Unleash your wild side in Europe’s untamable Balkan Peninsula. You’ll be enthralled by the cobbled castle lanes, satiated by strange, exotic cuisine, and pushed to your party limits in the offbeat capitals of Podgorica and Tirana. On this gorgeous 9-days adventure you’ll venture so far from the beaten track you won’t remember what a track even looks like. These are lands where the mountains loom on high and the sun rarely reins in its pulsing rays. These are the lands for you. We spend 9 days exploring, Montenegro, Albania, North of Greece. We visit Podgorica, Budva, Kotor, Shkodra, Tirana, Berat, Gjirokastra, Saranda, Ioannina, Meteora, Thessaloniki.
Arrival at the airport of Podgorica and transfer to the coastal town of Budva. The biggest resort town in Montenegro. It is called the ‘Montenegrin Miami’ because of its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. Budva has 17 incredible beaches, and its coast is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. We will spend here the first 2 nights in Montenegro. Overnight in Budva.
This morning we visit Perast the most picturesque baroque town on the whole Adriatic coast, after the drive through the panoramic road overlooking the Boka Bay. Arriving in Perast, we take a boat tour and reach the artificial island, built in the 15th century. We are going to visit the Church of Our Lady of the Rock (sanctuary of sailors of the old times), and the museum built on the island. The Church is a shrine and a treasury which houses the biggest world collection of the silver votive tablets. We then make a comfort stop at the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Kotor. The old port of Kotor is surrounded by fortifications built during the Venetian period, and is a picturesque Mediterranean landscape. Visit the old town and the Cathedral of St Thryphon. In the afternoon return to Budva. Overnight in Budva.
After breakfast we continue towards the northern city of Albania – Shkodra. Shkodra is the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC. Walk to the Castle enjoy the view of the city from the Castle of Rozafa a mysterious structure, surrounded in legends and mysticism. Lunch with traditional menu in a local restaurant in Shkodra. Then we will drive to the capital of Albania. Afternoon walking tour of Tirana city center, passing by Skanderberg Square, the Clock Tower, Et´hem Bey Mosque, the bazaar, the ruins of Tirana castle and the quarter of ex blloku. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we will drive to Berat,. Berat is the pride of Albanian antiquity and architecture and forms a wonderful combination of eastern and western cultures, costumes and traditions. The architecture of the old houses, with large windows that overlook the town, is the first think that impresses the visitors. Arriving Berat, we enjoy lunch in the city before starting the tour. First stop: the Citadel. It overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across the river. The citadel can be reached by a steep road and is still inhabited. Inside the walls, you can visit ruined mosques and several medieval Orthodox churches, all intact and with restored frescoes and icons. Onufri National Museum is located in the inner part of “Saint Mary Church” in Castle of Berat. This Museum offers a collection of 173 belonging to the found of Albanian Churches and Monasteries. Afternoon visit of a local winery for degustation of local wines and snacks. Overnight in Berat.
After breakfast we will drive to another UNESCO city, Gjirokastra. We will visit the old 13th century Fortress, which dominates the city and the valley, offering panoramic views. Gjirokastra, a UNESCO town, is known for its architecture as the “stone city”, for the rich history and also the delicious local cuisine. We will visit the old town, exploring the Ottoman neighborhoods, the narrow stone streets and the small shops of artisan products. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
After the breakfast we proceed to Saranda. Along the way we stop for refreshment at the natural park of Blue Eye. It is a water spring surrounded by palm trees, wild ferns and tropical plants, as well as dense, mountainous forest vegetation.
Further we visit the ancient city of Butrint, an UNESCO world heritage site.
The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of different civilizations, making it an important discovery in the Mediterranean, rich in ancient sites. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation, offering visitors more than just old ruins. In the afternoon, we spend time in the coastal town of Saranda, where we can stop for refreshments or for a relaxing walk by the seaside. Overnight in Saranda.
After breakfast, we continue to Greece. First stop in Ioaninna for city tour. Ioannina’s largest city and capital of Epirus, rises majestically above Lake Pamvotida, 500 meters above sea level. The effervescence of its urban life, the landscapes that surround it and the monuments and historical sites that it houses; are the components that makes Ioannina of the most important tourist destinations in Greece. We pass through the historic central square and the fortress. Afterward, we continued on our way to Meteora. Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. Overnight in Meteora.
After breakfast we will drive to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece after Athens. Thessaloniki is attractive not only with its magnificent beaches, but also a rich historical heritage. The history of the city spans over 23 centuries, and each era has left its symbolic and remarkable places. We start the visit of the city of Thessaloniki passing by the main sites of tourist interest such as the White Tower, the Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios, the upper town and its ramparts, the Arch of Galerius, the Rotunda and the vibrant city center. Visit of the archaeological museum. We will pass through two open-air markets, where locals buy fresh fruit and vegetables. We will stop at Athonos Square, where there are many small authentic Greek taverns. Overnight in Thessaloniki.
After breakfast we will drive to the airport. End of our service.
Tour Itinerary: Travel to Montenegro, Albania, North of Greece
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