The Albanians in their dresses (the most magnificent in the world, consisting of a long white kilt, gold workedcloak, crimson velvet gold laced jacket and waistcoat, silver mounted pistols and daggers), the Tartars with their highcaps, the Turks in their vast pelisses and turbans, the soldiers and black slaves with the horses, the former stretched ingroupes in an immense open gallery in front of the palace, the latter placed in a kind of cloister below it, two hundredsteeds ready caparisoned to move in a moment, couriers entering or passing out with dispatches, the kettle drumsbeating, boys calling the hour from the minaret of the mosque, altogether, with the singular appearance of thebuilding itself, formed a new and delightful spectacle to a stranger.Lord Byron
ALBANIA HIGHLIGHTSOne of Europe’s first Christian countries, Albania has consequently been the original soil of Western European civilization.The Albanians are the creators and bearers of one of humankind’s fundamental languages, a language that has its unshakable place among a dozen or soof the main languages of the world.”Come discover Albania! PopulationIn the heart of the Mediterranean, on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, The population of Albania is about three million (140 inhabitants perAlbania is fast becoming one of the world’s most interesting geta- square kilometer). Almost as many ethnic Albanians (4 million) live out-ways. Still relatively unspoiled by globalization, tourists will notice an side of the Republic of Albania. The capital city of Tirana and other prin-inspiring mixture of civilizations and cultures - making this European cipal cities have attracted inflows in recent years. Albania’s populationcountry truly unique. is young.Explore the heritage of a country influenced by the Greeks, Romans, EventsItalians and Turks. Public holidays include New Year’s Day (January 1st), Easter Monday (March/April), Independence and Liberation Day (November 28-29th)Nestled in between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, and Christmas Day (December 25th). Ramadan and Bajram, two impor-and across the Adriatic from Italy, Albania boasts blue and turquoise tant Muslim holidays, are also celebrated.seas, beautiful beaches, snow peaked mountains, rivers, lakes, andforests. As well as stunning nature, Albanians themselves are famous Religionfor their hospitality, and tourists are welcomed with heart-warming Traditionally, Albania has been 70% Muslim, 20% Albanian Orthodoxgenerosity. and 10% Roman Catholic (mostly in the north). From 1967 to 1990 it was also the only officially atheist state in the world, all mosques and
churches were closed and religious observances prohibited. In De- Climatecember 1990, the ban on religious observance was lifted. The spiritual Albania is mostly a mountainous country. The average altitude is 708 m,vacuum left after the fall of communism has in part been filled by US i.e. two times higher than that of Europe. Albania is included in the hu-evangelists, but new churches and mosques are springing up all over mid subtropical zone of the Northern hemisphere, and it belongs to thethe country. Mediterranean climatic zone. Summers are dry and hot, while winters are typically cool and rainy. Average annual rainfall is 1300 mm.GeographyAlbania is a country in South-Eastern Europe, in the West of the Balkan Time: GMT/UTC + 1 hourPeninsula, between the geographical coordinates: 39 16’ latitude and Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz42 39’ longitudes. Albania is almost midway between Equator and the Weights & measures: MetricNorth Pole, and covers a surface of 28.748 km2. The overall length of the Currency: Lek 1 EUR = 140 Lekborderline of the Republic of Albania is 1094 km, out of which 657 kmare land-border, 316 km sea-border, 48 km river-border and 73 km lake-border. The Republic of Albania, in the North and Northwest borderswith Kosovo and Montenegro, on the East with the Former Yugoslav Re-public of Macedonia, and in the South and South-East with the Republicof Greece. On the West, the Adriatic and Ionian seas wash Albania andseparate it from Italy.When to GoThe best month to visit is September, when it’s still warm, the days If you are hiking in the forest you should cover your arms and legsare long and the fruit and vegetables are in good supply. The sun with clothing, tucking trousers into socks and boots. You should alsoshines longest from May to September, and July is the warmest wear a hat, use tick repellent sprays and check for ticks at the end ofmonth, but even April and October can be pleasant. your day.Health and Safety Travel SafetyHealth Tips. In cases of an accident or a medical emergency, a taxi is Albania is a safe country for visitors. It’s tradition of hospitality af-your best transportation. When the taxi arrives, say “Tek Urgjenca” to fords great respect for foreigners; almost all Albanians will go out ofthe driver. This will get you to the emergency room where you will their way to help you if you are lost or in trouble.be given the best treatment possible.There is also an ambulance service reached by dialing 127. However, Body languagea taxi is quicker, at least outside the big cities. Albanians shake their heads to mean ‘yes’ and nod (or rather jerk theFor other medicine needs there are many pharmacies that can sell head backwards while emitting a bold cluck) to mean ‘no’.you almost anything over the counter.
Albania is a country of rich culture and fascinating ancient history, and this richness is reflected in its surviving archaeological remains, fascinating Ottoman cities andancient villages. Albanian temples, theatres, and basilicas have impressed visitors for ages. Butrinti, Apollonia, Durrës, and Byllis are a few of the better-known sites of theclassical antiquity; Butrint, one of the world’s archeological wonders and UNESCO World Heritage site in the south of Albania provides a glimpse of Mediterraneancivilization from the Bronze Age through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods - all atop a cliff overlooking Corfu. Albania has a number of castles andforts from the early antiquity to the Middle Ages. Some of them continue to be inhabited to this day (the most important of these is magnificent Berat). The main castles ofAlbania are Rozafa, Lezha, Gjirokastra, Butrinti, Porto - Palermo, Kruja, Petrela, Kanina.Albania, with its cultural heritage values, continues to be an at- Religeous Monumentstractive and open “museum” for all visitors. Situated between twomajor ancient civilizations, the Greek and Roman, Albania inherits a Hamam of XVI Century, Elbasaninvaluable treasure of cultural heritage, which naturally belongs to The Bazaar Hamam was built in the sixteenth century and it hasthe world cultural heritage. This heritage can be found anywhere, been well preserved. Its roof is a chain of conical cupolas coveredin archaeological parks, natural parks, art galleries, photographic with stone plates. Beyond the wooden bridge there is a later struc-and film archives, castles and fortresses, religious monuments and ture that serves as a dressing room. The older building is located fur-vernacular architecture, in the stone paved paths and all over the ther down the road. It has hot and cold rooms. The hamam was re-country’s museums. built in 1874, it has 8 windows and a well-known Ottoman mosque.The cultural heritage is well known abroad and admired by visitors Ethem Bey’s Mosquewho want to see the masterpieces of culture and art, to understand This mosque is in the centre of Tirana. Its construction started inthe testimonies of prehistory, classical period and Illyrian civiliza- 1798 and was completed in 1821. It is a typical case of a mixture oftion, and the material blend of Illyrian, Greek and Roman culture. Albanian construction tradition applied in mosque architecture. Of special interest are the painted carvings inside the dome.Historical placesSome notable historical places are: Rubiku Church The Rubiku church is located on a rocky hill in the small industrialKavaja Rock – where in 48 B.C. Caesar defeated Pompey once and town of Rubik. The church is an important cult object of the 12thfor all. and 13th centuries. Its construction finished in 1272. The church isShën Gjini – in antiquity it was named Nympeon and later Caesarea. well known for its frescoes and mural paintings. The building is aMark Anthony’s fleet landed here on its way to help Caesar against monument of culture and is of interest from the construction andPompey. architectural point of view. In the past, the Rubik Church served as aLezha Island - a village to the South of Lezha. In medieval times it Benedictine Abbey and as a Franciscan Monastery.was called Meda’s village. In 1501 Skanderbeg’s nephew or Skander-beg Junior landed here from Italy in order to start an anti-Ottoman Lead Mosqueinsurrection. This is a famous cultural monument in the city of Shkodra. It is lo-Savra Field – 3 km far from Lushnja, this field is on the Lushnja - Fier cated behind the Rozafa castle to the South. The Lead Mosque wasroad. Here the first Albanian-Turkish battle occurred in 1385. In this built in 1773 by Mehmet Pasha Bushati, in the style of the Bluebattle Balsha II was killed. Mosque in Istanbul.Milot Field – In 7 September 1457 the battle of Albulena occurredhere. It was the second siege of Kruja when an Albanian army led Pojan Monasteryby Skanderbeg broke the surrounding Turkish army. The defeatwas chronicled in considerable detail by Ottoman chronicler Evlia Muradie MosqueÇelepiu. The Battle of Albulena was one of the greatest victories ofSkanderbeg. Kuzum BabaBorova village – in the region of Kolonja, a mausoleum commemo-rates the 107 people of Borova who were executed by Nazi Germans Kapllan Pasha’s Turbe (Tomb)on 6 July 1943.
