17 November 2018

El Pais: Five reasons to discover Albania

Albania is a small country with amazing natural and cultural treasures that are worth to discover. El Pais the popular Spanish daily newspaper promotes Albania in the article titled “5 reasons to discover Albania”.
“Albania- candidate to be part of the European Union - is a small country, with the same area as Galicia and almost three million inhabitants, a third of whom reside in the capital, Tirana. Despite its small size, its variety of landscapes is dazzling: mountains in the north, lakes that penetrate neighboring countries, beaches that can compete with those of its neighboring Greece. Lonely Planet has just included Albania in its list of top 10 destinations for 2019 for its good value for money.” writes El Pais.
View of Berat (Albania). GETTY IMAGES

  1. In Tirana mostly, you will see the large influence of Italian architecture at the government buildings. The Italian influence is first on the list to visit Albania.
  2. The second reason is the capital city Tirana for its mixed architecture of ottoman, Italian style, and for the avant-garde projects as the future National Theater, a project by Bjarke Ingels Group. The city is the main gateway to the country thanks to the Mother Teresa airport (which was Albanian).
  3. The citadel of Krujë is also one of the reasons to visit Albania. “To the north of Tirana awaits a landscape of snow-capped mountains, ski slopes and lush forests. And castles up impossible cliffs, as if they were eagle nests (Albania is the country of the eagles, which wave on its flag). Its oriental bazaar leads to a citadel which is a national symbol: from there led the resistance against the Turks in the fifteenth century, the national hero George Castriot Skanderbeg.”
  4. Apollonia was an ancient Greek colony city and former bishopric in Illyria , located on the right bank of the Aous river (modern-day Vjosa). After visit Apollonia you must visit the UNESCO town of Berat.
  5. Llogara and Gjirokastra (The so-called Albanian Riviera looms in the Llogara National Park. A succession of beaches and coves, sea caves, cliffs and traditional villages. Porto Palermo is one of the most typical pictures of this holiday coast and Saranda, further south, is its capital. This area is home to two of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the country: Butrint, imitation of Troy, and Gjirokastra, with its Ottoman alleys and roofs of stone slabs preserved in extreme because it was the homeland of the dictator Enver Hoxha.
Read the original article here

16 November 2018

‘Kongres’ magazine: Tirana is a great tourism meeting destination

Tirana has changed a lot and transformation can be seen by anyone. Gone are the days when the capital city of Albania was neglected as tourism meeting destination. “Kongres’ is a magazine for the central and southeast Europe meetings industry. The magazine writes about certain myths about Tirana regarding as a meeting destination. One of them is: “Incentive programmes in Tirana are not developed”. As “Kongres” explains this is not true and they mention Albania Holidays as a great example.
Credits: Visit Tirana

“DMC Agencies in Tirana have developed a number of incentive programmes that can be combined into different lengthy programmes. These vary from culinary adventures to exploring the socialist past and adrenaline experiences. Check agency programmes such as Albania Holidays DMC and others. In addition, Tirana is full of special venues that will leave your partners speechless.”

Albania Holidays DMC ( Destination Management Company) is a professional DMC & PCO which offers creative and logistic support in the organization of conferences, events, incentive and special group programs to Albania since 2005.

26 October 2018

Lonely Planet recommends Albania among 10 places for affordable adventures

Almost every year Albania is part of Lonely Planet recommendations.
Lonely Planet has published “10 places for affordable adventures”, and Albania is ranked on the 8th place. The famous travel guide highlights Albania’s beaches, the unique history, archeological sites, food scene etc. In Albania you can have different kind of experiences as Lonely Planet describes: “Albania remains a destination where you can hike amid beautiful mountain scenery, stay in tiny and timeless villages and explore the buzzy capital Tirana for far less than pretty much anywhere else in Europe.
© Landscape Nature Photo / Shutterstock

Lonely Planet writes:
“Albania has been Europe’s final frontier for a while. Here’s a pocket of great value hiding in plain sight, with some superb beaches, a unique history and none of the crowds of Montenegro to the north or Greece to the south. The country’s exciting food scene celebrates the fruits of its unique local flavours and offers seriously distinctive dining. Although its archaeological sights, such as Apollonia and Butrint, and its one-of-a-kind blend of Balkan, Mediterranean and Italian influences are no secrets, Albania remains a destination where you can hike amid beautiful mountain scenery, stay in tiny and timeless villages and explore the buzzy capital Tirana for far less than pretty much anywhere else in Europe.”

11 October 2018

The Independent: Five foodie experience on the Albanian Riviera

Albania is getting noticed in European tourism map not only for the beautiful nature and hospitality but also for the delicious cuisine. Read about the culinary experience of Theresa Harold (journalist of “The Independent”) as she reveals the amazing food you can taste in Albania.

