Pick up from Skopje airport and transfer. Accommodation in a hotel in Skopje. In the afternoon, we start a walking tour from the centuries-old Kale – Skopje Fortress. Continue to the Old Turkish Bazaar, mingling with the locals, meeting different cultures and religions, old forgotten crafts, as well. After that, go to the "Museum of Macedonian Struggle", or to the "Archaeological Museum of Macedonia". Walk across the Stone Bridge, the landmark of the city, and stop in front of the biggest monument and fountain, Alexander the Great. The next stop will be the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, where she was born in 1910. Tonight the welcoming dinner is in Kamnik Winery. The winery and its vineyards stretch out across 13 hectares of hills with exposition of the slopes to the south, and with excellent microclimatic conditions all year round, where we will taste some wine varieties both local and international, like Golden Temjanika, Vranec, Pinot Noar, Pinot Grigio, or Rose wine, accompanied with delicious Macedonian national food. Back to the hotel. Overnight.
Day 2 Skopje – Kuklica – Cocev Kamen - Kratovo - Berovo (B, L, D) (205 km)
Breakfast. Than we head to the Valley of Stone Dolls (Kuklica), an area consisting of over 120 naturally formed stone pillars, related to many legends of their creation. The next stop is the archeological site Cocev Kamen (or Tsotse’s Stone) that is thought to be a prehistoric observatory similar to Stonehenge in the UK. Besides, it was used for sacrificial rituals and as a temple. Rocks art (paintings on the rocks) is found here as well. Drive to Kratovo (95 km), a little medieval town founded in the middle of a once-volcano crater. Have a guided walking tour around the town, crossing many medieval bridges and towers. See a unique small museum with artifacts from the 20th century B.C. until nowadays. Then have a chance to taste slowly-cooked food by the locals and taste the local homemade wine and rakija (Macedonian brandy). After that, drive towards Berovo (110 km). Accommodation in a hotel. Dinner in a local national restaurant. Overnight.
Day 3Berovo (B, L) (20 km)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive (8km) close to Bachilo (tea hut), and have the option to walk to Bachilo about (800 m) on a steep terrain; or to use a tractor from the main road to the tea hut. It is a private property in the middle of the mountain, where they grow their own fruits and vegetables around the hut and also have their own cattle. The host will take us around the property and serve us home-made food. This small mountainous town and its healthy environment is well-known for bee farms and honey production, so next we take a visit to one of them. After that, come back to Berovo and have free time to stroll around Berovo Lake. Overnight.
Day 4 Berovo – Koleshino - Gabrovo - Demir Kapija (B, L, D) (140 km)
Breakfast. Drive to the village of Koleshino (70 km), a rare friendly village with 4 different Christian religions. There, visit the beautiful Koleshino waterfall. Just 4 km from the waterfall is a small village of Gabrovo, and there we a have home-hosted lunch with folk music performance by local musicians. We will pick up some fruits and vegetables from the fields and start cooking together with the hosts – fresh salads, fresh baked bread and meat, home-made wine and natural fruit juices will be on our menu for the home-hosted lunch. After that, drive to Demir Kapija (70 km), and accommodate in the winery & hotel "Popova Kula". Have dinner with wine tasting in the restaurant of the winery Popova Kula. Overnight.
Day 5Demir Kapija - Stobi – Demir Kapija (B, L, D) (64 km)
Breakfast. Today we drive to the biggest archaeological site in Macedonia, Stobi. Besides the ruins of palaces and ancient temples, the oldest synagogue in Europe, from 1st century A.D., is found in this archaeological site. We drive back in Popova Kula for cocking classes and lunch. Free afternoon to explore the wine area on own. Tonight we have dinner in one of the oldest wineries in the country, Queen Maria Winery. The story starts back in 1927. After being consulted by his Royal experts that among other places in the Balkans, the land near the legendary gorge ‘Demir Kapija’ is most fertile and perfect for growing grapes and wine production, King Aleksandar Karadjordjevic decided to build his royal property there. His ambition was to create a wine place with extraordinary quality exclusively for the needs of the Royal Family. The king named the property ‘Queen Maria’ after his wife, Maria Karadjordjevic. Overnight.