Archeological parksFiniq (Phoinike)Lezha (Lissus)ORIKUMShkodra (Scodra)Butrint (Buthrotos)BylisAntigoneaApolloniaAmantiaArcheological sitesAncient DurresFortification of GoricaFortified hill of PeshtanFortress of VokopolaAlbanopoli (Zgerdhesh)Aulon (Vlora)Onchsmos (Saranda)The Persqop fortressThe fortified settlement of Karos near QeparoMuseumsNational Historic MuseumNational Museum “GEORGE KASTRIOT SKENDERBEU”Archeological MuseumNatural Sciences MuseumGallery of ArtsNational Ethnographic Museum, KrujaNational Museum of Medieval Art, KorçaNational Museum “ONUFRI”, BeratNational Ethnographic Museum, VloraIndipendence Museum, Vlora
Symbols The national and ethnic symbol of the Albanians is the eagle, fighters seeking autonomy and independence. The current flag,which was used in that capacity in the earliest records. The eagle bearing this black double-headed eagle on a red background, wasappears in a stone carving dating from 1190, the time of the so- officially raised on 28 November, 1912 to mark the declaration ofcalled first Albanian principality, known as Arbanon, and was used Albanian independence in Vlorë and has been used since that timeas a heraldic symbol by a number of ruling families in Albania in the by the Republic of Albania and by Albanians everywhere as the na-late Middle Ages, including the Castriotta (Kastrioti), the Muzakaj tional symbol.(Myzeqe), and the Dukagjini. A black double-headed eagle also was In Albanian oral literature and folklore, the eagle appears as a sym-placed by the national hero Scanderbeg on his flag and seal. This bol of freedom and heroism, and Albanians often refer to them-form of the eagle, deriving from the banner of the Byzantine Empire, selves as the “Sons of the Eagle.” The popularity of the eagle amonghas been preserved as an ethnic symbol by the Arberesh of south- Albanians derives from the similarity between the words shqipe (ea-ern Italy. In the late nineteenth century, the double-headed eagle gle) and the terms for the Albanian language, an Albanian person,was taken up by the nationalist movement as a symbol of resistance and Albania.to the Ottoman Empire and was used on the banners of freedom
Another beloved symbol is the Albanian prince and national hero hanced by multiple singers. This style of singing usually recountsScanderbeg (1405–1468). His real name was George Castriotta epictales or historical events.(Gjergj Kastrioti). Sent by his father as a hostage to the Turkish Sul- Urban folk music, or “muzika popullore qytetare”, encompasses atan Murad II (ruled 1421–1451), he was converted to Islam and, after variety of styles and is more popular in the less traditional urbanbeing educated in Edirne, was given the name Iskander (Alexander) areas. Accompaniment ranges from a single instrument to a smalland the rank of bey. In 1443, after the Turkish defeat at Nish by John orchestra.Corvinus Hunyadi (1385–1456), Scanderbeg abandoned the Otto-man army, returned to Albania, and embraced Christianity. He took National Festival of Folkloreover the central Albanian fortress of Kruja and was proclaimed com- This is the largest, most significant folklore festival occurring any-mander in chief of an independent Albanian army. In the following where in Albania. It is held at Gjirokastra Castle every four years. Allyears, Scanderbeg successfully repulsed thirteen Ottoman invasions regions and varieties of Albanian folklore are represented. Albaniansand was widely admired in the Christian world for his resistance to also travel from all over the world, including Kosovo, Montenegro,the Turks, being accorded the title Athleta Christi by Pope Calixtus Turkey, the United States and Greece to participate in this event. In-III (ruled 1455–1458). For Albanians, Scanderbeg is the symbol of ternational guests show case examples of folklore from their coun-resistance to foreign domination and a source of inspiration in both try of origin, as well.oral and written literature. It is common in the homes of Albanianfamilies living abroad to find not only an Albanian flag but also a National Typology Festival of Saze and Folk Orchestras - Korçabust or portrait of Scanderbeg. Saze (Albanian traditional clarinet) music is celebrated at this fes- tival. Music of this variety is played throughout southern Albania;The Albanian besë - besa is deeply rooted ethnic rule and highly specifically in urban centers such as Korça, Vlora, Pogradec, Përmet,important part of the Kanun Code obeyed by person and family Berat, and Leskovik.through history. Besa means “to keep the oath” and “the word ofhonour” and creates a situation of inviolable trust. One who acts ac- National Festival of Rhapsodists and Folk Instrument Players - Lezhacording to Besa is someone who keeps his word, someone to whom This festival held in Lezha show cases rhapsodists from Northernone can trust one’s life and the lives of one’s family. Rules of Besa : Albania. It is the only event that is wholly dedicated to rhapsodistsan Albanian can sacrifice his own son in order to keep his Besa; Besa and bards who enthusiastically interpret their songs with instru-can not be sold or bought in a bazaar; Albanians would die rather ments such as lahuta, cifteli and sharki.than break besa; Besa is worth more than gold. For all Albaniansbesa was the highest human and ethical value. National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, Elbasan This traditional festival show cases urban folk songs and is held on the first day of summer.Albanian traditions National Typological Festival of Iso-Polyphony-Vlora The National Typological Festival of Iso-Polyphony celebrates thisFolklore unique subset of Albanian folk music. The immense significance ofAlbania has a rich history or folklore and music, dating back to Illyr- this style of folk singing is highlighted by UNESCO-s declaration ofian times. Songs feature elaborate dances and instrumental works, Albanian Iso-Polyphony as a “Masterpiece of the oral and intangiblein which you can see glimpses of the vibrant spirit of the Albanian heritage of humanity.”people. Albanian folklore is a diverse, artistic expression which ishanded down from generation to generation. It is a historical narra- National Festival of Folk Instruments, Gjirokastrative of sorts and continues to be modified to reflect recent history. This multicultural festival is held in Gjirokastra and features both folkThere are literary, musical, and theatrical and dance aspects to this music and the musical instruments used to accompany folk singers.continually evolving art form. Storytelling is integral to this expres- International Festival “Multicultural Përmet” - Përmet.sion and takes the form of poetry, legends, tales, anecdotes, prov- This is a festival of ethnic, cultural and linguistic minorities in Al-erbs and folk sayings. bania. It is sponsored by CIOFF, an international organization that promotes folklore performances and the preservation of folkloreFolk-music worldwide.Folk songs and dances have marked significant events in Albaniandaily life since antiquity. From weddings to funerals, songs and ac- Folklore Festival“Sofra Dardane”- Tropojacompanying dances are performed. These performances vary by This festival seeks to preserve folklore and provide enrichmentregion, but are an important aspect of cultural identity throughout through folklore performances. It is held in Tropoja and specificallythe country. Throughout the centuries, there have been several fa- features Northern Albanian and Kosovar folklore and ethnography.mous Albanian musicians, including medieval composer and singerJohn Kukuzelis, who is responsible for reforming church music of all Festival “Oda Dibrane”- Peshkopitypes. Albanian folk music is comprised of three distinct styles: Oda Dibrane is relatively new; this style of dance and song was firstThe diatonic music of the north is characterized by solo male sing- performed in 1994. It is humorous and popular, and has inspireders. Instrumentation consists of the Ciftelia, lahuta, and gajde. The this festival in Peshkopi.sound produced is reminiscent of Celtic music.Polyphonic or pentatonic music is traditional in the south. It is usu-ally sung a capella, or with no instrumentation. The sound is en-
Monuments of CultureAlbania is a country with a unique colorful history. There are dis- Traditional Albanian clothing (Albanian: veshjet tradicionale shqip-tinctly Albanian artifacts, but other civilizations have left traces tare, veshjet kombëtare, veshjet popullore or kostumet kombëtare)here, as well. Ruins exist from Illyrian, Roman, Greek and Byzantine includes more than 200 different kind of clothing in all Albania andcivilizations, adding to the mystique and rich history of this land. Albanian inhabited lands. This is due to the division the Albanian principalities in the Middle Ages. Almost every region in Albania hasHandicraft its own traditional dress.The history of handicrafts in Albania is extensive and dates at leastback to the Illyrians. The Arbëresh people of early medieval times Three generations of the Marubi photographers from Shkodra haveare known to have developed a high level of artistic expression saved us many images of folk costumes from the late 1880’s till thein the form of crafts. Many quality items are still produced today early 1930’s, mostly from around Shkodra.and feature folk designs or patriotic motifs such as Albania’s dou- Other people like Delacroix, Pouqueville, Lord Byron, and Edithble eagle emblem. Artisans work in various media including wood, Durham have contributed to the knowledge of the folk costumescooper, alabaster, bone, and ceramic. Also noteworthy are textiles in times past.and leather goods, and delicate silver jewelry found throughout thecountry. The folk costumes of Albania show a great diversity in styles and patterns, not to mention the colours used, ranging from a simple black and white to purple, green, orange and deep blue.Albanian Folk Costumes All of this in a country of just about 3 million people, and just the size of 29.000 square kilometres. It seems every village has its ownOne of the greatest Albanian folk legacies is the authenticity and costume and within it may be divided even by religion, class, age ororiginality in the costumes and traditional clothing. It is more than social position. The basic garments can be identified as belongingsimple outfits; it is an art, expressing our identity and heritage to to just a few groups, but the way these have evolved in differentthe World. places, has resulted in a great diversity.
The fustanella, or Albanian kilt, was common dress for men until with wide cuffs in fabric to match an embroidered vest. A pleatedthe 1400s. Fustanella was a significant component of traditional Al- petticoat is worn under a full skirt, and an elaborately embroideredbanian dress. Common villagers and rural people wore a fustanella apron and sash complete the outfit. Gold chains cascade from themade from coarse linen or wool; more affluent men wore silk. neckline, are gathered into the sash, and are tucked into a pocket atDuring the Ottoman Empire (1468-1912), many aspects of Turkish the right side of the skirt. A kerchief covers the woman’s hair.culture were adopted by Albanians. In rural areas, men may still In the north, the sleeves of the blouse are wide, with lacewear the fez, a traditional Turkish cap, and a colorful cloth belt. embroidery along the edges. Embroidery on the apron is elaborate,Women may wear embroidered blouses in the Turkish style, with but distinct from the style of southern Albanian women. Gold coinsloose pants - shalvaras. A man’s costume from Malësia (Malcija e are worn on a headband and on several strands of necklace thatVogël area) consists of close-fitting woolen trousers with black cord adorn the bodice (upper part) of the dress.trim, an apron of wool with a leather belt buckled over it, and a silkjacket with long dull red sleeves with white stripes. A long sleeveless In cities, conservative Western-style dress is more common. Albani-coat may be worn over the jacket along with an outer, short-sleeved ans are modest, however. Neither men nor women wear shorts orjacket (dzurdin). The head and neck may be covered with a white other revealing clothing. Traditional clothing is seen mostly atcloth. theatrical or folk dance performances in cities. Like in many European countries, the traditional costumes have vanished almostTraditional women costume of southern Albania features a blouse completely from daily life.
