Albania – Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Visit

Posted By : Niku/ 531

Ten Reasons to visit Albania

1. Albania is in the belly of Europe. Above Greece, next to Italy. Easily accessible.

While Albania is not accessible by train, although there is a functional railroad connecting us with Montenegro, you can come here by car, boat or plane. We have an international airport called Mother Teresa Airport and three ports connecting us with Italy and Greece, that of Durres, Vlore and Saranda, with Durres being the largest one. If flight tickets are expensive, you can also check the neighboring airports of Skopje, Ohrid (both in Macedonia) or Podgorica in Montenegro. Sometimes, the price difference could save you  money for a rental car while you’re here.

2. It is still sort of virgin compared to other touristy destinations.

The coastline is half sandy and half rocky, sometimes more than a couple km long. The best thing is that most of those beaches are almost empty, without people or sunbeds or umbrellas. Just you, your towel and snorkeling gear.

3. The Albanian language is unlike any other.

First, we have our own branch on the tree of Indo-European languages, like Greek and Armenian. Second, our alphabet has 36 letters. Third, in Albanian there is a one-to-one relationship between sounds and letters, and reading and writing Albanian is relatively easy if you know some simple rules

4. People are very welcoming, especially caring toward tourists, without being intrusive.

We have a big heart, it fits everyone. Our motto is, bread and salt. It has a very profound meaning for us. It means everyone is welcomed. Even if there isn’t enough food, we will share it with you. We will also go to extremes to protect you. This is based on the Besa (faith/word of honor) concept. Having said that, we will also respect your privacy. We won’t drag you from your sleeve if you take a look at shops or restaurant menus.

5. The coastline is one of the sunniest in Europe.

Such weather, the British would pay it with gold ducats. The average temperature on the coastline during summer months is 29-30 degrees. Take a look at the map, most of Europe needs more vitamin D.

6. Stunning geographical features, like mountains next to seaside, glacial and alpine lakes, plus a ton of diversity of natural beauty.

Look at the green waters, now look at the mountains in the far distance, now look back at the sandy beach and the cave, now again at the mountains in the background. Although one of the smallest countries of Europe, we have a very diverse geographical position. Look back at the photo, can you say no to that?

7. Plenty of archaeological sites, medieval castles and UNESCO Protected World Heritage Sites. Let’s thrown some communist era remnants to spice the historical aspect.

There are a lot of archaeological sites from the Greek and Roman era, well preserved ones like Buthrotum, Bylis, Apollonia, Amantia, Antigonea, Phoenice, Lower Selca, Durres Amphitheatre etc. A lot of castles like the one in Gjirokaster, Tepelene, Lezhe, Kruje, Shkoder, Berat etc. There are also protected old cities like the Stone City (Gjirokastra) or the City of 1000 Windows (Berat). As a result, we have everything for everyone.

8. Delicious and organic food, from sea products to meats and home grown veggies.

We might not have rich cooking books with thousands of recipes but we do have tasty and healthy veggies, simple cooking methods and you’ll excuse me while I lick my fingers.

9. Still very cheap compared to neighboring countries.

If you click on the above image, you’ll see Albania listed as the 49th country with the most expensive being the first. If you can’t find it, it’s because it is so damn cheap here, we don’t even make it to that list.

10. Albania was the first officially atheist state in the world.

Thanks to this guy, we made it to the history books as the first officially atheist state in the world. This guy, now dead, is Enver Hoxha, our ex-dictator. He was also paranoid. While we could pave our roads 10 times over, we decided to build bunkers. We also destroyed most of the churches and mosques but we still managed to save some, and those are pretty impressive. We also have other religious sites like pagan ones, albeit difficult to find if you don’t have a local guide.


If the above reasons are not enough, follow our blog, plenty of interesting things coming in the near future.

