Western Balkans Private Tour

Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo & Montenegro

This unique 16-day Western Balkans Private Tour will take you on a leisurely loop through four fascinating countries, and give you an insight into the history, culture and landscape of the region

From £0,000 per person

Payable in GBP, USD or euro.

Your money is held in a UK trust account administered by Protected Trust Services, and is released to us only when your tour begins.

Please read our Covid-19 cancellation policy in our Terms & Conditions.

Western Balkans Private Tour Highlights

Visit four countries in one trip • Stay at the UNESCO cities of Kotor, Ohrid and Berat • Ride the Lake Koman ferry • Walk the ramparts of Rozafa Castle, Shkodër • Sample the region’s best wines • Go bird-watching on Lake Skadar • Walk in the Dinaric Alps • Experience the Ottoman towns of Gjakova and Prizren

Western Balkans Private Tour - In Brief

This is a unique Western Balkans Private Tour starting and ending in Tirana, Albania. Over the course of 16 days, you’ll make a scenic loop through four different Balkan countries, taking in the region’s key cultural sites along the way.

Although a lot of ground is covered, we’ve designed this tour to keep drive times realistic. You’ll also have a chance to relax along the way, with two-night stops in Ohrid, Vusinje in the spectacular Dinaric Alps, and of course Kotor – Montenegro’s “mini Dubrovnik”.

You’ll be escorted by one of our friendly and experienced drivers, and local guides can be arranged along the way if you desire. We find, though, that many travellers prefer to wander the towns and cities solo. It’s your choice.

Due to the relaxed pacing of this Western Balkans Private Tour, going off-piste is of course possible (within reason!). If you want to stop for a wine-tasting at one of the many wineries we pass, that’s fine. Equally, we can adapt the tour around your interests. If you want to swap the day’s hiking for a day on the beach, that’s no problem.

The Drive Albania Difference

We live and work in Albania, and are travelling the western Balkan region constantly. Our tours are designed with the latest on-the-ground knowledge, and combine the most interesting destinations with the most beautiful routes.

Our itineraries are designed to have realistic drive times – we don’t think anyone wants to spend all day in a car. This allows us to travel at a relaxed pace, and where possible we avoid over-developed towns and cities and instead focus on more traditional spots.

We choose drivers and guides with big personalities and great language skills – our thinking is that if you’re travelling together for a week or more you’ll appreciate being able to have a decent conversation.

Western Balkans Private Tour Information & Prices

Day 01 – Arrive Tirana. Overnight Kruja

Your western Balkans private tour will begin at Tirana’s international airport – we hope at a reasonable time. It’s a quick transfer (under half an hour) to the historic city of Kruja, where you’ll be staying in a very comfortable hotel with wonderful views to the Adriatic. If it’s not too late, we can wander Kruja’s little bazaar, and visit the museum dedicated to Albania’s national hero, Skanderbeg. If it’s later in the day, we can save the exploring for tomorrow morning.

Day 02 – Kruja to Berat

We head south today, avoiding the ugly national highway and instead taking the scenic back roads to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Berat. We’re in the heart of one of Albania’s best wine regions here, so a tasting can be arranged with a bit of advance notice. Berat itself is tiny, so we’ll have plenty of time to stroll its historic Ottoman neighbourhoods, and of course its ancient citadel – which has been inhabited continuously since pre-Roman times.

Day 03 – Berat to Ohrid

Today we strike inland, making our way in relaxed fashion to Lake Ohrid. There are of course distractions along the way, and a border to cross, but as we have two nights in Ohrid it’s fine to arrive later in the day. Ohrid itself is a charming little place perched on the lake shore.

Day 04 – Ohrid

A day to explore Ohrid. If you’ve the energy, it’s also possible to make an easy day trip to Bitola, a little further east.  

