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7-Day Western Balkan Explorer Tour by Yellow Route

1 Week

Description

Mention the Balkans to anyone and it can conjure up a plethora of images - the flashpoint of the First World War, the atrocities of the recent civil war, Tito’s and Hoxha’s Communist dictatorships. Look beyond these cliché stereotypes on our one week trip through three Western Balkan countries – Albania, Kosova and North Macedonia. Explore the crossroads of Europe’s East and West mosaic to cultures inherited in millenniums starting from Illyrians (Albanians), Romans, Byzantines, Slavic, and Ottoman inheritance, in fascinating historical cities, as well as some of the best landscapes in Europe. Western Balkan Explorer trip is a unique experience for those people who want to discover, enjoy and learn better those small different countries in language, religion and history, but very similar in habits, traditions, and hospitality.

Itinerary
  • Day 1 - Tirana - Kruja – Lezha – Shkoder (101 km, 2h 05 min)expand_more

    Start the day of exploring Albania’s capital. We visit Skanderbeg Square, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, the Mosque of Ethem Bey, one of the oldest buildings in Tirana, and the Archaeological Museum among other sites. 

    We then head to Kruja, one of Albania’s most important towns due to the part it played in resistance against the Ottomans. Visit the Skanderbeg Museum and castle as well as the old bazaar. 

    Today, lunch will be included and the opportunity to eat some traditional food in Kruja. Later we continue to Lezha in the north-west of the country where we visit the mausoleum of Skanderbeg and the castle before heading to Shkoder. Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and was once a capital of the Illyrian state. 

    We visit its old bazaar, cathedral and mosque before heading to Rozafa castle for spectacular views of the city, lake and the surrounding mountains. 

    Overnight Hotel Tradita or similar. (BL)

  • Day 2 - Koman Lake – Junik - Gjakova – Rahovec Vinery - Prizren (122 km, 4h 35 min); + 2.5 hrs boat trip in Koman Lakeexpand_more

    Today, we journey from Shkoder to Valbona via Koman Lake. The 2 hour trip on Lake Komani was called “One of the Great Boat Trips of the World '' by the Bradt Guide, and certainly, the scenery is stunning. The Drin River was flooded along part of its most mountainous passage to create the lakes in this region. 

    The journey takes you along glassy clear water, twisting and turning through narrow passes and past silent mountain peaks. After the completion of this memorable leg of the journey, we continue to cross the border into Kosovo and drive to Junik where we visit the famous Kullat e Junikut (Junik Tower). The towers are castle-like houses with a special architecture built in white rock, where Albanians have for centuries sheltered to survive wars and conflicts. Then continue to Gjakova which lies on the banks of the River Erenik. Visit its main sites including the old bazaar and clock tower, and then continue to the city of Prizren, probably the most attractive town in Kosovo with superbly preserved buildings from the Ottoman era. 

    We visit the castle which is one of the oldest in the Balkans (more than 3 millenniums), built to protect the city from attacks, the ornate Bajrakli Mosque and the old Turkish Hammam among other sights. Prizren is an absolute highlight of any visit to Kosovo and to see the old houses of the old town in low light as the sun sets is a delight. 

    Overnight at Hotel Prizren or similar. (B) 

  • Day 3 - Monastery of Decan (UNESCO) - Peja - Pristine. (295 km, 3h 50 min)expand_more

    We then continue to the Monastery of Decan (UNESCO). The medieval church houses some of the most preserved fresco decoration in the Balkans and the grounds are also a delight. 

    After arriving into Peje, we explore the Ottoman Empire time sites of the town including the Haxhi Beut Mosque and the old house of Jashar Pasha as well as the Sheremet Tower and the old bazaar. 

    We continue to Pristina. Explore the city visiting its main sites such as the Orthodox Church and the Carshi Mosque, dating back to the early 15th century. 

    We then head to the ruins of Ulpiana, an ancient Roman time city that was once one of the most powerful in the Balkans. 

    Later, we visit the spectacular Gracanica Monastery, one of Kosovo’s most beautiful sites and containing some impressive frescoes. 

