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Eleven days in Albania with arrival on Wednesday

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Wednesday
02.35 Your late Tuesday night flight from Oslo arrives at Tirana International Airport early on Wednesday.
Our representative will meet you, provide you with the information you need, answer any questions, and drive you to your beach hotel in Durrës (about 45 minutes).

Thursday
Enjoy beach life in Durrës. We will provide you with insider tips if you want to explore the surroundings.

Friday
After breakfast and check out from the hotel we start driving south.
The main sight today is the ruins of Apollonia, a city founded by settlers from Corfu and Corinth and an important port along the route between Rome and Byzantium.
Archaeologists are now struggling to preserve this fine historical monument. There is a restaurant at the site, suitable for lunch.
We continue to Vlorë, which started to rise as Apollonia began to decline after an earthquake in the 3rd century.
You will learn about the tumultuous history of this economic stronghold and its dramatic role during the Albanian civil war in 1997.
Accommodation in Vlorë.​

Saturday
The trip continues south along the Adriatic coast after breakfast.
We climb up the spectacular Llogara pass and enjoy the mountainous coastal road to Himara, a Greek-dominated coastal city.
After lunch, we discover the upper town around the ancient castle with splendid views out to the sea.
Rest your legs after all the climbing in one of the Greek tavernas downtown or enjoy the city beach.
Accommodation in Himara.

Sunday
Breakfast and check out from your hotel.
We continue along the Adriatic coast to Porto Palermo and its castle, which was one of the strongholds of Ottoman Albanian ruler Ali Pasha. The Soviets had a secret submarine base nearby.
Lunch at a panorama restaurant.
After lunch, we continue along the mountain roads to Saranda, a beach town only a few kilometres from the Greek island of Corfu.
There are dozens of dinner restaurants in Saranda, and your guide will help you pick the best one.
Accommodation in Saranda.

Monday
Spend the morning enjoying the Saranda beach.
After lunch, we drive up to Lëkurësi Castle overlooking the city. There you will see and get to climb into some of the notorious small bunkers that Communist dictator Enver Hoxha built along Albania’s borders.
You may also meet some of the shepherds with their sheep or cows.
Downtown dinner and Saranda beach nightlife.​

Tuesday
After breakfast, we drive you to Butrint, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Albania’s most important archaeological venue.
Butrint was built as a Greek city and later became a Roman colony. Later on, it was an outpost of the Byzantine Empire and assaulted by the Normans, among other forces.
Much of the structures are well preserved, giving you a glimpse into ancient city life.
We drive to the picturesque Ksamil village for lunch and to spend the afternoon on its beautiful beach.
Return to Saranda in the evening.

Wednesday
Breakfast and check out from the hotel.
We drive inland and visit the fascinating Blue Eye, a natural more than 50 m deep spring, that produces vast amounts of fresh water every minute that later forms the river Bistricë.
At lunchtime, we arrive in Gjirokastra, another prominent Albanian UNESCO site. Gjirokastra has a unique Ottoman architecture and is also known as the birthplace of former Communist dictator Enver Hoxha.
After lunch, we visit the castle with an American spy plane forced down in the 60’s, a former prison for political detainees, Enver Hoxha’s home and a beautifully restored Ottoman home.
Accommodation in a typical Ottoman-era hotel in Gjirokastra if available.

Thursday
We check out from our Gjirokastra hotel and drive north to Berat, which also belongs to the prominent places on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
Berat is sometimes called “The White City” or “The City of a Thousand Windows”. You will understand why when you get there.
We will show you unique works by the Christian Orthodox icon painter Onufri – he was not afraid of putting Muslim symbols into his Christian icons.
Also, you will see the Sufi Halveti Tekke – a place of worship for the Sufi Halvati order – and the King Mosque next to it – a national cultural monument.
Accommodation in a typical Ottoman-era hotel in Berat if available.

Friday
After breakfast, we leave for Tirana, where we arrive at lunchtime.
We will guide you through the wild development of the Albanian capital, and its modern life contrasted against its dramatic Communist legacy.
Tirana has plenty of excellent lunch and dinner restaurants to choose from. You will also have time to stroll around and discover the city by yourself.
Accommodation in Tirana.

Saturday
We pick you up after breakfast and check out and drive you to the nearby ancient city of Krujë with its famous old bazaar.
Krujë was the stronghold of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, and there is a museum dedicated to him.
We will have lunch in Krujë and return to Tirana after that. There you can choose to rest or to go exploring the city on your own.
You will have your hotel room at your disposal until it is time to leave for the airport.

Sunday
01.00 We pick you up from your Tirana hotel for the airport transfer.
01.45 Arrival at Tirana International Airport. Your guide will bid you farewell at the security control.
03.20 Your flight to Oslo departs.