Albania! Culture and Adventure

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Duration

8 Days

Overview

One of the least-known corners of Europe, Albania has a fascinating history and dramatic mountain scenery. Undiscovered national parks, hidden valleys, ancient castles, walled towns, timeless villages, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, wonderful culture and sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, Albania’s charming south has it all. This walking holiday offers that rare opportunity to step back in time and hike along footpaths off the beaten track.

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1:
 TIRANA – SHKODER (85 km)
Arrival at Tirana, drive directly to Shkoder and continue our journey towards Shkodra, the most important city in northern Albania. Check in at the Hotel After check in, depending on time at disposal, Shkodra sightseeing it’s called as well Capital of North Albania. Shkodra is “one of the oldest cities in Europe” where you can explore formidable fortifications and even twentieth-century sites of important significance. We are certain you’ll feel that history. Rozafa Castle– Set on a rocky hill approximately 130 meters above sea level, this imposing fortress has beautiful views of Shkodra and it’s surrounding areas. It was built by the Illyrians and is more than 1,000 years old. Cathedral of the city- The Cathedral of Shkodra is called the Great Church because, at the time of construction, was one of the largest churches in Balkan. Then we will visit the New Mosque, EbuBekr, which is the largest in Albania and among the largest in Balkan. Accommodation at Hotel Rozafa 4* or similar.
Day 2:
 SHKODER - APOLLONIA - LLOGARA NATIONAL PARK (270 km)
After breakfast check out and departure to Apollonia Park. Apollonia Archeological Park, which is among the largest in the Adriatic basin and the most mentioned among 30 other cities with the same name, from the antique times. It was established around the beginning of the IV century BC. It’s ruins were discovered in the early nineteenth century. Lunch optional in Fier or Apollonia, with traditional food, suggested by our guide. In the afternoon we will continue our journey towards Llogara National Park, a park which in 1966 was declared as a National Park by the Albanian Government. Dinner and accommodation will be in a traditional hotel-restaurant inside the park.
Day 3:
 THE RIVIERA OF FLOWERS (90 km)
After breakfast check out and depart to Saranda. On the way you can enjoy the panoramic view of spectacular Riviera. In the morning we start exploring the white beaches of Palasa, Drymades, Dhermi, the extraordinary Beach and amazing Canyon of Gjipea, walking around 1 hour. Depart towards the town of Himara, where we will make a cultural visit in the Castle of Himara, which rises on a hill of 1 ha area, inhabited since the late Bronze period and surrounded by defensive walls, began to be built in the 8th century BC and continued without interruption until the later Middle Ages. After this cultural visit we will be leaving to the tectonic Peninsula of Porto Palermo. 12:30 - Possibility for Lunch in Himara City. After lunch visit at the castle of Porto Palermo which is located in the bay with the same name on the Ionian Sea coast in southern Albania. It is located in a very nice position in the tectonic Peninsula of Porto Palermo (in antiquity known as Panorma’s bay). The castle is situated not far from the village of Qeparo and it has a triangular form. It’s dimensions are 150 m x 400 m. The height of the walls reaches 20 m. After this visit we will start the journey towards the coastal city of Saranda. Overnight in Saranda. Accommodation in Brilant Hotel 4* or similar.
Day 4:
 SARANDA-BUTRINTI- GJIROKASTER (95 km)
After breakfast departure to Butrinti. This day will be dedicated only to cultural visits and beauties of Albanian nature. During this day we will be able to visit the ancient city of Butrint. The archaeological site of Butrint’s National Park has an area of 15 hectares and is located at a height from 30 to 50 meters above sea level. This ancient city is a jewel of archeology, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. In an exceptional environment between the lake and the sea, the Hellenic style buildings are a museum that contains archeological restored traces. Departure from Butrinti and drive to Gjirokaster. On the way stop at Blue Eye, a magical place, is a source of groundwater surrounded by woods and reflects it’s name of blue color, like the colored part of the eye. This is one of the most beautiful natural curiosities of Albania. Our journey will lead us to the town of Gjirokastra, differently called as the stone city. The city of Gjirokastra is included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2005, as one of the few surviving examples of commercial cities in the Balkan’s Ottoman style. We will also have the opportunity to visit the city's fortress and organize a visit in a traditional house in Gjirokastra. The Castle of Gjirokastra, associated with the city of Gjirokastra, is mentioned for the first time as a city and a castle in 1336.In the afternoon, check in at the hotel and prepare for dinner. Accommodation at Cajupi Hotel or Kodra Hotel.
Day 5:
 GJIROKASTER - BERAT- (THE CITY OF THOUSAND WINDOWS) (170 km)
After breakfast drive to Berat (we suggest early departure in this day). Upon arrival start the tour of Berat , part of Unesco World Heritage, where we will accommodate in a hotel near the city. Berat is the best-preserved historic town of Albania. Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Socialist buildings over 2400 years old, showing the importance and the rich history of Berat. We will walk in the characteristics neighborhood "Mangalemi" to visit the Ethnographic museum. Then we will hike up to visit the citadel district of Berat, it’s splendid orthodox churches and the Onufri Icons museum - named after the famous 16th century master painter of icons and murals. The building where the museum is housed shows the important architectonic values of Berati's architecture. Overnight in Berati at Mangalem Hotel or Grand White City.
Day 6:
 SCENIC NATURE / Tomorri Mountain (90 km)
After breakfast the adventure will start. Transport to Tomorri Mountain and visit at Kulmaku Masjid. The place where is held the biggest pilgrimage in Albania for the Bektashian sect. A holy place for Bektashian religious, attended even by other religions. Drive to the waterfall of Bogova where you will have a good appetite for lunch. Famous for its quality and taste is the Bogova lamb, which we shouldn’t miss to try out on this occasion. Return at the hotel. Traditional dinner/optional
Day 7:
 DURRES – KRUJA -TIRANA /SIGHTS E E ING TOUR (175 km)
After breakfast departure from Berat and drive to Durres /1h30. We will drive to the Durres city,3000 years of civilization, you'll visit the fortress build in the IV-V century BC. The tour continues with visits in Amphitheatre, which has the form of an ellipse with a capacity of 20.000 spectators and the Venetian Tower. Proceed to the historic city of Kruja, and visit the medieval castle and the museum of our National Hero Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg and the old bazaar where you can have beautiful souvenirs. In the afternoon transfer to Tirana city, the capital of Albania, where we will take a walking tour through the city's most known spots like Scanderbeg Square, the Clock Tower (35m high) build in 1830, the Et’hem bey Mosque build in 1789.Walking tour to the main boulevard “Deshmoret e Kombit” where you will see the governmental buildings in an Italian style. Accommodation in 4* star Hotel. Optional: people can go for dinner or drink in "Blloku" - once the district of the communist elite. It is now the "hip" restaurant -bar district of Tirana (in walking distance from our hotel).
Day 8:
 TIRANA - "NENE TEREZA" AIRPORT
After breakfast at the hotel, free time of leisure until departure. Depending on your flight schedule we will leave toward “Mother Tereza" Airport.

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