Family Trip in the Balkans
There's no better, and may we say, affordable, way to see the Balkans than by a good old road trip. Breathe is Travel is here to take away one stressful part of the journey: planning the actual tour. We used an a unbelivable car for an epic road trip that takes you through three amazing countries, Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, which is perfect for a family friendly adventure.
Day 1. Tirana, Albania
Arrival at Tirana airport, delivery of your rental car then depart for Tirana city center.
Start the guided tour of the Capital of Albania, Tirana is a city in constant evolution. Formerly dull and gray, the city has experienced an international boom post-communism, becoming a lively metropolis, colorful and very lively thanks to its unique atmosphere. Fascinating, Tirana represents both the past and the future of Albania.
Dinner and overnight in Tirana.
Day 2. Tirana, Albania - Prizren, Kosovo
After breakfast, join Kosovo and Prizren, cultural and historical capital of Kosovo. Surrounded by mountainous landscapes, discover the old Ottoman center of the city where the Lumbardhi River flows.
Its cobbled streets and tea rooms in the old bazaar give Prizren a unique Ottoman charm. You will visit the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the Albanian League of Prizren, the first Albanian defense league established at the end of the 19th century.
Lunch in a traditional restaurant in Prizren.
Free time to go to the fortress of Prizren for a breathtaking view of the city.
Dinner and overnight in Prizren.
Day 3. Prizren - Gjakova - Decani - Peja, Kosovo
After breakfast, take the road to Gjakova, a charming city of Kosovo with its old authentic center and many craft stalls. Meeting of local artisans according to availability who practice trades that no longer exist in Western Europe. You will discover confectioners of "Plis" (traditional Albanian hat), "diep" (wooden cradles) as well as Albanian seamstresses.
Head towards Visoki Decani Monastery. A monument dating back to the 14th century and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can admire these frescoes which constitute one of the peaks of Serbian art, powerfully inspired by Byzantine art, notably by the Church of Saint Savior of Constantinople
After the visit, leave for Peja, the largest city in western Kosovo at the foot of the Rugova mountains and gorges. Lunch in a restaurant located in a natural setting. Join the waterfall of the White Drin, walk to the summit where you will reach the caves "Sleeping Beauty" for an interior visit galleries carved for centuries by the force of the water.
Dinner and overnight in Peja.
Day 4. Peja - Rugova Valley, Kosovo
After breakfast you will drive to the Rugova Gorge for a day of sports activities. On the way, visit the Patriarchal Monastery of Peja, one of the strongholds of the Orthodox religion in the region. Admire its many well preserved frescoes as well as the calm and serene atmosphere present in this place.
Dinner and overnight in Peja.
ACTIVITIES AND OPTIONS
"Via ferrata" climbing: You will start a climbing experience in which you will perform a series of steel ropes and stairs while being firmly attached to the rock. Built with the support of Italian experts using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment, the Via Ferrata is as safe as it is memorable. The via ferrata goes up and down in about 2-3 hours.
Zipline: You will realize zip line in the gorge of Rugova where you will admire a superb panoramic view during the course. Horseback riding: You will start a horse ride over the Rugova Gorge where you will enjoy the freshness and beauty of the landscape that surrounds you.
Tree climbing: Discover the acrobatic park and spend a memorable moment with family or friends
Giant Swing: Also known as Swing, the giant swing of Peja Ranch offers you a unique free fall experience.
Day 5. Peja - Novo Brdo - Gracanica
After breakfast, join Gračanica. Discover the UNESCO Gračanica Monastery.
You will drive to Bear Sanctuary, a park where many bears in captivity in private restaurants in Kosovo and Albania were released. Lunch in the Bear Sanctuary.
After lunch, go to Novo Brdo Castle, located on the heights of a plateau offering a splendid panoramic view of the region.
Return to your hotel with a nice swimming pool in Gračanica at the end of the day.
Dinner and overnight in Gračanica.
Day 6. Gracanica, Kosovo - Skopje - Matka Canyon, North Macedonia
After breakfast, leave for North Macedonian Capital - Skopje. Visit a city devastated by an earthquake in 1963 which was able to rebuild completely and offer a unique experience. You will enjoy a city separated between two cultures and two different lifestyles between Albanian Macedonian and Macedonian.
Stroll through its new city center to discover its famous fortress "Tvrdina Kale" and its stone bridge "Kameni Most" that separates the city into two parts with the old Ottoman bazaar "Čaršija". Lunch in a traditional restaurant.
Then join the Matka Canyon, a must in Macedonia. Embark on a boat to discover the caves of Vrelo, which are considered among the deepest sea caves in the world.
Return to Skopje at the end of the day. Dinner and overnight in Skopje.
Day 7. Skopje - Mavroro - Ohrid, North Macedonia
After breakfast leave for the Mavrovo National Park. On the way to Ohrid you will make a stop at Tetovo to discover its 15th century painted Mosque of Sarena Dzamija. Painted both indoors and outdoors, it is one of the most beautiful mosques in Macedonia.
Arrival in the Mavrovo National Park and enjoy sumptuous landscapes through, the Mavroro Lake and the Radika Canyon. You will stop at the Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski, located on the heights of the canyon, which represents one of the most beautiful monasteries in Macedonia.
You will make a stop in the small village of Janche, in which a resident of the village has invested in the construction of houses using the materials of the time, you will have lunch in his restaurant. After lunch, you will head to the waterfall of Duf for a small hike of about twenty minutes.
Then take the road towards Ohrid, the Cradle of Orthodoxy.
Dinner and overnight in Ohrid.
