Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Folk Dance Tour
Vlora Folk Dance Festival
Folk Dancing, Folk Music, History, Culture, Art, and Adventure!
When: May 24-June 5, 2023
Led by: Lee Otterholt
Guided by Kliti Zika
Kosovo extension: June 5-7
★Tirana, Durres, Berat, Vlora, Kruja, Saranda,
Gjirokastra. Korca, Vlora International Folk Festival
★Greece: Lake Prespa. Dance with Yannis Konstantinou
★Meet and dance with Albanian folk dance groups and teachers!
★International dancing with Lee Otterholt!
★Price includes transfers, hotels, private bus, guide, sightseeing, festival, dance lessons, and all breakfasts, most dinners!
Price: Albania Land Only: $3945
Kosovo extension: $895
I can’t wait to go! Reserve my place with my $200 deposit per person.
See registration form and information below.
Or register through PayPal (no PayPal account necessary)
Day 1: May 24: Wednesday
Depart on airlines of your choice to Tirana, Albania.
Day 2: May 25: Thursday- Durres
Transfer from Tirana International Airport to our hotel in Durres. Welcome dinner in a traditional restaurant. Overnight in the Arvi Hotel.
Day 3: May 26: Friday- Durres, Berat, Vlore
Morning walking tour of Durres. Drive through Albania’s oil fields towards the fascinating town of Berat on the River Osum. The town is famous for its white-washed houses with many windows which give it the nickname “town of a thousand windows”. The Castle, Maria Church with the ikon Museum and the 400 hundred years old quarters, give us a real flavor of the Albanian history and culture. When we leave Berat, we can also make a stop at one of the famous winery in Albania for wine tasting. Later we drive toward Vlora to end our day with folk dancing with Genc Kastrati, famous Albanian folk dance master teacher. Dinner and overnight at Vlora International Hotel.
Day 4-6: May 27-29: Saturday/Monday- Vlora International Folk-Dance Festival “Aulona!”
Spend three day in beautiful city of Vlora watching Albanian folk dance groups and invited folk dance groups from other countries. In addition, we will arrange private lessons so we can learn from and dance with many of these groups and get to know them up close and personally.
Day 7: May 30: Tuesday- Vlora—Saranda
Drive along the spectacular Albanian Riviera looking down at the Ionian Sea. Upon leaving Radhima, the landscape dramatically changes as we climb through the forest of Llogara National Park. Stop for refreshment and photos in Llogara. Then drive south through the seven villages of the Himara region. Lunch in local restaurant in Himara. Himara is rich with natural and historical monuments such as Flag Pine, Himara Old Town and the 18th century Panormic castle of Ali Pasha in Porto Palermo Bay. After a coffee break at springs of Borshi, we’ll continue our tour towards Saranda. Hear polyphonic songs performed, then folk dance with local Polyphonic Group Zeri i Bilbilit. Dinner in local restaurant by the sea. Overnight in Saranda’s Brilant Hotel.
Day 8: May 31: Wednesday: Saranda-Blue Eye Spring-Gjirokastra-Korca
Start from our hotel at 8:30, stop at Blue Eye Spring. Then drive towards Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage town, tour the 14th century castle and nice walk through cobblestone streets of this beautiful town. Continue our day drive through the beautiful mountain road of South Albania, enjoying amazing views of Vjosa Valley and forested mountains to reach the plain of Korca. possible dance lessons with Bardhi Pojani at The House of Arts in Korca. Dinner and overnight in Korca.
Day 9: June 01: Thursday: Greece Kastoria/Florina
After breakfast after a nice walk through the center of Korca, the Historical Bazaar, Mirahori Mosque, Orthodox Basilica we continue to northern Greece to reach our destination in Lake Prespa. Restaurant to dance with the locals and Maestro Yiannis Konstantinou. Overnight in Lake Prespa.
Day 10: June 02: Friday: Sv.Naum and Ohrid
After breakfast continue to North Macedonia, first stop at the city of Bitola (Manastir) to enjoy a walk in the beautiful streets, also to have a look at the Military school where Kemal Ataturk studied in the end of 19th century. Continue our drive to reach one of the oldest Lakes in the world, 900ft deep, on the shore of the City of Light, Ohrid, one of pearls of the Balkans with many Byzantine Churches and magnificent architecture. Afternoon a nice walk to enjoy this amazing town, possible Folk Show with local folk group. Dinner and overnight in Ohrid.
