South Illyria and North Epirus

This archeological tour will cover the most interesting archeological sites located within the borders of the Republic of Albania. The lands of South Illyria and Northern Epirus have been greatly involved and influenced by different cultures of the Mediterranean populations. The tour will pass through destinations, starting from the local autochthon cultures of the Illyrian tribes; Epirote federates the Greek colonies along the cost, to the roman sites and the later byzantine culture.

Day 1. Tirana

Muzeu Kombetar, TiraneArrival at the Airport and visit Tirana the capital with its two important museums: the National Historical Museum and the Archeological Museum.  



Day 2: Tirane – Kruje - Durres

Kruja Kruja, the medieval capital of Albania with its charming handcrafts bazaar the ruins of the fortress, the Museum of Skanderbeg (Albanian National Hero) and the Ethnographic museum (hosted in a very elegant medieval ottoman house).  The visit will continue in the city of Durres one of the most ancient Greek colonies and a very important port city along the history. Here will be we’ll be visiting the roman amphitheatre and the archaeological museum. 

Day 3: Durres – Apolloni  - Vlore - Saranda

ApolloniaOf great interest will be the visit in the monuments of the archeological park of Apollonia and in its museum hosted in an 11th century orthodox Monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. On the way from Vlora to Saranda, we will travel along the coast via Albanian Riviera.  This is one the most panoramic routes of the country and most probably of Europe.


Porto PalermoAs the journey progresses we will visit the ancient site of Oricum, a very important base for Julius Caesar and  the medieval castle of Ali Pasha situated in the Porto Palermo bay. As we approach Saranda we will visit the ancient site of Phoinike, the capital of Epirus state and continue to Saranda


Day 4: Sarande – Butrint - Gjirokaster

Butrint Butrint, the first of three UNESCO protected sites included in this tour. The archeological park of Butrint offers a range of finds and monuments from the VII century BC to the XIX century. All this is located in a very idyllic scenario, on a promontory covered by a very dense forest and surrounded by the Ionian Sea and the Butrint Lake. The visit will include also the Venetian fortress where is hosted the Butrint museum.

The town of Gjirokastra will be the second UNESCO protected site of our tour. This medieval town is a classical example where local and ottoman architecture cross together offering the visitor a pleasant illustration of the past and the present. The medieval castle of Gjirokaster, the biggest and the best well preserved of its kind is the highlight of our visit.

Day 5: Gjirokaster 

Gjirokaster Gjirokaster In the surroundings of Gjirokastra is located the ancient site of Antigonea.  The city was found in the III century BC by king Pyrrhus of Epirus in honor to his wife Antigona. From here we continue to the ancient site of Adrianopolis which is the main part of the roman city founded by Emperor Hadrian.


Day 6: Gjirokaster – Berat

Berati On the way to Berat will also be visiting the ancient site of Byllis. Byllis was a very important city during the paleochristian and hosts the greatest surfaces covered by mosaics in the region. All this mosaics are part of Christian basilicas. Berat is a charming city enjoying the status of UNESCO world heritage site.  The visits will start in the upper Christian quarter of the citadel with its churches followed by the Iconographic museum which exhibits the most important icon collections in the Balkan. The visit will continue to the lower quarters highlighted by the elegant mosques of the bachelors, the king and the Ethnographic museum.

Day 7: Berat - Selce - Lin - Tirane

Selca After Breakfast check out of the hotel and drive towards Selca to visit the Tombs of Selca. After visiting Selca drive towards the village of visit an Early Christian basilica with an extraordinary floor mosaic from the IV-V century AD.


Day 8: Tirane - Shkoder - Out 

ShkoderSet on the banks of a sparkling lake at the foot of the wild and rugged mountains of High Albania, Shkodra, was once the largest and most flourishing town in the country. Even today, it remains the cradle of northern Albanian culture. Its mighty fortress, Rozafa, still rises proudly over the Drin and Buna Rivers as a symbol of Shkodra's will to survive. Shkodra itself was a hybrid town. The half-Catholic, half-Muslim population was western-oriented and had close ties with Italy. Shkodra’s turbulent 2400-year history has left plenty of interesting relics that make a visit worthwhile. The oldest wall of the Shkodër castle dates from the first millennium bc. Illyrian king Gentius, to the Romans in 168 bc. The town was subsequently held by the Byzantines, Bulgars, Serbs, Venice and Turks. It became the centre of the Albanian cultural movement after the Albanian League was suppressed in 1881. After being occupied by the Austrians in 1916–18 during World War I, it was taken over by the Allied Powers until it was reunited with free Albania in 1921.