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Albania Travel Wiki
Travel to Albania
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.
Traditionally, Albania has been 70% Sunni Muslim, 10% Roman Catholic (mostly in the north) and 20% Albanian Orthodox, making it the only European country to have a Muslim majority. From 1967 to 1990 it was also the only officially atheist state in the world, and many churches were converted into cinemas and theatres.
The spiritual vacuum left after the fall of communism was in part being filled by US evangelists, but new churches and mosques were springing up all over the country.
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.
Best of Albania
Increasing numbers of tourists
Lying across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, Albania is a southeastern European country of astounding natural beauty that includes rolling plains and beautiful beaches. This Balkan nation is bordered by Greece to the south, Macedonia to the east, Kosovo to the northeast and Montenegro to the northwest. Albania Holidays have risen in popularity in recent years as increasing numbers of tourists have discovered the country’s delights. Tirana is the capital and is in the north-central part of the country; it has interesting cultural and historical attractions, and is a great place to explore. Albania’s only international airport, Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza, is named after the late missionary nun Mother Teresa, who was ethnic Albanian
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.
Interesting sights and cities
There are great places to stay during your Albania holidays, starting with the capital, Tirana. The sole international airport is just 20 minutes outside the city, making Tirana a natural choice for many visitors, whether staying there or moving later to other parts of the country. The Albanian Riviera is a stunning location, with mountainous areas sweeping down to the sea, and is the choice of lots of tourists as it has wonderful beach resorts all along it. The city of Berat in the south-central part of the country is another good choice. Known as the ‘City of a Thousand Windows’, the old part of the town is World Heritage-listed
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.
If you’re spending your Albania holidays on the Riviera, you’ll find it’s like the more famous French Riviera – only better. It’s cheaper, the beaches are more beautiful and the locals are friendlier! Among the most stunning beaches along the coast are those at Ksamil, Himara and Borshi.
National Historical Museum
Visit the National Historical Museum in Tirana and get a flavour of the country’s heritage and past. It’s the biggest museum in the country and has a large amount of items of archaeological interest.
Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park in the far southwest is well worth a visit. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an area of archaeological importance. A number of ancient structures are still standing, including a Roman theatre, city walls and a basilica.
National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery of Albania is another worthwhile stop on the tourist trail, and should not be missed. It’s also in the capital and has thousands of works of art by Albanian and foreign artists.
Lake Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkan Peninsula and is an extremely picturesque setting. About one-third of it is in Albania and the rest is over the border in Montenegro. There’s lots of wildlife in the area, including rare European pelicans.
Below you can find usefull travel resources for your visit to the country
When are holidays and no working days in the country ?
|Date||English name||Albanian name||Remarks|
|01 01||New Year's Day||Viti i Ri||Fixed|
|02 01||New Year's Day||Viti i Ri||Fixed|
|14 03||Summer Day||Dita e Verës||Fixed|
|Novruz||Nowruz||Dita e Sulltan Nevruzit||Variable|
|Easter Monday - Catholic||Catholic Easter||Pashkët Katolike||Variable|
|Easter Monday - Orthodox||Orthodox Easter||Pashkët Ortodokse||Variable|
|01 05||May Day||Dita Ndërkombëtare e Punonjësve||Fixed|
|Eid ul-Fitr||Eid ul-Fitr||Bajrami i Madh (Fitër Bajrami)||Variable|
|Eid ul-Adha||Eid ul-Adha||Bajrami i Vogël (Kurban Bajrami)||Variable|
|19 10||Mother Teresa Day||Dita e Nënë Terezës||Fixed|
|28 11||Independence Day||Dita e Pavarësisë||Fixed|
|29 11||Liberation Day||Dita e Çlirimit||Fixed|
|08 12||Youth Day||Dita Kombëtare e Rinisë||Fixed|
Which are the largest cities ?
Listing of the most important and largest cities in the country
List of Airports, IATA
List of IATA airports in the country, sorted in International, Domestic and Regional airports. Use the search field if you need information about a specific airport.
|Tiranë (Tirana)||Albania||LATI||TIA||Tirana International Airport||International|