26 December 2017

Touristic Albania in the focus of world media during 2017

World prestigious media has written a bunch of articles promoting Albania tourism during 2017. Albania become an emerging tourist destination especially during this summer, where thousands tourists mainly from Eastern Europe visited Albania this year. Albania is not only attracting tourists for its beautiful riviera, sandy beaches, but also for its wonderful nature, plenty of mountains, rivers and lake. Albania is becoming also great destination for the adventurous tourists, who loves hiking, climbing, rafting and diving...
For 2018, Albania is also top recommended from prestigious media. 
Medias such as: National Geographic, The Guardian, Forbes, Vogue, Telegraph, Bradt Travel Guides has listed Albania on the top of the list of “Destination of 2018”. Read below some of the highlighted blogs about Albania during 2017:

  1. Bradt Travel Guides: Five Reasons To Visit Albania 
  2. Albania among Top Budget Destination for 2017 by Rough Guides
  3. Forbes ranks Albania among 30 cheapest places to travel in 2017
  4. Highlights of Albania recommended by a German Travel Magazine
  5.  Ksamil Beach, hits the list of “20 best beaches to visit in May in Europe” by Telegraph Travel
  6.  Albania No 1 on the list of "15 Up and coming Destinations Around the World"
  7. Tgcom24 /Albania: The Mediterranean to be explored
  8. Between archaeology and bunkers, the contradictions and fascination of Albania  Repubblica
  9. Rear View Mirror: The Best beaches on Albanian Riviera
  10. Albanie: nouvelle destination bon marché
  11. Vanity Fair: Summer in the sea of Albania
  12. City of Himara, Albania among to 6 Balkans destinations for 2017- by Vogue.com
  13.  The Dutch Media "Volkskrant " promotes Albania
  14. Culture Trip: Swap Costa Brava for the turquoise waters of Ksamil, Albanian Riviera
  15. Daily Sabah: Albanian Riviera offers unexpected experiences to visitors
  16. German Travel Magazine: Albania -Between sea and mountain
  17. The Guardian: Trekking in the highest peak of Albania
  18. Suitcase magazine: Why Albania needs to be your next European escape
  19. National Geographic: Albanie, la plus belle destination pour 2018
  20. Culture Trip: A weekend in Llogara National Park in Albania
  21. Telegraph: Albania- Europe's next big beach holiday destination?!
  22. Albania among best trips 2018 by National Geographic
  23. Le Parisien: L’Albanie des grands trésors à petits prix 
  24. Evening Standard: Albania famous for its vineyards
  25.  Archeology magazine: Albania’s archeological treasures and findings
  26. El Hedonista: Albania, miracles exist 
  27. Momondo: Explore one of Europe’s best kept secret - Albania  




20 December 2017

Swedish magazine ‘Vagabond”: Albania, the best country of 2018

Albania is being promoted by international media as one of the best tourist destinations for the upcoming year, 2018. Our country has made to be on the top of 35 destinations to visit in 2018 according to Vagabond Beresta Editorial.
Photo source: Vagabond

Winner in the Best Countries category is Albania - a country that has lately been a snack in the travel world, as it has everything from rugged mountain peaks to golden-golden Mediterranean beaches.
Albania leaves behind two countries: Botswana and Switzerland.
Official data from the Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) confirmed that the number of tourists from the European and worldwide target market has increased. Statics shown that in 2016 visitors from Sweden increased by 63 percent.

19 December 2017

Huffington Post: 10 Amazing Reason to Visit Albania

If you need some good 10 reasons to visit Albania, have a look at what Huffington Post has written lately about this country. 
Monique Alvarez, the author of the article is an expat living in Tirana, Albania for more 10 years now. According to her, Albania has changed so much during these years.  She writes about her first visit in Albania, and why she recommends now that this country should be in others people traveling list .
“This is not a country who is stuck in the past. Yes, they have been through incredibly difficult times, with heartless leaders, but they are moving forward. This is a place that is full of promise and optimism, and definitely one of the most underrated gems in the world “writes Alvarez.

