South Albania & North Greece Meteora Monasteries
If you want to explore as much of the culture between Albanians and Greeks, this is the right journey. It covers all of Southern Albania combined with the great Meteora monasteries and little Greek lifestyle.
- Visit Lake Ohrid (UNESCO)
- Explore Greek lifestyle in Kastoria and Ioannina
- Discover Meteora monasteries (UNESCO)
- Visit Gjirokaster and Berat (UNESCO)
- Drive Albanian Riviera
- Professional tour guide/driver
- Transportation as per itinerary
- Fuel, road taxes, parking and international car insurance
- Accommodation in double/twin rooms with breakfast
- Entrance fee Gjirokaster castle and Museum of Weapons
- Entrance fee Butrint archeological park
- Entrance fee Porto Palermo fortress
- Entrance fee Berat castle
- Personal expenses
Day 1. Tirane – Lake Ohrid – Korce (170 km)
Our professional tourist guide will meet at your hotel lobby and continue driving towards the southeast of Albania. Our first stop will be the little village of Lin located by the lake Ohrid. The village has an amazing feeling of friendly local people and the site of a paleo Christian church from 4th-5th century A.D.
Next, we drive along the lake and stop at the village of Tushemisht. This farmer's village is known for cultivating endemic fish from the lake named “belushka”. There are a couple of nice restaurants where you can try it. Near the village is also Drilon park, a former vacation place of Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha.
After lunch, the trip continues to Korce, nicknamed “The City of Serenades”. It is a charming place with unique vibes. The medieval bazaar is worth spending some time wandering around. The tour takes you to the big Orthodox cathedral and the National Museum of Medieval Art, dedicated to the 7000 art icons representing the wide culture of the city. Evenings are for delicious “lakror” (a typical local pie), drinking raki, and local serenades. Accommodation in Korce.
Optional: Entrance fee to National Museum of Medieval Art (700 leke/person)
Day 2. Korce – Kastoria – Kalabaka (200 km)
After breakfast, we drive to the nearby cross border with Greece. The first stop will be the city of Kastoria, located on the shores of Lake Orestiada. This city might not be as famous as other sites in Greece such as Athens or Thessaloniki, but it is a precious gem surrounded by Byzantine churches, picturesque views, and little narrow streets. The guide will walk you around the city and enjoy a break by the lake. Later we drive to Kalabaka, well known for the great Meteora monasteries. On the top of gigantic rocks are founded a complex of orthodox monasteries which we will have time to explore in the afternoon and the next day in the morning. Accommodation in Kalabaka.
Optional: Entrance fees to Meteora monasteries
Day 3. Meteora – Ioannina – Gjirokaster (195 km)
We wake up with enchanting views like nowhere else. There will be some time remaining to visit the monasteries and walk in the town. Afterward, we drive towards the town of Ioannina, an artistic place by Lake Pamvotida. The city walking tour continues inside the medieval castle. The visitors can approach the history of the city from antiquity to the present day. The town has a calm atmosphere, the main reason why it has produced lots of Greek poets. After lunch, we cross the border and get back to Albania. The next destination is the city of Gjirokaster, a site listed under UNESCO World heritage in Albania. The town hosts unique local architecture which has been nicknamed Stone City. Argjiro castle stands with pride at the top of the hill and can be seen from all over the city and the valley. The walking tour will include a visit to the old bazaar and the castle. Accommodation in Gjirokaster.
Day 4. Butrint – Sarande (90 km)
We will drive further south to visit the archeologic park of Butrint. The ruins found here date back to the 8th century B.C representing a long living history of the Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantine empires. A walk inside the city guided by our knowledgeable guide, surrounded by beautiful nature and ruins will make you feel like you are in another past world.
Not far from the park are located Ksamil Islands which are so well-known for their sandy beaches and views of Corfu Island located only 4km across the sea. We take some free time to jump into the refreshing blue waters. In the evening you can enjoy the nightlife of Saranda. Accommodation in Sarande.
Day 5. Albanian Riviera (90 km)
Today we explore the Albanian Riviera. Through the coastal road, we continue to visit lots of villages with amazing vacation atmospheres and rich history. Dhermi village is one of the most famous for its beautiful beaches and the old town. Himare is a small town with friendly locals who host thousands of vacationers during the summer season. Nearby is located Porto Palermo castle, built as a defensive fortress from Albania ruler Ali Pashe Tepelena during the 18th century.
Qeparo is another unique village. The old houses built on the top of the hill look mysterious and stay grandiose facing the Ionian Sea. Accommodation in Llogara national park.
Day 6. Llogara - Berat – Tirana (256 km)
After waking up peacefully in the mountains, we continue driving to the city of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you will explore the ancient history of the city and the three quarters, that have made this city special: Mangalem, Gorica, and Kalaja. The guided city tour includes a visit inside the largest habited castle in Albania. Later we head to walk through tiny narrow streets of Mangalem and Gorica neighborhoods. The local experience here is incomparable, from going inside ottoman mosques to visiting orthodox churches.
In the afternoon we drive back to the capital Tirana.
*Next day airport transfer or full day Tirana city tour at your request