Highlights of Albania

“Still relatively undiscovered, Albania has a wealth of cultural heritage. This highlights of Albania tour showcases a country ideally suited to the intrepid traveller.”

Highlights

Tirana | Petrela Fortress | Elbasan Fortress | National Museum of History | Lake Ohrid | Pogradec | Voskopoja | Korca | Permeti | Walk in the Benja countryside | Kelcyra Gorge | Gjirokastra | Gjirokastra Castle | Saranda | Butrint | Ali Pasha Fortress | Llogora National Park | Apollonia | Vlora | Berat | The Red Mosque | Durresi | Kruja |

Description of Highlights of Albania

Isolated for many years, Albania is now emerging as a sought-after destination for European cultural tours. With this exciting itinerary you’ll travel from the capital, Tirana, to Lake Ohrid, along Albania’s Adriatic coast, across the White Mountains, through Llogora National Park and finally to the ancient city of Berat, with its churches, mosques and UNESCO-listed centre.

Explore historic fortresses, scenic fishing villages and some of Albania’s most renowned museums. Visit Butrint, dating back to the Neolithic period and one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Balkans, with traces of Ottoman and Roman civilizations. And take a tour of Apollonia, which was founded in 585BC and was once a stronghold of Julius Caesar.

As you roam the highlights of Albania, historic, natural and cultural, there will be no shortage of opportunities to take in stunning views, from mountain passes, across gorges over which eagles soar and where the hillsides are scattered with wildflowers, or from the walls of ancient hilltop fortresses.

Of course a country’s true character is rarely found in its best-known landmarks, but in the areas between them. To that end, you will travel with knowledgeable Albanian guides that can provide superb insights, stay in family-owned accommodations, and eat in small independent restaurants adjacent to the locals.

In many villages and rural areas, life goes on much as it has done for centuries past. As Albania gradually opens up to the world, that is likely to change. This tour is a wonderful way to discover, and understand, a truly unique culture.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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05 Apr 2020
£1440
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12 Apr 2020
£1199
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03 May 2020
£1240
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17 May 2020
£1240
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14 Jun 2020
£1199
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05 Jul 2020
£1260
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26 Jul 2020
£1270
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16 Aug 2020
£1225
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06 Sep 2020
£1225
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13 Sep 2020
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20 Sep 2020
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27 Sep 2020
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04 Oct 2020
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11 Oct 2020
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Vouchers
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Highlights of Albania

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

On this trip we have a balance of time spent in the towns and cities and also out exploring the beautiful scenery on foot, such as hiking in the Llogora Park and walking up to Leusa Village to visit the church. During our walks our Tour Leaders will explain about the local fauna and flora and also village life and customs, and about the importance of safeguarding these for future generations. We will visit Butrint, which is one of the great archaeological sites in the Balkans. By visiting Butrint we are helping to fund the ongoing work to conserve this important historical site.

To help reduce the level of pollution within the urban centres, the sightseeing tours we operate are mostly done on foot, which is also a great way of seeing all they have to offer first hand. When coaches are being used for these small group trips we keep the size of the coach to a minimum, so rather than using gas guzzling 40-50 seaters we opt for more environmental friendly 15-25 seat coaches that use less fuel and therefore admit less carbon.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our UK Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

During the many years of communist rule Albania was cut off from the outside world, but now times have changed and it’s proving to be a popular destination for visitors looking to experience untouched countryside vistas, see colourful ancient church frescoes, explore bustling cities and swim in the crystal clear coastal waters. Our trip is designed to gain an insight into this fascinating land and to experience the wide variety of sights it has to offer.

We use a local Tour Leader and guides on this trip who know the country very well and who will help to give us a unique insight into the history, customs and culture of Albania and get us that bit closer to the local people. Our Tour Leaders are trained by us in the importance of responsible tourism with guidance given on how they can make a difference. As we travel around Albania we stay in a variety of local, family run hotels and eat out in small restaurant which brings direct economic benefits to the communities we visit. In the small village of Benja, which isn’t normally a stop made by tourists, we will get to sample a traditional lamb barbeque and also have the chance to drink raki with the villagers. We also make a stop in the picturesque fishing village of Lin where we can sample the catch of the day for our lunch thus helping to support the local fisherman.

Our local agent in Albania also feels passionately about operating responsibly and they have their own sustainable tourism pact, which includes ways that they minimise the amount of waste and plastic used and the importance of using local suppliers, they also have an animal welfare policy and support a number of local projects that benefit the communities where they operate trips. Recently they receive the Golden Bee Award for Touristic Entrepreneurship Excellency from the Albanian Government. They were chosen due to the great work they do to help make Tirana a greener capital. They’ve done this by planting new trees and promoting cycling, green energies and recycling practices.

3 Reviews of Highlights of Albania

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?




2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?




4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?



Reviewed on 24 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We loved the countryside and wild flowers. We particularly liked the visit to a village where they cooked lunch for us which was absolutely delicious.. the host was very warm and explained how they are trying to save a hundred villages. He walked us around the village and it was very sad to see the state of some houses.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Money goes a long way as drinks and food were very reasonable. We had some great meals! There are ATMs and it was easy to change money too. Although I checked the walks when booking they were more difficult than expected so really check out the itinerary,

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Although they have plenty of water our guide did stress not to shower for any length of time. No big food chains here so we did support local businesses and ate traditional food on several occasions.. Eating at the village supported them and their bid to save a hundred villages.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and pleased we visited Albania before it gets too popular. Our group was eighteen people and we would have preferred it to be slightly smaller. It would have been good to have two nights somewhere on the trip, perhaps in the middle. We do recommend this trip

Reviewed on 06 May 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The scenery and the food

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?




3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not particularly

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a nice relaxed pace, the scenery and food were way above expectations, and Denis the guide was outstanding

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