Expert-Led Group Tour

Albania Group Tour - Origins of Illyria

Journey through the 'Land of Eagles' with Carolyn Perry

Limited OfferTwo free single supplement places are available for 2018, a saving of £200pp

9 days

from £1,295pp
Limited Offer
  • There are two free single supplement places available on our group tour to Albania in 2018
  • Available on a first come first serve basis
  • A saving of £200 per person
  • One of Europe's last great secrets with spectacular crowd-free, ancient sites
  • Accompanied by Carolyn Perry, an expert in the art and architecture of Albania
  • Travel through the Albanian Alps and alongside spectacular turquoise seas
  • Try delicious Albania food and drink and feel the warmth of the local hospitality

Journey through the 'Land of Eagles', known as Illyria throughout the classical era and discover a country with a fascinating past and present. Archaeological sites, such as Byllis, tell stories of everyday life in ancient times, whereas impressive ancient Butrint, described by Virgil as 'Troy in miniature', boasts links to the famous legend of Aeneas. Travel to Albania's coast and explore Durres, ancient Dyrrhachium, fought over by Caesar and Pompey. Travelling in Albania gives a window on an age that was rich with tales of empire, war, riches and rebellion.

Leave the history behind for a while and consider contemporary Albania; a country, until recently, deprived of many western privileges. Trapped by an isolationist regime and fortified against its surrounding enemies, Albania spent many years in the international wilderness. Now having opened up, the friendly people and rich variety of archaeological and historical sites, combined with stunning, wild mountainous scenery is a heady recipe.

The beauty of a holiday to Albania is the lack of crowds. Given the impressive historical sites, ancient towns and interesting cities, one would expect the main attractions to be busy with tourists. This is fortunately not the case so we urge you to travel to Albania now, before the word gets out.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR?

For the expertise of Carolyn Perry, as well as the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals to a country that is, as yet, undiscovered by the masses.

IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION IN ALBANIA LIKE?

Accommodation in Albania is a different standard to that of the UK as tourism has not long been a major industry here. There is still a variety of comfortable options and, in some places, very characterful guesthouses and hotels.

HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO ENJOY THIS TOUR?

You do not need to be particularly fit to participate, there are no long walks involved but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN ALBANIA?

Albanian cuisine offers a unique blend of Mediterranean flavours. Representing a rich historical past, the food of modern Albania has been developed over a number of years and reflects a fusion of Greek, Italian and Turkish cooking.

From baked lamb with yoghurt to fresh, vibrant salads - the Albanians live for lunch. The main food in Albania is characterised by the use of spices such as black pepper and Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil, rosemary. In the cooking of meat and fish, chilli pepper and garlic is used to good effect. In true Albanian style take lunch at a local’s house to try homemade sheep's cheese (feta), made from traditional methods in the mountains and washed down with the local hooch, raki...not for the faint hearted!

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE?

Not excessively hot but the days will be clear and sunny. When travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. 



Departing on:
  • 9th June 2017
  • 1st June 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

DEPART UKARRIVE UKPrice Excluding Flights (£)Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
9th Jun 2017 17th Jun 2017 £ 1,295 £ 370 £ 175 Carolyn Perry Limited
1st Jun 2018 10th Jun 2018 £ 1,595 £ 400 £ 200 Carolyn Perry Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • 1 night at Hotel Panorama Kruja
  • 8 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches and 8 Dinners
  • Accommodation (as indicated in itinerary below)
  • Accompanied by English speaking guide, Mr. Dorian Disha.
  • Accompanied by Lecturer Carolyn Perry throughout
  • Gratuities for Local guides, Driver and porters
  • Sightseeing museum entrance fees
  • Transportation with Modern tourist class AC minibus

what is excluded

  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Tirana.

On arrival transfer to Kruja, the fortress of Skanderbeg or Gjergj Kastrioti, Albania's national hero. Kruja is the stronghold from where Skanderbeg led the Albanian resistance against the Ottomans, a resistance that lasted for a quarter of a century and involved 25 battles. We will learn more about Skanderbeg in the Museum of Kruje, and the history of Albania and also visit the Ethnographic Museum and Ottoman Bazaar.


You will be staying at Hotel Panorama Kruja

Day 2

A full day exploring Lezhe.

Kruja is a medieval town located 32 km northwest of Tirana.The name of Kruja derives from the Albanian word krua, meaning 'water spring'.

A morning drive down to the historic town of Lezhe, originally an Illyrian city. Remains of the Illyrian era are still visible, including walls and an extremely well preserved gate of the ancient city. Lezhe played an important part in the Civil Wars between Caesar and Pompey, but is mainly famed for its connection with Skanderbeg, being both the place where he formed the League of Lezhe to fight the Ottomans and also his place of death and burial.

Visit to the Illyrian fortress of Lezhe on the rocky spur overlooking the town.


You will be staying at Hotel Bleart Durres Beach

Day 3

Depart for the ancient city of Apollonia, another city on the famous Via Egnatia. Another 7th century Greek colony, Aristotle noted Apollonia a good example of an 'oligarchy' in his Politics. The orator Cicero called Apollonia 'a great and important city'. It was while studying oratory in the city that Octavian heard of the death of Caesar.