Theth Village, Albania


Central & North Albania in 7 Days

Posted By : Niku/ 406

Northern Albania is a scenic wonderland where the incredible landscape of the ‘Accursed Mountains’ dominates and the rich and independent mountain culture strongly flavours all journeys. The north also boasts rich wildlife around beautiful Lake Shkodra, not to mention the ancient city of the same name. The startlingly beautiful Lake Koman ferry ride is now one of Albania’s biggest attractions, and has become far more accessible in the past couple of years, which combined with the glorious Valbona-Theth trek makes for a wonderful 2-3 day round trip from Shkodra. This may be the Albania of the infamous blood feud, but you’ll be amazed by how friendly and welcoming locals are. “Lonely Planet”

Durrësi is the second largest city in Albania, the biggest port and the hub of the railroad system. It is one of the most ancient cities in Albania. Known by name of Epidamnus, it was established in the year 627 B.C. by colons coming from Corinth and Corcyra. Later on, the name changed to Durrahium (according to mythology the nephew of Epidamnus). During this period, the city flourished and became the main port of the Eastern Adriatic. Between the 1st and the 3rd centuries, it played a major role as a trading centre along the ancient Egnatia road, which connected Rome with Byzantium. Everyone has lot of things to see in Durrës, considering it a getaway to another world.

Kruja (alb. Krujë) is a medieval town located 32 km northwest of Tirana and 20 minutes by car from the international Airport of Rinas. It is built 560 meters above sea level, on the slopes of Sari-Salltiku mountain. The name of Kruja derives from the Albanian word krua, meaning ‘water spring’. The citadel have become the main Illyrian fortress in the area in the 4th century AD. In the year 879, Kruja was mentioned for the first time as a Christian religious center. The first Albanian feudal state was created here circa 1190.The ottomans occupied Kruja two times, in 1396 and 1415. Town reached its zenith on the 28th of November 1443 when the Kruja castle was taken by Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg), who then organized the long anti-Ottoman resistance. From this time on, under the leadership of Skanderbeg, Kruja repelled three Ottoman sieges in 1450, 1457 and 1466. Only ten years after the death of Skanderbeg, in 1478, were the Ottomans able to capture the castle and destroy the town.

The city of Lezha is located 47 km south of Shkodra. It is one of Albania’s ancient cities, and in the historical documents it is mostly referred by the name Lissus. In 1398, after the construction of its castle, the city was under direct control of the feudal family of Lekë Dukagjini, but was eventually conquered by Venice. One of the most important historical events for Lezha, and indeed for all of Albania, was the famed “the League of Lezha” on March 2nd, 1444, where under the leadership of national hero Skanderbeg, the Albanian princedoms united against the Ottomans. The Memorial Grave of Skanderbeg is here, at the ex-Cathedral of Shën Kolli, where he was buried in 1468. The Castle of Lezha, another Illyrian monument, is situated on the top of the hill overlooking the city below. Inside the castle, ruins of an Ottoman mosque Roman Arch, and an Illyrian Tower all rest together for the ages. Only a few minutes from the city, at the foot of the Mount Renci, it is found the sandy beach of Shëngjin. The sunny beach. Shëngjini boasts a long and colorful history, known as both “Cesarean” and “Nympheum” in past centuries. It was here that the Roman general Marcus Aurelius embarked with his fleet in order to chase Pompey during the civil war that he and Julius Caesar engaged in.

Shëngjin is a growing tourist destination, well known for its beaches and resort accommodations. It is within the District of Lezhë and is home to one of Albania’s entry ports, Port of Shëngjin. The city is located approximately 100 meters away from the waters of the Adriatic Sea, and below a mountain side called Rrenci that is approximately 159 meters in height. Shëngjin is also located approximately 60 km from the Tirana Mother Teresa International Airport. Shëngjin offers a wide arrange of environmentally friendly activities. To the south of the city is a nature preserves called “Pylli me pisha dhe Lagune Kunes” and “Laguna e Vainit”, which offers a beautiful and undisturbed place to enjoy the natural surroundings of wetlands and seafront. Similarly, just north of city center is “Rana e Hedhun” in Gheg Albanian or “Rera e Hedhur” in standard Albanian, which also offers a wonderful experience of rural and undeveloped sand dunes along the coastline. According to, “Being an ecological city, Shengjin offers some of the best fishing grounds that ensure that there is a balance between the rate of fishing and the frequent of fishing so that to ensure that there is no too much loss of fish from the sea. They respect the fact that the fish need to breed in order to maintain their population.”

