You start your Albanian weekend with the smooth land in Mother Theresa Airport and depart to the capital, where you will get the first impressions of what you can get from 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.
Overnight in Tirana.
Day-2 Tirana – Kruja – Shkodra
Leave the hotel and drive to the historical town of Kruja. Visit the museum of Gjergj Kastriot Scanderbeg, our national hero, who fought heroically against the ottoman invasion. Proceed to visit the Ethnographic museum, where are exposed folk dresses, objects and other things.You live Kruja by visiting the bazaar, where you will have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs, wool carpets, wooden-made objects etc. After sightseing all the spots of Kruja, you will have a delightful traditional lunch at a restaurant nearby the castle, to get a better Albanian taste. The rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure to explore other parts of Kruja.
After your experience with an old city, try another pretty old city, Shkodra. You will depart north heading to Shkodra, the most important city of northern Albania. The Rozafa Castle, with all it’s glory, history and legends, is the first landmark you should visit atop of the hill overlooking the city and the whole region. A short walk to the pedestrian street, the street of all Shkodra’s culture and famous buildings.
If all the day was not enough, you will also get to spend the night in Shkodra as you will be for dinner and overnight there.
Day-3 Shkodra – Durres – Apolonia – Berat
Meeting with your guide at the hotel lobby, you depart firstly to the ancient city of Durres, founded in 627 B.C. Today is one of the biggest towns and most important seaport in Albania. Visit the fortress of the city, the amphitheatre, and the archaeological museum. For lunch you can try the best of Albanian seafood.
After Durres, 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. But you will not stay all the time that behind in history, but for dinner and overnight you will be in Berat to start a new adventure tomorrow.
Your adventures of the day start with Berat. You will depart towards the city of a thousand and one windows, Berat. The exploration of this 2400 year old town starts of course, with the citadel, located on a hilltop overlooking the whole area. Besides quite a few landmarks inside the castle, you will go for a visit to Onufri museum, well known for it’s special style in paintings, and you will also step into a few of the many churches that Berat has.
A traditional Albanian lunch follows after the visit and then you have the afternoon free to explore for yourself what remains of Berat; the old quarters, the churches and monasteries, the river passing through the city, meeting the locals, etc.
For dinner and ovrnight you will be in Berat.
Day-5 Berat – Vlora
After the magical nights in Berat, you will depart to Vlora, the most important city of the south. There 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. Close to the port you will be for lunch in a fish restaurant, with southern Albanian cuisine.
The afternoon is free and optional is a boat trip in the Bay of Vlora.
Dinner and overnight in Vlora.
Day-6 Vlore – Llogara – 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. In Llogara you will be for lunch and will also take a walk among the trees of the forest.
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. 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 visiting the highlights of the city you will have free time in Saranda to explore it even more and will be there for dinner and overnight.
Day-7 Saranda – Butrint – Gjirokaster
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.
Lunch time will be not far from there, will be in Ksamil, right in front of three small wonders of nature, the Islets of Ksamil, the best place to digest the big chunk of history that Butrint is.
After lunch in crysal clear waters of Ionian Sea, you will depart among mountains to reach 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.
For dinner and overnight you will be in Gjirokastra.
Day-8 Tirana – Onward
After more than a week around Albania, today is the day to say goodbye until the other tour. Depending on the time of the flight, you will have some free time around Gjirokastra, before departing to Tirana and to the airport.