February 28, 2016
Written By Albania Express Travel
Discover 4 countries for yourself during this exciting adventure tour.
Day 1: “Mother Teresa Airport – Tirana (20 km)
Meet at airport and transfer to Tirana. What to Visit: Clock Tower, Scanderbeg Square. Positioned in the city center, this tower has become a symbol of Tirana. It is one of the oldest constructions in Tirana, built in the 1820. Et’hem Bey Mosque, construction of this mosque took about 28 years and finished in 1821. It is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania with very interesting decorations and art-work within it . National Historic Museum, the main museum in Tirana, it is in the center of the city, easily recognizable because of a huge mosaic standing on top of its front facade. It contains many artifacts ranging from ancient times through Hoxha’s regime. Also we will visit ,National Art Gallery, National Archaeological Museum of Albania, Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Paul Catholic Cathedral. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 2: Tirana – Kruje – Vlora (185 km)
After breakfast we will proceed to Kruja – the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under our national hero Gjergj Kastrioti (Scanderbeg). He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Protector of Christianity” given by the Pope. In Kruja also we will visit the old pazar and then we drive to Vlora and in Vlora we will visit the Independence Museum, situated in the original house where the first Independent Albanian Government had its offices. Overnight in Vlora.
Day 3: Vlora – Butrint (UNESCO) – Saranda ( 160 km)
After breakfast we depart to Saranda through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. At the Llogara National Park we stop at around 1100 metres where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea can be admired. Afterwards continue along the wonderful coast to the ancient city of Butrint another UNESCO World Heritage considered the best archaeological site in Albania and probably one of the most important in the Balkans. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations, giving archaeologists the possibility to study continuity through time. It is situated on a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation. The site has been occupied since at least the 8th century BC, although myths associated with its origins speak of the city’s foundation by Trojan exiles. Overnight in Saranda.
Day 4: Saranda -Blue Eye (Water Spring) – Gjirokastra (UNESCO) (55 km)
In the morning we depart for Gjirokastra a museum town under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with beautiful and very distinct architecture. On the way we stop at Blue Eye (Syri i kaltër) is a water spring and natural phenomenon. A popular tourist attraction, the clear blue water of the river bubbles forth from a stunning, more than 50 m deep pool. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual depth of the karts hole is. Afterwards in Gjirokastra we visit the fortress part of which was turned into a political prison for dissidents of the communist regime and an Arms Museum. Visit to the Ethnographic Museum, which is also the house the Albanian dictator was born in, as well as a 300 year old house next to it, where the grandeur of Gjirokastra’s master builders can be observed. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Day 5: Gjirokastra (UNESCO) – Berat (UNESCO) (175 km)
After breakfast depart for Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania under the protection of UNESCO as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness. 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 St.Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. Onufri was a famous Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece, using a special red colour. Berat is also known for its close ties with religious practice as two of the oldest bibles in the world have been found here. One dates back from the 6th century AD and the other from the 9th century AD and are internationally renowned for their theological importance. We have a homemade lunch in one of the houses in the castle. Just below the castle we visit the Leaden Mosque, the King’s Mosque, the Bachelor’s Mosque and the Alveti Tekke completing a tour of this town’s religious tolerance. Overnight in Berat.
