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Mountain lakes in Albanian Alps, Albania

The Essence of Albania

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

10 Days

Prices Start from

$2,413 ex. flights

Albania is a short-haul destination that is emerging as one of the most fascinating countries within Europe. It is an eighth of the size of the UK, and the entirety of the country is accessible by road, enabling easy exploration of all four corners of the country on this classic journey.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

1

Experience Albanian Gastronomy

When it comes to food culture, Albania has a lot to offer. Being part of the Mediterranean it is heavily influenced by olive oil, fruits vegetables and incredible seafood.

 

Dhermi Beach - Albania 2

Explore the Southern Coastline

Along the coast, small towns and ancient ruins pepper the landscape with the likes of Apollonia and Butrint dating back 2,500 years.

Kruja Village, Albania 3

Haggle for Souvenirs in Kruja

Ruined castles dominate the skyline of Kruja and the ancient bazaars are great for picking up traditional handicrafts.

Berat Old Town, Albania 4

See the Ottoman cities of Gjirokastra and Berat

Best explored on foot, the old towns of Gjirokastra and Berat are home to unique architecture and imposing hilltop castles.

Why we like it

Whatever your interests are – from archaeology, history or art – we will ensure you don’t miss a thing with our friendly and inspirational guides.

As an emerging tourist destination, there is no denying Albania has a long way to go in terms of accommodation choices, but if you thrive on being one of the first, then we urge you to explore it now. Albania is a rare treat for those on the hunt for authenticity. There is still an undiscovered ambience to a country of rustic beauty, but the secret will soon be out.

Don't forget, we will customise this journey to suit you.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1
    Tirana
  • Day 2
    Tirana - Kruja - Shkodra
  • Day 3
    Shkodra - Durres - Berat
  • Day 4
    Berat - Apollonia - Vlora - Oricum - Llogara
  • Day 5
    Llogara - Saranda
  • Day 6
    Saranda
  • Day 7
    Saranda - Gjirokastra
  • Day 8
    Gjirokastra - Korca
  • Day 9
    Korca - Pogradec - Tirana
  • Day 10
    Tirana

A Dictator That Built a Thousand Bunkers

The country sits between an isolated past and a reinvented future. The thousands of stone bunkers that you can see on the landscape have renewed life, now home to museums, cafes and even a tattoo parlour. The mushroom-shaped bunkers were built over two decades from 1970 when communist dictator Enver Hoxha ruled. When visiting the capital, look up Bunk’ Art, which was Hoxha’s atomic bunker, now an exhibition space. There is now a second Bunk Art open – proving to be a place of memory and an insight into the secrets of the regime. We urge you to go and have a look for yourself.

Berat Old Town, Albania
Berat, Albania
Gjirokastra roofs
Albania
Clock Tower in the world heritage town of Gjirokaster, Albania
Albania
Historic city of Berat in Albania, an Unesco world heritage site, Albania
Albania

A City of One Thousand Windows

Berat Old Town is a declared Museum City and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sat in the shadow of Tomorr Mountain, this ancient Illyrian settlement sits isolated on a hilltop with great views of the surrounding plains. The main drawcard here is Bouleuterion, the ancient greek council house. Berat and nearby strikingly picturesque Gjirokastra contain both Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques, a castle with origins in the fourth century, and a bazaar that is still trading today. It is a melting pot of multi faiths and an interesting mix between Europe and the Middle East.

 

 

Mountain lakes in Albanian Alps, Albania
Albania
Kruja Village, Albania
Albania
Waterfall, Eye of Thethi, Albanian Alps, Albania
Waterfall, Alps, Albania, Kruja, Albania

Walking the Albanian Alps

Kruja is a cultural gem and is best known for its impressive castle – and adjoining Skanderbeg museum – nestled in the lap of the mountains. It is also a good place to view some of the 800,000 bunkers located around the medieval capital. From your base in Kruja take time to explore further, walking into the Albanian Alps. Valbona National Park can be reached by sailing along Koman Lake, which is a journey with a wow factor. The most well-marked hiking trail here is the Valbona to Tethi hike. These high passes are snowbound and icy in winter months so this is a summer activity only. The promise of a dip in the Blue Eye of Thethi after a long walk is pure bliss. Expect a sharp inbreathe on submersion as the water is 100% fed from melted snow.

Shepherd crossing Bridge near Butrint, Albania
Albania
Buthrotum Ruins, Butrint, Albania
Albania
Butrint, Albania
Albania

Tne Ancient City Of Butrint

As you travel along the impressive Adriatic and Ionian coasts, you pass through alpine forests and rolling green hills. The final destination on your journey is Butrint National Park, home to the ancient preserved ruins of Butrint. Only recently did archaeologists uncover one of the best remains of a Roman working town in the Mediterranean.

The ancient city of Vouthrota is situated at the edge of the lake, with its monuments and theatre. Stroll through the preserved gymnasium, the Roman ablutions, the temple with the priceless mosaic floor and the enormous stone walls. Amongst the acropolis lies the castle of Ali Passa where spectacular views of the Ancient City, the lake and the vast plains can be enjoyed. You can easily spend an entire day here exploring the nocks and crannies.

Skanderbeg square with flag and monument in the center of Tirana city in Albania
Tirana, Albania
Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral, Tirana, Albania
Tirana, Albania
The Et'hem Bey Mosque in Tirana Albania
Tirana, Albania
Statue of Skander Bey, Tirana, Albania
Tirana, Albania

Insiders Guide to Tirana

The city is best explored on foot or even bicycle. To get a sense of the capital the first place to go is at the Pyramid of Tirana. Built as a shrine to communist leader Enver Hoxha, it is now at the heart of the upmarket area of the city known as Blloku.

For a fleeting historical overview of the country, head for the National Historical Museum of Tirana at Skanderbeg Square.

Hands down, the best view of the city is from the east of Tirana, high upon the Datjti Mountain. The next best thing, if short on time, is the Panoramic Restaurant on the top floor of the Sky Hotel.

Spend enough time in the city to explore its cool social scene with bars and restaurants. Leave souvenir shopping until the end of your visit and head to the Corona shop. Pick up some Skanderbeg brandy and ceramics.

Carolyn Perry - Our Expert in the Field

Albania is difficult to move around. To ensure you see the very best of this country it is important that you travel with one of our invaluable guides. Joining a tour is also a useful way to see the wonders of Albania. Luckily, we have Carolyn Perry – an expert in ancient history -who has worked for the British Museum, guided groups in countries as different as Iran and Saudi Arabia and developed such a love for Albania that she has bought property near Durres. On archaeological sites, in small cafés, and over dinner each night, she will unravel a thread of yesteryear as you see the country in an illuminated light. Do enquire to find out when she is next escorting guests to Albania.

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

Send us an enquiry

Or send us a quick email below and start your next journey.

Call us

From the very initial point of contact to the receipt of the travel documentation, Joe and Amy were excellent. They responded promptly to all our questions (which were numerous) and were able to provide us with all the information needed for the trip. Superb service for a magnificent trip and experience.

Albania

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From $2,413 Per person

When to travel

Albania has a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters in the lowlands. The early summer months of May and June are not excessively hot but the days should be clear and sunny. When travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. Even snow can fall from November until March; at these times the mountain towns are very cold.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes

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