THE GEMS OF ALBANIA AND MACEDONIA WITH KOSOVO AND MONTENEGRO
To this tour to Albania and North Macedonia, we have added also the neighboring countries Kosovo and Montenegro. So, your vacation will be different and in one trip you will get to know 4 countries and each one brings something different to the table. The enigma of Albania has a little bit of everything, cultural cities, Unesco sites, and beautiful beaches. Macedonia with its monuments from Ottoman and Byzantine times in the capital of Skopje and the beautiful lake of Ohrid. Kosovo with Pristina and the picturesque Turkish neighborhoods on the hills that have defined the city for centuries. And finally, Montenegro with the Bay of Kotor that you can easily compare with the city of Dubrovnik.
Whether you come to do the route privately and tailor-made or if you do it in a group, sign up for this tour to Albania with 3 additional countries to see how interesting the places are along the way.
DAY 1: TIRANA – ARRIVAL
Arrival at Tirana airport to start the first part of your tour to Albania and Macedonia to Kosovo & Montenegro. Transfer to the hotel. Afternoon visit of Tirana, starting from Skanderbeg Square and you will pass by the National History Museum, E`them Bey Mosque, Clock Tower, and other places on your way through the city. Depending on your arrival time and available time, the walking tour can then continue along the main boulevard, the Pyramid building, the Apple area, etc. Overnight in Tirana.
DAY 2: TIRANA – DURRES – APOLLONIA – VLORE
Morning drive to Durres, the oldest city in Albania, mentioned since the 7th century BC. In Durres, we will visit the Venetian Tower and the Roman Amphitheater from the 2nd century BC. After Durres, we will travel 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 can see some monuments such as the theater, the Monument of Agonothetes, the Agora, the House of Mosaics, the Fontana, and the church of St. Mary. Finally, drive to Vlore, a city located in the southwest of Albania. Overnight in Vlore.
DAY 3: VLORE – BUTRINT – SARANDA
After breakfast, departure to Saranda. The road will pass through Llogara Park and some of the most beautiful villages on the Albanian Riviera. We will make a brief stop at Porto Palermo, a few kilometers south of Himarë. The castle, very well preserved, was probably built by the Venetians, as it could be relieved by sea and has the same triangular plan with round towers as the Venetian fortress of Butrint.
Afterwards, the trip 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, Lion’s Gate and the museum that includes many interesting artifacts found in the area. In the afternoon, arrival in Saranda and overnight.
DAY 4: SARANDA – GJIROKASTRA – BERAT
After breakfast, drive to Gjirokastra. A Unesco World Heritage Site, the old town of Gjirokaster is famous for being a well-preserved Ottoman town. With its huge fortress dominating the whole town, and the old houses leaning against the hillsides with their beautiful old wooden facades, this place is a must for all visitors doing a tour of Albania.
First, we will visit the castle and the Museum of Arms, then the ethnographic house, the original old house where the dictator of Albania, Enver Hoxha, was born. Later we will travel to Berat, another town under the protection of UNESCO. Visit the lower part of the city with the neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica. Overnight in Berat.
DAY 5: BERAT – OHRID
After breakfast, we will continue our visit of Berat. We will visit the city’s castle and the museum “Onufri”, located in an old church with a very good collection of icons painted by Onufri and other icon painters of the region. The Albania part of your ends here and we continue to Macedonia with departure to Ohrid.
After border formalities, we will arrive in Ohrid and start the visit of the city of 365 churches, one for each day. The visit to Ohrid includes the church of St. Sophia, Kaneo, the castle, etc. Then enjoy some free time by the Ohrid Lake and overnight in Ohrid.
DAY 6: OHRID – BITOLA – HERACLEA – SKOPJE
In the morning we depart for Bitola. Visit of the old part of Bitola, the Catholic church and later we drive to the archaeological site of Heraclea, founded by Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. Located 2 km south of the center of Bitola, Heraclea Lyncestis is one of the most outstanding archaeological sites in northern Macedonia. You will see the Roman thermal baths, the portico, and the monumental amphitheater.