Eat freshly caught mussels from Lake Butrint (Theresa Harold)

The article published this week highlights Albania’s coastline, the history and tradition.
“The visitors arrive here to find ancient castles, clifftop monasteries and sandy beaches. There are still seaside canyons, Mediterranean villages and olive groves. The Albanian food is cheap, fresh and locally sourced; the cuisine here is simple and reflects both the Mediterranean location and the austere years of communism. You won’t find fancy ingredients or haute cuisine cooking techniques. Pizza is plentiful, thanks to the influx of Italian tourists, and they do gyros, tzatziki and Greek salad everywhere. The chefs use olive oil the way the French use butter, and every meal comes with a basket of bread to soak it up. Don’t be afraid to carb-load though: you’ll need it for all the raki you’ll be drinking.
Homemade petulla (Theresa Harold)

Here are five essential foodie experiences on the Albanian Riviera.
1.       Drink shots for breakfast
2.       Go on a mussel tour
3.       Visit a winery
4.       Eat freshly fried petulla
5.       Always order the seafood platter

04 August 2018

Albania Holidays brings luxury cruise with USA investors in Saranda

Albania Holidays, one of the most reputable incoming tour operators in Albania has brought 200 members of Chief Executives Organisation (CEO) in Saranda. Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama visited their cruise and meet with owners  of big companies in USA. They travelled with ‘Le Lyrial’  one of the most luxurious cruise in Europe to the shores of Saranda, south coastal city of Albania

The aim of the meeting with PM Rama was to explore and discuss investment opportunities in Albania from USA investors.

After the meeting CEO members  visited Saranda and Butrint –UNESCO site.

Albania Holidays, a leading Destination Management Company in Albania organizes tours, events, team building activities for corporates as well as shore excursions and other incentives.

31 July 2018

The 'living' legend of Osman Taka and his dance

Have you seen or heard about the dance of Osman Taka? Well the dance is so popular until noways while the protagonist Osman Taka and his story become a legend now, passing to all generations.
Osman Taka was a real person, lived in Konispol in the border between Albania and Greece and belong to "çam community" and he was a warrior fighting ottomans in the years 1848-1887. Osman Taka was arrested during that time and sent to be executed in front of Vali of Ioannina. Before he being executed, he was asked to say his final wish. And Osman Taka's final wish was to dance.

He was with some other companions and asked them to dance together. It was a short dance, but so intense and touching, full of pride and melancholy, of power and grace, which left everyone speechless. It was the wife of Vali who first broke the silence, and protested that such a good dancer should not be hanged. So finally the governor, who, like the others, had admired in his heart that dance never seen before, publicly declared that the young man deserved to live, so that he could continue to dance, in that way, with those steps, in that inimitable way. Then, availing himself of his powers, he canceled the sentence, and sent Osman Taka alive, with his companions, to Konispol.

This dance is still so popular, and last almost 3 minutes..
During this dance the protagonist, supported by a hand by one of his companions, kneels and it slowly folds backwards, until it touches the ground with the nape of the neck, thus arching the chest upwards. On that chest, then, another dancer rests his foot, and rises above it with all his weight. But here, just when the dance seems over, another companions do the same. It is an amazing dance, a fantastic intangible heritage for Albanians.

See the original article for Osman Taka here 
See the famous dance below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=Mzu_cmXTfNc

12 July 2018

The Sun: Swap Corfu for Dhermi in Albania

Albanian Riviera has attracted quite a lot the attention of world-known medias and travel magazines. This time, the coastal town of Dhermi beats the Greek Corfu island.
The prestigious British media “The Sun” recommends to its readers the budget destinations in Europe, among them is Dhermi Albania.
Photo: Getty Images
Dhermi over Corfu

Corfu is a classic destination for Brits to head to, but it has a much more affordable neighbor.
The Albanian Ionian coast is just across from that of the Greek island of Corfu and you can glimpse Albania from the shore in Corfu – and its beaches are just as idyllic.
But if you want to mix things up then why not visit Albania?
A plus point is that it’s far cheaper than that of its much-loved but tourist-packed neighbour.
With a pint costing as little as 58p in Albania as opposed to £1.80 in Corfu, it’s a no-brainer.

Read full article here!

03 July 2018

The unexplored waters of Albania are filled with artifacts

The undersea treasures of Albania were the focus of an article of the famous British media on line www.thetimes.co.uk
The journalists were here on a mission to explore the underwater treasures in order and to raise awareness to save one of Europe’s last secret underwater treasure troves before it is plundered.
The underwater world here combines Albania’s recent isolationist past with its ancient history..

“It’s incredible what’s down there,” said Mateusz Polakowski, 29, an underwater archaeologist at Southampton University. “We don’t even know about a tiny fraction of it.” He is part of a team of archaeologists and technicians working feverishly to map out Albania’s underwater riches unexplored for decades because the country was ruled for four decades by the  dictator Enver Hoxha.