Day 6 Demir Kapija - Bitola - Ohrid (B, L, D) (205 km)
Breakfast. Drive to the city of consuls, Bitola (130 km), and have short sightseeing city tour. After that, have a home-hosted lunch in the mountain village of Dihovo (5 km). Continue to the town of UNESCO, Ohrid (70 km). Accommodation in a hotel. Start the city tour of Ohrid, one of the oldest towns in Europe, full of history, with traces of civilization 4.000 years old. Visit the famous untouched medieval churches, the fortress of King Samuel with a beautiful panorama, the ancient Macedonian-Roman theatre. Sail with small boats on the way back to the town centre. Have some free time on your own. Then, have dinner in a national restaurant with a folk ensemble, performing traditional Macedonian songs and dances. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 7 Ohrid – Elshani – Bay of bones –Ohrid (B, L) (49 km)
Breakfast. Drive to Elshani (12 km), a beautiful mountain village with excellent view over the Ohrid Lake. There, have a chance to ride donkeys and mingle with the locals. After that, have home-hosted meal with the locals. The panorama to the national park and the Lake Ohrid is something that you will remember of for a long time. In the afternoon, visit the unique prehistoric settlement on water from the Bronze Age – Bay of Bones (8 km). The rest of the day is on own, with a chance to enjoy the beautiful sunset over in one of the oldest European towns and lakes. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 8 Ohrid – St. Naum – Voskopoje - Korca (B, D) (115 km)
After breakfast, we drive to the opposite site of the lake, on the border with Albania. We visit the extraordinary monument of nature – lake springs and the monastery of St. Naum built in 9th century A.D. One of the first Cyrillic and Glagolitic letters were carved on the pillars of this monastery and are still standing there. We cross the border and head to Voskopoje in Albania. Between the 17th and the 18th century Voskopoje became one of the most developed and prosperous cities in the European part of the Ottoman Empire. Testimony to the peak of Voskopoje as the cultural and intellectual center of the entire south Albania and the northern Epirus are one of the first Printing House in the Balkans established in 1720, the Academia of Moschopolis – Voskopoja founded in 1744, the famous Christian Basilicas, the house of walls painted by the famous Albanian post-Byzantine painters, including David Selenica and the Zeografi brothers. 24 Orthodox churches of Voskopoja famous for their wonderful frescoes and icons had been built during the period between the 16th-18th centuries, too. In the afternoon we drive towards the historical city of Korcha and visit the bazar, the Orthodox Church and the town square. Overnight in Korcha.
Day 9 Korca – Permet - Gjirokaster (B, D) (195 km)
We leave Korcha after the breakfast. The greenest and the cleanest town in Albania, also known as the “city of roses.” The small town of Permet is famous for its folk music and renowned clarinetist Laver Bariu, literature personalities, and the good cooking, especially sweets, the so-called ‘gliko’, or preserves. You will be served good wine and raki in Permet and around. Today our destination is another UNESCO site in our trip – Gjirokastro. In the afternoon, we will first accommodate in a hotel, then have a small orientation walk around authentic city streets. Tonight, we have organized dinner in a traditional Albanian restaurant. Overnight in Gjirokaster.
Day 10Gjirokaster – Doksat – Gjirokaster (B, L) (30 km)
We board our vehicle and set out to explore the southern Albanian hillside town of Gjirokaster, whose collection of Ottoman-era mansions is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Birthplace of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, Gjirokaster is nicknamed the “City of Stone” for the distinctive stone roofs adorning its old homes. Upon arrival walk through the steep cobblestone streets of the Ottoman bazaar whose origins go back to the 17th century. Shops line the street selling traditional products, and we'll see locals going about their daily routines. Then we go to meet the residents of the small village of Dhoksat. Here, we'll interact with villagers and help them with their daily tasks. Then, we'll break up into smaller groups and walk to the homes of local families for lunch. We'll enjoy a Home-Hosted Lunch with a local family in Dhoksat. Then, we'll depart and drive to a World War II museum, where we'll explore the country's history and involvement in the war, viewing a beautiful hillside castle en route. We'll explore the museum for about an hour before we return by taxi to the hotel. For the dinner, perhaps you'll seek out local specialties such as Qebapa, which are grilled beef and lamb sausages, or perime ne zgare —a popular appetizer of grilled vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions and peppers.
Day 11Gjorokaster – Berat - Tirana (B, D) (260 km)
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Berat, one of the most visited and characteristic towns in Albania, the last UNESCO site in our trip, as a patronage of humanity for its architectural uniqueness. After visiting the fortress of Berat, we will stroll down to the center through the narrow streets of the old part of the town. In the afternoon, we depart to Tirana. First, we see the building of the National Museum of History. Walking the central avenue and the central square, we next visit the Ethem Bay Mosque and the Clock Tower and the remains of the Castle of Tirana. We also go deep underground to visit the Enver Hoxa bunker, a former communistic leader of Albania. We walk on to the Pyramid - mausoleum of the late Enver Hoxha, designed by his daughter. We will end the tour at the district of Blloku, where the most of the institutional buildings are situated. Tonight we have farewell dinner in the Albanian capital. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 12 Tirana – Durres - Kruja - Tirana (B, D) (130 km)
After breakfast in the hotel, we leave to the ancient town and port of Durres, a UNESCO site. We walk along the Adriatic Sea and visit the remains of the ancient amphitheater, which once held 20.000 people making it the largest in the Balkans. Possibility to visit the City Museum of Durres. At noon we can advise lunch at a seaside restaurant for outdoor delicious seafood dishes, other dishes possible. In the afternoon, we drive on to once the medieval capital of Albania, Kruja. High in the mountain cliffs, we will visit the castle of the national hero of Albania, Skender-beg. Exploring the narrow streets, we will walk through the unique Ethno bazaar. After a short break, we drive back to Tirana. Free evening and overnight in Tirana.