Your adventure starts with the landing in Corfu Airport, from where you immediately depart to the city of start with the tour. Firstly, you head off for the city center where most of the modern urban attractions are located. Continuing, you will go to the Old Town of Corfu where most of the historical sites and attractions are located. There you will visit landmarks such as the Esplanade, the Old Fortress, Palace of St. Michael and St. George, etc. Afterwards, you depart for Achilleion Palace, build actually from Empress Elisabeth of Austria in late 19th century. Moreover, during the whole drive in Corfu, you will mostly be along the coastline, and this is another opportunity to enjoy even more the natural wonders of Corfu.
With such an exciting first day, you will be looking forward for the other days. For dinner and overnight you will be in Corfu.
Day-2 Corfu – Gjirokastra
Waking up in the mist of the Ionian Sea in the Island of Corfu, you will depart to the port from where you enter Albania. You are heading to Gjirokastra, the stone city. Being for a long time under Ottoman occupation, Gjirokastra really got an Ottoman face, with the cobblestone, the houses in that specific architecture, the bazaar and above all, like a guardian in centuries, the castle overlooking the whole city, hometown of our ex-dictator Enver Hoxha, and Valley of Drin.
You will continue for Libohove, a small village not very far, where you will enjoy a countrside lunch with the products of the locals. Also, while in Libohove, you will have some time to mingle and discuss with locals about their way of life, their culture, their traditions and more.
In the afternoon, you will return to Gjirokastra, where afternoon will be free. You will stay in Gjirokastra for dinner and overnight.
Day-3 Gjirokastra – Permet – Korce – Pogradec – Ohrid
After the magical experience in the stone city and sorroungings, the final destination of the day is Ohrid, and the trip to Ohrid is an adventure on itself. You will pass through mountains and several natural parks. Firstly, you will head to Permet. The whole way is on the side of mountains that border Albania with Greece. Stunning natural beauty accompains you along the whole way, until you reach Permet, the so called City of Roses. Although just a small town among the mountains, Permet has it’s own concentrated attractions, such as the great rock at the center, quite a meeting point for locals. Going further north, you will reach Korca, the main city of it’s district. In Korca you will stop for lunch and also take a quick look walking along the main boulevard, where in both sides are houses of both European and Ottoman architecture, the first Albanian school, and many others, until you reach the Orthodox Cathedral.
Leaving behind Korca, you continue for Ohrid and the way is via Pogradec, passing in the Albanian shore of Lake Ohrid. Almost the same thing (but on the oposite side of the lake) is in Macedonia, where most of the way after crossing the border is along the shore of Lake Ohrid. Upon your arrival in Ohrid, you will go to the hotel for some pause. The rest of the day is free at your choice because the real exploration of Ohrid starts tomorrow.
Dinner and overnight in Ohrid.
Today you will be in Ohrid, the Jeruzalem of the Balkans. In Ohrid you will enjoy the history and traditions of this city, the beauty of the lake and will be amazed by the churches and cathedrals that are located in every narrow street in the town on the hillside. The Cathedral of Jon Caneo and the St. Sophia Church are of expeptional beauties, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Don’t forget to get also to the amphitheatre, the Robevci museum and to the Castle of Samuil.
Following the created atmosphere from the tour, you will have lunch in a traditional restaurant with fresh caught fish from the lake.
Afterwards, take another look of Ohrid with a short boat trip in St. Naum Monastery, to enjoy Ohrid and the lake from another point of view. Very close to the monastery is the place where the waters that feed Lake Ohrid enter to the lake. Finishing with this other perspective, you will return back to the city to have some free time for what is left of the afternoon.
Dinner and overnight in Ohrid.
Day-5 Ohrid – Elbasan – Tirana
After breakfast, take the last look of Ohrid while driving around it to go to the border with Albania. After passing, you will depart to Elbasan, where you will first have lunch, a traditionla lunch with the best of Central Albania. After the taste of Elbasan, it’s time to start the visit inside the castle, where you see the different layers of rocks in the walls of the castle. Afterwards, a walk among the houses with a fine preserved Ottoman architecture will bring you back a few centuries.
