Highlights of Albania

Trip code: W09AL

Guided group walking

9 nights,

Level: 2

Operated by
Exodus Travels


  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Visit Unesco World Heritage sites: Pogradec, Butrint, Berat and Gjirokaster Journey through the beautiful Albanian Riviera Discover historic monuments, including Durres Amphitheatre and Korce Museum of Medieval Arts Explore Llogora National Park


  • All breakfasts and one lunch included All accommodation


Albania has a history to rival its better-known (and busier) neighbours and an equally impressive wild landscape. Past civilisations have left their mark here, mainly the Romans and Byzantines, which we see throughout the tour, including at the ancient Greek colony of Butrint and the 13th-century Berat Castle, both Unesco-listed. We also discover modern Albania, visiting the cities of Tirana, Korçë, Durrës and foodie-favourite Përmet. Expect a warm welcome wherever we go.




Day 1: Start Tirana

The tour starts at our hotel in Tirana, the capital of Albania. There will be a welcome briefing at 4.30pm, followed by an orientation tour of the renovated New Bazaar, very close to our hotel. Accommodation: Hotel Europa (or similar)

Day 2: Visit Elbasan Fortress en route to Pogradec

After an early breakfast, we take a walking tour of Tirana, which was made the capital of Albania in 1920, visiting the remains of an old castle; the modern Pyramid of Tirana, which was opened as a museum and served as a NATO base during the Kosovo War; and the Prime Minister’s Office. We will also visit Bunk Art 2 or 1 (depending on seasonality), which is an Albanian history museum inside a preserved, Communist-era nuclear pit bunker. Afterwards we reach the Blloku neighbourhood, where villas were once occupied by members of the Politburo, a former leading group of the Albanian Labour party. It is now the nightlife hub of Tirana, home to trendy bars, cafes and clubs. We then drive to Pogradec (approximately 2hr 30min), making a short stop at the 15th-century fortress of Elbasan. Pogradec is one of the most charming resort cities in Albania, next to beautiful Lake Ohrid and surrounded by mountains. On the way we will stop in Lin to walk through the village and have a coffee in one of their bars. Accommodation: Hotel Pogradeci (or similar)

Day 3: Transfer to the artists village of Voskopojë; continue to Korçë

This morning, we drive for about an hour to Voskopojë Village (formerly known as Moscopole), an important and well-known centre for the arts, where many talented Albanian icon painters worked. The village has suffered over the years, with many treasures stolen during the second half of the 18th century and this continued during the world wars. We take a 40-minute walk to visit one of the oldest churches representing Voskopoja religious art. Another drive (approximately 30 minutes) takes us to Korçë, the largest city in southeast Albania, which sits at the foot of Moravia Mountain, 2,625ft (800m) above sea level. This city became an important trading and handicraft centre in the 18th century and has also been referred to as the City of Museums. Make sure to try the renowned local beer. *Please note during March, April, October and November, the visits to the Medieval Arts Museum in Korcë and the visit to Voskopoja will be done in reverse order due to opening times of the museum.  Accommodation: Hotel Christi Borova/Hotel Kocibelli (or similar)

Day 4: Drive via the mountain village of Ersekë to the gastronomic city of Përmet

Our drive through the mountains today is truly spectacular, with sweeping views across the Gramos and Nemercka mountains. Along the winding route, we enjoy a short stop in Ersekë, which at 3,445ft (1,050m) is the highest town in Albania. This 17th-century town is surrounded by the beautiful green pastures of the Gramos Mountains. Continuing to beautiful Përmet, we make a stop at the hot springs, where we have time to relax and swim. After quite a long day (approximately five hours' drive in total), we arrive in Përmet, in the heart of the white mountains on the Vjosë River. This evening you’re in for a treat: Përmet is celebrated for its food and wine, including gliko sweets and raki. Accommodation: Hotel Alvero (or similar)

