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Balkan Gems - 13 Days Tour
The Balkan Gems Tour is about visiting five countries: Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, and Kosovo. This Tour starts and ends in Tirana, Albania. It is for people interested in discovering the culture, history, and the hospitality of five Countries known for their hospitality, old towns, beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains, and the Riviera. This is a unique opportunity to explore the history and the tradition of a part of the Balkans while traveling in breathtaking nature and enjoying local food and hospitality. This
is a 13 days tour, and the visits may include Tirane, Kotor, Gjirokaster, Berat, Meteora, Korce, Ohrid, Skopje, Prizren, Budva, Ulqin. This tour provides access to all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tour Details - Balkan Gems
The Balkan Gems
Total traveling time* - 23 hours 45 minutes (*time is estimate)
Total traveling distance - 893 miles - 1,436 km
Day 1: Visiting Tirana, the Albanian Capital City
This day will start by visiting the center of Tirana and Main Boulevard. We will have several short walks around the magnificent Skanderbeg Square and will enjoy this new and modern build square and admire all the buildings surrounding it. After that, we will continue by visiting the 'BUNKART 2', a museum built inside an anti-nuclear bunker under the ground in a network of tunnels just meters from the Ministry of Interior.
Overnight in Tirane.
Day 2: Berat, the White Crown
Berat is a UNESCO world heritage town and also known as "The White City." It is the oldest and the most visited place in Albania. Even those who come to Albania to enjoy the seaside get the opportunity to jump and see this gem-like city. After arrival, our day will continue visiting the "Kala" neighborhood and the "Onufri" museum.
Overnight in Berat.
Day 3: Back to Ancient and Modern
This day will start by driving to Apollonia Archaeological Park. Apollonia's site lay on the territory of the Taulanti, a cluster of Illyrian tribes that remained closely involved with the settlement for centuries. The city was originally named Gylakeia after its founder, Gylax, but later changed the name to honor the god Apollon. Our day will continue with a walk around the main promenade in Vlore and a coffee break close to the sea. Afternoon at leisure
Overnight in Vlore.
Day 4: Albanian Coastal Road
This day, we will drive deep towards south Albania via the Albanian Coastal road, which many believe to be the Mediterranean's most beautiful coastal road. Have the first stop on top of Llogora Pass and enjoy a unique view of the Ionian sea from more than 1,700 feet above sea level, along with the breathtaking view that this Park has to offer. The next visit is to Porto Palermo, where the Ali Pasha Castle stands like a barrier in front of the blue rocky sea to protect the country. The bay of Porto Palermo once served as an important secret military submarine base, and the tunnel is still visible. Overnight in Sarande.
Day 5: Two of UNESCO's
This day will start with visiting Butrint Archaeological Park, a World-Class Unesco World Heritage site. Founded in the VII century bc by the Kaons of Epirus, it became one of the most important cities in the Ionian sea. We will visit it is the best-preserved Archaeological site in Albania and a World Class UNESCO Site. This day will continue with a drive to another UNESCO site, Gjirokaster city, and the Argjiro Castle, the biggest castle in the Balkans and the second biggest in Europe. Overnight in Gjirokaster.
Day 6: Meteora Monasteries
Serene, spiritual, magical, mystical, extraordinary, breathtaking, immense, inspiring, impressive. These are only some of the words people very often use to describe the Meteora phenomenon. A trip to Meteora offers the unique experience of nature’s grandeur in conjunction with history, architecture, and man’s everlasting desire to connect with the Divine. From the early Christian times, the Meteora vertical cliffs were regarded as the perfect place to achieve absolute isolation, discover peace and harmony, and support man’s eternal struggle for spiritual elevation. Overnight in Meteora.
Day 7: Romantic, Romantic...
This day we will drive towards Drilon, a natural Spring Park situated just 10 mins drive from Pogradec. After that, we will drive into Macedonia to visit Ohrid. In antiquity, the city was known under the ancient Illyrian name -Lychnidos, meaning "city of light."By 879 AD, the town was no longer called Lychnidos but was referred to by the assimilated native people as Ohrid from the Slavic words vohrid, meaning "on the hill," as the ancient town was at the top of the hill. Visit the Old town and the Amphitheater. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 8: Mother Teresa Birthplace
This day will drive towards Skopje, the birthplace of Mother Teresa and the Macedonian Capital city of big contrasts. We will visit the "Aleksandar" square, the stone bridge, the old town and enjoy local food at a very traditional restaurant.
Overnight in Skopje.
Day 9: The NewBorn Country
Today will drive to Kosovo and visit Prizren, a typical Albanian town and part of Unesco. We will visit the old town, the main square and the promenade, the Albanian league house. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the walks and local food.
Overnight in Prizren.
Day 10: Visiting Budva
This day will start by driving to Budva, Montenegro, to visit the old town and the Citadel. Budva is a relatively small town, but it has a very nice neighborhood around the old town, with plenty of coffee shops and people walking around. Budva’s Old Town lies on a small peninsula and represents a treasure chest of cultural heritage. Crossed with narrow streets and squares are famous buildings, the Church Sv. Trojica, housing the tomb of the exquisite writer Stjepan Mitrov Ljubisa. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Budva.
Day 11: Splendid Kotor Bay
Our representative will pick you at your hotel and drive to Kotor, Montenegro. The day will continue with visiting the Old Town and start the walking tour. This walking city gives you a great introduction to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the Square of Arms, the Clock Tower, Flour Square with Pima and Buca palaces, St Tryphon Cathedral, the Bokelian Navy Square with Karampana, and the St Luke Square with St Luke church.
Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Kotor.
Day 12: Visiting Kruje, the Ottoman Nightmare
Today we will hit the road towards Kruje, the Gjergj Kastrioti stronghold during the war with the Ottomans in the 16th century. This day will continue with visiting the Castle, the Nation Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Old Bazaar. Drive to Tirane. Overnight in Tirane.
Day 13: Tour over after breakfast
There are no activities today, and this is the end of the Tour and services. Breakfast is provided. If you have booked a post-tour transfer, we will escort you to your destination or Tirana International Airport.
Faleminderit and have a safe flight back home!
Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Apollon Tours experience.
On our tours — among other things — you'll need to happily…
1. Carry/roll your luggage. If you cannot, our staff will help you carry your luggage.
2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in good weather conditions. No activities in heavy rain/snow or high temperatures.
3. Sleep in centrally located hotels.
4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own