- Meet your Limitless Albania representative and transfer to Tirana city center.
- Check in at the hotel at central part of the town.
- Welcome meal at a traditional restaurant.
- The Historical Museum tour.
The largest museum in Albania holds many of the country’s archaeological treasures and a replica of Skanderbeg’s massive sword (how he held it, rode his horse and fought at the same time is a mystery). The excellent collection is almost entirely signed in English and takes you chronologically from ancient Illyria to the postcommunist era. One highlight of the museum is a terrific exhibition of icons by Onufri, a renowned 16th-century Albanian master of colour.
- Transfer to Durres (approx. 45 minute drive.)
- Guided tour of the Durrës archaeological museum. Visit the Roman Amphitheater.
- Transfer to Apollonia (approx. 80 minute drive.)
- Guided tour of the Apollonia archaeological park. Visit the archaeological museum.
- Lunch at the restaurant where French archaeologist Leon Rey had his base camp in 1924.
- Transfer to Berat. (approx. 45 minute drive.)
Durres was a key port for both the Greeks and the Romans, and a vital link on the route from Europe to Asia. We visit its amphitheatre, the largest in the Balkans, as well as the Roman forum, the ancient city walls and the archaeological museum. Then it’s time for Apollonia. Founded by colonists from Corinth around 600 BC, it was later home to a famous Academy, where Octavian was studying in 44 BC. Finds are displayed in the cloisters of a 13th-century Byzantine monastery. First of two nights in Berat.
- Walking tour of the citadel, visit the 13th-century Cathedral for the Assumption of the Holy Mother and iconography museum.
- Visit of Mangalem and Gorica neighborhood.
- Lunch at traditional restaurant .
- The rest of the day will be left at your own leisure to enjoy and relax.
Berat. A UNESCO world heritage site, Berat is one of Albania’s oldest and most attractive cities, with many Ottoman houses scattered across the hills above the river. A walking tour of the lower town includes the 15th-century mosque and the 18th-century Halvati Teqe. Meanwhile, the Byzantine citadel above shelters the Church of St Mary – home to the dazzling Onufri Icon Museum where 16th- and 17th-century Christian art and a beautiful iconostasis are displayed. Overnight in Berat.
- Transfer to Byllis archaeological park. (approx. 120 minute drive.)
- Guided tour of Byllis Amphitheater.
- Transfer to Vlora. (approx. 90 minute drive)
- After lunch call, guided tour of Vlora’s attractions.
Once the largest city in southern Illyria, Byllis is a vast and atmospheric archaeological site, perched on a hilltop and commanding spectacular views. In Late Antiquity Byllis became an important Christian centre, and several basilicas were built. Vlora is the country’s second port; the first parliament convened here following the declaration of independence in 1912. Here, we see the Muradie Mosque; built in 1537 by the greatest of Ottoman architects, Mimar Sinan. Overnight in Vlora.
- Transfer to Albanian Riviera through Llogara National Park. (approx. 90 minute drive).
- Option of free time or walking in the national park with a visit to the nearby camping ground of Julius Caesar.
- Visit Dhermi and Himara Old Village.
The day is spent travelling through Llogara National Park and along the breathtaking Ionic coast. The Llogara Pass is always a high point (literally) on any tour of Albania. We’ll drive down to sea level from an altitude of 1,000 meters in about 20 minutes, enjoying magnificent views of the coast along the way (yes, we’ll stop for a photo.)
- Transfer to Porto Palermo Bay for a tour of Ali Pasha’s fortress. (approx. 15 min drive.)
- Walking tour of Qeparo Old Village.
- Lunch with locals at the Old Village up on the hills.
- Transfer to Saranda. (approx. 50 min drive.)
Continue travelling through Albanian Riviera, along the breathtaking Ionic coast. The journey is broken in the bay of Porto Palermo, a few kilometres from the small town of Himara, where we visit a Venetian fort and castle. After walking tour and lunch call at Qeparo Old Village, arrive in Saranda for a panoramic view of the bay before continuing to the hotel for a one-night stay.
- Transfer to Butrint (approx. 15 minute drive) for tour of site (around 2 hours.)
- Transfer to Blue Eye (aprox 20 min drive.)
- Transfer to Gjirokastra (approx. 40 minute drive.)
- Check in at the hotel at Old Town. Free afternoon to relax and enjoy.
Situated by a lake close to the Greek border, Butrint (Buthrotum) was settled by Greeks from nearby Corfu in the 6th century BC. It became an important Roman colony, declined in Late Antiquity and was abandoned in the Middle Ages. Lords Sainsbury and Rothschild set up the Butrint Foundation in 1991 to protect and examine the site. Excavation has revealed substantial elements of the late Roman and Byzantine town including a basilica, baptistery and a palace. First of two nights in Gjirokastra.
- Visit Citadel, Old Bazaar, artisan shops and a traditional house.
- Transfer to remote village Labova e Kryqit(Labova of the Cross).
- Visit Adrianopol Archaeological Site en route.
The steep cobbled streets and stone-roofed Ottoman houses of Gjirokastra are best appreciated from the castle. We visit the Old Bazaar, a traditional Ottoman house and the former home of dictator Enver Hoxha, now an ethnographic museum. In the afternoon, the remote village of Labova e Kryqit (Labova of the Cross) is our destination – to see one of the oldest Byzantine churches in Albania, dating back to the 6th century. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
- Transfer to Ardenica Monastery(approx. 120 min drive) for tour of site.
- Transfer to Kruja. (approx. 180 min drive)
- Tour of Bazaar, Castle and Skanderbeg Museum.
Drive north to the Monastery of Ardenica, built in 1282 by Byzantine Emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos and famous as the site of the wedding in 1451 of Albania’s national hero, Skanderbeg. Next stop is Kruja, Albania’s medieval capital, clustered around its restored bazaar, above which sits a ruined citadel and castle. It is also home to an excellent Ethnographic Museum and a modern museum dedicated to the life of Gjergj Kastrioti (aka Skanderbeg). Overnight in Kruja.
- Transfer to Shkodra. (approx. 180 minute drive). Visit Rozafa Castle.
- Transfer to Lezha. Visit Skanderbeg Memorial and Citadel.
- Transfer to Tirana in late afternoon.
Shkodra is one of the oldest and most populated cities in Albania’s north. It’s citadel, Rozafa Castle, is one of the oldest of the Balkans. Drive to Lezha to see the Skanderbeg memorial, built on the site of the ruined cathedral where the hero is buried and the Citadel up in the hill. Lezha Citadel dates back to Hellenic era and has a magnificent view over the Adriatic sea. Overnight in Tirana.
- Morning tour of Tirana.
- Transfer to airport for flight back home. (We’ll be glad to organize a longer stay, a transfer within Albania or transfers to any of the surrounding countries.
Depending on your departure time, morning tour of Tirana includes some of the city’s grand central boulevards, lined with relics of its Ottoman, Italian and Communist past. There is also a visit to the National Art Gallery. Transfer to Tirana International Airport.