Albania & Macedonia: Cradle of the Balkans

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Cox and Kings

Travel to Albania and Macedonia with expert Dr William Taylor to discover a rich variety of archaeological and historical sites, along with spectacular mountain scenery. This tour explores the wonderful Ottoman museum cities of Berat and Gjirokastër, the impressive Roman ruins at Butrint and Apollonia, historic mosques, as well as Byzantine and Orthodox churches. Access to sites not normally open to the general public and meetings with senior clerics will also be arranged.

  • Special access to the King’s Mosque & Halveti Tekke in Berat
  • Explore the Unesco world heritage sites of Butrint & Lake Ohrid
  • Admire Byzantine & Orthodox churches, superb Ottoman architecture & spectacular mountain scenery

Hotel Argjiro, Gjirokaster

Situated in the centre of the city, this 19th-century building has been completely refurbished to high standards. The reception features stone floors and extends into a comfortable bar and lounge area. The guestrooms are decorated in light colours, with wood floors and sleek bathrooms. As well as a bar and restaurant, the hotel has a roof garden with panoramic views across the city and nearby castle. Facilities: 30 rooms, bar, restaurant, roof garden, Wi-Fi. Rooms: Air conditioning, television,...

Hotel Arvi, Durres

The Hotel Arvi is situated on the attractive Taulantia Boulevard, only a short walk from Durres Castle and the Roman amphitheatre. The 24 simple, and comfortable rooms are all well lit thanks to their large windows, with many rooms offering sea views. All rooms are en suite and feature air conditioning, a satellite television and complimentary wireless internet access. The hotel's restaurant serves both local and Italian cuisine while the cafe-bar is an excellent place to enjoy live music and panoramic views of Taulantia Square and the Adriatic...

Hotel Regency, Korca

The Regency Hotel is located in the centre of Korca, offering views of the city and the surrounding mountains. It is a 3 star property, featuring modern décor and furniture and the facilities of an international hotel. All of the 18 rooms and suites have television and telephone, a private bathroom including shower and are fully heated or air-conditioned year round with individual room controls. There is a full service restaurant and the coffee shop and bar provides ample opportunity for relaxation after a day's...

Hotel Vlora International, Vlora

The Hotel Vlora International is modern in style. Its 63 en-suite rooms have flat screen televisions, minibar, safe and wireless internet connection. There are two restaurants, a bar and an indoor swimming pool at the...

Jaroal Hotel, Saranda

Hotel Jaroal has its own private beach and is located a 20-minute walk from the centre of Saranda. The spacious rooms offer modern amenities while the restaurant features a large terrace with sea views. Features: 20 rooms, restaurant, bar with terrace, garden, private beach. Room amenities: Balcony, air conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, satellite television, minibar,...

Royal View Hotel, Ohrid

This small 31 room property is located on the shores of the lake and within walking distance of the old town. The Royal View Hotel guestrooms include a balcony, television, direct dial telephone and en suite facilities. Public amenities include a restaurant, which serves a mixture of Macedonian and international cuisine, and has a summer terrace with views over Lake...

Tirana International Hotel, Tirana

Situated just off the main square of the capital, the Tirana International Hotel is a 154-room property. All rooms are en suite with air-conditioning, satellite television and safe. Public facilities include a bar, a restaurant and a wellness centre with...

  • Europe
  • Albania
  • Macedonia
  • Special Interest
Tour Types
  • group
  • Cultural
  • History
  • Scenic
  • Small Group
  • Special Guest Tours

Day 1: Fly to Tirana • Durrës

Fly from London (regional connections available) to Tirana with British Airways. Transfer to Durrës, founded in 627BC and one of Albania’s oldest towns. Tour of Durrës, including the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans. Welcome dinner and stay overnight at Hotel Arvi (or similar). (D)

Day 2: Berat • Vlora

Drive to Berat and visit the Museum of Icons and the castle, which contains the remnants of 42 churches within its walls. Special access to the King’s Mosque and adjacent Halveti Tekke, containing some excellent Ottoman paintings, has also been arranged. In the afternoon, explore the Graeco-Roman ruins of Apollonia, an important trading port for the Roman empire until the third century AD. Continue to Vlora and stay overnight at the Palace Hotel (or similar). (B, D)

Day 3: Saranda • Butrint

Morning drive through the mountains and along deserted stretches of coastline to the resort town of Saranda. Afternoon tour of the Unesco world heritage site of Butrint. Explore the ruins of this Graeco-Roman town on the shores of Lake Butrint and view the third-century BC theatre, bath houses and the remains of the largest baptistry in the Balkans. Stay overnight at the Brilant Hotel (or similar) in Saranda. (B, D)

Day 4: Gjirokastër

Drive to Gjirokastër, stopping en route at St Nicholas’ monastery and the church of Labova, one of Albania’s oldest and best-preserved Orthodox churches, dating from the sixth century. In Gjirokastër, see the birthplace of Enver Hoxha and Zekate House (or similar), an example of Ottoman-style architecture. Stay at the Hotel Argjiro (or similar) for 1 night. (B, D)

Day 5: Korca

This morning, travel through mountainous landscapes to Korca, historically an important trade town. Continue to the Mirahori mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Albania. Stay at the Regency Hotel (or similar) for 1 night. (B, D)

