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Hidden Treasures of Albania

Albania

from £1,249 per person
1 passenger 11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
  • Solo travellers Solo Travellers
  • Small Group < 29 Small group 29 or less
  • Breakfasts and more All breakfasts and more

Discover the historical sites and natural wonders of Albania

On this tour of Albania exclusively for solo travellers, you have the opportunity to explore the length and breadth of the country from the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian coast to the national parks of the Cika Mountains and even across the border into Macedonia on an unmissable optional excursion. On the way you will discover unspoilt areas of outstanding natural beauty, ancient cities and their sights as well as relics of the Cold War. And you will come away with the feeling that you are trailblazing a new frontier in European tourism as Albania truly feels like an eagle rising from the ashes.

Including...

11 nights in hotels

15 meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners

Excursions and visits

  • City tour of Tirana, including a visit to Bunk’ Art I
  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site Gjirokastra
  • Explore UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint
  • Visit Llogara National Park
  • Dinner in a restaurant overlooking the city of Sarande
  • Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Site Berat - ‘city of a thousand windows’
  • Sightseeing tour of Elbasan
2021 departures

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Tirana

Landscapes along the road to Tirana

After meeting your Solos tour manager at the airport, fly to Tirana.

Transfer to the locally rated 4-star Hotel Colosseo for a two night stay, enjoying a panoramic tour en route. Albania’s capital is backed by the impressive Datji Mountain range. Look forward to a welcome dinner and drinks this evening where you can get to know the rest of your group. D


Day 2 Tirana

Tirana

After breakfast, spend the morning exploring the city on a sightseeing tour with a local guide.

The colourful capital has a thriving street art scene and cafe culture having undergone a thorough transformation after the collapse of communism in 1992. Visit the main boulevard, Skandenbeg Square, named after the national hero of Albania, and surrounded by the Palace of Culture, National Historical Museum and the Et'hem Bey Mosque, one of the nation's most treasured buildings. You’ll also see Tirana’s concrete pyramid, a derelict museum built by the daughter of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha, and now a famous landmark. Learn more of the country’s fascinating history, with included tickets for the National Historic Museum.

This afternoon is free to spend at leisure, either at your hotel, or exploring independently. B


Day 3 Tirana-Pogradec

Walls of Elbasan Castle in Albania

After breakfast depart on a scenic drive back to Pogradec, stopping en-route for a sightseeing tour of Elbasan.

Originally a trading post on one of the most important routes of the Roman Empire, Elbasan was established as a military stronghold in 1466 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in his fight against the Albanian nationalist Skanderberg. Explore the remains of the Sultan’s castle with its mix of eastern and medieval architecture, including the ruins of a Basilica, the oldest active mosque in Albania, King Mosque, and 15th-century St Mary’s church and monastery. As with many of the sights you visit on this trip the lack of tourists and accessibility leaves you with the impression that you are blazing a new trail on the map of European tourism.

Continue your journey, stopping for lunch at your own expense en route, before arriving in Pogradec situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid – one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes. This afternoon enjoy an included sightseeing tour of the city with a visit to the promenade, with the remainder of afternoon at leisure. Stay two nights at the locally rated 3-star Hotel Pogradec. B


Day 4 Pogradec

Pogradec, Albania

Spend the day at leisure or, alternatively, join an optional excursion to the city of Ohrid. B


Day 5 Pogradec-Berat

Berat, Albania

After breakfast, begin your transfer to Berat, passing through the Belshi and Dumreja region, famed for its number of lakes – more than 85 in total! Stop for lunch at an Albanian home where you’ll experience a traditional meal, Rakia and Turkish coffee.

On arrival in Berat, transfer to the locally rated 4-star Hotel Grand White City where you’ll stay overnight.

This afternoon, set off on a walking tour of Berat, one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. Rising up from the waters of the river Osum, on terraces of limestone, Berat’s glistening white Ottoman dwellings have earned it the moniker of ‘city of a thousand windows’. As you climb the foot-worn, cobbled streets to the castle, you pass umpteen buildings of architectural and historical importance and slip into the cool cloisters of Onufri Museum, hidden in the Church of the Dormition of St Mary. Here you’ll find spectacular 16th-century paintings and the faded frescos of the chapel. B, L


Day 6 Berat-Saranda

Llogara National Park

Today journey to Albania’s southern coast, driving towards Saranda.

Pause en route in the harbour city of Vlore, where Albanian independence was declared in 1912. As you continue, your route takes you into the mountains. Perhaps treat yourself to lunch at a restaurant in the Llogara National Park, looking down to the ocean below. A national park since 1966, and benefiting from a moratorium on logging and hunting, Llogara is a haven for over 100 species of animals and birds, including deer and wild cats, so keep your eyes peeled. Continue winding your way along the Albanian Riviera, stopping to admire seaside beauty spots where the petticoats of the Çika Mountain range meet the Ionian.

