Balkans Insider: Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo & Montenegro

Group Tour

Overview

The easternmost of Europe’s three great southern peninsulas, the Balkans covers a region that encompasses a staggering mix of ethnic, political and historical diversity.

On a journey of rich contrasts, we cross a landscape liberally scattered with UNESCO treasures, medieval fortresses and some of the most breathtaking scenery that this fascinating corner of Europe can offer. From Albania’s capital, Tirana, with its mix of old Italianate and communist infrastructure we’ll head eastwards, ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

14 x Breakfasts
12 x Lunches
10 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

Minibuses, boats and trains

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

4 nights x Premium
10 nights x Superior

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low / Moderate

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2234 Wild Miles

ACCOMMODATION

Wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience. This can obviously vary greatly across both countries and tours. On this particular trip we will be in comfortable hotels throughout. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-5hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

MODERATE/HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-6 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 4-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Balkans Insider: Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo & Montenegro
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

Day 1 Tour Starts in Tirana (Albania)

Day 1 Tour Starts in Tirana (Albania)

The tour starts this afternoon at the hotel. Those on the suggested group flights (see the GETTING THERE section below for details) will receive a complimentary arrival transfer from Tirana airport. This afternoon we have some time to explore the colourful town of Tirana with a walking tour, taking in the renovated Skanderbeg Square and the historic Et'hem Bey Mosque, as well as seeing some of the buildings which date back to the 1930s Italian-influenced era. For our first evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner in a local restaurant.

Tirana International or similar
Dinner

Day 2 In and around Tirana: Mountain Views & Communist Echoes

Day 2 In and around Tirana: Mountain Views & Communist Echoes

This morning we will visit the House of Leaves, once the headquarters of the Albanian secret surveillance apparatus during the cold war and now a museum. From here we then drive into the foothills of Mount Dajti and visit the Bunk'Art underground galleries to learn about the country’s unique communist past. We’ll then take the scenic cable car up the mountain and enjoy a walk around the park taking in the stunning views (weather permitting) of the city below. After lunch the rest of the day is free to allow you time to explore some more of Albania’s capital at your leisure. You could choose to visit the National Museum, discover the Blloku district with its trendy cafes and shops or venture further south to wander around the impressive Lake Park, popular with locals and foreign visitors alike.

Tirana International or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3 Tirana - Ohrid (North Macedonia): Towards the Jersualem Of The Balkans

Day 3 Tirana - Ohrid (North Macedonia): Towards the Jersualem Of The Balkans

Leaving Tirana behind this morning we head east, following the Shkumbin River Valley and negotiating our way up the winding switchbacks of the Qafe Thane (Cornelian Cherry Pass). Our journey follows the route of the old Roman, ‘Via Egnatia’ and from the summit of the pass we will hopefully be able to enjoy some spectacular views of Lake Ohrid in neighbouring Macedonia. Crossing into North Macedonia we then descend towards the town of Struga, our gateway onto the shores of Lake Ohrid. This afternoon we’ll take a guided tour amongst the UNESCO treasures of Ohrid, a town once described as 'The Jerusalem of the Balkans', before spending the evening enjoying the waterfront.

Hotel Su or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 In and around Ohrid: UNESCO Treasures & Lakeside Walks

Day 4 In and around Ohrid: UNESCO Treasures & Lakeside Walks

Ohrid and its spectacular lake are both inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage listing. The lake itself is considered the oldest in Europe, whilst the historic heart of the city is home to a staggering array of picturesque houses and ancient monuments. A boat ride this morning brings us to stunningly sited Monastery of Sveti Naum (Saint Naum), sitting beside the turquoise waters that flow into the lake from the surrounding Galicican Mountains. Returning to Ohrid for some refreshments back at the hotel, this afternoon offers a chance for a hike around the slopes of Visoki Vrv, or perhaps to explore more of the old town.

Hotel Su or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5 Ohrid - Bitola: National Parks & Heritage Architecture

Day 5 Ohrid - Bitola: National Parks & Heritage Architecture

A scenic drive this morning takes us up to the heights of the Galicican Pass, from where, weather-permitting, a short 1-2hr hike affords us some spectacular views across Lake Ohrid to the west and Prespa to the east. Descending from here we then continue along the slopes of Mount Baba and and into the Pelister National Park, a route that will bring us to the city of Bitola, one of the oldest in Northern Macedonia. The historic pedestrian area of Širok Sokak is the cultural heart of the city, with a rich architectural heritage that includes the ancient ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis, the old Ottoman Quarter and the captivating charms of Magnolia Square.

