Grand Tour of Albania (13 d / 12 n)

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.

In this journey you will discover the Albanian mountains and you will pass through Kosovo to the city of Prizren. You will then go to the Ohrid Lake, travel through the Gramoz Mountain before joining the Riviera, where you can spend some days by the seaside.  
 

 

One all – out trip, perfect if you want to travel everywhere to Albania, discover its history and spend some days by the marvelous seaside.

 

 

Jour1

Arrival in Tirana

Tirana

Once arrived at the airport, an Ecotour Albania agent will be there waiting to take you to your hotel.

Night in a 3* hotel in Tirana.

Jour2

Visit of the capital

Tirana

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 will 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 be able to take a walk in the park of the Artificial Lake of Tirana.

 

In the evening, we recommend you to enjoy the nightlife 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.

Jour3

The cities of Kruja and Shkodra

Shkodra, Krujë

Then we will go 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 library 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.

Jour4

Koman lake crossing by ferry and Valbone Valley

Valbona, Koman

After an early start, we will head towards the splendid Albanian mountains in the Valbone Valley.

Firstly we will cross the Komani Lake in ferry. This will be a great experience, a journey in the heart of nature with magnificent landscapes compared to the Norwegian fjords. After a 2:30 – 3 hours trip we will reach Valbona Valley, where we will have the opportunity to get to know the inhabitants with whom we will have dinner. 

Night in a guesthouse in Valbone.

Jour5

Detour in Kosovo : Prizren

Kosovo, Prizren

Prizren is a very significant and important city in the Albanian History.
In this city was held the “League of Prizren” in 1878, where 300 Albanian representatives were gathered to fight against the Ottoman invasion which had lasted for 4 centuries. 

 

In this city, you will discover a rich architectural heritage of exceptional diversity.

Night in a 3* hotel in Prizren.

Jour6

Durrës

Durrës

We will return in Albania, 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 have a walk in the 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 Tirana, to stay in the same hotel where you stayed the day of your arrival

Night in a 3* hotel in Tirana.

Jour7

Lin and Tushemisht

Tushemisht

Today we will head towards the Ohrid Lake, on the border with Macedonia. This lake is considered as World Heritage by UNESCO. 

Firstly, we will join the picturesque village of Lin. A fishing village at the foot of a hill on a peninsula. By going down the village you can enjoy the view on the lake.

We will then carry on to Tushemisht.

A small village on the shores 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 mountains on the horizon offer you a breathtaking view !

Night in a 3* hotel in Tushemisht.

Jour8

Korça and the town of Rehove

Rehovë, Korça

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 to visit : the Orthodox Cathedral.

We will then leave for the town of Rehova. This is a small town well known for its expertise in food. You will have the opportunity to spend a nice time with its habitants and spend a night in this village.    

Night spent at the habitants' house in Rehove.

Jour9

Permët and Gjirokaster

Përmet, Gjirokastër

We will stop in the agri-touristic town of Permet. We will then 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 main touristic sites 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. It is in one of these that we will stay for the night.

Night in an old large house converted into a hotel in Gjirokaster.

Jour10

The sites of Butrint and Saranda

Saranda, Butrint

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 centuries of human occupation.

In the evening you will come back 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.

Jour11

Riviera : South villages and the fortress of Ali Pasha and the town of Vlora

Riviera, Vlora

During this day, we are going to discover the sublime Albanian Riviera!

We will continue our journey to the city of Vlora. But firstly we will stop for a coffee break in the village of Qeparo. Up there you can enjoy a magnificent view of the beautiful beaches of the Riviera.

 

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. Guests can roam freely in order to discover its octagonal room and its dome.

 

After this visit, you will head to the town of Vlora, about 90 minutes away from there.

Vlora is known as the city where was declared the Albanian Independency in 1912. We offer you to discover more about this major event og Albanian history by visiting the Vlora Independence Museum.

Night in a 3* hotel in Vlora.

Jour12

Unesco city of Berat and back to Tirana

Tirana, Berat

We will discover today another Albanian city, on the UNESCO list for its characteristic architecture : the city of Berat. 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.

Later in the afternoon, you will go back to Tirana, to stay in the same hotel where you stayed the day of your arrival.

Night in a 3* hotel in Tirana.

Jour13

Departure

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!