Day 11: June 03: Saturday- Ohrid- Elbasan- Kruja-Tirana
Starting from Ohrid we cross the border back to Albania, to drive more or less the ancient roman most famous route Via Egnatia first to Elbasan, old Scampini and later towards the Historical Capital of Albania, Kruja. We visit the museum dedicated to our national hero and symbol of our resistance, then Ethnographic Museum which is located in a traditional house built in the middle of the 18th century A.D (1764), by Ismail Pashe Toptani. Within the walls of the castle we will visit the Bektashi (a little-known Muslim sect) Dollma Teqe (Bektashi Mosque). After the visits we will have free time to explore and purchase Albanian souvenirs and antiques for very reasonable prices in the 400 years old Bazaar of Kruja. Lunch in traditional restaurant. Evening folk dance show with local Kruja folk dancers. Overnight in Tirana.
Day 12: June 04: Sunday- Tirana
After breakfast we’ll walk around the center of Tirana, visit to Et’Hem Bej Mosque, built in 1789, and one of the most beautiful mosques in Albania. We visit the recently discovered ruins of the Justinian castle near the center of Tirana. We visit new Catholic Cathedral and the new Orthodox Basilica. En route we will pass Tirana’s colorful buildings. While at the gallery, admire paintings dating back to the time of socialist realism. Lunch in local restaurant or free time to enjoy a cappuccino. (optional) Our afternoon will be at leisure but in the evening, we explore the ex-block area where villas of the Albanian communist leaders are still standing nearby trendy boutiques, active pubs and exclusive jewelry shops. Dinner in a local restaurant. Folk dancing with Lee and/or Genci Kastrati. Overnight in Tirana at the Tirana International Hotel.
Day 13: June 05: Monday
After breakfast check-out we transfer you to Tirana International Airport for flight home.
Day 13: June 05: Monday- Prizren
For guests who decide for the Kosovo Extension, we continue after the delivery in the airport of the rest of the group: Drive towards Kosova to Prizren. Lunch on the way or in the Old City of Prizren, maybe free time. After checking in at our hotel, located in the heart of Old Town, we make a walking tour to visit this beautiful city. The Catholic Cathedral, 14th century Serbian Basilica, !6th century Mosque and the Museum of the Albanian League of 1878, are our highlights! The old city with such a moving history offers a lot from all the communities who are populating it till today, Albanians, Serbs, Turks, Bosnians and so on. Dinner in our Hotel or a restaurant in town. Also, possible Folk Show. Overnight at Hotel Centrum.
Day 14: June 06: Tuesday- Pej, Gjakova
Morning drive northwards to Pej. On route visit Gjakova, with the renovated bazaar, after the burning during the last war, 1999. The Hadumi Mosque, one of the oldest in Balkans, is a highlight with the wall paintings and a very rare/old architecture. Later we drive to visit one of the most important Serbian Monasteries, Visoki Decani, where the Serbian king from the 14th century is buried. Lunch on the way (optional). Our journey continues to Pej, where we check in at our hotel, Hotel Dukagjini! For dinner we drive inside the marvelous Rugova Canion at a local restaurant where we can enjoy and dance together with the local folk group from Rugova.
Day 15: June 07: Wednesday
Transfer to the Airport of Prishtina.
(People on the Kosovo extension should book return flight from Prishtina, not Tirana. It is more convenient than driving back to Tirana … and the airfare from Prishtina is less expensive!)
Visit www.jimgold.com to see YOUTUBE tour videos !
About Lee Otterholt
Lee Otterholt, born in USA of Norwegian-American parents, has lived and worked in Norway as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He founded the Center for International Folk Dance in Oslo, and was professor of dance folklore at the Norwegian National College of Ballet, and University College of Oslo. Lee established folk dance and performing groups in Norway, taught at festivals and workshops throughout Europe, United States, and East Asia, and authored folk dance and instructional manuals for Norwegian schools. He was a choreographer for the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
Albania, Greece, and Macedonia Land Only: $3495
Kosovo extension: $895
REGISTRATION FORM: I can’t wait to go! Enclosed is my registration deposit of $200 per person. Single supplement: $395. Kosovo extension: $895 Kosovo single supplement $225. Hotel taxes and service charges: $185. Gratuities and drinks during meals not included. Program subject to change without notice. Cancellations 90 days prior to departure: Total refund. Less than 90 days: No refund. Travel insurance recommended. Total balance due February 18, 2023.
