05 March 2015

Hiking in Albania’s Accursed Mountains

The Accursed Mountains (or Bjeshket e Namuna) are so beautiful, and so spectacular and unspoiled that impress every tourist traveling in north of Albania. Everyone is considering the tour to the wild north of Albania as one of the last great European adventures. Lonely Planet, the well-known travel guide suggests everyone to make a trip to Albania sooner rather than later to enjoy the so-called Accursed Mountains in all their isolated glory. Thank you Lonely Planet, we love to see more about Albania in your travel guide.

Hiking in Albania’s Accursed Mountains
By Tom Masters, Lonely Planet

While Albania may have gone from a virtually unknown land to a well-established stop on the Balkan backpacker trail in barely a decade, its interior remains little known. But a popular three-day round trip that combines a spectacular ferry ride and a fantastic day hike between two remote mountain hamlets has put northern Albania’s mysterious highlands on the map.Make this trip sooner rather than later to enjoy the so-called Accursed Mountains in all their isolated glory.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/albania/northern-albania/travel-tips-and-articles/hiking-in-albanias-accursed-mountains#ixzz3TVkdm6Dk

25 February 2015

Impressions from Albania

Albania is continually  impressing tourists coming from all over the world, especially those who come for the first time. A Polish tourist is describing our country with such heartfelt words. She is amazed by the beauty of Albania: landscape, towns, people and food. Thank you Kami.
Enjoy her article!

Impressions from Albania
By Kami and the rest of the world

"Albania is the country I knew next to nothing about prior to my visit. I have included Albania in the itinerary, even if just for two days. And it was the best decision ever! From the very first moment I opened my eyes in the bus somewhere in the middle of Albania I knew I’m going to enjoy it. It looked messy, chaotic and so beautiful! .. Dramatic mountains, deep valleys and picturesque towns – that’s what I’ve seen in Albania.. Albania joined the club and ranks pretty high in my personal list of the countries with best people...  It’s been locked for years, making it almost impossible to learn more about it but fortunately it’s slowly opening to the world. The tourism is growing, Albania is discovered by more people and I’m sure in few years’ time it will be a really big thing! So make sure to get there before everyone else will! ....."

Read the full article here:

17 January 2015

Albania, from Balkan backwater to must-see destination

Albania has become a must- see destination for tourists around the globe. Another article is published on The Globe and Mail that suggests several places to visit in Albania, - a beautiful Mediterranean country with unspoiled beaches, national parks and archaeological sites...

Special to The Globe and Mail

 .. Long left behind as one of the most backward places on the continent, Albania – a beautiful Mediterranean country located just north of Corfu, Greece, and across a narrow strip of the Adriatic Sea from Italy – is emerging as a prime European beach destination.
.. Things are changing, as the country welcomes investment from abroad, builds seaside resorts and new hotels, and integrates with the rest of Europe. Just this past summer, it was granted EU-candidate status. Albania has also seen a recent but significant influx of tourists, attracting sun worshippers seeking an unspoiled stretch of the Mediterranean, along with travellers curious about the country’s fascinating past.

Read the full article:

06 January 2015

Top ten things to do in Tirana

Tirana is very beautiful and attractive even during the winter time. A Dutch tourist who visited Tirana few days ago, interviewed by Manderina Promotions team recommends these 10 things to do in Tirana in winter time.

Top 10 things to do in Tirana, from a tourist point of view:

1. Stroll through the streets of Blloku. It is full of bars, night clubs and shops. It's the favorite place of youth. Blloku is the former exclusive neighborhood of the Communist regime and is currently the hub of cafe culture in Tirana. Having a coffee in that area is like in any other European modern city.
 2. Take a hike in the park. Tirana big park in the artificial lake is one of the main attractions of Tirana, the capital of Albania. Despite many buildings around, it remains one of the most relaxing places of the capital. There are other points of interest in the park, including the Saint Procopius Church, memorials, statues.
3. Read or work at the Friends Book Store. There are few book stores, where you can read, work on your project and drink a warm coffee in Tirana. For me Friends book Store is like a warm house.

4. Visit a live music bar. The bars and restaurants in Tirana are very modern, colorful, well designed and always full of young people. The music played is Albanian, Greek, and international. You can drink a cocktail and dance until morning

5. Visit the opera house. Opera is a trendy way of entertainment. Albanians are excellent singers
6. Have a coffee on the terrace of Tajvani complex or any of the other terraces. Even in the winter, in Tirana most of the days are shining. You can stay outside to have a coffee, taking the sunlight.
7. Drink a cocktail at Sky Tower. It’s a big building in the entrance of Blloku area. From there you can have the best views of Tirana by day and night, 360 degrees of your sight.
 8. Eat an Albanian dinner at Pizzeria Era. The best Albanian food you can find and taste. All the time I visit Tirana, I go there, and never been deluded.