Day 05 – Ohrid to Skopje

We’ll make a reasonably prompt start this morning, and make our way north to the ethnic Albanian city of Tetovo, where we’ll stop for lunch and to visit the beautiful Painted Mosque and also the serene Arabati Baba teqe (Bektashi monastery). From here it’s just half an hour or so to North Macedonia’s rather strange capital, Skopje, so we’ll break the journey by visiting the impressive Matka Canyon system.  

Day 06 – Skopje to Prizren

This morning we recommend visiting Skopje’s Museum of the Macedonian Struggle – a fascinating exercise in nationalist propaganda. Then we’ll hit the road, crossing into Kosovo and then winding our way through the Sharr mountains to one of our favourite Balkan cities, Prizren. 

Day 07 – Prizren to Gjakova

We’ve plenty of time to explore Prizren this morning, then we’ll strike out west. Again, we’re passing through wine country, so let us know in advance if you’d appreciate another tasting. In the afternoon we’ll arrive at one of the region’s most impressive cultural sites, the Serbian Orthodox Visoki Dečani monastery. Then it’s a short drive to another charming Ottoman town, Gjakova.  

Day 08 – Gjakova to Shkodër

Today we cross back into Albania. Instead of driving all the way, we’re going to load the car onto the Lake Koman ferry – widely regarded as one of the most spectacular inland ferry journeys in the world. We can sit back with a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery as we cruise slowly through the Albanian Alps. After disembarking we’ve an easy run to our next stop, the historic northern Albanian city of Shkodër.  

Day 09 – Shkodër to Vusanje

We can spend a relaxed morning in and around Shkodër, including a visit to Mesi Bridge and the impressive ruins of Rozafa Castle – which Mehmet II, conqueror of Constantinople, expended much blood attempting to capture (unsuccessfully). After a quick lunch we’ll hit the road again – and one of the most impressive roads in the region, too. We’ll wind our way through spectacular Alpine scenery and cross into Montenegro at a little-used border post, before ending the day at a very comfortable guesthouse in the village of Vusanje.  

Day 10 – Vusanje

A day to hike in the Dinaric Alps with a local guide.  

Day 11 – Vusanje to Virpazar

We continue our journey through impressive mountain terrain, stopping for lunch in the sleepy little ski resort of Kolasin. From here we’ll descend down to Montenegro’s nondescript capital, Podgorica (we can stop if you insist), before calling it a day in the village of Virpazar, on the northern shore of Lake Skadar. Virpazar is famed for its wine, so we’d suggest a tasting at one of the family owned wineries before supper.  

Day 12 – Virpazar to Kotor

An early start today – we’re going to begin with a boat or kayak trip onto the lake, and the earlier we are the more chance we have of catching the best bird life. We’ll move around 11.00, taking a twisty and very scenic back road up to Montenegro’s old royal capital, Cetinje, where we’ll pause for lunch and to explore. The final part of the day will see us emerge from the mountains high above the UNESCO city of Kotor, where we’ll be staying two nights.  

Day 13 – Kotor

A day to explore the beautiful Bay of Kotor. A local guide can be arranged on request.  

Day 14 – Kotor to Fishtë

It’s a long haul back down to Tirana, so we’ll take our time and make a couple of stops along the way, including historic little Budva. Once we’re back in Albania it’s an easy run south to the village of Fishtë, where we’ll be spending the night in the acclaimed restaurant-with-rooms Mrizi i Zanave. Chef Altin Prenga has created a very special place here, and you’ll enjoy one of the best meals of the trip.  

Day 15 – Fishtë to Tirana

It’s a dull but easy run back to Tirana. After checking into your hotel we’ll have time to do some exploring, including a visit to the huge and impressive “secret” nuclear bunker on the outskirts of town, Bunk’Art. In the evening we’ll take you to one of our favourite restaurants for a goodbye meal (included).  

