An open book

Albania

8 days

Tour reference: A2-8-UK

Description:

Page after page read Albania A journey into the last Illyrian empire with the current city of Shkodra (-385 BC) as its capital.

Divisions, wars, but also the need to create trade and exchange routes will force the various tribes to build trading posts such as Apollonia, Dyrrhachion – now Durres, Lezha, Orikum,… Illyria has inspired authors such as William Shakespeare, Alphonse Daudet, Jean-Paul Sartre, Anne de Leseleuc and John Hawkes.

Day 1

Airport – Kruja


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 Kruja. Luggage deposit at the hotel.
Kruja, an ancient medieval city. Visit 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.
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 and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2

Kruja - Lezha – Shkodra


Heading for northern Albania.
Visit of Lezha. The city was founded by the Greek Dionysius I of Syracuse in the 8th century BC. According to historians, Lezha was the seat of the Lezha League created by Albanian hero Kastriot Skanderbeg to unify Albanian princes in the fight against the Ottomans. Skanderbeg was buried in Lezha Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, and later transformed into a mosque. Today, this place is considered to be both a mosque and a church.
Departure to the north of Albania to reach Shkodra, the former capital of Illyria.
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.
Visit of downtown Shkodra and walk along Kole Idromeno Street (also known as Pedonalja). It is an artistic ballad through time.
Visit of Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. Destroyed in an earthquake in 1905, then partially destroyed in a bombardment in 1913, transformed into a sports palace during the Albanian “cultural revolution” during the communist period, partially destroyed again in 1967, it hosted the Communist Congress of Albanian Women in 1973 and finally reopened in 1990 and welcomed Pope John Paul II in 1993.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3

Shkodra - Durres – Berat


Departure by bus to Durres, the second largest city in the country and which was once the departure point for via Egnatia. It allowed to go to Byzantium by crossing Albania and Greece.
Visit of the Roman Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century. This site is considered the second most important in terms of importance in the Balkans and is inscribed on UNESCO’s list. Today, little work has been done to restore it, 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 the Archaeological Museum of Durres, which contains art objects from the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods.
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 4

Berat – Pogradec


On the way to the east.
Direction Pogradec. If clear weather is good, the bus will make a small detour to the heights of Qafe Thane, offering a spectacular view of Lake Ohrid, a UNESCO heritage site.
Shortly before Pogradec, a short detour to visit the Illyrian tombs of Selca dating from the 3rd century BC. Recently discovered, the excavations have uncovered art objects and monuments dating back to the Bronze Age. In 1996, Albania requested the inscription of these tombs on UNESCO’s lists.
Beside, a stop will be made at the village of Lin, on the shores of Lake Ohrid, from where you can admire the beauty of this lake and possibly have lunch.
Visit of the Drillon springs and afternoon relaxation in Pogradec. Stroll along the shores of the lake.
Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5

Pogradec – Korca


A moment of relaxation in a typical Albanian village. The village of Voskopoje. Also known as the Moscopole, it was in the 18th century a cultural and commercial center for the aromanians (an ethnic group native to the Balkans that adopted the Ottoman way of life). Visit of the church of St Nicolas, built in 1721 and entirely covered with mural painting.
To Korca, one of Albania’s most important cultural and economic lungs. The city hosted the first Albanian school opened in 1887 and houses the Museum of Education. When Korca was under French administration (1916), nearly 200 bilingual schools (Albanian – French) were opened.
Visit of the Bratko museum dedicated to oriental arts. This museum was created following a passion and a dream of a man, the photographer George Dimitri Boria, an American-Albanian, who in 2003 offered the city of Berat the whole of his collection of Asian art.
Visit of the city center.
Dinner in a traditional restaurant and overnight at the hotel.
Day 6

Korca – Gjirokastra


Full west by taking a winding and relatively long route. However, not only are there many stops planned (Tumulus de Kamenicë, Ersekë where the imprint of communism is still very visible), a lunch in an agritourism restaurant, but also magnificent landscapes will be available. The journey will undoubtedly cross the path of shepherds leading their herds to different pastures or herds of horses or sheep at large.
Passage through Permet, also known as “the city of roses”.
Night visit of the old bazaar in the city center of Gjirokaster, where you can immerse yourself in Albanian culture and discover a wide variety of local products.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Gjirokastra, an open-air museum town.
Day 7

Gjirokastra – Tirana


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 clustered houses and rooftops 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 which houses remains of the Second World War, but also various exhibitions and the photography museum. A repository of symbols of Albanian traditions and culture, it has hosted festivals of polyphonic groups since 1986, the interpretation of which has been adopted as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Visit of the Ethnographic Museum located in the former house of the dictator Enver Hoxha.
Departure to Tirana. Visit of the city center and its famous “Block” via the Tabakëve bridge, built in the 18th century in the heart of Tirana.
Direction the cable car to reach Mount Dajti with a breathtaking view of Tirana. A dinner will be served to you.
Night at the hotel.
Day 8

Departure


Transfer to Rinas airport and delivery of the vehicle to the rental agency.
INCLUDED
5* Nights in a 4* hotel (standard room) 2* Nights in a 3* hotel – days 3 and 4 (standard room)
7* Dinners including 1* dinner at Dajti (day 7) 1* Lunch in Shiroke (lakefront) near Shkodra (day 2)
1* Lunch at Permet (Agritourism day 3) 1* Cable car
All visits mentioned in this program. 1* Roadbook in English language
1* 24/24 mobile number in case of emergency 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
Any expenses related to the car rental as per contract agreement between the hirer and the car rental company. Tips and gratuities
Travel insurance All transport means

– Day 1: Hotel Panorama 4* http://hotelpanoramakruje.com/

– Day 2: Hotel Rozafa 4* https://www.hotelrozafa.al/

– Day 3: Hotel Magalemi 3* http://www.mangalemihotel.com/

– Day 4: Hotel Hymeti Palace 4* http://www.hymetispalace.al/

– Day 5: Hotel Grand Palace 3* http://grandhotelpalacekorca.com/

– Day 6: Hotel Argjiro 4* http://www.hotelargjiro.al/

– Day 7: Hotel Rogner 4* https://www.hotel-europapark.com/

  • 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 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.

The museum - Kruja 2. by Savatours Incoming
The museum - Kruja 2. by Savatours Incoming
Tirana 87 - The Cloud & Art Gallery by Savatours Incoming
Berat by My Cottage
Gjirokastra 21

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