9. Tirana: 4-Day Albanian Heritage Highlights Trip
Explore Albania's top attractions in the hands of an expert tour director during a 4-day, 3-night sightseeing tour. Sample authentic Albanian food and visit Unesco World Heritage Sites such as Berat, Gjirokastra, and Butrint. Day 1: Sightseeing tour of Berat via Durres Travel to Berat, stopping in Durres for a short walking tour of the City Walls, Byzantine Forum, Roman Thermal Baths, the Venetian Tower, and the Amphitheater. Transfer to Berat passing through suggestive hills full of olive trees. Then, get settled in the hotel and head out for a guided tour admiring the citadel/castle of Berat with the Red Mosque, recognized by its solitary minaret, and the many Byzantine Churches like the Holy Trinity Church and the St. George Church. Finally, step inside a local home inside the castle of Berat for a coffee, raki, and dessert break. Enjoy the rest of the day wandering in the two main districts of Mangalam and Gorica. Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Gjirokastra After breakfast, admire small villages during your transfer to Gjirokaster. Once you arrive in this “city of a thousand steps,” settle into your hotel before soaking up the rich history of the castle and enjoying the view of the “city of stone” from above. Next, see the Ottoman Bazaar and historic wooden houses. Visit the Gjirokastra Obelisk dedicated to the first school of Gjirokastra and enjoy the 360º view from there. Next, stop for lunch in a small local restaurant for a taste of the city’s authentic dishes. Step into Skenduli house, the nicest Ottoman tower house, and listen to its history and details from the 10th generation of the Skenduli family. Spend a relaxing evening in the streets of Gjirokaster. Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Butrint & the Blue Eye spring Travel to the “Blue Eye” spring. Admire the shades of blue and surrounding nature before heading to Butrint. There, marvel at 2,500 years of history on a guided tour with a local guide. See the highlights, such as the amphitheater, castle, churches, and Lion Gate. Drive to Ksamil and enjoy lunch by the lake at the Mussel House. Spend your afternoon in Ksamil before heading to Saranda via Lekursi Castle, which overlooks the city. Day 4: Tirana via Vlore and Riviera Road En route to the city of Vlore via the scenic Riviera road, and explore the Ali Pasha Castle with your Tour Director. First, head to the Llogara “balcony” for a stunning view of the South Coast beaches before indulging in lunch at Llogara National. Next, visit a park surrounded by pine trees and a fresh mountain breeze. Marvel at the architecture and listen to entertaining legends about the man who built it, Ali Pashe Tepelena. Then, stop for lunch at a rustic local restaurant along Shushica river. After lunch, visit the city of Vlore, the hometown of the National Independence movement. visit Flag Square with its Independence Monument in the center, the Muradie Mosque, and Vlore Lungomare. Transfer to Tirana. (Hotel accommodation in Tirana is not included on the tour).