Classic Tour of Albania
Although Albania forms part of the Balkan Peninsula, the attraction is its remoteness and isolation from the rest of the region. The language is tantalising, sounds and words that seem familiar and which indeed reflect Albania’s past influences: Greek, Latin, Turkic, Slav, but retaining its own notes, which date back to its distant Illyrian origins.
While the coastal areas are attractively familiar, the mountains of Albania reveal Ottoman fortresses, prehistoric dwellings, ancient citadels, the sites of battles both ancient and recent, monasteries, mosques, tombs cut into the rock side, finds from the Illyrian period, theatres from the ancient world and the fascinating city and museum of Apollonia.
After its unsettled political situation in the past the infrastructure of tourism has improved, but thankfully, the country remains unspoilt, offering an array of treasures to explore.
What makes Albania so seductive is its relative remoteness and recent isolation from the rest of the region. While the coastal areas are attractively familiar, we will also open your eyes to the riches further inland. The mountains of Albania conceal Ottoman fortresses, historic villages, monasteries, mosques, tombs cut in the rock side and ancient Illyrian sites so it would be a shame to while away your entire trip on a beach, as scenic as they are.
Unlike so many travel destinations, much of the country remains unspoilt so there is still an array of treasures to explore. It’s not just what you’ll see that will make a tour through Albania special – the language is tantalising with its Greek, Latin, Turkic and Slav influences, as well as its own unique notes.
NO single supplement on the 5th November departure.
- Flights from Dublin to Tirana, Albania, via London Gatwick
- All transfers
- 7 nights accommodation in 3*& 4* hotels in Albania (see Itinerary or Accommodation Details for further details
- Breakfast daily (in Albania), 1 lunch and 3 dinners
- Escorted tours with guide as per itinerary
- Flight from Albania to London Gatwick
- 1 night in a Gatwick Airport hotel
- Flight from London Gatwick to Dublin
- Taxes, hand luggage and 1 item of 15kg baggage per person
Fly from Dublin to Tirana, Albania, via London Gatiwck. Transfer to Durres for overnight at the 4-star Hotel Fafa Premium
Drive to Vlora and visit the Independence Museum. Continue along the breathtaking Albanian Riviera, over the Llogara Pass, and stop at Ali Pasha’s Fort, Port Palermo. Spend two nights in Saranda at the 4-star Hotel Brilant. (B, D)
Visit Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site situated amongst dense vegetation. Continue to Lekuresi castle for a spectacular view of the bay of Saranda and the island of Corfu. (B)
Continue via the Blue Eye spring to the hillside ‘Museum City’ of Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit to the castle and Ethnographic Museum. Lunch at a village home in Dhoksat. Overnight at the 4-star Hotel Argjiro. (B, L)
Visit the ancient site of Bylis. Drive to Apollonia, a city which flourished in Roman times, for a visit to the archaeological museum. Travel to Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the best examples of Ottoman architecture outside Turkey. Overnight at the 3-star Hotel Desaret. (B)
Explore Berat Castle and the Onufri Museum. Drive to Durres, visit the amphitheatre and archaeological museum. Continue to Tirana and the National History Museum. Stay two nights at the 4-star Hotel Tirana International. Dinner at a local family home. (B, D)
Visit the World Headquarters of Bektashi liberal sect of Islam. Ascend Dajti Mountain (1,613 metres) by cable car for a spectacular view of Tirana. Visit Bunk’Art, a unique anti-nuclear bunker built into a hill (2018 only). Return to Tirana for a walking tour of the Bllok area. Enjoy a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Drive to Kruja, a previous capital during the resistance against the Turks under the national hero Skanderbeg, explore the Skanderbeg Museum inside Kruja castle, the Ethnographic museum and the Old Bazaar. Flight from Albania to London Gatwick where you will stay in an airport hotel overnight. (B)
You will be transferred from the hotel to London Gatwick airport for the flight to Dublin.
Key: B – Breakfast L – Lunch D – Dinner
Durres – 1 night
Saranda – 2 nights
Gjirokastra – 1 night
Berat – 1 night
Tirana – 2 nights
Notes: This is a full itinerary with many visits on foot including some uneven surfaces and inclines.
TRAVEL IN ALBANIA
The Albanian hotels outside Tirana are to a simple but comfortable standard and equate to one category lower by British standards. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer and satellite TV. Most of the travelling is along a well-established road network which is in good condition but some selected minor roads may be in poor repair. The sightseeing programme may be rearranged depending on local conditions and flight schedules.
Hotel Brilant – Saranda
This 4-star hotel is close to the town’s main boulevard. Bar, WiFi (free) and 33 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Hotel Mangalemi – Berat
A 3-star hotel built on the ruins of Turkish mansions in the historic centre of Mangalem Quarter, close to the town centre. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 15 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Theranda – Tirana
This stylish 4-star boutique hotel is close to the Bllok district with bars and restaurants. 14 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, satellite TV and WiFi (free).
Tirana International – Tirana
This 4-star hotel is in the heart of Tirana, on the well-known Skanderbeg Square. Restaurants, bar, indoor pool, sauna, gym and WiFi (free). 170 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar and satellite TV.
Argjiro – Gjirokastra
A modern 4-star hotel in traditional style. It is close to the castle and Ethnographic Museum. Restaurants, bar, WiFi (free) and 30 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer and satellite TV.
Hotel Desaret – Berat
A small traditional 3-star hotel in the historic centre of Mangalem Quarter, close to the town centre. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 10 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities and satellite TV.
Hotel Fafa Premium – Durres
A modern 4-star hotel on the Adriatic Sea, the hotel offers private beach access. Restaurant, bar, pool and WiFi (free). 100 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-fridge and satellite TV.
- Inclusive of taxes as indicated
Single room supplement from €180
- No single room supplement on 5th November departure
- Non-refundable or transferable booking deposit 10% per person
- Full payment due 12 weeks before departure
- Optional Insurance available (call for details)
- Taxes, fees or compulsory charges introduced after publication are not included in the above price