10 reasons you’ll want to book your ticket to Albania this year!
1. For many countries there’s no need to apply for a visa before arriving.
2. Albania is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. There are Christians, Orthodox, and Muslims all living peacefully here. The truest religion here is their ancient tradition of hospitality.
3. Albania’s natural beauty is breathtaking. They have amazing mountains, stunning beaches, lakes, rivers... you name it, it’s here. We enjoyed spending the summer in Ksamil and now we are in the capital city of Tirana. I have been just about everywhere and can tell you each spot has a beauty all its own.

4. The cost of living is LOW. Whether you are planning a couple week vacations or considering moving, you will get great value in Albania
5. The food is oh so good! From meat and seafood lovers to vegans, the options are here.  Fresh markets are on every corner and “organic” is the norm.
6. It’s safe! Crime is almost non-existent. Women can walk around alone, even at night, and not be worried.
7. Albanians are still getting used to the idea of tourists, but they love foreigners. They are thrilled when we visit or move to their country and go out of their way to help with anything you could possibly need. Transportation is often the most difficult thing to navigate, but Furgons (the word for mini-buses) are the best way to play tourist here.

8. Many locals speak English. In fact, most Albanians speak 4 or 5 languages including Greek, Italian, Spanish, and German

9. Internet is fast and widely available. If you work online like we do, this is incredibly important. Unless you are in remote rural areas, most hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops offer free wi-fi.
10. It’s perfectly situated to enjoy Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans. If traveling from Greece there are flights, ferries, and buses in. One of the easiest ways to access southern Albania is by flying to Corfu, Greece and taking the ferry over from there. Regular flights from Rome, London, Frankfurt, and Istanbul in and out of Tirana are common.
If you’re looking to visit the next hot spot before it’s overpriced and flooded with tourists, get to Albania.

14 December 2017

El Hedonista: Albania, miracles exist

“The most closed country opens itself to tourism. You have to go now! Albania has a lot to offer”.  This is how El Hedonista describes Albania. The Spanish media has dedicated a long article about Albania’s highlights.
In what was the first country in the world declared atheist today, the muezzins are heard calling for prayer and priests ringing the bells of orthodox and catholic churches. But the miracle is not that, but having survived the 41 years of Stalinist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha with a smile and open arms to tourism.
Albania is a beautiful country with a miserable history that is shaken off in a hurry. The characteristic gray of communism barely appears under the layers of paint on the facades of their cities. The impressive beech and oak forests gradually cover the thousands of cement bunkers scattered everywhere.
© Alberto y Ana Cañizal

The terraces of Tirana
Tirana has flourished like a happy capital full of terraces where people chat animatedly in front of a café or its rich local beers. You breathe freedom.
Skanderbeg square is located in the heart of Tirana, named after the national hero who lived in the fifteenth century. The square is surrounded by beautiful attractions, the national museum, the palace of culture, the mosque of Ethem Bey, the clock tower.  
There is much to see in Tirana and enough to enjoy. A couple of days or three is not taken away from anyone. Then you can choose between touring its impressive offer of natural parks, lakes and rivers; visit Greek, Roman sites and World Heritage sites; spend a few days dedicated to the softness on its fine sandy beaches ... Or better, of course, all together.
© Alberto y Ana Cañizal

A paradise for lovers of stones
The remote ancestors of the Albanians were the Illyrians , and there are still many remains from centuries before our era. Then they were conquered by the Romans, who also left their mark. And then the Byzantines arrived. But the most visible are still the Turks, who were in Albania from the fifteenth century until 1912, the glorious year of their independence. Despite the rage that Enver Hoxha put on destroying mosques and churches, some of special historical value have been preserved.

© Alberto y Ana Cañizal
There is also a breathtaking place for its beauty: Butrint , declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. The area, inhabited since prehistoric times, Greek colony, Roman city, Byzantine enclave and Venetian conquest, is an archaeological site remains of all periods, to which more beautiful, the oldest of the fourth century a. of C., and between them it thrills a door in cyclopean walls with a lion devouring a bull.

