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Explore The Hidden 4 Balkan Nations
  • Tour Category

    Private Tour

  • Tour Types

    Food and Drink, Culture, History

  • Duration

    14 Days

  • Language

    English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

  • Activity Level

    Easy

Description

This tour combines some of the lesser known countries in the Balkans; Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, by trying to show the best each of these countries offers. Albania offers a mixture of cultural elements with 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a rich archaeological legacy. Macedonia offers some of the most excellent religious relics, with Ohrid having the biggest Icon museum in the region as well as many beautiful churches. This theme is carried over into Kosovo the newest state in Europe, where we combine religious monuments with tasting of wine and local foods. The Tour will end up in Montenegro which has made a name for itself based on its wild natural beauty.

Highlights
  • Time stands still within the Decani Monastery, nestled among chestnut groves at the foot of the Prokletije Mountains in western Kosovo.
  • Tiranë, the capital of Albania was founded in the early 17th century CE by Sulejman Pasha of Mulleti who built a large settlement in the area.
  • Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake of the Balkans, with a maximum depth of 288 m (940 ft) and a mean depth of 155 m (508 ft).
  • Berat is located in the south of the country, 120 km south of Tirana, Berat, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
  • Arrival in Albania – Tirana (20 km) expand_more
    • Meet at airport and transfer to the hotel in Tirana. After a short break in the hotel, we will visit the National Museum of History, which is a great introduction to the history of the country and its people.

    • Afterwards, take a driven tour of the major sites of Tirana, including the colourful buildings for which the Albanian capital is now known. The dull grey communist architecture buildings have been transformed into modern art canvases through splashes of bright colours and abstract shapes—an ingenious way of uplifting the facades and the moods of the inhabitants.

    Overnight in Tirana.

  • Tirana – Apollonia – Vlora (160 km) expand_more
    • Depart for the archaeological site of Apollonia one of the most important ancient centres in Roman times on the famous Via Egnatia. Due to its fame and importance, it was known as Apollonia Prima built to honour Apollo. Caesar chose to send his nephew Augustus Octavian to study oratory in Apollonia, which is testimony to the importance of this ancient city.

    • Visit the city, and an Orthodox monastery turned into an archaeological museum.

    • After the visits, continue to Vlora.

    Overnight in Vlora.

  • Vlora – Butrint (UNESCO) – Saranda (160 km) expand_more
    • Depart to Saranda through the spectacular Albanian Riviera with its traditional villages. At the Llogara National Park, we stop at around 1100 m where spectacular views of the Ionian Sea can be admired.

    • Continue along the wonderful coast to the ancient city of Butrint another UNESCO World Heritage considered the best archaeological site in Albania and probably one of the most important in the Balkans. The city was first settled by Greek colonists and was continuously inhabited for centuries forming archaeological layers of passing civilizations, giving archaeologists the possibility to study continuity through time. It is situated on a beautiful peninsula among dense vegetation. The site has been occupied since at least the 8th century BC, although myths associated with its origins speak of the city’s foundation by Trojan exiles.

    After a thorough visit of the site, return to Saranda.

    Overnight in Saranda.

  • Saranda – Gjirokastra (UNESCO) (50 km) expand_more
    • Drive to Gjirokastra, a UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinctive architecture. Visit the medieval Castle which used to be a political prison during the communist dictatorship and the Ethnographic Museum which is also the house the Albanian dictator was born then we will visit Skenduli house and the Old Town.

    Overnight in Gjirokastra.

  • Gjirokastra (UNESC0) – Berat (UNESCO) (160 km) expand_more
    • Depart for Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania under the protection of UNESCO as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness.

    • Visit the Castle and the Onufri Museum. Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which seven remains, including St.Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. Onufri was a famous Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece, using a special red colour. Berat is also known for its close ties with religious practice as two of the oldest bibles in the world have been found here. One dates back from the 6th century AD and the other from the 9th century AD and are internationally renowned for their theological importance. We have a homemade lunch in one of the houses in the castle.

    • Visit the Leaden Mosque, the King’s Mosque, the Bachelor’s Mosque and the Alveti Tekke, completing a tour of this town’s religious tolerance.

    Overnight in Berat.

