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Discover The Magnificence Of Gjirokastra From Tirana
  • Tour Category

    Private Tour

  • Tour Types

    Culture, History, Museum

  • Duration

    10 Hours

  • Language

    English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

  • Activity Level

    Easy

Description

Defined by its castle, roads paved with chunky limestone and shale, imposing slate-roofed houses and views out to the Drina Valley, Gjirokastra is a magical hillside town described beautifully by Albania’s most famous author, Ismail Kadare (b 1936), in Chronicle in Stone. There has been a settlement here for 2500 years, though these days it’s the 600 ‘monumental’ Ottoman-era houses in town that attract visitors. For Albanians, the town is also synonymous with former dictator Enver Hoxha, who was born here and ensured the town was relatively well preserved under his rule, though he is not memorialized in any way here today.


Highlights
  • Gjirokastra Castle is one of the biggest in the Balkans and there’s been a fortress here since the 12th century, although much of what can be seen today dates to the early 19th century.
  • Skenduli House is a highlight for visitors to Gjirokaster and it is an original family house, which is more than 300 years old.
  • The ‘Old Bazaar’ makes up the center of the Old Town but what were once artisan workshops are today mainly tourist souvenir shops.
  • The Obelisk monument is located near location of the first Albanian language school in Gjirokaster, which was opened in 1908.
  • Tirana - Gjirokastra (UNESCO) - Tirana expand_more
    • Tour description

      Our tour guide will come and pick you up at your hotel in Tirana at 8:00 am in the morning and we will drive for about 2.5 hours to Gjirokastra. Gjirokaster is a historical city, which is on the UNESCO heritage list. Walking through Gjirokastra gives you an insight into what the city was like during the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The city has typical stone houses and cobble stone streets. Therefore, Gjirokaster is also knows as the “stone city”. The city of Gjirokaster is known in Albania as a “museum city”, because it has beautiful historical buildings everywhere. It is a lovely city to stroll through. Then we will visit the Old Bazaar of Gjirokaster. The old bazaar is the traditional market place in Gjirokaster. The bazaar was originally build in the Middle Ages. There are a variety of craftsmen shops, souvenir shops and coffee houses along the Bazaar. You can buy handmade wooden pieces, handwoven rugs and delicate lace items. The street of the Bazaar is made of cobblestones and it set on a steep hillside.  Then we head up to the Gjirokastra Castle. Gjirokastra Castle is a large fortress on the top of a hill in the city. The fortress has a spectacular view of the historical city and the traditional stone houses of Gjirokaster. It is one of the biggest hilltop castles in the Balkans and it dominates the city. The castle was originally build in the 12th century by the local Byzantine government. But it was renovated and additions were made during the Ottoman empire and the government of King Zog. From the 1930 onward, it was mainly used as a prison for people who were resistant against the government.

      Then we will visit Skenduli House. Skenduli House is a highlight for visitors to Gjirokaster. It is an original family house, which is more than 300 years old. During your visit, you will get a unique insight into what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman period. The house has 9 fireplaces, 6 bathrooms, 12 rooms, 44 doors, 64 windows and 4 hamam (Turkish baths). The house has been owned by the same family for generations. The family will show you around the house and tell you stories about it’s history. One of the highlights is the room used for wedding ceremonies, with beautiful stained glass windows, carved wooden ceilings and a fireplace decorated with pomegranates, which symbolize fertility. Then we will visit the Obelisk. The Obelisk is a monument located on the highest peak of the city of Gjirokaster. The monument is a symbol of education in the Albanian language. For many centuries, Albania was a part of the Turkish Ottoman empire. Therefore, education in the Albanian language was forbidden for a long period of time. The Obelisk monument is located near location of the first Albanian language school in Gjirokaster, which was opened in 1908. At the time it was very dangerous to open an Albanian language school, particularly for the teachers, who worked there. Since the Obelisk monument is located on the highest peak in the city of Gjirokaster, it has amazing views. You can see the old city and the typical stone houses below.

     

What's Included
  • Transportation with comfortable a/c vehicle.

  • English (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese etc), speaking tour guide/driver

  • All taxes.

What's Excluded
  • Lunch
  • Entrance Fee
Meeting Point

Skanderbeg Square, 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 260 / adult

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