Day 6: Lake Ohrid

Visit the Museum of Medieval Arts, which displays more than 150 icons, then drive to Voskopojë, stopping en route to see the Shen Kolli (St Nicholas) church, which contains some of the best-preserved 18th-century ecclesiastical art in the Balkans. Drive to Ohrid in Macedonia, via the monastery of St Naum. Its position on a rocky overhang provides excellent views over Lake Ohrid and Ohrid itself, listed by Unesco as natural and cultural world heritage sites. Stay at the Hotel Royal View (or similar) for 2 nights. (B, D)

Day 7: Ohrid

Morning tour of the town known as the Macedonian Jerusalem due to its large number of churches. See St Sophia cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Macedonia; the church of St Clement at Plaoshnik; and the Gallery of Icons. Also visit the National Museum, housing works of art dating from 1863; Samuil’s Fortress; and the antique theatre, the oldest such building in Macedonia. Afternoon at leisure. (B, D)

Day 8: Tirana

Travel to Elbasan to see the Ottoman fort. Continue to Tirana for an afternoon tour of the Albanian capital, including visits to the National Museum, the mosque, the main square and its clock tower. End the day with a visit to the Bektashi World Centre to learn about this Islamic Sufi order. Stay at the Tirana International Hotel (or similar) for 1 night. (B, D)

Day 9: Kruja • Fly to London

Morning visit to Kruja, visiting the fortress of Kruja, the Skanderbeg Museum, ethnographic museum, and the old bazaar. Lunch in Kruja, then return to Tirana for free time before transfering to the airport for a flight to London. (B, L)

Meal basis

As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.

Important information

Arts & Culture tours

A collection of expert accompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at

Expert-led tour

This tour is fully escorted throughout by a lecturer who has specialist knowledge of the destination and its culture, as well as an experienced local guide.

Standard tour

This tour is based in 3- and 4-star accommodation. Outside Tirana, facilities should be regarded as tourist class. Please visit this tour on our website to see details of the hotels included.


This tour involves some long walks over uneven ground and therefore requires a good level of fitness.

Private visits

Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Churches, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.

Private & Tailor-made travel

This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online

Expert lecturer

Dr William Taylor

Dr William Taylor is an Anglican priest, chairman of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, and a writer and broadcaster on the Islamic world and the Orthodox churches. He has worked and lived in Jordan, Cairo and Turkey, and travelled and lectured in the Middle East and Central Asia.

• International flights (and domestic flights if applicable)
• UK departure and overseas airport taxes
• Accommodation, Itinerary & meal basis as described
• Local Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
• Fully escorted by an English-speaking guide throughout
• Entrance fees unless otherwise stated

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability

Touring with Cox & Kings

Wherever you choose to travel with Cox & Kings, you can travel with confidence. With over 250 years of expertise, you can rest assured that you’ll be safe in the hands of a dedicated team of regional experts with the best support in country. Over the years, Cox & Kings has sought out and developed working relationships with the finest local agents on the ground. These are all companies that have a detailed knowledge of their own country, a wide network of local representatives and expert guides, an understanding of Cox & Kings’ standards and, not least, an appreciation of the expectations of those who travel with them.

As the longest-established travel company in the world (founded 1758), they have the experience to create travel arrangements of the highest calibre and they offer excellent value for money.

Service is paramount to them and they offer the highest quality! From the personal tour consultants who help you with your initial inquiry through to the detailed itineraries and tour notes sent to you prior to departure, to the expert local guides, who are especially chosen local English-speaking guides who really know their subject and can bring places to life. In addition to providing relevant background information, they can also explain the local way of life, customs and issues in depth, far beyond what is covered in even the best guidebooks.

Cox & Kings arranges group tours made for those who enjoy the company of like-minded travellers. Enjoy savings that group travel affords, while exploring with a small group of people who share your passion for seeing new sights. To enhance your enjoyment of the tour, they like to keep their groups small and manageable. Therefore, numbers are normally restricted to a maximum of 25 and a minimum of 10 people. Their general interest group tours uncover the best the world has to offer, whether that means a destination’s fabulous heritage, charming cultural traditions, mesmerising landscapes or enthralling wildlife.

Cox & Kings also specialise in group tours for solo travellers with no supplements on their dedicated tours, and they also run very popular RA (Royal Academy) art tours. On all of their tours they seek to strike a good balance between organising meals for the group and giving people the freedom to choose where and with whom to eat.

They have won numerous awards, most recently Silver at the 2016 British Travel Awards for Best Luxury Holiday Company and Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company.

Cox & Kings recognises that they have social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to respect the destinations they visit and the people who live there. They believe that their holidays should benefit the local people and their environments and they strive to ensure that the local culture and communities form an integral part of their trips. They wish to maximise the benefits of tourism to each destination, while minimising the environmental impact while abroad.  They also support numerous charities around the globe - Magic Bus ,Travel Operators for Tigers and Cool Earth


tour details

This tour is operated by Cox and Kings

0 nights from pp; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
Enquire All of our trips are small groups only!
Group Size:6 - 26
Accommodation:3 & 4-star
Meals:8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 8 dinners
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
Contact our partner

You can contact Cox and Kings directly by:

1 Email enquiry {{formText}}
Thank You, we've sent your enquiry. The operator will contact you in the next few hours.
2 Call directly

(Please quote TourHound when you call)

0800 852 7353
tour hound
Terms and Conditions apply