Day 5: To Gjirokastër via the characterful village of Dhoksat

We drive (approximately two hours) to the beautiful town of Gjirokastër, pausing at the traditional village of Dhoksat for a homecooked lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy a guided visit around mountainside Gjirokastër, where cobbled streets wind between old houses with interesting architectural features including medieval towers. The castle is the standout landmark here, with panoramic views of the landscape. We also visit Skenduli House, a centuries-old building and magnificent example of the local architectural style. Please note: Lunch with the local family can sometimes be changed to dinner dependent on their availability. Accommodation: Argjiro Hotel/Hotel Bineri (or similar)

Day 6: Visit Butrint, continue to Llogora National Park

After an early breakfast, we travel to Unesco-listed Butrint National Park, an area that rose to fame in the fourth century BCE when it became home to a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, god of medicine. The sanctuary was located on the south slope of the acropolis (hill) and was visited by worshippers to be healed. The city developed during the Roman period, but fell into decline after an earthquake and was abandoned towards the end of the Middle Ages. After our visit, we drive to Llogora National Park stopping along the coast on the way. Accommodation: Llogora Tourist Village Hotel (or similar)

Day 7: Llogora National Park walk and visit Apollonia

After breakfast, we take a walk in Llogora National Park, possibly reaching Caesar’s Field. Yes, Julius Caesar crossed into today’s Albania in his battle against Pompey, which was won in this territory. Next, we stop at the wonderful ruins of Apollonia (approximately 1hr 30min to two hours' drive). Originally occupied by Illyrian tribes and then colonists from Corfu and Corinth around 600 BCE, Apollonia flourished in the Roman period and was home to a renowned school of philosophy (emperor Augustus studied here) but began to decline in the third century CE when its harbour started silting up as a result of an earthquake. After Apollonia, we transfer for just over an hour further inland to the Unesco-listed town of Berat, where we spend the night. Accommodation: Hotel Onufri/Berati Castel Hotel (or similar)

Day in Berat

Today is dedicated to Berat, the gem of Albania. This morning, we enjoy a guided tour around the old district, with pretty white buildings perched on the hill amid pine forests. We walk through the narrow cobbled streets and reach Berat Castle on the slopes of Mount Tomorr, where we are rewarded with breath-taking views (and we find out why Berat is known to Albanians as the City of a Thousand Windows). Within the castle walls are dwelling houses and the Onufri Museum (Museum of Iconography), which we have time to visit. On the way back to the hotel, we also visit the House of Cac Dollani. The rest of the day is free to explore the town. Accommodation: Hotel Onufri/Berati Castel Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: Drive to amphitheatre and port of Durrës; continue to Krujë

From Berat, we drive to the port of Durrës (approximately two hours), the second-largest city in Albania and home to the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans. The amphitheatre dates to the second century CE, seats 15,000 people and contains an early Christian crypt with rare wall mosaics. The city was colonised by people from Corinth and Korkyra in 627 BCE and was named Epidamnus, but later became Dyrrachium. We then drive to the medieval citadel of Krujë (approximately 45 minutes), where the national hero, Skanderbeg, led the resistance against the Ottomans. He kept them from crossing into western Europe for 25 years, earning the title Champion of Christ. We check in at the hotel and in the afternoon visit the Skanderbeg Museum, from which you can enjoy inspirational views to the Adriatic Coast. Accommodation: Hotel Panorama (or similar)

Day 10: Tour of the Kruja Bazaar; transfer to Tirana

After breakfast, we have time to wander through the medieval bazaar of Krujë, which is stocked full of souvenirs and handicrafts. After, we begin our return journey home (check the Joining Instructions in the Trip Notes for more information about catching your return flight).



These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £200.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £200.


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We use a private bus for this trip, the size of which will depend on the group size, with a local driver.