Shkodra known as the “capital of north Albania” is one of the oldest cities in the country, founded in the 4th century B.C. as the center of the Labeat tribe of Illyrians. Shkodra has been occupied several times throughout history. First by the Romans (168 B.C.), then the Serbians (1040), the Venetians (1396), and finally by the Ottomans (1479). The city returned to Albanian control as the feudal principality of the Balshaj during the 14th century and served as the municipal center of the Bushatllinj Pashallëk from 1757 to 1831. Shkodra is rich with cultural heritage; the city itself as well as the people bears the pride that the large number of artists, musicians, painters, photographers, poets, and writers born here strove to create. Shkodra’s main tourist attraction is Rozafa Castle. Rising majestically upon a rocky hill west of the city, the outcroppings and battlements paint a blazing picture against the setting sun. It is surrounded by the waters of three rivers; the Drini, Buna, and Kiri. Much like the town it protected, the castle has Illyrian origins. According to the historian Tit Liri, “it was the strongest area of the Labeats.”

Theth is a wonderful village in northern Albania’s Shkodra region. Set among the peaks of the Shala mountains, Theth is isolated, and in times of snow, practically inaccessible.Legend has it that Theth was founded 400 years ago by 6 brothers. Individual parts of the village still bear the names of these brothers. In a presentation at the International Peace Research Association, Antonia Young, an anthropologist who participated in a 2005 research project in Shala valley, suggested this ‘perceived family link’ could be the explanation for the unusually low levels of internal conflicts and blood feuds in Theth. According to Theth’s primarily Catholic inhabitants, the village was founded as a refuge to escape conversion to Islam by the Ottomans. After the Second World War and the country’s self imposed isolation, access to the markets in Montenegro and Kosovo dried up. The fall of communism led to emigration and a declining population. Antonia Young’s team only found 17 families who reside in Theth year-round. Theth also contains 12 small mills and a functional hydro plant. During the period of March to November, Theth is visited by around 5000-10000 foreign tourists yearly.

The name “Valbona” is used to refer to the Valbona River, which in turn flows through the valley bearing its name, and a small village in the valley, as well the general area informally. It’s located in the Tropoja District of Northern Albania. This district, bordering Kosovo to the northeast, and Montenegro to the northwest, in combination with the adjacent district to the west, encompasses a region called the Malësi in Albanian, which translates roughly as “The Highlands,” with all the attendant romance conjured up by the English term. A wild, high, mountainous region inhabited by strong and fiercely independent people, the Malësi has for the history of Albania been the region which was never really conquered or subdued by the various waves of invaders during the last 2,000 years of Balkan history. While the proper name of the mountains around Valbona specifically are the Malësi e Gjakovës (after the town of Gjakova in Kosovo), their name is most often translated in English as “The Accursed Mountains,” based on the name given to them by disgruntled Serbian would-be invaders.

After the fall of communism in 1990, and the tragic economic collapse of 1996, Northern Albania also became the poorest of part of what was then the poorest country in Europe. By 2009, the Malësi have emerged from the shadows of recent history and are being rediscovered as a uniquely preserved natural and cultural treasure. Valbona, thanks in large part to the work of the Selimaj family, is one of a handful of centers of a burgeoning ecotourism industry. Foreign visitors to the region often remark that they had no idea that such an unspoiled, pristine place still existed in Europe. Local people welcome foreign visitors with a particularly moving enthusiasm. They know how far people have had to journey to visit them, and how often they are doing so in spite of the mountains’ fierce reputation. There is a strong affection for Americans in particular, in light of the assistance given to the population of Kosovo (90% ethnic Albanian) during the Kosovo War. Thus Valbona currently basks in fortunate possession of the twin resources of a perhaps unparalled natural beauty and a truly warm human generosity.

Bajram Curri is a town and a former municipality in Kukës County, Northern Albania, near the border with Kosovo, in a remote, mostly mountainous region. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision and the seat of the municipality Tropojë. Bajram Curri is located down the valley of the river Valbonë. It is the main access point by road to the villages of Valbona and Rrogam. Water from the mountains flow into the waters of the Valbonë, the latter being famous for having the clearest river water in Albania. The town is named after Bajram Curri, a national hero of the early 20th century. Bajram Curri is located in the former Tropojë District.

