The roundtrip will start with a traditional welcome dinner in one of the traditional restaurants in Tirana. Overnight in Tirana.
Distance: 25 km
Duration: 0.5 hours
Tirana folk lessons (4 hours in the morning)
Today is a learning experience of some of the folk songs and dances we will experience during the tour. There will be Albanian folk dance in the morning and then a traditional lunch. After lunch we take a tour of the major sites and visit the National Historic Museum which gives an in depth introduction into Albanian history and culture from antiquity to present time. Walking tour on Main Boulevard, Art Gallery, The Pyramid, Bllok area where the communist Elite used to live, now transformed in entertainment and shopping zone. Ending at Mother Teresa Square. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Tirana.
Folk dance lessons (3 hours in the morning + 3 hours in the afternoon)
Today we will continue learning some of the Albanian folk songs and dances. There will be Albanian folk dance classes in the in the morning and in the evening with some of the most experienced leading dancers of the National Ensemble of Folk and Dance which have won many prizes in Albania and abroad. During the break of the middle part of the day visit of the National Gallery of Arts and then lunch on your own. After lunch you will return to continue the learning process of Albanian folk dances. Dinner at a local restaurant with live music where you will be able to showcase your newly acquired skills. The best performers will be issued encouraging prizes. Overnight in Tirana.
Morning: 3 hours
Afternoon: 3 hours
Tirana – Berat (UNESCO)
Depart to Berat a town more than 2400 years old, with a mixture of cultural influences and one of the most attractive towns in Albania. Berat is situated on the foothill of Tomorri Mountain and on the banks of River Osum. It is famous for its white-washed houses with their many windows which, seem to have been built on top of each other, that give it the nickname “town of a thousand windows”. Because of these the town retains a unique style of architecture, with narrow and stone paved streets. The citadel is the only one in Albania where inhabitants are still living inside the walls, as their predecessors did for centuries. Visit the Fortress, Onufri Museum and some small old churches remaining in the castle out of 40 it had in the past. Onufri was an Albanian master painter of the 16th century who painted many church icons in Albania and Greece and is famous for its particular red color named after him. After visits you free time to sample the delicious cuisine of this town. In the downtown we visit the Leaden Mosque, the King’s Mosque, the Bachelor’s Mosque and the Helveti Tekke. We also pay a visit at a local house. Dinner is a traditional feast at local characteristic restaurant with local folk musicians providing the atmosphere. Overnight in Berat one of traditional houses turned hotels.
Distance: 105 km
Drive: 2 hrs
Berat – Gjirokastra (UNESCO)
Today’s travel takes us to the town of Gjirokastra – a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its attractive and particular architectural features. It is also the place where Albania’s national Folkloric Festival takes place once every 5 years. The most important event for the Albanian Culture, Heritage. The town is built on the slopes of the mountain and is known for its characteristic and narrow coble stone streets. The dwelling houses have the form of medieval towers consisting of a building ensemble with characteristic architecture. The town was besieged and captured by the Ottomans in the 15th century, but unlike many other towns in Albania it flourished under its new rulers. The castle stands like a balcony over the city and it enables the visitors to enjoy amazing panoramic view. Traditional dinner will be accompanied by a polyphonic Group from Gjirokastra. The phenomenon of Albanian folk Iso-polyphony has been proclaimed by UNESCO a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Distance: 180 km
Duration: 3 hours
Gjirokastra – Labova e Kryqit-Gjirokastra
On the program today is a short walk of 20-30 minutes in one of the villages of Gjirokastra housing a wonderful church St Mary Church, one of the oldest in the country with incredible frescoes. Labova E Kryqit is a traditional village made of stone where we will visit also a local family where we will experience an authentic way of life. In the afternoon in Gjirokastra we will meet the folkloric group of the town for a talk and again will be able to enjoy the traditions of the talented musicians of this town very rich in folklore while having dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Gjirokastra.
