Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town of Gjirokaster
Visit the amazing ruins at the ancient city of Butrint
It’s still relatively unexplored country
If there is a destination that everyone should visit at least once in his or her lifetime, it is Albania. This small country is one of the last hidden gems of Europe and totally worth a look. Head “off the beaten path” for a holiday with a difference and discover the incomparable beauty of Albania. Our tour will take us through stunning mountain and coastal landscapes as we journey through this fascinating country.
On arrival in Corfu, you transfer to your hotel.
Today we take a morning ferry to Agia Saranta in Southern Albania. After passport control, we will have our information meeting and a welcome drink before taking a spectacular drive along the Blue Eye National Park to the UNESCO Heritage town of Gjirokaster. Dating back to the Ottomans, this medieval town has a wonderful old quarter with a maze of narrow stone cobbled streets and a Turkish bazaar, perfect for some unusual souvenir spotting!
Today we will start our tour with a visit to a traditional market. Our next stop is Kelcyra town where we will see the waterfalls before arriving to Permet- the town of flowers and the traditional instrumental music. In Permet we will visit the town center with its Byzantine style church and taste the local sweet, Gliko. Our next stop is the Benja Thermal Baths where we can take some memorable pictures (please make sure to wear sturdy shoes as surfaces are uneven here). On the way back to Gjirokaster we will have an opportunity to buy local products such as honey and herbs. Later in the afternoon we will return to Gjirokaster.
After breakfast at our hotel we will visit a memorial plaque dedicated to Lord Byron, who in 1809 paid visit to Ali Pasha, before continuing our tour to the ancient Roman site of Apollonia. In the afternoon we will arrive to Berat and have a short tour of this UNESCO city. Berat weaves its own very special magic and is easily a highlight of visiting Albania. Its most striking feature is the collection of white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill to its castle, earning it the title of ‘town of a thousand windows’. We will then visit the historical landmarks of Berat Castle, Church of Saint Nicholas and Onufri Museum.
After breakfast we will visit the third largest city in Albania – Elbasan and learn about its rich history. Our next stop is the medieval town of Kruja, which is one of the most important cities of Albania, hometown of George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, the greatest Albanian hero of all the times. He successfully ousted the Ottoman Turks from his native land for over two decades, halting Turkey’s efforts to spread Islam through a predominately Roman Catholic western Europe. We will visit Skanderbeg museum – a wonderful insight into the importance of one of Albania’s most celebrated national heroes.
After breakfast at our hotel we will start our Tirana city tour that includes colourful houses, churches, the mosque and monuments. Later we will take a cable car to Mount Dajti and have incredible views of the surrounding area. Our next stop is Mother Teresa Square which is the second largest square in Tirana. We will finish our tour at the trendy Blloku neighborhood, once restricted to only high-level communist party members and now home to the city’s best nightlife.
Today we will depart to the seaside town of Vlore en route stopping at the port city of Durres where we will visit the Roman Amphitheatre of Durres and the old historical part of the city. Our next stop is the Ardenica Monastery, a precious relict monument of Albania’s cultural mosaic, inherited by a period when Catholicism as a religion and culture was dominant in the country. Later we continue our tour to the beautiful lagoon of Narta before arriving to Vlore.
Today we will continue exploring Vlore and our first stop is the National Museum of Independence – a small museum that feels like a time capsule for here, it was in 1912 that the independent Albanian government began operation and many of the rooms and exhibits have been left as they were. We will also visit Vlore Turkish Bazar and the temple of Bktashinj Sect, before continuing to a beautiful Kanine Castle from where we can see the whole city.
Today we will visit one of the most beautiful archeological sites of Albania – Orikum. It is one of the oldest settlements of the country and the first town taken by Julius Caesar during the invasion of Epirus. Our next stop is Dhermi Village where we will visit St. Nicholas Monastery Church. On our way to Himara we will make a stop at Albania’s last stone village of Vuno. Its houses of thick stone walls and tall windows are some of the finest examples of the vernacular style of the villages of the Albanian Riviera.
Today we will visit Piluri Village, which is popular for the many walnut trees and its tradition of good shepherds and is called the balcony of Ionian Sea because of its fabulous views. In Piluri we will have an opportunity to meet local people, visit a local chapel and a remarkable cemetery before our picnic lunch.
In the afternoon we will return to Himara and the rest of the day is free for you to relax by the pool or beach.