Lake Koman Ferry (Albanian: Trageti i Komanit) is a passenger ferry service operated by several local companies along the Koman Lake in Northern Albania. The line operates between Koman near the Koman Hydroelectric Power Station, and Fierzë near the Fierza Hydroelectric Power Station. The line is known for its breath taking views of the mountain gorges, unscheduled stops along the way for serving locals, and the peculiar atmosphere of both locals, foreigners, and even animals being fitted on board up to full capacity. According to Bradt Travel guides, the journey is described as “one of the world’s great boat trips” only comparable to the Scandinavian fjords. Following the construction of the dam and inundation of the area, a ferry service was established to serve the local population. Since the 2000s, the area has become a growing tourist destination.

Highlights of the tour

  • Durres Amphitheatre.
  • Kruja Bazaar, Castle.
  • Lezha Castle, Scanderbeg Memorial.
  • Shengjin.
  • Rozafa Castle.
  • Razma National Park.
  • Theth, Blue Eye, Nderlyse Stone Formations.
  • Theth-Valbona Pass.
  • Bajram Curri.
  • Komani Lake Ferry.


Meet and greet with the group at hotel lobby. We’ll start the tour with Durres where we will visit The Amphitheatre, The Roman Baths, The Forum and the Old City Walls. After a short stop for coffee we will depart to Kruje where we will have lunch and then we’ll visit the old bazaar and Scanderbeg’s castle. Then we drive to Shengjin, where we will have free time to relax by the seaside. Overnight in Shengjin. The second day starts with a visit of Lezha’s Castle and Scanderbeg’s Tomb. Then we drive to Shkodra where we will have lunch in a traditional restaurant and in the afternoon we will visit Rozafa’s Castle. Overnight in Shkoder. The third day we drive to Razem National park, overnight in Razem. The fourth day starts with Theth. After arrival, accommodation at a guesthouse and lunch. In the afternoon we will visit the Theth Waterfall and the Grunas Canyon. On the way back, we will visit the Ethnographic Museum of Theth, the Kulla e Ngujimit (Tower of Isolation), and the Saint John’s Church. Dinner with Theth specialties and bio-organic food. Overnight in Theth. The fourth day starts with a visit at the stone formations/pools of Nderlyse and the Blye Eye of Kaprre. Lunch in picknick style. The stone formations are 2.5 hours away, walking on an unpaved automobile road. After arriving in Nderlyse village, we will visit the Mill of Nderlyse and then we will continue to Black Well’s Bridge, to enjoy one of the most fantastic views of Theth. After the bridge we will visit the stone formations, water pools in rose colour. After a short stop for lunch, we will visit the Blye Eye, further 2 hours roundtrip. Overnight in Theth. On the fifth day we will take the Theth-Valbone pass, one of the most beautifull places in Albania. The pass is done by foot, and it takes some 6 hours. On the other side we will take the couch to Bajram Curri where we will visit the Museum. Overnight in Bajram Curri. The 6th day we will drive to Koman Lake to take the ferry back to Shkoder. The ferry trip is considered one of the most beautiful on earth, comparable to Norway’s fjords. After we reach the end of the trip we take the couch back to Tirana. End of the program.

Central & South Albania In 7 Days

Posted By : Niku/ 463

Durrësi is the second largest city in Albania, the biggest port and the hub of the railroad system. It is one of the most ancient cities in Albania. Known by name of Epidamnus, it was established in the year 627 B.C. by colons coming from Corinth and Corcyra. Later on, the name changed to Durrahium (according to mythology the nephew of Epidamnus). During this period, the city flourished and became the main port of the Eastern Adriatic. Between the 1st and the 3rd centuries, it played a major role as a trading centre along the ancient Egnatia road, which connected Rome with Byzantium. Everyone has lot of things to see in Durrës, considering it a getaway to another world.

Berat – 2400 year old town located in southcentral Albania is known as “the town of a thousand windows, also the Museum City”. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Albania, with a settlement having existed there since at least the 6th century BC, when it was a fortress-settlement of the Greek Dassaretae tribe on the old border between Illyria and Epirus. The old town was inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List in July 2008. Berat lies on the right bank of the river Osum, a short distance from the point where it is joined by the Molisht river. The Osumi river has cut a 915-metre deep gorge through the limestone rock on the west side of the valley to form a precipitous natural fortress, around which the town was built on several river terraces. It is remarkable Ottoman town, with a wealth of beautiful buildings of the highest architectural and historical interest. According to legend, the Tomorr mountain was originally a giant, who fought with another giant, called Shpirag over a young woman. They killed each other and the girl drowned in her tears, which then became the Osum river.