On arrival in Saranda, transfer to the locally rated 5-star Hotel Santa Quaranta for a three-night stay, and spend the afternoon at leisure. B


Day 7 Saranda

Explore the city of Butrint

After breakfast set out on a adventure tour of Butrint, where Albania’s most important archaeological site is found.

Set in beautiful Mediterranean scenery the site features evidence of settlement dating back to prehistoric times. However the most outstanding ruins are that of a Greek theatre and paleo-Christian baptistry, which features a beautifully preserved mosaic floor adapted from a Roman ruin and paleo-Christian basilica that was rebuilt in the 9th century. Visiting the site is to experience a bygone age of tourism, leaving you with the feeling that you are among the first visitors to set eyes on these historical relics. Visit the village of Ksamil where you’ll have free time for lunch overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea, before returning to Saranda. B


Day 8 Saranda

Saranda, Albania

Today you’ll have the majority of the at leisure. Perhaps unwind on the beach or by the outdoor pool, or continue exploring Saranda at your own pace.

Later this afternoon, join an included short visit to Saranda city centre and the ruined Lekursi Castle which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. Enjoy dinner at the site and the incredible views reaching as far as Corfu island. B, D


Day 9 Saranda-Gjirokastër-Durrës

Blue Eye natural springs

After breakfast travel to Durrës, stopping en-route in Gjirokastër.

Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its perfectly preserved Ottoman old town, Gjirokastër was also the birthplace of the old communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, whose former home is now a museum. Enjoy an authentic Greek coffee in the bazaar before rummaging through the traditional craft shops and exploring the military museum in the Fortress of Gjirokastër and the Castle of Argjiro. Perhaps the most bizarre relic in the grounds of the fortress is an American Air Force jet which was forced to land in Albania in 1957 and is displayed to represent Communism’s struggle with Western imperialism.

After experiencing Gjirokastër pause at the Blue Eye natural springs, a popular local tourist attraction where crystal clear water bubbles up from a 50-metre-deep sinkhole.

Continue to Durrës for a three-night stay at the locally rated 4-star Sandy Beach Resort Golem. B


Day 10 Durrës

Panorama of Durres

At leisure. Relax by the hotel pool or enjoy a day on the private beach, with cooling dips in the inviting Adriatic.

Alternatively, join an optional tour of the historic sites of Durrës and a wine and local produce tasting at the oldest winery in Albania. B


Day 11 Durrës

Spend the day in Durres at leisure

At leisure. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, set out on an optional excursion to see the little-viewed historical sites of Kruja and Fishte.

Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. B, D


Day 12 Durres-Tirana-UK

After breakfast and a morning at leisure, transfer to Tirana airport for your return flight to the UK. B


2020 departures

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Golem Beach, Durrës

Panorama of Durres

After meeting your Solos tour manager at the airport, fly to Tirana. Transfer to Durrës and spend the night at the locally rated 4-star Sandy Beach Resort Golem beach, Durres area. Look forward to a welcome dinner and drinks where you can get to know the rest of your group. D

Durres Albania Europe

Day 2 Golem Beach, Durrës

Tirana

Join a scenic tour of Albania’s capital, Tirana, providing incredible panoramas of the city. Tirana has a beautiful aspect, situated at the foot of Mount Dajti, and is comprised of a jigsaw of contrasting architectural styles, from colourful Ottoman facades and classically inspired fascist architecture to brutalist Soviet-era modernism. Explore the Block area independently: Formerly inaccessible except to Head of State Enver Hoxha and the communist elite it is now the nucleus of Tirana’s trendy cafe culture.

Trust your guide to direct you to the best restaurant in town, before you visit the cultural hub of Block’ Art 1. This vast bunker was built to house the communist leadership if there were an attack by the West but is now a museum of the history of Albania and a centre for the arts. In the afternoon take tea in the 5th century house and gallery of one of Albania’s most famous living artists, before indulging in a specially prepared Albanian dinner at a local restaurant. B, D


Day 3 Golem Beach, Durrës

The seaside location of Durres

At leisure. Relax by the hotel pool or enjoy a day on the private beach, with cooling dips in the inviting Adriatic. Alternatively, join an optional tour of the historic sites of Durrës and a wine and local produce tasting at the oldest winery in Albania. B


Day 4 Golem Beach, Durrës

Spend the day in Durres at leisure

At leisure. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, set out on an optional excursion to see the little-viewed historical sites of Kruja and Fishte. B


Day 5 Golem Beach, Durrës to Gjirokastër to Saranda

Blue Eye natural springs

After breakfast transfer to the locally rated 5-star Hotel Santa Quaranta, in Saranda, stopping en-route in Gjirokastër. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its perfectly preserved Ottoman old town, Gjirokastër was also the birthplace of the old communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, whose former home is now a museum. Enjoy an authentic Greek coffee in the bazaar before rummaging through the traditional craft shops and exploring the military museum in the Fortress of Gjirokastër and the Castle of Argjiro. Perhaps the most bizarre relic in the grounds of the fortress is an American Air Force jet which was forced to land in Albania in 1957 and is displayed to represent Communism’s struggle with Western imperialism.