Cuisine Albanian cuisine offers unique flavors that have developed and are available. Coffee (Turkish or espresso varieties) is very popularevolved over the centuries. Albania’s geographic location, more and enjoyed by many Albanians throughout the day. There are aor less at the crossroads between East and West, has resulted in wide variety of restaurants in Albania. Larger restaurants usuallyan original culinary blend. It shows influences from Asian, Turkish, feature some variety of international cuisine, in addition to someand various European sources. Agriculture flourishes here, and the Albanian offerings. Often the best Albanian food can be found inorganic fruits and vegetables grown in the Mediterranean climate the smaller restaurants. Some of the main stays of Albanian cuisineserve to further enrich the cuisine. One traditional Albanian drink is include: roast lamb, veal escalopes, biftek (beef ), qebab (kebobs),called Raki. It is a distilled spirit usually made from grapes. Addition- qofte (meatballs). Fërgesë tiranase, a traditional dish of meat, eggs,ally the locally produced cognac, Skanderbeg Cognac, is excellent and tomatoes is cooked in an earthen ware dish and is very popular.and has won many international prizes. Wine is also produced on a Excellent quality, fresh seafood can be readily found when travellinglarge scale in Albania, and many delicious varieties of red and white anywhere near the coast.
Archeological Cities Albania is country of breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear rivers and lakes, infinite fields and meadows of lushvegetation and abundant in flowers and medicinal herbs, clean and healthy air, secluded and serene places andcharming villages far away from the bustle of civilisation. Albania offers wonderful opportunities for out-dooractivities as walking, trekking, mountaineering, alpinism and mountain biking. Still relatively unspoiled byglobalization, Albania is an inspiring mixture of civilizations and cultures, providing truly unique experiences. Many ruins and vestiges of Albania’s rich history await visitors. The most notable tourist attractions are the ancientsites of Apollonia, Butrint and Kruja. Additionally, Albania’s coastline has becoming increasingly popular withtourists due to its relatively unspoiled beauty and amazing beaches.
Apollonia AntigoneaSituated 12 km from the city of Fier. Illyrian Apollonian was found at Antigonea lies on a hill about 600 meters above sea levelthe beginning of the 7th century BC by the Greek colonists comingfrom Corinth and Corcyra. Apollonian was in Roman times, a large The Agora of the city has been excavated and a Stoa, 59 meters longand flourishing city near Aos river (today Vjosa). Of great interest to and 9 m wide has been brought to light.be visited are; The Encircling Wall, the monuments of Agonothetes, Coins from various city states have been found in excavations, ar-the Library, the Odeon, the Portico, the house with mosaics, The riving from Korkyra (modern Corfu), Apollonia, Dyrrachium, Ori-Museum of Apollonia, the Church of St. Mary. Unfortunaly, some cum, Ambracia but also the Epirote League, most of them made ofof the statues and object were appropriated before 1946 by other bronze and few in silver.countries. Those remaining are displayed in the museum, which is A triconch Palaeo-Christian basilica has been found at the site, dat-housed in the monastery. The monastery courtyard enclosed a Byz- ed to the 6th century A.D., and decorated with a mosaic floor.antine church dating back to the 14th century. The Egyptian god Anubis is represented on the central panel of the mosaic, and according to one interpretation it may depict Saint Christopher “the Dog-head”.WHAT TO VISIT…THE MUSEUM OF APOLLONIA BylisTHE EXCAVATIONS AND THE MONUMENTS OF APOLLONIA Bylis (in today Mallakastra) which is a very important archeological center in Albania, is one of ancient Illyrian citys inhabited by theTHE ENCIRCILING WALL tribe of Bylliones. Established in the third century B.C., Bylis flour- ished as a political, economic, and cultural center of the community.THE TARRACED WALL WITH THE ARCHED GATES The city was governed by an annual council of civil servants. In 230- 146 B.C., it introduced bronze coins, which were used throughoutTHE MONUMENT OF AGONOTHETES this region. The handicrafts from the workshops of Bylis were com- peting with the handicrafts of Apollonia. The surrounding wall ofTHE LIBRARY AND THE ODEON Bylis, built in the second quarter of the fourth century B.C., is very well-preserved. It is 2250 m long, 3.5 m wide and 8-9 m high and itTHE PORTICO surrounds an area of 30 ha. The wall is triangular. The city consisted of several quarters and objects, such as the agora, which shelteredTHE HOUSE WITH MOSAICS the inhabitants of the villages and their wealth in the event of war. It is very interesting to see:THE CHURCH OF St. MARY The theatre,which is larger than that of Butrint and was built in theTHE CHURCH OF St. MARY middle of the third century B.C. The monumental fountain of the 3rd century. - Several stadium ele- ments. - Medieval cultural objects such as BasilicaButrinti In the Church of Bylis which was build on the IV-th century AD, the mosaics have Ilirian (Illyrian) motifs which for the church later whereArchaeological Site, perhaps the most romantic archaeological site known as pagan onesin Albania. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been aRoman city and a bishopric. Following a period of prosperity un-der Byzantine administration, then a brief occupation by the Vene-tians, the city was abandoned in the late middle Ages after marshesformed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository ofruins representing each period in the city’s development.WHAT TO VISIT IN BUTRINTI….TEMPLE OF AESCULAPIUSTHE BAPTISERYNYMPHEUMGATE WITH TOWERS
Natural Heritage Although one of the least known countries in Europe, Albania’s natural treasures are only a few years away from being discovered by nature lovers worldwide. Whilstthe turquoise waters and sandy beaches of the Adriatic Sea in the West attract all kinds of travelers, the beauty of the Albanian Alps in the North and East will only rewardthose who enjoy hiking in the rugged realms of wolf, lynx and bear.Coastal Tourism Ionian coast The Ionian coast starts in Uji i Ftohtë (Cold Water) in Vlora and contin-Adriatic Coast ues with few interruptions all the way to the Cape of Stillo. It has a highThe Adriatic coast starts in the delta of Buna River by the city of Shkodra. abrasive intensity because the sea is deep while river deltas are lacking.By the Adriatic coast you will find clean sea waters, high quality service, As a result, waves on the Ionian can reach up to 4 m while the coastlinetraditional and modern cuisine, lagoons, lakes and rivers. There are is rocky. On the coast you will find a number of small bays and comfort-great possibilities for nature lovers, ecotourists and others. Hunting can able beaches. Some of them are rarely visited due to the difficult accessbe practiced in the region’s rich ecosystem too. roads which may make your experience all the more intimate.
Some large tectonic bays are: Vlora Bay, Porto Palermo, Saranda Bay etc. There are a number of historical facts, cultural and archaeologicalHere you can dive, sail, fish etc. objects that point to a population that lived here since the Paleolithic era. In medieval times a number of cities in the coast flourishedThe Albanian Riviera coastline has high temperatures and therefore a offering visitors a rich cultural inheritance.subtropical flora. The Riviera is one of the most picturesque places ofthe Mediterranean with a lot of tourist potential. In the last few years,the number of visitors has increased exponentially.
Rural TourismAlbania is predominantly mountainous country, and magnificent mountains and hills constitute 2/3 of its total area, but flatalong its coastline with the Adriatic Sea. The highest peak of Albania, breathtaking Mount Korabi on the Macedonian border is2.753 meters high. In the north of Albania the stunning and wild Prokletije Mountains - Albanian Alps with their highest pointrise on 2.694 meters above the sea level and offers incomparable nature beauties. You have mountains behind you, and mountainsalongside you, and mountains in the distance and from everywhere you could hear water falling with a rattling sound, as ifit had absorbed the bellicose spirit of the country. Those are wild streams rushing from the mountains to empty into the mostenchanting of lakes.
Albania has several regions where mountain and ruraltourism is well developed. Among the most impressive are:- Albanian Alps. Rugged and imposing, the Alps in northern Albaniaoffer world class mountaineering opportunities. Some cities withresources include Thethi, Vermoshi, Nderlysa, Lugina e Valbones,(Dragobia,Selimaj, Rragam).- Mountainous areas of Korça (Voskopoja, Dardha, Vithkuqi).- Shores of Lake Ohrid, is one of the most popular tourist areas (Lini,Hudenishti, Pogradeci and Tushemishti).- Shores of Lake Prespa. Tourism has flourished here recently, andthe following towns offer a variety of activities (Pusteci, Gorica e Vo-gel, Gorica e Madhe and Gollomboci).Natural resourcesAlbania is notably recognized for its rich biological and landscapediversity. Almost three quarters of Albania is densely covered withnatural vegetation making it one of the greenest countries in theworld. Majority of Albania territory - about a million hectares isforested and the country is very rich in flora. About 3.000 differentspecies of plants are grow in Albania, many of which are used formedicinal purposes. The forests are home to a wide range of ani-mals such as wolves, bears, wild boars, and chamois. Lynx, wildcats,pine martens and polecats are rarer, but survive in some parts of thecountry. There are various national parks in Albania that hold a greatsignificance in the wildlife tourism of the country.There are 13 National Parks, 4 Protected Landscape Areas, 4 StrictNature Reserves, 26 Managed Nature Reserves, 4 Natural Monu-ments and other protected areas.FloraAlbania has a rich flora with over 3,221 types of plants.Among them, 489 are specific to the Balkan peninsula and 40 arelocated only in Albania. Oak forests are typical and comprise 20 per-cent of the forested area of the country. In other areas visitors canfind Mediterranean shrubs up to 800m above sea level and eucalyp-tus, sea figs and laurels.FaunaAlbania enjoys a wide variety of animals, as well. Carnivores are rep-resented by wolves, foxes, jackals, and a variety of wild cats. Largemammals such as deer and boar offer opportunities for hunting.Many species of birds flourish here, too. From grouse to pelicans,a broad array of more than 350 varieties is represented. Fresh andsaltwater fish are abundant as well. Mullet, carp, bass and trout arejust some of the species present here. Lake Ohrid boast several im-portant species, including the endangered Koran Trout, a distincttype of eel, and a variety of snail whose origins can be traced back30 million years!
