April-June
Dates
15 days
Duration

Albania is a small mountainous Balkan country of surprising natural beauty, dating back to pre-Illyrian times. With a long and complex history, a wealth of culture and tradition, and ancient archaeological sites, this country is a must see.

Located in the western Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, bordering Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece, Albania is truly a unique and authentic place.

A lot of things have changed since its 50 years of communist isolation, however, there’s always something to discover. You’ll continue to find beautiful pristine beaches on parts of the Ionian coast, such as Ksamil, Saranda, and Vlora; enchanting classical sites like ancient Apolonia, Butrint, Berat, & Gjirokaster, and interesting mountain villages such as Voskopoja.

 

START OF TOUR TIRANA
POI’S Kruja – Lezha – Shkoder – Tirana – Elbasan – Pogradec – Korça – Gjirokaster – Saranda – Himara – Vlora – Berat – Apolonia – Ardenica – Durres – Tirana
DURATION 15 DAYS
WEAR Comfortable shoes.
INCLUDED
Airfare Airport Transferes
Professional guide Transportation in mini-coach
All meals
free time Transportation in mini-coach
free time Transportation in mini-coach
NOT INCLUDED
Personal spending Personal spending
Guide gratuity Personal spending

From north-to-south, east-to-west, take an extended fourteen-day tour of Albania, and discover a fascinating history, unique culture and beautiful landscapes, from mountains to sea.

Highlights

  • Visit historic castles, churches, and mosques.
  • Traditional, regional local food, and drink.
  • Visit old bazaars and ethnographic museums.
  • Visit charming characteristic villages.
  • Experience both Ionian and Adriatic coasts.
  • Discover the last to fall communistic country of Europe.

Route
Kruja – Lezha – Shkoder – Tirana – Elbasan – Pogradec – Korça – Gjirokaster – Saranda – Himara – Vlora – Berat – Apolonia – Ardenica – Durres – Tirana

1

Day 1: TIRANA – KRUJA

  • Arrival at Mother Theresa airport
  • Meet tour guide
  • Departure to Kruja
  • Visit the monument of Skanderbeg
  • Tour Skanderbeg Castle
  • Visit Kruja Historical & Ethnographical Museums
  • Visit the Bazar
  • Accommodation at 3-star hotel.
2

Day 2: LEZHA-SHKODER

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Departure to Shkoder
  • See Skanderbeg’s Tomb in Lezha (Lisus)
  • Arrival in Shkoder (from the 4th Cent. B.C.), capital of the Illyrian tribe
  • Walking tour of main attractions in the city
  • Lunch by the lake
  • Visit Rozafa Castle surrounded by Drini and Buna rivers
  • Dinner at a traditional restaurant
  • Overnight in Shkoder, accommodation at a three-star hotel. Rozafa Castle – Mesi Bridge (18th Cent.) – Museum of History – Museum of Education – Gallery of Arts – Shkoder Characteristic houses – Mosque of Lead – Marubi Collection Gallery.
3

Day 3: TIRANA

  • Breakfast at hotel & departure to Tirana
  • Accommodation at a four-star hotel
  • Tirana walking tour
  • Lunch on Dajti mountain, enjoying the panoramic view of Tirana
  • Afternoon shopping
  • Dinner in Tirana
  • Evening free (recommendation: pubs, jazz music, etc.)

Historical Museum – Skanderbeg Square – Clock Tower (1830) – Ethem Bey’s Mosque (1798-1823) – Tabak’s Bridge (1st half of 19th cent.) – Town Hall & Ministries – Pyramid – Catholic & Orthodox churches – Mother Teresa Monument. 

4

Day 4: ELBASAN-POGRADEC

  • Departure to Elbasan
  • Visit Elbasan Castle
  • Continue south to Pogradec
  • A short stop at this route to visit remains of Via Egnatia (145 B.C.)
  • Lunch at a small restaurant by Shkumbini river
  • Arrival in Pogradec and visit to water springs of Drilon
  • Dinner by lake Ohrid, taste the famous “koran” fish
  • Accommodation at three-star hotel & overnight in Pogradec.
5

Day 5: KORÇA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Departure to Korça—“city of serenades”
  • Accommodation at a three-star hotel
  • Walking tour of the city
  • Lunch of traditional Korça food
  • Restaurant dinner with live music and famous Korça serenades

Museum of Medieval Art – Archeological Museum – Education Museum – Vangjush Mio Museum (1891-1957 – Sotiri Studio (1883-1970) – Traditional Market – Cathedral “Christ Resurrection” (1992) – Mosque of Ilyaz Bey Mirahori (1484) – Tomb of Kamenica (3000 B.C.)

6

Day 6: VOSKOPOJA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Departure to Voskopoja village (14th Cent. name, Moskopoli)
  • Visit Voskopoja churches and Monastery
  • Lunch at a traditional restaurant
  • Travel back to Korça
  • Dinner at hotel and overnight in Korça

St. Mihali church (1726) – St. Athanasi church (1724) – St. Ilias church – St. Marias church – St. Kolli church (best Byzantine fresco paintings in the area) – St. Prodhom Monastery.

