Day 1: Tirana – Arrival Arrival at “Mother Theresa” International Airport and transfer to Hotel in Tirana. Tirana is located on a plain on the site of a Byzantine fortress and has been the capital since 1920. Our city tour include visits to the Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Ethem Bey (built on 1824), the Clock Tower (built on 1822), the National Museum, National Art Gallery, Archeological Museum (there are presented many archeological discoveries since the Stone Age up to the Medieval), Grand Park and government buildings). If time permit, we are going to visit Petrela Castle, 15 km south of Tirana. The tower in the center was built in the 5th century AD and in Ottoman times, the castle was the house of Scanderbeg’s sister (Mamica Kastrioti). Welcome Dinner offered by Albania Explorer. Return to hotel and overnight.
Day 2: Tirane – Berat – Apolloni – Vlore After breakfast we continue exploring the south of Albania. Departure to Berat, one of the most important “Museum Town” of Albania, and sometimes called ‘the city of a thousand windows’ for the many windows in its red-roofed houses. Berat is under UNESCO world heritage sites. Our visit of Berat includes visit to the castle of Berat with Onufri museum and other churches inside, the Church of St. Mary of Vllaherna dating from the 13th century, has 16th century mural paintings by Nikolla, son of the Albania’s most famous medieval painter, Onufri.
Chapel of St Marina of Blachemae along the ridge above the gorge, as well as the Leaden Mosque, the King’s Mosque, the Bachelor’s Mosque and the Alveti Tekke. After lunch, we continue to Appolonia (antique center 588 BC.) The ancient site of Appolonia was an important port along the route between Rome and Byzantium. Emperor Augustus studied there, and Aristotle mentioned the town in his book on politics. It will be visit to its museum, Shen Meri Monastery and Church. Our tour will proceed to Vlora, a beautiful coastal city which in ancient times Vlora was known as Aulona. At the beginning it was only a port, and has always been famous for its olive groves and vineyards. We visit the Independence Museum, city tour, and accommodation at hotel and overnight.
Day 3: Vlore – Orikum – Sarande In the morning departure to Saranda exploring the gorgeous Albanian Riviera. First stop at Orikum visit to this antic city. We continue to Llogara and we stop for coffee break at the altitude of 1020 meters and enjoy the spectacular view of Ionian Sea. Than continue to Dhermi, a large and beautiful village with about 30 old churches picturesquely placed on the rough mountainside, Himara, small city located in the seaside offers beautifull beaches.
Ali Pasha’s Castle, located in Porto Palermo Bay is a small castle located on a lovely peninsula in the bay of Porto Palermo, built by Ali Pasha in honor of his wife Vasiliqi; Borsh Castle built on the fourth century B.C., by Epirote-Illyrian tribes. After lunch we continue our tour by visiting the Antique city of Butrint, Albania’s most important archaeological site discovered until today and part of world heritage of UNESCO. Where you’ll see Acropolis, Altar, Roman theatre, basilica, Venetian Tower, etc. Dinner in one of the beautiful restaurants with sea view and overnight in hotel.
Day 4: Saranda – Gjirokaster – Korce After breakfast, we leave Saranda and we will have another break at “Blue Eye” National Park to see its wonderful natural beauty and we have lunch. We continue to the “Museum City” of Gjirokastra, another UNESCO world heritage site. The origin of its name comes from the princess Argiro and the castle which is the symbol of the town. The castle is built on a hill on the 4-5th century, at the left side of the river Drino. It is protected by 7 towers and in 1811 – 1812 is reconstructed from Ali Pasha Tepelena.
In the castle is sheltered the Museum of Arms, which we are going to visit. After lunch, departure to Korca. It is a historic place with rich cultural traditions and some interesting buildings from the Ottoman period, including one of the most important mosques in Albania and one of the oldest schools teaching the Albanian language established Albania in 1887. Our sightseeing includes the Museum of Medieval Arts where you can see works by Albania’s most famous painters of the Middle Ages. Accommodation to hotel.
Than we depart for the town of Voskopoja which became one of the most developed and prosperous cities in the European part of the Ottoman Empire between the 17 and 18th centuries. Testament to this are the first Printing House in the Balkans in 1720, the Academia of Voskopoja founded in 1744, the famous Basilicas, the painted house walls by the famous Albanian painters including David Selenica and the Zeografi brothers. Return to hotel and overnight in Korca.
