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Private Cultural Tour of Albania

Closed to the world for much of the twentieth century, Albania offers a unique travel experience.

This fascinating 1 week private tour will show you the history, towns, villages and culture of southern Albania, an intriguing and still little-known land of magnificent scenery and a warmhearted people. Visits include three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the 12th century monastery of Ardenica and the Greco-Roman site of Apollonia (from 6BC). 2 persons from c £1364 pp including your personal driver/guide, entrance fees and most lunches. An add-on week in Greece can be easily added at a very reasonable cost. Weekly Sunday departures May to October from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.

We offer an in-depth 6-day tour with your own guide and driver. The tour includes an overnight in Saranda at either end, covering the highlights of this fascinating region – three places on the tour are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The tour can be combined as a two-centre with Greece, with a week based at any of our accommodation in Lefkas, Meganissi, Parga or Sivota. We can also offer a shortened 4-day tour by missing out Tirana on days 4 and 5.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Flight to Prevesa (Sunday). Transfer to Saranda and overnight.

Day 2: Guided tour to ancient Butrint. Visit to Blue Eye spring en route to Gjirokaster for overnight.

Day 3:
Walking tour of Gjirokaster, including the castle and museum. Drive to Berat. Walking tour and visit to icon museum. Overnight Berat.

Day 4: To Tirana via Durres. Sightseeing tour of Tirana including the National Museum. Overnight Tirana.

Day 5:
Drive to historic Kruja and explore the town, castle and old bazaar. Overnight Tirana.

Day 6: Turn west towards the sea. Visit Ardenica Monastery and the famous site of Apollonia. Then head for the coastal town of Vlora for overnight.

Day 7: Scenic coastal drive along the Albanian Riviera to Himara, where you can have lunch and a swim from the lovely beach here. Afternoon drive to Saranda for overnight.

Day 8:
Transfer to Prevesa Airport or to a Greek resort for your second week.

Notes on towns and main sites

Butrint.

Ancient Buthrotum. Important and impressive Greco-Roman city, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, south of Saranda on a bluff of land half-circled by a large lake. Inhabited continuously from the 7th C BC until abandoned in 18th C. Impressive cyclopean walls and deep well within the gate, reminiscent of Mycenae – but most excavated remains are Roman.

Gjirokaster.

This fascinating and historic small town is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Largely medieval, with some lovely architecture to admire reflecting the town’s wealthy past, it is built on a hill overlooking valley and mountains. Excellent views from the large castle above, which houses a weapons museum! Some good restaurants in the narrow cobbled lanes of the old town.

Berat.

Another member of the UNESCO club, Berat is called ‘the town of a thousand eyes’ because of the many-windowed old houses that crowd above the river Osrum and up the hill. High along the ridge is a 14th C citadel, its walls enclosing no fewer that fourteen small painted churches (hence the presence of the famous Onufri icon museum). The Turkish influence may be seen in the town’s three mosques and tekke, also worth visiting.

Ardenica.

12th C monastery converted into an inn, it occupies the whole of a rocky outcrop amid pine and cypress trees and is a landmark visible for miles across the plain. The church, dedicated to the Virgin, is characteristically Greek, and has a magnificent iconostasis and high-quality wall-paintings.

Apollonia.

Another most important archaeological site. Founded in 588 BC by Greeks from Corinth, it rose to become a renowned cultural centre in the Roman period. Memorable are the elegant façade of the Bouleuterion and the great Stoa. Below stands the beautiful 13th C church of Shenmari, built out of the antique stone.

Prices are per person and include flights from LGW (supplement for MAN and BHX), transfers, 3 star BB hotel accommodation for 7 nights, 6 lunches (days 2-7), entrance fees. It is a private tour with your own guide and driver. Single room supplement will be quoted on request.

2-3 persons Low Season from £1365 July/August from £1479

4 plus persons Low Season from £1175 July/August from £1298

We can also offer a shortened 4-day tour, as above but taking replacing Days 4-5 (Tirana) with an extra 2 nights in Saranda on BB at the start or end of the week.

2-3 persons
Low Season from £1185; July/August from £1289

4 plus persons Low Season from £986 July/August from £1232

To book this itinerary, or discuss a tailor-made alternative, call one of our Sunvil experts on:

020 8758 4758

Or complete our online booking form

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