Fieri (Albanian: Fier or Fieri) is a city in southwest Albania, in the district and county of the same name. Fier is 8 km (5 mi) from the ruins of the ancient city of Apollonia. This district is also rich in other archaeological sites and post Byzantine monuments.
Apollonia was an ancient city in Illyria, located on the right bank of the Aous River (the modern-day Vjosë River). It was founded in 588 BCE by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth, on a site initially occupied by Illyrian tribes. Apollonia flourished during the period of Roman rule in the area and was home to a renowned school of philosophy. The city began to decline in the 3rd century CE when its harbor began silting up as a result of an earthquake. Cicero, the famed Roman Orator, was captivated by the beauty of Apollonia and in his Philippics, referred to it as “magna urbs et gravis,” or “great and important city.” Archaeological excavations have shown that Apollonia achieved its zenith around the 4th-3rd centuries BC. Sources depict a flourishing culture, with a busy harbor along this active trading route. Apollonia, like Dyrrachium further north, was an important port on the Illyrian coast as the most convenient link between Brundusium and northern Greece, and as one of the western starting points of the Via Egnatia leading east to Thessaloniki and Byzantium in Thrace. It had its own mint, stamping coins that have been found as far away as the basin of the Danube.

Vlora (alb. Vlorë), known also as Valona, is located in south-western Albania where the two seas, Adriatic and Ionian, meet. Vlora enjoys a beautiful position beacause it is the gatway to the Albanian Riviera , which is the gem of Albanian Tourist places. The town with its wide boulevards decorated by huge palm trees has a real southern Mediterranean feel to it. It is located in front of Karaburuni peninsula and Sazani Island, close to various sandy and rocky beaches and the scenic nearby mountains. Vlora is Albania’s second largest port, having regular ferry boat connections with Italian ports of Bari and Brindisi. The oldest traces of civilization in the area of Vlora date back to the 6th century B.C. In ancient times the city started as a port, and was known under the name of Aulona, famous for its olive groves and vineyards. During the 4th century AD was frequently mentioned as a landing port for ships of goods from the ports of Otranto and Brindisi, as well as an important stop over between the prosperous ancient cities of Apollonia and Butrint. After the fall of Apollonia and Orichum, it became the principal port of Illyria. In the fifth century Aulona was the centre of diocese. The emigrations of barbarians damaged it badly and brought the withdrawal of the city deeper in land. During the Middle Ages the city was fused into one with the fortress of Kanina, which is situated a few kilometres to the south-east. At the fourteenth century, Vlora became an important trading and handicraft centre noted apart from wines and salt, for its swords, its ships and its silk. The Turks invasion took place in 1417. In 1531 Sultan Sulejmani built a fortress, which is believed to have been designed by the architect Sinani. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Vlora had again become an important economic centre and port it was taken by Ali Pasha Tepelena in 1812. Although an important town throughout history its claim to fame came on November 28th, 1912, when the National Assembly of Albania declared the independence of Albania in Vlora, to end a five century Ottoman rule. The town was the first capital of independent Albania.

Saranda (alb. Sarandë) the gateway to the southern Albania, is a small town of about 22.000 inhabitants (2008 est.), situated on a beautiful horseshoe bay between a mountains and the Ionian Sea. The name Saranda derives from an early Christian monastery dedicated to Agioi Saranta (Forty Saints). Situated opposite of Corfu island, Saranda is often visited by day trippers who come to enjoy this previously inaccessible resort. There are daily ferry services to and from Corfu available. The sea panorama, the variety of flora, favored by the soft climate and warm sea waters, make Saranda the preferred center for rest and recreation and an important tourist town. Honeymooners traditionally spend their holidays here. Saranda has an excellent climate, averaging 290 sunny days a year. In the summer temperatures rarely exceed 30 degrees during the day, while the sea breeze at night is quite refreshing. Saranda is an old town, first settled by the Illyrian tribe of Chaonians who named it Onchesmus. Cicero mentions it as convenient harbor with favorable winds. The bay on which town is build gives Saranda its charming look, that can be better appreciated if approached from the sea. Many mosaics found in the town confirm that the town must have seen some above average development around 2nd and 3rd century AD. The town is a good base for exploring the most beautiful part of the Albanian coast – a strip also known as the Albanian riviera. Tthe coastal road to Vlore is also wonderful. Near Saranda there are the ruins of the ancient city of Butrint and the Springs of “Blue Eye”. You can also visit the museum city, Gjirokastra. It is about 1.5 hours by bus.