Also, the striking early Christian Basilica and the ruins of the bishop’s palace, with beautiful and well-preserved floor mosaics that are unique in depicting endemic trees and animals. Before the day is over, we continue to Skopje, the capital and largest city of North Macedonia. Overnight in Skopje.
DAY 7: SKOPJE – PRIZREN – PRISTINA
Today your tour to Albania and Macedonia is joined by Kosovo. First, in the morning you will visit the capital Skopje on a guided tour. We will see the Kale Fortress, the old Bazaar, and the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Memorial Center. We will walk along the banks of the Vardar River and pass the beautiful Stone Bridge. The architectural appearance of the city changed after the project called “Skopje 2014”, which has generated a lot of controversies and to this day is still part of the public debate.
The trip continues to the Republic of Kosovo. The first visit will be to the city of Prizren, a city that has well-preserved the old Ottoman style. First, we will visit the mosque of Sinan Pasha, built in the 16th century, and then the old part of the city with the Hammams (Ottoman baths) and the house of the “League of Prizren”.
Then we will continue to Pristina, the largest city and the capital of Kosovo. We will visit the “New Born” monument, Scanderbeg Square, and the city center with its beautiful library and government buildings. Overnight in Pristina.
DAY 8: PRISTINA – GRACANICA – GJAKOVO
After breakfast, a visit to the UNESCO-protected Gracanica Monastery. The Gracanica Monastery is one of the last monumental endowments of King Milutin. It is located in the village of Gracanica, a Serbian enclave 5 km from Pristina. The monastery is in the vicinity of Lipljan (the ancient city of Ulpiana), a former residence of bishops.
Gracanica was built on the ruins of a former 13th-century church of the Holy Virgin, which rose on the ruins of an early 6th-century three-nave basilica. Later, drive to Gjakovo, a town located in the southwest of the Republic of Kosovo. We will visit one of the largest markets in the Balkans, the tower of Gjakova, and stroll through its ancient streets. Overnight in Gjakovo.
DAY 9: GJAKOVO – PEJE – PODGORICA
Breakfast. The tour will continue with the Decani Monastery which is under the protection of UNESCO. It was built in the 14th century, the construction started in 1327 and was finished in 1335 by King Stephan Decani. We will visit the Monastery and the church inside, which contains some of the most beautiful frescoes created at that time.
Continue to the town of Peje, the house of Tahir Beg, and the Patriarchate of Peje (time permitting). At the end of the day, we will drive to Podgorica, the capital and largest city of Montenegro. Overnight in Podgorica.
DAY 10: PODGORICA – CETINJE – KOTOR – BUDVA
Breakfast followed by a visit of Podgorica in the morning. We will visit the city center, the ancient mosque, and the Orthodox church of Podgorica. Then we drive to the town of Cetinje. Visit of the Cetinje Monastery and the “Royal Palace”.
Later departure to the Bay of Kotor, where we will visit the city center and the old part of Kotor. On a walking tour of Kotor, we will see the fortress walls, St. Luka Square, Beskuća Palace, and St. Tryphon’s Cathedral. In the afternoon drive to Budva and overnight in Budva.
DAY 11: BUDVA
In the morning walking tour of the old town of Budva. This city is the center of Montenegrin tourism and is well known for its Mediterranean architecture. In the city, which is more than 2500 years old, you will see the city walls, the citadel, and the church of the Holy Trinity. In the afternoon free time to enjoy the atmosphere, try the food in a local restaurant, or stay on the beach. Overnight in Budva.
DAY 12: BUDVA – DEPARTURE
Depending on your return airport (Dubrovnik / Podgorica), check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. End of the trip.
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THE GEMS OF ALBANIA AND MACEDONIA WITH KOSOVO AND MONTENEGRO
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