This quick-moving tour will take you on a fascinating circuit through Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, visiting UNESCO cities such as Ohrid, Kotor, and Berat and combining culture with the scenic nature that abounds in the Balkans. You'll enjoy scenic drives through tall mountain passes, vibrant national parks, and along the picturesque coast of the Adriatic Sea, stopping for day hikes, traditional meals, and beach days, plus in charming old towns like Perast and Prizren. Explore two of the region's capitals, Tirana and Podgorica, as well as Montenegro's Old Royal Capital of Cetinje. 

Highlights

  • Enjoy a day hike in the beautiful Prokletije Mountains
  • Explore the UNESCO cities of Kotor, Ohrid, and Berat
  • Relax on Montenegro's longest and sandiest beach
  • Spend two nights in charming Prizren, one of Kosovo's most delightful cities
  • Visit Albania's quirky capital of Tirana

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Podgorica - Wine Tasting in Virpazar Virpazar
Day 2 Enjoy Mountain Views on the Way to Vusanje Vusanje
Day 3 Stretch Your Legs in Beautiful Prokletije National Park Vusanje
Day 4 Explore the Charming City of Shkodër Shkoder
Day 5 Head to Prizren Via the Scenic Lake Kolmani Ferry Prizren
Day 6 Walk the Old Stone Streets of Prizren Prizren
Day 7 Watch the Sunset on Lake Ohrid Ohrid
Day 8 Explore the Beauty of Lake Ohrid Ohrid
Day 9 Stroll with the Locals in the City of Berat Berat
Day 10 Discover Albania's Quirky Capital City, Tirana Tirana
Day 11 Transfer to Ulcinj, Montenegro via the Town of Kruja Ulcinj
Day 12 Enjoy a Sandy Beach Day in Ulcinj Ulcinj
Day 13 Explore the Old Towns of Budva and Perast - Transfer to Kotor Kotor
Day 14 Hike up to Kotor Fortress for Panoramic Views Kotor
Day 15 Kotor to Podgorica Podgorica
Day 16 Depart Podgorica  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Podgorica - Wine Tasting in Virpazar

Quaint, Lakeside Village of Virpazar
Quaint, Lakeside Village of Virpazar

Welcome to the Balkans!

Your private driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the picturesque village of Virpazar, which is set directly on the shores of Lake Skadar. After settling into your accommodation, head out for a wine tasting at Winery Masanovic, one of the finest wineries in the region. You'll enjoy a full tasting, a lecture about the wines and wine-making process, and dinner. 

Head back to your accommodation to relax as you listen to the sounds of nature around you.

Day 2: Enjoy Mountain Views on the Way to Vusanje

Typical Scenery in Prokletije
Typical Scenery in Prokletije

After an early breakfast this morning, you'll enjoy a peaceful boat cruise along Lake Skadar. Your early-morning start will help you beat the crowds, allowing for better enjoyment of the lake's tranquility and observation of the outstanding birdlife, including the endangered Dalmatian pelican.

In the late morning, you'll begin one of the longest drives on the trip. Luckily, it's also one of the most scenic. You'll head north and east through impressive mountain terrain, passing through National Park Prokletije. This park has some of the tallest peaks in the country, and some of the best scenery.

After a quick stop for lunch, you'll arrive in Vusanje, a quaint village tucked into the forest with amazing views of the mountains. Settle into your accommodation and head to your hosted dinner.

Day 3: Stretch Your Legs in Beautiful Prokletije National Park

Lepushë, on the Albania-Montenegro Border
Lepushë, on the Albania-Montenegro Border

Today is a day for outdoor exploration! Prokletije National Park is a perfect place to absorb nature. You'll enjoy a day hike into the park, which can be discussed with the help of your guide, depending on your interests and physical abilities. 

After setting off on your route, enjoy the peaceful hike into the park. Whether you're walking along riverbeds, through forests, in alpine meadows, or up mountains, you will surely enjoy the stunning scenery. For lunch, you'll stop at a viewpoint to enjoy a picnic provided by your guide. 

After returning to to Vusanje, you'll have time to freshen up and relax before your hosted dinner.

