05 March 2020

Albania is the last secret of Europe

Albania is the last secret of Europe. Spanish travelers of a certain age remember that, for many decades, their passports indicated: " valid for all countries except for Albania, North Korea and Outer Mongolia ." To the most restless, that woke up an uncontrollable desire to discover what these forbidden countries hid. Of these banned countries, Albania was the closest, but until very recently it has remained away from the tourist map . Now Albanians want to show themselves to the world and teach their beauties, both cultural and natural. And it should be done before mass tourism discovers it.

This is how El Pais, the biggest Spanish newsletter starts its article about Albania, to recommend this unique place to all Spanish tourists. The article is recommending Albania to Spanish tourists, considering it as a "irresistible mixture of splendid beaches, dense forests and Ottoman cities where the trace of communism is still felt". The article is starting with Tirana, then with UNESCO sites, Berat, Gjirokastra, Butrint and the beautiful sandy beaches of Ksamil, Himara, the museal city of Kruja, then the experiences of other cities Korca and Shkodra.

Decades of isolation have made Albania, a somewhat smaller dimension than Catalonia or Galicia , a country different from the rest of its Balkan neighbors. It is not a destination for those looking for many comforts and a trip without unforeseen events. But perhaps there is the grace: to turn a trip into a little adventure. Thus, we will cross mountainous territories through winding roads; we will look out on a wild coast; we will walk through some towns that are like a Venetian mosaic of Byzantine churches with frescoes and naked mosques, tekke bektashíes (sanctuaries) and Ottoman houses of gleaming white, Kombinat mastodónticos (business conglomerates) of the Soviet era and tiny bunkers. But without a doubt, the most surprising discovery is its 400 kilometers of coastline where the Adriatic sand merges with the stones of the Ionian beaches..