Location: Southwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula
Population: 2 876 591
Currency: Leki – 1 Lek= 0.01 Euro 100 Leki=0.88 USD
Climate: Five major climatic subtypes – mediterranean, subtropical, oceanic, continental and subarctic.
This article is a short intoduction of Albania and what you can see there. Hope we could help to plan your trip to Albania.
Sometimes a picture is so perfect that it says everything better than a thousand words. Southern country with olive trees, poor roads and obsession of classic old Mercedes.
Until the early 90’s, Albania was unfamiliar and distant even to its closest neighbors thanks to Communist dictator Enver Hoxha. His idea was to isolate the country from the entire hostile world. For defense purposes, over 850,000 concrete bunkers have been built around the country. Today the ruins of this madness are everywhere and are one of the great attractions in Albania.
After the collapse of the regime, Albania set out on the path of change. As everywhere, things happen slowly and uncertainly. The political life of the country develops in the typical Balkan style of corruption and false promises. Unlike politicians and mafias, ordinary Albanians are honest, kind, hardworking and extremely hospitable. For them personal and family honor is most important. Despite of difficult life, they remain one of the most dignified people you can meet.
Albania is the beloved Balkan country of any true traveler. Its magic is inexplicable and elusive, but so powerful that it conquers everyone ready for new experiences. Passing through different periods dominated by dozens of different cultures and religions, today’s Albanians still bear the millennial culture of the Illyrian tribes. The Albanians are split between the Christianity and the Islam, but there is someting, which unite them as a nation. This is the language. Albanian language is one of the oldest in Europe and is not connected with the other languages.
Places to visit in Albania
Albania’s complete isolation for decades has put it at the bottom of all charts and this still influences the place the country occupies in the tourist offerings. However, the coin always has two sides. Albania has dozens of unique places, almost completely devoid of crowds. Infrastructure is improving, safe, beautiful, the original atmosphere of centuries-old cities is preserved, people are extremely kind and hospitable, and everywhere espresso coffee is offered. If that’s not enough, let’s say it’s still incredibly cheap. A cup of the best coffee you’ve ever drank and served on the Ionian Sea can cost you € 0.50.
No matter the culture is common, there is a border that divides Albania into two comparatively culturally diverse areas. Northern Albania is more modern, more hectic, more populated and richer. As for the southern part, it is the absolute jewel of SE Europe. Olive trees, age-old family houses, churches, fortresses, mosques and tequets, old classic Mercedes, friendly people always ready to help and more.
If you have just one day for Albania, the only thing you can see usually is the capital Tirana. Although it has its charm and interesting places to visit, we strongly recommend you to combine it with at least one other city. In our tour offers, we combine Albania with northern Greece or Macedonia and include a visit to at least two cities, one of which is necessarily Gjirokastër. This incredible city will fascinate you so much that you will not want to leave. Don’t miss the beautiful Berat or Korça as well.
Our stories about this exceptional country are endless, as much as our love to this forgotten land. We will try to fill the days of your tour with the numerous stories about the history, culture, struggles and life of Albanians.
Albania top 5 must see
Included in UNESCO, “The Silver city” is the most charming on the Balkans with unique spirit and atmosphere, still preserved as a century ago. The Fortress on the hill use to be an important fort back in the Ottoman times and today is the most preserved medieval Fort on the Balkans. There is a Military and weapon museum inside and also a large space, where an annual folklore festival take place every May. The houses in the Old town are centuries old and so charming with the specific grey roofs, so that’s why the city was called “The Silver city”. The city has an important role in the history of Albania as a hometown of the communist leader Enver Hoxha and a religious center of a Muslim Bektashi Order. The city must be felt, not described, because the words are never as strong as the senses are. Do not forget to drink espresso somewhere on the main street of the Old town!
City located in the hearth of the country, included in UNESCO because of the well preserved Old town. What makes the city so fascinated is the fact, that the medieval fortress is still populated and the most valuable – it is not crowded with tourists. In the past the city was held by different kingdoms, but the present days name Berat is coming from the first name of the city – Belgrade, given from the First Bulgarian Empire. Close to the city is the Holiest mountain for the Bektashi Order, where every year on a specific day, thousands of people gather to pray.
The capital is a capital. Eclectic with its modern and wide center and quarters still stick in 60’s. the life is busy and the traffic could be horrible. There are some interesting sites in the city and the suburbs like “Bunkart” – the formal anti-nuclear bunker, built for the government and a museum of the communism today.
There are plenty of National Natural parks in the mountains of Albania, all they great challenge for the hikers. You can choose your level of difficulty and to enjoy the preserved nature and to share with your friends the unforgettable views. The Valbona River Valley is the most known and visite.
Saranda and Ksamil
The pearls of the Ionian coast are not only beach destinations, but also offer cultural and archeological sites. Only on 20 minutes from Saranda is located one of the largest archeological parks in Albania – Butrint, which is included in UNESCO.
Hidden gems and adventures
KorcaCultural and economic center, famous with the big Orthodox cathedral, the Carnival before Easter and the number of museums;
VoskopojaVery small village in the mountain, but with preserved atmosphere from 18-19th centuries and great place in the history of the Balkans;
Photo Urbex and Abandoned toursAlbania offers countless spectacular abandoned places, perfect for photographers.