Arival to Saranda from Corfu. Accomodation and dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel , after breakfast we drive to the ancient city of Butrinti , a UNESCO world heritage site and the most important Archeological discovery in Albania. Legend assosiates this city with Trojan settlers who fled Troy under the leadership of Aeneas. Apart the beautiful antique ruins it has the added benefit of being situated in a beautiful peninsula, rich in flora and fauna. After the visits we continue to the Blue Eye, an area where seven artesian wells (natural springs) rise.Named after the largest spring, the water descends to depths of over 50m as it infiltrates the pale-coloured surrounding rock. Then we drive to Gjirokaster, a UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinctive architecture. Visit the medieval Castle which used to be a political prison during the communist dictatorship and the Ethnographic Museum which is also the house the Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha was born in. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
After early breakfast we continue our trip to Tepelena and visit Ali Pasha Castle, which was once one of the most important military bases during the cold war. Afterwards we drive to the ancient city of Apollonia situated on the famous Via Egnatia - one of the most important cities in Roman times. Due to its fame and importance it was known as Apollonia Prima out of 16 ancient cities built to honour Apollo. Caesar choose to send his nephew Augustus Octavian to study oratory in Apollonia revealing the importance of this ancient city.After visits to Apollonia , we drive to Berat. Overnight in Berat is a unique experience staying in houses up to 300 years old turned hotels.
After breakfast, we visit Berat with its pretty white buildings perched on the hill amid pine forests. We walk through the narrow cobbled streets and finally reach Berat Castle on the slopes of Mount Tomorr, where we are rewarded with breath-taking views (and begin to understand why it is known to Albanians as 'The City of a Thousand Windows'). Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which 7 still remain,including one turned into Onufri Museum (Museum of Iconography), which we will visit. After this interesting experience, we drive to Tirana, Albania’s capital. We'll have an orientation tour of the colourful streets of Tirana, which was made the capital of Albania in just 1920. We’ll see the main sites, including the impressive façade of the National History Museum which is adorned with a gigantic mosaic known as ‘The Albanians’. This is one of the finest examples of late Albanian Socialist Realism in the country, depicting the resilience of the people in their fight against invasion and occupation throughout the centuries, and dominates Skanderbeg Square.Overnight in Tirana.
After breakfast, we continue our trip to Kruja, the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under our national hero Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Champion of Christ” given by the Pope of the time.Proceed to Durresi, one of the oldest (founded in 627 B.C.). We take a sightseeing tour of the Amphitheatre situated in the middle of the modern city in an inhabited area, and the Archaeological museum rich in arte facts found in the city and its suburbs. Overnight in Durresi.
After breakfast, return to Saranda passing through the spectacular Albanian Riviera. We spend time at Porto Palermo Bay.From Porto Palermo Bay, we wind our way up the coast enjoying views to Corfu and miles of olive groves and pine forests, stopping for lunch en route to the popular destination of Vlorë, where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in 1912. Overnight in Saranda.
After breakfast, we drive to the port. End of our service.
Days : 7 | Nights : 6