Highlights of Albania

10 days
from
1 079 €
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Trip code: 
AVL
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
6–16
Min age:
16

Enjoy wild landscapes, rich culture and outstanding natural beauty in undiscovered Albania

Albania is a fascinating, little known Mediterranean country situated just north of mainland Greece with an incredible history set impressively against a wild and rugged landscape. Past civilisations have left their mark, mainly the Romans and Byzantines, which we see at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Butrint and the famous Berat Fortress, but the real highlight is the warm hospitality received all over this wonderfully undiscovered country.

Highlights

  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Butrint, Berat and Gjirokaster
  • Discover historical monuments including Durres Amphitheatre, Korce Medieval Art Museum and Resurrection Church
  • Journey through the beautiful Albanian Riviera

Key information

  • 9 nights hotels with en suite facilities
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus
  • Countries visited: Albania

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 lunch included
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. This ensures that our money remains in the community by providing income for people in the area. When meals are not provided, our local guides strongly recommend and encourage clients to visit local cafés and restaurants to try local delicacies. On our way to the town of Gjirokastër, we stop by a traditional village to have a home-cooked lunch and foster friendship over a meal. Clients will also have a chance to witness the running of a working farm in Leskovik, to learn about how livestock are raised and sample some authentic organic produce.

Our local operator is always trying to operate with the locals and wider communities in mind. They have fundraised within their organisation and partners to help children with learning disabilities, providing school materials for a day care in the outskirts of the Tirana. They were also involved in the Albanian Paralympic activities where they provided vehicles for the event and helped people globally with different disabilities to participate in the activities.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Tirana
to
Kruje
  • Day 1

    Start Tirana.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Tirana, Albania’s capital. Those travelling on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel (approx. 20 mins). This afternoon we'll have an orientation tour of the colourful streets of Tirana, which was made the capital of Albania in just 1920. We’ll see the main sites, including the impressive façade of the National History Museum which is adorned with a gigantic mosaic known as ‘The Albanians’. This is one of the finest examples of late Albanian Socialist Realism in the country, depicting the resilience of the people in their fight against invasion and occupation throughout the centuries, and dominates Skanderbeg Square. The exhibits within the museum give great insight into Albania’s intriguing past and recent history up to the present day.

    We also visit Et'hem Bey Mosque, one of the oldest buildings in the city. Closed under communist rule, it reopened as a house of worship in 1991 despite opposition from communist authorities (Ethem bey Miosque is currently under restoration and is closed, so will be visited only if restoration work is finished). We also explore an area known as Blloku on foot, where villas were once occupied by members of The Politburo (a former leading sect of the Party of Labour of Albania) but which is now the lively centre of Tirana’s nightlife where trendy bars, cafés, and fashionable clubs can be found.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Visit Elbasan Fortress en route to Pogradec, offering views across Lake Ohrid.

    After breakfast, we begin our drive to Pogradec (approx. 3 hrs. drive), but en route we make a short stop to visit the fortress of Elbasan. A city influenced by various cultures including Turks and more importantly Italians, the fortress here dates back to the 15th century. The fortifications originally incorporated twenty-six towers equidistantly spaced from each other along the length of a nine-metre high wall; today the ruins can be seen along the southern wall which remains more or less intact.

    Our final destination for today is one of the most charming resorts in Albania, Pogradec, thanks to its position on beautiful Lake Ohrid with clear waters and mountain views. Keep your eyes peeled for Orhrid trout (known as ‘Koran’ in Albania), a species endemic to the lake. We go for a scenic walk at Drilon Park on the far side of the lake, to discover the waterways and ornamental plants and trees that make up this special ecosystem.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Transfer to the artists' village of Voskopojë; continue to Korçë.

