21 maggio 2012

Highlights of Albania in One Week Privatetours by Albania-TravelNet

Highlights of Albania in One Week
Tirana - Kruja - Durres - Berat - Vlora - Himare - Saranda - Gjirokastra - Tirana (7 days)
Including 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites.



Day 1.
Depending on time of arrival in Tirana, we may do a short city tour before or after check in at the hotel. In the evening, we'll have dinner at a traditional restaurant and then explore the nightlife of Tirana, walking in the ex-block area known as "the forbidden town" where the villas of the communists leaders are still standing next to trendy boutiques, expensive jewelry shops and active local pubs.

Day 2.
After breakfast, we begin our day with a visit to Et'Hem Bej Mosque, built in 1789, and one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania. We continue with a walking tour, visiting the buildings around the main square, exploring their history and architecture. We visit the recently discovered ruins of the Justinian castle near the centre of Tirana, from where we visit a private art gallery located inside an old traditional 18th century Tirana House. On the way we will see the colorful buildings of Tirana. At the gallery we will have a rare opportunity to admire art painted since the socialist realism time.
After a 45-minute drive to Kruja, we visit the Scanderbeg Museum and a carpet workshop in the old 18th century bazaar of Kruja. Lunch will be in a traditional restaurant near the bazaar.
In the second half of our tour, we drive to Durres, the historical capital of Albania, where we visit the 2nd century AD Roman amphitheater located within the walls of the city castle. We also visit the archaeological museum, probably the best in the country. In late afternoon we return to our hotel and, if you choose, we may take a short walking tour of Tirana followed by dinner in a nice restaurant at the Metropolitan Park.

Day 3.
Today we drive to Berrat, a UNESCO World Heritage town since 2008. Along the way we make a short visit to a local winery, one of the finest in the country, to try some good Albanian wines. Our visit in Berrat starts at the 4th century BC castle where we will admire the Byzantine era icons in the Onufri Icon Gallery, located within the old cathedral of the town. Some of the icons date back to the 13th century. After touring the castle, we visit the downtown bazaar, the Bachelors mosque and the old buildings of Mangalemi neighborhood. Lunch will be in a local restaurant.
We continue our drive through the oil fields, towards the 7th century BC archaeological site of Apollonia, the second largest Greek colony in Albania. We visit the Odeon, Pritaneon, Temple of Diana and the monastery next to the site, which is built with the marble and stone taken from the temple and the old Greek theatre. In late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Vlora, located by the sea and near the center of town. We have dinner at the hotel restaurant, famous for its wonderful seafood.

Day 4.
We begin our day with a scenic drive along the coast of the Bay of Vlora, through the Coldwater Tunnel, next to the ex-dictator's villa and near the orange plantations of Radhima. From here the landscape will dramatically change as we climb up to 1100 meters above sea level, through the forest of Llogara National Park. We'll make a rest stop with a photo opportunity at the top of the pass, on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, Corfu Island and the Albanian Riviera. After a cup of coffee or local mountain tea we drive back down to sea level, on the recently rebuilt "Strada Bianca" road. First stop will be in a local family in Dhermi village where we have some raki (driver excluded) and local deserts.
We continue our drive south through the seven villages of Himara region.
In the little town of Himara we make a short coffee or snack break by the sea. The region of Himara is 72 km long from south to north and rich with natural and historical monuments such as Llamany beach and Panormi castle of Ali Pasha (XVIII century). We will have lunch in a local fish taverna and after visiting the springs of Borshi we continue our tour towards Saranda. After check in our hotel and a couple of hours relax we go to Lekuresi Castle on top of the hill overlooking Saranda bay to see the sunset and Island of Corfu in the middle of the blue Ionian waters. Dinner in a local fish restaurant.

Day 5.
After breakfast we check out of the hotel and drive towards Butrinti ancient city, founded in VII bc by the Corkirians, UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. What started as a Greek colony became one of the most important towns in the Mediterranean and became a roman colony in I century a.d. We can admire the theatre, the temple of Asclipeon, the Baptisteries, the Gymnasium, the aquadod, the biggest Basilica in south Albania and the Venetian castle on top of the town where a very nice little museum hosts original artefacts, found during the excavations.
During the second part of the day we continue east towards the town of Gjirokastra, UNESCO World Heritage town since 2004. On the way we visit a village by the road where we have lunch in a traditional tavern. After lunch we drive to Gjirokastra where we visit the castle, the old bazaar and the ethnographic museum (which is the birth house of the Albanian dictator). We check in our hotel and in the evening we have dinner in a nice restaurant by the lake.

Day 6.
Early check out from the hotel to start our last day touring in Albania. First stop at the Tepelena castle (built by Ali Pasha), which Lord Byron visited during his voyage in northern Greece and southern Albania as a guest of this powerful local pasha. We continue north, driving through the oilfields towards our next site, the 8th century Ardenica Monastery, where we can admire a unique example of Byzantine art and iconography. Lunch will be next to the monastery in a small restaurant where traditional Albanian food is served. We arrive in early afternoon in Tirana. Dinner will be in a restaurant near the hotel and evening at leisure.

Day 7.
After breakfast we drive you to the airport wishing you a nice flight back home.

This is a general overview of the program; full details to be sent at time of booking.

Price, Reservations & Payments:
Price will vary based on a personalized and individualized package.
The tour must be booked prior to your arrival.
To confirm your reservation, we require a deposit equal to 30% of the value of the tour, prior to your arrival.
The balance of payment is due on arrival.

Included in the tour price:
Finest accommodations in holiday homes or hotels. Breakfast (all three a la carte meals are optional). Bottled water, coffee and tea at coffee breaks and meals. Transportation by comfortable air-conditioned vehicles. Expert English-speaking local guides throughout the tour. Comprehensive sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary. Entrance fees to monuments and museums as shown in the itinerary. Baggage assistance for one suitcase.
Not included in the tour price:
International airfares & Airport taxes Discretionary end of tour gratuity to the Travelnet guide and driver. Passport, visas & expenses of a personal nature
Check price and availability for this tour.

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