Hotel Treff or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Bitola - Skopje: Contrasts the Old & the New

Day 6 Bitola - Skopje: Contrasts the Old & the New

Turning north we follow the road on towards Skopje today, Macedonia’s political, cultural and economic capital. Filled with reminders of its Roman and Byzantine past, Skopje today is an intriguing mix of the old and the new and, after lunch, we’ll take a walking tour through its historic centre. The birthplace of Mother Theresa, the city’s old stone bridge leads into the heart of its Ottoman quarter, where  cobblestone alleyways meander past artisan shops and traditional tea houses, whilst a wonderful mix of mosques and medieval churches vie for space amongst the new architecture of the modern city.

Hotel Panoramika or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Skopje - Prizren (Kosovo): Northwards via the Prevall Pass (1500m)

Day 7 Skopje - Prizren (Kosovo): Northwards via the Prevall Pass (1500m)

Passing into Kosovo today we take the impressive mountain road that leads up to the Prevall Pass (1500m), where we’ll break the journey and take a walk through a landscape that affords us some magnificent views along the ridge-line of the Sharr Mountains. Descending down the other side by road we then head for the historic city of Prizren, to explore the Ottoman influenced neighbourhoods that line either side of the Lumbardhi River.

Hotel Centrum or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 In and around Prizren: Alpine Walks & Mountain Scenery

Day 8 In and around Prizren: Alpine Walks & Mountain Scenery

The highlands of Dragash lie to the south of the city, amongst the rugged and barren landscapes of the Sharr Mountains. Home to some of the highest peaks in the Balkans, these mountain ranges can boast no fewer than 30 peaks that rise above 2,500 metres. Today we take a walk through the alpine meadowlands that lie close to the border with neighbouring Northern Macedonia, enjoying a picnic lunch amongst the alpine landscapes before returning to Prizren. This afternoon is then free to relax or to continue exploring the city at our leisure.

Hotel Centrum or similar
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9 Prizren - Kolasin (Montenegro): Visoki Decani UNESCO Monastery

Day 9 Prizren - Kolasin (Montenegro): Visoki Decani UNESCO Monastery

Our journey takes us northwest today towards the town of Peja. En route we'll stop for a brief visit at the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Visoki Decani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits at the foot of the Dukagjin Mountains.  From here the road then climbs up into the heights of the Accursed Mountains, crossing over into Montenegro by way of the lush setting of pristine coniferous forests. Stopping for lunch in the mountain town of Rozaje, we then continue through the mountains towards Kolasin, our destination for the evening. There will be a chance to relax and enjoy our surroundings before dinner.

Dream House Hotel or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Kolasin - Bay Of Kotor: Train Rides & Boat Trips

Day 10 Kolasin - Bay Of Kotor: Train Rides & Boat Trips

A remarkable train journey this morning brings us to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. Set at the confluence of the Ribnica and Morača Rivers, Podgorica lies just to the north of Lake Shkodra, the largest lake in southern Europe. A drive from Podgorica to Virpazar, by the shores of the lake, then provides us with the opportunity to board a boat and cross the lake to Rijeka Crnojevića, from where our final transfer of the day will bring us to the stunning Bay of Kotor.

Hotel Splendido or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 In & Around Kotor: Lovcen National Park & The Ladder of Cattaro

Day 11 In & Around Kotor: Lovcen National Park & The Ladder of Cattaro

Surrounded by limestone mountains, including the legendary peak of Mount Lovcen, Cetinje became the cradle of Montenegrin culture during the 15th century and we'll head here this morning from our base on the Bay of Kotor. One of its most important sites is the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, which lies in the heart of the national park at the summit of Jezerski vrh (1657m). Today we will pay a visit to the mausoleum, before then continuing on to Kotor by way of the stunning switchback trail (for those who wish to take this 9km descent) known as the ‘Ladder of Cattaro’. For centuries this was the only route that connected Kotor with Cetinje and from the spectacular setting of the Krstac pass (940m) there are some quite breathtaking views over the Bay of Kotor and down to the old Dalmatian town of Kotor itself (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Hotel Splendido or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 In and around Kotor: UNESCO Treasures & Turquoise Waters

Day 12 In and around Kotor: UNESCO Treasures & Turquoise Waters

Built during the Venetian period, the historic and fortified ramparts of Kotor lie beside what some have described as the southernmost fjord in Europe. Boasting one of the best preserved medieval towns in the Adriatic, its ancient walls stretch for some 4.5 kilometres and enclose within them some truly captivating heritage architecture. We’ll enjoy a guided tour through its historic heart this morning, after which the afternoon has been left free to continue exploring at your own pace. Away from Kotor’s obvious attractions lie some incredibly picturesque villages that dot the bay, such as Perast and Dobrota.