Leaving Elbasan, you will head for Tirana, the capital of Albania. You will take a look at the Scanderbeg Square, where our national hero stands strong like he stood agains the Ottoman invaders, sorrounded by the historical buildings of the Ministries, the Opera, the Tirana International Hotel, the National Historic Museum, Bank of Albania and Et’hem Beg Mosque. Each of these buildings are symbolic representatives of the era of their construction. Your stroll continues south along Martyrs of the National Boulevard, passing other important landmarks and ending up to Mother Theresa Square at the Polytechnic University.
Dinner and overnight in Tirana.
Day-6 Tirana – Apolonia – Vlora
Waking up in the modernity of Tirana, you will head south to Apolonia, a Greek colony of more than 2000 years ago where now stand the ruins of the old city, once in such importance and development, that Ceazar studied there.
Leaving behind the Archaeological Park, you head towards Vlora, the city of independency, the most important city of the south. Before starting, lunch is ready for you, with the best dishes of the area. Afterwards, you will start your tour with a walk around the city, visiting firstly the historical Independency Square, where the flag of Albanian independency was raised in 1912. You will also take a look at the grandious Muradie Mosque and will make your way accross the city to get to the port.
For dinner and overnight you will be in Vlora.
Day-7 Vlora – Llogara – Butrint – Saranda
This day will bring you up and down, literally, but spiritually you will be amazed in every kilometer. The journey starts with the departure to Llogara, the famous National Park of Llogara, where nature has put a special consideration for this area. The forest is probably with the purest air you’ve seen and the mountains that go 90 degrees into the sea are really breathtaking.
After getting your dose of fresh air, you will now descend the mountain range (called Thunder Mountains form ancient Greeks) and head to Saranda, once called Porto Edda from Musolini, where firstly you will have lunch in a fancy restaurant by the sea. In Saranda you will feel like in a tropical paradise; the half-horseshoe bay, the islands around, the mountains overlooking the great island of Corfu and all encompassed by a pretty nice beach with peebles that hides the modern city. After a quick look at Saranda, you will depart to Butrint. Saranda with it’s modernity is probably just as an appetizer and Butrint feels like the main dish. And so, today you depart for Butrint, where lie the ancient ruins of another Greek colony. You will surely be stunned in every turn after tree to see a new mancion, another religions spot, another wall, another piece of history. The ampitheatre is probably one of the views you will always keep in your mind.
After all what you have received today from Southern Albania, you will be in Saranda for dinner and overnight.
Day-8 Saranda – Corfu – Onwards
Your journey has come to and end. Wave goodbye to Albania and to Saranda as you leave the port heading for Corfu. There you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight back home along with numerous memories.
The largest island of Ionian Sea, Corfu, is the starting point for this exceptional trip but it is not situated only around Corfu. Just accross the Bay of Saranda you will visit this city of honeymooners and start the experience inlands with the visit of the stone city, Gjirokastra. The drive up to Ohrid is one of a kind with some of the most astonishing natural natural areas among forests and mountains. Ohrid is a completely different experience with a different atmosphere. Lake Ohrid truly seems like a blue jewel among those mountains there. But after Ohrid you will return back to continue with the Albanian experience, visiting modern cities like Tirana, the capital, visiting archaeological parks and more natural parks. Before returning to Corfu you will get all of the essence of Albania and Corfu is just the desert for the end of the tour.
Countries visiting: Greece, Albania, Macedonia
Highlights: Corfu major attractions, Seaside drives, Mountainside drives, Natural Parks, Archaeological Parks, Lake Ohrid, Ottoman Towns, etc.
Transport: Coach, ferry, boat
Accommodation: 7 nights in hotels