Highlights of Albania

10 days
from
825 €
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 10 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AVLA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group Adventure Holidays, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

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 each left their mark, mainly the Romans and Byzantines, which we see in 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 and Korce 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

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 us on
316 810 698
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.

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • 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. We also explore an area known as Blloku on foot, where villas were once occupied by members of The Politburo (former leading sect of the Party of Labour of Albania) but which is now the lively centre of Tirana’s nightlight 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 Serbs and more importantly Italians, the fortress here dates to the 15th Century and was built by the Romans. The fortifications originally incorporated twenty-six towers equidistantly spaced from each other along the length of a nine meter high wall; today remnants of this 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 Lake Ohrid. 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 even continued during the World Wars. We take a 40 minute walk to visit one of the oldest churches; a representaive of 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 Korçë.
    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. Continuing onwards to beautiful Përmet, we make a quick stop-off at the old bridge of Benje village, and the hot springs en route, where we have time to relax and swim. After quite a long day (approx. 5 hrs. drive in total) we arrive into 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 wines, 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 on the way 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 stands like a balcony over the town and offers wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. We visit the ethnographic museum which is the house of Albania's former dictator Enver Hoxha.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Visit 'The Blue Eye' natural water spring; travel to Butrint and on to Sarandë.

    In the morning we have a short journey (approx. 30 mins) to visit the ‘Blue Eye’, an area where seven artesian wells (natural springs) rise. Named after the largest spring, where the water descends to depths of over 50m as it infiltrates the pale-coloured surrounding rock. We then continue to the UNESCO World Hiritage Site of Butrint (approx. 1 hr. drive), a sanctuary dedicated to Asclepius, the god of medicine, founded in the 4th Century BC. Worshippers came to the sanctuary and left symbolic objects or money for the gods and priests in the belief that they would be healed by the sacred waters.

    We spend the night in the city of Sarandë, which is a stark contrast to the tranquil towns we have stayed in so far.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Vlorë via Porto Palermo Bay to visit Ali Pasha Castle. In the summer we can swim and sunbathe at the small beach here.

    A change of scenery today as we travel through the spectacular Albanian Riviera. We spend time at Porto Palermo Bay and visit Ali Pasha Castle, which was once one of the most important military bases during the cold war. There is a small beach here, suitable for swimming, sunbathing and relaxing in an unspoilt corner of the Mediterranean during the summer months.

    From Porto Palermo Bay, we wind our way up the coast enjoying views to Corfu and miles of olive trees and pine forests, stopping for lunch on the way to the popular destination of Vlorë, where the Albanian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed in 1912. We arrive in the afternoon and there is time to relax before we explore this vibrant large town. (Total driving time today is approx. 3.5 hrs.)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Visit Apollonia and Ardenica Monastery; drive to Berat.

    We start our journey north today and 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.

    We continue inland to the Monastery of Ardenice, built by the Byzantine Emperor in 1282 (approx. 40 mins. drive). The monastery became famous as the national hero of Albania, Gjergj Kastriot (Skanderbeg), married Donika Arianiti here in 1451. Another highlight is the Church of Saint Mary set within the monastery, which reveals frescoes from famous Albanian painters. Finally, we transfer further inland to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Berat (approx. 1.5 hr. drive), where we spend a night in the oldest district of the town.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Guided tour of UNESCO site of Berat; continue to amphitheatre and port of Durrës; Continue to Krujë.

    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 to 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.

    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. It was named Epidamnus, which 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".
    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 to the world. However due to the lush fertile valleys, fresh mountain springs and Mediterranean climate, they are still very much a subsistence culture and show very little signs of changing. In the countryside expect your food to have been reared/grown not too far from your plate. 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 aim 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) and windy roads through 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 tarmacking many routes, please be prepared for some journeys to be quite bumpy.