Hotel Splendido or similar
Breakfast

Day 13 Kotor - Shkodër (Albania): Historic Budva & Ada Bojana Nature Reserve

Day 13 Kotor - Shkodër (Albania): Historic Budva & Ada Bojana Nature Reserve

Following the coastline southeast this morning, we stop and pay a visit to the historic old town of Budva, site of one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic coast. Passing close to the picturesque island of Sveti Stefan we then continue to Ulcinj and the nature reserve of Ada Bojana. Here the river Buna flows into the Adriatic and we’ll enjoy some lovely views from one of the wooden terraces that overlook the river. There is also an option to take a walk to the beach, before an afternoon transfer back across the Albanian border to Shkodër, where we spend the evening.

Hotel Tradita or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14 Shkodër - Krujë: Exploring Rozafa Fortess

Day 14 Shkodër - Krujë: Exploring Rozafa Fortess

A walk through central Shkodër this morning will be followed by a visit to the imposing Rozafa Fortress, occupying a craggy hilltop enclosed by the Buna and Drin rivers. From its massive walls the panoramic views across the city and the surrounding countryside are truly spectacular. A drive south then takes us across the Lezha Plains and up into the hills around the town of Krujë, our final destination on this remarkable journey. An afternoon walk through the craft bazaars then ends with a visit to the town’s fortress, the site of the legendary Skanderbeg resistance to the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century.

Hotel Panorama or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15 Tour ends in Krujë

Day 15 Tour ends in Krujë

Tour ends in Krujë

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

With local people, culture and eco-systems in mind, responsible travel and sustainable tourism are at the core of Wild Frontiers. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our travellers but also benefits the people and places we visit.

When designing our tours, we actively seek out experiences that have a positive impact on the communities and precious environments we visit - from supporting social enterprises; resting our heads in rural homestays; and eating at locally owned restaurants; to helping fund conservation projects that protect wildlife and their habitats. 

Visit the Responsible Travel area of our website to read more, including the work of the Wild Frontiers Foundation through which we fundraise to aid community empowerment and education projects.

Reducing Single Use Plastic

We recognise the environmental issues and challenges around single-use plastic in many countries we visit and are actively working with our partners on the ground to reduce plastic waste on our tours and within the hotels and restaurants we visit. You can help to reduce your personal plastic waste by taking a refillable, filtered water bottle with you on your trip. Filtered water bottles can be refilled from water sources including your hotel room and restaurant taps, drinking fountains and refill stations. Every time you refill your bottle without the use of single-use plastic, you will be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. Filtered Water Bottles | Wild Frontiers (wildfrontierstravel.com)

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
BA 928 London Heathrow (LHR) 08:30 Tirana Airport (TIA) 12:30
BA 929 Tirana Airport (TIA) 13:20 London Heathrow (LHR) 15:35

Visas

VISAS

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact a reputable visa agency. More details can be found here - https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/visa

For this tour UK passport holders currently do not require a visa for any of the countries visited on this trip, i.e. Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

Passports should ideally be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the end of your tour.

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements.

VACCINATIONS & ADDITIONAL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers to Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo & Montenegro.

For all destinations, please make sure you are up-to-date with any standard vaccinations (e.g. MMR, Hepatitis A, Tetanus) as recommended by your local health care provider. 

For the most up-to-date information on all vaccination requirements and the most suitable anti-malarial tablets, we strongly suggest that you seek advice from your local travel centre or consult an official travel health website such as www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk or www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

Covid Testing: No mandatory testing is currently required for vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers.

If necessary further details will be sent out to you upon booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas & vaccinations are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Alternatively, you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries*. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your requirements.

*Please note bespoke, tailor-made itineraries need to be a minimum of 7 days and we can only offer them in countries where we have a tailor-made expert

Albania Group Tours

Albania Group Tours

We don't currently offer tailor-made trips to Albania but if dates allows, why not extend your trip to allow for a more thorough exploration of this most fascinating and complex destination?

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

The Balkans have a continental climate meaning that summers are typically hot and dry while winters are bitterly cold. We typically scheduled the majority of our departures to the region to avoid both of these extremes but please bear in mind that changes in global weather patterns combined the variety of landscapes through which this trip travels will mean that you should come prepared for any eventuality. In general though it would not be unreasonable to expect that most days will be warm/hot with daytime temperatures in the range of 20 - 30C.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour. All walks are optional but to get the most out of the trip you should be happy and confident to undertake some easy/moderate hill-walks of typical duration 2-3hrs. Come prepared for a few long drives but border formalities are usually quite quick and the variety of scenery en route will more than compensate.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A 10% deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 2234 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Airport Transfers: We include complimentary transfers if arriving/departing on the suggested group flights
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.