Albania, Discovery, 9 days - from £895 (land only) - from €1,120 (land only) - from $1,565 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at Tirana airport and transfer to Kruje where we will stay overnight in a hotel. Time permitting we will make a short hike up on to the ridge behind the town and visit the cave of the Bektashi Dervishes, a Sufi sect found throughout Albania. Dinner and overnight in our hotel.
Day 2: Today we will visit the Kruje's ancient fortress and the Skanderbeg Museum. Skanderbeg is Albania's national hero who fought off the Ottomans in the 15th century. Later we drive north on the new "Road of the Nation" which connects Albania with Kosovo. After crossing the border, we take lunch in Prizren before returning to Albania and driving to the Valbnona Valley in the Albanian Alps.
Day 3: We have a full day to explore the beautiful Valbona Valley on foot. The valley is surrounded by high limestone mountains, with pretty villages and fields on the valley floor. We hike up to Rrethi i Bardhe, the White Circle, and take a picnic en route. 4 hours walking, 700m of ascent and descent. Overnight in a simple mountain hotel.
Day 4: We drive from Valbona to the dock where we will take the ferry through the spectacular fjord-like canyon of Lake Koman. After docking at the dam in Koman, we take the scenic drive along lake Vau Dejes to Shkodra. In the afternoon we visit the stunningly located Rozafa Castle and take a walking tour of Shkodra town. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 5: Heading south for Berat, we make for the ancient citadel district on arrival to learn about its fascinating histroy and then visit the Icon Museum of the great master painter, Onufri. There will be some free time in the afternoon to explore the historic districts of Mangalemi and Gorica. Overnight in a hotel. Approximately 3 hours driving.
Day 6: Today we visit the UNESCO sites at Gjirokaster and Butrint. Gjirokaster is a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town and we will have time to look at the buildings and take lunch at a panoramic restaurant. In the afternoon we will transfer to Butrint (1 hour), on the coast near the island of Corfu, where we will visit the ancient ruins. Overnight in a hotel in Saranda.
Day 7: Today we drive along the coast, known locally as the Albanian Riviera. We may stop on the way to hike to one of the most beautiful villages, Qeparo, situated on a hill top overlooking the bay. We'll take lunch at Himara and visit Porto Palermo. Later in the afternoon we visit a monastery before driving up to the Llogora Pass to stay in a mountain hotel. Approximately 1-2 hours walking.
Day 8: We start the day with a hike to the Karaburuni Peninsula for great mountain and sea views. Descending to Vlora Bay we drive back north to Tirana stopping at the Roman amphitheatre in Durres. Time to enjoy the bright lights of Tirana in the evening. Approximately 4 hours walking and 4 hours driving.
Day 9: KE package services end after breakfast. Tirana is an interesting city and the morning is free for independent exploration. There will be a single-timed transfer to the airport around lunchtime.