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Travel to Albania and North Macedonia with expert Dr William Taylor to discover a rich variety of archaeological and historical sites, along with spectacular mountain scenery. This tour explores the wonderful Ottoman museum cities of Berat and Gjirokastër, the impressive Roman ruins at Butrint and Apollonia, historic mosques, as well as Byzantine and Orthodox churches. Access to sites not normally open to the general public and meetings with senior clerics will also be arranged.
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Fly from London (regional connections available) to Tirana with British Airways. Transfer to Durrës, founded in 627BC and one of Albania’s oldest towns. Tour of Durrës, including the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans. Welcome dinner and stay overnight at Hotel Arvi (or similar). (D)
Drive to Berat and visit the Museum of Icons and the castle, which contains the remnants of 42 churches within its walls. Special access to the King’s Mosque and adjacent Halveti Tekke, containing some excellent Ottoman paintings, has also been arranged. In the afternoon, explore the Graeco-Roman ruins of Apollonia, an important trading port for the Roman empire until the third century AD. Continue to Vlora and stay overnight at the Palace Hotel (or similar). (B, D)
Morning drive through the mountains and
along deserted stretches of coastline to the
resort town of Saranda. Afternoon tour of
the Unesco world heritage site of Butrint.
Explore the ruins of this Graeco-Roman town
on the shores of Lake Butrint and view the
third-century BC theatre, bath houses and the
remains of the largest baptistry in the Balkans.
Stay overnight at the Bougainville Bay Resort
(or similar) in Saranda. (B, D)
Drive to Gjirokastër, stopping en route at St Nicholas’ monastery and the church of Labova, one of Albania’s oldest and best-preserved Orthodox churches, dating from the sixth century. In Gjirokastër, see the birthplace of Enver Hoxha and Zekate House (or similar), an example of Ottoman-style architecture. Stay at the Hotel Argjiro (or similar) for 1 night. (B, D)
This morning, travel through mountainous landscapes to Korca, historically an important trade town. Continue to the Mirahori mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Albania. Stay at the Regency Hotel (or similar) for 1 night. (B, D)
Visit the Museum of Medieval Arts, which displays more than 150 icons, then drive to Voskopojë, stopping en route to see the Shen Kolli (St Nicholas) church, which contains some of the best-preserved 18th-century ecclesiastical art in the Balkans. Drive to Ohrid in North Macedonia, via the monastery of St Naum. Its position on a rocky overhang provides excellent views over Lake Ohrid and Ohrid itself, listed by Unesco as natural and cultural world heritage sites. Stay at the Hotel Royal View (or similar) for 2 nights. (B, D)
Morning tour of the town known as the 'Macedonian Jerusalem' due to its large number of churches. See St Sophia cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Macedonia; the church of St Clement at Plaoshnik; and the Gallery of Icons. Also visit the National Museum, housing works of art dating from 1863; Samuil’s Fortress; and the antique theatre, the oldest such building in Macedonia. Afternoon at leisure. (B, D)
Travel to Elbasan to see the Ottoman fort.
Continue to Tirana for an afternoon tour of
the Albanian capital, including visits to the
National Museum, the mosque, the main
square and its clock tower. End the day with a
visit to the Bektashi World Centre to learn
about this Islamic Sufi order. Stay at the
Hotel Collesseo (or similar) for
1 night. (B, D)
Morning visit to Kruja, visiting the fortress of Kruja, the Skanderbeg Museum, ethnographic museum, and the old bazaar. Lunch in Kruja, then return to Tirana for free time before transfering to the airport for a flight to London. (B, L)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
A collection of expert accompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at our Arts & Cultures page.
This tour is fully escorted throughout by a lecturer who has specialist knowledge of the destination and its culture, as well as an experienced local guide.
This tour is based in 3- and 4-star accommodation. Outside Tirana, facilities should be regarded as tourist class.
This tour involves some long walks over uneven ground and therefore requires a good level of fitness.
Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Churches, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits
you, for which guideline prices are shown.
Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact
requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or
Dr William Taylor
is an Anglican priest,
chairman of the Anglican
and Eastern Churches
Association, and a writer
and broadcaster on the
Islamic world and the
Orthodox churches. He has worked and
lived in Jordan, Cairo and Turkey, and
travelled and lectured in the Middle East
and Central Asia.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
AAM2020: 8 Nights
Situated on a plateau in the eastern part of Albania. Korca is a medium sized...
Located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid, is the town of Ohrid. This Unesco...
The coastal resort of Saranda is a popular tourist destination among Albanians...
An important maritime and commercial seaport with connections to Italy, the...