These tour explores the three neighbouring Balkan countries Kosovo, Albania and FYR of Macedonia with their essential monuments and sites. An excellent tour to get to know the similarities and differences of these countries.
Duration: 8 days
We welcome you at Pristina Airport and transfer to Prizren one of the most beautiful towns in Kosovo where we visit the Stone Bridge and bazaar, The Mosque of Sinan Pasha built in 1615. Overnight in Prizren.
Prizren is known for the arts and crafts something which becomes obvious as soon as you approach the centre, with cobble stone streets, beautifully crafted shops, bars and restaurants, built in a typical Ottoman architecture. Prizren offers some great religious monuments representing different faiths, with the 14th century Orthodox Church of “Our Lady of Ljevis” being the most important, becoming part of the UNESCO list of protected Medieval Monuments of Kosovo in 2006. We continue to the Monastery complex of Decan, part of Kosovo’s UNESCO monuments. It is considered the largest medieval church in the Balkans and contains beautifully preserved fresco decorations. Continue to visit the Patriarchate of Peja constructed in the XIII century. It is composed of three small churches with beautiful frescoes. The complex of churches for its architectural and cultural values it represents is part of UNESCO. Gjakova which we visit nex has a Grand Bazaar thought to be the oldest in Kosovo also known as Ҫarshi, full of old houses & shops, a Turkish Bathhouse or Hamam and the 16th century Hadum Aga Mosque. Overnight in Gjakova in the old quarter.
After an early breakfast drive to Fierza where will take the ferry to Koman on the Koman lake. A magnificent two hour ride where the beauty of the high pointed mountains falling sharply into the waters of the artificial lake of opal green waters, forms a natural panorama which will leave you gasping for air. After this spectacular experience drive to Kruja - the centre of Albanian resistance against the Turks under Albanian national hero, Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Champion of Christ” given by the Pope of the time. We visit the Skanderbeg Museum, a very rich Ethnographic Museum and the Old Bazaar where the best handmade Albanian souvenirs can be purchased. Afterwards drive to Albania’s vibrant capital Tirana where we spend the night.
After breakfast take a driven tour of the major monuments and visit the National History Museum which offers a great introduction to Albania and its people. Proceed to Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania under the protection of UNESCO as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness. We visit the Castle and the Onufri Museum and Ethnographic museum. Berat castle is of particular interest as people still live within its walls in their traditional houses, as have their ancestors for centuries. The castle used to have over 40 churches of which 7 still remain including St. Mary’s church turned into Onufri Museum. Onufri was a famous Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece, using a special red colour. After the planned visit you are left free to explore independently. Overnight in Berat.
After breakfast depart to the city of Ohrid in neighbouring Macedonia. On the way we drive through rural villages with wonderful countryside landscapes. We stop at Elbasan for a quick visit at the castle. Afterwards proceed to Ohrid proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage area for its cultural and natural legacy. Visits include: Saint Sophia, Plashonik, Saint Painteleimon Church, the Holy Virgin of Peribleptos Church, Icon Gallery, and old Bazaar. Overnight in Ohrid.
After the breakfast drive to Stobi one of the most important archaeological sites in Macedonia. Lying in a fertile valley just a few minutes off the central north-south highway that connects Macedonia with Greece, the ancient city of Stobi was a vital trade route in its days. Visit the excavation sites with beautiful remains such as a 2nd century amphitheatre, the Theodosia palace and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors. Afterwards depart for Skopje where we take a guided tour of the main sites. Visit the old Turkish bazaar, Mahmut Pasha Hammam, the memorial house of Mother Teresa, Stone bridge and the Macedonia Plaza. Overnight in Skopje.
After breakfast drive to Pristina capital of Kosovo. At Gracanica a few kilometers from Pristina, we visit a beautifully preserved Orthodox Church of Byzantine architecture founded by Serbian king Stefan Milutin in 1321, which is part of the Kosovo Medieval Monuments protected by UNESCO. The Ethnographic Museum situated in a typical Ottoman architecture house is beautifully stocked with original artefacts which testify to the traditions and way of living of the people in Kosovo. Of particular interest are the Ottoman period mosques of Pristina with probably the most beautiful, being the Fatih Mosque dating back to 1461 during the golden era of Sultan Mehmet II. Its huge ceiling domed cupola crowns a splendidly painted floral interior of Arabesque design. Nearby is Pristina's oldest building, the Çarshia Mosque completed in 1389. In late afternoon we will walk to visit: Mother Teresa Boulevard, the Monument of Scanderbeg, the clock tower, Kosovo Government building and the “New Born” monument-the symbol of this new state. Overnight in Pristina.
After breakfast on the way to Airport just outside Pristina visit the Battle of Kosovo monument dedicated to the battle of 1389 between a Balkan Alliance forces against an Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad I. The battle was fierce and both leaders of the armies were killed in battle. Then continue further to visit the symbolic Tomb an monument of Sulltan Murad I. Continue to airport.
640 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 6 participants
750 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 4 participants
1150 Euro per person sharing a double or twin room for minimum 2 participants
Single supplement = 100 Euro. (Single rooms will usually be double or twin for single use.)
Note: The above months are for orientation purposes, to help people book on the same dates, and pay the cheaper price. However we will run this tour on other dates as per clients’ requests.
I would like say how happy we were to have Arsim as our driver and guide. He was very attentive to our needs and went beyond what we expect. To anyone I will simply say you can trust totally Arsim.
For over half a century, beginning in junior high school, I had been fascinated by the idea of this country which had hidden itself from the rest of the world; to see it would be to taste forbidden fruit. Now that Albania had opened itself up and I had the time, I decided my wife and I had to go. I researched excursions to the Balkans on the internet, in books, and in travel magazines over a period of six months. After narrowing it down to two tour operators, I picked Albania Holidays, and am I ever glad I did. Their sales manager, Denis, provided timely and responsive answers to every question and concern I had. He helped us build a comprehensive and very reasonably priced private tour. The driver and guide, Kledi, was an absolute delight to work with. He spoke perfect idiomatic English, was knowledgeable about every conceivable aspect of life in his native country (as well as the other two we visited), and was a wonderful and careful driver under every condition we met (day, night, good roads, bad roads, rain, shine, you name it). I was particularly interested in hearing about day to day life during the time of the Communist dictatorship, and he was forthcoming and informative about that as well. Seven of the ten days were spent in Albania, which we covered pretty much from north to south, including but not limited to the major World Heritage sites, all of which were fascinating and beautiful. There were no crowds (of course, we were past the height of tourist season); the people, whether in hotels, restaurants, shops, or just on the street, are friendly and as helpful as one could ever wish. Most of the other three days were spent in Macedonia (equally interesting), plus a late afternoon and early evening diversion to southern Kosovo. For anyone interested in beautiful landscapes, terrific archaeological parks, vibrant cities, great food, and friendly people - all of which are available at reasonable prices in countries not yet discovered by hordes of people - these are countries to go to - and under the auspices of Albanian Holidays, you cannot go wrong.
Thank you for arranging our 10-days tour to Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. The overall impression of the tour was very positive. Our driver Klaudio was an excellent and safe driver – felt at ease and relaxed with him during the entire trip. The hotels, especially in Albania were comfortable and up-to standards. Also enjoyed the food in your country, especially the fresh seafood offered by many of your restaurants. Albania is very scenic country and there is so much to see from a cultural and geographical point of view. However, the greatest impression from the trip was the friendliness of your people and the overall progress your country has achieved since independence. Best wishes