ARCHAEOLOGICAL SPRING IN THE ANCIENT ILLYRIA

THE HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL DIMENSION OF ALBANIA

We will visit 7 archaeological sites, 2 National Archaeological Museums, 3 archaeological Antiquarium, 2 Albanian historical places and much more.A tour with the main archaeological theme but without neglecting some of the most important historical locations in Albania. A package designed and packaged for individuals or small groups, this tour will take you to visit some of the most important historical and archaeological sites of Albania some well-known tourist, but also and especially those archaeological sites of Illyrian, Greek and Roman that are well beyond the usual mass itineraries and to the most unknown but absolutely to visit.
We will take you to the inland locations of Albania hidden in the mountains, inside military naval bases and on the emerald-colored shores of the sea.
Thanks to the accompaniment of a local guide in English you can admire these places through villages where life has remained as we did in the sixties, and all in absolute tranquility and with Italian standards and assistance.
In addition to the most significant cities, which will offer you a view on what is and has been Albania in past centuries, you will have the opportunity to visit the two most important archaeological sites of the country, Butrint nicknamed the Albanian Pompei which alone is worth journey, from the first important center of Epirus and then Roman colony in the times of Julius Caesar enriched by an antiquarium rich in ceramic, bronze, stone and statues found on the spot; Apollonia the second largest Albanian archaeological site founded by the Greeks in the fourth century AC, as well as dell’antiquarium present there where important finds from the Greek period and later are collected with true mastery and museological professionalism, and also three true archaeological gems that very few know and visit that is:
Bylis (or Byllis) one of the largest cities in the south of Illyricum built by the kings of the Illyrian tribes during the period of the hard struggle against the Macedonians and then the city of Amantia founded in the fifth century BC, covering an area of 13 ha. of great military and economic defensive importance (beating its own currency); and then again Orikum (Oricumi), a Greek founding city located inside a military naval base where access is allowed only with the permission of the military; Amantia nestled in the mountains above Valona important site Epirotico founded in the fifth century BC, covers an area of 13 ha .; in the south of Albania we will visit two other sites of the most important in the country (Phoinike and Antigonea) Phoinike or Fenice was the best fortified and most powerful center of ancient Epirus, and Antigonea the city founded by Molossi, in the territory of Caonia, in honor of Antigone, wife of the king of Epirus Pirro and then Durazzo called by Romans “The Taverna of the Adriatic” with the largest amphitheater of the Balkans, with its Archaeological Museum second only to the National Archaeological Museum of Tirana they will culturally complete the visits.
Then we will visit the cities protected by UNESCO ,Berat, the city with a thousand and one windows with its architectural agglomeration of the Ottoman period, and Argirocastro with its cobblestone streets and its castle where there are exposed weapons of the last wars.
Kruja (Croia) the city of the national hero Skanderberg, and the capital metropolis of Tirana where we will visit the National Archaeological Museum, we will pass from Fier and Vlora and then up to the Llogora pass at 1,000 meters height immersed in the green Pino Nero with the its breathtaking panorama of the Ionian coast, and then Porto Palermo, Himare, Saranda and the beach of Ksamil (the Albanian Bora Bora).

                                                                 PROGRAM

1st DAY – BOOKING AND ACCOMODATION. VISIT OF DURRES.

Arrival in the morning at the airport of Tirana, transfer to the hotel in the beach of Durres.
Early in the afternoon transfer to the center of Durres .
Durres, founded by the Illyrians in the 13th century BC, expanded considerably thanks to the tribe of the Taulants in the 9th century BC that made it the capital, became an important port of Roman times (by the Romans was also known as “Tavern of the Adriatic”), visit of the National Archaeological Museum ,visit to the historical places of the city Venetian Tower, Ottoman Walls, Thermal Baths, Forum and visit of the Roman Amphitheater (the biggest of the Balkans), then walk with visit to the modern city square Bashkia, Boulevard.
18:00 pm return to the hotel.
20:00 pm dinner in the restaurant.

2nd DAY – VISIT OF TIRANA AND KRUJA.

