid.

07.

Ohrid – Kalabaka (265 km)

After the breakfast to the hotel, the tour will proceed to Kalabaka rests at the bottom the Meteora rocks, an awe-inspiring sight. The rocks that make up Meteora are sheer cliff faces. They appear to come out of nowhere, jagged, black rocks that rise up into the sky, with monasteries the clinging to the cliffs. The city was hit badly in World War II so the current town has a modern feel about it. Kalabaka is very tourist friendly, with a wide range of amenities, bars and restaurants.

With Kalabaka as a base, you are free to explore the Meteora and the six monasteries that reside upon the rocks. For centuries, the strange and mystical landscape has been home to monks looking for peace away from the wars that were plaguing the rest of the country.

The monasteries were built from the thirteenth century onwards, the more unsafe the monks the higher they climbed, until eventually there were living on top of the hill. Originally, the monks used a series of ladders and pulleys to get up and down the mountain. Now steps and a road have been cut into the rocks allowing easier access.

The monasteries can be reached by road, but it is best to explore them on foot once you have ascended the rocks. The monasteries have a strict dress code, and visitors are requested to dress modestly, and cover their arms and legs. All of the monasteries give a different feeling . Grand Meteoron (Moni Megalou Meteorou) is the best known of the monasteries, built in the 1400s, grand, imposing and now used as a museum. Varlaam, build in the 1500s is the second largest of the sites, with a large, spacious feel to it and domed ceilings and choirs. St Stephens is the most easily accessed of the monasteries with fewer steps than the rest. The monastery of the Holy Trinity (Agias Triandas) is the most difficult to reach of all of them and has the most primitive feeling to it. It was the site used in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.

Accommodation in 3* Hotel. Overnight in Kalabaka

08.

Kalabaka –Igoumenitsa  (165 km) Corfu

After breakfast to the hotel, Continue to Igoumenitsa, (2 Hours driving time)

Embarkation to the ferry to Corfu . Arrival to Corfu .Free time at leisure

Accommodation in 3*  Hotel. Overnight  and dinner in Corfu.

09.

Depart from Corfu.

After breakfast, free time at leisure until departure. Transfer to airport for evening flight.