Transfer from the airport to the hotel in downtown Tirana will be according to your flight schedule. Founded in 1614, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 and is the country's most important cultural and industrial center. The city boulevards are characterized by fascinating relics of the Ottoman, Italian and Communist past. Tirana has changed incredibly in the last twenty years, from the dull, gray city it once was. Tirana is a city where fun is guaranteed: lively, loud, crazy, colorful, simply fascinating.
TIRANA - KRUJA - ADVICE (B, D)
The day starts with the transfer to Kruja. It sits on a mountain 600m above sea level and has an ancient history. It was the capital of Albanopolis, inhabited by the Illyrian tribes of the Albanians, was the capital of the Principality of Arber, is the city in which the history of Skanderbeg began. The city has resisted various Ottoman attacks and only came under Ottoman rule after the death of Skanderbeg. The city is rich in monuments of culture and ethnography. The castle of Kruja is located on a hill and the view from there is great. The castle dates from the VI - VII century and was rebuilt by the Byzantines and later by the Ottomans. The main remains of the castle are the Clock Tower, St. Andrew's Church, the Fatih Mosque and the Medieval Baths. Within the castle ruins are two important museums that we will visit: the Museum of the National Hero and the Ethnographic Museum. The tour of Kruja ends with a walk on the crafts market built about 400 years ago. You will have the opportunity to visit a workshop and observe the traditional way of wool processing and. After lunch, the journey continues to Durrës. Located in western central Albania, Durrës is Albania's most important port city and of great importance to the country's economy. Durrës is one of the oldest cities in the whole Adriatic region. It was in 627 BC. As Epidamnos, founded by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corfu. In the year 280 BC Chr., The Illyrian king Monun coined the first coins with the new Illyrian name of the city, Dyrrah. The city became one of the starting points of Via Egnatia, which connected the Adriatic Sea with Byzantium. Durrës is one of the first cities in the Balkan Peninsula, and indeed in Europe, to host a Christian community. The tour of Durrës begins with a visit to the ruins of the market complex (Macellum) of the late Roman and early Byzantine era. The circular area within a colonnade in the center provided a space for more formal activities. Then we will visit the Roman Amphitheater, one of the largest monuments of antiquity built in the first decades of the II century, probably during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Unlike other amphitheaters of the time, which are built exclusively on flat terrain, it is partly based on a hill, and partly on level ground with a facade that looked to the main part of the city. After the visit, transfer to Berai - dinner.
ADVICE (B, D)
Berat is one of the main attractions of the country. It has a 2407 year history and is a wonderful combination of Eastern and Western cultures and traditions. The life of the city began as an Illyrian settlement. Later, in the 3rd century BC, it was converted into a castle town known as Antipatrea. During feudalism, churches were built with valuable frescoes and icons inside the castle. The castle is unique because it is still inhabited today. In 2008, the old town of Berat was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We will visit the Mangalemi area with its attractions, the Ethnographic Museum and the Little Michaelis Church. Then we will walk through the Gorica district on the Ottoman stone bridge "Ura e Goricës". An interesting attraction is the Roman cistern, which was used until the 19th century. Famous is the Onufri Museum with works by the most important Albanian icon painter of the same name. Finally, visit the castle of Berat, which is one of the top attractions of the old town, planned. The Region Berat is known in Albania for wine production. For the afternoon, a wine tour is planned in the Cobo winery. After the visit of the winery follows the tasting of typical wines and other drinks: Berat white wine, sparkling wine, Berat red wine, nut raki, grapes Raki. All wines are accompanied by products from the territory of Berat: cheeses of various kinds, ham, olives etc.
