05 August 2015

Bild: Newcomer in the Balkans

In Albania? Yes, why not: The small country on the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea has beautiful beaches, rich culture, natural treasures - and friendly people. And moreover, the prices are more than moderate.

This is how one of the biggest newspaper in Germany describes our country, Albania. The author
Von Oliver Abraham is a newcomer in Balkans and in Albania too, and he is surprised with nature, history and culture of Albanians. His tour included Durres, Kruja and Berat, Gjirokastra and Blue Eye Spring, Saranda and Butrint, and at the end, Albanian riviera from Saranda to Vlora, through Llogara Pass. Also the article has beautiful photos starting with Ksamil.


28 July 2015

How to go to Karaburun Pennisula, near Vlora Albania?

Karaburun Pennisula is the new destination to be explored in Albania. 
Many people are going there by boat every day to see the undiscovered land in front of Vlora city. 
Karaburun is the biggest Peninsula in Albania, which is situated between the Vlora Gulf and the Otranto Canal. Its 16 km long, but have no good road for driving. People are using a narrow remote road starting from Pasha Liman military base, where you can drive only with '4X4' cars.
The easiest way to reach the site is by boat, only for 30 minutes. 
In 2014, the Regina Blu ferry was established by a Radhime-based hotel owner making trips to Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island while stopping along the secluded beaches. This year there are many boats and speedboat which sends more and more people to see and explore Karaburun. There are some beaches and the first restaurants, where you can drink, eat, and rest for all the day. But not to spend the night, because there are not hotels yet.   
One year ago, the Pennisula was all dark, no lights. But now you can see the first lights of bars in the other side. It’s amazing for the people of Vlora to see this view in front of their city.
Rexhina ferry remains the cheapest way to go in Karaburun. It costs about 12 euro per person for a trip of 7 hours. During this trip you can see some beaches of Karaburun, explore Sazan island, which is now open for the public after 25 years isolation, and also you can see the Haxhi Aliu Cave, an awesome place situated in the Cape of Gjuheza, at the end of Peninsula.  Then you continue the trip in Shen Vasili beach, were you can sunbathe for two or three hours and in afternoon come back to Vlora. It’s an amazing trip where you can see the pristine beaches, the amazing nature and crystal waters of our country. Feels like opening up a box of treasures  hidden for year from Albanian public eyes. (Photos: AH)

09 July 2015

Tirana – Aus grau wird bunt

Tirana - from gray becomes colorful. This is blog written from a German blogger Beatrice. She enjoyed her stay in Albanian Capital, and shared with us a guide about the most beautiful places of Tirana.  

Read and enjoy her article:

Tirana – Aus grau wird bunt

In den Top-Listen attraktiver europäischer Städte wirst Du Tirana (noch) vergeblich suchen. Kein Wunder, denn die Jahrzehnte des kommunistischen Regimes hatten aus der albanischen Hauptstadt einen grauen, düsteren Ort gemacht, in dem die Einwohner ein ärmliches Leben fristen mussten. Der Zusammenbruch des Kommunismus im Jahr 1992 und der Übergang zu einer demokratischen Regierung verschlimmerte zunächst die Situation.
Besser wurde es ab dem Jahr 2000, als Edi Rama Bürgermeister von Tirana wurde und im großen Umfang Maßnahmen zur Verbesserung der Lebensbedingungen durchführte: Illegale errichtete Gebäude wurden abgerissen und Pläne für eine sinnvolle Stadtentwicklung erstellt. Eine gezielte Begrünung wurde gestartet, die vorher grauen Fassaden bunt angestrichen und man begann, sich um die Müllentsorgung zu kümmern.
Für sein Projekt „Clean and Green“ wurde Edi Rama sogar von den Vereinten Nationen ausgezeichnet.
Heute ist Tirana im Aufschwung. Fast 1 Millionen Einwohner leben in der Stadt – immerhin ein Drittel der gesamten albanischen Bevölkerung. Chaotisch geht es immer noch zu: geschäftige Fußgänger, zähfließender Verkehr, staubige Großbaustellen und ein undefinierbares Häusergemisch von modern bis halbverfallen.
Die Aufbruchstimmung ist überall zu merken. Noch funktioniert nicht alles, aber es tut sich was. Schön? Manchmal ja und manchmal nein. In jedem Fall nicht zu vergleichen mit unserem wohlgeordneten (und manchmal ganz schön behäbigen) Leben – und gerade deshalb einen Besuch wert!

Full article: 


08 July 2015

8 Best Places to Visit in Albania That Are Safe And Beautiful

Another article is published for Albania in international media, this time suggesting 8 best place tourists should visit. The article is published at Insider Monkey, an online platform evaluating markets, economy etc. The tittle is: 8 Best Places to Visit in Albania That Are Safe And Beautiful.
The word 'safe' is surfaced again in international media after the death of two Czech tourists in north of Albania. But we can assure tourists  that all Albania is safe despite a sporadic and isolated tragedy, which can happen everywhere in the world.

