Expert-Led Group Tour

Albania Group Tour - Origins of Illyria

Journey through the 'land of Eagles' with Carolyn Perry

Limited OfferNo single supplement for the first two places booked on our 2019 Albania tour, a saving of £215pp

9 days

from £1,595pp
Limited Offer
  • For the first two solo travellers booking on our group tour to Albania in 2019, there is no single supplement to pay
  • Available on a first come first serve basis
  • A saving of £215 per person
  • One of Europe's last great secrets with spectacular crowd-free, ancient sites
  • Accompanied by Carolyn Perry, an expert in the art and architecture of Albania
  • Travel through the Albanian Alps and alongside spectacular turquoise seas
  • Try delicious Albanian food and drink and feel the warmth of the local hospitality

Journey through the 'Land of Eagles', known as Illyria throughout the classical era and discover a country with a fascinating past and present. Archaeological sites, such as Byllis, tell stories of everyday life in ancient times, whereas impressive ancient Butrint, described by Virgil as 'Troy in miniature', boasts links to the famous legend of Aeneas. Travel to Albania's coast and explore Durres, ancient Dyrrhachium, fought over by Caesar and Pompey. Travelling in Albania gives a window on an age that was rich with tales of empire, war, riches and rebellion.

Leave the history behind for a while and consider contemporary Albania; a country, until recently, deprived of many western privileges. Trapped by an isolationist regime and fortified against its surrounding enemies, Albania spent many years in the international wilderness. Now having opened up, the friendly people and rich variety of archaeological and historical sites, combined with stunning, wild mountainous scenery is a heady recipe.

The beauty of a holiday to Albania is the lack of crowds. Given the impressive historical sites, ancient towns and interesting cities, one would expect the main attractions to be busy with tourists. This is fortunately not the case so we urge you to travel to Albania now before the word gets out. 


For the expertise of Carolyn Perry, as well as the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals to a country that is, as yet, undiscovered by the masses.


Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.


Accommodation in Albania is a different standard to that of the UK as tourism has not long been a major industry there. There is still a variety of comfortable options and, in some places, very characterful guesthouses and hotels.


You do not need to be particularly fit to participate, there are no long walks involved but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.


Albanian cuisine offers a unique blend of Mediterranean flavours. Representing a rich historical past, the food of modern Albania has been developed over a number of years and reflects a fusion of Greek, Italian and Turkish cooking.

From baked lamb with yoghurt to fresh, vibrant salads - the Albanians live for lunch. The main food in Albania is characterised by the use of spices such as black pepper and Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil, rosemary. In the cooking of meat and fish, chilli pepper and garlic is used to good effect. In true Albanian style take lunch at a local’s house to try homemade sheep's cheese (feta), made from traditional methods in the mountains and washed down with the local hooch, raki...not for the faint-hearted!


Not excessively hot but the days should be clear and sunny. When travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. 

Departing on:
  • 1st June 2018
  • 31st May 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
1st Jun 2018 9th Jun 2018 £ 1,595 £ 400 £ 200 Carolyn Perry Limited
31st May 2019 8th Jun 2019 £ 1,750 £ 415 £ 215 Carolyn Perry Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accompanied by an English speaking local guide throughout
  • Eight breakfasts, eight lunches and eight dinners
  • Entrance fees for sights mentioned
  • Gratuities for local guide, driver and porters
  • One night at Hotel Alpin
  • One night at Hotel Bleart Durres Beach
  • One night at Hotel Kalemi 2
  • One night at Hotel Mangalemi
  • One night at Vila Alba
  • Transportation with modern tourist class a/c minibus
  • Two nights at Hotel Brilant

what is excluded

  • International flights (Can be arranged)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Inbound flights
The suggested group inbound flight for this tour is:

British Airways BA2648, scheduled to depart London Gatwick at 08:25 on Friday 1st June, arriving into Tirana airport at 12:25. An arrival transfer will be provided to connect with this flight. You will be met and transferred to Hotel Panorama in Kruja, a journey of around one hour from Tirana airport.

