Many landmarks, milestones and historic towns dot the Via Egnatia, a Roman-era road that traverses a 1000 km route stretching from Dyrrachium on Greece’s western Adriatic coast eastward to Istanbul on the Black Sea. It crosses the Balkan peninsula through Macedonia, what is now known as Albania, Greece, and European Turkey, visiting mountain towns and Aegean Sea towns along the way. This difficult route also follows the banks of the beautiful river Shkumbin, from its mouth on the Adriatic into the mountain backbone of Greece and Albania, where for centuries it has served as a cultural and linguistic border among the Albanian people.
Armies and Merchants
Via Egnatia gets its name from Gnaeus Egnatius, a Roman senator who ordered its construction in the 2nd Century AD to unite the Roman Colonies in the region of the Southern Balkans. During Caesar’s Civil War, his soldiers and soldiers of Pompey marched the Via Egnatia, and for many years, this route remained the most vital link to the far Eastern reaches of the expanding Roman Empire. By the 5th century AD the Via Egnatia had fallen into disuse, but during the Byzantine Empire it re-emerged as a major trade route for western Europe. A special gate, the Golden Gate, was erected in Istanbul during this period to mark the true beginning of its urban area, and for triumphal entries of the Byzantine emperors. The Via Egnatia eventually became the vital Silk Road link between Asia and Europe.
As you drive along the Via Egnatia, be sure to stop in Albania to enjoy our Best of Albania tour where we will take you to see the highlights of Tirana, Korca, Vlora and many more cities. Your visit to Albania will reveal what few people have seen: an untouched coastline, hidden valleys, and rugged mountains. This tiny country will greet you with the warmest of receptions. Surrounded by mountains to the north and archaeological sites to the south, your visit to Albania will surprise you with its diversity, from the growing city of Tirana to the port of Durres.
Macedonia’s Role in History
Continuing on the Via Egnatia, Macedonia is the next stop. Our Archaeological Tour of Macedonia will take you to see the highlights of history in the Republic of Macedonia. An archaeologist guides us through a treasure trove of culturally and historically significant monuments. This 11-day tour in Macedonia includes visits to important archeological sites of Kokino, Skupi, Skopje Fortress, Heraclea Lyncestis, and Stobi. We will also visit monuments and buildings from the Medieval, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods. Designed for the curious traveler striving to explore Macedonia in depth, this tour promises to be an experience of a lifetime.
Southern Greece: Landmarks and Islands
Bring your family along to the next stop on the Via Egnatia: Greece! The Via Egnatia crosses over into Northern Greece of Thessaloniki, where you can take a side departure to enjoy the southern cities of Greece on our Multi-Generational Family Tour to Greece, the Greek Islands, and Crete, spending quality time with your family. During this tour, you will learn about Greece’s role in history, visiting important sites such as the Acropolis, the New Acropolis Museum, and the Panathinaiko Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games took place in 1896. Stroll along the same paths historical figures did thousands of years ago. Join us and build your own legend of memories.
Explore the historic route of the Via Egnatia, the road less traveled.