Joining Instructions

nKey information Start hotel: Hotel Europa, Rruga Myslym Shyri, Tiranë Phone: +355 67 204 6808 Recommended arrival time: There's a welcome briefing at 4.30pm, followed by the orientation tour Airport: Tirana Airport (TIA) Getting to the start hotel The start hotel is approximately 35 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative. Catching your return flight There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer. n


Loved the variety of places we visited and didn't mind the fast paced itinerary as we were able to cover a lot of ground with frequent enough stops along the way and free time in evenings. The scenery is beautiful, the people are warm, friendly and helpful, beers were icy cold (June!), very affordable, and all towns walkable and great for exploring.

This country was much more than I expected. The scenery is jaw dropping beautiful lake. The Roman remains are well preserved and well presented with lots of information.
The people are lovely and so helpful.

Very enjoyable with a good variety of different sights

This tour is pretty full on at times but has a number of frustrating periods of down time. A lot of time is spent on the road but not a lot of distance covered (the roads are winding and often steep, did anybody realise how mountainous Albania actually is?) Scenically Albania can be very striking with a range of contrasts and feels. The stark communist era buildings are a stark contrast to the adventurous modern (last 20yrs) building designs. It is a shame that lots of pre- communist era buildings are derelict and villages deserted. Preservation/restoration of older buildings is very questionable, eg 14th century base, rebuilt/restored last year, not for the purist. There is a lot of coastal building, in 5 yrs it will look and feel like a Spanish Costa.

A very busy tour which took us to all the major sites and through beautiful countryside

10 day trip of central and southern Albania (9 nights and 8 full days) visited the major attractions and drove through beautiful scenery. It was a full itinerary and at times felt rushed with city walks taking place late afternoon/ early evening at the end of a long driving day.

This is a beautiful country with breath-taking mountainous scenery. Although some drives are long the tour takes you to really intersting places large and small, that are well worth visiting and carefully chosen. The accommodation is varied (eg within the castle walls at Berat or in a Natioinal Park) but always good and clean. You learn a lot about the lives of the Albanian people and their long and often turbulant history. And although the food is fairly simple it is really delicious and the freshest I've ever eaten, thanks to all the produce being grown locally. The local fish (Koran)from lake Ohrid was really tasty. The freshness of the food was one of the high points of my trip. The people are genuinely friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing so much of this varied country

A comprehensive tour of Albania encompassing many different areas. It’s a historical, archaeological & environmental delight.

This was a very good introduction to Albania. The guide (Ed) and driver (Di) were excellent. There was a fair balance between visits to historic sites, city walks, interaction with locals and beachside scenery. All the hotels exceeded expectations, as did the food. My reservation would be that it was too tiring moving hotels every night (apart from 2 nights in penultimate one). Perhaps the programme could be extended by a couple of days. Also, the time listening to detailed explanations of the geo-politics of Albania from the guide felt excessive at times. More free time to explore at leisure would have been appreciated. The beach swimming time was very brief, and not at a very good site (biting fish!). Surely there could have been a better beach to go too, and for longer. The bus was good, but the PA system was distorted sometimes making it difficult to hear the leader.

Very enjoyable tour in a very interesting country with a lot of history. Spectacular mountain scenery (some long drives but split up with stops along the journeys). Lovely Ottoman towns and cities, such as Berat and Gjirokaster, pretty villages visited en route to cities. Tourist resorts such as Saranda, and large cities such as Vlore and Durres are far from pretty or attractive. A lot of the hotels we stayed in were good and all central when in cities. Good value for money, both cost of the tour itself and in Albania in general.

Albania is a country that must be visited before it becomes too popular and over commercialised. A country that has something for everyone, history, art, walking hiking, beaches. A land to explore. This tour took in nearly everything, the beautiful mountain scenery, the flat lands and the coast. The villages and the cities. Although there were some long drives tge scenery made up for it and our guide Ed made up for it but adding extras to the itinerary. The food is interesting alot of Mediterranean dishes nothing that wasn't unpleasant. The people are very friendly and speak good English. I would go back again.