Day 8. Ohrid, North Macedonia
After breakfast, embark on a boat to discover the wonders of Lake Ohrid.
Visit the Bay of Bones Museum, an authentic reconstruction of part of a colony, dating from 1200 to 700 BC.
Visit the Saint Naum Monastery. In the middle of lush greenery, the monastery of St. Naum. Built in the tenth century is a refuge of tranquility on the border between Albania and Macedonia. Lunch at Saint Naum.
You will also visit the church of St. Mary in Zaum only accessible by boat.
Return to Ohrid and free afternoon to enjoy the beaches of Ohrid or stroll through the old town.
Dinner at a restaurant on Lake Ohrid with the possibility of being accompanied by Macedonian folk musicians.
Overnight in Ohrid.
Options: Paraglading, Diving or Kayak
Day 9. Ohrid, North Macedonia - Berat, Albania
After breakfast, return to Albania and join Berat. Another example of a city with an architectural style typical of the Ottoman period. Visit of a city characterized by the coexistence of different religious and cultural communities over the centuries.
Lunch at Berat.
Panoramic visit of Berat and rendezvous on the heights of the city to visit its fortress "Kala" built in the thirteenth century and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage.
Visit the Onufri iconographic museum consisting of a collection of objects belonging to Albanian churches and monasteries whose paintings of the iconographer painters date from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.
Dinner and overnight in Berat.
Day 10. Berat - Gjirokastra, Albania
After breakfast, Rafting Day in Osumi Canyon: 60 €, the price includes lunch, transportation and rafting. (available in may and june )
Leave for Gjirokastra. Rare example of a city with an architectural style typical of the Ottoman period.
Arrival in Gjirokastra and start a guided tour of the city. Admire the architecture of a series of 17th-century "remarkable" two-story houses, a site that gives the impression of a thousand-window painting. Visit the Citadel of Gjirokastra overlooking the city. You will also visit the Skenduli house, a typical Ottoman house dating back to the 18th century.
Join your sublime hotel at the foot of the old town of Gjirokastra. Dinner and overnight in Gjirokastra.
Day 11. Gjirokastra - The Blue eye - Ksamil, Albania
After breakfast, take the road and make a stop at the source of water of the "blue eye" or (syri i kaltër in Albanian) and re-energize yourself in this beautiful landscape of postcard (visit which can be removed according to the season).
Arrival in Butrint and start the visit of an archaeological site of an ancient ancient city built by the Trojans after the fall of Troy. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit this ancient city occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Venetians. This archaeological site presents ruins of the ancient civilizations of this historic city.
Make a stop in Ksamil, a small seaside resort where you can relax on its beautiful sandy beaches.
Dinner and overnight in a heavenly place near Ksamil.
Day 12. Ksamil - Porto Palermo - Dhermi, Albania
After breakfast, leave for Northern Albania and stop at Ali Pasha Castle. Famous governor of the region on behalf of the Ottoman Empire often compared to Napoleon for his strategies and military alliances.
Arrive Dhermi in the late morning, beautiful small seaside resort in which you will spend several days. Lunch by the sea then join the beaches of Dhermi. Free time on your return to the beach.
Dinner and overnight in Dhermi.
Day 13 & 14. Dhermi, Albania
Enjoy 2 free days in the charming seaside resort of Dhermi to relax where to do sports activities.
Overnights in Dhermi.
OPTION: Embark on a boat to discover the wonders of the Adriatic Sea. You will discover the beautiful bay of Gramma and the blue cellars. (20 € per person)
OPTION: Embark on a boat to discover the Gjippe Canyon and the pirate cellars (15 € per person)
Day 15. Dhermi - Zvernec - Divjakë, Albania
After breakfast, take the road back to northern Albania and make a stop in the Llogora National Park to enjoy a magnificent panorama between sea and mountains.
Join the island of Zvërnec, a small island on a 9-hectare lagoon and accessible only by a pontoon,
Lunch at a seafood restaurant in Fier.
Continue to Karavasta Lagoon in Divjakë, Albania's largest lagoon with a high concentration of flora and fauna. Drop your bags in your hotel.
OPTION: Embark on a boat for a beautiful walk in the lagoon. Possibility to go up a panoramic tower to enjoy a splendid view of the lagoon.
Dinner and overnight in Divjakë.
Day 16. Divjakë - Kruje, Albania
After breakfast, free time until departure for Kruje for your last night in the Balkans.
Arrival Kruje, one of the oldest European cities. Visit the city with its old bazaar and the medieval fortress of Skanderbeg. Compared to Alexander the Great, Skanderbeg is a true hero in the Balkans for resisting the invasion of the Ottoman Empire.
Then go to your hotel located in the center of the city, which offers a splendid view of the city and the castle.
Enjoy the rooftop outdoor pool at the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Kruje.
Day 17. Kruje - Tirana Airport, Albania
After breakfast, free time until your transfer to Tirana airport for your return flight.
This price includes : »Reception at Tirana airport on day 1 »Car rental from Tirana airport on day 1 to Tirana airport on day 17 »Overnight stays in 3 *, 4 * and 5 * hotels with breakfasts (local standards subject to availability) Guided tours by French speaking guides in Tirana, Butrint and Gjirokastra »Telephone assistance during the whole circuit »The travel diary with essential information for the trip (addresses, contacts, restaurants)
This price does not include: »Full board (lunches and dinners) »All additional expenses not mentioned in the program " Tips »Insurance »The return flight »All activities mentioned in the program »The entries in the monuments
OPTION: »Prizren guided tour in Kosovo & Skopje in North Macedonia: 50 € per visit