Tour of Albania From Corfu, Greece

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Duration: 6 Nights/ 7 Days

ITINERARY

Day 1 - The welcome day – Archeological Site & Unesco Town

– Saranda – Butrint Archeological Site (UNESCO) (30 min) Blue Eye Spring (40 min) - Gjirokaster (UNESCO) (40Min)
Meet with the guide at the port of Saranda and transfer to the Archeological Park of Butrint.
Butrint, an UNESCO world heritage site. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of different civilizations, making it an important discovery in the Mediterranean, rich in ancient sites. It is situated in a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation, offering visitors more than just old ruins.
Afterwards proceed to Gjirokastra, another UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinct architecture.
On the way we visit the Blue Eye Spring. “Syri i kaltër” (Blue Eye) is the biggest out of 18 springs which surface from the earth some 25 km away from Saranda, in the south of Albania. Its color is deep blue in the center where the water flows out, and light blue at the sides where the green vegetation creates an impression of eyelashes. People say that the spring was named by an engineer in a hydro-power station, who was reminded of the blue eyes of his beloved. The Blue Eye is all about legends.“ The ancient legend tells that the waters sprung to the earth from a dragon that was burned by a clever peasant who had fed it a mule loaded with touchwood and cinder,”
Arriving in Gjirokastra we visit the Fortress which is used as the venue for the National Festival of Folk Song and Dance and has an arms museum with weapons from WW I.
Next we visit the Ethnographic Museum which is also the house the Albanian dictator was born in. Traditional dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra.

Day 2: Unesco Town of Berat, it’s castle and the unique architecture of the houses

- Gjirokastra – Berat (3.5 Hrs)
Today we head towards another UNESCO town - Berat, the pride of Albanian antiquity and architecture.
Berat forms a wonderful combination of eastern and western cultures, costumes and traditions. The architecture of the old houses, with large windows that overlook the town, is the first think that impresses the visitors. First stop: the Citadel. It overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across the river. The citadel can be reached by a steep road and is still inhabited. Inside the walls, you can visit ruined mosques and several medieval Orthodox churches, all intact and with restored frescoes and icons. Onufri National Museum is located in the inner part of “Saint Mary Church” in Castle of Berat. This Museum offers a collection of 173 belonging to the found of Albanian Churches and Monasteries. Lunch in the old town in Berat with traditional menu of the region. Afterwards you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, a two storied residence, with a lobby on one side. This residence is equipped with non-moveable furniture that serve for the preservation of the household objects, wooden case, wall-closets, chimneys, wells, etc. Dinner and Overnight in Berat.

Day 3: Biggest Roman Amphitheater in the Balkans & Lunch by the seaside

Berat – Durres (1.5 hrs) – Kruje (1 hrs)
After breakfast we drive towards Durres.
Durres is the biggest seaport of the country, located in just 34 km from the capital of Tirana. Durres is the most ancient city in Albania, with almost 3000 years of history. The city is home to many ancient archeological sites and the Amphitheater of the Roman Emperor Adrian is the most known, also the second biggest amphitheater in the Balkans.
Stop for lunch in Durres by the seaside. Afterwards we proceed to Kruja, the historical city which lays on a panoramic view on the top of a hill, 600 km above sea level.
With a combination of nature, history, archeology, traditional food and lifestyle, Kruja is one of the most beautiful tourist spots in Albania, notable from its stony streets and traditional buildings.
The tour begins with the visit in the Castle, the citadel of the National hero, Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg. It is build 548 m above sea level and gives a spectacular view of the surroundings. Inside the fortes is build the National Museum “Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeu”, which counts such pavilions as antiquity and early middle age pavilion, Albanian Princedom pavilion, pavilion of Ottoman Invasion and Resistance to this invasion, Medieval Fortress pavilion, Albanian resistance, Scanderbeg's office equipment and library. Placed in a characteristic urban building of 1764 you can also visit the Ethnographic Museum of Kruja.
After the visits it’s time to get closer to Albanian traditions and lifestyle, by visiting the bazaar. It is a one street of shops, with wooden buildings and a mixture of cafés and small souvenir and antique shops.
Traditional dinner & Overnight in Kruja

Day 4: Legends of Shkodra Castle & Overnight in the capital city – Kruja – Shkoder – Tirana

Drive towards to the northern city of Albania – Shkodra; with the most important town of north Albania and the Illyrian capital, in the 3rd century BC.
Walk to the Castle enjoy the view of the city from the Castle of Rozafa a mysterious structure, surrounded in legends and mysticism.
Lunch in a local restaurant
Afterwards we will explore the colorful capital of Albania, Tirana.
Tirana has a never-ending movement and energy. This metropolis city is worth to discover by day and night. Founded in the 1614, Tirana is now a developed city which combines culture, history, contemporary architecture and lots of hospitality shown towards tourists.
As you take a walk in Tirana you will enjoy the look of the colorful buildings, fancy coffees and green parks.
Dinner and Overnight in Tirana.

Day 5: Religious Sites & Cultural Heritage

Tirane – Monastery of Ardenica (1 hrs) - Archeological park of Apollonia (1 hrs)– Coastal city of Vlora (1 hrs)
Breakfast at the hotel, afterwards we drive towards Apollonia, one of the most well-known archeological sites in the country and recently a national archaeological park.
On the way we will stop for a visit to the Monastery of Ardenica.
Ardenica Abbey (church) it was in the Middle age argued by a stone in entrance dating back to the 1417, but the first building belongs at the beginning of XVIII century. Today inside the church you can admire pictures of 1743-1745 years, by Albanian artists such as Konstandin and Athanos Zografi, as well as Konstandin Shpataraku. It is also said that our national Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Scanderbeu married at the chapel of this monastery.
Arriving in Apollonia we visit the Odeon, and the courtyard of the Monastery where there is a Byzantine style church believed to have been built in the 14th century. Here you can see some monuments like the Encircling Wall, the Bouleterion, the Mosaics House and the Nymphaioum. Lunch in a local restaurant.
Afternoon arrival in the coastal city of Vlora. It is the town of Albania’s independence proclamation.
Overnight in Vlora.

Day 6: The Breathtaking views of Albanian Riviera!

- Vlore – Llogara National Park - Dhermi – Himare –Sarande (4 hrs) Nature, Sun & Sea!
After breakfast we depart for Saranda.
Full day drive on the spectacular Albanian Riviera looking down at the Ionian Sea. Breathtaking sceneries await us at the Llogara pass - 1000 m above sea level. We stop in Llogara National Park to enjoy the view, photo shooting from above & try a special local product – Yogurt with honey & nuts.
We continue on to Saranda, passing through the small coastal villages of Dhermi and Himara.
Lunch along the way in one of the coastal villages of the Riviera. Afternoon in Saranda, where we enjoy a walking tour in the city main promenade by the port and the view of the city and Corfu island, from Lekursi Fortress on the top of the hill. Dinner and overnight in Saranda.

Day 7: Port of Saranda - After breakfast we depart for the Port of Saranda.