Call us on
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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 us on
316 810 698
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 us on
316 810 698
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

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Dennis Jenkins

    Highlights of Albania

    This was an excellent tour with a lot covered in the 10 days enabling us to understand the difficult times Albania has gone through as well as opening up the many things it has to offer as a destination. It was a busy trip but did not feel rushed at any of the places we visited as it has not yet fully embraced mass tourism (although some places like Butrint no doubt get very busy in the summer months).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but the mountain scenery is stunning and there is plenty of it! Also the food was very good especially the excellent, wholesome lunch we had at the village house.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edjon was really excellent. Obviously very passionate about his country, he made every effort to make sure we saw as much of Albania as he could and gave us a thorough understanding of how the country existed under a very repressive regime and how it is now trying to move forward.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now before it changes too much. Also, very little time is spent in Tirana if you take the group flight via Vienna. If you take the direct flight from Gatwick a day earlier, by staying an extra night in Tirana, it gives you nearly a full day to explore the city yourself and also more time in Kruja at the end as it doesn't depart until around 9pm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the lunch at the local house was excellent in every way and the family very welcoming, it did not really represent a typical local village home. Also, to cover as much as we did later in the autumn could prove difficult with the shorter day lengths. Maybe extending the tour by a couple of days would help. Certainly, 2 nights in Berat would be well worthwhile.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Janet Gibbons

    Highlights of Albania

    A wonderful trip to a country emerging from very difficult times, accompanied by a good group and fab guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most days there were great experiences. Berat and Gjorokastra were stunning cities, beautiful mountainous scenery, the Blue Eye, the icon museum at Korce, having lunch with a lovely family in Dhoksat, archeological ruins at Butrint, etc. I could go on. And then there was friendly welcome from the Albanian people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Klodi was an exceptional guide. Passionate about and proud of his country, extremely knowledgeable and professional, caring and very good company with a great sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Nothing in particular.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Changing hotels every night might seem daunting but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and quite relaxing. Moving on was not a problem. I would thoroughly recommend this trip. Albania has so much to offer.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Susan Keane

    Wonderful Albania

    Hi I've travelled a lot but must say this was one of the best places I've been. Wonderful scenery every day. Learnt a lot about its history. Great hotels and food. I spent £200 in 10 days. Thanks to our guide Claudio and our driver Astrid. You looked after us every day. Sue

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too much luggage.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Elizabeth Marshall

    Highlights of Albania

    A trip of unexpected interest to a country whose landscape, history, heritage sites, food and drink all exceeded expectation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My choices here might be influenced by the rather wet weather we uncharacteristically experienced. Our visits to the old churches at Voskopoja and to the world heritage site of Berat rate highly and the family lunch was an absolute delight! In a more general sense I was fascinated to gain some insight into Albania's recent communist past and to witness how the country is changing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can't speak too highly of our group leader, Kledi. He is exceptionally knowledgeable and was able to answer all of our many questions. He did so articulately and with warmth and gentle humour. He is mild mannered, well organized and inclusive. Our driver, Genti, also deserves comment as an extremely competent and safe driver.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a physically active holiday but the itinerary is very full with a feeling of always being 'on the go', The hotels overall were of a higher standard than we anticipated and the roads, far from suffering the potholes we had been lead to expect, were new comfortable highways (with a few exceptions!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I feel the trip would greatly benefit from allocating more 'down time' to independently explore each of the places we stayed. This trip could readily be extended to a 14 day holiday which would be much less tiring. Other advice would be to explore all options of flights to Tirana - the group flight required a 3 hour stopover both ways in Vienna which makes a relatively short trip feel like long haul! BUT don't let this put you off visiting this lovely country!
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Petra Geggie

    Highlights of Albania

    A fascinating trip that explored much of the country with a brilliant guide. Trip sites were well chosen to explore the layers of the country's history and the wealth of landscape and hidden gems both inland and by the sea. A country that is as yet unspoilt and that inspired me to look at visits to the other Balkan countries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tirana was the start and was for me a summary of what was to come. The buildings old and new, side by side that says something of the state of Albania's pride in its past and its spirit in opening up to the future and tourism. It made me aware of the need to go on with an open mind and in this way I found it quietly exciting. Unesco sites of Girokaster and Berat survive with sensitive development of the buildings and locations that is a joy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gledi was inspirational and exceptional. He was knowledgeable, articulate and accessible to questions and ideas with a modest manner and sense of humour. The very best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is an intensive on the go trip but each day is different. Be prepared for the unexpected and some reading for the long journeys

