10. 3 Day Tour of the South- Gjirokastra, Blue Eye, Himara
Day 1 Departing Tirana at the dawn of 8 o'clock, we shall journey towards Gjirokastra, a place 230 kilometers away, renowned for its remarkable preservation of the Ottoman architecture and its prominent agricultural land. We will traverse through the depths of Southern Albania, admiring the green fields that the countryside has to offer. Along our path, we shall be accompanied by the Vjosa River, one of the few untamed rivers of Albania and the surrounding Balkan region. Once we arrive in the city, you will soon recognize that this metropolis is unlike any other. At the heart of the city lies the main square, proudly named after the renowned Albanian Patriot of the 19th century, Cerciz Topulli. Here, the cobblestone streets culminate in a splendid spectacle, their journey from the castle's lofty heights finally at an end. Dating back to the 17th Century, the Ottoman era saw the flourishing of a bustling epicenter that sent its vitality reverberating throughout the city. A hub of economic activity, this was the place where news, gossip and rumors were propagated with remarkable swiftness. All manner of transactions were conducted here, as well as leisurely gatherings over coffee. Countless unions were arranged here, providing the perfect milieu for families to come together prior to the wedding rites. This day, the city proudly displays its history to all who visit, with a splendid array of souvenirs and stories shared by the affable inhabitants. Majestically, we tread through the bustling Bazaar to reach the grand Gjirokastra Fortress. Upon the hilltop's natural defenses, it was the first settlement of the city, deeply rooted in the captivating legend of Argjiro, the young princess who sacrificed herself. Thusly, it is commonly referred to as the Crown of the City. Skenduli House Tour . Day 2 Gjirokaster- Blue Eye Sarande-Himara One must traverse the verdant parkland to behold the grandeur of the "Blue Eye" spring - an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon and popular tourist attraction Over a period of two hours, we shall traverse the glittering waters, pausing at some of Albania's most pristine beaches, such as the Aquarium Bay, Gjipe Beach, and the Pigeon Cave, while also exploring the enigmatic Pirates Cave. The remainder of the day has been earmarked for some leisurely hours of basking in the sun and taking a refreshing dip in the waters. Day 3 We leave Himara behind and travel back to Tirana. On the way we stop to Zverneci Island . Situated in close proximity to a diminutive isle lies an island with a preponderance of majestic pine trees. This idyllic island, located to the east of its smaller counterpart, is linked to the mainland by a lengthy wooden bridge, spanning a distance of approximately 270 meters. Nestled within its verdant landscape is the well-maintained Zvërnec Monastery, a Byzantine structure dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, that has withstood the ravages of time. After the visit we head back to Tirana.