DAY 1: Tirana
Arrival at Mother Theresa Airport and transfer to Tirana. In Tirana we will have an orientation tour with the French speaking guide where we will be introduced to the main landmarks. After the visits of Tirana check-in at hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (D)
DAY 2: Tirana – Kruja – Durrës
After breakfast depart toward Kruja, home of Albania’s most important hero, Scanderbeg, who in the 15th century successfully fought off the Turks for over thirty years. Sightseeing at his castle and the impressive Scanderbeg Museum. Shopping in old bazaar.
After the visit and lunch in Kruja drive toward Durrës. On the way to Durrës we will stop by at Polis University where we will have a lecture in French by one of the most prominent Albanian art critic who will introduce us to the story of Albanian socialist realism and the developments after the fall of dictatorship.
After the lecture at Polis University proceed toward Durrës. This busy port city has one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the Balkans. Durres is one of the oldest Roman cities in the Mediterranean and the largest seaport in Albania.
After the visit of Durrës check-in at hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: Durrës – Ardenica – Apollonia – Vlora
After breakfast we drive to Vlora. On the way to Vlora we have a short stop at Ardenica Monastery dating from the 13th century.
After the visit of Ardenica, departure for Fieri to visit the archaeological site of Apolonia. Apollonia together with Butrinti are the most important archaeological sites in Albania dating from the 5th century BC. Continue toward Vlora. Vlora which has a long history, but its main claim to fame is as the place where Albanian independence was proclaimed in 1912. Walking tour in Vlora where we will get introduced to the Flag Square, Independence House and Muradie Mosque. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Vlora. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: Vlora – Saranda – Butrint – Saranda
This morning, departure from the city of Vlora which has a long history, but its main claim to fame is as the place where Albanian independence was proclaimed in 1912. Proceed to Saranda through Llogara Pass (3500 feet above sea level). Drive all the way to Saranda along the mountain road known as Albanian Riviera, enjoying the beautiful and dramatic scenery and landscapes of the Ionian Coastline. En-route brief visit the Ali Pasha Fortress at Porto Palermo Bay. Arrival in Butrint and have lunch by the archaeological site. Afternoon visit to the Greek and Roman ruins of Butrint, Albania’s most important archaeological site. After a leisurely exploration, we will lunch in Ksamil overlooking the Ionian.
Return back in Saranda. Dinner and overnight stay in the city. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: Saranda – Gjirokastër – Berat
Morning departure for the museum city of Gjirokastra to visit its fortress, the armaments museum and the ethnographic museum, former house of Albanian communist dictator E. Hoxha
After the visit of Gjirokastra departure for Berat. Upon arrival in Berat check-in at hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Berat – Ohrid After breakfast start the visit of Berat. Its castles and fort date back 2400 years. Afternoon visits to Onufri Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, Bachelors Mosque and the King’s Mosque.
After lunch, departure for Ohrid. Upon arrival in Ohrid check-in at hotel. All afternoon free at leisure by the lake shore in Ohrid. Dinner and overnight stay at hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: Ohrid – Tirana – Airport
After breakfast our day begins with a panoramic cruise around the old town and across the lake. The resort town of Ohrid is one of the oldest settlements in Macedonia dating from before the Slavic period. Ohrid is a UNESCO site located in the Ohrid/Prespa region near Galicica National Park. It has a long rich history but is perhaps best known for the missionary brothers Cyril and Methodius who arrived in Ohrid in 886AD and made Ohrid a leading center of Slavic culture and literary activities. The brothers are credited with the creation of the Cyrillic Alphabet which helped them spread their missionary work in the Slavic world. After our journey on the lake we continue sightseeing on foot strolling through the picturesque alleys of the old town, discovering the craftsmanship of the rich tradition of silver filigree, wood carving, and Ohrid’s Pearls.
Visit the protected archaeological museum and the House of Robevc. Visit the first renaissance frescoes in the church of St. Sophia and continue to the Mother of God Church Perivlepta with the apocryphal scenes in rich frescoes from the life of the Virgin. Stop at the Classical Theatre, built 2000 years ago and still used today. At Plaoshnik tour the excavations of the Monastery of St. Pantelejmon, seat of the first Slavic University in Europe founded by St. Clement. Time for lunch of Ohrid trout prepared fresh from the lake. After lunch depart toward Tirana via Elbasan. Transfer to Mother Theresa International Airport. (B, L)