Day 16 – Depart Tirana

We’ll get you to the airport in time for your flight, whenever that might be…

Spring / Autumn (01 April – 31 May & 16 Sep – 31 Oct)

02 travellers sharing a Double or Twin room – £0,000 per person
02 travellers in 02 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
03 travellers in 01 Double or Twin + 01 Single room – £0,000 per person
03 travellers in 03 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
04 travellers in 02 Double or Twin rooms – £0,000 per person
04 travellers in 04 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
05 travellers in 02 Double or Twin rooms + 01 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
05 travellers in 05 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
06 travellers in 03 Double or Twin rooms – £0,000 per person
06 travellers in 06 Single rooms – £0,000 per person

Summer (01 June – 15 September)

02 travellers sharing a Double or Twin room – £0,000 per person
02 travellers in 02 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
03 travellers in 01 Double or Twin + 01 Single room – £0,000 per person
03 travellers in 03 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
04 travellers in 02 Double or Twin rooms – £0,000 per person
04 travellers in 04 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
05 travellers in 02 Double or Twin rooms + 01 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
05 travellers in 05 Single rooms – £0,000 per person
06 travellers in 03 Double or Twin rooms – £0,000 per person
06 travellers in 06 Single rooms – £0,000 per person

Includes
English-speaking driver
SUV-style vehicle with AC & Green Card border insurance; minivan for larger groups
Fuel & road tolls
Lake Koman ferry
All breakfasts; 2 x picnic lunches; 4 x evening meals (Vusanje x 02, Mrizi i Zanave, Tirana)
Accommodation as indicated
Airport transfers

Excludes
Personal expenses
Personal travel insurance
Meals unless indicated
Museum & attraction entrance tickets
Local guides (can be arranged on request)
Alcohol
Tips

Please note, for larger groups separate rooms might not be possible at Moonlight Guesthouse Vusanje and Mrizi i Zanave, depending on availability. Alternative accommodation can be arranged if you are unwilling to share.

Before booking, please be sure to read our Terms & Conditions

This tour can be taken from mid April through to late October. The Lake Koman ferry is the limiting factor – it usually runs through the season but these are of course uncertain times. If the car ferry isn’t running we can improvise – putting you on the foot ferry and meeting you in Shkodër that evening. 

If you wish to travel outside this period, snow can be expected at Vusanje. We’ll be happy to customise the tour for you, either to include more culture or to incorporate hiking in a different location.

We are of course happy to customise this western Balkans private tour around your interests. For intance, if you don’t enjoy hiking but do enjoy lounging by the beach, we can swap out Vusanje for Budva or Ulqin. If you have a keen interest in gastronomy, we can incorporate cookery classes and tweak the route to include some amazing restaurants and wineries. Please just ask!

We stay in comfortable en suite accommodation throughout. 

Kruja – Hotel Panorama
Berat – Hotel Klea 
Ohrid – My Grandparent’s House  
Skopje – Hotel Super 8 
Prizren – Hotel Centrum 
Gjakova – Hotel Çarshia e Jupave 
Shkodër – Hotel Tradita 
Vusanje – Moonlight Guesthouse (includes 02 evening meals & picnic lunch) 
Virpazar – Hotel Pelikan 
Kotor – Standard 3* depending on availability 
Fishtë – Mrizi i Zanave (includes evening meal) 
Tirana – Art Hotel Sarajevo 

Frequently Asked Questions to go here. 

Western Balkans Private Tour Gallery

Doesn't Hit The Spot?

If our western Balkans private tour isn’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry. We can customise it around your interests. So if you want some beach time, hiking, or more cultural exploration, just let us know and we’ll put together something that works for you.

Book With Confidence - We Offer Full Financial Protection

As a UK-registered company, we have to comply with tough consumer-protection legislation. That's why we're proud to be members of Protected Trust Services. When you pay for your holiday, your money will be held in a British HSBC trust account administered by the independent PTS trustees. We only receive payment once the tour is run, so in the unlikely event of our going bust or your not being satisfied with the tour, your money is safe. To read more about how the process works, please visit the PTS website