    Overnight Begolli Hotel or similar. (B)

  • Day 4 - Gadime Cave - Skopje. (97 km, 1h 45 min)expand_more

    We continue to Macedonia stopping first at Gadime Cave. We cross the border and head to its capital Skopje. Upon arrival, we visit some of the most important parts of the town, including the old Ottoman market, the monastery of Sveti Spas and the ancient Kale Fortress which dates back to Illyrian and Roman times. 

    Overnight at hotel Aristocrat, or similar. (B)

  • Day 5 - Tetovo - Ohrid (UNESCO) (145 km, 2h 45 min)expand_more

    Continue to Tetova, an important city of Macedonia where we visit its castle and old mosque. Then drive to the beautiful town of Ohrid, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its mixture of western and oriental architecture including the Orthodox Cathedral, the 11th-century church of St Sofia as well as the Roman theatre. 

    Overnight at hotel Villa Sofia or similar. (B)

  • Day 6 - Elbasan - Berat (UNESCO) (160 km, 3h 20 min)expand_more

    After breakfast, we cross the border to Albania, where we visit Elbasan. It was a very old and important city in the ancient Via Egnatia Road that used to connect Durres to Thessaloniki and Istanbul. 

    We visit the old town, castle, church, mosque, etc. Then drive to Berat, one of the oldest inhabited regions of Albania and with a superbly preserved historic centre that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

    We visit its citadel which contains old churches, mosques and museums. 

    Overnight Hotel Osumi or similar. (B)

  • Day 7 - Apollonia (UNESCO candidate) - Ardenica Monastery - Durres (UNESCO candidate) – Tirana. (212 km, 3h 55 min). expand_more

    After breakfast, drive to Apolonia. Visit the ancient city of Apollonia, dating back to the 6th century BC. 

    Then, continue to visit Ardenica Monastery. 

    Afterwards, continue to Durres. This port city has the largest ancient amphitheatre in the region (20,000 seats), dating back to the beginning of the 2nd century built during Trajan Emperor rule. 

    Visit an archaeological museum, amphitheatre, Roman Baths, Byzantine Bazar. 

    Drive back to Tirana for our final night where you will enjoy a farewell dinner with traditional food. 

    Overnight Hotel Kruja or similar.

  • Day 8 - (Optional):expand_more

    Change to continue to successive tour(s): Blue, Silver or Red loops/circuits.
     

What's Included

Hotel: Accommodation 3* hotels on double occupancy. The twin-share basis for 7 overnights as per program. For child 2 - 11-year old sharing a room with 2 adults. (Hotel information is confirmed 24 hours prior departure.

Transportation: Air Conditioned modern van/minibus/bus and other transportation listed in the itinerary.

Breakfast: Daily breakfast. All other meals not listed are at your expense.

Guide: English-speaking tour leader.

What's Excluded

Admission/Entry Fees:

Entry fees prices are subject to change without prior notice.

If you would like to join the optional activities, please pay the fee in cash to the tour guide. The tour guide will arrange the tickets for the group.

Travel insurance, visa fees

Any charges for additional itinerary are not listed in the itinerary.

Mandatory service fees for tour guide/bus driver (min. 5 Euro /day per person).

Excess baggage charges from Airlines

Personal expenses such as room service, telephone, laundry service charges.

Losses or additional expenses: The Company will accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to the accident.

Lunch and Dinner charges (if applicable)

Everything not mentioned in “Inclusions”

Know before you go

Confirmation

Immediately after submitting your reservation, you will receive a receipt of booking by email. Within 72 hours of submitting your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email confirming the booking status. Please do not book any airline tickets until you receive the status of your booking.

Redemption

You will receive a confirmation voucher in 2-3 business days after you receive the e-ticket. Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination and departure details, is included in your confirmation voucher. When you reserve your attractions and services you will be asked to print the confirmation voucher to present when you arrive at your destination. It is your proof of purchase. 

Tour Name: Western Balkan Explorer Tour "Yellow Route"
Countries: Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
Type: General, Cultural, Archeology, Nature, Gastronomy, etc.
Code: AEB01
Depart from: Tirana, Albania
Group Size: Small groups (1-15 pax)
Difficulty: 2 (from 1 - 5)
Tempo: 3 (from 1 - 5)
Duration: 7 Days (or up to 28 days if combined with other Routes: Blue, Silver or Red loops/circuits.