Day 4: Explore the Charming City of Shkodër

Charming Streets of Shkodër
Charming Streets of Shkodër

Enjoy your morning in Vusaje before heading across the border into Albania. You'll stop at a small border post between Gusinje and Vermosh, then wind your way back to Lake Skadar (on the Albanian side) toward the historic city of Shkodër.

The city's center is lined with colorful buildings offering quaint shops and cafes. Take a dip at Mes Bridge or walk up to Rozafa Castle, the ruins of a Venetian fortress made of limestone. You'll also find the remains of the Kisha e Shen Shtjefnit Church. Enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding landscape, including across Lake Skadar to Montenegro.

In the evening, head to the courtyard of Hotel Tradita for a delicious dinner beloved by both tourists and locals alike.

Day 5: Head to Prizren Via the Scenic Lake Kolmani Ferry

Lake Komani Ferry
Lake Komani Ferry

Today requires an early rise as you'll want to catch the morning ferry from Koman to Fierze. You'll enjoy breakfast on the boat as you cruise along Lake Koman on the famous Lake Komani Ferry. Sip your coffee while you take in the views of the mountains along the Drin River. This route is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful inland ferry journeys in the world.

After disembarking at Fierze, you'll head towards the Kosovo border, stopping for lunch along the way. If you’d like to stretch your legs, you can opt for a slight detour to the incredible 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery at Decani.

You'll continue on to the city of Prizren, one of the most popular Balkan cities, home to a lively atmosphere and party vibe. Settle into your accommodation, then head out to explore the city and find a buzzy restaurant for dinner.

Day 6: Walk the Old Stone Streets of Prizren

The Old Bridge in Prizren
The Old Bridge in Prizren

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, as you have all day to explore the city of Prizren at your own pace. The historic center is quite charming, filled with winding stone streets, traditional cafes, and quaint shops.

For aerial views of the city's sea of red roofs, head up to Prizren Fortress. On your way down, you can stop at the Church of Savior and the 17th-century Sinan Pasha Mosque, which has a stunning interior. Take a look at the old Turkish Bath, with incredible stone work and traditional bathhouse roofs.

If you'd like a little exercise, you can stroll down the path that follows the river and connects back to Prizren Fortress. Head to your accommodation for a little rest and relaxation, then catch a sunset at the old stone bridge. Enjoy a leisurely dinner at a traditional restaurant in the heart of the old town for an excellent cultural experience.

Plan your trip to Albania
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 7: Watch the Sunset on Lake Ohrid

Famous Views of St. John Church, Ohrid
Famous Views of St. John Church, Ohrid

Gear up for a lengthy drive, as today's adventure will take you to one of the Balkans' most beloved destinations: Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. After breakfast, you'll head east toward the stunning Sharr Mountains, followed by a short stop at the border to cross into Northern Macedonia.

You'll stop for lunch in the ethnic Albanian enclave of Tetovo, where you can wander the city's historical downtown. Visit its famous painted mosque, Pasha's Mosque, with its gorgeous facades and interiors. You can also explore the Arabati Baba Teké, an Islamic monastery run by the tolerant Bektashi sect. It was built in the 16th century and showcases beautiful Ottoman architecture.

After lunch, you'll continue south to Ohrid, arriving in the early evening. After settling into your accommodation, head down to the lake to relax with a beer or hop on a boat to catch the famous St. John Church at sunset.

Day 8: Explore the Beauty of Lake Ohrid

View of Ohrid From Samuel's Fortress
View of Ohrid From Samuel's Fortress

To some, Ohrid is known as the Jewel of Macedonia. As you start your exploration of the city, you'll soon discover why. After breakfast, begin your morning with a stroll through the old bazaar. The pedestrian-friendly street is lined with shops and runs along the lake, ending at a quaint city market. Continue meandering through the charming stone streets of the UNESCO old town and grab a traditional coffee in one of the cafes.

To get a better view of the city, climb up to Samuel's Fortress. It certainly dominates Ohrid's skyline, and boasts an interesting history as the very first capital of the Bulgarian Empire. It also offers some of the best views of the lake. You'll surely be hungry by now, so head down to the water for a lakeside lunch at one of the many restaurants and cafes. 