Distance: 30 km
Duration: 1 hour
Gjirokastra – Permet
From Gjirokastra the journey takes us to Permet along the beautiful valleys of Drino and Vjosa rivers. They accompany us to Permet, which is the “Mecca” of Albanian Tosk music with many famous singers and musicians like Laver Bariu, the Lela family, Eda Zari a famous jazz singer who has successfully combined the music of this town with jazz, becoming famous especially in Germany but with successful performances in New York, Chicago. Dinner in Permet will be obviously a musical affair with performances from a local music group. Overnight in Permet.
Distance: 65 km
Duration: 1.5 hours
Following the Valley of river Vjosa through narrow gorges the views around us are truly amazing. Enjoying the breathtaking sceneries over Nemercka Mountain, dense pine forest of national park Germenji, small towns of Leskovik and Erseka. During the drive many photo stops on the most panoramic places. In the afternoon will arrive in the most important town of South Eastern Albania, Korça. Where the first school in Albanian language was founded, transformed in the museum of Education. The Bazar, old market is one of the remaining inns from the Ottoman period. Traditional dinner listening famous Korça town serenades music at traditional restaurant. Overnight in Korça.
Distance: 130 km
Duration: 3.5 hours
Korça –Voskopoja – Korça
Next day will be visiting Voskopoja which once was a major city with a monastery and more than 26 churches, now a rural place. The region is one of the centers of the Vlach or Aruman people, with their own language and traditions. A family lunch in Voskopoja (optional) and a visit to the one of the better preserved churches. Return to Korça where dinner is in the traditional restaurant accompanied by a Saze playing and singing group from Korça. Saze is a clarinet type instrument widespread in Albania but especially in the south eastern part. Overnight in Korça.
Distance: 45 km
Duration: 2 hours
First stop to Pogradec at the shore of Lake Ohrid, where we will visit the Drilon natural oasis and the Villa of the ex-Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha. After a walk around Drilon with lush vegetation we depart for Elbasan. , the old Roman town of Scampis, one of the towns along the Via Egnatia connecting Rome through the Via Apia with Constantinople, constructed by Romans 2th century A.D. Where the ethnographical museum located in a traditional house will be visited. Aftermath will continue to Kruja. The center of Albanian resistance against the ottomans led by our national hero Scanderbeg. He kept them from crossing into Western Europe for 25 years, thus earning the title “Protector of Christianity” given by the Pope. Dinner with folk show and overnight in Kruja.
Distance: 200 km
Duration: 3.5 hours
Kruja – Airport
Free time until the departure from the airport will be spent in Kruja. We visit one of the most beautiful ethnographical museums of Albania, packed with lots of folk dresses, utensils, furniture from 18th century. Exploring Bazaar (old market), where folk dresses, antiques, books and souvenirs of traditional handicrafts can be acquired. If Time permits Have lunch in Kruja Castle where several good traditional restaurants are located (optional). Transfer to the airport. End of our service.
Distance: 20 km
Duration: .5 hours
*Seminar Extension (optional) for those who find the experience was not quite enough we have even more in store. The Seminars to learn Albanian Folk Dances can be extended for 2 more days in Tirana. You will continue to perfect your dancing skills with our two maestros of the National Ensemble of Folk. Ask our staff for the cost of this learning extension.
|Overview||A tour which offers its participants the unique possibility to listen and understand centuries old folk music and most importantly learn the folk dances of this small but very diverse cultural melting pot, with professional lead dancers of the National Ensemble of Folk and Dance.|
|Type||Guided walking holiday|
|Price||Start From —-|
|Accomodations||Hotel 3*-4*: 10 Nights|
|Good to know|
*Seminar Extension (optional) For those who find the experience was not quite enough we have even more in store. The Seminars to learn Albanian Folk Dances can be extended for 2 more days in Tirana. You will continue to perfect your dancing skills with our two maestros of the National Ensemble of Folk. Ask our staff for the cost of this learning extension.