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip could benefit from a couple of stops that are for two nights for example by the sea in Sarande and in Tirana and possibly Podgredec. Thanks to those who dared to set the trip up.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Debra Ansen

    Excellent overview tour of Albania

    An excellent overview trip of Albania made especially good due to the knowledge and experience of our guide, Erion Puca. His knowledge along with the friendliness of locals and the friendly group of experienced travelers we had made for a wonderful and informative trip. The beauty of the Albanian landscape is exceptional and our guide ensured we understood the history and current realities. For me, the trip had special meaning as I have Albanian-Arbëreschë roots going back to the 1400s. The guide, locals and my fellow travelers on the tour were all very helpful and supportive in my quest to understand more about the connection.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were several. Krujë was not only a beautiful city, with the Panorama Hotel being the best hotel of the trip, but it had historic significance for me. Porto Palermo and a stop in Himarë were also beautiful and meaningful for me. Gjirokaster was our first city where the weather was excellent and we could visit many historical sites. It was made all the more fun as we were one of the first tour groups of the season and were interviewed and appeared on local television. The ruins and our guide at Butrint were also very interesting. The visit to the Apollonia ruins with one of the chief archaeologists of the site was also superb. There was an overall good quality of food, with the lunch at the mountain restaurant just after the pass above Himarë standing out with its fresh lamb and homemade yogurt/honey dessert. We also tried many of the different sorts of raki, which was always an adventure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erion Puca was a very experienced and considerate guide with excellent English and Italian. He understood what we wanted as tourists. He had a good sense of humor. He also explained the history of Albania and how things really work on a day to day basis in the country. If he did not know something, he took the extra time and trouble to get us an answer as quickly as possible. He had good connections that got things done. He also inspired hope for the future of Albania. His efforts to help me understand my genealogical roots in terms of history and places were much appreciated and interesting to all. When the National Musuem in Tirana was closed due to holidays, so that we did not lose out on learning about Albanian history, he found time at the end of the trip to bring us back to the Bunker Art Museum that was not at all what we expected and we enjoyed it very much.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather started off a little cold in the first and northern most part of the trip, but as it got later in March and we traveled more to the south, the weather became warmer and we were definitely into a lovely spring. Shopping for Albanian items and souvenirs is limited and we really only had good opportunity for this in Krujë. The hotel in Permeti, the Hotel Permeti, was not that good, although it may have been the best option available. We all commented on the weird, squishy, wet bath mats that were in the bathrooms. In spite of that, the dinner of wild boar and local specialities and a quick morning walk in town on our own time before getting in the van were appreciated. There is a lot of time spent traveling in the van, but it was a good mix of sitting and walking when combined with the sightseeing we did when we got to our destination. Berat is a good city to walk around in and very beautiful, especially at night.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first Exodus trip and it was done so flawlessly that I will definitely be a returning customer. Perhaps the Bunker Art Musuem should also be added into the Tirana stop, although that might mean too much museum time there as we spent more than one hour in Bunker Art.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Antony Barker

    Highlights of Albania

    A great travel experience thoroughly enjoyed the trip, very informative guide, Edjon, great food and people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lober Berat, lovely historic town and also the blue eye

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above very good, always recommended great places to eat.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fairly long drives on windy roads, take precautions if you need to.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We stayed in different hotels each night and in the main all excellent bar one. That was the hotel in Vlore, the staff were very unhelpful and the hotel had a maintanence issue, we were on our 4th room in the end! luckily only one night. You should consider 2 nights in Berat I'm sure it could be justified, we didn't feel ready to move on.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Trevor Adams

