23 December 2015

Boston Globe: The 10 hot places for travel in 2016? Albania is on the list

By Christopher Muther
Boston Globe
It’s too easy to get swept away looking at pictures of thatched cabanas on stilts over tropical blue seas, or city-size cruise ships with corkscrew waterslides when dreaming of trips. Like a good meal, your travel plans should be balanced, colorful, and feature a prominent and sweet ending. If you need a bit of inspiration for planning a trip in 2016, we’re here to offer a gentle nudge to Asia, Europe, or just a long weekend in the south. Albania is on the list of 10 places worth a visit in 2016. Here what Boston Globe write about Albania

Berat, Albania
This country is not for those of delicate constitution, or for the inexperienced traveler, but the payoff for planning and patience is tremendous. If you’re hesitant to go it alone, contact a tour company, such as Adriatic Luxury Journeys. After being isolated from the rest of Europe after years of rule under the Communist party, Albania is slowly becoming a sought-after tourist destination. The infrastructure still hasn’t caught up with demand. Roads are in terrible condition, public transportation is erratic at best, and the Internet is not exactly dependable. But because of those factors, Albania is a (mostly) undiscovered gem, and the beaches along the Albanian Riviera are stunning. Direct flight? No. Best time to go? September.
Berat, Albania

15 cheap places to visit in Europe. For beaches, Albania!

Ros Walford/ Rough Guides

If you’re short of cash, it doesn’t mean you have to starve the travel bug entirely; simply choose your destinations wisely. Europe can be pricey but there are many places where your money will go further. Here are 15 cheap places to visit in Europe for 2016 according to Rough Guides.

For the beaches choose Albania:

The Albanian Riviera is a gorgeous, yet overlooked, stretch of Mediterranean coastline. Its pristine beaches flanked by dramatic mountains easily rival the pricier tourist meccas of neighbouring Croatia and Greece. For an unforgettable introduction to the region, drive from Vlorë along the Llogara Pass, a spectacular switchback road that leads down to the turquoise bays of the Ionian Sea.

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21 December 2015

A holiday in Albania has something for almost everyone - Bradt Travel Guides

"A holiday in Albania has something for almost everyone. Archaeologists and art-lovers, hikers and historians, oenophiles and ornithologists: all will take home unforgettable memories from a trip to Albania. ". These words about Albania are written by Bradt Travel Guides, one of the world's leading travel publisher in a new article of Gillian Gloyer

Read what she says about Albania:

A holiday in Albania has something for almost everyone. Less than four hours’ flight from the UK, its towering mountains provide one of Europe’s last refuges for bears, wolves and the elusive Balkan lynx, while the country’s location on major migration paths makes it a Mecca for birdwatchers. The complexity and richness of its archaeological sites rival anything in neighbouring Greece, with a fraction of the tourists. Its ancient cities, with their stone houses and cobbled streets, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites; its medieval castles are everything that castles are meant to be, with dungeons, water cisterns and vaulted tunnels. Delicious fresh food and local wines will delight gastronomes.
The national museums hold unrivalled collections of Illyrian silver, Byzantine icons and Socialist Realist art. Traditional costumes and household items can be found not only displayed in ethnographic museums, but in daily use throughout the country. Meanwhile, the capital, Tirana, is a lively and modern city where young professionals sip coffees or cocktails in fashionable bars and clubs. Finally, the wide sands of the Adriatic coast, the sought-after coves of the Ionian and the resorts of Lake Ohrid offer the full range of beach activities. Archaeologists and art-lovers, hikers and historians, oenophiles and ornithologists: all will take home unforgettable memories from a trip to Albania.

Full article:  http://www.bradtguides.com/destinations/europe/albania.html


11 December 2015

5 Must Do's in Tirana, Albania

Tirana, recognised as the capital city of Albania the world over, is a destination for passionate travelers who just cannot do without checking out new places scattered all around the world.

By John Martin

Many tourists from every nook and corner have been taking cheap flights to Tirana for a journey they will forget their entire life. There was a time when the Albanian capital used to top the list for the worst city in Europe. The decades rule led by Stalin shattered the entire city leaving it grey and grim. When the communism broke down way back in 1992, it only resulted in chaos across the city, but Tirana struck back with a bang and since then, it’s been attracting several tourists from all around the world.

So, get ready to enjoy the warm hospitality as displayed by Albanians for they are some of the people in the world blessed with a jolly nature. And what they expect in return from you in little is sure to surprise you.

Here are must do’s in Tirana for an amazing weekend break, but if you intend to stay for more than 2 days, your holiday will definitely become a delightful one.

