ANCIENT CITIES, SPECTACULAR LANDSCAPES
9 Days: June 1 - 9, 2023
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.
After the bustle of Shkoder we’ll head to the gorgeous, remote mountain village of Theth, nestled below the dramatic Albanian Alps. We’ll spend three days in this incredible, majestic location, shooting, editing, sequencing and book making. In addition, we’ll star gaze, hike to the splendid Blue Eye natural spring and waterfall — and beyond — and explore this traditional village, its customs, and delicious cuisine. This region, more than any other, suffered tremendously during Communism because of its remoteness. Recently, a new road was paved, modest inns were constructed, and hikers of the world began to trickle in. Still, it is mostly undiscovered and utterly charming.
Lodging is a very comfortable, extremely picturesque family run guest houses with modest 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.
Our last night and celebratory dinner will be spent on this farm in modern rooms overlooking the extraordinary landscape.
If time allows before heading 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.
This itinerary includes 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. Your unique publication will be ready to print once you are home.
Magazine image Courtesy Dan Milnor
Includes single accommodations for eight nights; breakfast daily and six group dinners; activities and entrance fees for everything on the itinerary, airport pick-up; in-country guides; in-country ground transportation.
Not included: airfare to Albania, additional meals and alcohol, 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.