Butrint – one of the most important archeological finds in Albania, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Butrint was an ancient city throughout Greek, Roman, bishopric and Byzantine periods. The city was finally abandoned during the Middle Ages perhaps due to the marsh surrounding and subsequent malaria epidemic. Despite being one of the greatest classical cities of the Mediterranean, Butrint remains largely unknown. The current archaeological site includes an impressive Greek amphitheatre, a Byzantine Basilica (the largest in the world after Hagia Sophia in Istanbul), a Roman temple with mosaic floor, a beautifully carved Lion’s gate as well numerous constructions built throughout the periods. Furthermore, what you see is just 15% of what lies beneath.

Gjirokastra (alb. Gjirokastër) – situated in southern Albania, Gjirokastra perches on the steep side of the Drino valley overlooking an historic landscape framed by snow-capped mountains.This ‘city of a thousand steps’ 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. From feudal stronghold to Ottoman jewel to Italian colony, the city has known many rulers and has inspired poets, authors and artists. Its old town is inscribed on the World Heritage List as “a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate.” Known by many as the City of Stone, Gjirokastra is a developing centre for cultural heritage tourism. A walk around the network of cobbled streets that climb steeply out of the bazaar will transport you back in time. A visit to the vast 13th-century castle brings the adventurous tales of medieval rulers and communist atrocities alive. There is much to see in Gjirokastra and the surrounding areas, and a stay in bed and breakfast accommodation in one of the converted Ottoman houses can make an excellent base for exploring the region. Gjirokastra is an ancient city with traces of human habitation dating back to the 1st century BC. It is located on the slopes of the Wide Mountain (Mali i Gjer), overlooking the Drinos river. The city was probably founded some time in the 12th century AD around a fortress on the hillside. Under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, it developed into a major commercial centre known as Argyropolis (Silver City). The city was part of the Byzantine Despotate of Epirus in the 14th century before passing to the Ottoman Empire in 1417. It was captured in 1811 by the Albanian-born Ali Pasha, who carved out his own semi-autonomous fiefdom in the southwestern Balkans. In the late 19th century, when the city was the capital of the sandjak of Ergiri in the Yanya vilayet, it became a centre of resistance to Turkish rule. The Assembly of Gjirokastra, a key event in the history of the Albanian liberation movement, was held there in 1880.

Përmet is a town in Albania, capital of Përmet District. The population is 7,717. It is flanked by the Vjosë river, which runs along the Trebeshinë-Dhëmbel-Nemërçkë mountain chain, between Trebeshinë and Dhëmbel mountains, and through the Këlcyra gorge. The greenest and the cleanest town in Albania, also known as the “city of roses.” The small town of Përmet is famous for its folk music and renown clarinetist Laver Bariu, literature personalities, and the good cooking, especially sweets, the so called ‘gliko’, or preserves. You will be served good wine and raki in Përmet and around. The thing to do in Përmet is to climb a big rock , it’s very near to the center of the town, it’s called the rock of town looking over the town and Vjosa river. Let’s say this is the point of observation of the town.There is a famous Spa very near to Përmet, in Bënja, you may take a taxi or even walk if you want. Ask around for directions, the location is south of Përmet. The hot spring is situated in a scenic route. They are found in the village of Benje. There are outdoor hot waters.

