This Albania is a 8 days cultural tour around this highly underrated Mediterranean country which is packed with Byzantine and Roman history, just as its neighboring Greece is, and yet so much further off the cultural tourist’s radar. As well as its ancient civilizations, architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Albania also has its own Alps, known as the Accursed Mountains, with remote villages bearing little change since times when blood feuds were the norm and small family farms tucked into exquisite valleys still are.
The tour starts at Saranda Port where you will be met by the local guide who will escort you in Albania throughout the trip. Travel to Gjirokastra, listed in the Unesco Heritage Sites. On the way we will make a short break to the Blue Eye water springs. In Gjirokastra we visit the castle of Gjirokastra and Ethnographic Museum. The journey continues to Permet called as well as the city of roses, through the beautiful Kelcyra canyon. Overnight in Përmet.
After breakfast we drive to Korca city but first we travel through Ersekë and the Gërmenj Park were will do some rest stops. In the afternoon we reach Korçë where we visit the city center. Korça is southern Albania’s intellectual center and a town with a proud cultural heritage. It’s an exceptionally pleasant and well-cared-for place by Albanian standards; recent efforts at urban renewal have made this even more so, with a showcase pedestrian avenue linking the town’s main square to its rebuilt Orthodox cathedral. The main reason to come here is to visit the town’s excellent Museum of Medieval Art, but even though there’s little to keep you here for much longer, many visitors are charmed by this characterful, green place, with a friendly population and some gorgeous countryside nearby. Overnight in Korca.
After breakfast we travel toward Elbasan and visit the medieval castle dating back to the 15th century. There we visit the castle, King Mosque and Saint Mary church. After the visit we travel to Tirana where upon arrival we visit the Scanderbeg square, Et’hem Bey Mosque, National History Museum and the Boulevard. Overnight in Tirana,
After breakfast in we visit Kruja, the castle and Scanderbeg Museum. Kruja was the most important town for the Albanians during the 15th century which withstood successfully to at least 3 major sieges by the Ottoman Empire. The museum we will visit, is dedicated to the Albanian medieval hero Gjergj Kastrioti or ‘Scanderbeg’. He is considered the most important figure for all the Albanians wherever they live. After we drive to Berat, a city protected by UNESCO. This is one of the oldest cities and the pride of Albanian architecture. The three major neighborhoods of the old city are Mangalemi, Gorica, and the Kala where the castle itself is located. We will start our tour with the castle area. Visiting the ‘Castle’ involves a steep walk up a cobbled path, but those who make it to the top will be rewarded with a fine view of the surrounding area. You will visit the Museum of Iconography ‘Onufri’ which bears the name of the renowned fresco and icon-painter Onufri, who has left a rich inheritance. This museum is located within the cathedral of St. Mary’s Assumption. Next day we will visit the rest of the city of Berat. Overnight in Berat.
After breakfast we will visit the rest of the city of Berat. We will visit the Red Mosque, recognized by its lonely minaret and St. Trinity Church. After the fortress you will visit the Mangalemi quarter and the National Ethnographic Museum. This museum is located in one of the most characteristic and interesting houses of the town, a rich assemblage of traditional objects (more than 1000) and is one of the greatest examples of Berat’s long history and culture. Across the Osumi River lies the Gorica neighborhood, whose houses face those of Mangalemi. The arched bridge of Gorica, built in 1780, is a beautiful architectural monument constructed to link Gorica with Mangelemi. We continue traveling to Ardenica monastery, the place where our National Hero Scanderbeg was married in the 15th century. Next stop is Vlora where we learn about the important role it played in 1912 as the city of Albanian Independence from the Ottoman Empire. In the afternoon we reach the National Park of Llogara were will be accommodated. Overnight in Llogara.
After breakfast we travel along the Albanian Riviera, a hidden gem in the Ionian Coast. As we go through we will stop to along the way and visit the Castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena. The castle has a beautiful strategic location along the coast. Reconstructed by a prominent Albanian ruler of Southern Albania and Northern Greece during the 18-19 century it served as a residential area and a fort for a long time. We continue toward the picturesque village of Borsh. After this relaxing time we head to the city of Saranda. Overnight in Saranda.
After breakfast we visit National Park of Butrint (UNESCO). The first Albanian site to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage was Butrint, in 1992. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was a part of the Greek and Roman colonies. In the years 1926-1936 the Italian archeologist Luigi Ugolini led excavations in southern Albania, focusing his work in Butrint and Finiq, where he discovered the baptistery, the theater, the basilica, the public baths, the gymnasium , the temple to Minerva , Skea gate and Lion gate of the ancient walls and castle , many houses, and a great number of objects and sand statues of inestimable value. The most extraordinary objects discovered in the theater of Butrint are the statue of Apollo, the goddess of Butrint, the marble heads of Zeus, the portrait of Agrippina, the head of Livia and many Latin and Greek epigraphs. Parts of the city were rebuilt during the fifth century B.C. Other monuments of Butrint are the castle of Vivari channel constructed during Ali Pashe Tepelena time , the triangle castle also constructed by him and the Venetian tower constructed in the time when Venetians controlled the access to this area. Then we will visit Ksamil Beach. The coastline around Ksamil is unusually attractive. Blessed with three small, dreamy islands (sadly, one of which is being quarried for construction material) within swimming distance of shore and dozens of pretty cove beaches, Ksamil is the kind of place where you can happily while away many sun-drenched days. Then back to Saranda. Overnight in Saranda.
After breakfast we drop off at Saranda Port. End of our service.
Tour Itinerary: From Corfu to Albania Adventure
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