7

Day 7: GJIROKASTER

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Departure to Erseka
  • Lunch at a restaurant in the rural area of Germenj
  • Coffee break at Viroi water source
  • Arrival in Gjirokastra – “the city of stone”
  • Accommodation at a three-star hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra

Argjiro Castle – Arms Museum – characteristic houses – Qafa e Pazarit (Bazar) – Water source of Viroi.

8

Day 8: SARANDA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit Argjiro Castle (12th Cent.) & the Arms Museum
  • Departure to Saranda (Forty Saints)
  • During the route, we visit the Blue Eye spring
  • During the route, we visit Mesopotam Church (13th Cent.)
  • Arrival in Saranda, accommodation at a three-star hotel
  • Lunch at a restaurant by the sea
  • Afternoon free for shopping/walking around
  • Dinner and overnight in Saranda

Forty Saints – Ksamili’s Islands – Likurs Castle (14th Cent.) – Archeological sites of Finiqi & Butrint – Blue Eye spring – Mesopotamian Church.

9

Day 9: BUTRINT & KSAMIL

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit the ancient city of Butrint (4th Cent. B.C.), protected by UNESCO
  • Lunch in Ksamil, enjoying the panoramic view of the islands
  • Visit Likurs Castle (14th Cent.), to enjoy the spectacular sunset
  • Dinner at a fish restaurant in Saranda
  • Overnight in Saranda

Amphitheatre (5000 seats) – Asclepius temple (dedicated to the god of medicine) – Ancient walls and the gates of the city – Palaeochristian Baptistery (the biggest in Balkans) – Roman public baths – Palaeochristian Basilica (4th Cent. A.D.) – Archeological Museum.

10

Day 10: HIMARA-VLORA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Departure to Albanian Riviera (southern coast – approx. 100 km)
  • Visit Ali Pasha’s Castle in Porto Palermo bay
  • Lunch in Himara by the sea
  • Coffee break at Llogara National Park
  • Arrival in Vlora, and accommodation at a three-star hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Vlora

National Park of Llogara – charming characteristic villages of southern coast – Porto Palermo Bay – Ali Pasha’s Castle – Panoramic views of untouched beaches – Albanian Riviera

11

Day 11: VLORA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visits to the main tourist attractions of Vlora
  • Lunch by the sea
  • Afternoon free for shopping
  • Dinner and overnight in Vlora

Kanina Castle – Kuz Babà – Historical Museum – Ethnographic Museum – Riviera, “Cold Water” – Orikum (4th C.B.C) – Marmiroi Church (13th Cent.) – Tragjas village – Zvërnec – Monastery, St. Mary Church (13th Cent.)

12

Day 12: APOLLONIA-BERAT

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Departure to Apolonia, Fier
  • Visit the archeological site of Apolonia (established 588 B.C.)
  • Departure to Berat
  • Accommodation at a three-star hotel in Berat
  • Dinner at a characteristic restaurant in the Berat castle
  • Overnight in Berat.
13

Day 13: BERAT-DURRES

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visits to the main tourist attractions of Berat
  • Lunch at one of the characteristic restaurants of the castle
  • Afternoon departure to Durres (the ancient name “Epidamnus” or “Dyrrahium”)
  • En route visit to the Monastery of Ardenica
  • Arrival in Durres, and accommodation at a three-star hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Durres

Berat Castle (3rd C.A.D.) – Mangalem quarter – St. Mary Church (13th Cent.) Onufri Muzeum – St. Trinity Church – Ethnographic Museum – King Mosque – Mosque of Lead – Berat Bridge.

14

Day 14: TIRANA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit the main tourist attractions of Durres
  • Departure to Tirana
  • En route lunch in Preza village
  • Accommodation at a hotel in Tirana
  • Afternoon free in Tirana for shopping/walking around
  • Dinner with Tirana’s characteristic food and live music
  • Visit Sky Tower bar to enjoy Tirana by night
  • Overnight in Tirana.
15

Day 15: DEPARTURE DAY

  • Breakfast at Hotel
  • Departure to Mother Theresa Airport.

Travel documents

International passport:

We advise you to travel with an international passport that is valid for at least six months on your return journey.

Visa:

Dutch or Belgian travelers do not need a visa for visiting Albania.

If you have another nationality please check the website of our partner Visumloket.nl. There you will find all the information about the required travel documents, such as passport and visa.

 You will also find information about the visa procedure and required forms. Submit your application at Visumloket at least 4 to 6 weeks before the departure of your trip.

If you choose to arrange your visa through our Visa counter, we will charge € 35.00 mediation costs per person per visa in addition to the visa costs.

Travelers who do not have Dutch or Belgian nationality must contact the relevant embassy (s) and arrange their visa.

Passengers traveling with children must inform themselves at the relevant embassy about any additional admission requirements.

What are the popular drinks?