13 December 2017

Archeology magazine: Albania’s archeological treasures and findings

New archaeological findings in Albania, shows that this country is rich in history and still unexplored. 
As a new pipeline cuts its way through the Balkans, archaeologists in Albania are grabbing every opportunity to expose the country’s history, from the Neolithic to the present, - writes Archaeology magazine in a new article which also featured on the cover of January/February 2018 issue: “The head of a bronze figurine identified as Zeus from Apollonia, Albania”.
(TAP/G. Shkullaku)

In modern Albania, the mélange of historical cultures is packed so densely they often seem to collide. The national E852 highway follows the same bank of the Shkumbin River as an ancient highway, the Via Egnatia, which was first traveled by Roman soldiers around 200 b.c. The road was modernized and maintained for centuries thereafter, and it became the main thoroughfare between Constantinople and the Adriatic, facilitating communication and trade between Rome and the eastern lands of the empire. Today, luxury Mercedes swerve between transcontinental bicyclists taking in the lush Mediterranean landscape and donkey carts hauling towering piles of forage. The route winds gently past medieval Ottoman Turkish bridges and white obelisks from the Communist era immortalizing partisan battles fought during World War II. Scrappy tobacco fields and mounds of hay and cornstalks line the route, planted and stacked by hand, much as they have been for centuries.

See full article here: https://www.archaeology.org/issues/284-1801/letter-from/6161-albania-pipeline-excavations

12 December 2017

Evening Standard: Albania famous for its vineyards

Albania now is becoming more popular for foreign tourists, not only for its nature and cultural heritage but also for wine. Evening Standard a British media wrote an article to promote Albanian wine among Serbian and Macedonian wine in the Balkan region.
Kallmet, Albania
Photo source: Evening Standard

Albania is famous for its vineyards, layered over gently rolling hills at an altitude of up to 1,000 metres. As in Macedonia, conditions here produce viticultural diversity — merlot, cabernet, pinot noir, riesling and sangiovese are abundant in this rich soil.
The Zadrima region’s clash of ecosystems — it’s where the Albanian Alps meet the Adriatic — makes for uniquely fertile land producing Mediterranean-style wine. Kallmet, named after the full-bodied, sweet local kallmet grape, produces award-winning red and whites including its “prestige” selection from 30-year-old vines. Arberi and Zadrima have other high-quality examples of native wineries in the area. Expect only locals at these seriously undercover gems.
Arbri Winery, Albania
Photo source: Evening Standard

See full article here!

06 December 2017

Le Parisien: L’Albanie des grands trésors à petits prix

Le Parisien, un journal quotidien français au site Web, publie un article dans l'Albanie, ce pays de l’ex-bloc communiste, encore peu connu, recèle d’innombrables richesses. Patrimoine préservé, paysages sauvages et plages sublimes.
Longtemps enserrée dans un carcan communiste, l’Albanie ne s’est ouverte au tourisme que dans les années 1990. Certes, les routes sont encore en mauvais état, les infrastructures d’hébergement, de qualité inégale, et le patrimoine, très mal mis en valeur, mais le « Pays des aigles », dont le drapeau arbore deux rapaces, ne manque pas d’arguments pour les amoureux d’histoire, de nature et de plages. Sur une superficie guère plus grande que la Bretagne, l’Albanie offre des paysages grandioses, avec ses majestueuses montagnes sur les trois quarts de son territoire, ses lacs, ses rivières, ses parcs préservés et son immense littoral de près de 400 kilomètres, qui fait alterner
longues plages, petites criques et falaises plongeant dans la mer.

L’Albanie c’est  une destination bon marché, notamment au niveau de l’hébergement et de la gastronomie subtile aux accents méditerranéens.

