This is an epic tour that connects the Balkans and Asia. A 10 day tour that starts in Albania and ends in Istanbul, a tour showing the route by which the Ottomans thought of conquering Europe, a tour that has left its mark and in this tour we will visit many mosques, archaeological sites, history and today this road is one of the most famous road for tourism. Our journey will take us to the post-communist, busy and eclectic Tirana, the capital of Albania and the Ottoman-era town of Korca. We will explorer multicultural Skopje, visit the famous Ohrid Lake, the magnificent coast of the Black Sea in Burgas, Bulgaria and the beauty of Istanbul.
Itinerary and prices for Balkans and Asia Trip:
Arrive in Tirana and transfer to our hotel for a short break. The walking tour start from Skanderbeg Square, (photo stop at Skanderbeg’s Monument), National Museum (the huge mosaic on front represent the Albanian history development and the stages of this development are presented on respective pavilions) then you continue to see other important buildings: Palace of Culture, Opera House, National Library, Mosque of Ethem Bey, the Clock Tower, Tirana Castle, Parliament, Ura e Tabakeve, National Art Gallery, mean government buildings, catholic and orthodox cathedrals, the Pyramid, Prime Minister building, Palace of congresses, Mother Teresa Square, Archaeological Museum (there are presented many archaeological discoveries since the Stone Age up to the Medieval), Presidential palace, Ex-Blloku (which used to be the most beautiful and protected zone were the ex-communist leaders families lived). Visit the Cold War corner (one Bunker, part of famous Spac Political Prison, and a piece from Berlin Wall). Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we proceed to Korca. Before Korca we will stop for a short break in Pogradec, in shore of Ohrid lake and then we drive to Korca. Korca it is one of the largest and most important cultural and economic centers of Albania, located in the southeastern part of the country. The city is known for its typical quarters, composed of low houses and villas, which are paved with cobblestone. The city owns several museums such as the Education museum, The museum of Medieval Arts, Archaeological Museum, Bratko Museum etc. There are found in the city beautiful churches to be seen and XV century mosque. Enjoy some free time on your own along the “Bulevardi Republika” or visiting the Old Bazaar part of the city. Overnight in Korca.
After breakfast we drive to Ohrid, Macedonia. First stop is Drilon Park the favorite holiday place for Enver Hoxha, former communist leader one of the worst in the world who kept Albania under control for 45 years, then we pass the border entering in Macedonia and we will stop to visit Saint Naum Monastery. The monastery was established in the Bulgarian Empire in 905 by St Naum of Ohrid himself. St Naum is also buried in the church. Since the 16th century, a Greek school had functioned in the monastery. The area where the monastery of St Naum lies belonged to Albania for a short period from 1912 until June 28, 1925, when King Zog of Albania ceded it to Yugoslavia as a result of negotiations between Albania and Yugoslavia and as a gesture of goodwill. After, we proceed to Ohrid. Ohrid is a small resort city on the hilly shores of Lake Ohrid in the southwest of the Republic of Macedonia. In the city’s compact old town, medieval churches, monasteries and open-air ruins stand alongside traditional houses with red-tiled roofs. The massive walls of the centuries-old Samoil’s Fortress, at the top of the hill, dominate the city skyline. Ovenight in Ohrid.
After breakfast we drive to Skopje but first we will visit the city of Bitola. Bitola is a city in the southwestern part of North Macedonia. It is located in the southern part of the Pelagonia valley, surrounded by the Baba, Nidze and Kajmakcalan mountain ranges. The city stands at an important junction connecting the south of the Adriatic Sea region with the Aegean Sea and. It has been known since the Ottoman period as “The City of The Consuls”, since many European countries had consulates in Bitola. Bitola, known during the Ottoman Empire as Manastir/Monastir, is one of the oldest cities in North Macedonia. It was founded as Heraclea Lyncestis in the middle of the 4th century BC by Philip II of Macedon. After the highlights visit of the city of Bitola we drive to Skopje, the Capital of North Macedonia and we will do a walking sightseeing of the city and we will visit the Fortress, Old Town and the center of the city. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast we drive to the Capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The city’s landmarks reflect more than 2,000 years of history, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation. Medieval Boyana Church has 13th-century frescoes. Built by the Romans in the 4th century, St. George Rotunda Church has medieval and Ottoman decoration dating to the 10th century. Aleksander Nevski Cathedral, one of the symbols not just of Sofia but of Bulgaria itself, this massive, awe-inspiring church was built between 1882 and 1912 in memory of the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). It is named in honor of a 13th-century Russian warrior-prince. Designed by Russian architect Alexander Pomerantsev, the church was built in the neo-Byzantine style favored in Russia at the time and is adorned with mosaics and gold-laden domes. The cavernous, incense-scented interior is decorated with naturalistic (though now rather faded) murals, pendulous chandeliers and elaborate onyx and alabaster thrones. Overnight in Sofia.
After breakfast we drive to Plovdiv. Plovdiv is an ancient city built around 7 hills, in southern Bulgaria. The Regional Archaeological Museum chronicles the city’s history, with exhibits including mosaic panels, clay lamps and early coins. The Roman-era Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis, which once seated around 6,000, now hosts opera and concerts. A 3D movie at the Emperor Hadrian–era Ancient Stadium re-creates Plovdiv in the 2nd century A.D. Old Town is another attraction. Overnight in Plovdiv.
After breakfast we proceed to Burgas. Burgas is a city on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. At its heart, the Church of Saint Cyril and Methodius is known for striking stained-glass windows over its main entrance. Nearby, the Ethnographic Museum explores Bulgarian folk culture, with colorful costumes and everyday items. Along Burgas Bay is the Sea Garden, with broad promenades, performances at its Summer Theater and a viewing platform at the end of its pier. After we will visit, Atanasovsko Lake is a local favorite for its curative mud and lye, The Pier, the Sand festival, Saint Anastasia Island, Museum of Aviation. Overnight in Burgas.
After breakfast we drive to Istanbul. Istanbul is a major city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. Its Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. In the Sultanahmet district, the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome was for centuries the site of chariot races, and Egyptian obelisks also remain. The iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia features a soaring 6th-century dome and rare Christian mosaics. Overnight in Istanbul.
After breakfast transfer to the airport. End of our service.
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