1. Enjoy Albanian Hospitality

The hospitality as displayed by the Albanians cannot be compared because they at times go out of the way to make you feel at home away from home. They’ll invite you over a for a cup of coffee or a rakija (a plum brandy), which is a local custom they gladly celebrate. They have been isolated from the outside world for long, so they intend to satisfy their curiosity by witnessing a major chunk of tourists and greeting them with a smile and arms wide open.

2. Take Pleasure in the Local Colour

Tirana, being a small town, would not let you face any problem should you decide to cover the same in a day. The museums, monuments, parks and historic buildings are all covered in rainbow colours adding brightness to the city. Don’t miss booking cheap flight tickets to Tirana for a weekend break or holiday that could stay with you for years.

3. Skanderbeg Square

Located at the heart of Tirana, you cannot afford to miss taking a tour of the Skanderbeg Square. A lovely meeting place, named after the national hero of Albania, there’s a National History Museum of Albania that you can explore. There are some great attractions surrounding the square you would not want to ignore.

4.Visit the National Museum of History

The National Museum of History will let you check out several interesting artifacts that belong to the olden times including Hoxha’s reign. History lovers will not a miss a chance digging deep into the historical tales.

5. Unwind at the Mount Dajti National Park

Looking to break away from the city centre? Strolling around at the Mount Dajti National Park sounds wise. Feel some fresh air and take a countryside walk to loosen up a bit before proceeding to the next attraction in the “to-do” list. Cheap Tirana flights can be found aplenty for a soothing holiday experience.

08 December 2015

L’Albanie parmi le top 5 des destinations pour 2016 via Le Figaro

L’Albanie susciter l'intérêt dès les médias françaises. Le Quotidien français, Le Figaro, le deuxième plus grand journal national en France a placé l’Albanie parmi les 5 places d’être visitée en 2016.

4. L'Albanie

"Surprise du classement, mais également en football, avec une récente qualification pour l'Euro 2016. Avec plus de 10% d'augmentation des recherches des départs vers l'Albanie de 2014 à 2015, cette destination pourrait bien voir son tourisme se développer en 2016. Entre parcs nationaux et plages à couper le souffle, c'est un pays qui a beaucoup à offrir.

À voir en Albanie: la mosquée Ethem Bey de Tirana, avec sa voûte colorée. Se balader dans les petites rues au style ottoman de Gjirokastër, la «ville aux mille marches» à flanc de montagne. Les ruines antiques et byzantines de la cité d'Apollonia, sur la côte albanaise."
Shkodra Castle

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07 December 2015

Albania – the Holy Grail for Intrepid Travelers

Lately there are many bloggers writing about Albania, but American blogger Barbara Weibel brings a very interesting point of view while describing the history and the places she has visited in our country. She stayed in Albania this summer, but she posted 5 articles with photos about Tirana, Kruja, Albanian Traditional Food and Albanian history.  Here is a summary of her last article posted in her website: http://holeinthedonut.com/  tittle: Albania the Holy Grail for Intrepid Travelers.

Today, Albania is rushing to catch up. In Tirana, there are few sights beyond Skanderberg Square, but the air virtually crackles with exuberance. Each night after work, young professionals gather in the city’s ubiquitous cafes and coffee shops, where they spend hours discussing politics and planning for the future. Most speak at least some English and the literacy rate is high. New buildings are springing up everywhere, especially hotels, intended to service the tourists that Albania hopes to begin attracting.

Tirana Skanderbeg Square
Despite the enthusiasm for tourism, travel to Albania is still challenging. Passenger trains are non-existent and there is not a single bus station in the capital. Buses congregate in dusty, rock-strewn lots, the location of which are known only to locals. Indeed, when it was time to leave Albania, I discovered that there were no buses running between Tirana and Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, a mere 98 miles apart. Just crossing a street on foot in Tirana can be a dangerous proposition. Drivers speed up at pedestrian crosswalks, and the only way to cross is to step out into traffic and force vehicles to a screeching halt.

 Yet despite all the inconveniences, Albania grew on me. The friendly people won me over, the food made me drool, and the history fascinated me. Though I hadn’t planned on venturing beyond the capital, I was anxious to see more, so I arranged for a personalized day trip that took in Kruja, one of the country’s most important historical cities, and Durres, the country’s largest port.

Kruja National Museum
The longer I stayed, the more I wanted to explore the rest of this remarkable but little known country. From Berat, known as the city of 1,000 windows; to the golden sand beaches of the Albanian Riviera and the country’s 14 national parks; Albania is the Holy Grail for intrepid travelers. It is raw, it is real, it is thoroughly fascinating, and it provided an experience unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before.

Read the full article here:  http://holeinthedonut.com/2015/12/06/travel-to-albania/