Important Places to be Visited: Tirana, Kruje, Lezhe, Shkoder, Koman Lake, Gjakove, Pristine, Prizren, Skopje, Ohrid, Elbasan, Apollonia, Berat, and Durres.

 How does it work?

  • You decide how many countries you want to travel
  • Each week you can travel to different places/countries

For example, if you want to continue another week exploring other amazing regions, then you can proceed to the next route. Please note the hotel accommodation is not included on the last day of your tour.

Day 8: (Optional): Change to continue to successive tour(s): Blue, Silver or Red loops/circuits.

PRICE:

€822/person
€69 supplement per period (May,14 June, Sep)
€132 supplement per period (28 Jun-Jul-Aug)
€168 single supplement
€209 Single supplement (May,14 June, Sep)
€248 Single supplement (28 Jun-Jul-Aug)  

Pricing Policy

  • Price listed is per person in double occupancy and is quoted based on a minimum number of participants, and to operate the tour with only 2 participants there is an extra charge of 70% and if only for 1 person then is an extra charge of 170%.
  • Currency: All prices are shown in Euro (EUR) except admission fees which are paid upon arrival.
  • Child fare: 2 - 11-year-olds share a room with two adults. No charge for infants under 2 years old. There is a 50% discount for children 2-11 years old. 
  • Pre/post Accommodation (Same as Tour): Available on the day before (one night) or after the tour(one night). Hotel accommodation is not included on the last day of your tour. EUR€38 per person per night (twin/dbl share basis). EUR€78 per night applies for Single Room.
  • Airport transfers (pick up / drop off): Available in Tirana Airport (TIA). EUR€15 each way per person (minimum 2 people).

Price Includes

  • Hotel: Accommodation 3* hotels on double occupancy in good locations of respective cities/places. The twin-share basis for 7 overnights as per program. For children 2 - 11-year-old sharing a room with 2 adults. 
  • Transportation: Air Conditioned modern van/minibus/bus and other transportation listed in the itinerary.
  • Breakfast: Daily breakfast. All other meals not listed are at your expense.
  • Guide: Professional bilingual English, speaking tour guide/leader, etc. as per tour participant’s majority. 

Price Excludes

  • Admission/Entry Fees:
    • Entry fees prices are subject to change without prior notice.
    • If you would like to join the optional activities, please pay the fee in cash to the tour guide. The tour guide will arrange the tickets for the group.
  • Travel insurance, visa fees (if applicable)
  • Any charges for additional itinerary are not listed in the itinerary
  • A mandatory service fee for tour guide/bus driver (min. 5-7 Euro /day per person). 
  • Excess baggage charges from Airlines
  • Personal expenses such as room service, telephone, laundry service charges
  • Losses or additional expenses: The Company will accept no responsibilities for losses or additional expenses due to accidents.
  • Lunch and Dinner charges (if applicable)
  • Everything not mentioned in “Inclusions”

POLICIES:

  Confirmation

  • Immediately after submitting your reservation, you will receive a receipt of booking by email. Please do not book any airline tickets until you receive the status of your booking.

  Redemption

  • You will receive a confirmation voucher in 2-3 business days after you receive the e-ticket. Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination and departure details, is included in your confirmation voucher. When you reserve your attractions and services you will be asked to print the confirmation voucher to present when you arrive at your destination. It is your proof of purchase.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The purchase of any travel services represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions set out herein. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand these Terms & Conditions prior to booking.

Booking changes
A fee may be charged for any revision or alteration made to a reservation after the booking is confirmed. Name changes or corrections may be treated as a cancellation and cancellation fees will apply. A change of tour date or tour itinerary may be treated as a cancellation, and normal cancellation fees will apply.

Cancellations and Cancellation Fees
Regardless of the reason, cancellations result in costly charges from our travel and hotel providers covering penalties and fees incurred by cancelling confirmed and pending bookings. Therefore, cancellation penalties and or fees will apply. Time of cancellation will be determined when notice is received and confirmed by our office.

