Emerald 

Albania

9 days

Tour reference: A3-9-UK

Description:

Emerald. Emerald was designed for those who love to combine their journey by mixing the discover of the beauty of the nature and to enrich their cultural knowledge. This roundtrip leads the traveler throughout Albania from North to South, visiting all historical places which heritage comes from the Albanian ancestors and Ottoman Empire. The itinerary  goes through some of the most beautiful landscapes today protected under National Parks. This circuit is a jewelry, not only for the traveler but as well for UNESCO.

Day 1

Tirana Airport – Shkodra

Reception at the airport “Mother Theresa” of Tirana. Handing over of the rental vehicle by a member of Savatours team (English speaking) or a member of the car rental company (English speaking) and the necessary documents for the whole trip. Departure to the north of Albania to reach Shkodra, the former capital of Illyria.

Founded in the 4th century BC by an Illyrian tribe known as Scodra, Shkodra is one of the oldest cities in Albania. Under Ottoman influence, Shkodra was a place of major importance, notably used as a trading post on the road linking Prizren to the Italian ports, but also as a cultural center.

Lunch based on local specialties in a traditional restaurant on the shores of Lake Shkodra.

Visit of the Rozafa citadel, dating from the Middle Ages and built on Illyrian foundations. From its summit, a 360° view allows you to admire the surrounding mountains and plains, but also the largest lake in the region, which is home to one of the largest bird reserves in Europe. View of the Citadel Museum.

Drive northeast of Shkodra up to the village of Boks to admire the 18° century stone bridge of Mesi which spans over the Kir river. It has an intriguing architecture with round slick stones and stone plates.

Visit of downtown Shkodra and walk along Kole Idromeno Street (also known as Pedonalja). It is an artistic ballad through time.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Shkodra – Lake Koman – Fierze – Valbona – Bajram Curri

Departure early in the morning to reach Lake Koman. Travel by ferry to Fierze. This crossing of about 2h30 to 3h00 allows you to discover unique landscapes resulting from the erosion created by the Drin River in the Albanian Alps, it is simply an incredible experience.

Direction Bujan and visit Mic Sokoli’s place of residence. He was born in 1839 in Fang de Bujan near Tropoja and died in 1881. He was a heroic fighter in the Prizren League. The 3-story tower is now a museum.

Then direction the Valbona Valley National Park. 8000 hectares of gorgeous preserved nature and landscapes. Once in Valbona, let your soul strolls amid the Accursed Mountains, feel the refreshing wind and pure air and listen the silence. The forests are under UNESCO protection.

Direction Bajram Curri, walk in the center and dinner in a traditional restaurant.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3

Bajram Curri – Gjakova – Kruja

Drive to Gjakova in Kosovo. Gjakova is a place of culture and learning in Kosovo. During the Ottoman Empire, the city of Gjakova benefited from its geolocation. Located on the Shkodra – Constantinople trade route, it quickly became a place of exchange. Education has always been a tradition in Gjakova. It has developed around several sectors such as literature, arts, music… Visit of its historical center and the largest bazaar – Çarshia e Madhe, in the Balkans.

Drive to Kruja, an ancient medieval city. The Skanderbeg Museum, one of the most visited places in Albania. Accessible via the bazaar, it is located in the heart of the historic citadel of Kruja and is dedicated to the Albanian national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. The museum has collections of objects dating back to most of the wars that took place during the 15th century between the Albanians and the Ottomans.

And if it is not too late, visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, which is located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the richest families of the 18th century. In a setting of elaborate ceilings and sumptuous murals, it presents objects and scenes of life that help us understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4

Kruja – Berat

Direction Berat, the city with 2400 years of history. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, Berat, better known as “the city of 1000 windows”, is unique in its kind.

Visit of the fortress and the National Museum of the Icons of Onufri, a 16th century Albanian painter famous for having used pink – then rare – in his works. The museum is housed inside the Sainte Mary’s Church, built in the 10th century.

Visit of the Gorica district, then of the Mangalem district with its typical houses, which can be reached by crossing the Osum river.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 5

Berat - Gjirokaster

The birthplace of Ismail Kadaré, an Albanian writer often nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, Gjirokaster is on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Its winding and paved streets, its typical cluster-shaped houses and its particular roofs have given it the nickname of “stone city”.  It is the exceptional testimony of a society and a way of life that has almost disappeared.

Visit of its citadel and its museum which houses remains of the Second World War, but also various exhibitions and the museum of photography. A repository of symbols of Albanian traditions and culture, the citadel has hosted festivals of polyphonic groups since 1986, whose interpretation has been adopted as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Visit of the Ethnographic Museum located in the former house of the dictator Enver Hoxha.

