Albania and Macedonia Tour

A 9 day trip to Albania & Macedonia 
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Experience the hidden jewels of Europe and witness the splendors of an unspoiled landscape. On this luxury Albania and Macedonia Tour, you will be able to explore the region with the authenticity of a local. See an older Europe, one that still strongly retains its historical roots with great pride. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Tirana, Gjirokastra, Ohrid, Skopje

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrival in Albania

Welcome to Albania! You will be met at the airport by our driver and taken directly to your accommodation in the center of Tirana. Tirana has a wealth of tasty restaurants and cool cafes where you can taste local delicacies and cosmopolitan cuisine from around the world. If you’re looking for a unique place to enjoy a hearty meal or a drink, check out the Blokku neighborhood. Here you’ll find the city’s most interesting places, where young in-the-know locals congregate, and you’re always sure to find something interesting. It’s hard to go wrong here, and it’s not a huge neighborhood, so you’d do well to wander around a bit and see the local selection of where you’d like to enjoy your afternoon or evening.

What's Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Full Day Tour of Tirana

Today, you will take a walking tour of the city with an expert local guide, covering all the main sights, including the Mosque of Ethem Bey, the Clock Tower, Skanderbeg Square, The Martyr's Cemetery, and Grand Park. You will also visit the Art Gallery and the Socialist Realism museum. The tour concludes in the former Communist Party elite’s residential area, Blokku, where the abandoned villa of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha still stands. This is now a buzzing district packed with modern bars, restaurants and pubs. Your tour finishes atop the Sky Tower, a rotating bar, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of Tirana and a refreshing drink.

Tirana is a city of music, with live performances happening just about every night. The Blokku area is where it's at for live music, with plenty of venues featuring impressive local bands. But if you’re a classical music fan, the 1966 Palace of Culture is a place for you. This impressive building was a gift from the Soviet people to Albania. It’s home to the National Theater of Opera and Ballet of Albania, and has lovely performances on a regular basis, featuring some of the most talented musicians and dancers in Europe. The Academy of Arts is another great venue, boasting a large indoor theater and a small faux-classical outdoor theater. Both make a unique setting for a performance.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 3: Vistas and Vantage Points

Today you will be wowed by the impressive vistas along the Albania Riviera from Tirana to Gjirokastra, and will make a few stops along the way. It’s quite a journey, with breathtaking views and mountainous areas winding through national parks. The scenic drive offers stops along the way in Vlore, Dhermi, Palermo Castle, Muzine Pass and Buret Mountain.

As an alternative to Gjirokastra, or for anyone interested in extending their trip with some beach time, Ksamil, in the very south of the country, is a quaint coastal town ideal for swimming and sunbathing.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 4: The Great Gjirokastra

Gjirokastra was a citadel town, and this is symbolized by the fortress which still stands watch. Your tour begins with a visit there. Next to it you can also see the remains of the world’s largest aqueduct, built by Ali Pasha. During communist times, the fortress was used as a prison for political prisoners. From the fortress, there are fabulous views over the Drinos Valley between Albania and Greece. You can also visit the Ethnographic Museum, which is the family home of the notorious former ruler and dictator Enver Hoxha, whose hometown was Gjirokastra. It’s known as the “city of 1,000 steps,” so be prepared for a little climbing as you make your way around.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: Relax by the Lakeside

Today you’ll spend a few hours on the road with your private driver, but the relaxed lakeside city of Ohrid in neighboring Macedonia at the end of the journey makes it all worthwhile.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 6: A Full Day Tour of Ohrid

Today you will be learning all about Ohrid, a city that traces its origins back to before the Hellenistic period. Your guide will meet you at your accommodation and show you that there’s more to Ohrid than just a pretty lakeside getaway. Starting from the main square, you’ll proceed through the Lower Gate to the Church of St. Sophia, one of the country’s most important monuments, built between the 4th and 11th centuries. Next up is the ancient theater dating from around 200 BC and rediscovered in the 1980s. Beyond the theater stands the thousand-year-old Samuel’s Fortress from the time when Ohrid was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. More antiquity awaits below the fortress at Plaosnik, where you’ll see the excavations of the first Slav university in the Balkans and the church of St. Clement from the 9th century before finishing your tour at the 13th century Church of St. John, one of our favorite photo spots.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, accommodation

Day 7: St. Naum Monastery Tour

Today you’ll be visiting Saint Naum, which is likely Macedonia’s most beautiful monastery, set in the natural beauty of Galicica National Park. You’ll be picked up at the agreed-upon time and driven to the national park, where your guide will show you all the most impressive sites at the monastery complex. It’s lovely to walk around and soak up the atmosphere here. After you’ve seen all there is to see, you’ll be driven back to your accommodation in Ohrid. The whole trip takes about five hours.

It’s time to leave Ohrid behind and head to the Macedonian capital, Skopje. You’ll be taking the scenic route through Mavrovo National Park, a natural paradise of mountains and forests as well as a large lake. You can make a stop for lunch at a small town or village and taste more local specialties. Another must-see along the route is the monastery of St. John Bigorski, a still-functioning Macedonian Orthodox monastery dedicated to John the Baptist. It somehow manages to combine a tourist attraction with a place of peace and quiet reflection.

What's Included: breakfast, tour, transfer, transfer

Day 8: See Skopje in its Splendor

The best way to start your time in Skopje is with a walking tour of central Skopje, and we will arrange for an expert local guide to show you around. On the surface, it might look like a Las Vegas architect and a maverick town planner conspired to see just what they could get away with, but among the musical fountains and bombastic buildings there is an authenticity to be found, and that’s what your guide will concentrate on. Mother Teresa, although of Albanian descent, was born in Skopje and the House Of Mother Teresa is one of the early stops on your tour. You’ll cross the recently reconstructed 15th century Stone Bridge and enter the oldest part of Skopje, walking through the bazaar to admire the Daut Pashin Hammam, a monument of Islamic architecture from the 15th century. Then you will visit the Macedonian Orthodox Church of the Ascension of Jesus, built at the end of the 17th century. The final stop before lunch is the Kale Fortress, which stands watch over the city.

If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure while you’re in Skopje, we’d highly recommend Matka Canyon, the region’s most popular tourist destination. You’ll be driven to this scenic canyon with a beautiful lake, where you’ll take a boat trip into the incredible Vrelo Cave. Along the way you’ll stop at historic monasteries and churches. There are numerous hiking trails if you’d like to get more exercise. There’s also a tasty local restaurant that specializes in traditional cuisine. At the end of the day you’ll be driven back to your accommodation in Skopje.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Departure for Home

Today, a driver will pick you up at your accommodation and bring you to the Skopje airport for your departing flight home.

What's Included: breakfast, transfer