Increasingly sounding more and more like a travel destination, Albania has become a cheap and interesting place to travel to before it becomes too famous.
IDEAS FOR ACTIVITIES TO DO IN ALBANIA
It is certainly not the most beautiful place in Albania, but it has its charm. From cultural offerings to museums to the possibility of a getaway with the Dajti Ekspres “Cable Car” to escape the hustle and bustle of the Albanian capital and enjoy the Mount Dajiti National Park . In the evening there is some entertainment with the option of having a few drinks or beers at the Sky Tower revolving bar. Another place to visit is the Komiteti Kafe Muzeum, a café-museum full of relics from the communist era
Dajti Ekspres “Cable Car”
Tours in and from Tirana
Berat and Gjirokastra are Albania’s two most famous sites – both UNESCO World Heritage Sites – but that does not mean they are undeserving. On the contrary, their charm lies in the fact that they are not particularly saturated by tourism except in summer. Clinging to the banks of the Osum River, Berat , the city of a thousand windows is a veritable labyrinth of hidden alleys and stairways leading up to the castle on the hill that offers incredible views. In the Muslim quarter of Mangalem there are three large mosques: the Sultan’s Mosque, the Lead Mosque and the Singles’ Mosque.
On the steep slopes of the Gjerë Mountains, Gjirokastra makes a striking impression. Its fortress dominates the skyline of a sea of slate-grey roofs where there is no better map than to walk without direction.
Nature in Albania is a marvel, including mountains, rivers, lakes and some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean.
In the south of the country, the Albanian Riviera
, a succession of beaches is ideal for the summer months. The beach of Gjipe is located in a stunning turquoise bay with curious caves and imposing cliffs that reach down to the sea. Not far away Porto Palermo charms with a 19th century castle and a fantastic beachside restaurant for when the scorching summer sun gets too much. The list could be very long, but it’s always good to jot down a few names like Dhërmi, Himara , Drymades, Jal, Bunec, Livadhi, Borsch, Qeparo or Buneci beaches
Nestled among lush, forested hills, the surroundings of Permet offer a range of hot springs, fast-flowing rivers and hiking trails.
Ferry on Lake Komani
ART AND CULTURE
Albania is a kind of fabric with threads of many colours. Through its history we can take a tour through monuments, castles and archaeological sites. Museums such as the Onufri Museum in Berat, the Marubi National Museum of Photography in Shkodra, the Museum of Medieval Art in Korça, the Skanderbeg Museum in Kruja , the archaeological site of Durrës or the National Gallery of Arts and the National Museum of History of Tirana.
Archaeological Sites, Castles and Monasteries
History is palpable in Albania. There are ruins from the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian or Ottoman past. History enthusiasts will love the well-preserved ruins of Butrint National Park, or those of the ancient Illyrian city of Apollonia, about 12km west of the town of Fier, not forgetting the Amphitheatre of Durrës. More recent are the castles of Rozafa in Shkoder or Petrelë, the monastery of Ardenica, or Ottoman-style houses such as Zekate or Casa Skenduli, classic dwellings with more than two hundred years of unaltered history.
Theatre of Butrint ruins
Cycling along the shores of Lake Shkodra, or hiking in the Albanian Alps along the route from Theth to Valbona are just a couple of suggestions that combine sport and nature. But in Albania you can go rafting in the Osumi canyon, kayaking in Porto Palermo or snowshoeing in Tomorr
You’ve probably heard of the Blue Hole in Albania. Actually there is not only one of these natural water springs gushing from the subsoil. The best known is between Sarande and Gijrokaster, with the permission of the Blue Hole of Theth .
Blue Hole of Albania
Other natural sites include waterfalls such as the Bogove Waterfall in Berat and Lake Ohrid, shared with the Republic of Macedonia, which can be visited from Pogradec.
Albania is an open-air anthropological and ethnographic museum. Villages like Korçë – where Albania’s first school, now the National Museum of Education, was founded – bring us into contact with its people, and are perfect for getting to know the dishes of Albanian gastronomy. One of them is Coma Burek, a pastry filled with meat, cheese or spinach. Simple, delicious and cheap. Another delicacy is the Trilece dessert, a light and fluffy cake soaked in milk or cream and covered with a layer of caramel. Every Albanian restaurant, bakery and grandmother has their own recipe. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy seafood and fish in restaurants along the Albanian coast, or the Albanian wine cellars with an organised
tasting. And if you still want to know more about where those indescribable flavours come from, you can visit some of the organic farms like Uka or Mrizi i Zanave.
Itineraries of the communist past
Thousands of bunkers were built during the Stalinist dictatorship of Enver Hoxa under the pretext of possible attacks or invasions. There is talk of up to 750,000 of them, of which 173,000 are still scattered throughout Albania, some of them used as cafés or charming lodgings. There are several tourist initiatives that offer tours of the communist past, especially in Tirana. Also in the capital it is possible to visit the Bunk’Art , a huge bunker of almost 3000 square metres of underground space spread over several floors, converted into a museum of history and contemporary art. The bunker was built for Albania’s political elite in the 1970s and its cultural use offers exhibits that combine modern Albanian history with contemporary art pieces.
In addition to the beaches, another leisure proposal is the Benja hot springs, not far from Permet, where people spend the day soaking in the pools or carved pools whose waters are heated by geothermal activity in the ground.
ACTIVITIES IN ENGLISH
Excursions and tours in Spanish are not abundant but it is possible to find guides and agencies that carry out all kinds of activities. You can write to us
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