Standard cancellation penalties per person are as follows:

  • Up to 31 days prior to departure - 15% of the total purchase amount.
  • 15-30 days prior to departure - 30% of the total purchase amount.
  • 7-14 days prior to departure - 60% of the total purchase amount.
  • Less than 7 days of departure or no show - 100% per person.
  • Unused features are non-refundable. No shows forfeit entire payment.
  • Dates are based on the local time in Albania.

Those customers who asked for Visa Letter, the cancellation penalties after Visa Letter has been issued are as follows:

  • If without a visa reject letter, cancellation policies are as below:
    • Prior to departure 45-15 days, charge 35% of the tour fee.
    • Prior to departure over 45 days, charge €129 for the whole booking.
    • There is a 6% handling fee add-on to the above penalties.
  • If with a visa reject letter, we will follow Standard Cancellation Policies.

Itinerary Variations
We constantly strive to improve tour itineraries and features. If such improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary - we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. At certain peak periods, duplicate departures may operate, and sometimes in reverse order in which case hotels may vary from those stated on the itinerary pages.

Tour Cancellation:
We reserve the right to cancel or re-schedule any tour departure in accordance with operating requirements or circumstances beyond its control. If cancellation is made any time prior to departure of the tour, AlbaniaExplorer.com' only liability will be to refund to the passenger the amount it has received for the tour booking. We will try to re-book the same or a similar tour. Please note that we are not liable for any cancellation penalties incurred on any other travel arrangements including air tickets purchased separately from customers.

Currency Fluctuations:
All tour prices are current at the time of publication and are susceptible to currency fluctuations. We reserve the right to alter the tour price in accordance with changes in foreign exchange rates and changes in prices for services. The rate that you pay when you reserve your tour will protect you against future currency fluctuations; on the other hand, no price adjustment (refund) will be made based upon a change in tour prices.

Remarks

  1. The Company is not liable for any delay or expense.
  2. The Company will accept no responsibility for losses or additional expense due to accident, delay, weather, strike or cause beyond its control.
  3. Passengers must have a valid passport. Your passport must remain valid for at least 6 months from the arrival date. The Company will not be held responsible for any expenses if a passenger is refused entry into any country.
  4. The Company is not liable if a passenger decides to withdraw during the tour.
  5. The Company reserves the right to alter or curtail the itinerary and to substitute hotels and/or conveyances as it is deemed necessary.
  6. The Company does not accept liability for acts of violence for any single person sharing a room with others.
  7. Any unused portion of the tour or meals listed is non-refundable after departure no matter what the reason is that you cannot continue with the tour.
  8. The Company also reserves the right to require any individual to withdraw from the tour if it is deemed his/her act of conduct is detrimental to or incompatible with the interest, harmony and welfare of other passengers and the tour as a whole. The Company shall be under no further liability thereafter to any such person.
  9. The Company is not responsible for any other travel arrangements affected due to our cancellations.

Responsibility
The Company acts only as an agent and/or intermediary for independent suppliers. As a result, it retains other contractors to provide transportation, accommodation and other related travel services. The Company accepts no responsibility for any such losses or any additional expenses or distress due to delays, sickness, weather, strikes or any other causes.

  1. Passengers shall be regarded as carrying his/her own risk with respect to loss or injury to person or property. The Company is not liable for any loss, injury, accident, damage, delay or expense which may arise during the tour.
  2. Passenger accepts full responsibility for losses and expenses due to delay, sickness, weather, strikes, wars, quarantine and changes in the itinerary.
  3. The Company will not be held responsible if a passenger carries any unlawful items or irregularities. Any losses and expenses are the responsibility of the passenger.

The Company, tour guide and driver do not accept liability for the lost or stolen personal property during the tour.

Insurance
Purchase of travel insurance is strongly recommended. We will be pleased to assist in inquiries of any travel insurance.

Meeting Point

Pick up options can be selected at check out

Language

English

Activity Level

Easy

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From

EUR 28.50
Starting From
USD 719 / Person
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