Visit the extensive remains of the city, the Church of St Mary, and the Archaeological Museum now housed in the Monastery.

Journey ontoto Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the City of One Thousand Windows. On the way pass the Rock of Kavaja where Caesar camped during the Civil War against Pompey, near to the battle site of Asparagium.

The visit to Berat itself includes the Castle and the Church of St Mary which now houses the Museum of Onufri, Albania's most renowned iconographer. The area within the castle walls is still inhabited, wander through the traditional stone houses and stone streets.


You will be staying at Hotel Mangalemi

Day 4

Lying on the banks of the Osum River, the town of Berat is famous for its Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Traditionally split in to two distinct halves, the Muslim Old Town (Mangalem) lies north of the river and its collection of white-washed houses climb up towards the town's citadel.

On the south side of the river, lies the Christian Old Town (Gorica). The two sides are linked by a number of bridges, including an impressive 250-year-old, seven-arched footbridge.


You will be staying at Hotel Alpin

Day 5

Explore Llogora.

Depart along the 'Albanian Riviera' through spectacular scenery between the sea and the mountains. Travel on to the Greek village of Himare and then to Porto Palermo and the Fortress of Ali Pasha. Porto Palermo is also the site of an underground submarine base built by Enver Hoxha. After passing through the villages of Qeparo and Borsh we arrive in Saranda.


You will be staying at Hotel Brilant

Day 6

Drive south to see an example of a fortified Hellenistic farmstead at Malathrea before crossing the Vivari Channel to visit the extensive site of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to legend the city was founded by Trojan exiles led by Aeneas, though the site was probably not inhabited until the 8th century BC. The site, on a peninsula in a verdant setting in the Lake of Butrint, has well-preserved remains from the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Christian and even Venetian periods. Finds from the site are on display in the small Museum..


You will be staying at Hotel Brilant

Day 7

Depart Saranda to Gjirokastra via the Muzine pass.

En route visit Antigonea, a city founded by King Pyrrhus of Epirus in honour of his wife Antigone. Antigonea is a city built on the Hippodamian grid system, but was destroyed by the Romans in 167BC.

On to Gjirokastra, the 'City of Stone' and another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We visit the imposing castle, which houses the National Museum of Weapons. The castle has fabulous views above the valley of the river Drin, between Albania and Greece. Afterwards visit the Ethnographic Museum, the former home of Albania's dictator Enver Hoxha, who was born in the city.


You will be staying at Hotel Kalemi 2

Day 8

Depart Gjirokastra for Elbasan, via Tepelene the city of the infamous Ali Pasha. Elbasan was a Roman station along the Via Egnatia known as Mansio Scampa. Parts of the Via Egnatia are still visible, as are later fortification walls, and the remains of a Roman villa. Afterwards continue to Petrela Castle, which dates to the 5th century AD. Pass by the Martyrs Cemetery and the 12metre high Monument of Mother Albania, 12 meters high, which was inaugurated in 1971


You will be staying at Vila Alba

Day 9

Founded by the Ottomans in 1614, modern Tirana became Albania's capital in the early 20th century.

Now a city in transition, Tirana showcases a mix of new-found wealth contrasting with relics of the all too recent communist era. Skyscrapers have begun to fill the cityscape, but concrete utilitarian constructions still fill much of the city.

In recognition of this, a splash of colour has been added to many of the fast ageing apartment blocks, as is fitting for such a vibrant city. Completely transformed, Tirana is a pleasure to wander around. Among these more recent buildings, remnants of Tirana's Italian and Ottoman past dot the city.

Fly Tirana to London

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Albania

Charles Knights, Travel Expert

"Charles was most attentive without becoming intrusive, he changed the schedule several times to meet our changing needs."

"Charles was extremely helpful, swift in replying to emails and when he was away another consultant carried on the good work."

"Charles Knights was superb. He gave us all the information we requested, was very patient with the number of queries we had running up to our trip and was extremely helpful throughout from the start thinking about our trip to taking off. Fantastic service."

Read More

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour expert

Carolyn Perry

Carolyn Perry
Following a degree in Classics and Archaeology, Carolyn lectured in Ancient History and Mythology in the Department of Mediterranean Studies at Queen Mary College, University of London. She later moved to the Education Department of The British Museum, where she set up and ran the Arab World Education Programme and afterwards worked as Manager of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL. She is now Director of the MBI Al Jaber Foundation but continues to work in museums and education, lecturing on various aspects of the ancient Mediterranean and Islamic world and is currently Chair of the British Foundation for the Study of Arabia.
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Carolyn Perry

Departure Date (S):

  • 9th June 2017 - Guaranteed to run
  • 1st June 2018

The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

"Carolyn was very engaging, clearly enthusiastic about her subject."

IRAN TOUR WITH CAROLYN, 2016

Holiday Ideas in Albania

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  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
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RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

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