Albanian Mountain TourIsmThe territory of Albania has several regions where Thethimountain and rural tourism is well-developed. Among After Boga, you will reach the main tourist center of the entire area,the most important are the Albanian Alps: Thethi, located 70 km from Shkodra. Before arriving at Thethi you must pass Qafa e Tërthores at 2,000 m above sea level. From here, you de-Western Alps - Razëm - Bogë - Theth - Vermosh scend to Gropa e Thethit, crossed by a stream with the same name.The alpine tour of Albania is not complete without a visit to the Western The area is rich in attractive sights like the Cascade of Grunas, 25-30Alps (Alpet Perëndimore). Here you will enjoy something unique; you m high. You will be amazed by the cold-water sources of Okol and thewill walk, breath, sleep and eat amidst the legends starting from Homer caves “Birrat me rrathë” (“Round Holes”) and “Arapi”. In the park, you canand ending with the modern tales of our days. This tour gives you the amuse yourself by trekking, mountain climbing, skiing (especially onchance to enjoy a unique place at the heart of the Albanian Alps, Gropa the eastern slope), or fishing, mountain biking and exploring caverns.e Thethit. The flora is impressive: the most common tree of the area is the beech,The journey to this mountainous area begins from the city of Shkodra which covers almost 90 percent of the surface of the park. There are dif-and leads to the closest stop – 41 km away from Shkodra – the city of ferent types of flowers such as Eulfenia of Baldachi discovered by theRazma, situated on a blackberry hill at the feet of the Veleçik Mountain. Italian botanist Baldachi, which can be found only in Theth. The fauna isRazma stands amid infinite forests of pines and birch trees. There are just as rich, distinguished by the Golden Eagle and Lynx. The waters ofalso many meadows and amazing alpine pastures. The journey to Raz- the Stream of Theth are home to marble trout.ma is possible even in the winter when the snow is at its highest level. While in Theth you can stay in local hostels with traditional alpine archi-There are several hostels already and others are on their way to comple- tecture. The characteristic dish of the area is “fërliku” (baked meat) andtion. The most common activities are excursions, mountain climbing, different plates of trout. From Theth, the trip continues to the valley ofskiing, and during the summer - camping. the Shalë River approaching the heart of the Alps.Boga VermoshThe road will lead you from Razma to the village of Dedaj and then onto Another interesting spot of the Western Alps is Vermosh, part of theBoga, a village surrounded by the Alps and described by Edith Durham northern-most region of the country. Vermosh is 95 km away from thein her book “The Burden of the Balkans”. Boga is the perfect place for city of Shkodra. Vermosh is part of the region of Kelmend, a name thatmountain climbing, skiing, and spelunking. Among the most famous originates from the Roman word “Clemens”, meaning gentle, simple,caves, you can visit the Cave of Mulliri (“Mill”), Akullore (“Ice Cream”), and good. The first thing that catches the eye during this journey is Qafaand Njerëzve të lagun (“Wet People”). The Cave of Puci is one of the e Rrapshit where you can see the crystal clear waters of the Cemi Rivermost attractive, situated at 1,087 m above sea level. It is 5 km long and that create a beautiful contrast with the surroundings. During summer,rich in stalactites, stalagmites, and wall veils. The cave has many levels, the ponds of the river are perfect for sunbathing.five alone in the center. By passing through its galleries you can connect Vermoshi stands in an alpine field at 1,100 m above sea level surroundedwith another cave, the Cave of Husi. by high slopes. You can entertain yourself by trekking, mountain climb- ing, skiing, or fishing for trout. If you want to try something special from the traditional cuisine, be sure to taste the diary products of the area!
The journey to this part of Albania will give you not only the chance to that covers the peaks of the craggy mountains. The final village beforelive between a mythical atmosphere and the contemporary world, but you arrive at the source of the Valbona River is Rragam. Rragam is a re-will also let you taste the proverbial hospitality known and mentioned mote village surrounded by virgin and intact nature. The whole valleyby every foreigner who has visited this place. has such rare colors and beauty that one may think a divine hand made it. On one side, you see the crystal-clear waters of the Valbona, and onAlbania Eastern Alps: Valbona River Valley – Canyon of the other the sharp but verdant mountain edges. Up until May you canShoshan – Dragobia – Selimaj – Rragami enjoy the contrast of the clean white snow on the treetops against theThe Valbona River Valley lies in the eastern part of the Albanian Alps. A blue sky. The flora of the national park includes a variety of plants andnational park of 8,000 hectares, it is one of the most beautiful natural trees, the most wide-spread formations of which are the Hormoq tree.areas in Albania. The park lies at 20-30 km from the alpine city of Bajram The rest consists of beechwoods, arnen, walnuts, chestnut trees, andCurri. Before entering the valley you will find the water source (Vrel- wild apple trees. There are also many forest fruits such as bilberries andlen) of Shoshan located only 3 km away from Bajram Curri. This karstic strawberries.source heads to the Valbona River creating an attractive canyon 2-3 mwide and 50 m deep. The animals in the park include bears, wolves, and wild cats, while on the rocks there are herds of wild goats. Down in the river there is the soAfter entering the valley, you will pass several picturesque villages. The called “marble trout”, a rare fish of the crystal clear waters of the Valbonafirst, with alpine style houses, is called Dragobia, and it is where the val- with an exquisite and special taste.ley narrows. Past Dragobia, at the foot of a mountain where the Cerremistream joins Valbona, there is the famous cave where the national hero The valley, the park, and all the surroundings are known for snowfall,Bajram Curri was besieged and killed. The city than took his name. Val- which starts in early November and lasts almost until May. The averagebona (or Selimaj) is located 25 km away from the city of Bajram Curri and level of the snow in this region is 100 cm. There are lots of outdoor activ-is the most important inhabited center of the valley. It is full of tradition- ities that can take place in the national park, such as fishing, excursionsal houses that create a picturesque view in symmetry with the natural and trekking throughout the valley and the streams (Cerrem, Kukuaj),wonders of the valley, which widens again at this point. canoeing along certain parts of the river, and skiing or mountain climb- ing. Valbona may also serve as a starting point if you wish to climb theIn Selimaj, you will find a comfortable and traditional hotel, or you may Jezerca Mountain, the second highest mountain in Albania.have the opportunity to stay at a village home, for the inhabitants’ gen-erosity and hospitality are well known. The zone is also known for itscharacteristic regional cooking, with specialties such as mazja, flija, andpitja masterfully prepared in traditional village kitchens.Beyond Selimaj, the road continues through the valley among marve-lous views of nature with rich colors of both springtime and of the snow
Ionian and the “Albanian Riviera”:Llogara – Palasa – Dhërmi – Vuno – Himara Llogara (The National Park)The Llogara National Park lies approximately 40 km south of thecity of Vlora. It is situated in the Llogara Mountain and has a surfaceof 810 hectares, with heights of between 470 and 2018 m abovesea level. It combines the beauties of a mountain and seaside cli-mate. You can enjoy part of its magical natural beauty while trave-ling along the Vlorë-Sarandë National Highway at Qafa e Llogar-asë, 1025 m above sea level. Here, medicinal and decorative plantsmix with masses of pine trees. The park also is home to many dif-ferent kinds of animals.After 20 minutes of driving along the National Highway, you willbe able to see the Albanian Riviera. You can stay overnight in thepark and enjoy the restaurants, contemporary clubs, and differentactivities and excursions. The park is also a good place to enjoyaerial sports (it is known for international aerial sports events) likeparachuting and para-gliding.PalasaAfter passing Qafa e Llogarasë through a road that dates back tothe Pompey period, you descend into the Albanian Riviera. Thiswarm Mediterranean zone has nearly 300 sunny days a year, andthe average temperature of July is 25°C (77° Fahrenheit). The listof places to visit begins with the beach of Dhraleo (Palasë) knownfor its clear waters. Pompey and his army stopped at this beach inancient times, when it was known as Palestra.DhërmiDhërmi is famous for its crystal clear waters and small, intimatepebble beaches like Jaliksari, Shkambo, and Gjipea. Gjipea is a rarebeauty, for it is situated at the foot of a 70 m high cliff. Close toDhërmi is the legendary Cavern of the Pirates.Dhërmi is a picturesque village of a particular atmosphere. It isthought to have first been inhabited in 49-48 B.C. In Dhërmi thereis the Monastery of Shën Mëria, the Church of Shën Todhri, theChurch of the Ipapandia and the Church of Shën Mitri with its fres-cos from the 12th -14th centuries.The main entertainments in Dhërmi are swimming, water sports,and diving. There are many hotels, restaurants, pubs, disco-theques. The restaurants combine traditional and foreign cuisines,and serve many seafood specialtiesVunoEight km south of Dhërmi there is the village of Vuno, well knownfor its traditions and patriotism. From here, the road goes to thewonderful beach of Jala, whose fantastic gulfs are distinctive fromthose in the rest of the Riviera. Vuno is a unique village, built on ahill facing the sea. Here you can visit old churches like the Churchof Shën Spiridhoni, built in 1778, and the Church of Mesodhia withpaintings from 1783. There are also several architectural landmarkssuch as the ruins of the House of Odise Kasneci and the tower likeHouse of Shane Kote.