05 December 2017

Albania among best trips 2018 by National Geographic

Albania is listed among 21 places to be visited in 2018 by the most prestigious media National Geographic. This is great news for our country. But the most important thing is that we are listed for such an extraordinary underwater world, which is still unexplored and unknown even for Albanians themselves. This is a call  for all people who love to dive and explore the underwater world. It is the only country among other 21 placed in the list, to be suggested by National Geographic for such a special underwater tour. Here is what the article says about Albania:

“Sunken aqueducts, shipwrecks, and rarely visited caves are a few of the relatively untouched treasures awaiting divers in Albania. Decades of isolation under communist leader Enver Hoxha limited development and inadvertently preserved underwater cultural heritage, particularly off the southern coast.”
You may ask why scuba diving wasn’t famous in Albania, because the dictator Hoxha banned scuba diving to prevent Albanians from escaping.

24 November 2017

Telegraph: Albania- Europe's next big beach holiday destination?!

“Albania is like a missing piece in an otherwise completed jigsaw - the final portion of the landmass along the Adriatic which has not become a beach-holiday stalwart”. This is how Telegraph, the UK multimedia news brand describes our country, Albania. This media promoted Albania as a travel destination in several articles and this one is written by the author Chris Leadbeater, who sees Albania as a unique destination different from neighbor countries such as Greece, Montenegro and Croatia.
Ksamil Beach, Credit © 2011 Azem Ramadani 
“But if you take another glance at the map, one remaining pocket of the relatively unknown may just stare back at you. Albania is like a missing piece in an otherwise completed jigsaw - the final portion of the landmass along the Adriatic which has not become a beach-holiday stalwart” writes Telegraph.
Albania, by contrast, is still almost unheard of as a package destination - despite the fact that its 265 miles of seaside are in a prime location. In a rare event, the country can claim to be lapped by not just one sea, but two - the Adriatic and the Ionian are deemed to meet in the sheltered Vlorë Bay (where Vlorë, the country's third largest city sits). That, at this point, the distance between Albania and elbow of Puglia, away to the west in Italy, is just 60 miles, only emphasizes the splendor of this Balkan country's location.
There should be a caveat here, of course. To say that Albania is almost unheard of as a package destination is to overlook the many Albanian tourists who are well aware of their home state's suitability for a week on the sand. There are plenty of rooms, and plenty of paying customers, in the hotel zones of Durrës (the second city, in the north of the country) and Saranda (the key tourism hotspot, in the south, close to the Greek border). It is just that, as yet, there are very few Britons among them. The cat remains in the bag.
Photo source: Telegraph
Albania is already an intriguing country to visit - Tirana is an increasingly cosmopolitan city, while the country's wealth of ancient archaeological sites (including the likes of Apollonia and Butrint) might almost rival Italy. But in a time when question marks linger over traditional beach destinations such as Egypt and Turkey, it could be that, in the next three or four years, its main appeal will be as a place in the sun. Mystery solved.

See full article here!

02 November 2017

Culture Trip: A weekend in Llogara National Park in Albania

Albania is a country rich with national parks, be it in North or South. Nature enthusiasts will always find something to explore in Albania. Culture Trip is known for its recommendations and articles about travel destination around the globe has published a guide on ‘How to Spend a Weekend in Albania’s Beautiful Llogora National Park’. Feride Yalav-Heckeroth, the author of this article gives and impressive  scenery about the National Park of Llogara.

Llogora | © Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Llogara is not only a place to find solitude in nature but also to get active. With its forests, wild animals, and breathtaking peaks, a weekend in Llogora National Park is a perfect getaway from routine.
After the deeply winding roads that lead away from Albania’s seaside and up into the mountains (make sure to stop to take some photos of the incredible view), the Llogora National Park spreads out with its dense forests and beautiful rocky peaks. The national park was established in 1966 so that the thriving ecosystems and biodiversity present in the area would be protected. As such, the park is rife with natural life, from the coniferous forests (including many species such as silver fir, kermes oak, and black pine) to species such as griffon vultures, golden eagles, rock partridges, European wildcats, red foxes, chamois, wolves, otters, and red squirrels.
One of the best places to stay (especially for families) is the Llogora Tourist Village, an alpine lodge-style hotel with an additional array of private small wooden houses that are spread out in its garden. The hotel, which overlooks the mountains, also has a little sanctuary for a group of fallow deer, and some of the rooms look out over the animals, including two bucks with quite large antlers. The hotel also has a great restaurant that serves classic Albanian and Italian cuisine and has views of the large indoor pool. Of course, there’s much more to do in Llogora than lounging in your hotel and enjoying the fresh mountain air and view.
Llogora | © Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

