From Tirana airport you transfer to this capital of contrasts (30 mins) and check into your charming 4 star boutique hotel in a quiet, central location. Time permitting, you have a guided walking tour of Tirana, starting with the monumental ensemble of the Boulevard of the Martyrs of the Nation and the Skanderbeg Square, the National Museum and the 18th century Mosque of Et’heim Bey. The recently opened Bunkart Exhibition is housed in the underground nuclear bunker built in the 1970s. This history museum and art gallery confronts the tragic events of the communist period. From the hotel, it is only a few steps to the Block, formerly reserved for Enver Hoxha and his allies, now a fashionable area alive with restaurants and cafes.
A free day in Tirana to continue your exploration of this bustling, vibrant city. The possibilities are numerous and include: the National Art Gallery; the 2012 Orthodox Cathedral of Resurrection; the 2002 Catholic St. Paul’s Cathedral; the infamous Pyramid built by Hoxha’s daughter, following the dictator’s death; the recently re-built Central Food Market; the Italian Fascist era Governmental buildings along the Boulevard; Ottoman houses on the Pedonalja street and the striking example of the blending of old and new architecture at the TID Tower.
An hour’s drive brings you to Kruja, the cultural heart of Albania. Accompanied by your specialist guide, you will visit the excellent Historical Museum housed in Kruja Castle, the 15th century home of the great national hero, Skanderbeg, standing on top of a hill high above the surrounding plain. The nearby Ethnographic Museum is the 18th century home of an influential family within the Ottoman administration and demonstrates the lifestyle of a wealthy Muslim household. Wander the cobbled lanes of the citadel and the picturesque bazaar before returning to Tirana.
A private transfer by road (45 mins) with your guide takes you to the port city of Durres on the Adriatic coast. This settlement was founded by Greeks in the 6th century BC and served as the main port for their explorations of the Adriatic. Explore the excavated section of the 2nd century AD Roman amphitheatre and the early Christian shrine within it. Later, walk along the ancient city walls and through the central square area, laid out by Italians in 1939, including the Great Mosque of Durres.
Your holiday concludes with a transfer to the airport for your flight.