HimaraContinuing your tour towards the south, youwill come across the small city of Himara,which has two neighborhoods: Old Himarabuilt on the hill and New Himara in the gulf ofSpilia. The beaches of Himara are Spilia,Llamani, Potami, and Livadhet. They are allgravel beaches with deep, clear waters.Himara comes to life during the summertourist season, when visitors take up residencein the hotels or in rented houses.Himara is the ancient residence and city ofthe Illyrian Kaon clan. It was settled in the fifthcentury B.C. and its name is of Pellazgë (preIllyrian) origin. There are several religious sitesto visit such as the Church of Shën Mëria eAthalit, the Church of Cassiopeia, the Churchof All Saints, and the House of Lilo Llazari,which has been turned into a culturalmonument.Another site to visit is the Castle of Ali PashëTepelena, built on a small peninsula in thetectonic gulf of Porto Palermo. The castle isbuilt like a triangle with walls 20 m high. It issaid that this castle was built on top of theruins of an ancient castle.QeparoClose to the gulf of Porto Palermo stands thevillage of Qeparo with its owndistinctive beach. Old Qeparo, built on thehillside, has several objects worth seeing,such as the three story Towers of Ali Pasha, theMonastery of Shën Dhimitri and the House ofMinella Gjika.BorshThe village of Borshi is situated a few hundredmeters away from the shore, nearly 20minutes from Himara. This is the largest beachof the Albanian Riviera, almost 6 km of clearwater. Built along the length of the beach aremany hotels, clubs, discotheques, andrestaurants of all types. The hospitality of thevillagers and the traditional dish of grilledlamb are distinctive features you will find inBorsh.LukovaThe last seaside village on the Albanian Rivierais the village of Lukova, well known for itsterraces of citrus and olives. Nearly 2 kmfurther you will find the popular Bunec Beachwith its beautiful stream of crystal clear waterflowing directly to the Ionian Sea. South ofLukova and toward the Gulf of Kakome, therestretch several kilometers of gleaming whiteflint stones, a characteristic of the area. Youalso can find a number of underwater caves.
Mountainous areas of Korça:Voskopoja, Dardha, VithkuqiThe next surprise after the rare city of Pogradec is the city of Korça, one of the biggest urban centers in Albania. During thespring, the main avenue fills with the fragrance of the sturgeon flowers, while during winter you will enjoy a walk under thesnow filled trees.In 1887, the first Albanian school opened in Korçë. During the First World War, the French invaded the city and it became the“Autonomous Region of Korça.” In 1917 the French Lyceum opened; one of the most noted schools in Albania. But besides its history,what attracts attention in this traditional city is the architecture with the villa like houses encircled by banisters and flowerygardens. The zone between the Republika and Shën Gjergji boulevards is very interesting: here you can visit the Medieval ArtMuseum and the Prehistoric Museum, located in two traditional buildings of the city that will give you the chance to see nearly1,200 objects from archeological excavations from the prehistoric, Hellenic, Roman and Paleo-Byzantine eras.Another interesting location is the museum house of the master artist Vangjush Mio, and the Museum of the Bratko Collection,opened in 2003, presenting art objects from the Far East. You might also want to visit the bazaar (dating from the turn of the20th century), the Mosque of Iliaz Bej Miharori (the oldest monument in the city, dating back to 1484), and the Cathedral Ngjalljae Krishtit (“Resurrection of Christ”), one of the biggest in the Balkans.At night it is not unusual to hear the traditional bands of the city singing sweet serenades with guitars under the balconies.In the taverns of the city you will taste dishes you have never tried before. You can sample them all, but remember not to misslakrori me qepë dhe domate .(a traditional pie made with onions and tomatoes, between two sheets of dough), and tava e korminës (traditional baking panmade with paunches). And don’t forget the Festival of Carnivals, the biggest celebration of its kind in all of Albania.
VoskopojaVoskopoja was one of the most important centers of the Balkans. It hasbeen known as a city since 1330, but life here was in full bloom by 1794,when the city had 30,000 inhabitants and maintained contacts withLeipzig, Budapest, Venice, and Vienna. The city also had 27 churches, anacademy, a library, and the first printing house in the Balkans, in 1720.You will not want to miss visiting the Monastery of Shën Prodhom andthe Church of Shën Kolli (1721), which is full of pictures of famous Al-banian iconographers such as David Selenicas and the Zografi broth-ers from Korça, who also worked in the Saint Mountain of Athos, inHalkidiki, Greece. Besides the healthy climate and the air filled with pinefragrance, Voskopoja offers comfortable hotels and private houses forfamily tourism as well as a natural ski run for all skiing enthusiasts.DardhaAnother unforgettable mountain spot is the village of Dardha, 20 kmsoutheast of the city of Korça, at 1,350 m above sea level. There is snowduring the three months of winter, the air is crystalline, and the water ofthe village’s many natural fountains is pure and cold. Enjoy the uniquefolk women’s costumes dominated by black and red, the colors of thenational flag, visit the stone houses that offer hospitality to travelers,and don’t forget to taste the traditional plum raki and the lakrori në saç(a traditional pie made with cabbage between two sheets of dough,and baked in a wood-fired oven).VithkuqiThe mountain village of Vithkuq, birthplace of the Albanian Renaissancepioneer Naum Veqilharxhi, stands 25 km southwest of the city of Korça.It has been a population center and a well known economic and cul-tural center since medieval times. During your stay, you absolutely mustdrink the water of the Bellovoda and visit the Church of Shën Pjetër andthe Church of Shën Pavël. If you have enough time, you also shouldclimb Rungaja (1,750 m above sea level) by foot or horse. Don’t worryabout the accommodation, for the people of the area will surely inviteyou to their comfortable and characteristic houses.You will enter the region of Pogradec via the national highway wherethe road from Macedonia crosses Maja e Qafthanës. This crossroad of-fers exceptional views worth photographing of Lake Ohrid, a real pearl“shelled” between Mali i Thatë (“Dry Mountain”) in the east and the high-land of Mokra in the west. A few meters further down, you might stopat the peninsula of Lin and in the village with the same name, 25 kmaway from Pogradec. It is said that in ancient times, this was the favoriteholiday destination of the parents of the Roman emperor Justinian. Be-sides the magical view, you can also see the mosaics of the Bazilika eLinit that date back to the 7th-6th centuries B.C., which show an amazingensemble of zoomorphic, floral, and geometric decorations resemblingthe mosaics of ancient Durrës.
Shores of Lake Ohrid: Pogradec - Lin – DrilonThe road to Pogradec passes close to the shore of the tectonic LakeOhrid, the deepest lake in the Balkans (285 m). This over 3 million yearsold lake (under the protection of UNESCO because of its unique value)houses 17 species of water animals, 70 percent of which are native and30 percent migrant. The sponge of Ohrid is found only here and in LakeBaikal.On the edge of the lake you will find many restaurants, clubs and com-fortable hotels. You must not miss tasting the traditional fish dishes,especially the baked speckled trout (koran in Albanian), as well as thefamous pickles and kollofacet. You can also try different types of wines,but don’t miss the traditional unique wine of Buti, or the famous Perlaand Muskat raki of Pogradec.The city of Pogradec was settled in the neolithic period, and it later be-came home to the Illyrian Enkelejdë and Desaretë clans, who built theCastle of Pogradec on a hill at 870 m above sea level. You can visit thecity at any time during the year, for it has a wonderful climate.Before leaving Pogradec you will not want to miss seeing Driloni andTushemisht, 4-5 km south of the city. The waters of the source of theDrilon form a small lake, surrounded by beautiful greenery that turnsthe area and the nearby village of Tushemisht into a unique oasis ofcalmness and rest.Shore of Lake PrespaIn the last few years, development policies have made several areas onthe shores of Lake Prespa suitable for this type of tourism: Pusteci, Smalland Large Gorica (Gorica e Vogël and Gorica e Madhe), Gollomboçi.
National ParksDajti National ParkLocated just east of Tirana, the Park covers approximately 3,300 hectares. Pine) who’s shape reselbes that of the eagle on the Albanian Flag.It is only 50 km from the airport and 26 km from Tirana. The park contains From the Llogara Pass, visitors can hike to see the Ionian Sea, the steepa number of beautiful 200 year old beech trees that are really worth see- slopes of the Vetëtima (Lightning) mountain and a good part of the Alba-ing. The Park is frequented by daily visitors and it is considered Tirana’s nian Riviera. It is a great spot to enjoy the mixed mountain and sea micro-“natural balcony.” Accommodation is available for tourists interested in climate as well as a excellent place for air sports.more than day-long stays. Fir of Drenova National ParkLura National Park Located 10 km from the city of Korça, the park has an area of 1,380 hec-Spans approximately 1,280 hectares to the east of “Lura’s Crown.” The tares. It is visited frequently by locals as well as tourists. Many locally fa-most picturesque feature is the 14 glacier lakes of Lura which are frozen in mous drinking water sources such as Shën Gjergji, Plaka, Pllica and othersthe winter. To the south you can visit the “field of mares” which has a wide are located in the Park.variety of colorful plants and coniferous trees. The Park has great potentialfor developing ecotourism. Valbona Valley National Park With an area of 8,000 hectares this Park is considered the gem of AlbanianDivjaka Pines National Park Alps. It is located 25-30 km to the northwest of the town of Bajram Curri.This Park is 40 km east of the city of Lushnja and 5 km from Divjaka. The It lies between high mountain peaks and it is a festival of colors and con-Park consists of 1,250 hectares and contains part of the Karavasta Lagoon trasts as well being rich in biodiversity. Valbona village is the focal pointwhich has been under the protection of Ramsar International Convention of the Park. Its configuration, hydrology, forests, flowers, rustic dwellingssince 1994. The Park area contains one of the most important ecosystems and the hospitality of its people make this park an ideal place to visit.in the country. The Park is rich in exotic fauna such as eel and is also hometo 5% of the global population of the threatened Dalmatian Pelican. Tomorri Mountain Park With an area of 4,000 hectares, the Park is to the east of the museum cityLlogara Park of Berat. From afar, the mountain of Tomorr gives the impression of a gi-Located about 40 km southeast of Vlora, this Park marks where the Adri- gantic natural fortress. Here is also the grave of Abaz Aliu (Tyrba e Kulma-atic and Ionian Seas meet. Near the Llogara Pass, a cut in the mountains kut), 1,200 m above sea level. Every year, during the third or fourth weekalong the national road, thanks to strong wind currents one can observe a in August thousands of pilgrims go up to the holy site of Tyrba for a weeknumber of interesting tree shapes, just ask for the “Pisha Flamur” (The Flag of celebration of a traditional Bektashi festival.
