17 October 2017

Momondo: Explore one of Europe’s best kept secret - Albania

“Albania is an untouched and undiscovered piece of Europe’s complex puzzle. Filled with fairy-tale landscapes, eye-boggling views, rich culture and incredibly hospitable locals, Albania should be considered one of the top destinations to visit for an authentic travel experience. Travel writer Anita Hendrieka has set about to discover the country’s finest experiences.”- writes Momondo.
 Momondo is a global travel search and comparison site, based in Copenhagen, Denmark and shares articles for different tourism destination all over the world. Albania, one of Europe’s most untraveled and charming gems is promoted with a long article, highlighting the best things to do in Albania. Splitting Albania between North and South, there are mesmerizing landscapes and breathtaking coastline,- the country has it all.
Source: Momondo

If you go to Southern Albania you will get natural and ancient wonders, like coastal towns of Saranda, Ksamil and Himara. But if you are looking for ancient towns, go to Berat and Gjirokastra.
“Further north towards the centre of Albania is beautiful Berat, listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. With over 2400 years of history, Berat is a pearl of Albania’s past. A castle is perched overlooking the city, and leading up to it is an assortment of Ottoman influenced white houses, giving Berat its nickname: the “town with a thousand windows”.
© Pero Kvrzica

Gjirokastёr is often referred to as the twin city of Berat, but don’t be mistaken to think you can visit one and not the other. Like Berat, Gjirokastёr also has white Ottoman-styled houses, but with flatter stone roofs, and they’re so unique and well-preserved the city has been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list. Come see its cobbled streets, small fortresses and stone houses, and relish in its culinary art, too.
© Serial Hikers

For culture and history buffs alike visit Tirana.
Albania’s lively capital Tirana is a melting pot of culture and the beating heart of this fascinating country. After communism fell in 1992 Tirana was given a makeover, and this once restricted and dull city was flipped upside down – it was painted with bright colours, streets were lined with bars and restaurants, and public squares popped up all over the city. A weekend in Tirana is best spent checking out the array of top-notch museums, admiring the murals that are scattered around the city and bar crawling. During winter it’s the centre of Albanian nightlife when locals return from their summer work elsewhere.
© a.dombrowski

Two other cities that are worth a visit are: Durresi and Shkodra. Durrёs is the most ancient city in Albania, dating back to the seventh century BC. It’s renowned for its ancient ruins, including the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans.
Close towards the border of Montenegro is Shkodёr, also known as the gateway to the Albanian Alps. Many writers, artists, photographers and painters were born here, and it’s known to be a culturally rich city.

See full article here

28 September 2017

The Guardian picks Albania’s seaside for the gallery of the week

The  well-known newspaper Guardian chooses once a week the best gallery with photos of  a destination. This time, it was Albania. Jure Matičič the winning photographer of the week captures the Albanian seaside town of Durrës.  Matičič is a photographer from Ljubljana, Slovenia, and recently visited Durrës, Albania’s second largest city.

Photo credits: Jure Matičič 

Along the seafront, kids were playing on a statue commemorating Albanian resistance to the invasion by Mussolini’s Italian forces on 7 April 1939.

Photo credits: Jure Matičič 

About 35km west of Tirana, Durrës is a port and among the largest cities on the Adriatic. It’s also a popular seaside resort. For decades, under the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, it was just about the only holiday destination available to Albanians.

Photo credits: Jure Matičič 

The city was, briefly, renamed Durrës-Enver Hoxha during the late 80s. Then (after the fall of communism) it became the location for mass migrations to Italy. In the past couple of decades, Durrës has had a facelift.

25 September 2017

The Guardian: Trekking in the highest peak of Albania

The British prestigious newspaper “The Guardian” has recently published the article written by Ben Lerwill, describing his adventure in Albania starting in the high peaks of Accursed Mountains, continuing along the trail of Kosovo and Montenegro.
Albania is offering many kinds of tourism, including the adventurous tourism, for all people who love hiking trails, climbing and outdoor lovers.
Rocky road … trekking in the Accursed Mountains. Photograph: Ben Lerwill

A short summary of the Ben’s Lervill article for the Guardian:

The hiking begins a few hours’ drive to the south, with an ascent of Albania’s highest point, the 2,751m Mount Korab. Functioning as an appetiser to the week’s main walk, the climb is a long, hot slog. The slopes are full of grasshoppers and buttercups. We pass only tough-faced, welly-booted shepherds. There are snow patches in the higher cols. At the summit, just to muddle the multi-country element further, the panorama reveals the cushion-soft valleys of western Macedonia.
The Korab walk takes most of the day. Radomire, the trailhead village where we start and end, is a cluster of minarets, cheap beer and unsealed roads. All its bathroom taps are left on round the clock, even in the local bar, which baffles me until it’s explained that the plumbing wouldn’t cope with the pressure of being turned off. And like the water, we keep moving. By nightfall we’ve mini-bussed into Kosovo, ready(ish) to begin the hike proper.
When we arrive into Valbona Valley at the journey’s end, the sun is fierce overhead. Albanian flags flutter from village rooftops, flashes of red and black against the unforgiving grey of the hills. There is more to come from our trip – time in the capital city Tirana and a sailing along Lake Koman, the latter an accidentally lovely product of a Chinese-built dam – but this is where we take our boots off.

It’s funny the memories that stay with you from a journey like this. Mighty horizons and forested slopes. Doorstops of sheep’s cheese for breakfast. And a tatty plaque, on top of a big mountain, adrift in a sea of Balkan peaks." 

