FROM GREECE TO ALBANIA AND MONTENEGRO
Come and visit Greece – the city of Athens and Delphi, Albania – with the beautiful Riviera, Unesco sites and its capital Tirana, to Montenegro with its striking Bay of Kotor. On this route from Greece to Albania and Montenegro, you will get to know the cities, stroll among the locals to see their daily life, visit the island of Corfu, see the nature and Unesco sites, and taste local wine. Whether you come as an individual traveler to do the tour privately and tailor-made or as a group, you will have the opportunity to admire the differences between the gems that the three countries have to offer.
DAY 1: ATHENS – ARRIVAL
Arrival at the Athens airport. Transfer to the hotel, meet with the guide and overnight in Athens.
DAY 2: ATHENS
After breakfast, we spend the whole day getting to know this city. Athens is a lively mix of history and avant-garde. Be open-minded and discover this Greek capital. Get an insider’s view of this bustling Mediterranean metropolis and learn about the city’s history and culture along the way. Explore the city as you visit sites such as: The Olympic Stadium, the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, and the New Acropolis Museum. Attend the changing of the guard at the Parliament and enjoy the Greek atmosphere in the evening, getting lost in the central streets.
DAY 3: ATHENS – DELPHI
Morning departure from Athens to the archaeological site of Delphi. The ancient Greeks considered this sanctuary as the center of the world, marked by the stone monument known as “the omphalos”. Visit the temple of God Apollo, the god of music and truth, and part of the Panhellenic sanctuary of Delphi which occupies a remote but central location in relation to the Greek settlements. The elevated position of the temple on the mountain signifies both the prominence of Apollo and that of the sanctuary itself.
Next, stop at the Athenian Treasury (built around 510 BC and rebuilt between 1903 and 1906) which is in the form of a Doric temple. It was built by the Athenians, using marble from the island of Paros, to house their offerings to Apollo. Continue the visit with the ancient Theater dating from the 4th century BC and the Stadium, which is located in the highest part of the site built in the 5th century, about 50 meters above the theater. Overnight in Delphi.
DAY 4: DELPHI – IOANNINA
Traveling from Greece to Albania, you will depart to the northern part towards the city of Ioannina which stretches around the beautiful Pamvotida Lake. The natural environment, the climate, and the character of the city are defined by this stretch of water, the trademark of the area. The lake is a natural monument around which the whole area lives and breathes. The strong cultural tradition of the city, the birthplace of great novelists and poets, and the artistic and intellectual events that are organized throughout the year, give visitors the opportunity to learn about the roots of the intellectual life of Epirus. A stroll through the city has a feeling of a bygone era, full of secret places and legends still alive. Wonderful buildings such as the Matei Hussein House, the Ottoman Mosque of Veli Pasha, and the entire historical center of the city are unique attractions. Overnight in Ioannina.
DAY 5: IOANNINA – CORFU – SARANDA
In the morning transfer to the port of Igoumenitsa to board the ferry to the island of Corfu. Upon arrival in Corfu, you will have time to stroll around the city of Corfu. Steeped in Venetian grace and elegance, the historic town of Corfu (also known as Kerkyra) lies midway along the east coast of the island. The old town is a tight maze of winding alleyways, some lined with fine restaurants, lively bars, and interesting stores, others eternal lanes where clotheslines stretch from balcony to balcony. It is also home to majestic architecture, such as the splendid arcades of Liston, museums, and churches. In the afternoon we transfer by ferry and jump from Greece to Albania to the Albanian Riviera, to the city of Saranda. Overnight in Saranda.
DAY 6: SARANDA
Today you will have time to enjoy the day on one of the beaches of this Albanian town. Albania’s rugged coastline, with traditional villages nestled in secluded bays and golden beaches lapped by turquoise waters, was a revelation when travelers began discovering the country at the turn of the century. Since then, Europe’s last unspoiled beaches have changed almost beyond recognition, but there are still plenty of reasons to come and explore this magnificent coastline where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. Overnight in Saranda.
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DAY 7: SARANDA – BUTRINT – VLORE
The journey continues to the ancient city of Butrint, one of the most interesting Unesco sites in the Balkans, with the Greek amphitheater (later remodeled by the Romans), the baptistery, the cathedral, the Lion’s gate, and the museum which includes many interesting artifacts found in the area. After the visit departure along the Albanian Riviera to the north, towards the town of Vlore. Arrival in Vlore and overnight.
DAY 8: VLORE – APOLLONIA – BERAT
After breakfast, we continue to Apollonia, located 12 km from Fier. This archaeological park, located in a fascinating landscape, forms an interesting combination of the beauty of the monuments and nature. Its foundation took place immediately after Epidamno (modern Durres) and it quickly became one of the best-known cities in the Adriatic basin. The Greek settlers found here an Illyrian community and that is why this place was called Apollonia of Illyria. Here you will see some monuments such as the theater, the Monument of Agonothetes, the Agora, the fountain, and the church of St. Mary. In the afternoon we depart to the city of Berat. Arrival and overnight in Berat.
DAY 9: BERAT – TIRANA
In the morning you will visit the city of Berat. Berat, known as the “City of a thousand windows” and declared Museum City, part of the UNESCO heritage, eclipsed to the east by the 2415 m Tomorr mountain, is an ancient Illyrian settlement founded in the 4th and 5th centuries BC on the territory of the Illyrian tribe of Desarettes. The three main quarters of the old town are Mangalemi, Gorica, and Kala, where the castle itself is located. The Kalaja of Berat is a castle as large as a town. Unlike other fortifications in the region, which have been hollowed out over time, Berat Castle is almost intact. Within its walls, you will find a vast complex of stone streets, Byzantine houses, and churches mixed with ruins from various eras. Before leaving for the capital, we will stop at a local winery to taste the national wines. In the afternoon transfer to Tirana. Arrival and overnight in Tirana.
DAY 10: TIRANA
Today you will get to know the capital of Albania. Tirana was founded in the early 17th century by a Turkish general, Barkinzade Süleyman Paşa, who is said to have built a mosque, a bathhouse, and a bakery to attract locals. The centerpiece is Skanderbeg Square, with a large statue of Skanderbeg, the Albanian national hero. On your visit you will also see the Et`hem Bey Mosque, built in 1793, the Bunk’art2 museum, the Opera House (National Opera and Ballet Theater), the Town Hall, and several government buildings. In the afternoon you will have free time to stroll around the city. Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 11: TIRANA – SHKODER – KOTOR BAY
Breakfast and departure to Montenegro. Before reaching the beautiful Bay of Kotor we will stop in the town of Shkoder. Shkoder is the most historic town in Albania. The oldest wall of the castle of Shkodër dates back to the first millennium BC. The Roman historian Livy cited the city as the capital of the Illyrian king Gentius, who surrendered to the Romans in 168 B.C. Subsequently, the city was in the hands of the Byzantines, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Turks, again the Illyrians and the Serbian Balša family, who sold it to Venice in 1396. In the 15th century, it was a fortress of the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg. In the afternoon we cross the border to Montenegro. Arrival and overnight in the Bay of Kotor.
DAY 12: KOTOR BAY
Breakfast and a visit of this beautiful bay. First stop in Perast, one of the most beautiful baroque towns in Montenegro. As a former seafaring center, it still shines with wonderful buildings, beautiful churches, and a romantic promenade. However, the main attraction of Perast and also the most famous postcard motif of the Bay of Kotor is the island of Our Lady of the Rocks.
Later continue to Kotor, a real magnet for tourists and sailors in Montenegro. Full of ancient history and jaw-dropping scenery, Kotor is one of Montenegro’s top tourist attractions and vacation destinations. In addition to the many sights, such as the Cathedral of St. Tryphon in the old town (built in 1166), the point of interest is the fortification, built during the Venetian period.
At the end of the tour, you will get to know Budva. Once a small and quiet seaside town, today Budva is a metropolis of Montenegrin tourism during the summer. Budva seems to have a double life: one in the old town and another in the new part of the city. Overnight in the Bay of Kotor.
DAY 13: KOTOR BAY – CETINJE – NATIONAL PARK LOVCEN – KOTOR BAY
Breakfast and departure to the town of Cetinje at the base of Lovčen mountain. Cetinje is a treasure of Montenegrin cultural and historical heritage. It smells of 18th and 19th-century architecture coming from the rich greenery of this small town. Two of the most representative buildings are the monasteries of Cetinje and Biljarda. After the visit return to the bay and continue to the most famous place in Lovcen National Park, the impressive Njegos Mausoleum, which contains the tomb of the philosopher-poet Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, seated on top of its second-highest peak at 1657m. Return and last night in Montenegro.
DAY 14: KOTOR BAY – DEPARTURE
Transfer to Dubrovnik airport for your return flight. End of the trip.
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FROM GREECE TO ALBANIA AND MONTENEGRO
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