For those looking to get active, the park has plenty of hiking routes that lead all the way up to the top for even more impressive and panoramic views. One of the most popular treks is the approximately 30-minute climb to the phone masts on the clifftop to the west. The views from here are stunning, but you’ll often come across mist because of the proximity of the sea; however, even the incessant waves of fine clouds racing over the landscape are beautiful in its own right. Another hike includes the path to Qafa e Thelle (the Deep Pass).
A more challenging hike is the ascent to the top of Mount Çika (at an altitude of 2,045 meters of 6,709 feet); it rewards hikers with another set of amazing vistas from a bird’s-eye view. If you’re unsure of hiking by yourself and would rather someone show you the way, a hiking guide can always be arranged by talking to the reception at your hotel. South of the park is also a paragliding site, which holds the FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship annually, and tandem flights with licensed experts are also available.

26 October 2017

National Geographic: Albanie, la plus belle destination pour 2018

Le magazine National Geographic fr, publie les 14 plus belles destinations pour 2018. Parmi elles, l'Albanie..


Dictature communiste durant des décennies, l’Albanie s’ouvre doucement. Découvrez ses villes ottomanes (Berat et Gjirokastra), ses amphithéâtres gréco-romains, ses plages… et, surtout, sa nature inexplorée : sommets alpins, vallées verdoyantes et zones humides à la faune riche. Pourquoi maintenant? Circuit à pied ou à cheval, trek, rafting, kayak… L’Albanie joue à fond la carte de l’aventure. Dernière initiative en date: en mai dernier, un chemin de randonnée a été ouvert dans la réserve naturelle de la péninsule de Karaburun, une ancienne base militaire accessible seulement à pied ou en bateau. On traverse la presqu’île en partant d’une petite baie propice à la plongée sous-marine, et on termine en découvrant une vaste grotte de 600 m2.

Cliquez ici:

Start now your adventure in Albania!

Albania, a communist dictatorship for decades, slowly opens for tourists. Discover its Ottoman cities (Berat and Gjirokastra), its Greco-Roman amphitheatres, its beaches ... and, above all, its unexplored nature: alpine summits, green valleys and wetlands with rich fauna. 
Why now? Circuit on foot or on horseback, trek, rafting, kayak ... Albania plays thoroughly the map of the adventure. Last initiative: Last May, a hiking trail was opened in the Karaburun Peninsula Nature Reserve, a former military base accessible only by boat. We cross the peninsula from a small bay suitable for scuba diving, and we end by discovering a large cave of 600 m2.

20 October 2017

Suitcase magazine: Why Albania needs to be your next European escape

Why Albania needs to be your next European escape-  this is the title of the article published by Suitcase travel magazine.  This media known for quality of the writing about tourism destinations is suggesting its readers  to visit Albania, a country full of surprises.
Lottie Gross is the author of the article, a contributor in several travel magazines and this is not the first time that she writes for Albania. “When you think sun, sea and sand, Albania certainly isn’t the first destination that comes to mind. Well, think again. Pack up your preconceptions and discover a country full of intrigue; its architecture, language and history weave together to create a cultural fabric unlike any other European destination.
Photo source: Suitcase
It’s ripe for exploration and here’s why:
  1. There’s an entire coastline of gorgeous, deserted beaches
  2. There’s a fascinating recent history most people know little about
  3. You can go even further back in time in old Ottoman towns
  4. You can take one of the world’s most beautiful boat trips
  5. There’s food for all palates

