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Secrets of the Mediterranean

Sparkling historic gems, some stunning natural wonders and the warmth of the Adriatic, discovered in its once-most-hidden corner.

This wonderful tour, which features four-star accommodation throughout, lifts the veil on a part of Europe until relatively recently closed to all but a privileged few, but now opening its arms to curious, enthralled visitors. From vibrant Tirana and historic Kruje to sublime Lake Ohrid, shared between Albania and neighbouring Macedonia, and the Riviera port-resort of Vlorë, gateway to Apollonia’s ruins and breath-taking Berati, this holiday promises fascination and interest at every turn.

What does this price include?

  • Seven nights' half-board accommodation at four-star hotels in Tirana (2 nights), Ohrid (2) and Vlorë (3)
  • Return flights to Tirana
  • Comfortable coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Arrive in Tirana, meet your tour manager and transfer to your hotel in the lively, colourful Albanian capital. Settle in to your surroundings and enjoy a first dinner in the hotel. Why not take a stroll in the bustling streets, where the tradition of the xhiro promenade is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike each evening?

  • Enjoy a guided tour of the rapidly changing city, where the revolution in architectural styles in the last three decades has been every bit as complete as the political one. Glittering new developments rise above remnants of the past, with the few reminders of the Ottoman Empire sitting alongside Communist-era edifices, all painted in shockingly bright colours that have faded with time in the Southern European sunshine. Vast Skanderberg Square, named for Albania’s national hero, boasts a clock tower, from which there is a memorable view of the city, and several important monuments and buildings that will be brought to life by your guide. Among the more fascinating reminders of the country's recent past are two vast underground bunkers, one containing an apartment built for former leader Enver Hoxha.

    This afternoon, journey to historic hillside Kruje, Skanderberg’s fortress home, dominated by an impregnable castle, and where a fascinating museum chronicles the hero’s struggles.

  • On a beautifully contrasting day, head east across country to sublime Lake Ohrid, one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes. Here, across the border in Macedonia, the exquisite city of Ohrid sits on the beautiful shoreline. Known as the ‘Balkan Jerusalem’ because of its extraordinary collection of churches - most famously the Church of St John at shore-side Kaneo - Ohrid is a delightful, popular haven. Explore the ancient cobbled streets of the old town, lined with cafés and bars, or stroll the lakeside boardwalk before dinner is served at your hotel.

  • Spend the day in UNESCO-listed Ohrid, perhaps enjoying a dip in the lake, a journey on one of the water taxis that ply their trades on the blue waters, or lunch in a shore-side restaurant. Alternatively, join the optional half-day excursion to famous St Naum Monastery, in its majestic lakeside setting. This Orthodox church has been increasingly surrounded by the modern world, but its spectacular setting is worth the short trip.

  • Bid farewell to Macedonia and the lake, and head back west through the scenic countryside, to the port-resort of Vlorë, where Albania declared independence in 1912, and where the first stirrings of the 1991 revolution that led to the overthrow of Communism began. Just 75 kilometres from Italy, the city has a distinctly South Mediterranean feel, with some wonderful beaches fringing the warm, blue Adriatic waters, a busy port, and all the trappings of a sun-kissed holiday haven.

  • Today’s fascinating excursion takes you, first, to the Greco-Roman city named for the god Apollo, and once the starting point of a road to Byzantium. Excavations continue to reveal the glories of what was once an important trading port on the Aous River, but which is now left high and dry thanks to seismic land movements. After a chance to wander around the fascinating ruins, you'll head inland to the extraordinary hilltop citadel of Berati. This UNESCO-listed gem is one of the country’s most potent symbols, and crowns a town of traditional white-washed houses in which a wonderful folk museum chronicles life in this beautiful corner of Albania.

  • Your last day is left free for rest and relaxation. Why not explore Vlorë's fine, fascinating museums, spectacular viewpoints and seafront promenade, simply soak up the sunshine on the beach, or enjoy a leisurely lunch?

    Alternatively, spend your last relaxing day cruising the blue waters where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea, and calling at Sasani Island. With a stop for a dip, it's the perfect way to round off your trip to this previously unknown corner of the Mediterranean.

  • After breakfast, you'll board the coach, and transfer back to Tirana airport to catch your flight home.

Prices

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Hotels

Jewels of Albania & Macedonia Touring Hotels

You will be staying in three comfortable, four-star hotels, each conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel on arrival is approximately 30 minutes and is approximately two and a hald hours on departure.

  • We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.

  • If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.

  • The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  • Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.

  • Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.

  • Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.

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