Albanians are known for their hospitality, kindness, and affinity for knocking back glasses of homemade Raki. The days of communist dictatorship are a distant memory for all but a few. Albania is looking ahead to a brighter future. There is no better time to visit than now.
The author of article, the blogger Tiny Rucksack suggest 5 places in Albania that everyone should visit. Here they are:
High above the town lies its castle – a fortress built to protect the town and her inhabitants from Byzantine raiders. Once it was a front line of wars between powerful empires vying for control. Now a slippery marble paved road keeps all but the most determined flip-flop clad tourists from reaching the top.Consecutive invasions of Berat have left the town with a mixture of architecture. The Turks brought their influence, as did the Communists. An interesting mish-mash of styles pleasing to the eye, and the camera.
Valbona National Park
The region borders Kosovo, territory fiercely claimed by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. It’s home to wild dog, wolves, and some say bears. But don’t let this put you off. The mountains offer fantastic trekking, climbing and camping.
Albania is becoming a stoic pinpoint on the map for travellers from around the globe. New roads are being built, hotels are under construction, and the country is planning to build a second airport, at Kukës – development which’ll make getting to northern Albania much easier, and visiting a more attractive prospect.
The “not to be missed” Lake Koman ferry
photographers dream, the landscape could have been plucked from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mountains tower above the lake as it weaves its way to Fierza. It’s a route used by tourists and locals alike – meaning it’s a great chance to practice pigeon Albanian (or sit back, have a beer and take in the views).
Lake Koman is the most scenic route to travel to the Valbona National Park from Shkodër. It has been described as “one of the world’s great boat trips”.
Less than half an hour’s stroll away from the Xhiro is ‘Albania’s Ibiza’ – Jala. Toned men and bikini-clad women descend on the beach to drink at its bars, swim in crystal clear waters and ‘be seen’ during the summer month. It’s a world away from the serenity of the surrounding villages.
Reminders of Albania’s communist dictatorship past are ever present. On a clear day the Greek island of Corfu is visible – too visible for those once in Tirana’s corridors of power awaiting an imminent invasion which never came. The now defunct fortifications line the roads leading between the coastal towns and villages.
Tirana – the capital city
Tirana of the centre of Albanian life. Smartly dressed men and women weave their way between the chaotic traffic like in any other European capital. It’s the home of the country’s night life, especially the Blokku area, a section of town formerly reserved for the country’s elite.
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