ENVIE D'ALBANIE
Uncovered -Albania

8 Days 7 Nights

Group: 6 - 18 People

Albania

9.5 Superb

Description

A trip to the heart of the last Illyrian empire, with the current city of Shkodra (-385 BC) as its capital. Divisions, wars, but also the need to create trade and exchange routes will force the various tribes to build trading posts such as Apollonia, Dyrrhachion - today Durres, Lezha, Orikum,... Illyria has inspired authors such as William Shakespeare, Alphonse Daudet, Jean-Paul Sartre, Anne de Leseleuc or John Hawkes.

Guide

Experienced English-speaking guide

Hotel

3 ☆ or 4 ☆ and Guesthouses

Departure

Tirana International airport

From

All year

Price Includes
  • Hotels: See list below

  • 7 Breakfasts

  • 7 Dinners

  • Transport

  • English-speaking guide during all the journey

  • All visits mentioned in this program.

Price Excludes
  • All personal expenses

  • Costs related to specific requests or those not mentioned above

  • Meals and drinks other than table water which are served during meals

  • Lunch and dinner day 7

  • Tips and gratuities

  • Visit day 7 (if any)

  • The plane ticket

  • Accommodation in single rooms

  • Travel insurance

Hotels

Gallery

Tour Plan
  • Day 1. Airport – Kruja

    Welcome by an English-speaking guide at the "Mother Theresa" airport in Tirana. Departure to Kruja. Rich in history and tradition, Kruja is home of the patriots and the epicenter of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was here that Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s greatest national hero, defended the country from the invasion of the Ottomans. 

    Visit the Skanderbeg Museum, one of the most visited places in Albania. Accessible via the bazaar, it is located in the heart of the historic citadel of Kruja and is dedicated to the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum has collections of objects dating back to most of the wars that took place during the 15th century between the Albanians and the Ottomans. 

    Visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, which is located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the richest families of the 18th century. In a setting of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous murals, it presents objects and scenes of life that help us understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 2. Kruja – Lezha – Shkodra

    Heading for northern Albania. 

    Visit of Lezha. The city was founded by the Greek Dionysius I of Syracuse in the 8th century BC. According to historians, Lezha was the seat of the Lezha League created by Albanian hero Kastriot Skanderbeg to unify Albanian princes in the fight against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg was buried in Lezha Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Later it was transformed into a mosque. Today, this place is considered to be both a mosque and a church. 

    Departure to Shkodra, the former capital of Illyria.  

    Visit of the Rozafa citadel, dating from the Middle Ages and built on Illyrian foundations. From its summit, a 360° view allows you to admire the surrounding mountains and plains, but also the largest lake in the region, which is home to one of the largest bird reserves in Europe. 

    Drive northeast of Shkodra up to the village of Boks to admire the 18° century stone bridge of Mesi which spans over the Kir river and presents an intriguing architecture. 

    Visit of Shkodra, a place of democracy and Albanian culture. This city rich in history and architecture was partially rebuilt in 1979 following an earthquake.  

    Visit of Saint Stephen's Cathedral. Destroyed in an earthquake in 1905, then partially destroyed in a bombardment in 1913, transformed into a sports palace during the Albanian "cultural revolution" during the communist period, partially destroyed again in 1967, it hosted the Communist Congress of Albanian Women in 1973 and finally reopened in 1990 and welcomed Pope John Paul II in 1993. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 3. Shkodra – Durres – Berat

    Early departure to Durres, the second largest city in Albania which was once the departure of via Egnatia. The road allowed to go to Byzantium by crossing Albania and the northern part of the ancient Greece. 

    Visit of the Roman Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century. This site, considered the second most important in terms of importance in the Balkans, is inscribed on UNESCO's list. Little work has been done to restore it, but it is possible to imagine the excitement that could reign there during its greatness. Nowadays, it is used as an open-air museum. 

    Head for the historic center where visitor can stroll along the old Byzantine walls. Then departure the city of the 1000 windows.  

