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2 Days tour of Apollonia, Riviera, Berat, Gjirokaster & Blue Eye

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From375 €
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From375 €
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2 days
Tirana and Durres
South Albania & Riviera
Max People : 8

Join us on a 2 Days tour from Tirana or Durres, for a historical journey throughout the history of Albania starting from the classic antiquity. An epic journey starting from the ancient city of Apollonia, and its glory as one of Julius Cezar’s stops on his way to Rome. Going through Berat and Gjirokaster, two of the most important gems of typical architecture in Albania, where even the stones have lots to tell. Furthermore, the magnificence of antiquity will be nicely blended with the scenic Albanian Riviera and the charming little villages along the coast or also the “Blue Eye” natural water fountain. A mosaic of colors, flavors, and sceneries when the typical architecture will be mixed with history, culture, delicious food, and very welcoming locals.

star rating  A very new different and experience to enjoy in Tirana. You can try albanian and foreign wines, and the painting class can be your choice or something decided from the... read more

40albanam
September 20, 2022

star rating  Great return in the Balkans - It was our second time in Albania and we again hired Go as local for 2 tours. Happy to see that they are keeping good work. We really enjoyed the... read more

Lidexploreng
November 10, 2022

star rating  Special thanks to Andi.It was a great walking tour of Tirana. Andi was very much knowledgeable and we got to know a lot of interesting facts about Albania. Berat was... read more

Vjram_travels
December 16, 2019
Tour Details

This two-day tour of South Albania is a combination of History and Nature. We will be visiting three major destinations and numerous sites in between them. We will be spending our first day exploring the Albanian Riviera and the UNESCO World Heritage city of Gjirokaster and its most iconic places, like the Castle, Old Bazaar, Skenduli House, etc. During our first day, we will also be taking a short trip to visit the amazing Blue Eye water spring where you can take a swim or capture bomb Instagram photos to liven up your Feed. After spending some time at The Blue Eye we will head back to Gjirokaster where we will spend our night in a nice hotel. 

After having breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road again with Berat being our next destination. This ancient city has a very rich history and we will learn all about it while visiting the Castle of Berat or just walking through the city and taking a good look at the architecture and culture that mirrors the historical past of this UNESCO World Heritage site. After spending some free time and strolling through Berat we will head back to Tirana on a nice comfortable drive.

Departure & Return Location

Tirana or Durres

Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off

Departure Time

08:00 am

Price Includes

  • Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off
  • Comfortable A/C Vehicle
  • 1 Night Hotel Accomodation (double room and triple room)
  • Breakfast Included
  • Professional Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees

Price Excludes

  • Any Private Expenses
  • Snacks & Drinks
  • Lunch & Dinner

What to Bring

  • Comfortable Clothes & Shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
What to Expect
2 Days Tour of Apollonia, Riviera, Gjirokaster, Berat and Blue Eye

A well-balanced trip that covers the best of Albanian south in 2 days. Carefully built to be accessible to all people and ages, we intend to introduce you to the beauty of the Albanian South and its cultural values. In addition, all of this includes 2 UNESCO Sites and Natural Beauties. Furthermore, all the accommodations and restaurants are carefully handpicked to describe the Albanian welcoming and culinary in the best way possible. 

  • Starting the tour of the best way with the Magnificent Apollonia
  • Albanian Riviera - A picturesque drive with several stops into charming villages of the coast
  • The "Blue Eye" Water Spring - A rare phenomenon of Natural Fontaine
  • Visiting the stunning Fortress of Gjirokaster and discover its dark corridors and secrets
  • Typical House in Gjirokaster - Going back in the past and exploring step by step how the families lived
  • Castle of Berat - One of the oldest in Albania with a history of more than 20 years of continues life
  • Wonder around Mangalem - One of the best examples in the Balkans of the typical Ottoman Architecture
  • Gorica Quarter - a later build neighborhood under the influence of Mangalem
Itinerary

Day 1Driving from Tirana / Durres to Apollonia

Leaving Tirana at 8:00 we will head towards Gjirokastra, situated 230 Km from Tirana, described as “a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of the large estate”. Driving through deep South Albania, the road is mainly surrounded by planted fields in one of the most fertile regions of Albanian agriculture. In addition, we will drive by the Vjosa River, one of the very few wild rivers in Albania and the Balkans.

Driving Along the Albanian Riviera visiting Saranda and Ksamil

The drive through Llogara is simply put – amazing. First, you can enjoy nature full of green trees and very calming but later on you can look at the amazing seashore from above, which is something out of the movies. The scenic drive continues along the coastal villages of Dhermi, Qeparo, and Vuno where the typical stone architecture is fanatically preserved and in the last couple of years transforming the riviera into the center of tourism in Albania. Time for lunch Stop in Saranda or Ksamil. 

