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Discover Albania in 8 Days

 

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Zeitraum/Dauer
8 Tage
Art der Reise
Culture

Description

Localities:
1. Kruja
Kruja is a historical and significant city in central Albania. The Albanian national hero Skanderbeg has its fortress here. The castle and town, which attract tourists, clink picturesquely on the steep mountain high above the plain. The small town is a must for all Albanian travelers. Thanks to the proximity to Tirana, the impressive location, and the good tourist infrastructure, a visit to the historic site is certainly worthwhile. And the surrounding area offers many more. In the center of interest are the castle of the national hero Skanderbeg and the bazaar.

2. Durrës & Apollonia
The city of Durrës on the Adriatic has been the most important port in the region since antiquity. Everywhere in Durrës today you can find traces of Romans and Greeks, Venetians, Ottomans, Italians and Communists. Many of the sights which have been paved are pretty well hidden in side streets. Durrës is not only the second largest city in Albania but also an important seaside resort: in the south, there is a long sandy beach, especially popular with Albanian tourists from home and abroad. Durrës is located in the north of a large bay, where sandy beaches stretch over many kilometers. Between the city and the bay lies the harbor, which opens to the sea on the west. The city center is located at the foot of a small hill that stretches along the north coast. On the land side, stretches a broad plain – formerly malaria swamps, later farmland, today a new neighborhood inhabited by immigrants from the mountains.

Apollonia is not only an original maiden name but an archaeological site of considerable size. Once located in the delta of a river it was an important port city for trade between Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Earthquakes silted the shores and pushed the city inland and into insignificance, until the beginning of the 20th century, when a French archaeologist made the first excavations there. There is also a beautiful monastery on the same site – restored and rebuilt with EU funds. We liked it.

3. Vlora & Himara
Vlora is one of the largest cities in Albania, but also a popular seaside resort. The city at the crossing of the Adriatic Sea to the Ionian Sea, at the transition from the central Albania coast to the southern Albania coastal mountains. The bay of Vlora, which forms a natural harbor, was popular with Greeks, Romans, Turks, and Soviets – today it is full of tourists. Vlora is just 60 kilometers away from the Italian coast on the other side of the Adriatic. The location at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea has long shaped the city: again and again occupied by the Italians and in the 90’s it was the starting point of traveling to western Europe. The port is not large despite its proximity to Italy. The city is located at the northern end of a large bay, which is upstream of the island of Sazan. The city used to be a bit off the coast. Today it expands to the harbor, followed by the beaches. Towards the south, the coast of the bay quickly becomes steeper and offers beautiful places for bathing, behind which the high mountains rise. The hills in the north are covered by many olive trees. In the surrounding area there are still some sights, and also far away excursion destinations which can be easily reached from here.

Himara is a small town on the coast of the Ionian Sea in the south of Albania in the Vlora District.  It is the political and economic center of the Albanian Rivera, the remote stretch of coast north of Saranda to the Adriatic Sea. The municipality of Himara covers the entire Riviera, which is why Himara is often more than just a place. A few kilometers on the south of Himara in the bay of Porto Palermo, on a small peninsula, there is a fortress that is said to have been built by Ali Pasha Tepelena at the beginning of the 19th century. However, it is likely to be much older, probably built by the Republic of Venice at about the same time as the similarly constructed fortress in Butrint. Also there, in the military restricted area, but well visible from the fort and the coastal road, is a former Soviet and Albanian submarine base with a submarine bunker driven into the rocks.

4. Saranda & Butrint
The port city of Saranda is located in the southern part of Albania. It is the capital of the district with the same name and one of the most important seaside beach resorts in the country. Saranda is located on the Ionian Sea near the Greek island of Corfu. The most significant attractions in Saranda are the extensive ancient ruins of Butrint about 15 kilometers south of the city, since 1992 Unesco World Heritage site. Other attractions include the Byzantine church of Shën Kollë (Nicholas of Myra consecrated) in Mesopotamia and Syri i Kaltër (Blue Eye), probably the most famous spring in Albania. Also, the ancient site Phoinike east of the city of Finiq is a notable landmark. In 2006 a theater was dug up there. Saranda is visited annually by about 500,000 tourists. 35 percent of them are not from Albania or Kosovo.