Lets see how Insider Monkey ranks the beautiful places should be visited in Albania. The article suggest: Berat, Durres, Tirana, Albanian riviera, Apollonia, Gjirokastra. Kruja and Shkodra as most beautiful places in Albania. But the focus is Adriatic coastline, Albanian Riviera. It describes the beaches as very pristine, breathtaking, which amaze any traveler. Further inland into Albania are stony trails for hiking amongst the sun bleached and lunar mountains. The remote villages offer an inviting welcome to all inquisitive traveler. There is always the benefit of well-prepared tasty meals, great wine and hospitable locals... With its great combination of engaging history, sandy beaches and highly competitive pricing, Albania’s once anonymous charms are being shouted to everyone across the world. 
Here is a list of the best places to visit in Albania that are safe and beautiful.  Full article:


09 June 2015

18 foreigners dance to the Gjirokastra Folk Festival in Albania. Best closure ever!

There is no better closure for Gjirokastra Festival than 18 foreigners dancing professionally our folk dances and the crowd join them. It is so touching when you see foreigners to dance so beautifully and passionately our folk dances. 

"The last day of the Gjirokaster festival in Albania last week, the group of 18 foreigners I was in was asked to do a short performance on the main festival stage. Genci  Katsrati and Cees Hillebrand arranged costumes, we danced ... and later watched ourselves on Albanian television! At the end of the performance we went down from the stage and danced with the audience... this is how Lee Otterholt, one of the dancers from California comments the video on his Facebook Page.  

The initiator of all this is Cees Hillebrand the founder of  albanian-folklore.com designed to make Albanian folklore in all its aspects accessible for everyone who takes interest in Albanian folklore. The website, as Cees describes it  was named in respect to the Albanian people, living in Albania and neighboring countries like Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. The folklore of the Albanians who left their country to Italy from the 16th century onwards, called Arbëresh, has evolved in a different way through the centuries and is not taken into account in this project for the moment, although it will be very interesting to see the similarities and differences.
Cees Hillebrand in cooperation with  Albania Holidays and  professional dancers from Albanian National Folk Ensemble  is running seminar and tours to Albania  since 2010. Many tourists from different countries who share the passion for Albanian folk music and dances come to visit Albania and combine their tour with dance seminars. Cees is doing a great job also in documenting this with photos and videos.

It is so touching when you see foreigners to dance so beautifully and passionately our folk dances. We have shared previously another video when they sing the famous song :Janines c'i pane syte" with a very professional "iso" and combination of voices.

About Cees Hillebrand

Cees was born  in the Netherlands and took interest in Albanian folklore during one of his visits to western Macedonia, at that time a republic of the Yugoslav federation, many years ago. As Albania was closed at that time for foreigners it was difficult to get reliable information.
Albania remained a mystery to him and he started to study the Albanian folklore from whatever kind of information source he could get and finally in 2004 he was able to visit the Gjirokastër festival and experience with  own eyes and ears the richness of the Albanian folklore.

He cooperates with people from the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances (AKKVP) in Tirana, scientists from the Academy of Science, ethnology department, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, people from the Centre for Immaterial folk culture, the Institute for Albanology at the University of Kosovo in Pristine and many others.(source: albanian-folklore.com)

If you would like to take the tour, see description here http://www.albania-holidays.com/tours-to-albania/albania-folk-tour

18 May 2015

The best beaches of the Albanian Riviera

Lonely Planet in a new article describe the best beaches of the Albanian Riviera, known for
unspoilt sands, backed by rolling hills covered in olive groves, rustic accommodation right next to the water, and grilled meats and cold beers. The first in line is Palasa, then Dhermi, Ksamil, Bunec, Himara and Borsh. Just idyllic and breathtaking spots. Here is the article:

The best beaches of the Albanian Riviera

by Tom Masters Lonely Planet
Albania’s rugged coastline, with traditional villages nestled in isolated bays and golden beaches lapped by turquoise waters, was a revelation when travellers first started discovering the country a decade ago. Since then Europe’s last untouched beaches have changed almost beyond recognition, but there’s still plenty of reason to come here and explore this magnificent coastline where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet.

You may have heard of the Albanian Riviera and its beaches, once catchwords of true backpackerdom – their names were synonymous with unspoilt sands backed by rolling hills covered in olive groves, rustic accommodation right next to the water, and grilled meats and cold beers for the equivalent of a handful of change. Inevitably that hasn’t endured; asphalt roads now connect all but the most far-flung of the Riviera’s villages, while hotels, restaurants and holiday homes dot the coastline. Today you’re more likely to be competing for beach space with a day-tripping family from Tirana than a crowd of international shoestringers. And yet, despite the Riviera’s transformation, there are still idyllic and breathtaking spots along this craggy coast.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/albania/southern-albania/travel-tips-and-articles/the-best-beaches-of-the-albanian-riviera#ixzz3aU2n9V56

29 April 2015

Tirana, the unknown land

The most prestigious media channels are suggesting Albania as travel destination for 2015. Is good to see that these days, the well known french newspaper Le Figaro wrote about our beautiful country ranking Tirana in the 3-d place to travel for this year.

The article describe the center of Tirana, the squares and monumental avenues dating from the communist era, as very interesting to visit.

"The Skanderbeg square marks the heart of Tirana. Nearby are concentrated Natural History Museum, the Grand Mosque, the opera, the pyramid, etc. Beyond that, the aim for the former district Blloku become the haunt of youth finds its shops, terraces, restaurants and bars with live music every weekend", said the article which is titled: "Vancouver, Tirana...: 5 destinations inédites accessibles en direct au départ de la France"
Scanderbeg Square, Tirana
 Read the original article: