This gastronomic adventure is especially designed for food and wine lovers around Albania and Kosovo. You will try a delicious cuisine influenced by the Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. Fertile climate, nearness to the sea and cooperation with the neighboring countries have had a huge impact on diversity and profusion of Albanian and Kosovo cuisine. You will visit local farms, traditional restaurants on the village, the best sea food restaurants, top wineries in Albania and Kosovo. Enjoy amazing views in Albania, sunsets over the seas, relaxing strolls through some of the most beautiful villages in Albania, stunning lake’s locations and exciting culinary adventures.
Meet at airport and transfer to Tirana where we take a driven tour of the capital’s major attractions including the colorful buildings. Welcome dinner is a traditional affair at one of the traditional restaurants in town, with a rustic setting and a first taste of Albania’s culinary delights. The cuisine of mid-Albania has strong Ottoman influences and therefore meats on charcoal grill, as well as grilled vegetables and yogurt sauces prevail. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast we drive to Prizren, Kosovo but before we stop in Rreshen for wine testing at Winery “Arberi”. Winery “ARBËRI” started its activity in 2003. The uniqueness of the production is Albanian native grape variety Kallmet. These grapes produced in an area known for its many vineyards and wine tradition of the Albanian. Manufactured in high Bukmira hills, from 400-550 m above sea level, known as the best vineyards across the province and beyond its territories. Planted in the years 1969-1972 Bukmira vineyards occupy an area of 100 h, where 60 % and 40 % is Kallmet other varieties. Bukmira vineyards to give a bouquet of pleasant aroma and sweet wine. We proceed to Prizren. 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. In afternoon we will visit Stone Castle Vineyards and Winery a hidden gem in the heart of Rahovec Valley, is a private estate that comprises more than 5552 acres of premium vineyards and land. The Winery was built in 1952 and since 2006 it has been owned and operated by the Gecaj Family. To date the company has a wine making capacity of ten to thirteen million liters a year and the capacity to process approximately 70,000 tons of wine grape annually. A big wave of investment and innovation valued over 15 million dollars has aided and advanced technological processing, professional training, revitalization of vines and much more. There is a wine cellar with storage capacity of 50.000 HI in wooden barrels, all of which make it one of the largest privately owned wineries in Europe. Stone Castle Winery has current markets in the Balkans, Germany and Switzerland, as far as Africa, and now it is excited to be in the United States market. “Stone Castle according to storage capacity and its self-owned vineyards, is one of the largest Winery’s in Europe”. Overnight in Prizren.
After breakfast we drive to Shkodra but first we will stop in Lezha city. Lezhe is a small city, located in the northwest of Albania. In Lezha we will visit the memorial tomb of Skanderbeg, Albania Natioal Hero then we travel to famous Fishta Village. Located near Lezhë, this farm-to-table restaurant and vineyard has slowly become quite the legend among food enthusiasts and for good reason. Hailed as one of the most innovative, organic, authentically Albanian restaurants, this place has is packed on a daily basis so you have to make sure and make reservations. Do not skip on any of the dishes suggested by the waiters, they are not trying to sell you more but simply trying to make you realize how amazingly delicious this food is. The appetizers are to die for: fresh cheeses, fresh pomegranate juice, locally made jams and more. The meats, the best you may have ever had. The roasted kid and lamb cooked in milk are some of the equally traditional and exotic delicacies to choose from. You can also spend the night in one of their beautiful rooms so you can turn dinner into a relaxing food and wine tour then we drive to Shkodra. Overnight in Shkodra.
After breakfast we will visit Shkodra, the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC. Visit Rozafa Castle from where spectacular views all around can be admired. Experience the supremacy the Illyrians would have feel over their enemies standing in such an imposing castle. Take a walk in the newly renovated pedestrian area of Italian and Austrian architecture, testimony to this town historic links with both these countries. Proceed to Kruja, the center of Albanian resistance against the Turks under our national hero Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Champion of Christ” given by the Pope of the time. We visit the Skanderbeg Museum, a very rich Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar where the best handmade souvenirs can be purchased. Lunch in Kruja. Then we drive to Durres and before Durres we will visit Gjergj Kastrioti “Skenderbeu Cognac” Brandy. Cognac Skënderbeg is an Albanian cognac produced and degusted for the first time on September 1, 1967 by then government-owned Kantina Skënderbeg. The alcohol is prepared and aged only in vats, tuns and barrels made by oak wood, which gives it its unique aroma, bouquet and special color. Overnight in Durres.
After breakfast we will visit Durres. Durres is one of the oldest city (founded in 627 B.C.). We take a sightseeing tour of the Amphitheater situated in the middle of the modern city in an inhabited area, and the Archaeological museum rich in arte facts found in the city and its suburbs and then we will stop at the Monastery of Ardenica, supposed to have been built in the middle ages, as argued by a stone in entrance dating back to the 1417. In fact it is said that Scanderbeg was married at the small chapel of Ardenica. Today inside the church you can admire icon paintings of 1743-1745, by Albanian artists such as Konstandin and Athanos Zografi, as well as Konstandin Shpataraku. We prodeed to Berat. Before Berat we will stop for wine testing at “Cobo Winery”. The Çobo family has a long tradition of wine production that dates back to the early 1900’s. When a communist government was established in Albania in 1945, this family tradition ceased to exist as private enterprises were not allowed under the new regime. Fortunately, these treasured traditions were kept alive in the stories and memories of elderly members of the Çobo family. Çobo winery currently produces 100,000 bottles annually, and the family has the capacity to increase production to match demand without compromising the wine’s quality. Çobo wine is quickly attracting world-wide attention and has been represented at several wine expositions. By recent events Çobo winery has had the opportunity to look towards foreign markets in Europe with the hope that it can show the world the quality of Albanian wine and ensure that their patrons enjoy drinking each bottle as much as the family enjoys its creation. Overnight in Berat.
After breakfast we visit the Castle and the Onufri Museum. Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which 7 still remain, including one turned into Onufri Museum. Onufri was an Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece. Proceed to the ancient city of Apollonia situated on the famous Via Egnatia, one of the most important cities in Roman times. Due to its fame and importance, it was known as Apollonia Prima out of 16 ancient cities built to honor Apollo. Caesar chose to send his nephew Augustus Octavian to study oratory in Apollonia revealing the importance of this ancient city. Before to Vlore we will stop at Arlindi Winery. Drive to Vlora. Overnight in Vlora.
After breakfast we will visit the city of Vlora. We visit the Independence Museum, situated in the original house where the first Independent Albanian Government had its offices. Then we proceed to Elbasan and in Elbasan we will stop at Elbasani Castle for a quick visit. Lunch in Labinot, “Fish City”. Fish city, it is not a just a restaurant, it is a dream becoming reality. The restaurant is great for small but also for large groups and any special event. The service is very good, staff is very polite and friendly. The fish and seafood are fresh and in large variety, the wine is great. Outside there is a grill-house and a pizzeria. Food is overall delicious. We have enjoyed it every time we went. For big groups they offer also marinated anchovies from the house. After this nice experience we drive to Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast, if time permitting, we will visit the National Historic Museum in Tirana offering an in-depth introduction to Albanian history from prehistoric times to the present day. We drive to the Airport. End of our Service.
Tour Itinerary: Wine Testing and Food (Albania & Kosovo)
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