Albanians love coffee as the English love tea. They have a whole ceremony around it.  It’s the preferred moment to think the day through. The Albanians have taken over the Turkish way of making coffee from the Turks. The finely ground coffee, together with sugar and water, is cooked until it foams. But this is not the only way they drink it. Espresso is serverd almost everywhere. The younger generation prefers cappuccino and latte as well. They have taken over the Greek way of drinking coffee too, by ordering Frappes during the hot summer months. In addition to coffee, a lot of tea is drunk, especially the Albanian mountain tea. The original Albanian mountain tea grows indeed in the mountains and is picked by hand. The tea has a fresh taste and is very healthy. It is organic, soothing and decaffeinated.

The Albanian wines come mainly from the area of Korçë, Berat, Permet, and Shkodër. This wine is also for sale in supermarkets. The traditional alcoholic drink from Albania is raki. Many Albanians make it themselves from grapes or prunes. Albanians drink a lot of beer too, next to raki and wine.

Do I need a world plug?

No. Not for Dutch, Belgian of German travelers.

We refer you to the following website where you can see what you need and check for yourself too. http://www.wereldstopcontacten.nl/

How are the roads in Albania?

In principle, the roads in Albania are perfectly commendable. However, some roads could take longer than you are used to, despite the minimum number of kilometers, so the ride can still take a few hours. 

Is wi-fi available in the hotels?

Yes, Wi-Fi is available in most hotels (and also in many restaurants).

Can I travel best with a suitcase or travel bag?

We recommend traveling with a travel bag or a soft case. That can be a backpack, but also a travel bag on wheels. Please do not travel with a hard-shell case, because it is difficult to transport. We also recommend limiting the weight to 15 kg for your travel comfort.

Can I pay or do I have to bring cash?

Yes, but not everywhere.

In Albania, the currency is LEK. The easiest way is to pin this on the spot, but because Albania is outside of the EU, your bank can charge you extra costs. So, check what the costs are. Another thing is that paying by credit card is not possible at small shops or bazaars. You will need to exchange your euros to LEK. We advise 150-200 euros as pocket money which is best exchanged at banks or exchange offices. At hotels you generally get a slightly worse rate than at banks and exchange offices.

What is the best travel time?

Albania has a Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry, winters are mild and wet. The higher you come the more variation there is. From May to October you can swim in the sea with water temperatures of about 23 C. On the coast there are 270 to 300 sunny days. There is always a refreshing breeze in the vicinity of the sea. In the high mountains in the north and east of the country, there is a chance of snow from November to March.

The best travel time for Albania is spring. Then the apple and cherry trees are in full bloom and many flowers decorate the landscape. The early autumn (September and October) is also a pleasant journey time.

How do we travel through Albania?

During our trip, we use our own (mini) bus. Having your own bus has many advantages in Albania. Many attractions are far from the usual routes and could hardly be visited by public transport.

What do they eat in Albania?

Albanians themselves do not take a full breakfast. They often limit themselves to a cup of strong coffee. For their guests, they usually make a full breakfast with eggs, bread, fruit, cold cuts, kos (a type of yogurt), feta cheese and coffee. In the afternoon there is extensive lunch, usually a hot meal with meat or fish. And in the evening, at about 9:00 a.m., another warm meal.

In addition, snacks are available at food stalls such as byrek, puff pastry with feta cheese, onion, meat, and spinach. You have round byrek and triangular byrek. And there is qofte (mince meatballs) and pita (a puff pastry).

In the larger towns, you also have Greek and Italian (pizza) restaurants next to Albanian ones. In the countryside you should not be surprised if you are asked if you are hungry. The table is always richly covered with fresh meat or fish, potatoes or rice, salad, cheese, eggs, vegetables, and bread. After the meal, there is – for the good digestion – a glass of raki, also with the Muslims. That raki is even drunk early in the morning.

What kind of ingredients are used in Albanian cuisine?

Albanian cuisine uses various vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, onions, pickles, aubergines, courgettes, and olives. In the winter months, there is cabbage and carrots. As far as meat is concerned, there is sheep and goat meat. That is roasted or grilled. The intestines (heart, liver, kidneys, brains) are also loved. If you stop at eateries along the way, you can get pilaf (rice with meat sauce) or roasted kebab. The kebab can be lamb, pork or beef.

Fish is everywhere and served fresh. You have trout in small rivers. The specialty of Shkodër is carp. Along the coast, you have all kinds of fish such as perch, bream, and hake.

What are the few typical Albanian dishes?

Albanian lamb is prepared with butter, eggs, yogurt, flour, parsley, and dill. Përshesh was originally a poor meat dish, but nowadays one of the top dishes of, for example, the King’s Park Hotel. Old bread is mixed with egg, salt, and oil. Then the meat broth is added. It is completely absorbed by the bread. This is served with white wine. A special treat is salce kosi, made from thick home-made yogurt. Other desserts are halva (a sweet pastry), xupa (similar to pudding) or sheqerpare (traditional biscuts in syrup).

What is the time difference with the Netherlands?

There is no time difference

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