After breakfast at the hotel we will visit a local school of Old Himara village. We suggest bringing some small presents for the children such as coloured pencils, pens, notebooks or inflatable balls etc.
Our next stop is Porto Palermo Castle which served as the former Soviet submarine base during the communist regime in Albania. Later we will have a stop at a waterfall in the village of Borsh.
Our final day in Albania will take us to one of Europe’s best kept secrets, the ancient ruins at Butrint – a UNESCO World Heritage site, thought by many to be one of the finest ancient cities in Europe.
We will have some free time for exploring the centre of Agia Saranta and maybe do some shopping before taking afternoon ferry back to Corfu. night Corfu.
After breakfast we’ll have some free before our evening transfer to the airport for our return flight home.
A full 10-year passport is required valid for at least 6 months upon arrival into Albania. Holders of passports with the inscription “British Citizen” or “European Union” do not require a visa if staying less than 90 days.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct visa, a valid passport and any other travel documents for your holiday. All information provided relates to British citizens who hold or are entitled to apply for a British passport. For the most up-to-date visa information please visit; Albania Foreign Advce
British citizens can enter and remain in Albania for a maximum of 90 days in every 6-month period without a visa. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 3 months from the date of entry into Albania.
If you are not a British citizen and do not hold a British passport, you must make your own enquiries as to the applicable requirements. Alternatively, you can apply for your Visa with our preferred partner the Travel Visa company by selecting the following link; Travel Visa Company.
The transfer time from Corfu Airport to the hotel is approximately 30 minutes depending on traffic. The Ferry from Corfu across to Albania takes 1 hour.
Major credit and debit cards are accepted in most banks, large supermarkets and international hotels. Smaller businesses and taxis often only accept cash. There are numerous ATMs in Tirana and the main towns, as well as bureaux de change where Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are widely accepted. Although street money-changers operate openly, they do so illegally. Only use banks or established bureaux de change.
It is difficult to get cash in small towns in Albania and during our information meeting you can exchange 100 Euros for the local currency. It is not compulsory and at your discretion.
A sightseeing programme is included in your touring package.
A reasonable level of fitness/mobility is required as we include plenty of sightseeing/travelling, sometimes with early starts. We would not recommend this holiday for those with walking difficulties.
The order of the itinerary and events may be subject to change
There is often confusion on the question of gratuities, since it frequently depends on the type of holiday, location and, of course, your attitude towards tipping, as to what is normally expected. In order to give you a rough idea, we have given appropriate guidance below.
Your Tour Leader will be on hand to offer advice or suggestions if required but gratuities are offered entirely at the sole discretion of the individual. We suggest a group collection to cover drivers, porters and hotel staff of €70.00 (approx. 8600 LEK). Your Tour Leader will collect this on your behalf and distribute it accordingly, thus relieving you of the burden of who, when and how much to tip. The tipping of housekeeping will be left to your individual discretion (a small amount left in your room on departure should cover this and would be much appreciated). As is customary, ‘the hat’ will be passed around for the driver and guide on all optional excursions. For any meals that are not included in your itinerary, or taxi fares, your Tour Leader can advise of an appropriate % add on.
Casual daytime wear is recommended. Comfortable and sturdy shoes are a “must” for sightseeing. Smart casual clothes will be ideal for the evenings – the emphasis throughout being informality. A waterproof jacket is recommended. On some occasions, when entering places of worship for example, it will be necessary to wear clothing covering one’s shoulders and knees and women may be required to wear a scarf. Please bring a swimwear too.
|Month(s)||Highest temperature||Lowest temperature|
|January - February||14 °C||5 °C|
|March||18 °C||7 °C|
|April||22 °C||9 °C|
|May||28 °C||14 °C|
|June||33 °C||19 °C|
|July||36 °C||21 °C|
|August||34 °C||21 °C|
|September||31 °C||18 °C|
|October||31 °C||18 °C|
|November||21 °C||10 °C|
|December||16 °C||7 °C|
I was so nervous about embarking on my first Solos Holiday, but I shouldn’t have been – it was the best thing I have ever done!
Wow! Got to see the famous shipwreck beach in Zakynthos with Solos. Can’t wait to discover more of their destinations!
Our tour leader Monica was exceptional! Had such a good time and will be rebooking with Solos. Thanks for a great holiday!
Had the best time with Solos! Discovered beautiful destinations and met some lifelong friends.