Hidden Europe Tour (Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia)

Multi Day Tours 15 days Availability: 2020-06-01
Tirana, Albania Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia Tour Guide: English Language

Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, three charming and delightful countries. For years Albania was a closed society, ruled by the iron fist of Communism but since the end of the Cold War it has been showing curious travelers its many charms, while as Europe’s newest nation, Kosovo is known for its terrible war in the last years of the 20th century. This part of Europe is also blessed with incredible scenery with imposing mountains, pristine lakes and traditional villages tucked away in pretty valleys but as with many countries it is the people who leave perhaps the most lasting impression, having come through recent strife there is an overwhelming sense of optimism about the people that cannot fail to raise your spirits. Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia are some of the last frontiers of Europe, complex and fascinating destinations imbued with history.


DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION
Tirana International Airport (Google Map)

PACKAGE INFORMATION
  • Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights
  • Ages: 1 – 90
  • Type: Coach / Minibus Tour
  • Departures: May – December 2020
  • Cities Visited: Tirana. Kruja, Lezha, Shkodra, Junik, Gjakova, Prizren, Decan, Peja, Boga, Prishtina, Skopje, Tetova, Ohrid, Voskopja, Korca, Gjirokastra, Saranda, Vlora, Berat, Durres
  • Price From: 1,220 euro

INCLUDED
  • Transfers from and to Airport
  • Transport with a / c vehicle
  • All taxes
  • Accommodation in 3*-4* hotels with breakfast
  • Professional guide

NOT INCLUDED
  • Flight tickets
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Entrance fees

Discovery Highlights

  • Boga Canyon is considered one of the longest and deepest canyons in Europe and is known for its outstanding natural beauties and fascinating pastoral
  • Decani Monastery represents an exceptional synthesis of Byzantine and Western medieval traditions
  • Beautiful Lake Ohrid is most known for the quaint little town of Ohrid in Macedonia
  • Butrint is spectacular archaeological site and the National Park of Albania
  • Albania’s rugged coastline, with traditional villages nestled in isolated bays and golden beaches lapped by turquoise waters
  • Tetovo’s beautiful Painted Mosque is like something out of the Arabian Tales and quite unique in the Balkans
  • Fortified tower houses provided security during the unstable decline of Ottoman rule, particularly for the rural Albanian population of this borderland between Kosovo and Albania.

Hidden Europe Tour (Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia)

Prices for Hidden Europe Tour (Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia :

  • 1220 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 6 participants
  • 1640 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 4 participants
  • 2900 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 2 participants
  • Single supplement – 160 Euro. (Single rooms will usually be double or twin for single use)
Day 1: Arrival in Albania – Tirana (20 km)

Airport pick-up. Depending on your arrival time you may want to enjoy a stroll around the city of Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.

Day 2: Tirana – Kruja – Lezha – Shkodra (125 km)

After breakfast we start the day exploring Albania’s capital. We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. We then head to Kruja, one of Albania’s most important towns due to the part it played in resistance against the Ottomans. Visit the Skanderbeg Museum and castle as well as the old bazaar. Later we continue to Lezha in the north west of the country where we visit the mausoleum of Skanderbeg and the castle before heading to Shkoder. Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and was once a capital of the Illyrian state. We visit its old bazaar, cathedral and mosque before heading to Rozafa castle for spectacular views of the city, lake and the surrounding mountains. Overnight in Shkodra.

Day 3: Shkodra – Koman Lake – Junik – Gjakova – Prizren (110 km)

After breakfast we journey from Shkoder to Koman Lake. The 2 hour trip on Lake Komani was called “One of the Great Boat Trips of the World”. The Drin River was flooded along part of its most mountainous passage to create the lakes in this region. The journey takes you along glassy clear water, twisting and turning through narrow passes and past silent mountain peaks.
We cross the border into Kosovo and drive to Junik where we visit the famous Kullat e Junikut (Junik Tower). The towers are castle-like houses with a special architecture built in white rock, where Albanians have for centuries sheltered to survive wars and conflicts. Then continue to Gjakova which lies on the banks of the River Erenik. Visit its main sites including the old bazaar, clock tower and then continue to the city of Prizren, probably the most attractive town in Kosovo with superbly preserved buildings from the Ottoman era. We visit the castle which is one of the oldest in the Balkans (almost 3 millenniums), built to protect the city from attacks, the ornate Bajrakli Mosque and the old Turkish Hammam among other sights. Prizren is an absolute highlight of any visit to Kosovo and to see the old houses of the old town in low light as the sun sets is a delight. Overnight in Prizren.

Day 4: Prizren – Decan Monastery – Peja – Boga (225 km)

After breakfast we continue to the Monastery of Decan (UNESCO). The medieval church houses some of the most preserved fresco decoration in the Balkans and the grounds are also a delight. After arrival in to Peje we explore the Ottoman Empire time sites of the town including the Haxhi Beut Mosque and the old house of Jashar Pasha as well as the Sheremet Tower and the old bazaar. We continue to Boge, where we have a short stop at Patriarchana of Peja (13th Century) part of (UNESCO) sites in the Rugova Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in the region. On arrival at the hotel you will have the chance to take a walk amidst impressive scenery, and possibility for walking. Overnight in Boga.