    This morning we continue driving for about an hour to reach Voskopoja Village (formerly known as Moskopole) an important and well-known centre of art where many talented Albanian painters chose to practice their profession. The village has suffered over the years, as many of its treasures were 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 short drive (approx. 30 mins.) takes us to the largest city of south-eastern Albania, Korçë, which sits at the foot of Moravia Mountain, 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’, being home to the National Museum of Mediaeval Art and Archaeology, the Museum of Education (where the first Albanian School was opened in 1878), and the new museum of ‘Bratko Collections’ displaying antiquities from the Far East. Our visit to Korçë includes the National Museum of Mediaeval Art and Archaeology, Mirahori Mosque (one of the oldest in the Balkans) and the famous church 'The Resurrection'. Korçë has been an important religious centre for Orthodox Christians. It's also worth trying the famous local beer whilst in the city.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive via the mountain village of Ersekë to Përmet, famous for its food and wines.

    Our drive through the mountains today is truly spectacular as we enjoy sweeping views across the Gramos and Nemercka Mountains. Along the winding route, we enjoy a short stop in Ersekë, which at 1050m is the highest town in Albania. This 17th century town is surrounded by beautiful green pastures of the Gramos Mountains. In the lush forests of Leskovik we stop at a working farm situated in the beautiful woodland. We will see how the different animals are raised here, as well as sample some authentic organic produce. Continuing onwards to beautiful Përmet, we make a quick stop at the old bridge of Benje village, and the hot springs, where we have time to relax and swim. After quite a long day (approx. 5 hrs. drive in total) we arrive in Përmet, situated in the heart of the white mountains on the Vjosë River. This evening you’re sure to be in for a treat as Përmet is famous for its food and wine, including 'gliko' sweets and raki.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Gjirokastër via the characteristic village of Dhoksat.

    Drive to the beautiful town of Gjirokastër (approx. 2 hrs. drive), calling in at the traditional village of Dhoksat en route for a home-cooked lunch. In the afternoon we enjoy a guided visit around the famous town of Gjirokastër. Set on a mountain slope, the cobbled streets wind their way between old houses with interesting architectural features including mediaeval towers. The castle is the main feature and stands like a balcony over the town offering wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. We visit the ethnographic museum which is the house of Albania's former dictator Enver Hoxha.

    Please note: Lunch with the local family can sometimes be changed to dinner dependent on their availability. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Visit Butrint, continue to Llogora National Park.

    After an early breakfast, we travel to Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated about 18km south of Saranda. Butrint owes its growth and early fame to a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, founded in the 4th century BC. The sanctuary was located on the south slope of the acropolis (hill) and was visited by worshippers to be healed. The Sanctuary was the making of Butrint and the sacred power of Butrint's water, was to be revered as long as the town lasted. The city developed during the Roman times however it fell into decline after an earthquake and was abandoned towards the end of the Middle Ages. From here we drive to Llogora National Park stopping along the coast on the way. Overnight in Llogora.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Llogora National Park walk and visit Apollonia.

    After breakfast, we take a walk in Llogora National Park, possibly reaching Caeser’s field. Yes, Julius Caeser crossed into today’s Albania in his battles against Pompei which was won in this territory.

    Next, we stop at the wonderful ruins of Apollonia (approx. 1.5 hrs. drive). Originally occupied by the Illyrian tribes and then the Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth around 600BC, Apollonia flourished in the Roman period and was home to a renowned school of philosophy but began to decline in the 3rd century AD when its harbour started silting up as a result of an earthquake. After Apollonia we transfer further inland to the UNESCO town of Berat where we spend the night.  


    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Day in Berat.

    Today is dedicated to Berat the gem of Albania. This morning we enjoy a guided tour around the old district of Berat, with its pretty white buildings perched on the hill amid pine forests. We walk through the narrow cobbled streets and finally reach Berat Castle on the slopes of Mount Tomorr, where we are rewarded with breath-taking views (and begin to understand why it 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 will visit. The rest of the day is free to explore the town. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Drive to amphitheatre and port of Durrës; Continue to Krujë.

    From Berat we drive to the port of Durrës (approx. 2 hrs. drive), the second largest city in Albania and famed for housing the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans. The amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century AD, seats 15,000 people and contains an early Christian crypt with rare wall mosaics. The city was colonised by colonists from Corinth and Korkyra in 627 BC and was named Epidamnus, but later became Dyrrachium.

