Albania, Macedonia & Beyond

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  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $7,695
  • Length: 16 days
  • Operator: Travcoa
  • 866-591-0260
    Destinations: Europe, Albania, Greece, Macedonia
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Tour Description

Go where few have gone before on your exploration of these hospitable countries. Visit the cliffside monastery of Kalishta and the Byzantine cathedral of Sveti Naum, perched high above Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid. Stroll the streets of Albanian Gjirokastra - a jewel of Ottoman architecture - and travel even further back in time as you explore the ruins of prehistoric Butrint. Then cross the border into ancient Greece to visit Meteora’s majestic hilltop monasteries. Along the way, marvel at the striking landscapes, learn about local culture from expert guides and immerse yourself in the history of these little-visited lands.

  • Be one of the few to explore the ancient Roman ruins at Albania’s Butrint
  • Ascend to the sky at the mountain monasteries of Meteora
  • Visit remote Kruja, with its imposing fortress and bustling bazaar
  • Enjoy a private folk dance performance in Tirana
  • Consult the oracle at Dodoni, the oldest of the ancient world
  • Cruise to Sveti Naum, one of the most famous sights in Macedonia
  • Watch the sun set over the Adriatic Sea with magnificent views of the Bay of Saranda while enjoying refreshments at Lekursi Castle

Itinerary

DAYS 1 - 3

Tirana, Albania

Arrive in Tirana on Day 2. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your deluxe hotel. Enjoy cocktails and a welcome dinner of regional specialties with your Travcoa Travel Director and fellow travelers.

On Day 3 begin your exploration of Albania by touring Kruja, the birthplace of Albania’s national hero and the capital city of Tirana. Drive to the mountainside town of Kruja to visit its immense castle. Take a guided tour of the fortress with its magnificent views of the surrounding valleys and peaks. Stroll through the old bazaar where local craftspeople in wooden shops sell traditional handicrafts. After dining on local specialties at a restaurant in Kruja, drive back to Tirana. Visit several of the city’s major monuments, including the grand Ethem Bey Mosque and its colossal clock tower, an emblem of the city. Enjoy dinner at a Tirana restaurant while being entertained with a folkloric show.

Sheraton Tirana, Tirana

DAYS 4 - 6

Lake Ohrid Sveti Naum, Macedonia

The ancient city of Ohrid, seated on the banks of magnificent Lake Ohrid, hides a cornucopia of delights in its twisting cobbled streets and traditional architecture. The National Museum beckons visitors with its exquisite displays of Macedonian art and culture. Walk to the medieval church of St. Sofia and marvel at its splendid architecture and well-preserved frescoes. Visit the Samuil Fortress situated on a hill in the center of Ohrid, which provides an ideal spot for a panoramic view of the town, the lake, and the surrounding countryside.

On Day 6 take a full-day excursion across Lake Ohrid by boat to the monastic complex of Sveti Naum, one of the most famous sights in Macedonia. Your visit includes a guided tour of the spectacular Byzantine church along with its ancient frescoes, turreted towers, and spartan monastic quarters.

Hotel Gorica, Ohrid

DAY 7

Elbasan Castle Durres

On your drive today from Ohrid to the Albanian Adriatic port town of Durres, stop to visit Elbasan Castle. Excavations suggest that the outer walls were first built in the 4th century A.D., and today the castle stands as a monument to a bygone era. This afternoon, arrive in Durres. For centuries the largest port on the Adriatic, Durres now holds the title of Albania’s second-largest city. Most impressive are the ruins of a Roman amphitheater in the center of town. Explore the site before visiting the archaeological museum to learn more about this historically rich area.

Adriatik Hotel, Durres

DAY 8

Berat Apollonia

Depart Durres this morning and drive to the ancient hilltop town of Berat, a marvel of ancient houses, winding stone paths and magnificent vistas. Stroll through Berat’s fortified castle, one of the few castles in Europe still with houses and inhabitants residing within its walls. No visit to Albania is complete without a trip to the ruins of Apollonia. Founded by the Greeks in the 6th century B.C., it developed into a cultural center for literature and music until it fell into decline some 700 years later. Still only partially excavated, explore its ancient roads, the expansive library, and an orthodox monastery which was transformed into an archaeological museum.