Day 5: Boga – Prishtina (235 km)

After breakfast we drive to Pristina. Explore the city visiting its main sites such as the Orthodox Church and the Carshi Mosque, dating back to the early 15th century. Later we visit the spectacular Gracanica Monastery, one of Kosovo’s most beautiful sites and containing some impressive frescoes. Overnight in Prishtina.

Day 6: Prishtina – Skopje (95 km)

After Breakfast we continue to Macedonia stopping first at Gadime Cave. We cross the border and head to its capital Skopje. Upon arrival we visit some of the most important parts of the town, including the old Ottoman market, the monastery of Sveti Spas and the ancient Kale Fortress which dates back to Illyrian and Roman times. Overnight in Skopje.

Day 7: Skopje – Tetova – Ohrid (180 km)

After breakfast continue to Mavrovo National Park, the biggest in Macedonia covering 73,000 hectares. We follow the Radika River along the way and stop at monasteries and churches en route. Then drive to the beautiful town of Ohrid, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its mixture of western and oriental architecture including the Orthodox Cathedral, the 11th century church of St Sofia as well as the Roman amphitheater. Overnight in Ohrid.

Day 8: Ohrid

Leisure day in Ohrid. (Optional boat tour in Ohrid lake). Overnight in Ohrid.

Day 9: Ohrid – Voskopoja – Korca (115 km)

Before we cross back into Albania, we visit the Sveti Naum Monastery, a beautiful site with impressive views of Lake Ohrid across to Albania. Then continue to the ancient village of Voskopoja very famous for its monasteries, and sits 1,150 meters above sea-level and is a perfect place for hiking and walking. Visit to original 18th century Orthodox churches, complete with frescoes (to include: St. Nicholas, St. Thanasius, and St. Maria) Visit the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (Shen Prodhom), with an original structure from the 15th century. After lunch continue to the historic town of Korce. Visit to the Museum of Medieval Art with the richest icon archive in all Europe; The First Albanian School; Traditional Old Bazaar; Cathedral(1992); Mosque of Ilyaz Bey Mirahori (1484), and The Old Bazaar. Overnight in Korca.

Day 10: Korca – Gjirokastra (UNESCO) (220 km)

After breakfast we will visit the historic town of Korce. We then take an amazing drive though spectacular scenery to Gjirokastra. At Gjirokastra we visit the local museum, housed in the building in which the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha was born, as well as the pre-Ottoman era citadel which affords spectacular views and houses an impressive range of artillery and also bizarrely a reconnaissance US Air Force plane that was forced to land after losing its way in the 1950’s. Gjirokastra is a pretty town with traditional houses and cobbled streets spilling down the sides of the mountain. Overnight in Gjirokaster.

Day 11: Gjirokastra (UNESCO) – Butrint (UNESCO) – Saranda (115 km)

After breakfast we drive to Saranda but first we shall enjoy a short stop at Syri i Kalter (Blue Eye National park). Visit the ancient city of Butrint, Albania’s most important archaeological site and given special status by UNESCO. Spend time exploring this impressive site with the added bonus of it being situated in a beautiful natural setting. The walls, basilica, acropolis and theatre at Butrint are truly impressive. We then drive to Saranda on the coast. Overnight in Saranda.

Day 12: Saranda – Vlora (130 km)

After breakfast we drive along a stunning coastline, stopping at Porto Palermo to visit the castle of Ali Pasha on the way. Drive through mountains over the Llogara Pass (1020m above sea level) and continue to Vlora, on the ‘Albanian Riviera’. Tonight you will enjoy a delicious fish dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Overnight in Vlora.

Day 13: Vlora – Apollonia – Berat (UNESCO) (90 km)

After breakfast we visit the ancient city of Apollonia, dating back to the 6th century BC. We then drive to Berat, one of the oldest inhabited regions of Albania and with a superbly preserved historic center that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit its citadel which contains old churches, mosques and museums. Overnight in Berat.

Day 14: Berat (UNESCO) – Durres – Tirana (130 km)

After breakfast drive to Durres. This port city has the largest Roman amphitheater (20,000 seats) in the Balkan region, dating back to the beginning of 2nd century which we will visit and Archaeological museum. Drive back to Tirana for our final night where you will enjoy a farewell dinner with traditional food. Overnight in Tirana.

Day 15: Tirana – Tirana Airport (20 km)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. End of our service.

 

 

 

TOUR ITINERARY: TIRANA AIRPORT - TIRANA - KRUJA - LEZHA - SHKODRA - KOMAN LAKE - JUNIK - GJAKOVA - PRIZREN - DECAN MONASTERY - PEJA - BOGA - PRISHTINE - SKOPJE - TETOVA - OHRID - VOSKOPOJA - KORCA - GJIROKASTRA - BUTRINT - SARANDA - VLORA - APOLLONIA - BERAT - DURRES - TIRANE - TIRANA AIRPORT.

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