The alpine town of Ersekë is the perfect place to explore all that Albania has to offer! You will experience the hospitality and generosity of the Albanian people in a breath-taking mountain setting. Ersekë is located on the national road between Gjirokaster and Korce. It is at the foot of the Gramozi Mountains that separate Albania and Greece. Mount Gramozi is the third-highest peak in Albania, and you can climb to the top in one afternoon. In addition to hiking in the Gramozi Mountains, there are a variety of other natural and cultural experiences that Ersekë offers. You can navigate your way through The Gorge, or visit the Ersekë Cultural Museum. Ersekë is proud of its rich history, and has been the birthplace and home to many Albanian patriots and educators.

Korce (alb. Korçë or Korça) is the largest city of south eastern part of Albania. It is situated at the foot of Morava Mountain on a plateau 800 m above sea level, near the border with Greece. It has a population of around 62,900 people (2008 estimate), making it the seventh largest city in Albania. Korce is said to be the cleanest town in Albania. It has old buildings in various states of repair surrounding the Cathedral which was built in 1992. Quaint cobblestown streets run between and behind the main streets. Korce became an important trading and handicraft centre in the 18th century due to the development of trade with neighboring regions. It has been an important religious center for Orthodox Christians and Muslims for centuries. During the Ottoman period it became one of the centres of the growing Albanian identity. The first school teaching in the Albanian language was established there in 1887, followed by Albania’s first school for girls in 1891.

The city of Pogradec and its surrounding area, as one of the Albanian beauty pearls, provides much to discover for its visitors. The region dominated by the fantastic Ohrid Lake, surrounded by fields nestled before picturesque mountains, will be your panorama throughout your holidays in Pogradec. The harmony of nature, and the friendliness of the inhabitants, will bring you back again and again. The sunny days at the beaches along the lake, the strolls along the promenade, as well as the various specialty dishes and local wine enjoyed in the restaurants will provide unforgettable moments for you. Pogradeci is one of the most charming tourist resorts in Albania because of its position near the Ohrid Lake, which distinguishes itself for clear water. Fish Koran, which is similar to the trout, is reared in this lake. Besides the beautiful beach, your staying in Pogradec is made more interesting by the excursion to the tourist center of Drilon (5 km eastward) with crystal clear fountains that fill the beautiful channels surrounded with trees and by ornamental plants. Lake Ohrid and its surrounding area shines as a splendidly unique ecosystem. Due to its historic culture and its unique flora and fauna, in 1980, Pogradec was declared by UNESCO as a place of worldwide natural and cultural heritage. For everybody, during all four seasons, this city offers opportunities to relax and have fun. This may be the reason why more and more people return again and again to Pogradec.

Elbasan is a city in central Albania. It is located on the Shkumbin River in the District of Elbasan and the County of Elbasan. Elbasan was – until the beginning of the Second World War – one of the most pleasant and unspoiled Ottoman cities in Albania, with a mixture of eastern and medieval buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a large bazaar where Turkish could still be heard. There was a clearly defined Christian settlement within the castle walls, a Vlach district on the outskirts of the city and several fine mosques and Islamic buildings. At the time the population was about 15,000 people. Elbasan came into prominenece in the Roman period when it was known as Masio Scampa. The word Scampa means rocks or peaks in the ancient Illyrian language. The Romans built a substantial fortress here, about 300 meters square, protected by towers. In the 3rd and 4th centuries it became known as Hiskampis. It had developed as an important trade and transport centre near the junction of two branches of the Via Egnatia coming from Apollonia and Dyrrachium, a main road artery in the land communications and trade and commercial interchanges between the Apennine Peninsula, on one side and the Balkan Peninsula and the East on the other. The surrounding walls of the town were built in the 4th century, having 3 entrances and 26 towers. Its fortress was built during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (483-565) by which time Skampa had become the seat of a Bishopic with a Cathedral and a Basilica outside its surrounding walls. After the failure of the second Turkish siege of Kruja, Sultan Muhamet II rebuilt the fortress in 1466 and renamed the town Elbasan (El-basan is turkish for Fortress).

Highlights of the tour

  • Durres Amphitheatre.
  • Berat Castle.
  • Apollonia Archaeological Park.
  • Kuzum Baba Vlore. Llogora National Park.
  • Lekursi Castle, Butrint, 3 Islands, Blue Eye Spring.
  • Gjirokastra Castle. Viroi Lake.
  • Tepelena Cold Water Spring.
  • Kelcyra.
  • Rock of Permeti. Benja Hot Springs.
  • Vjosa River Canyons.
  • Erseke, Leskovik, Shelegur Lake.
  • Korca Old Quarter, Birra Korca Brewery.
  • Ohri Lake. Drilon Park
  • Elbasan Castle.


