An Unforgettable 8-Day Southern Albania Exploration
Southern Albania Exploration
An Unforgettable 8-Day
Day 1: Tirane – Vlore
The guide will be waiting for you at the airport on your arrival. Afterward, make your way to the coastal city of Vlore, known for its beautiful beaches and historical sites. Check-in at the hotel near the sea for a short relaxation before visiting the old neighborhood Muradije, reconstructed recently where the wealthiest family used to live, and the Muradije mosque, which was built in 1537 by the famous Ottoman Turkish architect Mimar Sinan during the rulership of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Stroll along the promenade and soak in the breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea.
Day 2: Vlore - Karaburun - Sazan – Zvernec
After an early morning, a magical boat tour will wait for you today on the Karaburun Peninsula and the island of Sazan, an uninhabited ex-military island where a small community of officers used to train and have an interesting life on a small island.
It is a former military base used during the Cold War and has an incredible network of bunkers and tunnels. You can see the bunkers peppered across the landscape, leaving the imagination to go wild about what is beneath your feet. It's quite a mysterious place, and the island has been open recently, allowing visitors to explore a portion of the island.
The next stop is a majestic sea cave, where we can swim from the boat (weather conditions permitting). We will stop at one of the beaches of the Karaburun peninsula to spend the rest of the day in the sweet sun. In the Afternoon, we will return to Vlora to explore Zvernec Laguna and visit the old church. On a small island within the Narta Lagoon, the Zvernec Monastery appears before hundreds of pine trees. Also known as the St. Mary Of Divinity Church, the Byzantine-era church was thought to have been built sometime during the 14th century. Despite its age, the building is well preserved.
(Optional: This aera is famous for the pink flamingo and house of diverse bird hatching. Birdwatching as an optional activity upon request)
The boat trip depends on the season when the visit to the island is permitted and the weather conditions. If it is not possible, the group will do other activities.
Day 3: Llogara - Shtegu I Qesarit trail – Porto Parlermo-Himare
Venture into the breathtaking Llogara National Park and embark on a short but rewarding hike along the Shtegu I Qesarit trail. Marvel at the panoramic views of the Albanian Riviera and the Ionian Sea as you traverse through lush forests and rugged terrain. After your invigorating hike, treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon at the tranquil Porto Palemo beach and Himara, where you can unwind and soak up the sun.
In Porto Plaermo you can visit Ali Pasha castle, one of the most beautiful ones in Albania.
Day 4: Himare - Pellumbas cave - Sant Andre Bay - Anglesi Bay - Garma Bay
Today, we will reach Himara after an early breakfast to take a boat trip from Himare to discover hidden gems such as Pellumbas Cave, Sant Andre Bay, and Anglesi Bay. We will spend two relaxing hours at Garma Bay. Grama Bay – or Gjiri I Gramës in Albanian – is a small rocky beach south of the Karaburun Peninsula in the Ionian Sea. It is found in the Southwest of Albania but far from other touristic areas. This area of Karaburun is unique because it remains a virgin gem. Spend 2 hours before returning to Himara to enjoy the charming promenade and spend the night.
Day 5: Himare - Qeparo - Ksamil – Sarande
Explore the picturesque old town of Qeparo before heading to the enchanting coastal town of Ksamil to enjoy another relaxing beach day. Finally, we will reach Saranda, a bustling city known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.
Day 6: Sarande - Butrint - Gjirokaster
Depart from Saranda and head towards the Butrint UNESCO Site, one of Albania's most important archeological sites. Explore the ancient ruins, including the theater, temples, and Roman baths. Learn about the historical significance of Butrint from the knowledgeable guide.
After a leisurely lunch at a restaurant near Butrint, we will proceed towards Gjirokaster.
Visit Gjirokaster Castle and admire the panoramic views of the city.
Explore the narrow streets of the Old Town and discover the Ottoman-style houses.
Visit the Ethnographic Museum, the childhood home of Enver Hoxha, the dictatorial leader of Albania for 45 years. After all the walk in the city of stone, a good coffee will warm your spirit.
Drinking coffee on a stone is a rare experience, which can only happen in Gjirokastra, where the eye sees cobbled streets, high stone houses, and roofs with stone slabs, and, of course, the coffee will be prepared in stone. You will experience a sensation that will take you back in time.
Traditional dinner and overnight stay in Gjirokastra.
Day 7: Gjirokaster - Permet – Tirane.
Embark on a scenic drive to Permet, known as the city of roses.
A short drive will bring us to Bënjë Thermal Baths, which have been used since antiquity. These sulfur springs emanate from deep tectonic faults on both sides of the Lengarica Canyon. Finally, return to Tirane, the capital city of Albania, to explore its vibrant nightlife and rich history.
Day 8: Free Time
Enjoy some free time before your departure, allowing you to explore any remaining attractions, relax, and soak in the memories of your incredible journey.