Photo source: Suitcase
Albania is home to some of the Mediterranean’s most pristine and unadulterated beaches. As the country sits sandwiched between Greece and Montenegro, soft sandy shores and warm waters tickle its entire western side.
A coastline so sparkling should be overrun with international visitors sunning themselves on the sands, but instead it’s the locals (and a few Germans and Norwegians in certain spots) that enjoy these relatively quiet shores.
Beyond the beaches and the capital, Albania’s countryside is peppered with charming towns and cities that are such a pleasure to explore it’s near impossible to leave them behind.
Gjirokastra, home of the revered author Ismail Kadare, clings to a hillside in the central part of the country, south of Tirana. Tall, Ottoman-style houses, built mostly in the 19th century, stand to attention on the steep, winding cobbled streets. A few hours north of Gjirokastra, the hilltop town of Berat is perhaps the country’s most atmospheric. Housed within the walls of an old citadel, Kalasa, at the top of a seriously steep slope, this ancient maze of streets is still home to hundreds.
In the far north a Valbona is one of the most beautiful places in Albania. Tucked amongst the Dinaric Alps, the mountains strike up from the floor like shards of broken glass and the river runs a perfect cyan through its centre.
Photo source: Suitcase

Albanian food cobbles together some of the best bits of Turkish, Italian and Slavic cuisine. Everyday staples include qoftë (pronounced chof-tuh), a grilled minced lamb sausage, spit-roasted lamb kebabs and kos (yoghurt).

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"

Vanity Fair: Summer in the sea of Albania

The Italian Magazine “Vanity Fair” recommends all its readers to go in Albania to experience amazing summer vacations, full of surprises. 
Photo Credits: Albania Holidays

If you are more into cultural heritage Albania has three UNESCO sites, the ancient city of Berat, Gjirokastra city and Butrint.
1. Berat known as the “City of a Thousand Windows”  with the Osumi River running lightly at the slopes of the mountains, the stone houses dimly lit in the dark night and the Church of the Dormition of Mary looking up from the town holding its precious icons (and, in a few steps, even those Of the Onufri museum).
2. Gjirokastra, among the outdoor cafés, typical local souvenirs and antique bazaars and the crumbling Ottoman-era mansion, ready to recast the façade, here the compass is the castle with the generous view of the old town and some “modern" stunts.
3. And then, for archaeology enthusiasts, there is the inevitable Butrint. Well preserved, well-kept and positioned in a landscape hanging between the sea and the dense biodiversity. It is most important site of Albania, inviting visitors on a backward journey in history between the ruins of Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian civilizations and Ottoman time..

Photo Credits: Albania Holidays

The most beautiful seaside 
The winding coastal road connecting the city of Valona to Saranda is one of the most spectacular in the whole Mediterranean. Above the 1,027 meters of altitude of the Llogaraja pass , in fact, from the bay of Palasa and down to the head of Stillo , the so-called "Albanian Riviera" is a succession of bays and resorts, more or less Tourism of great numbers. Beaches of Himara, Porto Palermo and Dhermi preserve a more discreet charm. Walking along this last stretch of Albanian coast, among the villages of the immediate hinterland of sleepy air, small family hotels and tiny creeks to discover in total freedom.
Furthermore, the Corfu Island is now only a handful of sea miles, and those looking for a postcard sea (or maybe it would be better to say from Facebook), coming down a bit can hit a shot Sure about Ksamil. Its four tiny islets, easily accessible by swimming or pedaling directly from the beach, invite you to enjoy in transparent waters where, outside the high season, the fish are amazed by the presence of bathers. In July and August, however, here as elsewhere is always the timing that makes the difference: wake up early and the lonely dive is assured!
Photo Credits: Albania Holidays
Food in Albania
In Albania cooking is a serious topic. Thanks to the increasing return of young people who have studied and worked in the fields of agriculture and catering in Italy, the country boasts excellent addresses.
Traditional dishes, such as pork, the typical salty cake made from thinly packed pasta filled with vegetables, cheese or meat, are now accompanied by a search for product quality, possibly seasonal and zero kilometers.

Photo Credits: Albania Holidays
Traditional food at Mrizi Zanave

See full article here