Roundtrip in South Albania with escape in North Macedonia and Corfu

A journey in the southern part of Albania amidst breathtaking landscapes of mountains and the Ionian Sea, ancient and medieval cities, churches, and mosques. An exploration of the rich history and culture of this ancient Balkan land, with an unique language and a civilization marked by ancient Illyrians, Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, Ottomans, communism, and  today's modernism, a daily escape to the island of Corfu and two nights in the city of Ohrid along the lake of the same name. 

nje rrugetim ne jug te shqiperise midis peisazheve mbreselenese te maleve dhe detit Jon, qyteteve antike, mesjetare, kishave dhe xhamive  . nje rrugetim ne historine dhe kulturen e vendit te lashte ballkanik me nje gjuhe  6500 vjecare dhe me qyteterim te gjurmeve antike prej ilireve , bizantinet, osmanet komunizmi dhe modernizmi i diteve tona. ne program eshte perfshire nje escape ditor ne ishullin e Korfuzit si edhe dy nete ne qytetin e Ohrid pergjate liqenit me te njejtin emer

 

Day 1. Airport Berat

After arriving at the airport, we will head directly to Berat, a 2400-year-old city that is considered to be the best-preserved historic city in Albania and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008. We will visit the ancient city’s castle, which is still habitable and features characteristic Ottoman-style houses. The castle also houses the city’s iconographic museum, located inside the medieval church of St. Mary. We will have dinner at one of the traditional restaurants and spend one night in Berat.

Transfer 125 km, 1.5 h, 

Day 2. Berat-Monastery of Ardenica-Apollonia-Vlora- National Park of Llogara

After breakfast, we will embark on our journey towards the National Park of Llogara. After an hour, we will visit the Monastery of Ardenica, which was built in the 11th century over the ground of an old Paleochristian church. The monastery is famous for its inconoration of the weeding of the national hero Skanderbeg. After spending 20 minutes there, we will drive towards the ruins of Apollonia. The ruins are built on two hills by Illyrians and Greek colonists who were invited by the Illyrian lord of the time as early as 588 BC. After visiting the ruins, we will head towards the coastal city of Vlora for dinner and free time along the Ionian coast. Afterward, we will head towards the National Park of Llogara, where we will spend the night at an altitude of about 1000 meters in the middle of a coniferous park.

Transfer 146 km, 2.5 hours

Day 3. Llogara-Porto Palermo-Saranda

The journey from Llogara to Saranda is a breathtaking adventure, with the stunning Albanian Riviera unfolding before you. As you drive along the Llogara Pass, 1000 meters above the Sea, surrounded by lush greenery and majestic mountain views, the road descends to reveal the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea. Coastal villages, olive groves, and secluded beaches line the route, offering a serene and tranquil experience. On the way, we will stop at the Porto Palermo Castle, which was used by the Illyrian tribe of the Chaons in the early 4th century BC until the famous Ali Pascha. In front of the castle, we will have a clear panorama of the former U-boat tunnel from the Cold War times. Our trip continues toward Saranda along the coast of the Ionian Riviera. Once you reach Saranda, you’ll be greeted by a charming seaside town with a mix of historical sites and vibrant local culture.

Transfer 90km, 2.5 hours.

Day 4. Saranda - Butrint -Ksamil -Saranda

Today, we will explore the ancient city of Butrint, which is a cultural monument since 1948 and a part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage since 1992. The city dates back to the 8th century BC and is not only a national archaeological park but also a natural park with over 300 species of birds, animals, reptiles, and more than 105 species of fish. The city boasts its own renovation, the imposing amphitheater, cyclopean walls, and Butrint lake, which is connected to the sea through the Vivar canal, making it unique in its kind. The lake is also home to a large complex for the growth of mussels, where the mixture of saltwater and freshwater, as well as the right temperature of the water, make it the right habitat for their growth. After visiting the ancient city, we will head towards the shores of Ksamil, which is only 2 km from the island of Corfu, for a rest or lunch. We will then return to Sarande and have free time in the afternoon for a walk in the city’s promenades. We can also visit the ruins of the old synagogue or walk along the city’s lungomare.”

Transfer 36 km, 40 minutes

Day 5. Saranda- Corfu - Saranda

Today a new experience awaits us: we take a speedboat across the Mediterranean for a day trip to the Greek island of Corfu. there we visit the palace of the Habsburg Empress Sisi. We visit the traces of British and French architecture and visit the old town. a break and free time until the moment for our return journey back to Albania.

