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Albania is still one of those nations that is off of the average person’s radar when it comes to holiday planning, but that may soon change.
Although fairly isolated due to its location, the culture, spirit, and heritage of this nation is quite rich. It is also a place where your hard-earned money can stretch further than you might imagine during your next holiday. Here is why you should visit Albania in the coming year.
The Numerous Ancient Ruins
Everyone loves a good set of ancient ruins. UNESCO has named many around the world as Heritage Sites to help protect them. Albania has several that are protected as well, but because of the isolation they aren’t as busy as other European locations. Imagine visiting a 13th century town in its authentic splendor for the cost of a sweet treat – and you’ll likely be the only people there too.
The castles of Albania seem like they belong in a detective story rather than a fairy tale, but that doesn’t change their splendor at all. Some are even completed restored to help visitors see the storied past that this nation has encountered. You’ll find castles on beaches, at mountain summits, and sometimes even in the middle of a grassy field surrounded by livestock.
Thousands of Bunkers
Albania was once ruled by a man named Enver Hoxha. This dictator was more than a little worried about someone trying to conquer his country, so he built almost 1 million concrete bunkers to provide a land-based defense against invading armies or falling nuclear weapons. These stand as just one interesting testament to the decades of Communist rule that can be experienced today.
Albania is easily one of the most diverse and tolerant nations in the world today, making it an inviting place to explore. If you’re ready to be an explorer instead of a tourist for your next holiday, then make this nation your planned destination. It’s a decision you’ll cherish forever.
How is the weather in Albania ?
Travel resources for Albania.
Largest city in Albania
Below you can see a sortable list of the largest cities in the country
What is the capital of Albania
The culture of Albania is majorly influenced by that of the mainland Greeks especially in the urban locality; nodding one’s head means ‘no’ where as shaking the head means ‘yes’. To greet someone, handshaking is preferred, though Shoku (Comrade) was used before, which has been long forgotten now. People dress informally here. Swim suits are meant for the beaches, otherwise women are expected not to dress in a revealing outfit. When addressing someone prefix Zoti(Mr) or Zonja(Mrs) before the name and always remember to carry some gifts when visiting someone, although flowers aren’t much acceptable. The guests are served with coffee, raki or sweets. Smokers don’t have to worry much, but they should avoid it where they see a sign of Ndalohet Duhani or Ndalohet pirja e duhanit.
Travelling in Albania
Buses with relatively cheap fares operate in the main cities of the country or taxis are another choice which provided service for some main hotels.
Visit Dajti Mountain and experience Dajti Ekspres Cable car for an unforgettable 15 minute ride passing through Dajt Oark to reach Tirana. The route is about 4.2 km long and the ride costs €6.5.Alpha Yachting provides crewed yacht which is a luxury in itself. Tirana Bank is the best place for withdrawing money as it allows access to Visa cards.
One of the best and the easiest means is to go by air. Albanian Airlines is the national airline which works in collaboration with Tyrolean Airways, and provides service to almost all the big European cities. The airport, Mother Teresa, is 16 miles or 26 km away from the capital. A tourist bus is available every 3 hrs to get to the city center and takes about 30 minutes to get there. Taxis are available round the clock. While waiting for any transport service, tourists can check out the duty free shops, bank, eateries and car hire at the airport.
If trying to get there by sea, try the ferry services which are provided by Adriatic Line and Agoudimos. The main ports are Durres (has ferry connection to Italy, Bari, Brindisi, Trieste, and Ancona), Vlora (has ferry connection to Bari, and Brindisi), Saranda (has connection to Corfu), Shen Gjini (has ferry connection to Bari). Check out www.adriatica.it and www.aqoudimos-lines.com for more information.
Bus is another option. Buses start from Istanbul, Athens and Sofia. Internal passengers have lots of options with bus services provided.
Some interesting sights and cities
Tirana is the capital of Albania and has a population of a little over 300,000. The city is an eclectic mix of traditional European structures, soviet style five story buildings and mid-east influenced architecture. Relatively small, Tirana is a city with a small town feel.
Korca – Rugs, Rugs, Rugs
Korca is a city located in the east of Albania close to the border of Greece. Built high up on a plateau, Korca is a must see if you love Turkish style rugs and carpets. The entire city seems to be devoted to the manufacture and sale of every size, color and type of rug. If you’re staying overnight, Hotel Iliria is your best option.
Dating back to 500 AD, Petrela Castle is an ancient structure, which is in relatively good shape considering the history attached to it. At one time or another, Petrela was the primary defense of the city of Durres. It has been held, used and conquered by Romans, Greeks, Turks and other. Seriously off the beaten path, getting to Petrela requires a sturdy Jeep or Landcruiser. It is a very bumpy road, but the view is more than worth it.