Albania, also known as "The Last Secret of Europe" or "Pearl of the Balkans" is a country with many assets : fantastic scenery, an unspoiled environment, turquoise blue seas, a rich past and friendly locals.
During this journey you will visit the must –sees like: the capital, the beautiful Lake of Ohrid and its surroundings before spending some time on the Albanian Riviera. You'll discover the Albanian culture through its history, its towns, its sites and its local products.
One all – out trip, perfect if you want to travel everywhere to Albania, discover its history, culture and meet the locals.
Arrival in Tirana
Once arrived at the airport, an Ecotour Albania agent will be there waiting to take you to your hotel.
We will start your discovery of Albania with a visit of the capital!
A city since 1614 and the capital of Albania since 1920, Tirana is the country's main cultural hub. You will be able to discover a city famous for the colourful facades of its buildings and the harmony between the various religions in the country.
The visit of the National Museum located on Skanderbeg Square will be a nice introduction to the rich Albanian history!
Close to this square, we will be able to see the mosque "Et'hem Bey", which has been preserved even during the communist era for its historical value, the opera, the clock tower and the palace of culture. We then discover the superb Orthodox Cathedral as well as the Catholic Cathedral.
You will also see the pyramid (the Museum of the former dictator, Enver Hoxha) and, weather permitting, you will take a walk in the park of the Artificial Lake of Tirana.
In the evening, we recommend you to enjoy the night life of the capital in the district of Blok: Once reserved to the communist nomenclature is now a trendy neighborhood and the place where you can have a drink or find a nice restaurant to relax after your first day.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Tirana.
The towns of Kruja and Shkodra
Then we will go up north, in the town of Kruja, located less than an hour away from Tirana. Kruja is known as the hometown of Skanderbeg, a 15th century Albanian leader, considered as our national hero for his fight against the Ottoman Empire. We will have the opportunity to learn more about this great leader by visiting the museum which was named after him, “Skanderbeg Museum”.The ethnographic museum is also an opportunity to discover the local culture, lifestyle and family traditions. Finally, we can have a stroll between the stalls of the old market located on a charming square with cobbled streets : ideal to pick some souvenirs !
We will then go to Shkodra, on the border with Montenegro. This town is the symbol of harmony between all the coexisting religions in Albania. You will see some Catholic, Orthodox Muslim and Bektashi monuments. We will visit the Marubi National Phototheque where the largest collection of photos in the Balkans can be found, providing valuable information about how people lived in the past.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Shkodra.
Elbasan and Tushemisht
We will then head down south towards Lake Ohrid.
Our first stop will be in the town of Elbasan.
Once a very prosperous city known for its handcrafts, the town has retained its historical centre with its cobbled streets. During the antique times, Elbasan was an important city, a stopover town on the Via Egnatia road that connected Rome to Constantinople. You will also see the ancient fortress, some beautiful houses and one of the oldest mosques in the country, testimonials of the Ottoman Empire domination.
The town is also known as "Llibasan", meaning "powerful place."
We will then carry on to Tushemisht.
A small village on the shore of Lake Ohrid. This place served as a natural setting for the filming of some of the greatest movies of our country. The decor is so rich and varied that Unesco has added this lake (one of the oldest in the world) to the World Heritage List in 1979 for its fauna and flora. The lake and the mountains on the horizon offer you a breathtaking view!
Night in a 3* hotel in Tushemisht.
Voskopoja and Korça
We will continue aour journey to reach the village of Voskopoja. Once a very developed city, Voskopoja is now a charming small village of 500 habitantd. In the middle of its cobbled streets, you can discover its beautiful Orthodox churches.
We will then visit "Korca the French". Why French? Because the presence of French troops has allowed the creation of a symbolic, although short-lived autonomous republic in the First World War. Moreover, this town has welcomed the first French school of the country from 1917 to 1939. Its population is said to be proud and well-educated, and the town is often nicknamed "little Paris of Albania", a city of art, love and romanticism. You will be able to see the medieval national museum and its great collection of Orthodox icons, the WWII French cemetery, and the main monument, located in the centre of the city : the Orthodox Cathedral.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Korça.
Permët and Gjirokaster
We will stop in the agri-touristic town of Permet. There we will have the opportunity to have a better view of the local craftsmanship and to discover regional products such as jams, wine and embroidery.
We will then go to the city of Gjirokaster. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, this city is full of distinctive districts and shaded terraces. But its particular assets are the ethnographic museum and its citadel, which will take us back in time, years ago, through the history of Albania. Gjirokastra has retained its characteristic “old Albanian houses” architecture.
Night in an old large house tranformed in a hotel in Gjirokaster.
The site of Butrint and Saranda
We will then visit the site of Butrint, on the Ionian Coast. Butrint is an ancient Greek city on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1992. You will discover a historic landmark, an open ancient city testifying of centuries of human occupation.
In the evening you will go to the coastal city of Saranda. There, you will have the opportunity to have a delicious fish meal on the beach.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Saranda.
The Riviera: South villages, the fortress of Ali Pasha and the town of Vlora
During this day, we will discovere the sublime Albanian Riviera !
We will leave to the town of Vlora. But firstly, we are going to stop for a coffee break in the village of Qeparo. You will visit the village and from up there you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the coast.
On our way, we will visit many villages on the Riviera, until we arrive in Porto Palermo to visit the fortress of Ali Pasha. Located on a small peninsula, this abandoned building is now surrounded by lush vegetation. You can visit this fortress by yourselves and discover its octagonal room and its dome.
After this visit, you will head to the town of Vlora.
Vlora is known as the city where was declared the indepedency of Albania in 1912. We offer you to discover more about this major event in Albanian history by visiting the Vlora Independence Museum.
In the afternoon you can spend some time by the seaside of Vlora.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Vlora.
Apollonia and the UNESCO city of Berat
Then we will go to Fier to visit the archaeological site of Apollonia. A massive antique city, Apollonia is the country's largest archaeological park. You will see some relics of the city such as the Bouleterion, the Odeon or the library (the one in which the emperor Octavius studied !). By going further, you also will see the theatre, the old fountain and even bunkers from the communist era !
We will then discover another Albanian city, on the UNESCO list for its characteristic architecture : The city of Berat. Best known as "The city of 1000 windows" you will be charmed by its white houses and steep streets that offer you a special promenade. During a walk, you will see the Castle, many mosques in the area of the citadel, the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Berat.
Durrës and back in Tirana
We then go back to the seaside, in the city of Durres. In the antiquity Durres was as an important city, especially for merchants, since it was the beginning of the Egnatia Road, which connected Rome to Constantinople. You will see the relics of these times, such as the amphitheatre and the city walls. Nowadays, the city is the main port of the country and you can walk along the promenade. We also recommend you to visit its steep streets near the amphitheatre. You can also visit the archaeological museum, which will allow you to discover the history of this commercial town.
Later in the afternoon, you will go back to the capital, Tirana.
Night in a 3 * hotel in Tirana.
This is the last day of your trip to Albania!
One of our agents will accompany you to the airport according to your flight schedule.
We hope you had a great time during your visit and that you will come back to Albania one again!