Albania Explorer Tour - Red Route (AE)

Tucked away in a little visited corner of Europe lie Albania, is a charming and delightful country that few people know much about. For years Albania was a closed society, ruled by the iron fist of Communism, but since the end of the Cold War it has been showing curious travellers its many charms, The location of Albania between some of Europe’s most important empires has left them well endowed with a wealth of attractions from the Greek, Roman and Ottoman eras. The region is home to a wealth of old Turkish architecture which sits side by side with elaborately decorated Orthodox churches and from more recent times the civic buildings of Communist era, as well as impressive Roman ruins and well preserved historic towns. This part of Europe is also blessed with incredible scenery with imposing mountains, pristine lakes and traditional villages tucked a way in pretty valleys. But as with many countries it is the people who leave perhaps the most lasting impression – having come through recent strife there is an overwhelming sense of optimism about the people that cannot fail to raise your spirits.

€ 699


Guaranted Departure Tour ! 

Tour Name:   Albania Explorer Tour - Red Route (AE)

Code:              AE-GAG

Duration:        7 Days

Type of tour: General, Cultural, Archeology, Nature, Gastronomy, Multi religious, harmony, etc.

Tour Dates:  (Every Monday, 12 months of the year) 


Day by day Itinerary 

Day 1

Tirana - Kruje – Lezhe - Shkoder.  After breakfast, we depart to Kruje. We will visit the medieval city of Kruja (visit the castle and the impressive Scanderbeg Museum, Ethnographical Museum and shopping in Old Bazaar, mosques since the ottomans time.) Then, next stop will be in Lezha city. In the ancient period was called Lissus. Visit to Mausoleum of Scanderbeg (Albanian National Hero). Lunch break. Afterward, we continue to Shkodra. A nice landscape with highland (Albanian Alps on north) are a full contrast. City tour of Shkodra, Old Bazaar, Centrum, Cathedral and Mosque. Visit to the Castle of Rozafa 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, and “Ura e Mesit” over Kir River.Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Shkoder, hotel Tradita 3*, or similar(B) 

Day 2

Durres – Berat (UNESCO)After breakfast, we depart to Durres. Durres is Albania's second largest city. Durres is one of the oldest towns in the country. Legend says that it was founded by Epidamnos, the Illyrian King of the area, who called it by his own name and named the port area after his grandson, Dyrrah. It was for centuries the largest port on the Adriatic, and the start of the Via Egnatia to Constantinople. We visit the Roman amphitheater and the Archaeological Museum, situated near the sea and rich in objects excavated in Durres. Continue to Berat, one of the oldest inhabited regions of Albania, more than 2400 years old, and with special status from UNESCO. Visit to its castle of Berat with Onufri museum and other churches inside; Mosque of Berat and the old Bridge of Gorica, Onufri Museum and several churches and mosques. Onufri was an Albanian master painter of the 16th. Many of his wonderfully painted icons still remain in the museum while others can be found in churches in Albania and Greece where he worked. Dinner at traditional restaurant (Mangalemi). Overnight in Berat, Hotel Mangalemi 3*, or similar. (B) 

Day 3

Ardenica Monastery– Apollonia - Vlore.  After breakfast we continue to Ardenica Monastery. The monastery of Ardenica is known as a place where our National Gjergj Kastriori Scandarbeg got married with princess Andronika Arianiti. It is a Byzantine structure occupying a surface area of about 2,500 m². This monument consists of the Saint Mary Church, the Saint Triad chapel, the konake, the oil mill, the oven and the stall. We continue the tour to Apollonia, wich was founded in 588 BC and taken by Aristotle as a model in his analysis of oligarchy, because of its distinct and separate Illyrian and Greek communities. It was a vital stronghold in Caesar's civil war with Pompey and also important in early Christian history with its bishop attending the councils of Ephesus and Chlalkis in 431 and 451 AD. We visit its museum, Shen Meri Monastery and Church. Then, departure to the coastal city of Vlora. Vlora is the city where Albanian independence from Ottomans was proclaimed on November 28th, 1912. Visit to Museum of Independence. Dinner and overnight, Hotel Partner 4*, or similar. (B)

