On the trail of ancient civilizations in Bulgaria26/03/2019
The land of the sun, and the land of the eagles, Macedonia and Albania are two not very known travel gems, hidden in the Balkan west. Many historical sites, rural areas, and protected natural sights can be seen and visited almost at all times. In this tour, you will experience both the historical and natural heritage of Macedonia, as well as the beautiful rural and high developed Albanian towns and sites.
Day 1Arrival in Skopje (30 km) (D)
Pick up from Skopje airport. Accommodation in a hotel in Skopje. In the afternoon we start walking tour from the centuries-old Kale – Skopje fortress. We will continue to the Old Turkish Bazaar, mingling with the locals, meeting different cultures and religions, old forgotten crafts, as well. After that, we go to the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia with one of the biggest ancient coins collection in the world exclusively from the Macedonian territory. We walk across the Stone Bridge, the landmark of the city, and stop in front of the biggest monument and fountain of Alexander the Great. The next stop will be the memorial house of Mother Teresa. She was born in Skopje in 1910. Free time for individual activities and welcoming dinner in a national restaurant. Overnight.
Day 2Skopje – Millenium cross - Matka - Skopje (50 km) (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we start the day from mountain Vodno where we visit the Millennium cross. To visit this landmark of Skopje, we take the cable car up to the top of the hill, a great place to admire the panoramic view of the city and plane of Skopje. The next stop will be the church of St. Panteleimon with rare Renaissance frescoes from the 12th century. From Vodno, we take you to one of the most beautiful canyons in Europe, Matka, with the river Treska. We will have a lunch break in the restaurant on the bank of the river, possibly river trout, and by small boats, we will set sail 6 km upstream to visit the cave Vrelo, full of cave decorations, like stalactites and stalagmites. Free time in the canyon for individual activities. Back to Skopje and free evening. Overnight in Skopje.
Day 3Skopje – Tetovo - Ohrid (180 km) (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel. Today we drive to Ohrid, a city of UNESCO, one of the oldest towns in Europe. On the way to Ohrid, we stop in the town Tetovo to visit a 15th century built mosque, painted uniquely in the 19th century, and then, drive on to Ohrid. We will arrive in Ohrid around noon, and first, we do the check-in. Then we walk to the centrally located restaurant to have our lunch. After lunch, we start a walking city tour. We start with a lecture in history from the local guide, in the biggest open-air museum of the Byzantium. We will visit famous untouched medieval churches, like St. Sophia, St. John the Evangelist, the fortress of King Samuel with a beautiful panorama, the ancient Macedonian-Roman theatre… Sailing with small boats, we go back to the center. Free afternoon. Dinner on your own. Overnight.
Day 4Ohrid – NP Galichitca – St. Naum Monastery – Bay of Bones - Ohrid (60 km) (B, L, D)
Breakfast at the hotel. We start driving to the National park Galichitca to visit the extraordinary monument of nature - lake Ohrid springs and the monastery of St. Naum, from the 9th century. The oldest tablets of Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabet were found in this monastery and they are still standing at the pillars there. Lunch in the restaurant near the springs. On the way back to Ohrid, we stop at the unique reconstruction of a prehistoric settlement on water from the bronze age, called the Bay of Bones. A lecture from the professional curator. In the late afternoon, we arrive in Ohrid. Tonight we take you to dinner in a national restaurant with a folk ensemble and traditional Macedonian songs and dances. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 5Ohrid - Tirana (170 km) (B)
In the morning, we are driving through the Macedonian-Albanian border, heading to Albania’s capital Tirana. Accommodation and a short break before we start the city tour. First, we visit the National Museum of History, which is a great introduction to the history of the country and its people. 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 Hoxha 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 Enver Hoxha house in Blloku. Free evening and overnight in Tirana.
Day 6Tirana – Durres – Kruja - Tirana (130 km) (B)
After breakfast in the hotel, we leave to the ancient town and port of Durres, UNESCO site. We walk along the Adriatic sea coast and visit the remains of the ancient amphitheater, thought that can hold 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 the former 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 ethnic bazaar. After a short break, we drive back to Tirana. Free evening and overnight in Tirana.
Day 7Tirana-Berat-Tirana (200 km) (B)
After the 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. A great opportunity to meet locals, to mingle with them and talk about life in Albania. In the central street of Berat, where most of the restaurants and cafes are situated, we will have free time for lunch or coffee on your own. Then we drive back to Tirana. Tonight we have a farewell dinner in the Albanian capital. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 8Day 8. Tirana - Airport of Tirana (16 km) (B)
Transfer to the international airport of Tirana.
PDF brochure for this tour