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.