Don't miss the churches and monuments in Ohrid, including the Greek amphitheater dating back to 200 BCE. Saint Sophia Orthodox Church was built in the middle ages and features an array of historical artwork. The Robev Family House is a great museum if you're curious what 19th century life was like in Ohrid.

If you're up for a swim, the afternoon is the perfect time to leisurely enjoy the city's beach. Freshen up at your accommodation and head back into the city for sunset and dinner on the port.

Day 9: Stroll with the Locals in the City of Berat

The Historical City of Berat
The Historical City of Berat

After breakfast, you'll head back into Albania via a very scenic drive. You'll start west towards the historic city of Elbasan, then south to today's destination, Berat. After settling into your accommodation, enjoy perusing the charming, riverside city.

The city is quite compact, so exploring it makes for a great afternoon. Start in the old town and walk up to Berat Castle for scenic views of the river valley. Explore the ruins of the two mosques on the hill, the White Mosque and the Red Mosque, then head down to the river's edge. Cross the old Gorica Bridge to get a view of the old town from the other side of the river before exploring the famous St. Michael's Church, which was built into the side of a cliff. 

Come sundown, enjoy the main boulevard where nearly the entire town meets for an evening stroll, an old Mediterranean tradition. Then climb back up through the old town towards the Citadel to have dinner at one of the town's most popular restaurants, Koço’s. The owner proves to be quite entertaining with his guests.

Day 10: Discover Albania's Quirky Capital City, Tirana

Tirana at Sunset
Tirana at Sunset

In just a couple hours, you'll find yourself in Albania's chaotic and quirky capital city, Tirana. On the way into the city, you'll stop at Bunk'Art site, a bizarre nuclear bunker from the Cold War Era turned into a museum.

After settling into your accommodation, head out to explore this vibrant city. You'll start in Tirana's center at Skanderbeg Square, where you'll find the city buzzing with energy. You can visit the Friendship Monument, the National Library of Albania, and the Palace of Culture, all within feet from one another. Even if you're not a museum person, the House of Leaves, which explores the role of the feared Sigurimi security police during the Communist dictatorship, is highly recommended.

Other interesting sites nearby include the "Cloud" art sculpture and the Pyramid of Tirana, which once housed the Enver Hoxha Museum to honor the late Communist politician. Now it's a defunct building, sitting as a unique piece of architecture in the city center. You can also visit the 18th-century Tanners' Bridge spanning the Lana River for a little greenery.

At the end of your afternoon exploring, settle into one of Tirana's many restaurants for dinner. The culinary scene in Tirana has grown in recent years, offering an array of cuisine and taste, perfect for the foodie traveler. One restaurant in particular, Mullixhiu, is the brainchild of chef Bledar Kola and is rapidly gaining international attention for its innovative take on traditional Albanian dishes.

Day 11: Transfer to Ulcinj, Montenegro via the Town of Kruja

Beautiful Sunset in Ulcinj
Beautiful Sunset in Ulcinj

After an early breakfast, you'll begin today's drive toward the town of Kruja, known for its hillside castle. The old town is a great place to spend some time, weaving through the stone streets and enjoying some shopping in the bazaar. You can also visit the museum dedicated to Albania’s national hero, Skanderbeg.

For lunch, you'll head north to the Restaurant Rapsodia, one of the best restaurants in the country offering a delicious tasting menu. You'll have a full stomach, ready to tackle the border crossing into Montenegro. It's a popular crossing, so it may require some waiting time. Your driver can continue to delight you with stories of the Balkan region as you wait.

Eventually, you'll arrive in the seaside city of Ulcinj, which is home to one of the longest and sandiest beaches in Montenegro. Spend your evening enjoying the city's waterfront, watching the sunset and relaxing with a drink before dinner.

Day 12: Enjoy a Sandy Beach Day in Ulcinj

Beaches of Ulcinj
Beaches of Ulcinj

Swimming in Montenegro is fantastic, but you may be surprised to learn that most of the country's beaches are stone or pebble. Ulcinj has one of the longest, and one of the few sandy, beaches in Montenegro.