Transfer NO, Boat 40 min + 40 min back

Day 6. Sarande- Blue Eye - Gjirokaster - Permet

We continue our journey to the southeast of Albania. After a 40-minute drive, we stop to visit Syr e Kalter, an ensemble of 7 karst springs in the middle of dense vegetation, creating a green oasis. The source is also the main supplier for the two small hydropower plants and the fresh water of Lake Butrint. The combination of the clarity of the water and the rocks when viewed from above gives the impression of a giant blue eye. We then pass over the Muzina Pass, an old caravan route, and head to the city of Gjirokasta, which is part of the UNESCO cultural heritage and the birthplace of the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare and the communist leader Enver Hoxha. After arriving in the city, we visit the city’s castle, which dominates the entire valley, and the house museum of Skendulaj, which gives us a clear idea of the life of a rich Albanian family in the Middle Ages. After having lunch in the museal  area of the city, we head towards the quiet and clean city of Permet, passing along the valley of the river Vjosa, the only natural park river that flows freely and uninterruptedly, the last wild river in Europe, also known as the Blue Heart of Europe. We will have dinner and stay overnight in Permet.

Transfer 130 km, 3.5 hours.

Day 7. Permet- Thermal Bath of  Permet -  Gramozi Mountains - Korca

Today’s itinerary is a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and amazing scenery. We begin the day with a visit to the thermal baths located at the entrance of the impressive canyon of Langarica. Here, you can relax in the thermal waters and rejuvenate yourself. The thermal springs are located near the old Ottoman bridge dating back to the 14th century, which adds to the charm of the place. Afterward, we continue our journey along Vjosa river and along the Greek border in the southeast of Albania. The road winds between mountains and valleys through the national park of Germenji, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, we stop at the inns of the area to refresh and rest. Finally, we reach the city of Korca, where we will have a city tour. Korca is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture and museums, art galleries, and other attractions. After a day full of adventure and exploration, delicious dinner will follow up and a lively night in Korce.

Transfer 140 km, 3.5 hours

Day 8. Korca - Shen Naum- Ohrid

We will start our day by departing from the hotel in the morning and heading towards the city of Ohrid. On the way, we will pass through the scenic field of Korca and the pass of Plloca. We will then reach the town of Pogradec and Lake Ohrid, which is situated at the foot of the Galicica mountain. This lake is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, with a unique aquatic ecosystem of worldwide importance, boasting more than 200 endemic species. We will cross over to North Macedonia through the small border point of Tushemisht. Here, we can visit the picturesque monastery of Saint Naum, which dates back to the 9th century and is an important religious object for the entire Slavic world. After the visit, we will board a boat and sail for about 2.5 hours towards the city of Ohrid. During the cruise, we can enjoy the picturesque landscape of the lake, while the city of Ohrid can be seen on the horizon. Once we arrive at the port of the city, we will walk a few meters to our hotel, which is located directly on the shore of the lake. We will have lunch in a typical restaurant and enjoy a free afternoon.

Transfer 47 km, 1 hour. 2.5 hours Boat cruise

Day 9. Ohrid full day

We will begin our day tour by exploring the charming Ohrid Old Town. We’ll stroll through the cobbled streets and discover the fascinating Greco-Roman Antique Theater, as well as the lovely St. Sophia and St. Clement’s Church of the Holy Mother of God. After a few minutes of walking, we’ll reach the Ohrid Fortress, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Ohrid. Once we’re done with the old town visit, you’ll have some free time to explore the Old Bazaar for souvenirs and local crafts or take a leisurely promenade while enjoying the scenic view.

Transfer NO

Day 10 Ohrid Kruje

The road to the border winds around the lake, above Thana Pass and the River Shkumbin. This road is the old Egnatia road which in antiquity connected the Roman and Byzantine Empires. The road passes through the canyons of the river Shkumbin between a beautiful landscape. We will head towards the historical capital of Albania and a symbolic center. The Kruja Castle, which is entwined with the legacy of national hero Gjergj Kastrioti, awaits exploration. Hier we will learn about the history of the albanian resistance in the middleage and why they are so proud about it.After checking in, you can delve into the medieval castle’s history, stroll through the city’s medieval bazaar, and conclude the day with dinner at the hotel.

Transfer 170 km, 3.5 hours

Day 11 Kruje Tirane

Embarking on the journey to Tirana, the energetic and lively capital, we arrive and promptly drop our luggage at the hotel before starting the city tour. Tirana unfolds as a mosaic of diverse architectures – from the Illyrian-Roman mosaic and medieval Ottoman influences to the rationalism of the 20s, socialist realism, and contemporary structures. The afternoon grants free time for personal exploration of the vibrant capital. Later, enjoy dinner at a city-center restaurant, providing an opportunity to share the trip's highlights.


Transfer 25 km

Day 10. Tirane Airport

As we bid farewell to Albania, a blend of reluctance and anticipation to return accompanies us. Exchanging contact details with the guide and driver, we eagerly plan to share photos and cherished memories from this journey. Departing with hearts full of joy, we head home.

Transfer 17 km