Albania – A Remarkable But Mysterious European Beauty
If you think you have crossed the whole world and visited the most attractive tourist destinations on the globe, you might want to think twice because there are still some newly found tourist gems that will most surely exceed all your expectations. One of those gems is Albania. A remarkable, but mysterious European beauty. Albania started developing its tourism only two decades ago, but in the last couple of years tourists simply yearn to visit it thanks to its magnificent nature and beauty. Hence, should you want to seek adventure and new experiences, book yourself a trip to the land of eagles.
Location and Geography
Albania is placed on the Balkans which makes it an amazing country covered with high mountains, full of extraordinary beaches that lay on the shores of two seas: Adriatic and the Ionian Sea. Apart from the seas, sandy and rocky beaches, the country has amazing lakes. The most famous are Ohrid, Skadar, and Prespa. Those who have visited Albania have stated that visiting one of the lakes is even better than going to the sea.
The largest and most magnificent city in Albania is its capital, Tirana. However, other destinations such as Saranda, Gjurokaster, and Durres should not be missed as well because each of the Albanian cities is unique and beautiful.
It is believed that only Greeks and Albanians are the true inhabitants of the Old Continent. Even ancient literature, such as Homer’s Iliad, mentions the Albanian ancestors, Illyrians. Their traces can still be found all around the country, but so can the Greeks, Italians, Romans, and Turks. Their culture, customs, traditions, and influences have made Albania even more interesting. You can notice the remains of history every now and then if you travel throughout the country.
Modern Albania is quite a young country. It gained its independence in the early 20th century but in the latter period, it came under a rule of communist Enver Hoxha. It is this period in the country’s history that is considered to be a dark spot and Albanians today usually avoid speaking of these past times. Should you travel around the country, you will surely have the chance to witness the presence of Enver Hoxha’s rule, especially in the form of abandoned concrete bunkers whose main purpose was protection in the case of invasion.
Tirana – The Capital Of Albania And A Must See
The first place to start your adventure in Albania is Tirana, the capital of Albania. This is the best place to provide you with the tiniest details about the Albanian past, tradition and communist period. All of these features can be seen in the magnificent architecture. Once you visit Tirana, you will be amazed by the massive concrete buildings, Ottoman mosques and contemporary office towers. Perhaps, the best storytellers are the museums. There are several excellent museums in Tirana, each of which will give you more thorough information about the whole country, its history, and tradition.
Don’t Miss Visiting Gjirokaster
In case you want to visit the south of the country, one of your stops should undoubtedly be a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Gjirokaster. The city is quite impressive and a lot of people call it ‘a white city’ because its buildings are made of pale rocks. Gjirokaster reminds you of a beautiful fort and its central part is breathtaking. It contains an extraordinary Weapons Museum that contains weaponry from all the periods in history, including prehistory and World War II.
Durres – The Best Coastal Destination
The most lovely coastal place in Albania apart from Saranda is Durres. Tourists find it a pleasant escape from Tirana. It offers a perfect Mediterranean climate and excellent vacation during the hot summer time. The city’s history is quite interesting and the fact that Durres was once the capital of Albania makes it a perfect spot for history lovers. There is a memorable ancient amphitheater and the astonishing archaeological museum which opened only several years ago. The nightlife in Durres is also impressive and budget travelers are more than welcome for there are dozens of quite cheap hotels, private houses, and B&Bs. Actually, the entire country is more than affordable for tourists and the hospitality of Albanians is a whole another topic worth mentioning.
One thing is for sure, Albania is an emerging tourist hotspot and underrated tourist destination. It is a country that constantly invests and builds its tourist capacities and it is ready to host the entire world. So, what are you waiting for? Book your trip to this lovely Balkan country. Just remember to always check travel.state.gov for country information before traveling. Also, check the U.S. Department of State website for the fact-sheet on Albania which will give you details about the U.S. relations with Albania.