Enver Hoxha, whose communist forces seized power in 1945, ran Albania as a hermit kingdom, the most repressive and ideologically driven regime in Europe. It was the North Korea of its day. Its coastline is less than two miles from the beaches of Corfu, but it might as well have been on the moon.
Thanks to the diving ban, however, the waters off its coast are an archaeological time capsule, unrivaled across the Adriatic and the Mediterranean.
Underwater heritage experts hope Albania will avoid the fate of Greece and Italy, whose historical richness have been pillaged by treasure-hunting divers. Further north in the Adriatic, in the seas off the former Yugoslavia, armies of looters have used scuba apparatus to plunder artefacts from beneath the waves.

In the Bay of Vlore, on Albania’s southern coast, where the Hercules was last week searching for shipwrecks, the waters ran red when Caesar clashed with Pompey’s forces during the Great Roman Civil War of the 1st century BC.
When the Ottoman Empire was threatening Italy during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, its fleet gathered in the bay. Jews expelled from Spain during the late Middle Ages escaped to Vlore via Italy. All have left their imprints on the sea bed.
“We’re trying to find this little guy,” said Polakowski. Leaning back in his chair, he pointed at a map of the sea floor, marked with a green line showing the location of a wreck from about the 1st century BC. “We can identify the age by the type of amphora it carries. This one would have been carrying things like olive oil or wine.”
This search of Albania’s waters has been going on unheralded for the past decade.
A day’s sail away from this shipwreck lies Butrint, which, according to the Roman poet Virgil, was founded by refugees from ancient Troy, who escaped the sacking of their city more than 3,000 years ago.
In the modern era, the Albanian coast was an important supply line during both world wars.
“It’s like looking under the ocean with a flashlight,” said Polakowski. “It’s so vast. We’ve still only surveyed less than 1% of the area. You can swim a site 10 times and you can still be 10 metres off a shipwreck and miss it.”
Scuba diving is technically still not permitted, but three years ago the Albanian Council of Ministers allowed recreational diving in defined areas along the coast.
Now treasure-hunters from Italy and Austria have been seen in Albanian waters, as well as enterprising locals equipped with scuba equipment and a desire to make fast cash.

29 June 2018

Kala Festival-hundreds of young people gathered in Albanian Riviera

Kala Festival, an international music festival was organized in Albania for the first time from 20-27 June 2018.
Kala was set at a seaside location in the Albanian Riviera where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea. The 7-day summer festival was a full success. Albania Holidays, one of the best incoming tour operator in Albania was the local partner of this big event. 
Photo: Kala Festival
Dhermi was packed with young people from Europe and region to celebrate this summer festival.
A British tourist was noted saying:"I came to Albania for the festival, but the expectations went beyond. Albanian Riviera is stunning, the food is amazing and the friendly people always dressed with a smile. One of the organizer at Albania Holidays office said: "It was so difficult to accommodate 1500 people in small places like Dhermi, where there are only small hotels and guest houses, and we had to deal with all of them. But, I am happy we did it at the end and the festival turned into great event, the only of its kind in Albania"

Photo: Kala Festival
Kala, debuted this year on the Albanian coast, and the festival lasted seven days of dancing by a gorgeous beach and a lineup featuring exactly the kinds of music you’d want to hear in the sunshine: from deep house DJ Jayda G to legendary reggae crew Trojan Sound System, not to mention the man behind one of the greatest summer anthems of all time, Roy Ayers “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” .
Photo: Kala Festival
Following such a huge success, a Kala 2 is planned for the next year. Stay tuned with Albania Holidays.
Photo: Kala Festival

26 May 2018

Albania Holidays awarded with Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor

Albania Holidays announces with great pleasure that it has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018, reflecting the great reviews that we have  consistently earned on TripAdvisor. This is a  recognition from Trip Advisor, the world's largest travel site. We are very happy to receive it and  will continue working toward making the most for every visitor or group of tourists that choose Albania Holidays.
Albania Holidays- Certificate of Excellence 201

Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
The Certificate of Excellence award provides top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers.

More info about Albania Holidays:
Albania Holidays a leading Destination Management Company invites you to be part of a unique experience, discovering an unknown but fascinating country. Albania has much to offer: a sunny Mediterranean climate, delicious food, kind and welcoming people, a laid back attitude, a rich history, an old culture, unique traditions, beautiful landscapes with mountains, rivers and a magnificent coastline. Visitors to the country describe Albanians as warm and inquisitive, happy to see foreigners.

Albania Holidays can assist you to discover the country in the most authentic way by offering tailor made solutions for groups & FIT-s, with a focus on the local elements: history, culture, traditions and way of life. We provide professional arrangements for: tours, events, venue selection, team building activities, shore excursions for cruises and more.

24 April 2018

The historical wedding of Skanderbeg returned back after 567 years

The Kanina Castle was transformed into a beautiful wedding-festival to remember and brought back in memory the wedding of our national hero “Skanderbeg” with his bride Donika. Looking back 567 years ago, here is the place, where Skanderbeg took his bride with a big ceremony.

