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Tirana is the capital and the biggest city of Albania, the town of contrasts and coexistence in harmony. Nowhere else you will find so evidently intertwined the new and the old, the beauty and the ugly, the living and modern Tirana of the new century, 1000 colors of socialist realism and oriental pieces of an empire that no longer exists.
Berat, the museum town of 1001 windows, declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is situated at the foothills of the Tomorri mountain, the Olympus of Albanian pagan gods and with a castle that crowns above the town, full of enchanting antique and medieval churches. Berat is probably the best destination for a cultural tour.
Gjirokastra, the town of stone, with stone paved alleys, streets and buildings; an interesting Old Bazaar will turn you back in time in an Ottoman trading town. A fortified magnificent castle, the most beautiful in Albania withholds wonderful legends. It is also the birthplace of the dictator Hoxha and the world famous writer, Ismail Kadare.
Durrës, founded in the 7th century BC, under the name Epidamnos, is the second largest city of Albania, one of the most ancient and economically significant cities of Albania and home to country's main port. Durrës served as Albania's national capital from 1914 until 1920. The city incorporates the Durrës Ancient City Wall also called as Durrës Castle. While you may think that the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans is in Greece, in fact you can find it here, situated close to the harbor.
Korca, the Albanian capital of love and serenades, and characteristic architecture is often called the "Little Paris" of Albania. Korca was home of the first Albanian language school established in 1887. Well-known for "Korca Beer", the first Albanian beer and for its tasty cuisine with the famous pie "lakror" and the meatballs called "kërnacka. Here you can find also the Museum of Albanian Medieval Art, the Museum of National Education and the historic museum houses of the famous Albanian painter Vangjush Mio.
Shkodra is one of the oldest and most historic places in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. During many different ages it has retained its status as a major city in the Western Balkans. The city and the surrounding area are blessed with a large variety of natural and cultural elements. The most recognizable memorial is the legendary castle of Rozafa known also as Rozafati. The castle withholds a wonderful legend has been the site of several important sieges.
Kruja, the capital of the Principality of Albania, the first autonomous Albanian state in the Middle Ages, is considered among Albanians as their Jerusalem. Here you can find the Old Bazaar of Kruja, preserving rich characteristics of traditional Albanian markets of the 18th - 19th centuries, with a variety of small shops displaying a range of products for sale, as well as artisans working in their handcraft shops. The bazaar lies from the city center to the gates of the famous Castle of Kruja which houses the National Museum of the Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg and the National Ethnographic Museum, located in a traditional house built in the middle of the 18th century A.D.
Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country containing different artifacts and structures dating from the Bronze Age up to the 19th century. Legends hint at the city's foundation by Trojan exiles. A number of major monuments are still extant, including the city walls, late-antique baptistery, great basilica, theatre and Venetian castles. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the city shrank in population and significance. Butrint then entered a turbulent period and the control of the city was bitterly fought over by the Byzantine, Norman, Angevin, and Venetian states. Later on the Ottoman Turks and briefly the French disputed ownership. It was virtually deserted by the time it became a part of Albania in 1912. Various archaeological efforts began in the 1920's, and still go on today. Of course, Butrint is the most important and the most frequently visited archaeological site in Albania. In addition to archaeological remains the site is full of natural woodland with a complex ecosystem which depends on the nearby freshwater Butrint Lake and the Vivari Channel which stream the lake into the Ionian Sea.
Apollonia is one of the most important archaeological sites of Albania. At the same time one of the most visited places by the majority of visitors coming to Albania. Cicero, the famed Roman orator, was captivated by the beauty of Apollonia and in his "Philippics" referred to it as "magna urbs et gravis" or "the great and important city". Archaeological excavations have shown that Apollonia reached its peak during the 4th - 3rd century BCE. Studies estimate that around 60,000 inhabitants lived inside the city gates. Among the most interesting remains is the city council building, the library, the triumphal arch and the temple of Artemis. The Odeon, from the 2nd century BCE, is also noteworthy as it once accommodated approximately 10,000 spectators. An earthquake in the 3rd century CE, in addition to causing damage to infrastructure, altered the path of the Vjosa River and the harbor eventually silted up. This effectively changed the trading route and the once proud city declined until it nearly total desertion. Apollonia was "rediscovered" in the 18th century CE, and archaeological efforts have continued intermittently throughout the 20th century.
Antigonea is an ancient city built in the 3rd century BC. It was a short-lived town that lived approximately 150 years. City establishment is related to one of the most famous names of antiquity, King Pyrrhus of Epirus. At first century BC Pyrrhus was forced to go to war in Egypt, where his skills impressed Berenice, wife of King Ptolemy of Egypt, which offered him the hand of his daughter, Antigonea. As a token of appreciation towards his mother in law and his first wife, Pirro decided to build a new town named Antigonea. It quickly became an important control center in Drino valley, which in ancient times was called Antigonea straits. During the Roman-Macedonian war, the inhabitants of Antigonea sided with the Macedonians and so when the Romans achieved victory over the Macedonians in 167 BC they decided to punish those who had fought against them. The Romans set fire to 70 towns in Epirus including Antigonea and the town never recovered.
Mount Dajt National Park is located to the east of Tirana. In 1966, Dajti Mountain was declared "National Park" and since 2006 has an expanded area of about 29,384 ha. Its highest peak is 1,613m. During winter, the mountain is often covered with snow, and it is a popular retreat to the local population of Tirana. Its slopes have forests of pines, oak and beech. The park is home to the wild boar, Eurasian wolf, red fox, European hare, brown bears and wildcats. In the lower part of the mountains the vegetation is scrub determined with much heath, myrtle and fragaria. Oak trees dominate and at around 1,000 meters of altitude follow beech forests with some conifers. In 1963 the Tirkan Castle was discovered, also known as Dajti Castle including ruins of a Roman fortification and several dwellings. It belongs to late antiquity, probably built over Illyrian foundations. In 2008 a three year restoration project began, aiming to conduct further archaeological searching and surveys and to improve the nearby infrastructure for visitors and tourists.
Valbona Valley National Park is considered one of the most beautiful parks in Albania and the region. Located 25 km from Bajram Curri, the park features impressive scenery from high alpine ridges and the Valbona Valley. Diverse plants and animal species invite recreation, sightseeing, and scientific studies. Alongside the valley there are several villages which provide accommodations in traditional houses. Foreign visitors to the region often remark that they had no idea that such an unspoiled, pristine place still existed in Europe. Local people welcome foreign visitors with particularly moving enthusiasm.
Thethi National Park lies in the Albanian Alps near Bjeshkët e Namuna (Cursed Mountains). It covers an area of 3,300 ha and the beautiful Thethi River flows in between. A magnificent place to visit is the waterfall in Grunas. Significant wildlife populates this park, as well; this is home to a large community of lynxes. Theth is most easily accessible from a 25 km unpaved road from the village of Boga which is treacherous during the winter and not generally suitable for motor vehicles without off-road capabilities. A number of local families offer board and lodging to visitors visiting Theth hiking in the National Park - or merely to admire the mountain scenery.
We understand that our standard tours are not for everyone, or that maybe you and your party prefer a more intimate tour that allows for more guide time - for questions, for pictures, whatever! We also understand that some of you are on a budget. We have priced our private tours to be affordable starting at 35 EUR. Tour lasts approximately 3 hours and requires a considerable amount of walking. We can even start the tour from your hotel.