21 September 2017

German Travel Magazine: Albania -Between sea and mountain

DAV (Deutscher Alpenverein) is the largest Mountain Sports Association in the world and one of Germany's major sports and nature conservation associations. DAV recently published an article about Albania, specifically about Southern Albania written by journalist Joachim Chwasczca.

Mediterranean landscapes of the southern Albania can be enjoyed by walking or biking on the roads with spectacular views from the sea. Llogara Pass is one of the most beautiful roads in Albania, is a high mountain pass with the highest point of 1, 027 m within the Ceraunian Mountains along the Albanian Riviera.  The platform allows you to have the best view of all the area. It seems like you are seeing this view from an airplane. 

Der Llogarapass an der Südküste Albaniens schraubt sich bis auf 1027 Meter empor und ist bei klarer Sicht eine fantastische Aussichtskanzel. Der Pass ist Grenze und Wasserscheide zwischen dem Adriatischen und dem Ionischen Meer. Steht man oben an einer der Aussichtskanzeln, fällt der Blick wie aus einem Flugzeug nach unten und folgt dem tausend Meter tiefer liegenden Küstenbogen bis zur Hafenstadt Saranda, dem antiken Hafen Onchesmos. Die Insel Korfu zeichnet sich ab, Griechenland ist zum Greifen nahe. 

See original article  here!

15 September 2017

Between archaeology and bunkers, the contradictions and fascination of Albania

Recently, the international media keeps urging the tourists to visit Albania.
One of the most prestigious Italian newspapers published an article focused on the Albania, a former Communist country, with its secrets to discover.
 “Repubblica” newspaper dedicated the article how to explore the Albanian natural beauties, archeological sites and gastronomy.
Photo: Nino Barletta

Today, in this country that ended 46-years Communist regime and has isolated it from the rest of the world, we find a tourist destination. The geographical proximity of the two countries, across the Adriatic Sea to the Apulia shores, the low cost of life convinced 182,000 Italians from January to July 2017 to spend their holidays in the Eagle's Earth, 56% more than last year.
The seaside resorts of the South, Saranda first, are the favorite and the most crowded in the high season.
Photo: Nino Barletta

Butrint archaeological site and the towns of Argirocastro and Berat, who tell the story of the past, are included in the travel routes.
So, the “Repubblica” advices  the Italian readers to visit Albania, this beautiful and charmingly odd country. 
Photo: Nino Barletta

Original article in Italian here!

30 August 2017

The Best beaches on Albanian Riviera

The Rear View Mirror published an article about the beautiful Albanian riviera, suggesting the best beaches everyone should see, stay and relax throughout the summer.
"The Albanian Riviera stretches from the southern side of the Llogara National Park down towards the Greek border at Butrint National Park and Ksamil. Not surprisingly, this section of the southern Albanian coast is the most popular destination for tourists in Albania".. There are four main towns on the riviera where you’ll most likely want to stay. There are plenty of smaller beach towns and villages in between but the bigger towns obviously have more facilities, cafes, restaurants and nightlife" the article says.

Here is what you can expect when staying on the Albanian Riviera:
Ksamil is the southernmost beach town close to the Greek border and opposite the Greek island of Corfu. Here you’ll find white sandy beaches, the beautiful Ksamil Islands and a very chilled beach community. It’s part of Butrint National Park and the city of Saranda. Ksamil has one of the best beaches (it gets extremely busy in summer), excellent seafood restaurants and some nightlife. Being close to the Butrint archeological site is a bonus.

Himara is a small town and the most central of the riviera beaches making it perfect to use as a base for exploring the entire Albanian Riviera. There are many smaller beaches around Himara so it’s an especially good choice if you’re looking for a quiet place to swim and secluded beaches and coves. Himara is also in close proximity to Porto Palermo, home to a small castle, beach and an abandoned Soviet submarine base.

Dhermi is one of the most popular beaches in Albania due to the turquoise water and shady pine tree covered beach. There’s more accommodation than in Himara and is particularly attractive to younger Albanians with many nightlife options. It’s not the quietest destination and in my opinion is too built up. I personally prefer to stay in Himara which is only 30 minutes away.
Saranda is the biggest city on the southern Albanian coastline. It’s massively built up with ugly high rise apartments, many of which sit empty. The newer area away from port (in the south of the city) has poor infrastructure and services but the most awesome sunsets and lowest prices. However, Saranda is a great place to use as a base for visiting Butrint National Park, Ksamil, Blue Eye Spring and Gjirokastra. The beaches in Saranda are not nice and I suggest getting away from the city if you want to swim.

08 August 2017

Albanie: nouvelle destination bon marché

France 2 television broadcast a documentary about Albania, considering our country as the Pearl of the Balkans. Here is the description of the video in french:

"L’Albanie, aussi connue sous l’appellation la Perle des Balkans à cause de sa nature préservée, de ses paysages montagneux et de ses eaux cristallines. Destination parfaite pour les amoureux de la nature, et qui est considérée comme étant un paradis secret car encore méconnue des touristes, bien que le nombre de ceux-ci ait doublé cette année. De plus, l’Albanie a un fort patrimoine historique et architectural, comme le prouve la ville de Berat, située à 2h30 de la capitale, Tirana. Berat est une ville classée au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité, et qui a des influences Byzantine, Grecque, et Ottomane. En outre, si le nombre de touristes est passé de 5 milles à 35 milles en seulement quelques années, c’est aussi parce que l’Albanie reste une destination très peu cher, environ 500 euros par personne pour une semaine"