The Albanian artist, Fate Velaj wanted to realize his dream of improvising the wedding of Skanderbeg as it was written in the history. He organized this “wedding” in collaboration with “Kanina” Patriotic  Association, “Albanian National Nest” Movement and Vlora Municipality.

For visitors this was an amazing opportunity to remember a traditional wedding from our past and it’s good for new generations to learn more about history.

With the participation of a delegation of 60 people, coming from the Arbëresh of Italy, including Loris Castriota Scanderbeg - Gjergj Kastrioti's great-grandfather, was celebrated the 567th anniversary of the most historic wedding of the Albanian nation and the 590th anniversary of the birth Donika Gjergj Arianiti in Kanina.

After celebrations in Kanina, they went to Ardenica Monastery, where Skanderbeg and Donika made the vows.
This ceremony is worth returning to the annual celebration attracting more visitors and tourists in Kanina. This event was part of many planned activities on the Year of Skanderbeg. The activities will continue throughout all this year and will culminate on 28 November, which is the Independence Day of Albania, but also a very important day when Skanderbeg raise the Albanian flag in the Castle of Kruja.. Skanderbeg is the National Hero of Albanians, the most important figure of our nation.

Watch video here

09 April 2018

Kala in the list of the top 10 of the best under-the-radar music festivals in Europe

The new dance festival in Kala running from 20th – 27th June 2018 is selected in the top 10 summer music Festivals in Europe. The prestigious British newspaper on line, The Guardian, invite its readers to have unique experiences in the best – known of boutique, dance music-orientated festivals in Europe during this summer.

Kala is set at a seaside location in the Albanian Riviera where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea.
Kala, debuting this year on the Albanian coast, promises seven days of dancing by a gorgeous beach and a lineup featuring exactly the kinds of acts you’d want to hear in the sunshine: from deep house DJ Jayda G to legendary reggae crew Trojan Sound System, not to mention the man behind one of the greatest summer anthems of all time, Roy “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” Ayers.

See the original link article!

02 March 2018

Albania’s communist heritage sites-Bradt Travel Guides

A popular Travel Guide in UK, “Bradt Travel Guides” has published an article about Albania’s communist heritage sites.
For the first 25 years of Albania’s post-communist history, the last thing people wanted to be reminded of was the political repression and economic hardship they had so recently succeeded in getting rid of. Recently, however, national and local authorities have begun to invest in conserving some of the more notable communist sites and curating them so that Albanians and visitors can learn about this difficult and controversial period.
The most interesting communist heritage sites are located in some cities in Albania such as: Tirana Shkodra, Sarande, Gjirokastra and the notorious prison of Spaç.

Site of Witness and Memory, Shkodra
From 1946 to 1991, a rather unassuming 19th-century house on Shkodra’s main boulevard became the regional headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This innocuous name belies the political persecution and terror that emanated from this building for 45 years. The storerooms of the former Franciscan seminary were transformed into detention cells and interrogation rooms for the Sigurimi, communist Albania’s secret police. Thousands of people passed through these cells before they were sentenced; they were then either executed or sent on to other prisons or prison camps such as Spaçi. Now the building has been transformed again, this time into a museum that commemorates those who suffered there. Panels in English and Albanian explain various aspects of Albanian communism, including the destruction of religious buildings, the anti-communist uprisings in northern Albania, and the public trials that took place in buildings around Shkodra.

Memorje 78, Saranda
One aspect of Saranda’s communist history can be seen opposite the post office on Rruga e Flamurit: Memorje 78, a concrete pillbox, half-excavated so that you can look through a grille into its interior. Inside, there is an information panel with photographs of different types of bunker and diagrams of their design.

Town hall air-raid shelter, Gjirokastra
During the communist years, when town halls across Albania were known as ‘Executive Committees’, air-raid shelters were built under them so that the Committee Members and staff could continue to administer their town in the event of enemy bombardment. Gjirokastra's air-raid shelter, now open to the public, is in fact a huge labyrinth of underground corridors with small offices opening off them. Many of the offices still have the signs on their doors indicating which department or functionary would have worked within; even the telephone switchboard operators would have relocated down to the bunker. The functionaries would have slept, as well as worked, in their little windowless offices. The whole structure was designed to resist the impact of missiles of up to six tonnes; exploring the complex gives a unique insight into the Hoxha regime’s permanent state of alert for enemy attack. Maps at the entrance show the entire network of tunnels under the city.

In 1968, the Albanian government decided to use the copper mine at Spaçi as a forced-labour camp for political prisoners. Over the next 24 years, thousands of men were imprisoned at Spaçi, behind three rings of barbed-wire fence that enclosed the whole 12ha of the mine. An unknown number died, sometimes of exhaustion and malnutrition, sometimes shot.
Spaçi was not the only forced-labour camp in Albania, but it was the only one that used exclusively political prisoners. There were also a few non-prisoners employed at Spaçi. Their job was to handle the explosives, which for obvious reasons were not made available to the prisoners. At any one time there was an average of 800 prisoners in the camp; when it closed, in 1991, 830 men were freed.
This eerie place, in its bleak setting amid bare, harsh mountains, has been abandoned to the elements since 1991. Information panels in English have been installed around the site and work has begun to stabilise the buildings so that the the prison camp can be transformed into a museum, along the lines of Robben Island in South Africa.

