Pearls of Albania tour in eight days (3 UNESCO sites)

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This 8-day tour program is designed to offer a combination of best historical UNESCO sites such as Berat, Gjirokastra and Butrint with traditions, local culture and culinary wonders. This tour of Albania takes you through some of the most beautiful national parks. During these eight days, you will be able to visit some medieval splendour cities and spectacular land and seascapes of Albania.

Itinerary Details

Operated by: Choose Balkans

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Day 1 Tirana – Shkodra

Stop At: Tirana

Our tour leader will come and pick you up at your hotel in Tirana in the morning. Our main destination for today is Shkodra.

Stop At: Shkoder

The city is situated in the north-western part of Albania, giving its name to the biggest lake in the Balkans. It is one of the oldest cities in Albania, with a history of a thousand years of habitation. The oldest wall of the Shkodra castle dates from the 1st millennium BCE. The Roman historian Livy cited the town as the capital of the Illyrian king Gent, who fought the Romans in 168 B.C.

Duration: 2 hour

Stop At: Rozafa Castle

We will visit Rozafa castle offering tremendous scenery of the lake and the three rivers melting all together in the Adriatic Sea

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Shkoder

The city’s architecture is highly influenced by the Venetian style and if you are lucky enough to join the tour of Shkodra in February you might experience the carnival festival. Most of the guests are surprised to learn that most of the Venetian masks are handmade and produced in Shkodra. The city’s favourable geographic position has always been an important trading mark through the centuries, making it possible for different civilisations to encounter. Overnight in Shkoder.

Duration: 1 hour

Day 2 Shkodra – Theth National Park – Shkoder

Stop At: Shkoder

As we drive along the way towards Northern Albania, you will be amazed by beautiful landscapes; wild fields, rivers, Shkodra Lake and rugged untouched mountains

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Theth National Park

As we take the turn from the main road to Theth the area becomes more rural, with fewer cars but more wild nature and amazing landscapes. Due to its favourable position this area is famous for cultivating medicinal herbs, and if you are lucky to travel in May – June you would be amazed by the pretty and aromatic fields of lavender making you feel like you are in Provence (France). On the way to the top we will pass through a steep sneaky hillside reaching up to 1700 meters above sea level at Qafa e Thores. They say this is the spot with the best picture – perfect view of the Albanian Alps. After arriving in Theth we will visit the Old Church and the “Lock in” Tower (symbol of Theth). The stories behind these buildings take up centuries full of history. Overnight in Shkoder

Duration: 2 hour

Day 3 Shkoder – Berat

Stop At: Berat

Our next destination after breakfast is Berat, known as the town of 1001 windows, part of UNESCO world heritage. Walking through the narrowed stone streets offers a fantastic view of the medieval old houses, with windows that seem to stand on top of each other. The city’s life began in the 6th-5th century B.C. as an Illyrian settlement. Later, in the 3rd century B.C., it was turned into a castle city known as Antipatrea. Uniquely today, residents still live inside of the castle walls.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Berat Castle

Berat has it all; a beautiful medieval castle, ancient churches and mosques, a lively lower town consisting of grand old houses draped on steep hillsides, an old stone bridge, great museums and remains from the communist era in Albania.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: National Iconographic Museum Onufri

Berat is also known as the birthplace of Onufri, the famous painter of churches all-over the Balkans, distinguished for creating a specific reddish color still difficult to imitate.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Gorica Bridge

We will continue our tour and visit the Gorica Neighbourhood.

Duration: 30 minutes

Day 4 Berat – Gjirokastra

Stop At: Gjirokaster

Today we will drive towards Gjirokastra, also known as “The Stone City”, part of UNESCO World heritage is situated in Southern Albania on the eastern side of mountain “Mali i Gjere”.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Gjirokaster Castle

Gjirokastra resembles a fortified city where every single house is like a small fortress. The origin of the city starts with the castle of Gjirokastra, built in IV century A.D., and is considered as one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the Balkans. Every five years Gjirokastra becomes the capital of the Albanian folklore and traditional music, where passionate folklore ensembles gather in the “stone city” and perform their traditional music, dances and show off their costumes.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Gjirokastra Bazaar

Right before entering the castle of Gjirokastra you would have to pass by the medieval bazar. The atmospheric old town cascading down in graceful hill crammed with beautiful narrowed stone decorated streets, where you will be amazed by the wide variety of handmade crafts from local artisans and producers.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Skenduli House

We will visit one of the best-preserved houses of Gjirokastra, where everything is totally original and authentic.