Kosovo extension: Yes____ No_____
No. of people_______Phone_(_____)________________email________________________
Make checks payable to: Jim Gold International, 497 Cumberland Avenue, Teaneck, NJ 07666 U.S.A Phone (201) 836-0362. Web site: www.jimgold.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Air Transportation: International air not included except as noted.
Rates: Tour rates are subject to change in the event of currency fluctuations or increase in costs. Inclusive tour rates are per person in double occupancy. In case of computer or human billing errors, we reserve the right to reinvoice clients with corrected billing.
Reservations: Deposits and Payments: Deposit of $200 per person is required at time of reservation. Balance is due 90 days prior to departure date.
Changes: Prices and program subject to change without notice
Baggage: One baggage per person and a carry on is allowed.
Cancellations: Cancellations 90 days prior to departure: Total refund. Less than 90 days: No refund. Additionally, any cancellation fees imposed by the respective hotels, airlines, tour companies and cruise lines will be charged. Travel Insurance is non-refundable as are unused services.
Gratuities: Tipping to guides, drivers, transfer personnel and hotel staff is left to the discretion of the participants and is not included.
Insurance: Tour participants are strongly recommended to purchase insurance for trip cancellation, trip interruption, accident, sickness and/or loss of baggage and personal effects.
Dispute Resolution: The sole and exclusive method of resolving any dispute which might rise under this agreement and any agreement between Jim Gold International, Inc., and another party (ies), the brochure or website and deemed to arise in the United States of America, shall be by arbitration before the American Arbitration Association in New York City pursuant to the Association’s rules then in effect. Any such arbitration must take place in N.Y.C., N.Y. In any such arbitration, the substantive law of N.Y. will apply. In the event a tour participant should find a service or hotel unacceptable, it should be reported immediately to the local representative and to Jim Gold International, Inc. upon their immediate return. No claim shall be deemed legitimate if not reported to the local representative and if reported after the scheduled service or after departure from the hotel.
Responsibility: Jim Gold International, Inc. Of 497 Cumberland Avenue, Teaneck, NJ 07666 U.S.A acts solely in its capacity as marketing agent on behalf of its suppliers such as air carriers, ground operator, taxi suppliers, motor coach suppliers, excursion or tour companies and hotels identified on documents supplied in connection with purchase of the tours. Jim Gold International, Inc. shall not be held responsible for any wrongful or negligent acts or omissions by any supplier or other party not directly owned or exclusively controlled by Jim Gold International, Inc. or by the failure of any equipment operated by any such supplier or other party. Jim Gold International, Inc. shall not be liable for any loss, injury or damage to person, property or otherwise, in connection with any accommodations, transportation, or other services, resulting directly or indirectly from any acts of God, dangerous incident to the sea, fire, breakdown of machinery or equipment, acts of government or other authorities, wars whether or not declared, hostilities, civil disturbances, strikes, riots, thefts, pilferage, epidemics, quarantines, medical or customs regulations, defaults, delays or cancellations of or changes to itineraries or schedules, or from any causes resulting from insufficient or improperly issued passports, visas, or other documents passports, visas, or other documents.
Neither Jim Gold International, Inc. nor any of its affiliates or subsidiaries shall be or become liable or responsible for any additional expenses or liability sustained or incurred by the tour member as a result of any of the aforementioned causes. Tour participant agrees that any claim against Jim Gold International, Inc. is subject only to the jurisdiction of the courts of the country in which the cause of action arose. The right is reserved to substitute hotels and to alter itineraries. The right is also reserved to cancel the tour prior to departure. If any tour is canceled prior to departure, Jim Gold International, Inc. will be responsible only up to the amount of monies Jim Gold International, Inc. received less any cancellation fee applied by a supplier as defined above. Travel Insurance is recommended.
Jim Gold International, Inc. is not responsible or liable for defaults of those not directly under the exclusive control of Jim Gold International, Inc.
All tickets and vouchers issued for transportation and services are subject to the terms and conditions under which such transportation and services are provided to the participant by the owners or contractors. The traveler assumes full responsibility for, and hereby releases Jim Gold International, Inc. from any duty of checking and verifying any and all passport, visa, vaccination or other entry requirements for each destination, and all safety and security conditions during the length of the proposed travel. Should any clause contained here in be determined void by any court of law, such a finding shall not affect the other clauses contained herein; each clause is a covenant which stand on its own. The receipt of your deposit and/or final payment will indicate that you have read these Terms and Conditions, and that you have agreed to them. Prices are subject to change.
Phone: (201) 836-0362 www.jimgold.com e-mail: email@example.com