Hotel New York, Vlora

DAYS 9 & 10

Saranda, Gjirokastra Butrint

Travel along the unspoiled coastline on your way to Saranda, the southernmost town on the Albanian coast at the Ionian Sea. Be delighted at the dramatic and rugged beauty of the Albanian Riviera, with its steep backdrops to white sandy beaches. Set on the Adriatic, Saranda looks across the sparkling waters to the jewel-isle of Corfu. Explore Butrint, marveling at the layers of civilizations - Greek, Roman, Venetian and others, brought to light by the excavations. Visit the Roman amphitheater, the well-preserved Byzantine basilica, the ruins of a 2nd-century nymphaeum, and the famous Lion’s Gate.

Hotel Butrinti, Saranda

DAYS 11 & 12

Gjirokastra, Albania Ioannina, Greece

Perched on a cliff above the rushing clear waters of the Drino River, Gjirokastra is famous for its uniquely well-preserved Ottoman architecture. The original settlements, dating back to the first century B.C., developed into a fortress - the imposing Gjirokastra Castle. Explore the castle to learn about the history of this region and its people.

Enjoy a guided tour of the highlights of Ioannina’s old town before taking a boat out to the island in the middle of sparkling Pamvotis Lake. On this picturesque island, visit several churches and see how the less than 100 permanent inhabitants go about their daily lives. Lunch is served in a restaurant specializing in local delicacies. Later, drive on to visit the Dodoni archeological site. The oracle at Dodoni was the oldest in ancient Greece and travelers would come from all over the world to ask questions about their fate to the priests who lived there.

Grand Serai Hotel, Ioannina

DAY 13

Metsovo Meteora

The tiny mountain village of Metsovo draws travelers with its blend of beautiful scenery, picturesque architecture and cobblestone pathways. Spend the morning exploring the charming Swiss-like village, known for its traditional way of life. Continue to Meteora for lunch. Afterward, explore the stunning complex of mountaintop monasteries that are wonders of the modern world. The monastic cells and churches have been carved from massive sandstone pillars. Ascend through the clouds to visit these miraculous creations of ancient hermit monks.

Hotel Meteora, Meteora

DAYS 14 - 16

Kalambaka, Thessaloniki Depart for Home

Embark on a scenic drive through northern Greece on the way to Vergina, the last resting place of the great Macedonian rulers of old. The most impressive ruins are the monumental palace with its intricate mosaics and glorious painted stuccoes, and the necropolis which houses the tombs of Phillip II (Alexander the Great’s father) and other Macedonian royalty. After lunch in Vergina, continue to Thessaloniki.

Since its founding in 315 B.C., Thessaloniki has been home to a number of civilizations with both a strong Hellenistic presence and a rich Byzantine history. Visit the massive Rotonda, built by Galerius Caesar in 300 A.D., as well as the church of St. Dimitrious and the old city walls with marvelous views of the Thermaic Gulf. Explore the Archaeological Museum and its artifacts from the city’s more than 2,000 years of history. On the evening of Day 15, enjoy a cocktail party and farewell dinner with your fellow travelers and your Travel Director.

The morning of Day 16 you will be taken to the airport in Thessaloniki for your flight home or on to your next destination.

Makedonia Palace Hotel, Thessaloniki

Departures

Pricing Information

June 7, 2012

From $7,695.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

June 21, 2012

From $7,695.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

September 13, 2012

From $7,695.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

October 11, 2012

From $7,695.00 per person double occupancy.

From $1,290.00 single room supplement.

Journey Includes

  • Deluxe rooms in the best available hotels
  • Three meals per day, including our unique Dine-Around program that lets you enjoy any restaurant you choose with à la carte dining, or relax with room service when available*
  • A professional Travel Director as your personal concierge
  • Local sightseeing with professional English-speaking guides with unparalleled knowledge, including entrance fees for places visited
  • Active participation and up-close encounters to experience the cultures of your journey
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and tea included with meals; bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • All gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff and local guides and drivers
  • Group or individual airport transfers on arrival and departure flights
  • TheTravcoAssist Travel Protection Plan, including emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage for injury or illness, and 24-hour Worldwide Live Travel Assistance through Travel Guard Assistance

*Due to remote or undeveloped locations on some journeys, accommodations may not always meet Western standards. Dine-Around opportunities will be limited in remote or unsecured locations.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

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Tour Notes