Introduction of the tour:
Albania has a delicious cuisine influenced by the Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. For people interested in a different kind of taste from grilled meat to in a special way boiled vegetable, this tour will be something for you! We take you to local farms, traditional grill restaurants, fish restaurants, a winery, a beer factory, a cognac factory and at the house of a local family where you can try the real taste of Raki. This tour will let you explore the culinary diversity of Albania.
This tour last 4/5/6/7 days (tailor-made up to your wishes) and the visits may include:
Tirana – Berat (traditional restaurant and wine tasting) – Korca (specialities of the region such as qofte, kolloface and lakror and a visit to the factory of Birra Korca) – Pogradec – Durres (Skenderbeu factory) – Shkodra
Day 1: Tirana
Arrival at “Mother Teresa” Airport, meet & greet by our representative and transfer to hotel. Visit the National Historic Museum in Tirana offering an in depth introduction to Albanian history from prehistoric times to present day. Dinner in a traditional restaurant with a rustic setting and a first taste of Albania’s culinary delights. The cuisine of mid-Albania has strong Ottoman influences and therefore meats on charcoal grill, as well as grilled vegetables and yogurt sauces prevail. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 2: Tirana – Ardenica – Apollonia – Berat
After breakfast we depart for Berat. On the way to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, we visit Ardenica and Apollonia. Ardenica is an Orthodox monastery built in the 13th century. It is thought that it was in this idyllic place that the marriage of the Albanian national hero Scanderbeg was celebrated in the 15th century. After Ardenica we proceed to Apollonia, situated on the famous Via Egnatia. Apollonia was founded at the beginning of the 7th century BC by the Greek colonists and in Roman times, it was a large and flourishing city (with 50.000 residents in the second century BC) near Aos river (today Vjosa). The monastery (which houses the museum) courtyard enclosed a Byzantine church dating back to the 14th century. We will have a characteristic lunch of the “Muzeqe” region with small hens baked in the oven with rice on a beautiful terrace of the Leon Rey restaurant overlooking Apollonia. After lunch we continue our trip to Berat, which is also known as “the city of thousand windows”. After the check in into the hotel, we will have a walk in the neighbourhood called “Mangalem” and visit a local family where we will have some special Raki. Dinner in the Mangalemi traditional family restaurant. Overnight in Berat.
Day 3: Berat – Korca
After breakfast we will explore the town of Berat. We visit the ethnographic museum and continue our tour to the Castle and the Onufri museum. People are still living within the walls of the castle, just like their ancestors did. Onufri was an Albanian Icon master painter of the 16th century who painted many orthodox churches in Albania and Greece. After these visits we depart for Korca, but before we arrive here, we will have some wine tasting on the way to taste the delicious Albania wine and to have a tour around the winery. After this great experience we will continue our way to Korca with on the way a delicious lunch in the central mountains of Albania. In the afternoon there will be some free time to stroll around the city before we will have a traditional dinner in a local restaurant serving qofte (or kernacka), kolloface and lakror (byrek). Overnight in Korca.
Day 4: Korca (visit factory of Birra Korca) – Pogradec
Today, a special trip to the “Korca” beer factory will be waiting for us, but before arriving here we will visit the Museum of Medieval Arts, The first school of Albania, the Mosque of Mirahori, one of the oldest in the country, and the Orthodox Cathedral. After this we start our tour to Birra Korça. They make 'blond' beer and is also the only brewery in the Balkans to make dark beer, using the latest Czech and Italian technology and employing 125 people. Highlight of the factory tour is the brewing room where the massive steel brewing tanks are surrounded by tile tableaus depicting the brewing process and the consumption of the end product. After this beer, it is time for the real qofte from Korca served with “salce kosi” and bread. In the afternoon we have a short ride to Pogradec where we can enjoy some free time overlooking lake Ohrid. For dinner, we have something special for you, Koran and Belushke fish, a real speciality from Pogradec which only occur in rare deep tectonic lakes like Ohrid and Baikal. (prohibitited to catch and eat on the other part of the lake in Macedonia) Overnight in the small town of Tushemisht on the shore of lake Ohrid.
Day 5: Pogradec – Durres (visit factory of Skenderbeu Cognac) – Tirana
After breakfast we depart for Durres (one of the oldest and most important cities of Albania) where we will have lunch in a fish restaurant at the beach. After lunch we visit the Skenderbeu factory, where the famous Skenderbeu cognac is produced and where we can taste this delicious drink. Afterwards we head back to Tirana where we will spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure before a dinner in a special venue overlooking the capital. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 6: Tirana – Shkodra – Tirana
After breakfast we drive to Shkodra, the most important city of North Albania. Here we visit the Rozafa castle with an amazing view all around the lake of Shkodra, the city of Shkodra and the countryside.Afterwards we visit the Mesi Bridge, an old bridge built in the mid 18th century with beautiful mountains on the background. After these visit we stop at the village of Fishte to visit a sustainable agro-tourism local family restaurant. We will taste some delicacies of this region
such us pickles, local cheeses, bio olive oil, several kinds of bread etc. in their rustic form; the main specialty of the restaurant is young goats’ meat done in a traditional way. In Tirana we will have a special goodbye dinner. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 7: Tirana - Airport
Free time to explore Tirana, followed by the airport transfer and departure.