5. Albania: UNESCO Heritage & Local Food Tour with Nature
Day 1: Travel day
You'll be picked up from the airport. Welcome to Albania! Get settled in the hotel and for those of you not too tired, there is a guided walking tour of the city center before dinner in a traditional restaurant in the evening.
Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Berat
Transfer to Berat, passing through hills full of olive trees. Get settled in the hotel and head for lunch in a local restaurant facing the city. Set out for a walking guide through the UNESCO listed old town with your local guide, admiring the White Mosque, the Holy Trinity Church and Gorica Bridge.
Enter into the Berat Castle for a guided tour. Enjoy a free evening in "the city of a thousand and one windows.”
Day 3: Rural Berat, Bogova Waterfall & Wine Tasting
Transfer to Bogove and take a 30min walk towards the impressive waterfall. Head back to Bogove village and have a homemade lunch on the river shore, with homemade wine and raki (fruit brandy). In the afternoon, visit the town of Polican, famous for its weapon factories during Communist times. The abandoned factories and people in this remote town are a strong reminder of the country's’ past. After a short drive, you'll arrive at Nurellari Winery.
Enjoy a wine tasting tour in this family-run winery, walk around the vineyard and savor 4 varieties of wine. Head back to the city and enjoy free time in the evening exploring the ancient neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica.
Day 4: Sightseeing tour of Gjirokaster
Transfer to Gjirokaster to discover "the city of a thousand steps.” Get settled in your hotel and head out for lunch in a small, local restaurant for a taste of the city’s authentic dishes. Step into Skenduli house (an Ottoman tower house) and listen to its history and details from the 10th generation of Skenduli family and your local guide. Soak up to the rich history of the castle and enjoy the views! Pass by the Ottoman Bazaar and historic wooden houses and visit Gjirokastra’s Obelisk.
Day 5: Typical food from Rural Gjirokastra
Drive to Saraqinisht and experience a day in an Albanian countryside cottage. You'll learn about the food, life, and traditions of an Albanian family. Start cooking with three generations of Albanian ladies or drink Raki with cheese and olives with “Grandpa” and listen to his Commie stories. In the afternoon, you can take a 40-minute hike to visit 400-years old St. Mary's Church, built on the face of a cliff and with its monastery beneath. In the evening, transfer back to the city, visiting a Communist bunker on the way back.
Day 6: Sightseeing tour of the Blue Eye Spring and Butrint
Travel to the Blue Eye Spring and marvel at this beautiful natural area. Then, set off on a guided tour of Butrint National Park where a local guide explains the 2500 years of history of the Amphitheater, the castle, the churches, and the Lion Gate. Drive to Ksamil and enjoy seafood next to turquoise waters. On the way to Himare, stop for a coffee break at Borsh waterfalls. What a sight! Transfer to Himare and enjoy free time in this typical seaside city. Finish the day with your tour leader and group and enjoy an evening of raki drinking.
Day 7: Apollonia via Llogara National Park
En route to Apollonia, explore the Ali Pasha Castle. Marvel at the architecture and listen to entertaining legends about the man who built it, Ali Pasha Tepelena. Stop at Llogara balcony for a stunning view of the South Coast beaches and then head for lunch to Llogara National Park freshened by the mountain breeze and pine trees. Set off a guided tour in Apollonia in the afternoon, where an on-site archeologist explains the history behind the temple of Artemis, the Odeon and the Triumphal Arch. On the way to Tirana, stop for the delicious byrek (pastries) in the city of Lushnje.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.