Duration: 1 hour

Day 5 Gjirokastra – Blue Eye – Ksamil - Butrint – Albanian Riviera

Stop At: The Blue Eye

From Gjirokastra, we will move towards Butrint, but not before making a stop at the natural wonder of the Blue Eye, a source of fresh water surrounded by evergreen trees. The source comes from "Mali i Gjere" and reaches a depth that has not yet been discovered, so far divers have gone deep to 50 meters. The water temperature does not go above 10 degrees. The Blue Eye looks like it come straight out of fairy tale but you can actually visit it. You will not be able to keep your eyes off the mesmerizing crystal-clear blue water.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Ksamil

Ksmail will be our next destination! You will feel like you are exploring some tropical paradise when being on its white sandy beaches with the view of the four islands in-front of the beach. Ksamil is the pearl of the Albanian Riviera and it surely is one of the best beach destinations in Europe. Ksamil is primarily known for its fine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The Albanian Riviera has many pretty beaches; however, this beach gives you that Bora – Bora feeling.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Butrint National Park

Our tour continues to the National Park of Butrint. Part of the UNESCO world heritage, Butrint is the most important archaeological site in Albania. It was the first site in Albania that became part of the UNESCO list. The ruins combined with the stunning natural surroundings make it worth a visit

Duration: 1 hour

Day 6 Albanian Riviera – Himare – Dhermi – Llogara National Park - Vlore

Stop At: Himare

While driving along the Albanian Riviera, we will pass some of the most beautiful beaches of Albania; Llamani, Dhermi and Palasa. Along the way we will drive through some small villages one by one, clinging to rock faces by the seaside, all tumbledown stone walls and narrow pathways, overhung with vines full of grapes, and trees heavy with figs and walnuts. Himara will be our first destination for this day. The town is located next to imposing mountain peaks covered in deep green forests, crystal-clear seas fringed by long white beaches and sparkling springs. You can enjoy a walk by the seaside, fantastically tasty food combining local cuisine and some influence by neighboring Greece. The promenade by the sea side gives you the opportunity to try fresh fruit juice and even shop handmade souvenirs.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Dhermi

Our next destination will be Dhermi, one of the most famous beaches in Albania. Known for its hidden coves, pebble beaches and crystal-clear water inviting you to dive in. You will have some free time to absorb and store all the sunshine. Overnight near Vlore.

Duration: 1 hour

Day 7 Vlora – Durres – Tirana

Stop At:

Our first stop will be “Lungomare” a promenade by the seaside, where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. Among all the activities to do in Vlora you cannot miss the joys of walking along the seafront of the city. You will have some free time to enjoy the sun surrounded by emerald seas, while on the other side of the street you can have a coffee with a fantastic view of Sazani Island and Karaburun Peninsula.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Vlore

Before heading to Tirana, we will explore the city of Vlora, known for its balmy year-round temperatures and very little rainfall, making it a popular destination. Vlora was founded in the 6th century BC under the name of Aulona. The city is known as the ‘’City of the Flag’’; the independence of Albania was declared here on the 28th of November 1912. We will visit the Flag’s Square and the Independence Monument.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At:

We will then have a walk in Muradie Neighborhood, visit Vlore’s main mosque an Albanian National Monument built in 1537. The Muradie mosque is a stunning Ottoman building which has been well preserved for almost half a millennium.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Durres

We will drive towards Durres, where, we will pass by the amphitheater, the Roman ruins and the Venetian Tower. We will continue our tour towards the promenade by the seaside “Vollga” . Have a coffee while enjoining the view of the endless sea and soak up the sunshine. Not to be missed when visiting Durres is the traditional ice cream. We will drive towards Tirana.

Duration: 1 hour

Day 8 Day tour of Tirana

Stop At: Tirana

We will start today’s adventure by discovering Tirana, the capital of Albania. Tirana offers a great combination of very interesting museums, historic sites, national parks, mountains. Ottoman, Italian and communist style architecture all clashing with each other, but offering a great pleasure to wander through.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Skanderbeg Square

We will walk towards Skanderbeg Square, named after the Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu. The main square is surrounded by the National Museum, the Bank of Albania, the Opera house, Skanderbeg Statue, Ethem Beu Mosque and fancy bars.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: BunkArt 2

After strolling around the bustling streets of Tirana, we will visit BUNKART, one of the most interesting museums in Tirana. Initially designed as a nuclear bunker offering shelter to the Albanian communist supreme leader Enver Hoxha and his close party members during the cold war. The bunker was kept strictly secret to the general public until 2016, when the Albanian government decided to initiate an interesting project that converted the nuclear bunker into a museum. BUNKART is a video museum exhibition dedicated to the history of the Albanian communist army and to the daily lives of Albanians during the regime.

Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Rruga Murat Toptani

Our tour continues towards Tirana Castle, found in the city center. The castle is now a pedestrian street where modern and tradition perfectly merge creating one of the fanciest areas of modern Tirana.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Blloku

Our last attraction for this tour will be the colorful, lively and vibrant Blloku Neighborhood. Not to be missed is Tirana’s delicious food varieties, from the tasty and cheap street food to the finest gourmet options. This marks the end of this amazing experience through history and culture.

Duration: 30 minutes
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