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Albanie Blue Eye

Albania: The Whole Shebang

Itinerary

  • Itinerary:
    Tirana - Shkodra - Theth - Kruje - Berat - Albanian Riviera - Ksamil - Gjirokastra - Korca - Lake Ohrid - Tirana
  • Duration:
    20 days / 19 nights (flexible)
  • Price:
    from £ 2,215.- per person (excluding flights)
If you want to see it all (and have the time), then this itinerary is for you! From the vibrant streets of Tirana to the tranquil shores of Lake Ohrid, the ancient charm of Berat and sought after bays of Ksamil, this itinerary is truly a jam-packed adventure. Fasten your seatbelts, take in the views and enjoy the local hospitality!
Albanië met gezin - Apollonia
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Days 1-2 – Treasures of Tirana

Welcome to Albania! On arrival at Tirana airport you will be met by our local partners, where you’ll receive your detailed itinerary with travel tips and get assistance for the rental car pick-up. Then you’ll be whisked to your hotel in the city centre, a great location

The following day you’ll explore Tirana with a local guide, who will share with you their insights into the history of the capital and the country, and tell you all about locals daily life. Discover the story of the national hero at Skanderbeg Square and learn about Ottoman influences at the Et’hem Bey Mosque. You’ll also experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Blloku district, now a trendy area filled with excellent dining and socializing spots. At the new bazaar, you’ll have the opportunity to taste Albanian freshly brewed beer and sample a few local bites.

 

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Days 3-4 – Shkodra: Between the lakes

Today you will collect your rental car and drive to Shkodra, one of the oldest cities in Europe, sat on the banks of a picturesque lake. The ambient old town with colourful buildings and cobbled streets is lined with inviting cafes and boutiques. The medieval Rozafa castle overlooking the city offers magnificent views of the lake. And the iconic Ottoman bridge is well worth a stroll. You’ll stay in a small boutique hotel in the old town, with heaps of Italian flair (not uncommon for Shkodra) and an inviting courtyard.

The following day you’ll venture off to the stunning man-made lake Koman, created in the late 70s that has since become one of the region’s main attractions. You will explore the lake by boat before kayaking down the clear Shala river, surrounded by the huge rock formations and deep gorges of Valbona Valley. To help you refuel after all the paddling and excitement, a hearty lunch will be served at one of the local guest houses before you return back to Koman (the starting point) by boat.

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Days 5-6 – Up in the Albanian Alps

The next day you will set off on an hour and a half drive to Theth, the ideal basecamp for exploring the Albanian Alps and one of the last pieces of untouched wilderness in Albania. Here, you’ll revel in ice-cold flowing rivers, enjoy lunch with breath-taking views, and observe shepherds guiding their flocks of sheep. For complete relaxation, simply stay around Theth and immerse yourself in the tranquillity. You’ll stay in a charming homestay, a perfect opportunity to get to know local people. All your meals here will be freshly made, and lunches carefully packed so you could enjoy them in the great outdoors.

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Day 7 – Colours of Kruja

The next stop on your journey around Albania is colourful Kruja: the birthplace of the legendary hero, Skanderbeg. Your time here is absolutely free and you can do as you please. Explore the impressive medieval fortress overlooking the city (Skanderbeg’s home), or spend hours wandering around the 500-years-old Bazaar with myriads of stalls and tiny shops filled to the brim with colourful handicrafts. It’s a great place to stock up on souvenirs. Your charming hotel is set not far from the castle, making it easy for you to reach after a day full of exploring.

 

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Days 8-9 – The 1000 windows of Berat

From one medieval town to another, today you’ll head towards Berat. This town will instantly charm you with its authentic look and breath-taking views. To enhance your experience, we’ll book you into one of the local hotels built in the traditional Berati style, with plenty of wood and stonework. Located in the Ottoman Mangalemi district, you’ll be surrounded by the famous ottoman houses with countless windows that gave Berat its famous nickname. During your stay in Berat, you’ll set off on a culinary adventure. Meet a local chef at one of the restaurants and learn to cook a few delicious traditional dishes, then enjoy your lunch fresh off the stove.

