This is a journey for those drawn to venture off the beaten path and explore a unique side of Mediterranean history and culture that is a living time capsule of an enigmatic past.
Although it has been inhabited for at least ten millennia, Albania is today one of Europe’s “undiscovered” countries. Albania’s strategic position, only a short sail from Italy across the Adriatic Sea, and commanding the route from west to east, attracted settlers and invaders and made it an important and flourishing possession of empires and other powers since antiquity. Ancient Greeks founded colonies on its shore starting in the 7th century BC; the Romans made it a province, later becoming a Byzantine and Ottoman territory; and in the early 20th century, it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and under the domination of Italy and Germany.
Possessing pristine natural beauty, important archaeological sites, and towns sited in exquisite locations that have remained unchanged through the centuries, coupled with much improved infrastructure, Albania has begun to draw the attention of travelers.
We begin in Tirana: the country’s first capital and then on to Durres: the link between the Adriatic Sea and Byzantium and Berat: a UNESCO World Heritage site, “city of a thousand windows,” a vision of whitewashed houses, too beautiful for words.
Next on to Northern Greece, along Vikos Gorge, known as one of the steepest in the world, as we delve into this magical region of charming towns reflecting quintessential Greek life and the UNESCO World Heritage monasteries of Meteora that reach toward the heavens from atop magnificent rock formations.
This small-group expedition reveals the treasures of Albania & Northern Greece and offers a wealth of under-explored gems worthy of focused study and adventurous exploration.