The House of Leaves, Tirana
The most recently opened of Tirana’s communist-era buildings is the former surveillance centre of the Sigurimi, Albania’s secret police. It was built in 1931 as a maternity clinic, founded by Zog I’s personal physician, and taken over secretly by the Sigurimi for use mainly by the technicians who tapped people’s telephones and installed bugs in their apartments. 
Bunk’Art installations, Tirana
Sister-installations Bunk’Art 1 and Bunk'Art 2 are dedicated to the interpretation of aspects of the communist period. Bunk’Art 1 was built in the 1970s but never used. This vast network of underground tunnels was intended to shelter the entire government apparatus in the event of invasion or nuclear attack. 
Bunk'Art 2 was a bomb-proof tunnel under the Ministry of the Interior, home to the police force in its various incarnations throughout Albania’s 100-year history. You'll be able to visit the display of archive photographs and film that illustrate the phases of World War II and the subsequent chilling of relations with one set of former allies after another. 

21 February 2018

Albania is the new Mediterranean paradise

Conde Nast Traveller, is a Spanish travel magazine has written several articles about Albania in the recent years, and on this lately article it promotes Albania; calling it the New Croatia and the new Mediterranean paradise.  
Imagine the Mediterranean. What comes to mind? Winding coasts, dotted with cliffs and coves. The eternal skies and azure beaches. Try to name it Costa Brava, Costa Azul and Amalfi Coast will be the first that comes to your mind ... But you can add a new one to the list, which is going strong: the Albanian Riviera.

Albania, until now one of the most unknown countries in Europe, finally opens its arms to travelers, and it does not need more arguments than those it has at the bottom. Paradisiacal beaches (and some almost deserted). Archaeological treasures makes you feel of having discovered one of the best kept secrets on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Conde Nast Traveller lists the best beaches to visit in Albania, from Vlora to Saranda you will get surprised by the beaches such as: Plazhi i Ri, Himara, Qeparo and Ksamil.
Photo: Albania Holidays
Vlorë, a hodgepodge of activity and tree-lined walks, comes with great historical weight: Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared here in 1912. Since then, it has grown to become a center of important port activity, in which the ramshackle charm urban gives way to the first beaches of the Riviera, which better than the previous.
Following the coast in a southerly direction, the next stop is the very peaceful town of Himarë , divided between modern resorts and traditional Greek taverns .
Are you looking for a more solitary and less crowded experience? Go to Qeparo , a picturesque village clinging to two cliffs and overlooking the Mediterranean scene par excellence, the one you have in your head: the golden cove, the turquoise sea, the eternal sky.

Getting to Sarandë, the nerve center of the Riviera and a destination that is gaining popularity in strides in the Balkans, is starting to have very vivid flashbacks of Levante. Sarandë, despite remaining modest in size and population, is experiencing a period of high growth, and skeletons of future apartment buildings are rising on both sides, pointing to an (expected) important boom in visitor numbers. But for now (and luckily), Sarandë remains a pleasant option as a base to explore the nearby beaches when you have exhausted the ones on the street.
Among them, Ksamil takes the trophy to the best, not only in the area, but possibly the entire Riviera. This tiny archipelago, 20 kilometers south of Sarandë, has three dream islands with white sand beaches that you can almost swim between.
Come and discover the new Mediterranean paradise. Or do you need more reasons?

See here the original article in Spanish! 

Albania among 9 adventurous places in the Adriatic coast you must try

The Adriatic coast is one of the earth’s glorious coasts, and certainly one of the best in Europe. With a history that dates back centuries, it boasts some of the most fabulous beaches, fascinating mountains, countless sandstone cliffs overlooking the seas, and picturesque towns – the coast is dreams come true for every kind of a traveller. Part of Adriatic coast is also Albania; the coastline has a total length of 274 kilometres. GoGo Places, a travel website has recommended Albania along with other countries as a must visit destination for adventurous. The editor suggest two must do’s if you want to experience the wild nature and adventure spirit in Albania; Hike in the Albanian Alps and go rafting in Osumi Canyons.
Photo source: GoGoPlaces
Hike in the Albanian Alps
The little country of Albania has a lot to see and do, and the best part is that most of it remains extremely undiscovered, as well as almost completely unspoiled. Bordering Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo and Montenegro, Albania’s long coastline is one of the most beautiful in the world. Here’s what you can do in Albania.
There are many hiking trails to the Alps in Albania of different difficulty levels each offering its unique variations of landscapes and adventures. If you start from Tirana, you can take a ferry trip on the spectacular Lake Koman, go on a trek through the beautiful Valbona Valley and the Theth Valley. You will also get to visit the old Fortress of Kruja in the Albanian hills. Also, go on a hike to the ruins of the Rozafa Castle to admire the spectacular view of the lake.