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Days 10-12 – Riviera life

After a few hours on the road you will reach the seaside. Stretching over a 100 miles along the coast and washed by the warm waters of the Ionian sea, the Albanian Riviera is the best place to slow down, recharge and enjoy the sun. You’ll spend a few days in one of the coastal towns dotted along the shoreline, lazing around the beaches or exploring the coast. You’ll be staying in a locally run guesthouse with welcoming hosts and lovely atmosphere. And on one of the days we’ll arrange a boat-trip for you to explore the mesmerising Canyon of Gjipe. This won’t take away your beach time as you’ll have a chance to bathe on a stunning white-sand beach hidden between the cliffs, beside the canyon

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Days 13-14 – From Ksamil to Corfu

The following day, after a short drive, you’ll reach Ksamil peninsula – a sought after slice of paradise, luring travellers in with its gorgeous looks. Perched in the southernmost part of the Riviera, it’s got that summer holiday vibe we crave all year. The blue bays, blissful beaches and buzzing beach bars make this peninsula very popular. You’ll spend a couple of days in Ksamil’s quieter part, but within easy reach to the hustle and bustle. You’ll have plenty of free time to laze around many beaches and explore the area. Perhaps venture top the famous ancient city of Butrint located nearby.

During your time here you’ll hop on a ferry to Corfu (only 20 minutes away), where the local guide will be waiting to show you all the local treasures. This sightseeing tour will take you through the maze of the old Town, into the churches and up to a fortress. You’ll explore one of the local palaces and visit the central square. And don’t forget about lunch – treat yourself to some Greek delicacies in one of the many traditional tavernas.

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Days 15-16 – Castles of Gjirokastra

After  your beach break you’ll delve straight into the history and culture. Gjirokastra, one of Albania’s cultural gems, is only a short drive from Ksamil and is well worth the visit. The Ottoman period has left behind a wealth of unique architecture, with white mansions lining the entangled streets, and a vast castle complex towering above the city. Here you’ll stay in a quaint hotel with plenty of traditional touches, right in the heart of the city. You will explore this town with a local guide, who knows it like the back of their hand. Together you’ll walk through the maze of narrow cobbled streets, take in the vistas from the best viewpoint and visit one of the splendid Ottoman mansions.

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Day 17 – Cultural Korca

The next morning, you will hit the road for another scenic drive to Korca, catching occasional glimpses of snow-capped mountains in the distance. Korca, known as the cultural capital of Albania, is one of the country’s hidden gems, yet to be discovered by the mass tourism. With plenty of unusual museums, intricate cathedrals and the first brewery in the country (definitely a highlight!), it’s a delightful little town to stop at on your way between lake Ohrid and the coast.

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Days 18-19 – Life on Lake Ohrid

After a short drive, you will reach the tiny fishing village of Lin, the final stop on your journey. Set right on the lake Ohrid’s shores, it’s one of the most peaceful settings in the country. Here you can unwind, take in the views and watch the world go by. You’ll be staying in one of the charming local guesthouses right by the lake. Grab a kayak (your guesthouse offers rentals) and set off exploring the shoreline in search of hidden beaches. The following day, together with your guide, you’ll dip into North Macedonia to explore Ohrid, right across the lake from Lin. You’ll spend the day marvelling at the local cathedrals, wandering the streets and learning about local customs. In the evening you’ll return to a hearty home-cooked meal at your guesthouse.

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Day 20 – Departure from Lake Ohrid

Today your epic adventure comes to an end. As the airport is a 2 hour drive away, it’s best to make sure your flight is later in the afternoon to give you plenty of time to pack up and have one more byrek before you leave! On arrival at the airport, you will drop off your rental car and check-in for your flight back to the UK.

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Albania: The Whole Shebang

Accommodation

For this bite-sized trip we offer the following options

Queparo historisch dorp Albanese Riviera
Option
1

Not ready to drive yourself? Choose this itinerary with a private car and driver.

  • Travel sum:
    From £ 3,738.- per person, excluding flights
  • Included:
    As above, plus your driver, their accommodation and, fuel cost.

If heading on a road trip isn’t your dream holiday, why not swap a self-drive for a private car and driver. This way, you’ll have the same freedom of travelling around, but without the stress of driving in a foreign country (or the need to count your beers!). Your experienced driver will whizz you around the country with ease, and the fuel and their accommodation will be paid for too.

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