Albania & Macedonia | Via Egnatia

One of many elaborate Byzantine churches on the shores of beautiful Lake Ohrid
One of many elaborate Byzantine churches on the shores of beautiful Lake Ohrid
Roman amphitheatre of Durres
Roman amphitheatre of Durres
Edessa Waterfalls, Greece
Edessa Waterfalls, Greece
Lake Prespa, Macedonia
Lake Prespa, Macedonia
Ruins of ancient Apollonia
Ruins of ancient Apollonia
The Rotunda of Galerius, Thessaloniki
The Rotunda of Galerius, Thessaloniki
Reconstructed Bronze Age lake village at the Bay of Bones, Ohrid, Macedonia
Reconstructed Bronze Age lake village at the Bay of Bones, Ohrid, Macedonia
Beautiful gold-in-glass mosaic which covers the ceiling of the Rotunda of Galerius
Beautiful gold-in-glass mosaic which covers the ceiling of the Rotunda of Galerius
Emperor Galerius vanquishes his Macedonian foes- detail from the arch of Galerius
Emperor Galerius vanquishes his Macedonian foes- detail from the arch of Galerius
Roman milestone recording road-builder proconsul Gnaeus Egnatius
Roman milestone recording road-builder proconsul Gnaeus Egnatius

This is a journey through time and civilisations across the dramatic landscapes of southeast Europe. Albania, Macedonia and the Balkans represent a vast patchwork of cultures and civilisations. Our tour takes in the tombs and treasures of Philip of Macedon, the late Imperial glories of Thessaloniki, and the beautiful Medieval churches on the shores of Lake Ohrid.

Divided by mountains, the Balkans are united by ancient roads, which kept the disparate states and Empires in contact and conflict. The greatest of these was the Via Egnatia, a series of tracks used by the Romans to expedite their conquest of Illyria and Macedonia.

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Apollonia
  • View the thundering waterfalls in Edessa
  • Experience Albania’s lively capital, Tirana
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ohrid
  • Discover the palace complex of Galerius

Themes

  • Romans
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches
  • Ancient Greek

Practicalities

  • Special Access
  • Low Single Supplement
  • All Inclusive

Itinerary 2018

Day 1

We fly to Albania and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2

We begin our journey at Durrës, the principal terminus of the Via Egnatia, Albania’s largest and most bustling seaport with substantial monuments. We visit the circular Forum of Anastasius where the northern branch of the Via Egnatia began. We continue to Apollonia, a great Corinthian Greek colony which was vital for the Roman conquest of the Balkans. It was the starting point of the Via Egnatia’s southern branch.

Day 3

We travel to Tirana, capital of Albania. We explore the National Historical Museum, which gives a particular view of Albanian history. We continue via the new road tunnel below the Krabbe Pass to Elbasan, ancient Scampis. After walking through the castrum, with its fine late Roman and Ottoman walls, onto the line of the Via Egnatia, we continue to Macedonia.

Day 4

We enjoy a day in wonderful Ohrid. The ancient city boasts a Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past with impressive monuments from each era. We explore the late Byzantine shrine of St. Clement, the churches of St. Panteleimon and St. Sofia and the 9th century fortress of Tsar Samuel which dominates the city. We stroll to St. Jovan Kaneo, romantically overlooking the beautfiul Lake Ohrid.

Day 5

We make our way to the Museum on the Water at ‘the Bay of Bones’ - a partial reconstruction of a prehistoric village. We continue to Lake Prespa and St. Naum, before travelling over the spectacular mountains to Kurbinovo by Lake Ohrid. We walk through the wooded landscape to the church of St George, with its fresco cycle of the time of the Commeni emperors and a resurgent Byzantium.

Day 6

We start the day in Heraklea Lyncestis. A city built by Philip II of Macedon Tthe remains of fine Roman and Byzantine buildings can be found throughout. We explore Bitola, which still retains much of its late Ottoman atmosphere, with very fine 15th century mosques. We also visit the fine Bitola museum, established in an old Turkish military college, where Kemal Ataturk studied.

Later, we cross the border into Greece.

Day 7

We visit the ancient site and thundering waterfalls in Edessa, which made the city famous in antiquity. We also find the Ottoman bridge that carried the Via Egnatia over the river. In ancient Aigai, the traditional Macedonian capital, we discover the great burial mound which covered the tombs of Macedonian royalty. This was one of the richest finds of grave goods in Europe.

Day 8

We explore Thessaloniki, the original terminus of the Via Egnatia. We visit the Agora and church of St. Demetrius and the remains of the palace complex of Galerius, the Rotonda, his intended mausoleum, and the great arch over the Via Egnatia. We visit the recently redisplayed and very fine Archaeological Museum and the adjacent Byzantine Museum.

Day 9

We return home from Thessaloniki.

Itinerary 2019

Day 1

We fly from London to Albania and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2

Our journey begins in Durrës, the principal terminus of the Via Egnatia. The city is Albania’s largest sea-port and is home to a substantial number of monuments. Here we visit the circular Forum of Anastasius. Later, we make our way to Apollonia, the significant Corinthian Greek colony, which played a vital role during the Roman conquest of the Balkans.

Day 3

We travel to Tirana, capital of Albania. We explore the National Historical Museum, which gives a particular view of Albanian history. We continue via the new road tunnel below the Krabbe Pass to Elbasan, ancient Scampis. We walk through the Castrum with its fine late Roman and Ottoman walls before travelling to Macedonia.

Day 4

We devote a full day to the wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ohrid. The ancient city boasts a Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman past, with impressive monuments from each era. We explore the late Byzantine shrine of St. Clement, the churches of St. Panteleimon and St. Sofia, as well as the 9th century fortress of Tsar Samuel. We also stroll to St. Jovan Kaneo, romantically positioned overlooking the lake.

Day 5

We make our way to the Museum on the Water at ‘the Bay of Bones’ - a partial reconstruction of a prehistoric village. We continue to Lake Prespa and St. Naum, before travelling over the spectacular mountains to Kurbinovo by Lake Ohrid. We walk through the wooded landscape to the church of St George, with its fresco cycle of the time of the Commeni emperors and a resurgent Byzantium.

Day 6

We start the day in Heraklea Lyncestis. A city built by Philip II of Macedon Tthe remains of fine Roman and Byzantine buildings can be found throughout. We explore Bitola, which still retains much of its late Ottoman atmosphere, with very fine 15th century mosques. We also visit the fine Bitola museum, established in an old Turkish military college, where Kemal Ataturk studied.

Later, we cross the border into Greece.

Day 7

Our day commences at the ancient site and thundering waterfalls of Edessa. We will encounter the Ottoman bridge that carried the Via Egnatia over the river. Later, we head to the UNESCO Site of ancient Aigai. Here we will discover the great burial mound which covered the tombs of Macedonian royalty.

Day 8

We explore Thessaloniki, the original terminus of the Via Egnatia. We visit the Agora and church of St. Demetrius and the remains of the palace complex of Galerius, the Rotonda, his intended mausoleum, and the great arch over the Via Egnatia. We visit the recently redisplayed and very fine Archaeological Museum and the adjacent Byzantine Museum.

Day 9

Today we transfer to the airport for our return flight back to London. 

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Travel Information

For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.

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2018 Tour Details

Sun 14th October - Mon 22nd October

Call for availability

£2,595

inc.

sgl supp: £215

VIE18A

Led By: Oliver Gilkes

2019 Tour Details

Mon 7th October - Tue 15th October

Available

£2,495

inc.

sgl supp: £235

VIE19A

Led By: Oliver Gilkes

Guide Lecturer

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