Go rafting in Çorovodë
The Osumi Canyon located near Çorovode is a great place for those who love rafting. There are many day trips to this place from Tirana, and you can go rafting in the Canyon for about 12km, that starts upstream of the Hamuli Bridge and ends at the descent at the Bridge of Çorovoda. This stretch is usually done when the waters are high, which means a lot of fun!

See here original article!

19 February 2018

Albania, a destination better than you thought -Telegraph Travel

Telegraph Travel has published an article listing ‘10 destinations that are better than you thought’, and among them is Albania in the 9th place. As telegraph writes ‘we judge a place or adventure by reputation”, and it shouldn’t be like this at all.
“We asked 10 of our favourite writers to challenge common wisdom and share their tales of the countries that surprised them, the places they dismissed – or embraced – in error. After all, places change. Reputations are often ill-deserved. The world is your playground: go test it out for yourself.”
Albania getting a nickname “the country of bunkers”, isn’t all about the dark communist past. In fact, tourism in Albania is blooming. Read the experience of the Telegraph travel writer Chris Leadbeater.
Radhime Beach Albania
Credits: Albania Holidays

Albania:  ‘Where was the concrete brutality I had assumed to be total?’
Just below the lounge, with its cushions and coffee pots, I could see several short flights of stairs descending carefully towards the sea. I followed them, past the swimming pool, down the cliff-face to the beach. Although it was still relatively early, just after 9am, a group of young guests was already stationed on the shingle.
One of them decided that her time had come and, fixing her brown hair in a ponytail, took a running leap from the rocks. Momentarily, I lost her, her outline devoured by the swarthy green of the Karaburun Peninsula beyond. But then she landed with a giant splash, surfaced with a smile – and, letting out a whoop of unfettered glee, demanded that her friends join her. They required no second invitation.
It was a scene that could have been staged on a hot afternoon on the Italian Riviera – the boutique retreat, the youthful abandon, the private beach, the decadent beauty of the setting. Indeed, the comparison might not be so far-fetched. At this point on the map – the crooked elbow where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet – Italy is just 60 miles west. But the Hotel Liro does not sit in Puglia – or, indeed Liguria. It is tucked into the shore at Radhimë, just outside the city of Vlorë in southern Albania, where preconceptions linger.
Mine included. I had travelled to one of Europe’s last “hidden” destinations, well aware of its past and its image – the half-century of Communist rule which endured until 1992; a reputation for breeze-block hotels rearing in unlovely fashion over dull sands. I had found the latter, not least in second city Durrës, with its humdrum high-rises at the water’s edge.
But I had found something else, too. Although Albania built badly in the domestic tourism boom which followed the parting of its Iron Curtain, it left alone much of the lower half of its 296 miles of coastline. Radhimë feels unspoiled, chic even. As does little Orikum beyond it, where the landmass kicks up, forcing travellers over the twisting Llogara Pass, the road chasing its tail towards Saranda and the Greek border – elevated viewpoints showing a gorgeously unsullied panorama, mountains plunging steeply to surf and spray. Where was the concrete brutality I had assumed to be total? Not here.

See here original article!

13 February 2018

Albania among destinations that you should visit in 2018 - GEO De

Albania is true rough diamond,- writes the German travel magazine ‘GEO De’.
GEO is Europe's leading magazine for large reportage (in text and image) promoting destinations. On their recently inspirations trends about destinations that tourists should visit in 2018 they have listed Albania among 10 places.
The Albanian Riviera is becoming popular thanks to prestigious media and travel influencers who continuously promoted this unspoiled beauty.  
Photo: rh2010 / Fotolia

‘In search of barely visited wild beaches, more and more tourists are invading the Balkans. Croatia has been experiencing a tourist renaissance for years, and neighboring countries such as Montenegro are also benefiting. No wonder, then, that the view is even farther south, and there is really a true rough diamond with Albania. The Albanian Riviera is still considered the Cinderella among the famous sisters, but that's what makes it so special. No large hotel complexes, hardly any tourist infrastructure and unspoiled coastlines awaken the spirit of discovery of all those who prefer authenticity rather than comfort.
About 200 kilometers beyond the capital Tirana, the road leads over 1000 meters to the Mediterranean. The Albanian Riviera stretches for about one hundred kilometers from the Llogara Pass to the archaeological sites of the 3000-year-old Butrint in the very south just before the Greek border. And in between are beach pearls like Gjipe (picture) or Kakome, which are best discovered on a road trip.’

See original article here!

12 February 2018

Albania reborn: What to see and do in Europe’s newest holiday hotspot- Daily Express

“So rich in treasures and sensational sights, everyone has wanted a piece of Albania over the centuries. Maisha Frost discovers a mysterious beauty coming out of the shadows and longing to welcome the world.” This is how the renowned British media “Daily Express” describes Albania in a long article.
Every first time visitor in Albania is impressed by so many things that you can find attractive and worth a visit in this forgotten corner of Europe.
Kruja citadel: Getty Images

“Ancient Greeks, then jeweler-loving Illyrians, the ancestors of many of today’s Albanians, were followed by Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans who all seized, settled and surrendered here in a relentless game of thrones.
Today’s democratic Albania is transforming fast in other ways: the power blackouts and potholes are in retreat and the young as stylish as their European counterparts. Few too would have predicted the land’s dividend from a failed state that never saw through its plans for collective farms. Albania’s small family-run farms stayed largely pesticide-free and its wildernesses untouched.  Today that means organic havens for produce and wildlife, a place for taste delighting foodies and ramblers, with lots for the locals to shout about.
What to see in Albania:
Tirana - Capital of many colours
The capital Tirana is lively and safe, but with an understated, surreal side that often leaves visitors wondering what to make of it.
Part Mediterranean town, part Soviet relic its rainbow-coloured apartment blocks, painted on the orders of a former mayor to bring some cheer, are more faded pastel these days.
For good reason perhaps Tirana’s citizens seem to have a Pythonesque talent for looking on the bright side of life. Ask them about Albania’s reputation as a gangster factory and they promise – only half joking - “there’s no trouble here, we’ve exported all the criminals”.
The city’s cultural highlights include a triumphalist history mural guarding the entrance to the classical artefact-packed national museum and the pretty 18th century Et’hem Bey mosque’s minaret and rare floral mosaics.
Tirana: Getty Images
Kruja: A land of thrones
More weird and wonderful Albania unfolds during the hour’s drive from Tirana to the medieval citadel of Kruja.
Vacant buildings in various stages of abandonment stand beside the highway, some half built or decaying shells and some brand new but desolate and often for sale.
Through a great stone archway lies a long bazaar, its low, long-eaved timbered houses and busy cobbled alleyways a lot like an episode from the TV medieval fantasy.
Beautiful Berat
South of Tirana a great gorge splits the mountains and you come to Unesco world heritage site and Albania’s poster girl Berat.
Dating back to the 4th century BC, the city’s seven-arch Gorica bridge, a favourite Ottoman masterpiece, spans the Osum river and tiers of white gabled houses climb steep cliffs to its citadel.
There towering walls form a hilltop cradle for ancient mosques and eight medieval churches, one housing a stunning collection of icons by 16th century master Onufri, famous for the luscious ruby coloured paint he used.
Berat- Maisha Frost

Wilderness walks and ancient ways
Wild nature is never far away in Albania and as I followed herders’ trails for a morning’s ramble in the sweet air high in the hills above Berat I was surrounded by slopes thick with poppies, campion, delicate blue lilies and wild orchids peeping among the tall grasses.
The crowds have not caught up yet either with the country’s archaeological sites, rated among the best in Europe.
Layers of history are densely packed in Durres, the port city and transit point for the ancient Via Egnatia route to the west of Tirana.
Although this does not have the manicured magnificence of Rome’s Colosseum, the stark suburban setting and details like the pens for lions and the steps deliberately made uneven for crowd control made me more aware somehow of history’s relentless tide.
Different again is pastoral Apollonia, a remote Pompeii-without-the-people hilltop site dating from 588 BC that was once a Greek city state served by slaves and then a Roman cultural centre.
At the entrance a Byzantine monastery’s stone walled galleries are dripping with classic bronzes, busts, vases and coins and across the cobbles gargoyles erupt from a 13th century frescoed church.
As I wandered deeper among its towering ancient pillars and olive groves, red rump swallows and bee eaters flitted by and I was suddenly in a moment only Albania could deliver.
In the distance rose the outlines of a mosque’s minaret and the hump of a bunker, then an unseen church bell began to toll.
Scenic view of Albania
Photo: Maisha Frost
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06 February 2018

Albania has the beauty of Switzerland and old-centuries unique traditions

The centuries-old traditions live together with the memories of the Communist era. This mix of both and the nature's beauty compared to Switzerland make Albania an exciting attraction for those arriving from the far north” - writes ‘Turizmus, a Hungarian tourism portal.
Turizmus praise the potentials of Albania regarding tourism, as they refer to several Scandinavian articles about Albania.
Photo: foldersmagazin.hu

“Residents and leaders of this beautiful country today do not yet know what it means when mass tourism starts. Even a couple of years and as the fast foods spread and open to the many star hotels, it happens.  Recently, in Scandinavian newspapers, we can see more and more stories about Albania as travel destination.
The capital, Tirana is not a metropolis such as Berlin, and it does not look like Budapest, "notes the author," but the mingling of minarets and concrete cubes, the hospital men offering of raki, is an exotic mix.
And here it is really all about home, in Albania you will find delicious food taken straight from farms of the villagers.