Meet and greet with the group at hotel lobby. We’ll start the tour with Durres where we will visit The Amphitheatre, The Roman Baths, The Forum and the Old City Walls. After a short stop for coffee we will depart to Berat, about an hour away. Lunch in Berat and then we start exploring the old quarters and the castle. Overnight in Berat. The second day morning starts with a visit at Apollonia Archaeological Park in Fier, approximately 1.5 hours away from Berat. Then we continue to Vlore where we will have lunch by the seaside. In the afternoon we will visit the Murad Mosque, The Jewish Quarter, The Kuzum Baba Holy Shrine and Vlora’s boulevard, famous for its long walks in the afternoon. Overnight in Orikum. The thir day morning we start driving up the Llogora mountain, to explore one of the most beautiful parts of the Albanian coast. After a short break for coffee in Llogora National Park, we start descending from the other side of the mountain, where old villages stuck in time make up the Albanian Riviera. We will pass through them and stop in Himara for lunch by the seaside. Then we proceed to Saranda where we will visit the Lekursi Castle and have a coffee in one of the most picturesque parts of Albania. Free time to enjoy the sea breeze and overnight in Saranda. The fourth day starts with a visit at Butrint Archaeological Park, some 30 minutes away. Return to Ksamil for lunch by the seaside, in the famous 3 Islands beach. After lunch we continue to Blue Eye Spring, famous for its surreal bluish colours. Then we drive up the Muzina pass to reach Gjirokaster. Free time to stroll around the old part of the city. The fifth day starts with a visit at the castle and then a short stop at Viroi lake. Then we proceed to Tepelena Cold Water spring, where we will stop for lunch. Then we proceed to Permet, some 45 minutes away. We will visit the Rock of Permet and then we will proceed to Benja Hot Springs. Then we proceed to Farma Sotira Hotel where we will pass the night. The 6th day morning starts with a drive to Erseke and then to Korce, approx. 2 hours away. We will visit the old quarter of Korca and its famous boulevard. Lunch in Korce, next to Birra Korca Brewery. Free time in the afternoon. Overnight in Korce. The 7th day we drive to Pogradec where we will visit Drilon Park and then we take the road to Elbasan. Lunch before leaving the Ohri Lake, by its side. After one hour we reach Elbasan where we will stop inside the old castle for a coffee break. Then we will visit the old quarter. Then we take the road to Tirane, approx. 45 minutes away. End of the program.

Full Day Tour of Durres

Posted By : Niku/ 420

Durrësi is the second largest city in Albania, the biggest port and the hub of the railroad system. It is one of the most ancient cities in Albania. Known by name of Epidamnus, it was established in the year 627 B.C. by colons coming from Corinth and Corcyra. Later on, the name changed to Durrahium (according to mythology the nephew of Epidamnus). During this period, the city flourished and became the main port of the Eastern Adriatic. Between the 1st and the 3rd centuries, it played a major role as a trading centre along the ancient Egnatia road, which connected Rome with Byzantium. Everyone has lot of things to see in Durrës, considering it a getaway to another world.

Highlights of the tour

  • City Walls.
  • Amphitheatre.
  • Roman Thermal Baths.
  • Byzantine Forum.
  • Archaeological Museum.
  • Ethnographic Museum.
  • King Zogu Villa.

Meet and greet with the group at hotel lobby and drive to Durres, 35 km from Tirana. Briefing on the way there. We start with Durres city walls, the amphitheatre, the Ethnographic Museum, the old part of the city and then we continue toward city centre, where most of the institutions are located. We will visit the mosque, the city hall, the cinema and then we continue toward the Roman Thermal Baths, the Byzantine Forum and the Archaeological Museum.
Then we will visit King Zogu Villa which offers a scenic view of Durres from the top of a hill. Then we descend toward Taulantia promenade to have a coffee or lunch.
Entrance fees, where applicable, are not included. Food, drinks and tips not included.