After breakfast, walk through the town to the waterfront and connect with the Ulcinj Long Beach Walk. This designated path will take you along the rocky coast until you hit sandy paradise. Spend today simply relaxing by the water, sunbathing, swimming, or trying your hand at a water sport. Windsurfing is particularly popular in Ulcinj.

Head back to your accommodation to freshen up before finding some dinner grub along the city's waterfront. Enjoy a night cap at one of the hip cafes on Jadran Peninsula.

Day 13: Explore the Old Towns of Budva and Perast - Transfer to Kotor

Scenic Views of Kotor
Scenic Views of Kotor

Enjoy breakfast before heading north along the scenic Adriatic coast to one of Montenegro's most popular cities: Kotor. Along the way, you'll stop at the posh area of Sveti Stefan. You can take a quick stroll along beach and capture its beauty with a few photos.

Your next stop is the historic city of Budva. Although it's a large city, Budva's old town is small and compact, jutting out into the water on a small peninsula. Enjoy strolling the charming streets, passing by Roman ruins and beautiful churches, such as the Holy Trinity Church. Walk out to the Budva Fortress and take a dip in the waters at the public beach. Dry off for a little lunch along the waterfront.

In the late afternoon, you'll arrive in Kotor, but not before visiting little Perast, and incredibly scenic town set on the Bay of Kotor. You'll get the perfect view of the surrounding hills and the two famous islands: Our Lady of the Rocks and Saint George.

Settle into your accommodation and grab dinner at one of the buzzy restaurants in Kotor's beautiful historic center.

Day 14: Hike up to Kotor Fortress for Panoramic Views

The Quaint Streets of Kotor, Montenegro
The Quaint Streets of Kotor, Montenegro

Many refer to Kotor as “mini-Dubrovnik”, due to its highly preserved and walled old town. Enter the historic center through numerous city gates and wander the maze of stone streets. You'll find hidden corners, hip cafes, residential areas, and quirky shops selling local art and souvenirs, plus an abundance of Kotor's famous stray cats. If you prefer, a local guide can lead you through the city, divulging its history and secrets along the way.

Don't miss the main square of the city, nor the churches. The Cathedral of Saint Tryphon is particularly beautiful with its dramatic hillside backdrop. If you're interested in a museum, check out The Palace of Living History which exposes life in Kotor during medieval times.

As the sun starts to sink into the sky, start your hike up to the Kotor Fortress. It's a steep walk along old, stone stairs, passing by the well-photographed Church of Our Lady of Remedy. There are many places to take a break and enjoy the views, but you'll surely be rewarded by conquering the entire trail up to the Fortress, especially at sunset. 

In the evening, freshen up at your accommodation and then head out for a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants in the old town.

Day 15: Kotor to Podgorica

The Old Royal Capital of Cetinje
The Old Royal Capital of Cetinje

The last leg of your trip will be one of the most scenic, set along the beautiful and precipitous road up to Lovçen National Park. With its numerous switchbacks, it's known as the Serpentine Road. There are many pull-offs to enjoy the views, although the higher you get, the better the scenery.

After conquering the switchbacks, you'll drive around the gorgeous park which is filled with craggy mountain tops. Eventually, you'll descend into the old Royal Capital of Cetinje. It's main attraction is the 15th-century Cetinje Monastery, which is set on gorgeous grounds. Over the centuries, it has endured numerous restorations, today presenting a beautiful, well-preserved building. 

After exploring the monastery, continue your drive to Montenegro's new capital, Podgorica. The city is the perfect place to spend your final night of the trip. Although it's not the most picturesque capital, it has a hip, buzzy energy that wafts into the night. In fact, many people visit Podgorica specifically for its nightlife. 

Settle into your accommodation and then head out into the city for dinner and a nightcap at one of the bars.

Day 16: Depart Podgorica

Rural Views of Albania
Rural Views of Albania

Enjoy your final breakfast of the trip. It's sadly time to say goodbye to the beautiful Balkans! You'll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight.