Arrival at the airport, meeting with our guide and departure towards the UNESSO town of Berat known as the “city of thousand windows”. Berat is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It’s known for its white Ottoman houses. On a hilltop, Berat Castle is a huge compound now inhabited by townspeople. Within its walls are Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque and the Onufri National Museum, with Christian icons. East is the Ethnographic Museum, in an 18th-century house, displaying traditional crafts and part of a reconstructed medieval bazaar.
In Berat will visit the citadel, the Iconographic Museum of Onufri, the Ethnographic Museum which is housed in an 18th-century Ottoman house that’s as interesting as the exhibits. Visit Mangalemi and Gorica quartiers, the Bachelor’s Mosque and several churches.
Overnight in Berat.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards the archeological park of Apollonia.
On the way will stop for visit at Ardenica Monastery of Theotokos Mary, built by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1282 after the victory against the Angevins in the Siege of Berat, the monastery is famous as the place where, in 1451, was celebrated the marriage of Skanderbeg, the national hero of Albania, with Andronika Arianiti. The ancient city of Apollonia of Illyria was founded at the beginning of the VII century BC. By Greek colons coming by the cities of Corinth and Corcyra. Apollonia became an emporium of merchandising between Greeks an Illyrians and prospered very much in both Greeks and roman times. It was considered to be one of the most prominent cities at the time, selected from over twenty other cities throughout the Mediterranean, to receive the glorious name of Apollo, the god of music and poetry. Within its walls, you will find the Monastery and the Church of St. Mary, which, along with the Archaeological Museum located inside the monastery, add yet another layer of history, architecture, and culture to the Park.
Lunch at the local restaurant Leon Rey names after the French archaeologist. Afterwards continue to Vlora the city of Indolence. Upon arrival visit the Independence Square and Marudie Mosque, cultural monument of Albania was once a Byzantine Church.
Overnight in Vlora
Breakfast in the hotel and drive along the Albanian Riviera. This is the most beautiful part of the coast in Albania and also one of the most beautiful areas in the whole Ionian Sea. The road goes through breathtaking scenery, with mountains rising dramatically up from the coast.
Stop to Porto Palermo bay to visit the Castle of Ali Pasha, built by Ali Pasha of Ioannina in the early nineteenth century. It’s still in excellent condition. The castle was built on the site of an existing monastery described by British traveler Leake, and an older castle. Porto Palermo bay used to be naval base during communist time.
Then proceed to the UNESCO site of Butrinti. Butrinti is a National Park that includes a very well preserved archaeological area, an uncontaminated vegetation area of Mediterranean maquis and has also a lake that is connected to the Ionian Sea by a natural channel. The excavations and studies have proved that during the VII and the VI centuries BC. Butrint was a protourban centre. By the V century BC Butrint has got the full form of an ancient city. During the VI century the city was equipped with new buildings such as the theatre, the agora, the small, temple and the stoa. The main importance and magnificence of the Site was in the Roman period when the City was proclaimed a Roman Colony and used by the roman aristocracy as a holiday destination. Even during late antiquity Butrint maintained its importance. The construction of the Great Basilica and of the baptistery dates to this period. The baptistery has the floor surface covered by a mosaic decoration of a very fine processing, which is very well preserved.
The name of Saranda derives from an early Christian monastery dedicated to Agioi Saranta (Forty Saints). In antiquity, Saranda was known as Onchesmus. Located opposite the Greek island of Corfu, Saranda is one of the most attractive tourist towns on the Albanian Riviera, where honeymooners traditionally spend their holidays.
Overnight in Saranda.
Breakfast in the hotel and proceed to Gjirokastra, also known as the city of Stones.
On the way make a stop at the the Blue Eye spring, a deep spring forming a circular pool; the vivid, deep blue of the waters give the spring its name. The pool is surrounded by mature woods, forming a magically beautiful location – particularly in the vivid colors of spring and autumn.
Visit Church of Labova which is devoted to Saint Mary. The church of Labova e Kryqit is one of the oldest in Albania and once contained a holy relic believed to be a fragment of the true cross. It was from this relic that the village took its name.
Visit and lunch in local family with traditional food of the region. Gjirokastra is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and comprises hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. The most important structure of the city is the castle, which is the biggest castle in Albania. Inside the castle, you can visit the Museum of Weapons, opened in 1971. Weapons from the prehistoric times up to the World War II are exhibited on here. The National Folk Festival has taken place in this castle during the years.
Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Breakfast in the hotel and departure towards Tirana, capital of Albania.
Tirana has reinvented itself to become an energetic, vibrant, cosmopolitan city, worthy of exploration. Lively, colorful Tirana has changed beyond belief in the last decade from the dull, grey city it once was. It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do – covering one ugly tower block with horizontal orange and red stripes, another with concentric pink and purple circles and planting perspective-fooling cubes on its neighbor.
Visit of the city Scanderbeg Square, National Museum, clock Tower, Tabaku Bridge, the Pyramid once housing the Museum of ex Dictator Enver Hoxha, the Palace of Congress, the Ministry Buildings, the Bunker symbol of communist Area. Visit Blloku area once forbidden area for the people now the most frequented area with fancy bars, nice restaurants and clubs.
The New Bazaar (Pazari i Ri), one of the oldest and most historical residential neighborhood in the city of Tirana recently renovated. Many of the traditional elements of the old town have been preserved whilst the square has been refreshed with an updated and more modern look. The name derives from the local farmer’s marketplace situated at the center, where more than 300 farmers of the surrounding areas come to sell their fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, and spices to name but a few.
Visit of Bektashi World Centre in the suburbs of Tirana. It features a vast and impressive tekke with a fascinating museum in its basement and a small gift shop where visitors can buy various Bektashi-related souvenirs.
Overnight in Tirana.
Breakfast in the hotel and free time to explore the capital independently until departure time.
Transfer to the airport.
END OF THE TRIP
Note: Please notice that program can be adopted as per clients request
Guaranteed departures *staring from 2 pax*
Min 2 persons 509 Euro p/person sharing a double room
Single supplement 79 Euro p/person