PART 2. MACEDONIA’S RELIGIOUS RELICS
Day 6: Berat (UNSECO) – Elbasan – Struga – Ohrid (UNESCO) (160 km)
After breakfast depart for to the city of Ohrid. On the way we drive through rural villages with wonderful countryside landscapes. We stop at Elbasan for a visit at the castle. Afterwards proceed to Struga famous for its wall of water where the Black Drin River flows out of Lake Ohrid on its way to the Adriatic. In August, the famous international poetry festival is staged on the bridge over the Black Drin. After a short visit continue on to Ohrid where we take a familiarization tour of the town, proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage region for its cultural and natural legacy. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 7: Ohrid (UNESCO)
After breakfast visit: Church “St. Sofia”, built between the 11th and 14th century, was the seat of the Archbishop. “St. Clement”, a classic Orthodox Byzantine church, dominating the Old Town, demonstrates the link between Byzantine and Italian Renaissance art. At “Plaoshnik”, in the 9 the century, St. Clement of Ohrid founded the first University of Europe and educated 3.500 students, St. John at Kaneo, stands alone on a small promontory which juts out into the Lake at the western end of the Old Town, and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Lake and surrounding mountains, Samuil fortress, etc. Other visits include: Saint Painteleimon Church, The Holy Virgin of Peribleptos Church, Icon Gallery, and old Bazaar. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 8: Ohrid (UNESCO) – Skopje (170 km)
After the breakfast we depart for Skopje where we take a guided tour of the main sites. Visit the old Turkish bazaar, Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, stone bridge and the Macedonia Plaza. Overnight in Skopje.
PART 3. TASTES OF KOSOVO, THE ‘NEW BORN”
Day 9: Skopje – Prishtina – Gracanica Monastery – Ulpiana – Prishtina (110 km)
Morning we drive to Prishtina and then we visit Gracanica Monastery which was constructed on the ruins of an older 13th century church of the Holy Virgin, which was built on the ruins of a 6th century early Christian basilica. Of the former monastic compound, only the church has survived. Visit Ulpiana an ancient Roman site also named Justiniana Secunda. Under the Roman Empire, Ulpiana flourished and it is mentioned as a glorious city “urb splendidissma”. Ulpiana suffered numerous attacks from barbarian tribes (Huns, Goths), it was destroyed in 479 by the Goths. A final blow came when an earthquake struck in 518 AD and destroyed what remained of Ulpiana. Next visit the 1389 Kosovo Battlefield and Sultan Murat’s grave (both about 15 min away from Prishtina). Overnight in Prishtina.
Day 10: Prishtina – Prizren – Decan Monastery – Peja (185 km)
After breakfast we drive to visit Prizren, a true open air museum, one of the most beautiful towns of Kosovo. It is situated on the slopes of the Sharr Mountains and on the banks of the river Bistrica. The craftsmen of Prizren are well known for their beautiful gold and silver articles and other folk handcrafts. From all the cities of Kosovo, Prizren has best preserved the architectural style of the past. Afterwards head towards Peja through the magnificent the Rugova Gorge to the Decani Monastery near it. This monastery complex is a wonderful example of the Orthodox religious architecture and art part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must for anyone visiting Kosovo. Overnight in Peja.
PART 4. MONTENEGRO, A WILD NATURAL BEAUTY
Day 11: Peja – Kolashin – Budva (285 km)
After breakfast a long drive through magnificent natural beauty of the North West Kosovo and Montenegro takes us to Kolašin which is Montenegro’s most famous ski resort. Then we continue on another panoramic drive, the coastal area around Budva, called the Budva Riviera, is the center of Montenegrin tourism, known for its well preserved medieval walled city, sandy beaches and diverse nightlife. Overnight in Budva.
Day 12: Budva – Kotor (UNESCO) – Cetinje – Budva (110 km)
After breakfast drive to visit The Old City of Kotor a well preserved urbanization typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor an UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site”. Then we drive to Cetinje and Cetinje is a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the centre of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin and an Eastern Orthodox religious center. It is because of its heritage as a long term Montenegrin capital that it is today the honorary capital of Montenegro. Overnight in Budva.
Day 13: Budva – Shkodra – Tirana (190 km)
After breakfast drive to Shkodra. On the way stop for a photo at Sveti Stefan renowned for its celebrity residents from the music and movie industry. Afterwards proceed to Shkodra centre of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historic roots, and the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences and the Castle thought to exist from Illyrian times. After lunch return to Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 14 Tirana – “Mother Teresa Airport” (20 km)
After breakfast transfer to Airport.
Accommodation in good 3* 4* standard hotels with breakfast.
Transportation with comfortable a/c vehicle.
English (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese etc), speaking tour guide/driver.
All entrance fees.
All other meals apart from breakfast.
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