    We then drive to the famous mediaeval citadel of Krujë (approx. 45 mins. drive), where Albania's 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". In the evening we take a walk to Kruja Hospitality a characteristic house in the castle where you will sample raki and local cheeses.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Tour of Krujë; visit the ethnographic museum and wander through the bazaar.

    After breakfast we’ll have a tour of Krujë. We will visit the Skanderbeg Museum, a rich ethnographic museum inside the castle, and enjoy inspirational views out to the Adriatic Coast. We have time to wander through the mediaeval bazaar full of souvenirs and handicrafts. Those travelling on the group flights will be transferred to Tirana airport for your flight back to London (approx. 45 mins. drive).

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Albania

No visa required for most nationalities, including UK passport holders, most other EU nationalities, US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand.

Vaccinations

Albania

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 lunch included.

Food in Albania is quite varied thanks to the many influences on the country and particularly Mediterranean combining Turkish, Greek and Italian tastes. Dairy products, especially milk and yoghurt are present in almost every meal, usually locally sourced. Under the leadership of Enver Hoxha Albania became a self-sustaining country due to its isolation from the world. However the lush fertile valleys, fresh mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, means it is still very much a subsistence culture and shows very little sign of changing. In the countryside expect your food to be very locally sourced. Breakfasts are typically eggs, fresh bread, jam, honey and coffee. For lunch and dinner, meat dishes are often goat or lamb, with fish dishes ranging from trout to whitebait. Courses often come in mezze form complimented with a variety of vegetables and salad, freshly baked bread, homemade cheeses, local wines and of course, raki. In the cities along the coast there are a number of restaurants to choose from with an array of Mediterranean cuisine and fresh seafood.

Weather

Albania generally experiences a Mediterranean climate with summer temperatures at 25-30ºC on average in the day, and the warmest months are July and August where temperatures can rise to 35ºC or above. It becomes cooler further inland towards Korçë during these months, especially in the evenings with high temperatures around 25ºC. There is always the small chance of rain in the mountains yet we do not to travel in the coldest and wettest months, which are November to January. Berat also experiences a Mediterranean climate but thanks to its location in the shadow of Mt Tomorr, summers are much warmer than expected for the Mediterranean.

Is this trip for you?

This itinerary includes the main highlights of this fascinating country as well as some well-kept secrets that provide true insight into the Albanian culture. There will be some long drives (maximum 5 hours on day 4) on winding roads through the spectacular wild scenery of southern Albania. All hotels are equivalent to 3 and 4-star accommodation with en suite rooms yet the standard may vary depending on location. Roads in Albania are full of potholes and of a much lower standard to what we are used to in Europe. Although they are currently improving many routes, please be prepared for some bumpy journeys.

Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We spend each night in a different 3 or 4-star hotel or pension with good service, amenities and en suite rooms. Each night we will be situated within walking distance of local attractions and a variety of choice for restaurants to eat in the evening. The accommodation ranges from comfortable modern properties to older properties bursting with character.

Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed July 2019
    Diana Escudero

    Fantastic tour in an amazing country

    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).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to say as there were several. The moment when we witnessed the call to prayer at the Mirahori mosque in Korçë, or possibly swimming in the lake in Pogradec, or maybe the last evening sampling raki and local cheese while listening to a young local musician playing the accordion.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I liked the group leader Gerti very much - he had a great sense of humour and we had some great laughs. He provided us with a great introduction to Albania and was very knowledgeable. I was very grateful for his help ensuring I stayed in the same room for my extra night in Krujë at the end of the trip. His style was to recommend restaurants rather than accompany everyone and I thought it worked well as it gave you the opportunity to make the most of your free time and interact with locals. There was the occasional lapse when it wasn't clear how long we had in a particular short stop but nothing really serious. I also thought he was kind looking out for any group members who struggled on the steep cobbled roads.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I recommend arriving early in Tirana to have more time to explore - I arrived the night before and had almost a whole day to explore places not included on the tour. It's a great city to explore on foot and apart from general wandering I really enjoyed visiting the National Art Gallery which included an Ottoman period exhibition but also featured many communist era paintings. Also I recommend taking walking shoes with a closed toe for the mini-hike in Llogora which was great!). I managed fine with walking sandals with a good grip but it is quite stoney in parts so shoes would be better.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Albania is a great country and Albanians are very friendly. I was worried before I went that I'd pitched my expectations too high but It more than lived up to expectations. Also if you have any concerns about safety they will seem absurd once you arrive. I wandered around the backstreets a lot by myself in various cities during our free time and felt very safe. The food is great too!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Viv Rimmer