A wonderful full on tour visiting a vast array of varied cities, countryside, coastal locations and historical sites. Our guide Amir was excellent. He was very personable and knowledgeable, we learnt so much about the people, culture and history of this fascinating country. Also our driver, Gani, deserves a mention for his incredible driving along the winding hilltop roads, allowing us to relax and enjoy the amazing scenery. Thank you to you both

Albania is a gem to visit. The rugged snow capped mountains to the blue Ionian Sea, there is much scenery to take in. The small villages have character of days of old. The people are friendly and helpful. Edjon the tour guide was excellent. His enthusiasm to share his country with others was infectious. Edjon was prepared, knowing all the information to enlighten the group about Albania. His outgoing personality, individual attention when needed, and small surprises he had planned along the way kept the trip interesting. Edjon is a top tier tour guide, that we were blessed to have in Albania.

A beautiful country with a colourful history, much of it red.

I was blown away by this trip to Albania. The country surpassed my expectations and the scenery was at times breath taking. You cover a lot of ground in the trip and so really are getting a flavour for the places visited rather than having lots of time at each to fully explore.

It was fascinating to find out more about the history of Albania and to see a country that is very much driving forward in it's development albeit in the early stages. Tirana feels like a youthful, vibrant capital city with the usual cacophony of car horns and sounds of a major city. As soon as you are out of Tirana you see the more traditional side of Albania, however everywhere we went there were signs of development and construction.

The people of Albania were on the whole lovely and welcoming. With just the smallest effort to use an Albanian word or two, people's faces would light up and be happy to have conversations with you about where you are from etc. Our group had a particularly moving encounter with an elderly man who lived through the communist era in a concentration camp and had such a beautiful and emotional take on his Muslim faith, and how to live in peace with others.

The food and drink was excellent overall and was great to explore the Albanian beers and wines, alongside the food.

Great that the itinerary took us all around this beautiful, mountainous country. So much to keep your attention even on the longest bus journeys. The Albanians are very friendly people and always smiling and saying hello. All hotels were excellent, apart from the one on our last night. It was a bit too hot for most of the time, especially when having to climb in full sunshine! Nice and cool though by Lake Ohrid in Pogradec and I managed a swim there. The only swim included in the itinerary in a hot spring, however, was very disappointing for me. No shade, far too many people in a very slimy and rocky pool, so difficult to get in and out. I hadn't realised that there was so much Greek and Roman history and ancient sites in the country so that was very special for me - particularly in Butrint National Park and Apollonia. We visited many museums, most were interesting but there were too many for me, so sometimes I decided to give them a miss. Photography is very important for me and there was so much to photograph everywhere we went.

This was a good trip which covered the main highlights of Albania. It is interesting to see how the country is progressing and developing in the last few decades since the fall of communism and regional troubles.

This was my first Exodus trip and it exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed the different aspects of the trip from swimming in the lake in Pogradec (and eating local korani trout afterwards), to the icon museum in Berat, from the walk in Llogora to the Mirahori mosque visit in Korça. Albania is a fascinating country and I enjoyed exploring it with like-minded individuals who were great fun. I found hotel accommodation very good (single supplement basis).

The trip was packed with interesting and 'must-see' visits and activities, but there was still enough time to relax, explore independently, and try the wonderful locally grown food. Mediterranean climate and food. Mountains, fertile plains, and freshwater lakes, natural springs and the sea to swim in. Welcoming, relaxed and friendly people, a fair level of comfort but not 'touristy' - Albania is a great place to holiday!

A very well balanced trip with visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites, free time to explore our own personal preference areas and introductions to Albanian culture.

Interesting and variedcountry both geographically, politically and socially. Good accommodation. Would have appreciated an included first and last night dinners ( we organised the latter) and/or introductory drinks on the first day. It would have facilitated group sociability.

This is a trip which exceeded my expectations. Friendly locals, fabulous landscapes, cheap and cheerful food and drink with the excellent guide, Ed.

I have just one gripe which Exodus should consider and act upon.

