Tour in Albania and North Greece

Booking code SGRHCU71

10 Days € 860

Travel dates:2017-10-14 to 2017-10-23           Reservation

Tirana - the vibrant capital and visits to its main attractions;
Durrës and its Roman amphitheater;
In 588 BC founded Apollonia and visit of the archaeological site;
Visit of Berati and Gjirokastra - UNESCO World Heritage;
Ioannina and its main attractions;
Meteora and walk to the six monasteries built on the natural sandstone rock pillars;
Visit of the cosmopolitan Corfù town with its distinctive Greek, Italian, French and British elements.
Unforgetable boat trip to Paxos and Antipaxos with their unique white sandy beaches and breathtaking sea caves;
Visit of Butrinti - the most important archeological site of Albania, a UNESCO World Heritage;
Drive along the Ionian Coast of Albania and visit of many characteristic villages along it;
Boat trip around the Karaburun Peninsula.

Day 1: Tirana, the vibrant capital. After arrival at noon, transfer from “Mother Teresa” airport to the hotel in downtown Tirana. Founded in 1614, Tirana became the capital of Albania in 1920 and is the main cultural and industrial centre of Albania. The city boulevards are marked with fascinating relics of the Ottoman, Italian and communist past.
In the afternoon, a tour of the city is planned along with a visit to the National Historical Museum, Et’hem Bey Mosque, Skanderbeg monument, clock tower. Then, cable car ride to Dajti mountain, part of Dajti National Park. From the cable car terminal at Fusha e Dajtit (1050 m) there’s a magnificent view over Tirana, Durrës and the whole central-west Albania up to the Adriatic sea. Here we will have dinner at a traditional restaurant "A la carte" and then return to Tirana.

Day 2: Durrës, Apollonia and Berati.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Durrës. We will have time for a visit to the city and its Roman amphitheater.
Durrës was founded in 627 BC by Greek colonists from Corinth and Corfu. They named it "Epidamnos". The amphitheatre of Durrës is one of the greatest monuments of antiquity in Albania and was built in the first decades of the 2nd century AD, probably during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
After the lunch, the journey continues in the direction of Apollonia.
It was one of the largest cities on the Adriatic, an important and international centre of learning and trade. The city was originally founded in 588 BC as a Corinthian colony and was named after the god Apollo.
After the visit of the site, drive in the direction of Berati. Dinner and accommodation are planned in a beautiful and comfortable hotel, surrounded by unspoiled nature.

Day 3: Berat and Gjirokastra
After breakfast visit of the city of Berati, short walk uphill to the castle and visit of the churches.
Berati is a 2407 years old city that forms a wonderful combination of eastern and western cultures, costumes, traditions. The city's life began as an Illyrian settlement and today, the castle is made unique by the fact that people continue to live inside of it.
After lunch drive to Gjirokastra, an UNESCO World Heritage.
It is an outstanding example of an Ottoman merchant town and one of the few still surviving in the Balkans. We will visit the castle, the ethnographic museum and the artisan centre. Dinner in a traditional restaurant.

Day 4: Ioannina and Meteora
After 30 km drive we will be at the border crossing point to Greece and from there will be driven to Ioannina. The first indications of human existence in the regional unit of Ioannina are dated back to the Paleolithic period (38,000 years ago). Here is planned the visit of the Fortress (which was the heart of the Despotate of Epirus, and the Ottoman vilayet) along with the visits of the Fethiye Mosque, the Byzantine Museum, Municipal Ethnographic Museum. After lunch we will visit the Historic Centre of Ioannina with its small traditional shops and houses, the National Archaeological Museum of Ioannina and the Cathedral of St Athanasius.
Then drive to Meteora, an area in Thessaly (Central Greece). Here lie six monasteries built on the natural sandstone rock pillars which seem like a continuance and a natural ending of the rocks. Dinner and accommodation at a hotel at the foot of the rocks.

Day 5: Meteora, Igoumenitsa and Corfu.
Today is planned a hike uphill to Meteora monasteries. After lunch drive to Igoumenitsa, where we will board on the boat to Corfu.
Corfù is the most northerly of the Ionian Islands. There we will have time for a short walk through the cosmopolitan Corfù town, with its distinctive Greek, Italian, French and British elements and dinner at a fine restaurant along the sea promenade.

Day 6: Corfu
For the day a boat trip to the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, which are situated, close to the southern coast of Corfu is organized. Departing from the harbor of Corfu, we have a unique view of the old town, among the two Venetian fortresses. We continue sailing south along the west coast of Paxos island, enjoying the impressive rocky coast line and the unique white sandy beaches. Then the boat enters the breath taking sea caves. Departing from the caves we arrive at the small but perfectly formed island of Antipaxos, whose sandy blue water coves have been compared to the Caribbean´s. We moor close to the center of Gaios village where you can walk through the wonderful narrow streets and enjoy your lunch at one of the traditional taverns.
In the late afternoon, is planed the visit of the Corfu old city, the Fortress and the Byzantine Museum.