Fir of Hotova National Park Butrint National ParkWith an area of 1,200 hectares in the region of Frashër, it is located about This Park is located about 25 km south of the city of Saranda. It has high35 km northeast of Përmet. The Park takes its name from the Hotova Fir scientific, tourist and archaeological value as well as rich in biodiversity.which is considered one of the most important Mediterranean plant rel- The park is 2,500 hectares. The Park and surrounding region offer enter-ics of the country. Thanks to its beautiful natural surroundings, healthy tainment for all types of tourism beaches in Ksamil, ecotourism in Butrintclimate and proximity to living quarters, this Park has great recreational Lake, fishing, hiking , water sports and more.value year round. Thethi National ParkShtam Pass National Park Located in the Albanian Alps, by the Cursed Mountains (Bjeshkët e Na-With an area of 2,000 hectares, the Park is 25 km northeast of Kruja. The muna), it has an area of 2,630 hectares. It is 70 km from Shkodra and iswater source “Queen Mother” is one of the most attractive spots in the divided by the Theth River with a overflows with mountain trout. The Gru-Park with clean, cold and curative waters. The Park is frequented by a large nas waterfall is particularly worth visiting. Also, there are many oak treesnumber of visitors. and a variety of animals in the park.Zall Gjocaj National Park Shebenik-Jabllanice National ParkCovers 140 hectares 40 km north east of the town of Burrel. It is a very It is a protected national park located in the northeastern part of thepicturesque park with numerous underground water sources and creeks. Librazhd District. The park covers an area of about 33,928 hectares and shares a border with the Republic of Macedonia. Elevations in the park vary from 300m to over 2,200m at the peak of Shebenik mountain. ThePrespa National Park park is one of Albania’s newest, created on the 21st of May of 2008. WithinCovers approximately 27,750 hectares and straddles the borders of Alba- the park region dwell a number of different species, including the brownnia, Greece and Macedonia. It contains the lakes of Big Prespa (Prespa e bear, gray wolf and the endangered Balkan Lynx. Further, the park isMadhe) and Little Prespa (Prespa e Vogël) and their water source. It is an home to a number of endemic and rare plants.area rich with cultural tradition. Eremite Byzantine churches exist by thecave of Tren, Prespa e Vogël Lake, Trajani’s castle, St. Mary’s Church andon the island of Maligrad. The two lakes have now become the BalkanPrespa Park.
Classic Tour of Albania starting from 580 € *All inclusiveDay 1. TiranaArrival in “Mother Teresa” Airport, meeting with our representative and start the tour of the capital.Visits in Tirana:• Skanderbeg Square• Clock Tower• Et’hem Beu Mosque• National Historik Museum• National Gallery of Arts• Tabak Bridge• Boulevard “Dëshmoret e Kombit” and Mother Theresa SquareOvernight in Tirana.Day 2. Tirana – Kruja – DurrËsThis morning we will drive towards Kruja. If visits of the capital are left undone from the previous day we will have awalking tour in the city.Then, we’ll continue to Kruja –one of the biggest cities in Northern Albania is the “city of history” and the best knownas hometown of Albanian’s National Hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg.Tour-visit to the Castle, Skanderbeg Museum and Ethnographic Museum.After the visit of the castle, we’ll continue by exploring Kruja’s old bazaar with authentic and antique shops.The route continues to Durrës– the ancient Greco-Roman port city of Dyrrachium, where we will spend the night.Day 3. DurrËs – Ardenica – BeratThe morning tour in the ancient Greco-Roman port city of Durrachium includes visits in the Byzantine city walls, Ro-man amphitheater and the Archaeological Museum. After the visit to Durrës we’ll leave for Ardenica – where we’ll visita monastery built in 1282 on the initiative of the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Paleologus of Byzantium. After thevisit here, we’ll be headed to Berat. The afternoon is free for you to explore Berat, this lovely city.Overnight in Berat.
Day 4. Berat – Apollonia – VloraAfter breakfast, we’ll start the tour in the marvelous city of Berat - known as “the city of thousand windows” , payingvisit to the lovely painted Mosque of the Bachelors and the Tekke of the Helvetis with its beautiful portico.We’ll have lunch in Fortress, that contains some of the finest examples of his work, as well as other outstandingAlbanian artists.We’ll have lunch in Fortress, where you will enjoy a rustic lunch and a wine tasting of Berat cellar. (Optional)In afternoon, our tour continues to the ancient Greek settlement of Apollonia – (founded in 588 BC).After the visit to Apollonia we’ll head to the coastal and historical city of Vlora – an historical and coastal city.Overnight in Vlora.Day 5. Vlora – DhËrmi – Himara – SarandaThe morning tour takes you to a sightseeing tour in Vlora. Later we’ll drive up to Albanian Riviera Riviera, makingwonderful panoramic trip along the Riviera route to Saranda, at 3,000 feet height, enjoying the best views throughthe fertile slopes and villages. We’ll stop for a special lunch enjoying the food and the wonderful scenery amongthe pinewoods. (Optional)On route to South, we’ll stop in Porto Palermo Bay, where the castle of Ali Pasha is situated.Depart for Saranda, the hillside town facing the sea, famous for its magnificent “Butrinti” archeological site.Overnight in Saranda.Day 6. Saranda – Butrinti - GjirokastraMorning tour to Butrinti, an Archaeological Site, visiting the Temple of Aesclepios, the Baptistery, Nymph, The Thea-tre, Lions Gate, the Acropolis, etc.Before turning back to Saranda, we’ll visit the “Blue Eye” spring, formed by underground springs and the unusualchurch of St. Nicholas at Mesopotam with its fine carvings of mythological beasts.Return to Saranda, rest of day at leisure. Dinner at Lekursi Castle restaurant (built on the ruins of an old castle).(Optional)After lunch, we set off to Gjirokastra known as “Museum City”. Visit the Castle and the Museum of Weapons. Knownas City of One Thousand Steps, Gjirokastra is inscribed on the World Heritage List as “a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate.” The dwelling houses have the form of medieval towersconstituting a building ensemble with a characteristic architecture.Day 7. Gjirokastra – TiranaAfter breakfast travel on to Tirana. En route we’ll stop to a local restaurant in Përmet; here you will find the realAlbanian authentic, taste a warm and delicious homemade bread. (Optional)Drive back to Tirana. Free time to explore the city in the afternoon.Overnight in Tirana.Day 8. Tirana - AirportTransfer to “Nënë Teresa” airport for your return flight home. Tour end. Package Fee per person 2 € 915,00 The fee includes: Assistance on group’s arrival and departure by our guide; Minibus or Coach at disposal based to num- € 780,00 ber of clients; Professional English speaking guide at disposal in Albania; Accommodation in 3* & 4* € 730,00 Hotels; Entrance fees to the monuments and museums; Bottle of water per person in the bus. € 660,00 The fee Excludes: € 600,00 Meals and drinks (unless specified); Tips and gratuities; Porter age; Travel insurance; Visa € 580,00 procurement (if needed) Please Note This tour will be guaranteed and operates only with a minimum of 2 persons.
Tour di 10 giorni in Albania e Kosovo starting from 640 € *All inclusiveDay 1. Airport – TiranaMeeting at the airport with our representative. Heading towards the capital Tirana, the first city to welcome you in this tour. The colorfulbuildings, the youthful spirit and the atmosphere full of energy, are the first introduction with Albania.The tour starts with a visit in the city center - Skanderbeg Square, home of Albanian National Hero Skanderbeg statue. Next to the statueis the Clock Tower, 35 meters (115 ft) high. The original building had three floors and 90 stairs that go in a spiral fashion, while the clockitself had an acoustic sound that marked the time by sound chimes. We follow to see the Haxhi Et’hem Bey Mosque. Its decorative frescoswith trees, waterfalls and bridges are the most representative works of Albanian Islamic art and tradition. The National Library is locatedin front of the Mosque, and near the National Historic Museum. The tour continues with a visit inside the Museum divided in differentpavilions: Antiquity, Medieval, National Renaissance (Rilindja Kombetare), Iconography, Culture of Albania, Albanian Resistance of WorldWar II and Communist genocide. For those interested in arts, a visit in the National Gallery of Arts is suggested.Overnight in Tirana.Day 2. Tirana – PristinaOn the second day we’ll be headed to Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. After nearly 4 hours driving, we’ll reach the Newborn city for awalking tour around the city: see the statue of the national hero Skanderbeg, and visit the Grand Mosque, the City Museum and theEthnographic Museum. Walk near the University and the modern National Library. Then, we’ll taste a traditional lunch in the city and inthe late afternoon, free tour to explore Pristina and its shopping centers.Overnight in Pristina.Day 3. Pristina– PrizrenOn morning we’ll depart from Pristina towards Prizren, where we will take a tour around the city. The beautiful Gorge of Caraleves is apanoramic spot during this drive. Visits in Prizren include the Castle, Sinan Pasha Mosque and Hamam (Turkish bath house), a historic 200year old tree, the League of Prizren the 15th century Catholic Cathedral, Stone Castle Winery – the largest winery in the region.Overnight in Prizren.Day 4. Prizren – Gjakova – Decan – PejaIn this busy day we will explore 3 other traditional places; the 500 year old Gjakova, the stunning Decan and the mountainous Peja.From Prizren driving towards Gjakova, we will enjoy the visit in the Old Bazaar, the 16th century Mosque of “Hadum Aga”, the old bazaarshopping area, Ethnographic Museum and the grain market with handicrafts. Afterwards, a special opportunity to visit a Bektashi “Tekke”where you can hear the spiritual stories of Tekke leader (The Bektashi-branch of Shiite Islam).After lunch, arrival in our next destination - Decan. It is a small town located in the Deçan Gorge and visit the Deçan Monastery andalongside the River Lumbardhi.Decan Monastery is built between 1327 and 1335 by the Serbian King St. Stephen. It still preserves beautiful 14th-century frescoes. Todaythe tradition continues, 30 monks live in the monastery. Drive and overnight in Peja.Day 5. Peja – DurresDuring the morning a visit tour in Peja: the Old Market, the Peja Museum, the Institute for Heritage Protection, Çarshia e Pejës - a tradi-tional mill and the “Kulla” of Haxhi Zeka, a Peja patriot.Leaving behind Kosovo we drive towards Durrës, the second largest and the oldest Albanian city. Illyrians first settled here in 627 BC, andDurres became a prosperous trading harbour. The city links Albania to Western Europe and is the main port of the country. There arelikewise a good number of magnificent structures that you can visit in town: The main library, the cultural center with the AleksanderMoisiu theatre, the Archaeological Museum, Ahmet Zogu’s Villa, the Museum of History and the most noteworthy of these structures isthe Roman Amphitheatre which used to hold gladiator games back in the 117 up to 78 BC.Dinner with seafood and good wine, near the beach area. (Optional)Overnight in Durrës.
Day 6. DurrËs – BeratOn morning we leave behind the sea and drive towards the city that is a Must for those who come to Albania – Berat, the Town of a Thou-sand Windows. More than 2000 years old town, it is one of the most visited and characteristic cities in Albania. Berat was a stronghold ofthe Christian faith in the Balkans for several centuries. Since 2008, one of its main district, Mangalem, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The architecture of the old houses, with large windows that overlook the town, is the first think that impresses the visitors. First stop: theCitadel. It overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across the river. The citadel can be reached by a steeproad and is still inhabited. Inside the walls, you can visit ruined mosques and several medieval Orthodox churches, all intact and with re-stored frescoes and icons. Onufri National Museum is located in the inner part of “Saint Mary Church” in Castle of Berat. This Museum offersa collection of 173 belonging to the found of Albanian Churches and Monasteries. Afterwards you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, atwo storied residence, with a lobby on one side. This residence is equipped with non-moveable furniture that serves for the preservationof the household objects, wooden case, wall-closets, chimneys, wells, etc.Visits in Berat:• The Ancient city of Dimal• The Saint Triad Church• The Gorica Quarter• The Gorica BridgeOvernight in Berat. Day 7. Berat – GjirokastËr“The city of a thousand steps” or “the stone city”, Gjirokastra is a UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinct architec- ture. It is situated in southern Albania, perched on the steep side of the Drino valley overlooking an historic landscape framed by snow- capped mountains. This city comprises hundreds of Ottoman-style tower houses with distinctive stone roofs, wooden balconies and whitewashed stone walls. Dominated by the sheer flanks of its vast castle, Gjirokastra is a magical city with a tumultuous past. On the way we stop to visit Antigonea, an ancient town built by King Pyrrhus in honor of his wife Antigona. Afterwards we visit the fortress of Gjirokastra. It is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent structures of the city, sat on a rocky bluff with the city stretching out around it. It offers spectacular views of the Drino valley and surrounding mountains. Visit in Gjirokastra:• The City Castle• National Museum of Armaments• Artillery Gallery• Bektashi Turbe (tomb)• The prison: The entrance to the prison is in the first gallery of the National Armaments Museum. Completed in 1932, the prison was used by KingZog’s regime followed by the Italian and German occupation forces during the Second World War, and finally the communist regime until 1968.Overnight in Gjirokastra. Day 8. GjirokastËr – PËrmet – KorÇaThe morning takes us to the small town of Përmet. The wine and the raki of Përmet are renowned as some of the best products in Albania,but do not leave the city without tasting the famous cheese, meat, honey and gliko (a characteristic sweet with fresh fruits). District lies inthe heart of the Vjosa valley and is surrounded by amazing mountains with particular flora and fauna.After the visits end, we reach Korça, known as the “cradle of Albanian culture” or as the “Paris of Albania”. Korca is the largest city within theregion and continues to highlight its sophisticated and historic urban.We take a general tour of the city walking through the city’s manyparks, clean streets and characteristic cobblestone walkways and roads.Overnight in Korça.
Day 9. KorÇë – VoskopojË – PogradecThis is the day we’ll explore the churches of Voskopoja. Twenty-six churches were built between 1630 and 1780, and todayonly five of them remained. The domes of the five remaining churches and the intricate frescoes on their interiors attest tothe past prominence of Voskopojë as a cultural and religious center. Voskopoja is a picturesque village, situated betweenthe mountains, surrounded by the forests, the spirituality of the churches, antiquity of its structure and most of all humanityand its people. It seems like a place to feel welcomed, fresh and young again.In the afternoon we’ll drive to Pogradec town.Pogradeci is one of the most charming tourist resorts in Albania because of its position near the Ohrid Lake, with clear waterand delicious characteristic fish Koran; it is a good choice for tourists from all the destinations and group ages.In 5 km eastward we’ll visit the tourist center of Drilon. It is a panoramic point with crystal clear fountains that fill the beauti-ful channels surrounded with trees and by ornamental plants. For everybody, during all four seasons, this city offers oppor-tunities to relax and have fun. Visits in Pogradec: • Pogradec Art Gallery - situated in the center of the town, exhibits works from well known Pogradec painters • Pogradec MUSEUM - Pogradec has a rich museum with antiques and ancient testimonials. • Pogradec CHURCHES - Pogradec has an old Orthodox Church, the Church of “Saint Maria” situated in the old part of the town, and a new build Church called the Church of “Resurrection” . • Pogradec Mosque - Pogradec has two Mosque, one in the Center of the town and the other in the hill, part of old Pogradec. • Pogradec parks - across the lakeside in the promenade “1 Maji”, enjoying the freshness of trees and a wonderful view.*Enjoy dinner at local restaurant in Drilon (nice spot not far from Ohrid Lake which has been a preferred holiday place for the ex- dictator Hoxha) – decorated with willow trees, and streams flowing down to the lake. (Optional)Overnight ……Day 10. Pogradec – AirportAfter breakfast, transfer to the airport, where the tour ends.Package Fee per person 2 € 1.225,00 The fee includes: A/C vehicle ; 9 nights of accommodation in double rooms BB (3 & 4 star hotels); English € 920,00 speaking guide; ***Single supplement: 200 euro € 740,00 € 700,00 The fee Excludes: € 650,00 Meals and drinks (unless specified); Tips and gratuities; Porter age; Travel insurance; € 640,00 Visa procurement (if needed)
thethi tour starting from 310 € *All inclusiveDay 1 Shkodër-ThethAfter dhe accommodation on the Guesthouse and lunch, we’ll departure on an excursion to Natural Park of Theth.The group will visit the surroundings of Theth, one of the most famous northern Albania villages for its stunningnature and the traditional houses. The group will walk downhill from the house, and visit the attractions near by thevillage, including the Church, a tower house used in the past by men as a shelter against ongoing blood feud. Dinner.Overnight in the Guesthouse in Theth.Day 2Breakfast. The tour will proceed with a visit to the Ndërlysë, Cyclopean stone walled terraces dating from the latebronze era, discovered in 2007, discovering wonderful hidden places through the valley of Nderlyse. Trekking fromour departure point of Theth to Nderlyse, we pass through the mountain streams that wend their way through sunk-en bathtubs created by tempers of nature. Arriving at the village of Ndërlysë, the feeling of desolation and lonelinessbecomes tangible. Going from one abandoned house to another we hear about the difficulties of life in former times.Lunch and further visits of the scenery. Return to the village.Dinner and overnight in the guesthouses of Thethi.Day 3After breakfast at the guesthouse visit to the Thethi Waterfall, and the Canyon of Grunas. Return to the guesthouseafter the lunch in this picturesque village surrounded by vertical slopes with peaks above 2000m high.After the lunch we leave Thethi and departure to Shkodër.Return to Tirana.Option alternative Lunch:We go out to one of the restaurants at the lakeside to enjoy the traditional fish specialties looking at the panoramaof the lake of Shiroka.Package Fee per person 2 € 440,00 The fee includes: € 420,00 2 nights in Guesthouse (3 meals); Transport: Tirane – Shkoder-Tirane; Transport: Shkoder – Theth – Shkoder; Tour Guide. € 400,00 € 390,00 The fee Excludes: € 315,00 Meals and drinks (unless specified); Tips and gratuities; Porter age; Travel insurance; Visa € 310,00 procurement (if needed)
Archaelogical tour around Albania starting from 480 € *All inclusiveDue to its Mediterranean location and geographical proximity to some of the centers of world civilization, a number of important archaeologicaldiscoveries have been made in Albania. The sites that are found in the North as well as in the South are great tourist destinations for those interested inancient history as well as for the merely curious.Archaeological research shows that Albania has been populated since the Paleolithic Age (Stone Age). The first areas settled were those with favour-able climatic and geographic conditions. In Albania, the earliest settlements have been discovered in the Gajtan cavern (Shkodra), in Konispol, at MountDajti, and at Saranda. Fragments of Cyclopean structures were discovered at Kretsunitsa, Arinishta, and other sites in the district of Gjirokastra.The walls, partly Cyclopean, of an ancient city (perhaps Byllis) are visible at Gradishti on the picturesque Viosa River. Few traces remain of the oncecelebrated Dyrrhachium (today Durrës).