Despite outside temperatures of around 18 - 20 degrees during daylight hours our driver had the air conditioning on most of the time. The only windows that could be opened on the minibus were located in the front doorseat plus a roof window which was only opened once in 10 days for a couple of hours at my insistence. Some of our 15 strong group, myself included, developed dry throats, head colds, coughs etcetera. A week after returning home I am still feeling the effects. And for the last 24 years I have worked outside in all weathers without catching a cold. Tgere was never any need for the air conditioning to be activated within the outside temperature range at this time of year. Opening a window for fresh air would have sufficed. Instead 17 of us were enclosed in an airtight container for several hours on a daily basis breathing the same recycled dry air. Not healthy!

There are court cases pending regarding illnesses contracted from air conditioning on aircraft. Take note Exodus.

When I told friends I was going to Albania, the most common response was 'why?'. Albania is relatively new to tourism so it's a great time to explore the country. The locals are curious to get to know us which is a rarity in Europe. Albania doesn't have really show stopping sights but there are a number of significant highlights which hold your interest throughout and make this a fascinating trip.

This was a thoroughly comprehensive tour travelling around a large part of the country, involving visiting many fascinating historical sites, museums, the countryside ....various towns,mountainous regions, flat fertile plains and the coast .

Overall the itinerary was fine but it could be enhanced. A night was spent in Vlores and a visit made to Durres. Neither town was inspiring and what we saw there was incidental to the trip and would not have been missed if it had not been included. Cut Vlores and Durres out and spend more time in Gjirokaster and / or Berat. Or reroute slightly and include other destinations not on the current itinerary. There was a feeling of being rushed around the Berat Castle area in particular - a quick photo here then move on. No time to take in the scene. The photos have to be good as there's no time to retain a mental impression.

The hotel choices were good to excellent and that in Berat exceptional.

The minibus concept for transport has shortcomings, particularly when the bus is full. Anyone in an aisle seat has little chance of seeing mountainous countryside as line of vision is directed downwards by the top of the window for a tall person sitting in the middle of the bus.

A great trip with a knowledgeable trip leader. We visited numerous castles, mosques and churches. The mountains are magnificent as are the plains, rivers and beaches.

A brilliant trip and great introduction to Albania, a beautiful country with such an interesting history. Organisation and itinerary were first class, with an excellent guide and driver. The trip is full on, with a different hotel each night, but was not tiring. All except one (which was still OK) of the hotels very good or excellent quality and in very good locations. Food and drink good and very cheap.

This trip gives you a really good taste of Albania. The country was quite different to how I expected and its an absolutely beautiful place. We packed a lot in, but it didn't feel as if it was rushed. I would really love to go again!

Overall a very interesting and informative trip.

This trip really did exceed expectations. Much better than we thought it would be. Beautiful country, somewhere we knew nothing about, leaves you feeling you want to know more....

A guide book can only tell you so much and as I didn’t know anybody else who had been to Albania I really had no idea what to expect.

We had a fabulous tour guide, Edjon, which helped make this holiday one of the best I’ve done with Exodus. He knew everything about EVERYTHING Albanian and related the country’s history with knowledge and passion, and most importantly an understanding on long bus trips of when to leave his group in peace to doze!

The scenery is spectacular. I’ve never seen so many beautiful little churches and Gjirokaster and Kruge in particular were lovely.

Hotels and breakfasts were all of a good standard. None of the hotels had tea/coffee making facilities but all had hairdryers.

By day seven I still had money left from the £100 I’d changed into lek and that was after drinking wine with dinner every night!

It’s not all beautiful countryside, white stone buildings and UNESCO sites but so much of it is that it’s definitely a place worth visiting. I loved it.