    Excellent tour of a less-known country

    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!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Swimming in Lake Ohrid one morning, and being nibbled by fish (ok, I had eaten 3 of their relatives the night before...) Listening to a young and talented student musician playing the piano accordion for us, at a raki and cheese sampling at Kruja Castle. Proper Italian-style icecream every day, only 30p a scoop, loads of flavours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Klodian was a great tour leader. I feel he had a good balance between introducing us to the country, giving us information and tour guiding, and letting us take things in for ourselves. There were some challenging group dynamics on our trip, something I have not come across on such trips before, and he dealt with it very calmly and professionally, with great patience. He earned my respect for this.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take some comfortable shoes with a good grip, and possibly a trekking pole for balance if needed. There is a lot of walking on slippery polished cobblestone slopes and hillsides, particularly if you want to go off and explore independently.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Linda Richardson

    Interesting Cultural Trip

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Exploring and eating local dishes in restaurants with a view in Berat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very average actually but I believe this was his first tour for Exodus. He led our tour straight after finishing one for another company and planned to start another group within an hour of ending ours. His timings didn't work out however and we had to have a replacement Tour Leader from the last night and for the final day - our replacement Leader was fanrastic - so professional, spoke excellent English and did extras to make our holiday special.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there are more hours of small coach travel than is stated in the write-up. It was lovely to see the countryside though and all travel was broken up with visits to intetesting places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a very well balanced trip and the recent changes to include two nights in Berat and an improved schedule, as a result of previous guest feedback made this a much improved experience.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    julie Gardam

    Highlights of Albania

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    N /A

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Well organised and very thorough in his presentations; always willing to answer questions.... Flexible, helpful. Top marks. Ditto an excellent driver.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for dreadful cobbled streets. You need sneakers with a good grip!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, use Whispers! They give so much more flexibility and save the tour leader’s voice. Too much repetition of very similar ethnographic museums. The last one was by far the best.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Phil Myslowski

    Highlights of Albania

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bonding with the group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. He would make a great politician.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a face mask.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Cheryl Morris

    Go there!

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are several sites of archaeological interest such as Apollonia and Butrint, with some lesser known sites that our guide squeezed into the trip. These sites are often still being excavated and are not commercialised in any way. Kruje is a jewel of a town, clutching to the side of the mountains with fantastic views over the valley below. Gjirokaster is not looking its best at the moment as they are currently replacing all the cobbles in the town but you can tell it will be spectacular once completed - lots of little old wooden buildings clustered underneath the castle on a steep mountainside. The coast is stunning, particularly the coastline facing Corfu - white sands, turquoise seas. There are also beautiful lakes and rivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eddy was extremely knowledgeable and so enthusiastic. He took good care of everyone and did his best to give us the best possible holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You change hotel every night bar one on this trip so travel light. It may look like there's a lot of driving but each leg of the journey seemed fairly short with frequent coffee or point of interest stops so I never felt restless. It's an incredibly cheap place to visit - you can get a beer for just over one pound, lunch for a couple of pounds and, even pushing the boat out, it's hard to spend more than a tenner. The only "expensive" item on menus is chicken (!) but red meat is much cheaper. There are plenty of tasty vegetarian options too. The guide needs around 1,500 Lek for the kitty, just over a tenner. We went on the first departure of the year and it was quite cold in the mountains so make sure you bring some warm clothes for the departures outside of the summer season. Albania is a land of very slippery and steep pavement surfaces so shoes with good grip are recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Albania is a very clean and safe country - don't hesitate to see it. Exodus, why don't you extend the trip into the North of the country? A couple of extra nights for some chill-time in the mountains and by the sea would have been great.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Janice Waight