5. Gjirokastra & Blue Eye
Gjirokastra in southern Albania is not only a “museum city” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but one of Albania’s tourist attractions. The historic houses of the old town cling to the steep slopes, surrounded by an old castle. The streets are still paved and numerous cultural monuments can be visited. With its well-preserved historical substance on the steep mountain, it offers a unique picture. The typical stone houses are remarkable: in the lower part, they are mostly fortified strongholds. The living areas of the upper floors are decorated with woodwork, balconies, and windows. Unfortunately, many homes are poorly maintained and disintegrate. Particularly characteristic is the steepness that has already been mentioned several times. The famous Albanian writer Ismail Kadare – along with the former dictator Enver Hoxha, the most famous citizen of the city – describes the layout as saying that you can walk on the street and touch a minaret point with your arms outstretched.

No matter if you have come to Albania for a day trip during your vacations in Greece or you have decided to spend more time exploring the mysterious land, you should not miss a destination: We are talking about the “Blue Eye” the underground source of a mountain lake from which flows a crystal clear and ice – cold water. The Blue Eye owns its name to the deep blue of its ever-bubbling spring which changes in the course of the lake in shimmering turquoise and green tones. A picturesque sight, in which one would like to jump in directly. Similar to the Krka National Park, you can take a bath in the Blue Eye but with the water temperature of just 12 degrees, jumping in requires a little bit more courage! If you are, like me, someone who freezes, you can carefully check the water temperature by wading through the crystal clear water.

6. Berat
Berat is probably the most beautiful city in Albania – of course, a little smaller than Tirana, unfortunately not near the Sea, but yet charming at the beginning of the mountains and with the most beautiful ottoman Old town. From there it got its name as “The city of 1000 windows”. In contrast to most other Albanian cities,  a lot is offered to the tourists. Thanks to the numerous attractions and excursion possibilities in the surrounding area, it’s well worth a longer visit for several days.

7. Tirana
Tirana, the capital of Albania is known for its colorful architecture from Ottoman, fascist and Soviet times. Pastel-colored buildings line the central Skanderbeg Square, named after the equestrian statue of a national hero. At the northern end of the square is the Modernist Historical National Museum, whose exhibits range from prehistoric times to Communist rule and the anti-communist uprisings of the 1990s. You can walk from one shop to the other, from Cafe to Restaurant, but first of all, you should enjoy the street life of Albanians. Parks, the colorfully painted facades of houses over the entire streets, modern skyscrapers and the sometimes unfamiliar Albanian everyday life offer various views.

Hotels:
1. HOTEL PANORAMA 4* or similar KRUJA
2. HOTEL PARTNER 4* or similar VLORE
3. HOTEL BRILANT 4* or similar SARANDE (2 NIGHTS)
4. HOTEL CAJUPI 3*+ or similar GJIROKASTER
5. HOTEL GRAND WHITE CITY 4* or similar BERAT
6. HOTEL TIRANA INTERNATIONAL 4* or similar TIRANE

Included:
– Hotel Accommodation BB
– Professional German Speaking Guide
– Transport by bus A /C for the duration of the trip
– 1 PAX free of charge in single room/BB
– Enters as in program:
– Skanderbeg Museum and Ethnographic Museum- Kruje
– Amphitheatre – Durres
– Apollonia Park
– Blue Eye and Butrinti Archeological Park – Sarande
– Onufri Museum and The Fortress – Berat
– The castle- Gjirokaster and Ethnographic Museum- Gjirokaster
– Porto Palermo Castle- Sarande
– National Historic Museum- Tirane

Not Included:
– Flight to Albania
– All Extras
– Meals
– Personal Expenses
– Drinks
– Tips
– Porter Age
– Everything left as optional in this program
– Every Monday museums are closed
– No reservation has been made in advance, hotels are subject to changes depending on availability request

Information on arrival & transfer:

We would like to point out that the flight to Albania is not included in the offer and it must be organized on your own. We recommend that you book a direct flight to Prishtina (Kosovo) or an indirect flight (1 stop) to Tirana (Albania). In order for the tour to be carried out in accordance with the itinerary, it is necessary to arrive one day before the start of the tour. The transfer from the airport (Prishtina Airport or Mother Teresa Airport in Tirana) and the overnight stay before the start of the tour is organized by unique albania GmbH. Please let us know as soon as possible when and where you will arrive.

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