We travelled around most of Albania learning its history and seeing its wonderful scenery, eating the foods and meeting the people.

a brilliant trip giving us a great out look of the country going from city to villages mountains and the sea. the only criticism i have was the hotel in permeti was cold no heating but still a nice hotel. the guide which started the trip with was very helpful with the information about his country it was sad for him to find that his grandmother was very ill and had to leave us to go back to his family i send my regards to ed and his family .the second guide we had was again fantastic. the churches and icons are fantastic to look at ,the food was wonderful and vearied.a big thank you to our driver that took us around the country with great skill and he always had a smile on his face. overall veiw i have of the trip was the country of Albainia is a lovely place to go to and has changed my impressions

of the place and people

This trip offers an excellent introduction to the varied and interesting country that is Albania. Amazing mountain vistas, coastal views, friendly mountain towns and authentic villages. Food is fantastic, wine is good and plentiful and raki also available in a range of 'flavours' for those who like it!

Excellent trip, excellent Guide, excellent country!

Excellent trip, excellent Guide, excellent country!

Excellent trip!

This was an excellent tour with a lot covered in the 10 days enabling us to understand the difficult times Albania has gone through as well as opening up the many things it has to offer as a destination. It was a busy trip but did not feel rushed at any of the places we visited as it has not yet fully embraced mass tourism (although some places like Butrint no doubt get very busy in the summer months).

A wonderful trip to a country emerging from very difficult times, accompanied by a good group and fab guide.


I've travelled a lot but must say this was one of the best places I've been. Wonderful scenery every day. Learnt a lot about its history. Great hotels and food. I spent £200 in 10 days.

Thanks to our guide Claudio and our driver Astrid. You looked after us every day.


A trip of unexpected interest to a country whose landscape, history, heritage sites, food and drink all exceeded expectation.

A fascinating trip that explored much of the country with a brilliant guide.

Trip sites were well chosen to explore the layers of the country's history and the wealth of landscape and hidden gems both inland and by the sea. A country that is as yet unspoilt and that inspired me to look at visits to the other Balkan countries.

An excellent overview trip of Albania made especially good due to the knowledge and experience of our guide, Erion Puca. His knowledge along with the friendliness of locals and the friendly group of experienced travelers we had made for a wonderful and informative trip.

The beauty of the Albanian landscape is exceptional and our guide ensured we understood the history and current realities. For me, the trip had special meaning as I have Albanian-Arbëreschë roots going back to the 1400s. The guide, locals and my fellow travelers on the tour were all very helpful and supportive in my quest to understand more about the connection.

A great travel experience thoroughly enjoyed the trip, very informative guide, Edjon, great food and people.

Every day on this trip brings new insight into Albania. Just when you think you have begun to understand the people and their country you learn or see something new which changes your opinion again. Our group of 14 (3 couples and the rest singles) set off on our adventure from the moment the plane landed, so be prepared this is a busy trip, but not too energetic.

It was more than a holiday. It was an adventure. So exciting to visit a country that is still emerging but accessible enough to explore so much of. Itinerary was full and varied but not exhausting. Gradual 'feed' of information from our own guide and others on route reinforced by visits to sites. Group size sensibly restricted. Living out of a suitcase not as daunting as expected as this enabled us to see so much more. Enough time allotted for most places except might have been better to have had more time in Berat and a brief stop in Durres.

I really enjoyed this trip to this little visited country. It is so little visited we hardly saw any other tourists on our travels. It is correctly graded as a leisurely trip as there is no strenuous activity, but it is certainly a busy one with lots to see. The Albanian people are very friendly and welcoming. We saw stunning scenery and ate wonderful home grown food.

Good response. Slightly unusual in that you have a three stage process before booking is confirmed

Hugh Barrett, 4 Jun 2024

Toni was very helpful. She listened to my requests and tailored the holiday to our requirements. We are really looking forward to the holiday.

18 Nov 2023

Responses to our queries were prompt and helpful although the choice of walking holidays in one location - which was our preference - was a bit limited.

Gillian Stewart, 23 Aug 2023

Guided group walking

9 nights,

Level: 2

Operated by
Exodus Travels

9 nights from £1199


Call: 01606 720199