For those making their own way to Tirana and not taking the suggested group flight, the starting point for the trip is Hotel Panorama in Kruja. Please speak to one of our team should you need help organising an arrival transfer.

You will meet with the rest of the group for a short briefing at the hotel - meeting time to be confirmed in your final documentation.

Afternoon visit to the almost impregnable Citadel of Kruja, stronghold of Skanderbeg and now the site of the Skanderbeg Museum and the fascinating Ethnographic museum set in a traditional house followed by a stroll through the Ottoman bazaar, which has a wonderful selection of souvenirs.

Dinner included.

You will be staying at Hotel Panorama Kruja, full board

Day 2

Kruja - Lezhe - Durres
A morning drive down to the historic town of Lezhe, originally an Illyrian city. Remains of the Illyrian era are still visible, including walls and an extremely well preserved gate of the ancient city. Lezhe played an important part in the Civil Wars between Caesar and Pompey, but is mainly famed for its connection with Skanderbeg, being both the place where he formed the League of Lezhe to fight the Ottomans and also his place of death and burial. The original walls of the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas are still preserved, and the cathedral now functions as a memorial to him.

Depart for Durres, one of the Greek colony cities of Albania. Known as Epidamnus, the city was founded in 627 BC by Greeks from Corcyra and Corinth. Its strategic location as a harbour is clear, but Greek and Roman authors also noted the city's temples and monuments. The city played a part in both the origins of the Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC and also the Roman Civil War. Continuously inhabited since its foundation, the remains of the ancient city include the Amphitheatre, parts of the Via Egnatia, and various fortifications. The Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Bleart Durres Beach, full board

Day 3

Durres - Apollonia - Byllis - Berat
Depart for the ancient city of Apollonia, another 7th century Greek colony on the famous Via Egnatia. The orator Cicero called Apollonia 'a great and important city' and it was while studying oratory in the city that Octavian heard of the death of Caesar. Visit the extensive remains of the city, the Church of St Mary, and the Archaeological Museum now housed in the Monastery.

Journey on to Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as the City of One Thousand Windows. On the way passing t the Rock of Kavaja where Caesar camped during the civil war against Pompey, near to the battle site of Asparagium. Lying on the banks of the Osum River, the town of Berat is famous for its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traditionally split in to two distinct halves, the Muslim Old Town (Mangalem) lies north of the river and its collection of white-washed houses climb up towards the town's citadel. On the south side of the river, lies the Christian Old Town (Gorica). The two sides are linked by a number of bridges, including an impressive 250-year-old, seven-arched footbridge.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Mangalemi, full board

Day 4

Berat - Amantia - Oricum - Llogara
Leave Berat for the ancient Illyrian city of Amantia founded in the 5th century BC. Amantia occupies a spectacular defensive position above the Vjosa river valley overlooking the road to the coast. The site has substantial remains of the fortification walls, and a very well preserved gate. Remains of dwellings are still visible within the Acropolis and, unusually for Albania, the foundations of a Greek temple to Aphrodite are preserved. The best-preserved monument is the stadium which could originally accommodate about 4000 people.

Drive on to Oricum, a city which played an important role in both the Roman's defeat of Philip V of Macedon and the Roman civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Stepped stone streets can still be discerned, as well as the base of a monumental water fountain or Nymphaeum.