Head for the old bazaar in the city center, where you can immerse yourself in Albanian culture and discover a wide variety of local products.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

Gjirokaster – Butrint - Saranda

On the way to Butrint. Butrint has been on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites since 1992 and has been inhabited from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. The current site, combining archaeology and nature, is a true museum representative of each period of the city’s development. Its Roman theatre, baptistery, mosaic, basilica ruins and ancient fortifications give this place outstanding universal value.

Stop on the Ksamil peninsula. Get some free time for a refreshing drink while you can enjoy the transparent blue water of the Ionian sea.

Saranda should be considered as a “relaxing” moment. Walk along the sea before dinner in a restaurant offering, as it should be, fish.

Dinner in a traditional fish restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Saranda – Llogara

Long but beautiful winding road to the Llogara. The itinerary winds along the Albanian Riviera, offering plunging views of a turquoise sea, a symphony of colours and rich landscapes where each moment of the day will unfold its nuances of colours like a painter in his canvas.

The winding road will pass nearby and will allow you to glimpse sandy or gravelly white beaches rocked by turquoise water such as those of Jale (near Himara), Livadhi or Dhraleos.

The road arrives at the pass of the llogara at an altitude of more than 1000 meters. The place offers a breathtaking view of the Ionian Sea.

Dinner in a traditional panoramic restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Llogara - Tirana

Visit of the museum House of Leaves. Located in the center of Tirana, inside the building that temporarily housed the Gestapo during the occupation of Albania in World War II and then was the Central Directorate of the Albanian Secret Service from 1944 to 1991. By openning the doors of this house, presenting the activities that were conducted in it and many other things related to it, the museum unfold simultaneously all the aspects of the Albanian society under the regime‘ conditions which aim was the total control of the human person and soul. The museum is dedicated to all innocent people whom faced interceptions, checks, spying, abitrary arrests, humiliations, tortures, severe punishments and so many others untold agonies.

Visit of the Bunk’Art2 museum (knew during the communist regime under the coded name of “objekti Shtylla”. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the collective memory and telling the history of the communist regime and its horrors.

Visit of  the center of Tirana. The itinerary will lead  from the Et’hem Bey mosque to the very center of the Block area where the most popular bars, clubs and shops in the capital are located, passing by the New Bazaar and then the bridge Ura e Tabakëve.

Direction the cable car for the ascent of Mt Dajti. Diner at an altitude of about 1000 meters in a panoramic restaurant offering an exceptional view of Tirana, its surroundings and, on a clear day, the Adriatic Sea and sunset.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Tirana – Rinas airport

Transfer to Rinas airport and delivery of the vehicle to the rental agency.

INCLUDED
Hotels: See the tab of the hotels above 8* Breakfasts
8* Dinners 1* Lunch (day 1)
Transportation – Car rental (See Car Rental tab above) Cable car
Ferry Koman / Fierze 1* Roadbook in English language
1* 24/24 mobile number in case of emergency All local taxes
A 0.5l bottle of water per person is served with meals
NOT INCLUDED
All personal expenses of participants Beverages not mentioned above, such as alcohols
Visits are given as an indication. They are recommended. No visit or entrance ticket is included in the offer. Any expenses related to the car rental as per contract agreement between the hirer and the car rental company.
Tips and gratuities Travel insurance
Air transport

  • Category 1: Up to 4/5 persons: Vehicle type Skoda Fabia, VW Polo or equivalent.
  • Category 2: Up to 4/5 persons: Vehicle type Skoda Rapid, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra or equivalent.
  • Category 3: Up to 4/5 persons: Vehicle type Skoda Octavia or equivalent.
  • Category SUV: Up to 4/5 persons: Vehicle type Skoda Yeti, Hyundai Tucson or equivalent.
  • Category minivan: Up to 6/9 persons: Minivan type Ford Transit, VW Transporter or equivalent.

Note: Vehicle models are given for information only. Another model can be proposed or given according to availability. No credit card will be requested to finalize the location of the car. Insurance included. Does not include fuel or any other fees such as parking…

  • Tour based on arrival and departure from Tirana International Airport around 11:30 am.
  • Depending on the season and/or the availability of the restaurants, dinners may be taken in the hotels.
  • Local guiding services (city private local tour) can be proposed upon request.
Berat by My Cottage 1
Berat by My Cottage 1
Saranda by Dennis Sylverter Hub
Valbona 4 by Savatours

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