After experiencing Gjirokastër pause at the Blue Eye natural springs, a popular local tourist attraction where crystal clear water bubbles up from a 50-metre-deep sinkhole. Continue to your beach-front hotel where you’ll stay for the next three nights. B


Day 6 Saranda

Explore the city of Butrint

After breakfast set out on a adventure tour of Butrint, where Albania’s most important archaeological site is found. Set in beautiful Mediterranean scenery the site features evidence of settlement dating back to prehistoric times. However the most outstanding ruins are that of a Greek theatre and paleo-Christian baptistry, which features a beautifully preserved mosaic floor adapted from a Roman ruin and paleo-Christian basilica that was rebuilt in the 9th century.

Visiting the site is to experience a bygone age of tourism, leaving you with the feeling that you are among the first visitors to set eyes on these historical relics. Perhaps enjoy a traditional lunch on a local farm, using fresh, locally-grown produce, before returning to Saranda and your hotel. B


Day 7 Saranda

The blue Ionian Sea

At leisure. Enjoy free time in the comfortable surroundings of your hotel, with its pool and private beach on the Ionian Sea. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Mesopotam. This evening you will be treated to dinner and ‘isopolifonia’ serenade in a castle above Saranda. Soak up the Mediterranean sunset and panoramic views of the city and Ionian Sea, with Corfu visible in the near distance while you tuck into an included delicious dinner. B, D


Day 8 Saranda to Berat

Llogara National Park

After breakfast wind your way along Albania’s southern coast towards Berat, stopping to admire seaside beauty spots where the petticoats of the Çika Mountain range meet the Ionian Sea. Your route then takes you into the mountains. Perhaps treat yourself to lunch at a restaurant in the Llogara National Park, looking down to the ocean below. A national park since 1966, and benefiting from a moratorium on logging and hunting, Llogara is a haven for over 100 species of animals and birds, including deer and wild cats, so keep your eyes peeled.

After you’ve had some time for lunch, continue your scenic drive to the harbour city of Vlore, where Albanian independence was declared in 1912. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city’s most significant sites before travelling on to the locally rated 4-star Hotel Grand White City in Berat, for an overnight stay. B


Day 9 Berat

Berat, Albania

After breakfast, set off on a walking tour of Berat, one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. Rising up from the waters of the river Osum, on terraces of limestone, Berat’s glistening white Ottoman dwellings have earned it the moniker of ‘city of a thousand windows’. As you climb the foot-worn, cobbled streets to the castle, you pass umpteen buildings of architectural and historical importance and slip into the cool cloisters of Onufri Museum, hidden in the Church of the Dormition of St Mary. Here you’ll find spectacular 16th-century paintings and the faded frescos of the chapel.

Leave Berat and drive through stunning scenery to Pogradec, stopping for an included lunch at an Albanian home for a traditional meal, Rakia and Turkish coffee. Continue on to Pogradec and the lakeside locally rated 3-star Hotel Pogradec, where you stay for two nights. B, L


Day 10 Pogradec

Pogradec, Albania

At leisure. Enjoy the hotel facilities or relax on the lake beach.

Alternatively, join a scenic optional tour to Macedonia. B


Day 11 Pogradec to Tirana

Landscapes along the road to Tirana

After breakfast depart on a scenic drive back to Tirana, stopping en-route for a sightseeing tour of Elbasan. Originally a trading post on one of the most important routes of the Roman Empire, Elbasan was established as a military stronghold in 1466 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in his fight against the Albanian nationalist Skanderberg. Explore the remains of the Sultan’s castle with its mix of eastern and medieval architecture, including the ruins of a Basilica, the oldest active mosque in Albania, King Mosque, and 15th-century St Mary’s church and monastery.

As with many of the sights you visit on this trip the lack of tourists and accessibility leaves you with the impression that you are blazing a new trail on the map of European tourism. You have time to enjoy local cuisine within the old city walls before you continue your scenic drive to Tirana for your overnight stay at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Colosseo. Either relax in the hotel gardens or wander down to the Block, once a restricted compound for Hoxha and the communist elite but now the city’s trendy hub of cafe culture. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner. B, D


Day 12 Tirana-UK

Fly home

After breakfast enjoy a free morning before you travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK. B


Hidden Treasures of Albania

Albania

from £1,249 per person
1 passenger
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
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Hidden Treasures of Albania

Albania

from £1,249 per person
1 passenger
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required