ITINERARY 1, ANCIENT CITIES, SPECTACULAR LANDSCAPES
8 Days September 11-18, 2021
The capital, with a population of over half a million and growing more cosmopolitan with new restaurants, shops and galleries that have joined the almost surrealist pastiche of monuments to the city’s past. Here, eras collide. We’ll visit Skanderbeg Square, recently renovated with new fountains and rosy granite paving, and home to an 18th-century mosque and minaret, a domed Albanian Orthodox church, a set of government buildings that echo the fascist architecture of Mussolini’s Italy and a Brutalist monolith that houses the National Historical Museum. We'll see the newly opened Secret Surveillance Museum and Bunk’Art, Dictator Hoxha’s five story underground nuclear bunker discovered in 2015.
We’ll spend the first and last nights at the centrally located Rogner, an extremely comfortable hotel with a pool and spa.
North of Tirana on our way to Shkoder, we’ll stop to shoot in Durres. Known for its Roman amphitheater, a 9th-century church with mosaic-covered walls, and the former summer villa of King Zog. Duress has also become the South Beach of Albania, only stranger. This is a jam-packed opportunity to make pictures of beach culture, new architecture, and nouveau rich sun seekers. Shkoder, ninty minutes from Tirana, is one of the most ancient cities in the Balkans, and a personal favorite. The bike capital of Albania, Shkoder is colorful and vibrant. We’ll make pictures throughout its cobblestone streets, bike and swim. Shkoder is also home to the historic Marubi Photography museum, on our agenda.
Two nights will be spent at Hotel Tradita, a boutique inn with incredible charm, delicious food and homemade liqueur.
A ferry winds us through the Fjords of Lake Komen, destination Valbona,"jewel of the north", located inside the National Park in the Albanian Alps. We'll spend three days in this incredible, majestic location shooting, editing and critiquing work as well as hiking, star gazing, and eating and drinking local specialties. This region, more than any other, suffered tremendously during Communism because of its remoteness. In 2013 a new road was paved, modest inns were constructed, and hikers of the world began to trickle in. Still, it is mostly undiscovered.
Valbona lodging is very comfortable, extremely picturesque family run guest houses with private rooms and bathrooms.
Mrizi i Zanave
This is a farm, an inn, and a spectacular dining experience all rolled into one beautiful adventure. Mrizi i Zanave is a highly regarded restaurant that sources all ingredients locally. We’ll explore the grounds lined with olive, fig and pomegranate trees, watch as the wood-fired ovens are filled with fresh dough, and eat a long, multi-coursed dinner prepared by a star chef. In this gorgeous environment we'll review our week’s work.
One night will be spent on the farm in modern rooms overlooking the extraordinary landscape.
On our way back to Tirana we'll make a quick stop in Kruje, a charming medieval Ottoman village surrounded by high peaks and spectacular views. Kruje’s old market streets still have some of the best women weavers in the country—a now nearly extinct profession.
Our trip ends back in the capital where we'll celebrate with an end-of-workshop nightcap.
This itinerary will include creating and producing your own soft cover magazine. Each day we’ll shoot and make time for editing and sequencing pictures, with one-on-one guidance from Dan. Your unique publication will be ready to print once you are home.
Includes single accommodations for seven nights; breakfast and lunch daily and four group dinners; activities and entrance fees for everything on the itinerary; airport arrival transportation; in-country guides; in-country ground transportation.
Not included: airfare to Albania, additional meals, and recommended trip/travel insurance.
Click here for more of what’s included—and what’s not. When you sign up for the tour you will be sent links and details of all our stops and accommodations.
Magazine image Courtesy Dan Milnor