Day 1: Tirana– Kruja - TiranaMeet at Mother Tereza Airport in Tirana and depart for Kruja. On the way we stop at the Albanopoli, only 10 km fromthe airport. After this we go ahead to Kruja, where we’ll visit the Scanderbeg Museum, Ethnographic Museum andthe Old Bazaar.Archeological site: AlbanopoliOn a hill side near the village of Zgërdhesh (Krujë) are the ruins of the ancient city of “Albanopolis”, the capital of theIllyrian tribe “Alban” which flourished from the end of the 3rd century A.D. Its name is mentioned for the first time byPtolemy in the 2nd century A.D. It is from the “Alban” Illyrian tribe that the country started to be called “Albania” andthe people “Albanians”.Transfer to the hotel and overnight in Tirana.Day 2: Tirana – Durres – BeratWe start the day with a visit in the Archaeological Museum in Tirana. It was the first museum created after the WorldWar II. Tirana Archaeological Museum has displayed about 2000 objects and it has a fund support of 17000, which isincreased annually by the systematic archaeological finds. The museum gives full information on the earliest ancientdwellings in Albania, especially on the periods when the process of Illyrian tribes’ formation takes place. It also pro-vides summarized information on Late Antiquity and early Middle Age when the transition from Illyrians to Arbërstakes place. Afterwards enjoy a delicious lunch in Durrës and then visit the Site of Epidamnus. The city of Durrës datesto the 7th century B.C., according to traditional reports from ancient sources in the year 627. The modern city is builton top of the ruins of ancient Epidamnos or Dyrrachion, the latter transformed into Dyrrachium in the Roman period.Depart for Berat where spend the overnight.Day 3: BeratThis morning we start exploring the ancient city of Berat.It is called the Town of a Thousand Windows. More than 2000 years old town, it is one of the most visited and charac-teristic cities in Albania. Since 2008 Mangalem District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Visits in Berat:• The Ancient city of Dimal• The Saint Triad Church• The Gorica Quarter• The Gorica BridgeThe architecture of the old houses, with large windows that overlook the town, is the first think that impresses thevisitors. First stop: the Citadel. It overlooks the river and the modern city as well as the old Christian quarter across theriver. The citadel can be reached by a steep road and is still inhabited. Inside the walls, you can visit ruined mosquesand several medieval Orthodox churches, all intact and with restored frescoes and icons. Onufri National Museumis located in the inner part of “Saint Mary Church” in Castle of Berat. This Museum offers a collection of 173 belong-ing to the found of Albanian Churches and Monasteries. Afterwards you can visit the Ethnographic Museum, a twostoried residence, with a lobby on one side. This residence is equipped with non-moveable furniture that serves forthe preservation of the household objects, wooden case, wall-closets, chimneys, wells, etc. After exploring the citywe drive back to Tirana. A quick stop in The Monastery of Ardenica can be arranged.Archeological site: MbjeshovëMbjeshova Castle is situated near the village of Mbjeshova, in the northern part of Shpiragu mountain and it coversa surface of about 1,5 - 2 ha. The surrounding wall is well maintained along the length of the hill.The fortification isdouble, formed by an inner wall serving at the same time as a staging ground for soldiers and a lookout. At the eastside are situated three towers and an entrance.Archeological site: The fortress of VokopolaThe castle of Vokopola known as Ali Pashë Tepelena’s castle, is located on a hill at northern-west part of Vokopolavillage near the city of Berat. The fortification is situated on a hill 765m above sea level. The castle’s technique con-struction shows that the structure may have served as a military garrison.
Day 4: Berat - GjirokastraAfter breakfast we depart for Gjirokastra, a UNESCO site and museum town with beautiful and very distinct architecture.On the way, stop at the ancient city of Bylis to visit the ancient remains. It was the centre of Illyrian tribe and one of themost important and largest Illyrian cities, which developed during 4th century B.C. During the 3rd century B.C. werebuilt the theatre (8000 seats), the stadium, the gymnasium etc. By the 1st century A.D. Bylis became a Roman colony.During 5th and 6th centuries, it became an important diocesan centre, which is proved by the discoveries of 6 basilicaswhose floors are laid with mosaics of early Christian motifs.Before arriving in Gjirokastra, we visit the ancient site of Antigonea; a city founded in the 3rd century B.C.Arrival in Gjirokastra in the afternoon. Visit the Ethnographic Museum, which is also the house where the Albaniandictator was born.Archeological site: Sofratika TheatreLocated in Drino valley in Gjirokastra region by a village bearing the same name, this is Roman Adrianopolis of the sec-ond century A.D. The theatre was excavated in 1984 and has a capacity of 4,000 seats in 27 steps.Day 5: Gjirokastra –SarandaIn the morning we depart for the coastal town of Saranda. On the way we stop to visit the beautiful Blue Eye spring, anatural spring shaped like an eye of beautiful blue and turquoise green colours among old maple trees. Then visit thearchaeological site of the fortified hill of Peshtan.Stop for lunch at the Lekuresi Fortress in Saranda, with beautiful views of the bay of Saranda and the Island of Corfusituated only 7 km away. After lunch we proceed to visit the ancient city of Butrint. A pleasant narrow road overlookingthe sea and marshes leads to Butrint through a landscape of olive and orange tree plantations. Butrint is situated 15kmsouth of Saranda. The ancient city of Butrint, which is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was first inhabited byIllyrians.The archaeological excavations show that Butrint has been an important centre of the Kaonian Illyrians, one of the bigtribes of southern Illyria. According to discoveries made in the area, it has been proved that the site was inhabited asearly as Paleolithic period. Butrint was captured by the Normans in eleventh century and passed to Venice from 1690to 1797, when Ali Pasha Tepelena captured it. With the fall of the Pashallek of Janina, in 1822, Butrint passed under Ot-toman rule until 1913. Several excavations dating from the 1st and 4th centuries AD can now be visited, among themthe Old Amphitheatre, the Temple of Asclepius or Aesculapius, the Baptistery, Nymphaeum and the ancient city walls.Do not miss the Baptistery, with a floor of colourful mosaics. An old fortress house a small museum watches over thewhole site.Archeological site: The fortified hill of Peshtan - TepelenëThe hill of Peshtan is located near the homonymous village. The settlement has been localized on top of the hill, cover-ing an area of about 2 ha, and several narrow terraces at the east, south and west sides. These sides of the hill are rela-tively smooth, while the northern side, which is the narrowest one, constitutes the natural protection of the hill.On late afternoon, return to Saranda where we spend the night.
Day 6: Saranda - Vlora After breakfast we depart for Vlora driving through Albanian Riviera. Stop at the town of Himara for lunch in the“Llogara Tourist Village”; 1000 m above sea level. Very close by is a field where Julius Caesar camped his troops for a battle during the war against Pompeii. After lunch we continue to Vlora. We stop at the town of Oricum thought to have been founded by Greek colonists from Euboea Island. Oricum was used as a base by roman armies in their wars again Illyria and Macedonia. Here we can see some remains of walls and roads visible under water in the lagoon as well as part of mini-theatre of around 400 seats in the nearby hill of Palokastra. Most of the remains are from the 1st century B.C. and later. Afterwards we visit the original house where the independence document was signed in 1912 turned into “Inde- pendence Museum”. The house was the first seed of an Independent Albanian Government. Overnight in Vlora. Day 7: Vlora – Apollonia- Ardenica - DurresAfter breakfast we depart for the ancient city of Apollonia. Apollonia was named after the god Apollo. It was found-ed in 588 B.C., also by Greeks of Corfu, and it prospered because of its role as a link between Brundisium (nowBrindisi) in Italy and southern Albania. Many smaller Greek settlements were established around Albania duringthis time, but Epidamnus, Butrint, and Apollonia were the most important. Visit the city and an Orthodox monas-tery turned into archaeological museum. (Entrance fees) – Afterwards we proceed to the Monastery of Ardenica.Ardenica Abbey (church) it was in the Middle age argued by a stone in entrance dating back to the 1417, but thefirst building belongs at the beginning of XVIII century. Today inside the church you can admire pictures of 1743-1745 years, by Albanian artists. Afterwards we depart for Durrës another important ancient town founded in 657B.C. by Corinthians. Sightseeing tour of the Amphitheatre situated in the middle of the modern town. Overnightin Durrës. Day 8: DurrËs – Tirana AirportAfter breakfast we visit the Archaeological museum rich in artefacts found in and around the city. Drive to theAirport where our tour ends. Package Fee per person The fee includes: 2 € 920,00 A/C vehicle; 7 nights of accommodation in double rooms; English speaking guide; Entrance fees: € 850,00 Tirana: National historic Museum; Berat: Fortress and Onufri Museum; Gjirokastra: Fortress , Eth- € 830,00 nographic Museum; Apollonia (and Orthodox Church); Durres: Amphitheatre (and Archaeological Museum); Kruja: Fortress, Scanderbeg Museum and Ethnographic Museum; Butrint & Blue Eye € 560,00 € 500,00 The fee Excludes: € 480,00 Meals and drinks (unless specified); Tips and gratuities; Porter age; Travel insurance; Visa procurement (if needed)