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Western Balkan Explorer Tour by “Silver Route” from Tirana

Highlights

Museum of Medieval Art

Meteora Rocks

Sanctuary of Dodoni

“Blue Eye '' National Park

Gjirokaster Weapons Museum

Durres Roman Amphitheatre

Description

Start the tour exploring Albania’s capital and visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey. Then, travel to Kastoria and see impressive aristocratic lakeside mansions surrounded by clusters of tall trees, interspersed by Byzantine churches. Afterwards, we will continue our trip towards Ioannina in Greece, which is the capital of the Prefecture of Epirus, which during the Osmanic period and especially during the government of Ali Pasha played an important role as one of four Albanian Vilayets. Visit Ioannina lake and the monasteries on the lake’s island. Before Gjirokaster, visit Antigone ancient city ruins. Antigone was a very short-lived city, lasting for approximately 150 years. It was founded by one of the most famous names of the ancient world, King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 BC), from whom the phrase “a Pyrrhic victory” derives.

Itinerary
  • Day 1 - Tirana - Elbasan - Lin Ohrid Lake - Pogradec - Korce. (163 km, 2h 50 min)expand_more

    Start the day of exploring Albania’s capital. We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. We then head to Elbasan which was a very important city in ancient times wherein the Roman empire time was called “Via Egnatia” that used to connect Rome-Naples-Bari-Durres-Elbasan-Ohrid-Thessaloniki-Istanbul. 

    Visit Elbasan Castle (dating back to 4rth Century BC), The Clock, The ethnographic Museum, Church, The Old Mosque. Then we continue to the village of Lin, on the Albanian side of Lake Ohrid where we visit the fascinating basilica on top of the hill with a spectacular view of Ohrid Lake. 

    Afterwards, we will continue to Korca by the scenic road and the wonderful countryside. Visit the Museum of Medieval Art with the richest icon archive in all Europe; The First Albanian School; Traditional Market; Cathedral (1992); Mosque of Iliaz Bey Mirahori (1484), and The Old Bazaar. 

    Overnight Hotel Vila Eden or similar (B). 

  • Day 2 - Kastoria - Kalambaka (UNESCO). (412 km, 3h 20 min)expand_more

    After breakfast, we will travel to Kastoria. From a distance, it looks like an impressionist painting; houses, churches, trees seen through a haze, their reflections shimmering in the lake. This landscape is magnificent. We have a walking tour to enjoy from closer and to see impressive aristocratic lakeside mansions surrounded by clusters of tall trees, interspersed by Byzantine churches. 

    We will see the locals sipping coffee or promenading by the lake, with the fishermen in their flat-bottomed boats offshore and pelicans keeping hopeful watch alongside. Then continue to Meteora, for a visit to the fascinating cliff-top monasteries. The cliffs, which average height of 1,000 feet, were first inhabited in the 9th century by a group of hermit monks who lived on the rock towers. In the 11th and 12th centuries, basic monasteries were built and by the 14th century, the great monastery of Meteoron was constructed. The difficult access gave the monks an ideal refuge, as well as protection during the Turkish occupation. Today, 6 monasteries remain out of the original 20. Views of the entire valley from the magnificent rock towers, and the peace of the surroundings, make this a unique place to visit. 

    At the end of the day, you’ll drive to Kalambaka, a lovely city with beautiful gardens and magnificent views of the Meteora rocks. 

    Overnight in Kalambaka, Hotel Doupiani House 3*, or similar. 

  • Day 3 - Metsovo - Ioannina - Dodona (UNESCO). (145 km, 2h 35 min)expand_more

    We depart routing through the mountains and arrive at the village of Metsovo. Hidden and isolated, this is one of the most beautiful villages in the Greek countryside. Pebble paved streets, wooden houses and typical unspoiled local colour fascinate the visitor. 

    Afterwards, we will continue our trip towards Ioannina in Greece, which is the capital of the Prefecture of Epirus, which during the Osmanic period and especially during the government of Ali Pasha played an important role as one of four Albanian Vilayets. 

    Visit Ioannina lake and the monasteries on the lake’s island. 

    Then, we visit the sanctuary of Dodoni, the oldest oracle in Greece, which is located 6 km south of the city. 

    Overnight in Ioannina, Filokalia Hotel, or similar.  

  • Day 4 - Arta - Preveza - Nikopolis (UNESCO) - Lefkada. (148 km, 2h 25 min)expand_more

    We continue to Arta. The prefecture of Arta contains imposing mountains covered in spruces, fertile plains, roaring rivers and lagoons with important ecosystems. It is one of Greece's most beautiful regions and is located between the Tzoumerka mountain range and the Amvrakikos Gulf. The city was known in ancient times as Ambracia. 

    Visit the Bridge of Arta, a stone bridge that crosses the Arachthos river, Maksim Grek monastery, and Paregoretissa is the 13th-century Byzantine. 

    Then, continue to Preveza. Then, we head to Preveza where we will visit the ancient city of Nicopolis. Nikopolis – the city of Nike (victory) was founded in 31 BC by Octavian Augustus, in honour of his victory over Antonios and Cleopatra at the naval battle of Aktio. 

    Afterwards, continue to Lefkada. This town is the capital of the island located at its northeastern side. It is the administrative, economic and cultural center of Lefkada and has a population of about 8,000 inhabitants who are mostly engaged in agriculture and tourism. The capital is a small town that lies around the natural harbour. 

    Overnight in Hotel Lefkas, or similar. 