Day 4 

Llogara National Park – Himare – Saranda - Butrint (UNESCO). After breakfast, we continue to South of Albania, by making the first stop to Llogara National Park and enjoying the spectacular views of mountains and the Albanian Riviera. Stopover in seaside villages of Palase, Dhermi, Himara (visit to its 4rth Cent BC castle and Byzantine Church inside), Borsh, and Ali Pashe Tepelena Castle. Arrival to Sarande. Where we we visit ruins of Butrint antic city, Albania's most important archaeological site, part of UNESCO heritage list since . Butrint dates from the 7th century BC, later becoming a Roman colony, then falling under the sway of the Venetians and Turks. Virgil claimed that the Trojans settled Butrint, but no evidence of this has yet been found. Within a century of the Greeks arriving, Butrint had become a fortified trading city with its own acropolis, the ruins of which we can still visit. The rediscovered city is a microcosm of almost 3,000 years of Mediterranean history, and its 6th century BC fortification evokes the city's military power and symbolizes the rich culture of the once thriving ancient city. Exploration of amphitheater, Venetian tower, Mosaic, Lion gate, etc. We will return for accommodation at hotel. Dinner at the Lekuresi Fortress in Saranda with great views of the bay of Saranda and the Island of Corfu. Return to hotel and overnight in Saranda (Brilant Hotel 4*, or similar). (B)

Day 5

Finiq – Antigone - Gjirokaster (UNESCO).  In the morning, we continue to Gjirokaster. On the way to get there, it will be a visit to Finiq Ancient city ruins. During antiquity the territory surrounding the settlement belonged to Chaonia, part of the Epirus kingdom. The site is rich in findings from the Classical to the Byzantine period. Ancient sources mentioned the wealth of the city, especially during the Hellenistic period, between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, when Finiq was a prominent city in the Epirot League.  Then continue to “Blue Eye” National Park, and a coffee break.  Before Gjirokaster, next visit is Antigone ancient city ruins. Antigoneia was a very short-lived city, lasting for approximately 150 years.  It was founded by one of the most famous names of the ancient world, King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 BC), from whom the phrase “a Pyrrhic victory” derives.  At the outset of the 3rd-century BC Pyrrhus was forced to go and fight in Egypt.  His abilities impressed Berenice, the wife of King Ptolemy of Egypt, who decided to offer him her daughter, Antigone, in marriage. In token of his gratitude to his mother-in-law and his first wife, Pyrrhus decided to build Antigoneia.  Arrival to Gjirokaster past of (UNESCO) heritage since 2005. City tour, than visit to the Castle, Weapons Museum and accommodation to Gjirokaster Hotel 3*, or similar. (B) 

Day 6

Tepelena - Voskopoje – Korce. We depart to Tepelene, and we stop to the castle of Tepelene. Tepelena Castle was built by Ali Pasha in the end of 18th century CE in the town of Tepelena. It was the second most important castle during his reign, after that in Ioanina. We continue to Permet know for its production of traditional raki and wine. Lunch. As traveling toward Korca, we enjoy the nice views of nature around. Arrival in Korca. Visit to the one of the oldest schools teaching the Albanian language established Albania in 1887. The first girls' school in the country was established in Korca in 1891. Afterward travel to Voskopoje and visit its 18th Century churches and monasteries. Voskopojë, is a small mountain village, and along with a few other local settlements is considered a holy place by local Orthodox Christians. It was one of the original homelands of the Aromanian diaspora. Return to Korca and overnight. (Hotel Regency 3*, or similar). (B) 

Day 7:  

Elbasan - Tirana. Departure to Pogradec  and enjoy the beauty of Ohrid Lake. We continue to Elbasan which was a very important city in ancient Road “Via Egnatia” that used to connect Rome-Naples-Bari-Durres-Elbasan-Ohrid-Thessaloniki-Istanbul. Stop for a city tour: Elbasan Castle (dating back to 4rth Century BC), The Clock, The ethnographic Museum, Church, The Old Mosque.  We continue to Tirana via new road and tunnel. After arrival, Tirana City tour.  located on a plain on the site of a Byzantine fortress and has been the capital since 1920 (visits to the Skanderbeg Square, Mosque of Et’hem Bey (built on 1824), the Clock Tower (built on 1822), the National Museum (the huge mosaic on front represent the Albanian history development, and the stages of this development are presented on respective pavilions),  National Art Gallery, Archeological Museum (there are presented many archeological discoveries since the Stone Age up to the Medieval), the National Heroes Cemetery, Grand Park and government buildings). Accommodation in Tirana in Hotel Kruja 3*, or similar, and overnight. (B)

Optional: Change to continue to Balkan Explorer - Blue Route (R1 ) or Green Route (R2)