Day 5: Korce – Pogradec – Ohrid – Skopje.After breakfast, we proceed to Pogradec one of the most charming tourist cities in Albania because of its position near the Ohrid Lake, which distinguishes itself for clear water. Our sightseeing tour continue to Drilon one of the most beautiful tourist centers in Albania, situated 4 km from Pogradec, across the Ohrid Lake. Lunch in Drilon than continue to Tushemisht and passing to the Border Crossing Point to Ohrid, Macedonia.
This city, which lie long the amazing coast of Ohrid Lake, cover the most attractive part of Macedonia and is one of ancients locality of Europe. Concerning the historical and cultural values Ohrid is protected from UNESCO and it is called a museum – city also. After arrival, accommodation to hotel, and than a city tour to explorer the history of: Saint Sofia church, Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Klement Church and the ancient frescos, Roman Amphitheatre long the ancient Egnatia Street, Czar Samuel Castle and the Museum nearby. Lunch, than departure to Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, which offers everything, from the ancients monuments with historical and cultural values to the modern life which is a characteristic of the metropolis.
After arrival to Skopje accommodation to hotel and than city tour to explore: the Old Turkish Market one of the biggest and ancients in Europe, Hamam of Daud Pasha the biggest in the region, National Museum of Art, National Theatre reconstructed over the ruins of the old one destroyed by the earthquake that disperse the city in the 1963, Kale’s Fortes builded in the XVI. century, Sveti Spas Church of 1867. After dinner, café and other entertainment alternatives in Skopje are numerous. Overnight in hotel.
Day 6: Pristine-Prizren. After breakfast in hotel departure to Kosovo and our first stop is Pristina, which is the main administrative, economical, and cultural center of Kosovo. Arrival and a city tour: we are going to visit the centre of the city, National Theatre, Mother Teresa Square, Pristina University, Pristina Museum, the Clock Tower dates back to the 19th century, Bazzar Mosque, Orthodox Church, etc. After lunch, we continue to Prizren. The area of the Prizren valley has been settled by Illyrians since ancient times.
From all the cities of Kosova, Prizren has best preserved the architectural physiognomy of the past. The most important that we are going to visit are: Fortress of Prizren dates from the 11th century, the Bajrakli Gazi Mehmet Pasha’s mosque is the oldest monument of Islamic art in Prizren, a Turkish bath which is built of cut stone and large bricks, Sinan Pasha’s mosque built in 1615, the Sh’nm’ria Levishka Church built originally as a Roman Catholic Church to conclude with the house in which in 1878, the League of Prizren was organized. Accomodation to hotel and overnight.
Day 7: Kukes – Shkoder – Durres. After the breakfast in the hotel, departure to Kukes. This small town of north-east Albania became very famous during Kosovo war in 1999, by accommodation more than 700,000 war refugees. We continue to Shkodra passing the new-built tunnel that connects Albania with Kosovo. Arrival to Shkodra, city tour and visit to the Castle of Rosafa (the legend of Rozafa’s presentation) and the museum inside it and we enjoy wonderful views of mountains, Shkodra’s lake, Drini, Buna and Kir rivers with the valleys around from the top of Rozafa castle. Visit toVilae Zogut (ex king ofAlbania), and lunch at Shiroka with a nice view of Shkodra’sLake.
Than we continue to Lezha, in the ancient period was called Lissus and famous for the Mausoleum of Scanderbeg, Albanian National Hero, and the castle of Lezha. We continue to our trip to final destination for this day, Durres.Durres,Albania’s second largest city was known formerly (in antiquity) as Durrahium and is one of the oldest towns in the country andBalkan Peninsula. It was for centuries the largest port on the Adriatic Sea, and the start of the Via Egnatia toConstantinople. Accommodation to hotel and overnight.
Day 8: Durres – Departure. After breakfast we departure from to Mother Teresa International Airport and is the end of our Balkan Tour, or depending of time, we visit the Roman amphitheatre and the Archaeological Museum, situated near the sea and rich in objects excavated in Durres. We also visit the Roman Baths behind the Aleksander Moisiu Theatre on the central square. Lunch in one of the numerous fish restaurants on the seashore.
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