Pearls of the West Coast
During this tour, you will discover the pearls of the Albanian West Coast and visit six major cities, Tirana, Kruja, Durres, Gjirokaster, Sarande, Vlora. During the tour, you will visit two UNESCO sites, (The city of Gjirokaster and the archeological site of Butrint) and two proposed UNESCO sites (the ancient city of Apollonia and the amphitheater of Durres). Your road will cross other breathtaking sites and natural beauties such as the national park of Divjake-Karavasta, the Llogara national park, The Blue Eye, a breathtaking spring of water and more.
At least 15 persons required to be guaranteed.
|START OF TOUR||TIRANA|
|POI’S||Tirana, Kruja, Durres, Divjake-Karavasta, Gjirokaster, Sarande, Vlora, Apollonia, Butrint, The Blue Eye.|
This cultural tour is for people who are interested in discovering the history and experiencing the culture of a warm and incredibly hospitable country, that has not been discovered by mass tourism yet. Albania is an emerging traveling destination that has much to offer, especially when it comes to cultural sites and natural beauty. In this tour, we will bring you to some of the most interesting UNESCO world heritage sites, enjoy the beauty of the Albanian Riviera, and uncover Albania’s rich history.
Day 1: TIRANA – KRUJA
Arrival at Tirana airport. Transfer to Kruja, where we are immediately introduced to one of the most imaginative places in the country: the historic citadel and the old castle of the Albanian hero Skanderbeg. The castle has been rebuilt and furnished as a museum. On the citadel you will also find the Dolma-tekke, a shrine of the Bektashi, and in the authentic 18th-century house of the Toptani family a beautiful ethnographic museum. Even more famous is the fascinating and photogenic bazaar of Kruja, a cobblestone street with a ribbon of Albanian antiques and souvenirs. Get started now! We dine and spend the night on the citadel, in the atmospheric Merlika Hotel.
Day 2: KRUJA – DURRES – GOLEM – DIVJAKË-KARAVASTA
Day 3: DIVJAKË-KARAVASTA – ARDENICË – APOLLONIA - GJIROKASTËR
Lake Karavasta, which together with the marshland forms the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, has one of the largest populations of cruciform couples in Europe. We sail by boat around the island where they live. After this we visit the monastery of Ardenicë, a mysterious quiet place on top of a hill, where Skanderbeg married in 1451. In the old church you can still admire some dark 18th-century frescoes by the Zografi brothers. After lunch we continue our way to Apollonia, the city that was built in antiquity at the mouth of the Vjosa and was, apart from being an important port on the route between Rome and Byzantium, the center of culture and science. In the afternoon we continue to Gjirokastër, one of the most beautiful cities in Albania, where we sleep in the characteristic hotel Old Bazaar.
Day 4: GJIROKASTER
Gjirokastër means Silver city, and you understand why. Not only are the houses covered with silver-gray stones, you can also see the wealth of yesteryear in the old Ottoman houses, which look high up the hill over the valley of the Drino. The streets are steep in Gjirokaster, it is the only city, wrote Ismail Kadare, where you can end up in a gutter if you fall down drunk. Kadare was born in Gjirokastër, just like Enver Hoxha. Both their houses can be seen, that of Kadare was rebuilt after a fire and arranged as an exhibition space, in that of Hoxha the ethnographic museum is housed. In the morning we visit the impressive castle on the hill, with its Weapon Museum, in the afternoon you are free to go wherever you want. If you have not passed souvenirs in Kruja yet, then you have an optimal chance to resit at the Gjirokastër bazaar, where you will find streets full of fine artisan activity, shoulder to shoulder with a lot of characteristic restaurants.
Day 5: BLUE EYE - SARANDE
Albania has many places of great beauty and also a number of wonders of nature. On our trip to Saranda we see no fewer than two of them today. First the wonder tree of Libohovë, an age-old plane tree with a hundred cross-links already described by an enchanted Lord Byron. And then The blue eye, a place in a lake where dark blue water springs from a source that is at least fifty meters deep and surrounded by paradise-like greenery visited by many dragonfly-like butterflies. A fairytale. We arrive in Saranda towards the evening, a good time to stroll along the boulevard and eat well. The overnight stay is in the contemporary Hotel Apollon on the west side of Saranda.
Day 6: BUTRINT – SARANDE
Day 7: PORTO PALERMO - LLOGARA - VLORA
Day 8: TIRANA
We spend our last day in the bustling capital of Albania, Tirana. We reach the city in a special way, namely via Dajti, a mountain on the east side, from where you go down in the cable car, with a panoramic view of the city. You will then be taken to the hotel. We sleep in the Tirana International Hotel, a luxury hotel that has already seen many famous guests, right in the center on Skanderbeg Square. We compile the afternoon program in consultation with you. A number of possibilities: the Ethem Bey Mosque with its Bell Tower, the Historical Museum, the National Art Gallery, the oppressive Bunk Art 2, House of Leaves, where the Sigurimi lived, the entertainment district Bloggu. You will not be bored.
Day 9: TIRANA – TIRANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The day of departure, the end of the tour. We hope you had a great time and make it a party on the plane.
The impressions of our travelers are reflected in these reviews.