Day 7: Saranda and Butrinti
After breakfast we take the boat to Saranda, the most southern city of Albania. Prior to Byzantine rule, Saranda was called by its ancient Greek name, "Onchesmos".
After a short visit of the city drive to Butrinti, the most important archeological site of Albania, an UNESCO World Heritage. Butrinti is known since the 7th century B.C. as the most important city of Epirus. Its building is linked to the presence of the Trojan prince Aeneas.
Lunch is planned at the beautiful Ksamil, surrounded by a magnificent natural beauty and dinner at a restaurant in Lëkursi castle, which lies on a hill overlooking the bay. It is built by Sultan Suleiman during his military campaign against Corfu.

Day 8: Ionian coast and Vlora
Today we will drive along the Ionian Coast of Albania and visit many characteristic villages along it. The first stop is at Porto Palermo Bay where we will visit the castle of Ali Pasha Tepelena.
It lies on a peninsula, connected by a narrow rock strip and was built by the master builders of Ali Pasha. The castle has a long history which we are going to explore.
The next stop is in Himara where we are going to visit the old town that lies on a hill overlooking the bay. Himara has a long history, preceding the dates of its castles and monuments. At around 214B.C, the first Greek colonists arrived, probably from Corfu.
Time for the lunch and drive to Dhermi, one of the most well-known and picturesque coastal villages in Albania. The old village is set into the mountain and is one of the oldest and most characteristic villages on the Ionian Coast, with its stone, mountain houses nestling happily with historical monuments.
Drive to the National Park of Llogara where a short coffee break is planned. It represents one of the most amazing places of Albania. With an area of 1020 ha, Llogara is covered with everlasting greenery. An amazing part of this geo-park is the „balcony" in Llogara pass, at the height of 1050m, where the Ionian Sea can be seen.
The tour of the day ends in Vlora where dinner and accommodation are provided.

Day 9: Boat trip around the Karaburun Peninsula
Right after breakfast, you will be driven to Oricum seaport to start the trip around the Karaburun Peninsula. Karaburun is known for its abundant natural attractions and its various archaeological discoveries. The first stop is at the north end of the peninsula, where the cave of Haji Ali (Haxhi Ali) is found, which is 30 meters long, 10-15 meters high and 9.5 meters wide. For a long time, it served as the base in the wars against the military vessels of Venice, France and England.

Then we continue to the Sazan island, a former cold war naval base, opened last year for the first time to the public. Another bathing break is planned at the bay of Saint Vasil which lies on the eastern side of the Karaburun peninsula.  At afternoon the return trip to Tirana starts. There you will have dinner at a traditional restaurant, where you can choose between various dishes on the menu. After dinner, you can spend some pleasant moments in one of the “Block” area bars. (B/L/D)

Day 10: Transfer to the airport

Additional information

If you are coming in a prearranged group, you can decide the date of this tour yourself.

This journey starts around noon on the arrival day. If you arrive in Tirana in the evening of this day, it is impossible to participate in activities scheduled for day one. All saved expenses will be reimbursed.

The journey begins immediately after landing at the airport in Tirana where reception is scheduled. If you enter Albania through other border checkpoints and via other routes, we can pick you up against additional charge, enabling your participation in the travel. If this is the case, you should carefully fill in the appropriate field of the reservation form.

If you wish to travel to Albania a few days earlier or extend your tour by a few days, we are at your disposal to further organize your travel according to your wishes. All related services and costs are not included in the tour price and as such will be additionally calculated. For this purpose you should carefully fill in the field "Comments" in the booking form and explain in detail all your desires through an e – mail sent to us.

On day 9, we will not be able to stop for dining in restaurants, while sailing around the Karaburun peninsula. Thus, during the day, we will either give you a lunch packet or prepare something simple to eat on the boat.

Some of the bays along the Ionian coast are totally isolated from the rest of the world and no piers are to be found there. You will be transported with little boats as close as possible to shore, if necessary.

Number of the participants: 13 - 15 Persons

The HB price includes:
•  Transfer from and to the airport
•  All trips, whether by bus, or boat according to the program schedule.
•  Entries and visits listed in the program.
•  9 nights three star hotel accommodation in a double/twin room with shower or bathtub and toilet.
•  8 x half board.
•  Dinner on the arrival day and breakfast on departure day.
•  Coffee and water during all coffee breaks.
•  Accompaniment by an English-speaking guide during the entire journey.

The price does not include
•   Any type of insurance.
•   Beverages in hotels, restaurants and bars.

Additional cost
•   A supplement of € 20 /day for a single room.

Equipment list

Sneakers for traveling and sightseeing
Drinking bottle/ Thermos Flask