Valleys and Villages of Three Balkan Beauties

Albania boasts miles of Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastline, as well as spectacular Roman ruins. Land-locked Kosovo has a reputation for fine skiing and mountaineering, sophisticated cafés and shops, and a forward-looking young population. And Macedonia is a compact jewel of a country, blue with lakes and green with forested mountains. Visit all three, from the mountains to the sea, on this 10-day jaunt across the little-traveled, yet fascinating lower Balkan Peninsula.

10 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Discover the ruins of Apollonia
    Explore the ruins of Apollonia, built as far back as 558 BC. Surrounded by a Roman wall near the Adriatic coast, Apollonia was mentioned by both Aristotle and Cicero....
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  • Explore one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania
    Enter the city of Berat, sitting on one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania; its medieval fortress stands virtually unchanged today despite the region’s...
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  • Admire the fabulous medieval frescoes at St. Clement’s
    Admire the fabulous medieval frescoes on the walls of little St. Clement's church in UNESCO-listed Ohrid...
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  • Meet with a local family of Kosovan Albanians
    Meet with a local family of Kosovan Albanians in a traditional Albanian home to hear the story of their lives during the Kosovo War with Serbia. ...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over two decades of Balkans travel experience
  • Many intrepid individuals and private groups have entrusted MIR with guiding them to the fascinating Balkan countries
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Tirana, Kruja

Begin in Tirana, Albania’s capital, exploring Skanderbeg Square in the city center, and learning about the long, often-troubled history of Albania at the National History Museum. Take a day trip to Kruja to see its fortress, marking the last stand before Albania fell to the conquering Ottoman Turks in 1478.

Highlights

  • Albania’s capital, brightly-painted Tirana
  • Skanderbeg Square, named in honor of the national hero responsible for defeating the Ottomans
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Days 4-5: Durres, Apollonia, Berat

In Durres, Albania’s second-largest city, visit the Roman amphitheater and Roman baths, dating from the time of Emperor Hadrian. Explore the ruins of the ancient town of Apollonia, built as far back as 558 BC. Arrive in Berat, which occupies one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania. Berat reflects both its Ottoman roots and its Albanian heritage. Here, peruse the wonderful collection at the Onfuri Museum, featuring icons and liturgical objects created by Albanian artists spanning the 16th to 20th centuries.

Highlights

  • Largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans, in Durres
  • Ruins of the ancient town of Apollonia, built as far back as 558 BC, and surrounded by a Roman wall
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Day 6: Ohrid

Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe, and along with Ohrid Lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its St. Pantaleon Monastery is the oldest Slav monastery in the world, and 11th century Church of St. Sophia boasts well-preserved medieval frescoes. Visit the archaeological site of Plaoshnik, featuring the painstaking reconstruction of 9th century St. Clement’s Church, accurately rebuilt according to its Byzantine architectural plans. Discover the monastery of St. Naum, founded in 900 by a student of the Macedonian monks Cyril and Methodius.

Highlights

  • UNESCO-listed Ohrid, Macedonia, with its antiquities, red-roofed old houses, beautiful setting and fabulous collection of medieval icons
  • Icon Gallery of Ohrid, tracing the evolution of artistic styles from the 11th to the 19th centuries
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Days 7-10: Skopje, Pristina

Make the drive to Skopje today, stopping along the way at the hillside Monastery of Sveti Jovan Bigorski, or St. John the Baptist. Macedonia’s capital and largest city, Skopje is where Mother Teresa was born and raised. Before touring the city, take a day trip to Pristina, capital of Kosovo, the Balkan territory that declared independence from Serbia in February of 2008. Admire the 14th century Church of the Holy Virgin on the grounds of the Gracanica Monastery, one component of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the “Medieval Monuments in Kosovo.” Meet and talk with a local family to learn what life was like during the war years.

Next, explore Skopje. Browse the largest bazaar in the Balkans to find hand-loomed carpets, antique silver, spices, woven pillows, and nargileh (water pipes). Visit the Memorial House of Saint Teresa (formerly Mother Teresa), built over the site where she was baptized nearly 100 years earlier. Stroll on Macedonia Square, where there is a new white fountain topped with the massive eight-story figure of Alexander the Great on his equally massive steed, Bucephalus.

Highlights

  • Macedonia’s capital and largest city, Skopje, where Mother Teresa was born and raised
  • Pristina, capital of Kosovo, the Balkan territory that declared independence from Serbia in 2008
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 10 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 2 Traveler Minimum $4,595
  • Single Supplement $495

2019 Dates

Your Choice of Dates

Recommended months of travel:

  • January,  
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  • FROM
  • $4,595
  • Min 2 Travelers

Group Size

Pricing is based on a minimum of 2 travelers on this trip. Call for solo trip pricing.

Private trip prices vary by season and are subject to hotel availability for your travel dates. Hotel upgrades, additional nights and solo traveler prices are available on request.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations are well-located and vary from four star hotels to moderate three star, some quite small with basic amenities and services.
  • Breakfast daily, per the itinerary. Lunches and dinners are left independent to allow exploration.
  • Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides in each city.
  • One arrival and one departure transfer. (Additional arrival and departure transfers are available at additional cost.) MIR arranges for travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private van or car (type of vehicle depends on the size of your party). Note, one vehicle and driver will be used throughout the itinerary.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

You may want to do a pre- or post-tour in nearby Slovenia, connecting through Zagreb to or from Ljubljana. MIR can also arrange an extended program to nearby Bulgaria or Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, or Western Russia. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

While the accommodations are designed to be comfortable for travel in this part of the world, they will vary from four star hotels to moderate three star, some quite small with basic amenities and services. It is important to keep in mind that the countries of the Balkans may not be up to the standards North American travelers expect.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour is given in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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