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05 February 2018

Albania is a voyage of discovery, an unknown part of Europe

“Albania is a voyage of discovery, an unknown part of Europe”, writes Kurier, an Austrian daily newspaper based in Vienna.
Photo: /Manfred Ruthner
Albania opens up for all culture-interested. The hotels offer good comfort while culinary will not disappoint you as you taste the combination of Italian, Greek and Turkish cuisine.
Albania is a great package offering, magnificent landscapes, and precious cultural assets.
‘Kurier’ writes a long article describing the turbulent history of Albania, and how this country shines as must -tourist destination.
“Only a few decades ago, little was known about Albania. Visitors came sporadically and only on special occasions, such as the football World Cup qualifier in December 1980. There were no  football fans coming at that time, only a few journalists had arrived and were brought from the airport to the center of Tirana. But since the turn of the century in 1990, the country has undergone a tremendous development.
The ancient history of Albania is one of the main things that attracts visitors in Albania. From Roman heritage, UNESCO Sites to unspoiled beaches Albania will impress in each corner.
Photo: /Manfred Ruthner
The heritage of the Romans
The tourist treasure of Albania is located outside the capital, where grandiose landscapes and precious cultural assets await. On the way to the coast you pass Apollonia, a vast excavation field that invites you for a walk between the reconstructed parts of a Roman temple and the theater. In antiquity, the city was still accessible by ship and economically significant, but after an earthquake in the 4th Century silted up the port.
With the port city of Vlora you can reach the Adriatic Sea. Only recently, the promenade was opened with magnificent palm alley on "Lungomare".  Still, the beach chairs in front of the new hotels are unused in the sand and waiting for guests. In 1911, the declaration of independence of Albania from the Ottoman Empire took place in Vlora; Relics, pictures and documents can be admired in the Museum of Independence.
Photo: /Manfred Ruthner
Albania Riviera
Immediately behind Vlora, the landscape becomes more contemplative and the coastal road becomes curvier. Again and again, it opens the view to small bays, where pebble beach and turquoise iridescent water lure. Here runs the border between the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. In tight serpentines you get on the Llogara Pass. At 1,000 meters above sea level there is a spectacular view: along its entire length the Albanian Riviera spreads, olive groves and orange groves form a delightful setting for the bright pebble beaches. At the observation deck, a paraglider is getting ready. A quick start, and the thermal already captures its glider and carries it out in wide curves along the coast. Down the beach you can see a construction site - soon the guests will be able to move into the resort.

There are hardly any cars on the panoramic road to the south and dozens of people on the bike. No locals, however, but tourists from the US, who enjoy the view on the low-traffic route at autumnal pleasant temperatures. In the distance you can see the island of Corfu.
Opposite the mainland, in the southernmost part of Albania, lies the Natural Park of Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, probably the most important in Albania. An avenue of eucalyptus trees forms the entrance, then opens the view of the well-preserved Greek theater. For hours you can go exploring in the park under shady trees. Particularly interesting are the remains of a temple, the ruins of a Byzantine basilica from the 6th century with remains of a beautiful mosaic floor and the findings exhibited in the museum.
 There is the next UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gjirokastra, the "stone city". Climbing steep cobbled lanes leads to the castle, past small shops selling embroidery, small stone-carved artwork and other souvenirs. The fort houses the National Arms Museum, which houses a remarkable collection from the period between 1912 and World War II. The view of the old town is impressive. All roofs are covered with flagstones, which are abundant in the mountainous environment.
The road to the north from here is well developed and crosses one of the most scenic sections of Albania. Wide, untamed river valleys with weathered bridges and an impressive mountain backdrop evoke memories of Karl May's novel "Through the Kingdom of Skipetars". Soon Berat is reached, one of the oldest cities in Albania. The castle district on a hill consists of numerous houses, most are still inhabited, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they are under special protection. A former cathedral is used as a museum. Impressive is the precious icon wall with scenes from the life of Jesus and the twelve apostles and saints. Below the castle is the district Mangalem, also called "city of a thousand windows", with mosques and fascinating old houses.
Photo: /Manfred Ruthner


High on a steep mountain slope lies the city of Kruja, which is inextricably linked to the history of Albania. From here, the Albanian national hero Skanderbeg led a successful fight against the Turkish army. In the castle, the very turbulent history of Albania is graphically traced. When you look from the top, you can already see the suburbs of Tirana, the final destination. On entering the capital, you can still see depressing prefabricated buildings, relics from the communist era. But the center presents itself as metropolitan, with a broad boulevard that runs between government buildings in Mussolini architecture and well-kept parks and finally flows into the Skanderbeg Square with opera and cultural palace from the 1960s.

Read original article: https://kurier.at/reise/auf-entdeckungsreise-durch-albanien/308.080.481