Continue to Llogara National Park. The pass of Llogara reaches a height of 1,000 metres above sea level- and is also the place where, according to tradition, Caesar led his troops over the pass after landing from Italy.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Alpin, full board

Day 5

Llogara - Sarandra
Depart along the 'Albanian Riviera' through spectacular scenery between the sea and the mountains. Travel on to the Greek village of Himare and then to Porto Palermo and the Fortress of Ali Pasha. Porto Palermo is also the site of an underground submarine base built by Enver Hoxha. After passing through the villages of Qeparo and Borsh arrive in Saranda.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Brilant, full board

Day 6

Full day Saranda - Butrint - Malathrea- Ksamil- Saranda
Drive south to see an example of a fortified Hellenistic farmstead at Malathrea before crossing the Vivari Channel to visit the extensive site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to legend the city was founded by Trojan exiles led by Aeneas, though the site was probably not inhabited until the 8th-century BC.

The site, on a peninsula in a verdant setting in the Lake of Butrint, has well-preserved remains from the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Christian and even Venetian periods. Finds from the site are on display in the small museum.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Brilant, full board

Day 7

Saranda - Antigenea - Gjirokastra
Depart Saranda to Gjirokastra via the Muzine pass. En route visit Antigonea, a city founded by King Pyrrhus of Epirus in honour of his wife Antigone. Antigonea is a city built on the Hippodamian grid system, but was destroyed by the Romans in 167 BC. On to Gjirokastra, the 'City of Stone' and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the imposing castle, which houses the National Museum of Weapons. The castle has fabulous views above the valley of the river Drin, between Albania and Greece. Afterwards visit the Ethnographic Museum, the former home of Albania's dictator Enver Hoxha, who was born in the city.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Hotel Kalemi 2, full board

Day 8

Gjirokastra - Tepelene - Elbasan - Ad Quintum - Tirana
Depart Gjirokastra for Elbasan, via Tepelene the city of the infamous Ali Pasha. Elbasan was a Roman station along the Via Egnatia known as Mansio Scampa. Parts of the Via Egnatia are still visible, as are later fortification walls, and the remains of a Roman villa.

Afterwards continue to Petrela Castle, which dates to the 5th century AD. Pass by the Martyrs Cemetery and the 12-metre-high Monument of Mother Albania, which was inaugurated in 1971.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and Dinner at local restaurants.

You will be staying at Vila Alba, full board

Day 9

Tirana - London
Founded by the Ottomans in 1614, modern Tirana became Albania's capital in the early 20th century. Now a city in transition, Tirana showcases a mix of new-found wealth contrasting with relics of the all too recent communist era. Skyscrapers have begun to fill the cityscape, but concrete utilitarian constructions still fill much of the city. In recognition of this, a splash of colour has been added to many of the fast ageing apartment blocks, as is fitting for such a vibrant city. Completely transformed, Tirana is a pleasure to wander around.Our city tour starts with a visit at the National Historical Museum followed by a stop at the Mosque of Et`hem Bey built in 1793 and the Opera House (National Theatre of Opera and Ballet) on Skanderbeg Square. A walk in the main boulevard provides views of the City Hall and a number of governmental buildings on both sides. Continue walking to the former Communist Residential area- with its bars, restaurants and pubs.

Suggested group flights
The suggested group outbound flight for this tour is:

British Airways BA2649, scheduled to depart Tirana international airport at 23:35 on Saturday 9th June, arriving into London Gatwick at 01:40 on Sunday 10th June.

A departure transfer will be provided to connect with this flight.

For those not taking the suggested group flight, please speak to one of our team should you need help organising a departure transfer.

Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch at a local restaurant.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Albania

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour expert

Carolyn Perry

Carolyn Perry
Following a degree in Classics and Archaeology, Carolyn lectured in Ancient History and Mythology in the Department of Mediterranean Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London. She later moved to the Education Department of The British Museum, where she set up and ran the Arab World Education Programme and afterwards worked as Manager of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL. She is now Director of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation but continues to work in museums and education, lecturing on various aspects of the ancient Mediterranean and Islamic world and is currently Chair of the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia.
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:
Speak to an Albania holiday expert:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 14

Tour Expert:

Carolyn Perry

Departure Date (S):

  • 1st June 2018 - Guaranteed to run
  • 31st May 2019

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

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