    Albania a Country of Contrasts

    Every day on this trip brings new insight into Albania. Just when you think you have begun to understand the people and their country you learn or see something new which changes your opinion again. Our group of 14 (3 couples and the rest singles) set off on our adventure from the moment the plane landed, so be prepared this is a busy trip, but not too energetic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Starting the trip with small historic churches, onto prehistoric remains, recently abandoned communist villages, ancient civilisations and modern european style towns the trip has too many highlights to list. Add to this the magnificent sea views, wide open plains and snow topped mountains the countryside is equally fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erion our leader and Goshi our driver were both highly professional, but also good fun guys. Noting was too much trouble.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Hotels vary through the trip from basic to modern or quaint. Food is mainly meat on the bone or fish (seaside/lakeside) with salads, grilled veg and potatoes. Often the food is served in bits e.g. salad, then meat, then veg, so this can be confusing. Raki is the local drink and "Raki O Clock" seemed to occur several times a day at the request of our tour group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you go to Albania in a few years, this will be very different. Areas are fast becoming more european, so try and see it before it changes too much.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Robert Powell

    Highlights of Albania

    It was more than a holiday. It was an adventure. So exciting to visit a country that is still emerging but accessible enough to explore so much of. Itinerary was full and varied but not exhausting. Gradual 'feed' of information from our own guide and others on route reinforced by visits to sites. Group size sensibly restricted. Living out of a suitcase not as daunting as expected as this enabled us to see so much more. Enough time allotted for most places except might have been better to have had more time in Berat and a brief stop in Durres.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The inside of Orthodox churches especially in Voskopoja. The stunning mountains which went on and on. A brief chat with a local resident in the market in Permet who was so keen to talk but we had so little time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erion could not have been better! He fed us with a lot of information but this was gradual. His anecdotes were amusing. A delightful sense of humour too. The frequent check-ins were handled efficiently and swiftly by him. Apparently relaxed yet very efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get there as quickly as you can before Albania is westernised! As yet there is no McDonalds but a KFC has already reached Tirana.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a most enjoyable evening in Permet when we were able to join in with local dancing and listen to native musicians. It would be good to have more similar experiences and chances to meet Albanians. The lunch at a private house in Dhoksat was a most memorable meal and experience.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Anne Bell

    A very interesting trip

    I really enjoyed this trip to this little visited country. It is so little visited we hardly saw any other tourists on our travels. It is correctly graded as a leisurely trip as there is no strenuous activity, but it is certainly a busy one with lots to see. The Albanian people are very friendly and welcoming. We saw stunning scenery and ate wonderful home grown food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoying the wonderful hospitality from an Albanian family in the tiny village of Dhoksat, where we ate their home grown and produced vegetables, cheese and wine. I also loved Butrint, even though we visited it in a spectacular thunderstorm and ended up wet through.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Erion Puca, was very good indeed. His historical knowledge was excellent and he went out of his way to ensure that all our particular interests were covered. Our driver Timi was superb and deserves a memtion too.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you travel outside the height of summer, waterproof jacket is essential. Take an umbrella too, those of us who had one during our Butrint thunderstorm fared better. In restaurants it is normal for side dishes and salads to arrive before the meat, fish or main vegetable. It took us a while to work this out. There are lots of ATMs but Albania is a cash economy and I didn't see anywhere outside Tirana where a credit card was accepted. However, compared with other destinations, apart from Kruja there isn't much in the way of traditional handicrafts to buy. The airport currency exchange office surprised us by telling us to exchange money somewhere else as their own rate was awful! On the downside, Albania certainly has a problem with litter, stray dogs and bad driving, but it is all part of seeing somewhere different.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would go before it becomes spoiled. At the moment it is a land of contrasts. Some people are driving round in fancy cars, but round the corner someone else is leading a donkey along loaded with his produce. It is a country well worth visiting if you enjoy history, Mediterranean style food and wine and lovely scenery.

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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]

Call us on 316 810 698