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