7:30 am breakfast at the hotel
8:15 am departure to Tirana.
9:15 approximately visit to the center of Tirana, to the renovated Skanderberg square(Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeu the national hero who for twenty years resisted the invasion by defending Albania and Europe and its Christian moral and religious values from the Ottoman-Turkish invasion) a symbolic place of the City (Ethem Bey Mosque, ‘Clock).
Visit to the beautiful National Archaeological Museum with important archaeological finds from the various Albanian historical periods.
12:00 Time for lunch.
13.00 Departure to Kruja and visit of this charming town (only 13,500 inhabitants) placed on the side of a mountain, Croia or Kruja in Albanian is the most important city of the Albanian resistance under the guidance of Gjergj Kastrioti “Skanderbeg” in the 15th century in Kruja, it successfully fought the Ottomans for over 25 years. Shopping in the beautiful old bazaar.
Climb up to the Scanderbeg Castle and the lookout tower from where you can admire a splendid view of the plain below. The castle of Kruja was built in the 4th century AD on the remains of an earlier Illyrian settlement of the 3rd century BC.
Visit the Skanderberg Museum inside the castle.
18:30 pm return to the hotel.
20:00 pm dinner in the restaurant.

3rd DAY – VISIT OF BERAT

8:30 am breakfast at the hotel.
9:30 am departure to the city of Berati or Berat in Albanian, the City with a thousand windows, (special status on the Unesco bond).
11:15 am arrival in Berat in 2008 the historic center of Berat was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, as “a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman city“, the Castle of Berat where there are 42 churches, many of the which of the IV -V century of which few have preserved over time the original traces, the Onufri Museum, housed in the ancient Orthodox Cathedral of the “Dormition of the Virgin (named after the 16th century Albanian painter of icons), and ancient Orthodox churches Visit to the historical and ancient part of the city the district of Mangalemi with the typical Ottoman houses.
14:00 -15: 00 Time for lunch.
16:00 pm visit of the historic Gorica district and the Gorica bridge.
17:00 pm return to the hotel in Durres, scheduled for 18:30 pm.
20:00; dinner in restaurant.

4th DAY – TRANSFER TO VLORE.

7:30 am breakfast at the hotel.
8.00 am departure to Valona.
9.30 am. Visit of Apollonia. Visit to the important archaeological park and the archaeological museum. APOLLONIA (Founded in 588 BC by the Greek colonists of Kerkyra (today’s Corfu) and Corinth, Apollonia was one of the most important commercial centers of the time and was defined by Cicero: “magna urbs et gravis” – that is – large and majestic city. its ancient beauty was brought to light in the early twentieth century by a French team, although many of its treasures remained hidden.
11.30 am Time for lunch.
12:00 am Departure to  Bylis.
13:30 pm Visit to the ancient city of Bylis (or Byllis)The archaeological site is located in an extraordinary natural position overlooking a valley, spread over an area of thirty hectares with massive walls extended for over 2 km, was the residence of an important “barbaric” community of Illirians.
15:00 hours Departure to Valona.
17:00 pm Return to the hotel and free time for a walk on the Vlora Boulevard.
20.00 pm dinner in the restaurant.

5th DAY – VISIT OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF AMANTIA AND ORIKUM (ORICUM).

7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.

8:15 am Departure to Amantia.
9.30 am Arrival in Amantia and visit of the archaeological park.Amantia was founded in the fifth century BC, it covers an area of 13 ha. Amantia occupied an important defensive position. In the 3rd century BC, Amantia was economically dominant and coined its own currency.It was surrounded by walls more than two kilometers long. It had its own acropolis and a temple dedicated to Aphrodite in Doric style built in the 3rd century BC. C. The best preserved monument is the stadium, about sixty meters long, could accommodate about four thousand people. Amantia until the abandonment occurred towards the end of the sixth century D.C. gradually lost its strategic and economic importance and became a small urban center which in the early Christian era was a bishop’s seat.
12:00am Departure to the archaeological site of Orikum placed inside a military naval base (now NATO base) and accessible only with authorization;
13:00 pm Time for lunch
14:00 pm Departure to  Orikum.
2.30 pm Arrival in Orikum to visit the archaeological site. Orikum city placed on the sea was used by the Romans in ancient times as a defensive base in the wars against the Illyrians as well as in the 3rd century BC against the Macedonians, who actually occupied it in 214 A.C. Julius Caesar and his troops settled near the town for several months.
4.30 pm Departure to Vlore.
5.15 pm Return to Vlore and walk along the Boulevard to the birthplace of the father of the Patria Ismail Qemal.
6.30 pm Return to the hotel.
8.00 pm Dinner in the restaurant.

6th DAY – DEPARTURE TO SARANDA

8:30 am breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 am Departure to Saranda with crossing of  Valona, transit on the Llogora pass (Llogora National Park at about 1000 meters above sea level) In the park you can find many trees of various essences such as the Black Pine (Pinus nigra) trees, the Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii), the Bulgarian fir (Abies borisii-segno) and ash trees (Fraxinus))Llogara has always been a popular holiday area for Albanians, but very popular with tourists from northern Europe.
10:30 am Arrival at the Llogora Pass and stop for a coffee inside the Llogora Park Village where some deer live free.
11:00 am Departure to  Saranda with some stops planned along the road, including a stop to admire the spectacular view of the Ionian coast, and one for the former submarine base of the period of the dictatorship, this bay hosted during the Cold War bunkers of Soviet submarines.
12:30 am Stop on the beach of Himare and time for lunch.
13:30 Departure to Saranda.
2:00 pm Visit of Porto Palermo with ascent to the castle-fortress of Ali Pasha.Here is a small island built by Ali Pashà Tepelena, the Ottoman governor who managed to create, in southern Albania, an independent domain between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
17:30 hours Arrival in Saranda and accommodation in the hotel.
Free time for a walk on the Saranda promenad.
8:00 pm dinner in a restaurant outside the hotel.

7th DAY – VISIT OF THE BUTRINTO ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE.

8:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.
9:30 am Departure to Butrint.
10:00 am Visit to the archaeological site of Butrint (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Departure from Saranda to the Butrint site, the flagship of Albanian archeology. Butrint dates back to the 7th century BC and according to Virgil was founded by Eleno son of Priam Re di Troia, the Greeks make Butrint a fortified commercial city (the remains of the acropolis are still visible). Its 6th century BC fortification evokes all the military power of the city and is a symbol of a rich culture and an important and thriving city. It then became an important Roman colony. It then fell under the dominion of the Venetians and Turks, losing its importance over the course of the century and beginning its decline. The city found (only partially excavated) is a very important microcosm of almost 3,000 years of Mediterranean history. Visit to the precious antiquarium (museum) on the spot.
12:30 am Time for lunch.
13:30 pm Departure to the Phoenike or Fenice archaeological site the best fortified and most powerful center of ancient Epirus.
13:45 am short break in Ksamil the most beautiful beach in Albania (called the Albanian Bora-Bora) with Caribbean sand and emerald sea.
15:30 hours Arrival at Phoenike and visit of the archaeological site.
5.30 pm Return to Saranda to admire the splendid mosaic inside a former dwelling and its ancient remains.
6.30 pm Return to the hotel in the afternoon with free time available for visiting Saranda.
8.00 pm Dinner in the restaurant.

8th DAY – GJIROKASTER VISIT AND RETURN TO DURRES .

7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel.
8:00 am Departure for the archaeological site of Antigonea, ancient founded in 295 A.C. which took its name from the Egyptian wife of King Pirro of Epirro.
10:15 am Arrival in Antigonea and visit of the archaeological site.
11:30 am departure for Gjirokaster.
12:00 am Time for lunch and visits to Gjirokaster (World Heritage Site – UNESCO)
Its name in Greek means Silver Fortress and the city clearly shows the meeting of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Turkish and Albanian cultures  to the old city, shopping in the various local craft shops, visit to the castle on top of the hill.
2.30 pm Departure to return to Tirana airport, scheduled for about 18.30. It takes about 3 ½ hours for the Tirana airport. Stop for a coffee along the way.

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STRUCTURES DESCRIPTION

The hotels are located in Durrës, about 3 km away from the city center. In Vlore in the immediate vicinity of the center and in Saranda a few hundred meters from the center. The stars are attributed on site by the hotel itself.

HOTEL DESCRIPTION

Hotel Durres 3 * is located in Durrës in Plazh (beach) directly on the long sandy beach where you can make endless walks and have a coffee or an aperitif in the many bars of the beach enjoying the scent of the sea and enjoy the beautiful sunsets. It is a 3 * star recently renovated, the rooms are newly furnished in a modern way, has Wi-Fi, private parking; It has sea view rooms with balconies with air conditioning, mini-bar, has an excellent fish restaurant where you can enjoy the taste of the sea during your dinners, but also expertly cooked pasta and Italian pizza in the adjacent room.

Hotel in Vlora 4 *. The hotel is located in the center of Vlorë, a few meters from the boulevard, and in the immediate vicinity of the main square, the hotel offers free Wi-Fi and free parking. All rooms have air conditioning, a satellite TV and a private bathroom with a shower. Breakfast included.

Hotel in Saranda 4 *. is located in the center of Saranda at 100 mt. from the promenade along the sea where you can take a relaxing evening walk and have a coffee or an aperitif in the many bars present enjoying the scent of the sea and enjoying the sunset over the bay. The rooms are modernly furnished with air conditioning, mini-bar, Wi-Fi; It has sea-view rooms with a balcony. It does not have a restaurant inside but only 100 meters from the hotel.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION
-No health prevention is necessary.
-The only precaution is to avoid drinking tap water, better to use bottled water.
-Compulsory medical insurance.

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