9. Go up to the top of Dajti mountain. A visit to the Dajti National Park is a great way to spend a day in an attractive mountainous landscape outside and literally ‘above' the city. During the winter, the mountain Dajti is a popular retreat for locals, who seldom get a chance to see snow.
10. Visit Bunkart, the latest addition to Tirana’ s attraction. For the first time, almost 25 years after the fall of communism, the government opened the nuclear bunker built by the communist government for sheltering the leaders. Bunkart museum can be combined with other points of interest of socialist time, and can really make be a wonderful tour. You can book a Bunkart tour here: http://www.albania-holidays.com/tours-to-albania/bunkart-tirana-tour

Where to stay:

I highly recommend staying at Theranda hotel, a little gem in the heart of Tirana. Located in Blloku area it is perfect for business or leisure travelers. In five minutes’ walk you reach all main institutional and government offices for your business meetings, while in the afternoon you can relax in one of the many trendy bars and restaurants very close to Hotel. Theranda has a genuinely welcoming and hospitable staff that makes me feel home. Having the breakfast or morning coffee at its beautiful and quiet garden even in winter time, is a royal treat for everyone. You can book your stay at Theranda directly at their website www.therandahotel.com

24 November 2014

Albania Opens Five-Storey Secret Bunker Built by Communists

A great attraction is added to Tirana, the capital of Albania. Visitors, but also Albanian themselves will be surprised to find out what was underneath the communism regime they lived and suffered. 
Work on the bunker, 100m (330ft) underground, was completed in 1978 but it was never used
A large secret bunker that Albania's communist regime built in the 1970s to survive a nuclear bomb has been opened to the public for the first time.
Then dictator Enver Hoxha wanted the bunker near the capital Tirana to guard against Soviet Union or US attacks.

Prime Minister Edi Rama showed several Western ambassadors around the 106-room, five-storey complex on Saturday.

"We have opened today a thesaurus of the collective memory that presents thousands of pieces of the sad events and life under communism," Mr Rama said in a speech in the bunker's 200-seat hall.
Hoxha's regime built up to 700,000 bunkers before he died in 1985. The communist regime was toppled in 1990.

How to get to Bunkart Museum: From Tirana International Hotel in the center of the capital take the bus with the logo of Bunkart. This service is free of charge for
Bunkart Opening hours: Everyday 9.00-16.00
Bunkart  Entry tickets: free of charge November -December 2014

Map of Bunkart  in Tirana

If you need any help arranging your trip to Tirana, Albania email us at: contact@albania-holidays.com

03 November 2014

Albanian UNESCO listed ancient towns of Gjirokastër and Berat

Albania has it all that you mention here unspoiled beaches, wild mountainous areas and lake shores, but above all it has its own unique culture. And the top of the list are these antique, in fact magical cities like Gjirokastra and Berat. Thank you Giulia, once again you nailed it.

Despite its beautiful nature and its rich cultural heritage, Albania is still not such a touristic destination: most of the time we were the only two foreigners enjoying unspoiled beaches, wild mountainous areas and lake shores. The only two times when we weren’t the only foreigners around –besides of course in the capital town Tirana- there were in the two UNESCO listed ancient towns of Gjirokastër and Berat. Both Gjirokastër and Berat are well-known for their ancient neighborhoods preserving historic Ottoman-era architectures, a style originated in Turkey between the 14th and 15th centuries and arrived in Albania during the 18th and 19th centuries, but that's not the only reason why I found them both very fascinating!

  The ancient town of Gjirokastër

In Gjirokastër you can spot tourists by the way they face Gjirokastër’s steep cobbled streets. 
For this time I was definitely not acting as a local by taking ant-steps and being constantly so terrified to slide that sitting in a bar was usually a huger consolation to my paranoid mood rather than to my feet. Locals –instead- do climb their streets as they were goats: old ladies more often than not overtook me, even if they were carrying their grocery; kids ran so fast up and down the alleys that I almost wanted to scream them to be careful. Streets are narrow and curvy, the town itself keeps climbing over the nearby mountain year after year and its urban plan, from above, looks like a maze. 

The ancient town of Berat

Old Berat is divided in two parts by the river Osumi and on those two banks there are the the two old neighborhoods of Mangalem and Gorica, both inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list to protect their old Ottoman typical houses. These ancient neighborhoods are characterized by picturesque cobbled alleys and houses with beautiful wooden structure, bright white walls and so many windows that Berat’s epithet is “city of a thousand windows”.

Read full article here: 

06 October 2014

Përmet and the Balkan side of Albania

Why should visit Permet city? Because nowadays claims to be the cleanest and greenest town in Albania according to blogger Giulia Blocal

By Giulia Blocal

Permet city is an authentic Balkan charm: Small houses with admirable vegetables gardens, elders chatting on a bench, locals gathering on the main street for the traditional xhiro, fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables not only in every restaurant but also on sale along the streets, unspoiled nature, evenings spent sipping a beer at the bar on the main square, home-made raki and an excellent local wine, rational communist architecture, groups of kids dominating the streets, several different religions coexisting, old vintage cars, decadent buildings, fresh mountain air and in general the warm, beautiful feeling of being lost into the Balkans... 

Read more this article for Permet city: