An Experiential Quest to an Emerging European Nation

“New

Why end might the abundant natural beauty and hospitality of Albania, a burgeoning Balkan nation ready to step into the spotlight after decades of isolation and obscurity. Discover the country’s communist history, marvel at forgotten remnants of Greco-Roman and Ottoman architecture, admire spectacular vistas in the Albanian Alps, and step into the lives of villagers who still hold tight to ancient traditions.

14 Day Trip

  • Small Group
    Limited to 16 passengers
  • Travels to:
    Albania, Balkans
  • Cultural Series:
    Tirana to the north, south, and back

See
Overview Itinerary

Imaginariachile Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Browse a medieval Turkish bazaar
    Browse the wooden stalls of the medieval Turkish bazaar in Kruja, a great place to shop for traditional handicrafts such as alabaster jewelry, silver filigree, hand-carved wooden items and hand-loomed carpets....
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  • Visit Albania’s breathtaking Valbone Valley National Park
    Hike along ancient forested trails in the remote wilderness of the Albanian Alps....
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  • Explore one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania
    Enter the city of Berat, sitting on one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania; its medieval fortress stands virtually unchanged today despite the region’s...
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  • Step into the past at the UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Butrint
    Step into the past at the UNESCO-listed archaeological site of Butrint, colonized in succession by Greece, Rome, and Byzantium and still guarding the remains of examples of all these eras....
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Why Travel with Imaginariachile on this Tour
  • Over two decades of Albania travel experience
  • Many individuals and groups have chosen Imaginariachile to guide them to Albania
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Tirana

Begin in Albania’s colorful capital, Tirana, admiring its eclectic architecture and fascinating communist relics. Visit the Bektashi World Center, headquarters of the liberal Bektashi order of Sufism, and meet with the founder of the Women’s Museum to discover more about Albanian women’s contributions to history.

Highlights

  • Albania’s capital, brightly painted Tirana
  • Bektashi World Center, a religious complex housing the Bektashi dervish sect, a unique liberal order melding Shia and Sufi Islamic beliefs
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Days 3-5: Shkodra, Valbone

Drive to one of Albania’s most notorious communist internment camps, Spac Prison, hearing a firsthand account of life there from a former prisoner. Soak up the Italian ambiance of lakeside Shkodra, and enjoy a day of hiking in the pristine Valbone Valley National Park, taking in the gorgeous scenery of the remote Albanian Alps.

Highlights

  • Spac Prison, the most notorious of Albania's communist internment camps under former president Enver Hoxha
  • Walking tour of Shkodra, resting on the shores of Lake Skadar near the Adriatic Coast
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Days 6-8: Kruja, Ohrid, Korce

In Kruja, browse the medieval Turkish bazaar, and visit a workshop that specializes in making traditional Albanian skullcaps called qeleshe. Explore the Albanian side of UNESCO-listed Lake Ohrid; marvel at Korce’s fabulous collection of medieval icons; and learn about Albania’s rich culinary heritage over a cooking class in a village home.

Highlights

  • The fortress, Ethnographic Museum, and medieval Turkish bazaar of Kruja
  • Visit to a local qeleshe workshop
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Days 9-10: Permet, Gjirokastra

Spend a night in Permet, famed for its folk music traditions and fiery raki. Continue through the mountains to the UNESCO-listed Ottoman town of Gjirokastra, exploring its charming cobblestone streets and traditional tower houses.

Highlights

  • Tasting of locally made fruit preserves and raki in Permet
  • Visit to a local school in Permet
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Days 11-14: Butrint, Saranda, Berat, Tirana

Make a stop at the 6th century BC ruins of Butrint before dipping down to Saranda, “capital” of the lush Albanian Riviera. Drive along the breathtaking Ionian Coast to UNESCO-listed Berat, home to striking Ottoman mosques and the 13th century Berat Castle, one of the best-preserved medieval citadels in the Balkans. Back in Tirana, witness the city’s exciting contemporary arts scene at the Bunk’Art Museum before celebrating the journey at a farewell dinner.

Highlights

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint with its 6th century BC fortifications, 3rd century BC amphitheater, temples, public baths and houses
  • Boat ride and mussel tasting on Lake Butrint
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 14 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 6-16 Travelers $4,995
  • Single Supplement $575

2020 Dates

  • May 17-30
  • $4,995
  • Max 16 Travelers

Group Size

Small Groups – Never More than 16 Travelers. Guaranteed!

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations are well-located and vary from four star hotels to moderate three star, some quite small with basic amenities and services.
  • 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, and 9 dinners. Some lunches and dinners are left independent so you may enjoy a chance to dine on your own.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking Imaginariachile Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.

  • Arrival/departure transfers. Imaginariachile will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private coach or van (type of vehicle depends on group size).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, porters and other service personnel.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, and insurance information.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Touring with Imaginariachile handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

Imaginariachile's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

Imaginariachile recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most Imaginariachile programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

Imaginariachile can arrange for an extended program in nearby Balkan countries such as Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as to Bulgaria or Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, or Western Russia. All of Imaginariachile’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please Imaginariachile for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

While the accommodations are designed to be comfortable for travel in this part of the world, they will vary from small, moderate three star to four star hotels, some quite small with basic amenities and services. It is important to keep in mind that Albania may not be up to the standards North American travelers expect. A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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