BERAT - DHËRMI (B, L)
The day begins with the transfer to Apollonia. It was 588 BC. Founded as a Corinthian colony, it is named after the god Apollo. Of the 24 cities in the ancient Mediterranean with this name, the Illyrian Apollonia was the most important. It is estimated that the city had about 60,000 inhabitants, a record for ancient times. In the city lived in addition to the Greek settlers numerous Illyrians. Since 229 BC Apollonia stood under Roman protection and in the civil war between Pompey and Caesar stood on Caesar's side. A little later Marcus Antonius fortified the strategically important place. In addition to agriculture in the area, the industries (especially pottery) formed the basis for the wealth of the city. The School of Fine Arts was famous throughout the ancient world. The decline of the commercial center began in the 4th century, when an earthquake changed the course of the river Vjosa and the port of Apollonia silted. The city lost its economic importance and turned into a simple religious center. The archaeological area is very well preserved. Archaeologists call Apollonia the Pompei of Albania, as only 10% of the territory of the former city has been discovered to this day. The journey follows in the direction of Vlora, the city with a very long and beautiful coast, which lies between the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. The lunch is planned in a beautiful restaurant located in Radhima, directly by the sea. Then we drive to the Llogara National Park, where we will have a short coffee break. It is one of the most beautiful places in Albania and covered with eternal greenery. In the inner part of the forests there are beautiful meadows, countless natural resources and varied animal and bird species. An amazing part of this geo-park is the "balcony" in the Llogara Pass, at the height of 1050m, from where you can see the Ionian Sea. The last destination of the day is Dhërmi. It is one of the most important and important tourist centers in all of Albania and one of the oldest and most characteristic villages of the Ionian coast. In Dhërmi there are many old houses with characteristic architecture, many churches and a monastery with a built in the XIV century church. The beach of Dhërmi is one of the biggest beaches of the Ionian coast. The white sand and the clear water create ideal conditions for sunbathing and a perfect rest. In the afternoon you have some free time to visit the village, or to enjoy the sun and the sea.
DHËRMI: HIKING TO SANTA ANDRE BAY (B, Lunch Package)
This day begins with the transfer to Palasa, where the trek begins. We follow the path that runs parallel to the sea, up to the Santa Andre bay. The path is not very steep and sometimes flat and offers very nice views. This bay, completely isolated from the rest of the world, retains its intact nature, clean beach and crystal clear waters. After a swim, the boat tour starts along the coast towards the bay of Grama. This part of the coast is especially beautiful. Small pebble beaches, pristine coves, hidden underwater caves and crystal clear waters make your tour an extraordinary experience. The Grama Bay has a pristine beach in a special atmosphere where you can enjoy the sea and the sun. Since ancient times, ships used to anchor there. The coastline along the bay has cultural value and can be considered one of the richest "rocky diaries" in the Mediterranean. In the afternoon boat trip to Dhërmi - dinner.
DHËRMI - SARANDA (B, L)
After breakfast, we will head south to the bay of Porto Palermo, one of the most beautiful places on the Ionian coast. The bay of Porto Palermo was one of the most important military bases during the Cold War. From the height of the street the tunnel entrance of the submarines is visible. On a small peninsula near the coast is imposing the castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena, which we will visit. Then we will drive to the starting point of the hike near the village of Kudhës. It is a very traditional village with cobbled streets and stone houses. There we will be guests of a local family to have lunch and taste traditional homemade products. From the village we follow the broad, partly rocky path to the village of Upper Qeparo. Transfer to Saranda - dinner
SARANDA: CULTURAL DISCOVERY OF BUTRINT (B, D)
The day begins with the drive to Butrinti, which is about 20 kilometers south of the city of Saranda. You will visit the ruined city, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. Originally Butrint was an epirotic city: the population consisted of Illyrians and Greeks. It was one of the main places of the Chaonier, one of the three great Epirotic tribes. The oldest finds date from the 10th to the 8th century BC. After the visit, drive to Ksamil, a famous seaside resort because of the particularly clear and warm sea. Free time is planned there to enjoy the sea and the sun. The dinner is planned in a restaurant in the "Lëkursi fortress" on a hill overlooking the bay of Saranda. It will be an excellent experience. You will taste homemade dishes that are typical of the region, accompanied by the sound of traditional Albanian folk music, the so-called iso-polyphony. It is original music and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
SARANDA - TIRANA (B, L)
After breakfast, the journey begins in the direction of Gjirokastra. It's amazing how the landscape changes during the journey. After only a few kilometers, the characteristic Mediterranean villages, with their stone houses embedded in the mountain slopes, give their place to traditional medieval villages. On the way to Gjirokastra we will enjoy the spectacular, secluded landscape of the spring and the park of the "Blue Eye". This source is unique for its appearance, like a deep sapphire blue "hole" beneath the surface of the calmer turquoise water - a color scheme typically seen only in saltwater springs. Divers have made it 50 meters into the water, but its true depth still needs to be revealed. Gjirokastra is an outstanding example of an Ottoman trading city and one of the few remaining in the Balkans. We will visit the castle and a very traditional museum house. Lunch in Gjirokastra. In the late afternoon transfer to Tirana - dinner.
TIRANA: TRANSFER TO THE AIRPORT (B)
Depending on your departure flight, drive to the airport for your flight home or onward flight.