  • Berat (UNESCO) – Elbasan – Struga – Ohrid (160 km) expand_more
    • Depart to the city of Ohrid.

    • On the way, drive through rural villages with wonderful countryside landscapes. We stop at Elbasan for a visit to the castle.

    • Proceed to Struga famous for its wall of water where the Black Drin River flows out of Lake Ohrid on its way to the Adriatic.

    • Continue to Ohrid where we take a familiarization tour of the town, proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage region for its cultural and natural legacy.

    Overnight in Ohrid.

  • Ohrid expand_more
    • After breakfast, visit:

      • Church “St. Sofia”, built between the 11th and 14th century, was the seat of the Archbishop.

      • “St. Clement”, a classic Orthodox Byzantine church, dominating the Old Town, demonstrates the link between Byzantine and Italian Renaissance art.

      • At “Plaoshnik”, in the 9 the century, St. Clement of Ohrid founded the first University of Europe and educated 3.500 students, St. John at Kaneo, stands alone on a small promontory which juts out into the Lake at the western end of the Old Town and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Lake and surrounding mountains, Samuil fortress, etc.

      • Other visits include Saint Panteleimon Church, The Holy Virgin of Peribleptos Church, Icon Gallery, and old Bazaar.

    Overnight in Ohrid.

  • Ohrid – Stobi – Skopje (250 km) expand_more
    • Drive to Stobi one of the most important archaeological sites in Macedonia. Lying in a fertile valley just a few minutes off the central north-south highway that connects Macedonia with Greece, the ancient city of Stobi was a vital trade route in its days.

    • Visit the excavation sites with beautiful remains such as a 2nd-century amphitheatre, the Theodosia palace and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors.

    • Depart for Skopje where we take a guided tour of the main sites.

    • Explore the old Turkish bazaar, Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, stone bridge and the Macedonia Plaza.

    Overnight in Skopje.

  • Skopje – Gracanica Monastery – Prishtina (97 km) expand_more
    • Drive onwards to Prishtina in the morning(2 hrs).

    • Visit Gracanica Monastery which was constructed on the ruins of an older 13th-century church of the Holy Virgin, which was built on the ruins of a 6th century early Christian basilica. Of the former monastic compound, only the church has survived. Visit Ulpiana an ancient Roman site also named Justiniana Secunda. Under the Roman Empire, Ulpiana flourished, and it is mentioned as a glorious city “urb splendidissma”. Ulpiana suffered numerous attacks from barbarian tribes (Huns, Goths); it was destroyed in 479 by the Goths. A final blow came when an earthquake struck in 518 AD and destroyed what remained of Ulpiana.

    • Go to the 1389 Kosovo Battlefield and Sultan Murat’s grave (both about 15 min away from Prishtina).

    Overnight in Prishtina.

  • Prishtina – Prizren – Decan Monastery – Peja (160 km) expand_more
    • Drive to visit Prizren, a true open-air museum, one of the most beautiful towns of Kosovo. It is situated on the slopes of the Sharr Mountains and the banks of the river Bistrica. The craftsmen of Prizren are well known for their beautiful gold and silver articles and other folk handcrafts. From all the cities of Kosovo, Prizren has best preserved the architectural style of the past.

    • Head towards Peja through the magnificent the Rugova Gorge to the Decani Monastery near it. This monastery complex is a wonderful example of the Orthodox religious architecture and art part of UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must for anyone visiting Kosovo.

    Overnight in Peja.

  • Peja – Kolashin – Cetinje – Budva (290 km) expand_more
    • Go on a long drive through the magnificent natural beauty of the North West Kosovo and Montenegro takes us to Kolašin which is Montenegro’s most famous ski resort, and its capital Podgorica.

    • Take a driven tour of the capital, Podgorica, and continue on another panoramic drive Cetinje a town of immense historical heritage, founded in the 15th century. It became the centre of Montenegrin life and both a cradle of Montenegrin and an Eastern Orthodox religious centre.

    Overnight in Budva.

  • Budva – Kotor (UNESCO) – Budva (35 km) expand_more
    • Drive to Kotor, and go to The Old City of Kotor well-preserved urbanisation typical of the Middle Ages, built between the 12th and 14th century. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site” and then we drive back to Budva. The old town is Budva’s trademark. It is raised on the island, which used to be connected with the land by a sandy covering and so it grew into a peninsula. The Old Budva’s town is a unique architectural and urban entity which is mentioned as a lodgment even in the antique period. According to those sources, Budva is one of the oldest urban centres in the Adriatic – it is more than 2.500 years old and then we back.

    Overnight in Budva.

  • Budva – Shkodra – Tirana (190 km) expand_more
    • Drive to Shkodra. On the way stop for a photo at Sveti Stefan renowned for its celebrity residents from the music and movie industry.

    • Proceed to Shkodra center of Roman Catholicism in Albania and a town with long historical roots, and the only mentioned capital of the Illyrian Kingdom. Visit the pedestrian area with Italian influences, and the Castle thought to exist from Illyrian times.

    After lunch, return to Tirana.

    Overnight in Tirana.

  • Tirana – Mother Teresa Airport (17 km) expand_more
    • After breakfast, transfer to the airport. 

    End of tour.

What's Included
  • Accommodation in good 3*  4* standard hotels with breakfast.
  • Transportation with comfortable a/c vehicle.

  • English French, German, Italian, Spanish speaking tour guide/driver.

  • All taxes.

What's Excluded
  • Lunches

  • Dinners

  • Entrance Fees

Meeting Point

Airport Road, Tirana, Albania

Cancellation Policy

For cancellations upto 2 days before the tour -

Refund of 80% of the tour price.
Tour Reviews
  • Chris

    I was organising a trip on my own to Albania and wanted a reliable, friendly and value for money guide. Best Guides were recommended on TourHQ and i can only say good things. From beginning to end Adam was extremely helpful in answering all questions. He was excellent in knowledge and very helpful and friendly. If you want a reliable, excellent tour guide and company this is the one to use.

  • Margareth

    We went to visit Albania with our tour guide "Adam Picaku". He made the experience extra special. He loves photography and helped us take awesome photos at the right spots. He was funny and could tell us Albanian history in a fun, entertaining story-telling way. It's obvious he has a true passion on what he does, and not simply just as a job. He took care of us very well throughout the day. In such a short time, we felt like we could have been old friends. He's definitely the BEST tour guide we've ever had on any tours.

  • Michael

    Adam is welcoming, funny and "in the know" of how tourism works in many of the popular historical sites in Albania and the Balkans. He made us feel comfortable and advised us when we were getting gypped on certain goods or offers. He negotiated the price of our tour, offered his wealth of knowledge and made the Albania tour very eventful.

  • Brittany

    Adam is very knowledgeable and helpful during this tour and it's very well organized. Phenomenal restaurants and shops await you! Can't wait to do this again on our next trip to check out a different neighbourhood. Absolutely delicious food and something for everyone to savour.

    Absolutely recommended :)

  • Ulrike

    The service we received was outstanding. Easy to arrange,  and the guide we had for 5 days, Adam Picaku, was fantastic - very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Absolutely recommended.

  • Hidero

    Adam is an amazing, incredibly gifted tour guide. He led our group of 26 experienced visitors to Albania on an extraordinary 10-day adventure. Our group wanted to see Albania in a different way, and Adam made it the best trip ever. He is unbelievably knowledgeable, of the history, geography, economy, and current situation in Albania and he shared his knowledge generously. He is such a delightful person -- so warm and personable and engaging...all of us looked forward to getting on the bus every day to see what adventures Adam would have for us. He was flexible, allowing more time when it was clear that the group needed it, and adjusting along the way as needed. I can't praise Adam too highly...if you have a trip to Albania in mind, be sure to book Adam now. He's the best.

  • Elisabeth

    My husband and I selected this tour and were very happy with everything about it. Our guide Adam spoke excellent English and our driver was polite and helpful. Adam always managed to steer us away from the crowds and was extremely knowledgable about the history of Albania and Balkans in general. We would highly recommend this tour company and Adam.

  • Gregor

    We were lucky enough to have Adam as our guide for 8 days in Albania. He was an absolute joy. He made history come alive and his presentation was so lively and exciting. His passion for his work comes through with everything he does. Couldn't recommend anyone more highly! We all missed him and look forward to returning to Albania! He is just enchanting!!!!

Starting From
USD EUR USD
USD 4080 / adult

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