Wonders

 Albania and Kosovo

8 days

Tour reference: AK1-8-UK

Description:

Wonders. This tour takes the traveler through a prodigious and historic place. An overview of the effects of communism through museum visits or its effects by visiting a city like Shkodra that was transformed, disrupted, or rebuilt under the dictatorship. Wonders of architecture, wonders of the period builders, or wonders of nature, these are only magical places that the route will cross.

Day 1

Airport – Shkodra

Reception at Tirana “Mother Theresa” airport. Delivery of the rental vehicle by a member of the EASY DRIVE ALBANIA team (English-speaking) and of the documents necessary for the entire trip. Departure to Shkodra.

Founded in the 4th century BC. AD 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 connecting Prizren to Italian ports, but also cultural.

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

In Shkodra, visit the National Museum of Photography of Marubi. The museum houses more than ½ million photographs of the legacy of the Marubi dynasty from 1856 to 1989, including negatives, historical images and photographic objects belonging to three generations of photographers. It is a unique opportunity to deepen the history of Albania through a rare collection of photos.

Visit downtown Shkodra and walk along Kole Idromeno Street (also known as Pedonalja). It’s an artistic stroll through time.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Shkodra – Lake Koman - Peja

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

Direction Peja in Kosovo. Quoted in the busy past, the city has been occupied by the sons of time by numerous peoples, tribes, civilizations, peoples and armies. It was a very important Slavic religious center in the 14th century, so that the Emperor Stefan Dusan made it the seat of the Slavic Orthodox church. After his capture by the Ottoman forces, Peja gained notoriety. Today, Peja retains part of its historical heritage and is in particular the starting point for many tourists who wish to visit the famous canyons of Rugova or venture out into the surrounding mountains. Visit the Patriarchal Monastery of Peja, its bazaar and its most important places of interest.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3

Peja – Desan - Gjakova - Prishtina

Direction the village of Desan. At the edge of the Bistrica river, in the middle of the steep cliffs of the Prokletije mountains, surrounded by green forests and an abundance of water, the Holy King Stefan founded the Monastery of Christ the Savior Dečani, the most beautiful example of the rich heritage of churches and monasteries left by the Nemanjić dynasty. Inside its marble walls are exposed magnificent frescoes and sculptures by Dečani. The spiritual identity and the historical memory of the Serbian people are anchored and thus preserved forever. Organized visit to the monastery whose treasure is the richest among the collections of monasteries in Serbia. It contains very precious works of art from the 14th to the 19th century, and reveals the attitude of the Dečani monks towards liturgical objects.

Road to Gjakova, 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, the arts, music … Visit its historic center and the largest bazaar in the Balkans, Çarshia e Madhe.

Direction Prishtina, capital of the last state born and not yet recognized by all the nations. Since its existence, Prishtina has been at the heart of many conflicts and divisions. The Romans, then the Ottomans, the wars and finally the Serbian attempt in 1999 to put an end to the actions of the Kosovo Liberation Army left many imprints in the cultural and social life of the inhabitants. Today a young and dynamic population is trying to revive the economy of the city, the lung of Kosovo.

Prishtina is home to many cultural institutions, such as the National Theater of Kosovo, The National Museum of Archeology, as well as Natural or Ethnographic Science. There are also many galleries or bookstores there. But beyond these institutions, the city is teeming with life with its many clubs, bars and restaurants. Visit the city center.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4

Prishtina - Prizren

There is no better way to get acquainted with traditional Kosovar culture than to take part in a guided tour of the Ottoman buildings containing the Emin Gjiku Ethnographic Museum. Musical instruments, clothing and accessories, and other items are on display in the stylish interior of the museum.

Direction Prizren, splendor and symbol of Albanian history. Move to the Shadervan and its fountain, its large main square which once housed the bazaar. Walk to admire the Kuklibeu mosque built around 1534, the Ottoman house of Hasan Sheu dating from the 18th century, the old stone bridge overhanging the river that cuts Prizren in two and the hammam built in the 16th century by Mehmet Pacha and considered one of the most important in the Balkans. Then towards the Notre-Dame church in Ljevish which is the main official diocesan church of the Serbian Orthodox bishops of Prizren. It is considered by the Orthodox Serbs as a pride of the medieval royal city of Prizren. Since 2006 Our Lady of Ljevish has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Visit the house of the “Prizren league”, officially “the league for the defense of the rights of the Albanian nation” founded on June 10, 1878 and offering regional autonomy. It was quickly dismissed by the Ottomans.

Day 5

Prishtina – Tirana

Departure to Tirana, capital of Albania.

