Ancient Roots and a Bright Future

Albania

Country cousin of Greece and Italy, Albania has miles of lovely Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastline, craggy mountains dotted with isolated villages and countless traces of ancient civilization. With its new highways, improved airport and a tip of the hat from Lonely Planet (which declared Albania the top country to visit in 2011), Albania is breaking out of its long isolation.

Why Travel with MIR to Albania
  • Over two decades of Albania travel experience
  • Many individuals and groups have chosen MIR to guide them to Albania
  • 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
Signature Experiences

We regularly garner applause from our travelers for the inspired opportunities we provide to help them get to know the distinctive art, architecture and accomplishments of Albania.  Below is just a sampling of the Albania experiences MIR has designed to take our clients far from the familiar.

  • Experience the lively capital of Albania
    Experience Tirana, capital of Albania, the country listed as #1 in Lonely Planet’s book, Best in Travel 2011....
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    Experience the lively capital of Albania

    Albania

    Tirana, Albania

    Experience Tirana, capital of Albania, where new restaurants and cafes are springing up.  The country is listed as #1 in Lonely Planet’s book, Best in Travel 2011.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • Browse a medieval Turkish bazaar
    Browse the wooden stalls of the medieval Turkish bazaar in Kruja, a great place to shop for traditional handicrafts such as alabaster jewelry, silver filigree, hand-carved wooden items and hand-loomed carpets....
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    Browse a medieval Turkish bazaar

    Albania

    Kruja, Albania

    Browse the wooden stalls of the medieval Turkish bazaar in Kruja, a great place to shop for traditional handicrafts such as alabaster jewelry, silver filigree, hand-carved wooden items and hand-loomed carpets.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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  • 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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    Discover the ruins of Apollonia

    Albania

    Apollonia, Albania

    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.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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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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    Explore one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania

    Albania

    Berat, 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 numerous conflicts.

    Journeys with this Signature Experience

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Ways to Travel to Albania with MIR

More than two decades ago our fascination with travel to this region began to touch countries like odd little Albania. We’ve come back over and over, and found that each time we showed up, the place had changed – again.

Take a look at your options, from small group escorted tours to independent, custom and private travel:

Small Group Tours
Balkan Odyssey:  Crossroads of Cultures

Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Cultures

A Seven Nation Journey Through History

Travels to: Albania, Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

16 Days / Departures in May, September 2017

Small Group land tour from $7,695

See Trip

Rail Journeys by Private Train

At the moment, we don’t offer any rail tours that include this destination. However, we do have a variety of options for rail journeys by private train, including those that travel along the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway.

Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries through the unexpected beauty of Albania for over two decades; a majority of our guests travel on custom itineraries.

For ideas, peruse one of our Regional Travel Planners, a roundup of the must-sees from our savvy staff.

Take a look at our suggested Private Journeys, Essential Balkans and Essential Albania, for this region or read more about how to design your own trip.  Also, consider this: You can customize our Balkan Odyssey: Crossroads of Cultures small group tour or other MIR small group Balkans tour to match your preferred dates of travel.

Design Your Own Custom Trip

Traveling privately on a custom program means flexibility:

  • You set the dates, the focus and the level of accommodations.
  • You are met on arrival and seen off at the end of your trip.
  • Your in-country transportation is pre-arranged hassle-free.
  • Your own expert local guides ensure that you get the most out of your visit.
  • And the best part? You travel at your own pace on an itinerary exclusive to you.

Check out just a handful of our Albania signature experiences below and then get in touch with a MIR Private Journey Specialist to craft an itinerary that suits your travel goals, budget and style. Or get started planning now.

 

Suggested Itineraries for Private Travel

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR offers itineraries that are available on a private departure basis with your choice of dates. They can also serve as inspiration for your own custom itinerary.

Our itinerary, your dates – great for solo travelers, couples or small groups.

Essential Balkans

Essential Balkans

Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Travels to: Albania, Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia

Departures in April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December 2017

This itinerary available as a private journey

See Trip

Weather
Our Favorite Places in Albania
Albania

Tirana

Tirana, Albania’s capital, is located 20 km from the Adriatic on the Ishm River. Since the collapse of Albania’s communist government in the early 90s, many of the grim Soviet-type buildings have been repainted in bright colors, and new restaurants and cafés are springing up. Centering on Skanderbeg Square, named in honor of the national hero responsible for defeating the Ottomans, the town is easiest to explore on foot.

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Albania

Kruja

Drive about an hour out of Tirana to visit the medieval town of Kruja. On the side of a hill at the foot of limestone peaks, the citadel of Kruja looks down on the town. From here, in 1450, the charismatic leader Skanderbeg and his small hand-picked army defeated the Ottoman Sultan Marad II’s army of 100,000. Visit the restored castle and citadel, with its Skanderbeg Museum and bazaar.

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Albania

Durres

Durres, Albania’s second largest city grew around an excellent natural harbor on the Adriatic across from important southern Italian ports. Founded around 600 BC by Illyrians, the harbor was coveted and fought over since its discovery. It has reportedly changed hands over 33 times in the last 900 years. The Roman Empire conquered Durres in the 2nd century BC, and the city became the beginning of one of the most important Roman roads, the Via Egnatia to Constantinople. Visit the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans; the Archeological Museum, bursting with over 2,000 years worth of treasure from the region around the city; and the Roman baths, dating from the time of Emperor Hadrian.

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Albania

Berat

The city of Berat sits on one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Albania. There have been settlements here since prehistoric times. One of the best-preserved medieval citadels in the Balkans is located directly above the old town, in the shadow of the Tomori Mountains. The dramatic architecture of Berat reflects both its Ottoman roots and its Albanian heritage, and the white-washed houses that sit above the River Osumit give the city its nickname, "Town of a Thousand Windows."  On the other side of the river, the Orthodox church of Shen Spyridon dominates the Gorica Quarter, historically a Slavic settlement.

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Albania

Butrint

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint has been inhabited for millennia. Colonized in succession by Greece, Rome and Byzantium, the city still guards the remains of examples of all these eras. The 6th century BC fortifications, the 3rd century BC amphitheater, temples, public baths and houses, covered in mud and marsh vegetation, were preserved until excavations began in 1944.

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Journeys that travel to Butrint

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Albania

Gjirokastra

The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Gjirokastra is a well-preserved Ottoman town. Its 13th century citadel and typical stone-roofed tower houses, called kule, make up an ensemble characteristic of the Balkan region.

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Journeys that travel to Gjirokastra

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When to Travel to Albania

Independence Day/Liberation Day (November 2829)

Bunker in Tirana, Albania

Independence Day is a public holiday observed throughout Albania and is marked by a festive parade in Tirana, the capital. It marks independence from 500 years of Turkish domination. Liberation Day closely follows it and commemorates the day on which the invasions of German and Italian troops during World War II were terminated.

Ramadan  (dates vary by year)

The Islamic holiday, Ramadan, is a time when Muslims focus on self-reformation, spiritual cleansing and strengthening their relationship to God. The holiday lasts a month, and during this period, Muslims fast during daylight hours, eating only before sunrise and after sunset. The holiday of Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and is a special celebration. Everyone puts on their best clothes, and communal prayers are followed by feasting and visiting with relatives and friends, and presents of clothes and money are exchanged.