    Highlights of Albania

    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 .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several.... The stunning mountains, breathtaking views of castles , mosques and the courteousness of the Albanian we met....and learning so much about the country thanks to our guide.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Klodi was a very fine group leader. His knowledge of his country and it's history was extremely impressive. We learnt so much and he was always really helpful and had a great sense of humour ! Also, importantly, Ghent, our driver, was excellent. We couldn't have been in safer hands....driving through the mountains was very tricky at times, but he was always calm and very careful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go to Albania now before it becomes too touristy. It's a great country and after such a sad history,the people are doing wonders restoring and revitalizing it. Only one criticism....some of the lunch breaks were too long!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Rod Kantor

    Highlights of Albania

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to understand the seemingly endless battles over centuries that the Albanian people have had to fight and the compromises they have had to accept on the road to maintaining their identity as a nation

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide was very knowledgeable and shared his knowledge generously and frequently on a wide range of subjects, in part leading to the comment made immediately above. He tried hard to please everyone. That is not an easy task and can lead to the wrong result. When an option is offered and half the group go one way and half the other those attempts to please everyone end up disappointing half. Sometimes it's better for the guide to just say what's going to happen.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you're interested in life in Albania during the last century, and during the communist era in particular, get to Tirana a few days before the trip starts. The trip itinerary allows for surprisingly little time in Tirana and during that time the only exposure to visual information about Albania in the 20th century is a visit to the national museum. However, that museum is far from the best place in and around the capital to find out how Albanians lived and were treated during the communist dictatorship.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Lynn Pugsley

    Surprisingly pleasant country

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Entering the home of our hosts for a traditional lunch. The food was all produced locally and the garden was delightful. The infrastructure was also a pleasant surprise - many good roads and hygienic sanitary provisions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    iLife was very knowledgeable and adapted well to our sense of humour. He and our driver went "the extra mile" to point out and deliver extra experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about hygiene - dress casually - leave high heels at home - get a map or guidebook to research the country and it's history before you go. The trip involves some awkward walking and cobbles so be prepared with sensible shoes. Change money in small aliquot - food is cheap and wine/beer is much cheaper. Try the local restaurants - there are no McDonalds etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was very good. A couple of the hotel rooms were a bit iffy. There could have been other experiences - the trip focuses almost exclusively on churches, mosques and castles.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Pete Batchelor

    Wonderful tour of Albania

    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.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not one moment but so much wonderful scenery, unspoilt and historic towns Berat, Gjirokaster, Permet, Butrint, Apollonia, Kruje, lake Ohrid….

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eri was a wonderful guide and excellent ambassador for Albania. He was extremely knowledgeable and taught us so much about Albanian culture and history, as well as taking us to the best restaurants and places to visit. Driver Goshi was excellent also.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for a direct flight from Gatwick (BA) rather than the standard group flight which changed at Vienna and took much longer. You can arrive the night before and have the best part of a day longer in Tirana, and at the end you can have an extra half a day in delightful Kruje. Was cheaper overall too! The trip is full on but no really long journeys on the bus, and well timed stops. Bottled water was provided on the bus and some of the hotels. Kettles were provided in only one of the hotels, so take your own if you drink tea. ATMs charge high fees so take cash (£250 will be plenty for everything) and change it as you go. Plenty of places to change sterling commission-free everywhere you go. Food was good and fresh, and outside of Tirana and Sarande, beer, wine, coffee and ice creams were so cheap.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only problem was restricted leg room on most of the bus seats. Not a problem if you’re under 6 foot.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on +356 21423994