  • Day 5 - Parga - Butrint (UNESCO) - Saranda. (168 km, 2h 46 min)expand_more

    Continue to Parga which is a small town on the Ionian coast of mainland Greece, just between the cities of Igoumenitsa and Preveza, in the region of Epirus. 

    We will have a visit to the historic castle which overlooks the town (from a headland to the west of the town) and the beaches. We will have a walk in the town, then continue to Butrint in Albania. Where we visit the ruins of Butrint antic city, Albania's most important archaeological site, part of the UNESCO heritage list since. Butrint dates from the 8th century BC, later becoming a Roman colony, then falling under the sway of the Venetians and Turks. Virgil claimed that the Trojans settled Butrint, but no evidence of this has yet been found. Butrint in as an important settlement had become a fortified trading city with its own acropolis, the ruins of which we can still visit. The rediscovered city is a microcosm of almost 3,000 years of Mediterranean history, and its 8th century BC fortification evokes the city's military power and symbolizes the rich culture of the once-thriving ancient city. Explore the amphitheatre, Venetian tower, Mosaic, Lion gate, etc. Then continue to Saranda where we will have a shortstop in Ksamil in the form of three scenic islands and turquoise crystal clear Ionian seas waters. 

    Then, arrive in Saranda for a walking tour. 

    Overnight Hotel Titania, or similar. 

  • Day 6 - Finiq – Antigone - Gjirokaster (UNESCO)expand_more

    In the morning, we continue to Gjirokaster. On the way to get there, there will be a visit to Finiq Ancient city ruins. During antiquity, the territory surrounding the settlement belonged to Chaonia, part of the Epirus kingdom. The site is rich in findings from the Classical to the Byzantine period. Ancient sources mentioned the wealth of the city, especially during the Hellenistic period, between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE, when Finiq was a prominent city in the Epirote League. 

    Then, continue to “Blue Eye '' National Park, and a coffee break. Before Gjirokaster, the next visit is Antigone ancient city ruins. Antigone was a very short-lived city, lasting for approximately 150 years. It was founded by one of the most famous names of the ancient world, King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 BC), from whom the phrase “a Pyrrhic victory” derives. At the outset of the 3rd-century BC, Pyrrhus was forced to go and fight in Egypt. His abilities impressed Berenice, the wife of King Ptolemy of Egypt, who decided to offer him her daughter, Antigone, in marriage. In token of his gratitude to his mother-in-law and his first wife, Pyrrhus decided to build Antigone. 

    Arrive in Gjirokaster past of (UNESCO) heritage since 2005. 

    Visit the Castle, Weapons Museum, and accommodation to Gjirokaster Hotel 3*, or similar.

  • Day 7 - Apollonia-Ardenica Monastery-Durres-Tirana. (162 km, 2h50min).expand_more

    After breakfast, drive to Apolonia. Visit the ancient city of Apollonia, dating back to the 6th century BC. Then, continue to visit Ardenica Monastery. 

    Afterwards, continue to Durres. This port city has the largest Roman amphitheatre in the Balkan (20,000 seats), dating back to the beginning of the 2nd century built during the Trajan Emperor rule. 

    Visit an archaeological museum, amphitheatre, Roman Baths, Byzantine Bazar. Drive back to Tirana for our final night where you will enjoy a farewell dinner with traditional food. 

    Overnight Hotel Kruja or similar. 

    Day 8 can be Optional. Change to continue to successive tour(s): Red, Yellow, or Blue loops/circuits.

What's Included

Hotel: Accommodation 3* hotels on double occupancy. 

Transportation: Air Conditioned modern van/minibus/bus and other transportation listed in the itinerary.

Breakfast: Daily breakfast. All other meals not listed are at your expense.

Guide: English-speaking tour leader.

What's Excluded

Admission/Entry Fees: Entry fees prices are subject to change without prior notice. 

If you would like to join the optional activities, please pay the fee in cash to the tour guide. The tour guide will arrange the tickets for the group.

Travel insurance, visa fees

Any charges for additional itinerary are not listed in the itinerary

Mandatory service fees for tour guide/bus driver (min. 5 Euro /day per person).Excess baggage charges from Airlines

Personal expenses such as room service, telephone, laundry service charges

Losses or additional expenses: The Company will accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to an accident.

Lunch and Dinner charges (if applicable)

Everything not mentioned in “Inclusions” 

Know before you go

Confirmation:

Immediately after submitting your reservation, you will receive a receipt of booking by email. Within 72 hours of submitting your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email confirming the booking status. Please do not book any airline tickets until you receive the status of your booking. 


Redemption:

You will receive a confirmation voucher in 2-3 business days after you receive the e-ticket. Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination and departure details, is included in your confirmation voucher. When you reserve your attractions and services you will be asked to print the confirmation voucher to present when you arrive at your destination. It is your proof of purchase.


Tour Name: Western Balkan Explorer Tour “Silver Route”
Countries: Albania and Greece.
Type: General, Cultural, Archeology, Nature, Gastronomy, etc.
Code: AEB03
Depart from: Tirana, Albania
Group Size: Small groups (1-15 pax)
Difficulty: 2 (from 1 - 5)
Tempo: 3 (from 1 - 5)
Duration: 7 Days (or up to 28 days if combined with other Routes: Red, Yellow, or Blue loops/circuits.

The twin-share basis for 7 overnights as per program. For child 2 - 11 years old sharing a room with 2 adults. (Hotel information is confirmed 24 hours prior departure.

Meeting Point

Pick up options can be selected at check out

Language

English

Activity Level

Easy

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THB 822 / Person
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