    Berat. Visit of the fortress and more particularly the National Museum of the Icons of Onufri, a 16th century Albanian painter famous for having used pink - then rare - in his works. The museum is housed inside the Sainte Mary's Church, built in the 10th century.  

    Walk within the fortress walls, still inhabited, from where you can admire the Gorica and Mangalem districts separated by the Osum river. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 4. Berat – Apollonia – Vlora

    On the way to the south.  

    First stop and visit of the archaeological site of Apollonia. Exceptionally preserved, it was built in the 6th century BC by the Greeks of Corfu and Corinthians. Apollonia was an obligatory crossing point for travellers taking the Via Egnatia. The city took off in the 4th century becoming an important place of exchange and trade that could accommodate up to 40,000 people. The site houses an archaeological museum and the Sainte Marie church and its monastery. 

    Arrival in Vlora. Visit of its historic center, Independence Square, where Ismail Qemali raised the national flag and proclaimed Albania's independence on 28.11.1912. Unfortunately, two years later, Italian troops invaded Albania. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 5. Vlora – Butrint – Gjirokastra

    Passage required through the Llogara Pass, which rises to 1027 metres and dominates the junction of the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. The winding road plunges towards the Albanian Riviera. It owes its famous reputation due to the presence of many creeks, its steep cliffs plunging into a turquoise sea, its authentic villages clinging to the walls and its olive groves. 

    Around noon, stop on the Ksamil peninsula. Free time is given for a lunch where we advise you to taste the products of the sea. 

    On the way to Butrint. Butrint has been on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites since 1992 and has been inhabited from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The current site, combining archaeology and nature, is a true museum representative of each period of the city's development. Its Roman theatre, baptistery, mosaic, basilica ruins and ancient fortifications give this place outstanding universal value. 

    Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Gjirokastra, an open-air museum town. 

  • Day 6. Gjirokastra – Tirana

    The birthplace of Ismail Kadaré, an Albanian writer often nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gjirokastra is on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. Its winding and paved streets, its typical cluster-shaped houses and its particular roofs have given it the nickname of "stone city".  It is the exceptional testimony of a society and a way of life that has almost disappeared. 

    Visit of its citadel which houses remains of the Second World War, but also various exhibitions and the photography museum. A repository of symbols of Albanian traditions and culture, it has hosted festivals of polyphonic groups since 1986, the interpretation of which has been adopted as a cultural heritage by UNESCO. 

    Head for the old bazaar in the city center, where you can immerse yourself in Albanian culture and discover a wide variety of local products.  

    Stroll inside the old city to fully enchant the incredible multi-story and fortified Ottoman-era houses where layers of Greek, Byzantine, Albanian, Ottoman and Sufi heritage have been accumulated in the cracks of their facades. 

     

    Departure to Tirana. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 7. Tirana – Tirana

    Tirana, the capital of Albania, is known for its colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. But this is also an exotic city with vibrant atmosphere. Tirana moves at lightning speed. 

    Visit of the center of Tirana with the Skanderbeg square bordered by the Et'Hem Bey mosque built in 1798, the national opera house, the clock tower and many buildings dating from the Italian occupation and housing ministries. 

    Visit of the "House of Leaves" museum, which tells visitors about one of the darkest periods in Albanian history. The museum is dedicated to all those who have endured torture, assassinations, arrests and surveillance organized by the Albanian secret services.  

    Walk through the "Blok" area where the most popular bars, clubs and shops in the capital are located and free time. 

    Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

  • Day 8. Departure

    Transfer to Tirana International Airport at Rinas.

Passport:

A valid passport or an ID (at least 6 months from the start of the stay) is required to enter in Albania

Insurance:

International travel insurance is strongly recommended to cover the consequences of incidents that may occur while travelling, travelling and staying abroad. It is the traveller's responsibility to check with his travel agent or insurer before departure.

Notes:
  • Tour based on arrival and departure times around 11:30 am. 

    Depending on the season and/or the availability of the restaurants, dinners may be taken in the hotels. 

    Due to the pandemic situation, hotels and restaurants are given as indication only.