The "Blue Eye" Water Spring and the Overnight in Gjirokaster

Our next stop will be in one of the most amazing natural phenomena in Albania. Located in a village near Finiq, the Blue Eye or Syri i Kaltër is a water spring that perfectly describes Albania’s natural beauty – breathtaking. Full of vibrant blue water so clear you can see all the way to the bottom and the sunlight makes it a magical place, especially to take some neat photos or have a quick swim. The spring is an easy hike from the parking area and you can refresh in a cafe nearby while there.

Day 2A commercial Walk through the History - The Traditional Bazaar of Gjirokastra

Once we get into the city you would understand that this city is not like the others. The historical part starts at one of the main squares of the city under the name of one of the most famous Albanian Patriots of the 19th century, Cerciz Topulli. It is where most of the cobblestone streets are ending their impetuous run from the high of the castle. 

Dating from the 17th Century, during the Ottoman era, has been the heart of the city that pumps life into all directions. It was the most important economical district of the city where the rumors and the gossip of the time were spread quickly through the people. Most people would buy, sell or just chill while sipping coffee. In a time where also a lot of marriages are arranged, it was the perfect central place to meet for the families to meet before the ceremony.  

Today, restored and nicely presented to the visitor, this side of the city will bring the history in front of you through the souvenirs or interesting tales of the welcoming, local vendors. 

The Castle of Gjirokaster

Wondering through the Bazaar we will reach the Gjirokastra Fortress. Build on the top of the hill, into a naturally well-protected position, this was the first settlement of life in the early city.  Closely tied with the fascinating Legend of Argjiro, the young prince who sacrificed herself, this castle is often called the Crown of the City. Heavily restored for the last time in the 19th Century it has been used much time as a fortress and prison from all the regimes and political casts of the time. Despite the Historical values, it offers the same great view of the stone city, lazily settled on the steep parts of the city. 

Typical House of Gjirokastra - Visit in one of the most well known families of the city

The typical Fortress-looking style of the houses is one of the reasons why the city is part of the UNESCO Heritage. Unique, chick, and very functional, every house was projected to function independently. 

Furthermore, the house that we will be visiting has still functional all the components that qualify it as one of the most beautiful houses of the Balkans from that period. Since Gjirokastra is a place with very little amount of water, the house was built with an independent system of collecting, filtering, and preserving water. Divided into many family and ceremonial rooms, it also has its own “private bunker” in case of bombardments. It is defiantly like living in the past. 

Day 2 Heading from Gjirokastra to Berat and The Castle of Berat

Early morning we leave Gjirokaster after an overnight stay and head toward Central South Albania to the City of Many Windows, Berat. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 2008, Berat is an important city even today with more than 20 centuries of History. Surprisingly life has never been stopped throughout History and today, the Castle or “Kalaja” is the oldest neighborhood of the City.  Inhabited by a mainly Christian Orthodox population, this part of the city has also the largest collection of churches dating from as early as the 14th century. 

Mangalem Neighborhood

Mangalem is probably the most scenic part of Berat. Lied steply on the Hill, just under the castle, it is characterized by typical Architecture, White walls, and many windows seeing its other copy, Gorica. Mangalem was structured mainly in the Ottoman period and was definitely shaped as today after an earthquake where some parts of the city were destroyed. The style changed from a heavy towers style with small windows and stone to a lighter structure, with more windows and way lighter. 

Gorica Quarter and return to Tirana

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Berat was one of the most important cities in Albania. Furthermore, it also attracted citizens from all over the country to create settlements around the city. In this way, Gorica was created mainly as a merchant quarter, especially with citizens from Voskopoja of South East of Albania. The white color of the city and the style were preserved creating in this way a city with two similar faces on 2 sides of the Osumi River, connected through the Stone Bridge of Gorica.  

After some free time in Berat, we conclude our trip and start our way back to Tirana/Durres in a comfortable drive back.

Map
Photos

Know before you book

  • Please read carefully the cancelation policy 
  • Please note that a minimum of 2 people is needed to run the tour 
  • Please note that the tour can be offered as private for 650 euros 

Guesthouse Stay in Gjirokaster

Mountain View Villas

Small and charming guesthouse villas in Gjirokaster, for a pleasant and relaxing stay while enjoying the beautiful city and mountain view. Fully equipped and super comfortable to make sure your stay is worthwhile and enjoyable.

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