Visit the world headquarters of the Bektachi community. Bektashism is an exoteric religious order derived from Sufism, a spiritual and mystical path of Sunni Islam. The Bektâchî order is a sect of dervishes which was banned by the Ottomans in 1826 before reappearing in the 19th century and being banned again by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk shortly after the founding of the Turkish Republic. The Order then established its headquarters in Albania in 1925. This seat, in the impressive Tekke decorated with breathtaking patterns, houses a fascinating museum and a small souvenir shop.

Luggage storage at the hotel and visit to the House of Leaves museum. Located in the center of Tirana, inside the building which temporarily housed the Gestapo during the occupation of Albania during the Second World War, then was the Central Directorate of Albanian Secret Services from 1944 to 1991. By opening the doors of this house, which presents the activities carried out there and many other events related to it, the museum simultaneously deploys all aspects of Albanian society under the conditions of the regime which aimed at total control of the human person and of soul. The museum is dedicated to all the innocent people who have been the object of interceptions, controls, espionage, arbitrary arrests, humiliations, tortures, severe punishments and so many other agonies.

Visit to Tirana of the Bunk’Art2 museum (known under the communist regime under the codified name of “objektiShtylla”. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the collective memory and tells the story of the communist regime and its horrors.

Visit the city center and its famous “Block” passing by the Tabakëve bridge, built in the 18th century in the heart of Tirana.

Direction the cable car for the ascent of Mt Dajti. Dinner at around 1000 meters above sea level in a panoramic restaurant, offering a sensational view of Tirana, its surroundings and on a clear day, on the Adriatic.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

Tirana – Durres

Visit the National Museum. Inaugurated in 1981, this space now houses over 5,000 artifacts in its multitude of beautifully designed pavilions. The National Historical Museum is recognizable by its emblematic façade, which presents a gigantic mosaic entitled “Albania” (it’s Shqipëria, in Albanian). Standing as one of the constructions of the period of socialist realism, the mosaic rightly represents the glorified heroes of the working class. Memorable and imposing, the mosaic welcomes the visitor upon arrival and sets a precedent for what is hidden in the museum.

Departure to Durres, the second-largest city in the country and which was once the departure from Via Egnatia. It made it possible to go to Byzantium by crossing Albania and Greece.

Visit the Roman Amphitheater built in the 2nd century. This site is considered the second in terms of importance in the Balkans and is registered on the UNESCO list. Today little work has been carried out for its restoration but it is possible to imagine the excitement that could reign there during its greatness. It is currently used as an open-air museum.

Visit to the Archaeological Museum of Durres which contains works of art dating from the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Head to the hotel for a late afternoon by the beach.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Durres – Kruja

Visit to Durres of the House-Museum of Aleksandër Moisiu, a structure of beautiful architecture and ethnographic exhibitions as well as the childhood home of the famous actor Aleksandër Moisiu, is one of the essential attractions of the historic center of Durrës.

Visit the workshop-museum of sculptor Qazim Kërtusha. The door opens and we instantly find ourselves in a dream, populated by a multitude of sculptures of different shapes and colors. Located in the heart of Durres, behind the central bus station, this studio has it all: yesterday’s nudes, tomorrow’s skyscrapers, today’s emotions. Kërtusha’s creation and experiences are so crowded over the years that we are fortunate to have the artist himself as a guide throughout our visit to this unique museum.

Road to Kruja, 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 offers collections of objects dating from most of the wars that took place during the 15th century between the Albanians and the Ottomans.

Visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja, which is located in the citadel in a house that belonged to one of the wealthiest families of the 18th century. It presents, in a decor of ornate ceilings and sumptuous murals, objects and scenes of life that allow us to understand how an Albanian family lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Departure

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

 

INCLUDED
Hotels: See list of hotels below 7* Breakfasts
7* Dinners Transportation – Car rental (See Car Rental tab above)
1* Lunch (day 1) 1* Lunch (day 4)
Transportation – Car rental(see the Car Rental tab) 1* Cable car
1* Roadbook in English language 1* 24/24 hrs mobile number in case of emergency
Ferry All the visits mentioned in this program except those of Kosovo
All local taxes A 0.5l bottle of water per person is served with meals
NOT INCLUDED
All personal expenses of participants All visits not mentioned in this program
Any expenses related to the car rental as per contract agreement between the hirer and the car rental company Beverages not mentioned above, such as alcohols
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 times before 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.
Koman 2
Koman 2
Monastery of Decani by abombrowski 1
Sinan Pasha Mosque, Prizren by David Jones 1
Tirana 71 by Savatours Incoming

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