1. Fom Tirana: Shkodra Main Attractions Tour
Meet at 9:00 AM at your hotel in Tirana. Head towards Shkodra and begin to explore its main attractions. Located at the entrance of the town, 3km south of the city center, Rozafa Castle (fortress of Shkodra) is located on a rocky hill. It's one of the biggest and most famous castles in Albania. The Rozafa castle has a fascinating history. Archaeological excavations have yielded finds extending from the early Bronze Age. Within its massive defensive walls stand the Church of St. Stephen, several Venetian administrative buildings, and some medieval rooms. On the border of Montenegro and Albania, you'll find Shkodra Lake, a former ocean bay that was cut off from the Adriatic Sea when the sea levels dropped thousands of years ago. The lake is the largest in the Balkans at 41km long and with a surface area between 370-530 km2. The bottom of the lake is well below sea level, making it what's known as a crypto depression. Shkodra Lake is also one of the largest bird reserves in Europe, having some 240 bird species inhabiting its shores, including some of the last pelicans in Europe. Thus, it's very popular with bird watchers. See the Catholic Cathedral, one of the biggest in Balkans and dedicated to St. Stephen. After a reconstruction in 1991, the cathedral was inaugurated by Mother Theresa and two years later it was visited by Pope John Paul II. Inside the cathedral is a copy of the Shroud of Turin, bearing the negative image of a man, which some claim is Jesus of Nazareth. After visiting the cathedral, enjoy walking on the main boulevard in Shkodra. You will arrive back in Tirana around 6:00 PM.