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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Albania is becoming a popular place to travel to: It’s loaded with history

Albania is a country surrounded with tourist destinations – Macedonia to its east, Montenegro to the northwest and Greece further south. Despite its prime location, Albania remains a PLACE almost untouched from the hands of tourism. A large percentage of Albania’s national income is sourced from tourism, Albania only welcomes roughly 4 million visitors per year. Still, it’s easy to understand why Albania is becoming a popular place to travel to.

Why Albania is becoming a popular place to travel to: It’s loaded with history

Albania is not a country short of stunning sights and landmarks – the most notable being the Blue Eye Spring, a stunning natural waterhole with crystal blue water, surrounded by thick forest. It’s a place of untouched and tranquil beauty. Just be warned the road and public transport systems aren’t great, so plan your adventures ahead with hotel or HOSTEL concierge.
The National Historical Museum in Tirana is the country’s largest museum. Inside you can find exhibitions on antiquity, medieval times, iconography, communist genocide and the culture and history of Albania and its people. The museum was built in 1981, and has since held a NUMBER of valuable archaeological treasures. The most important and must-see display is the gallery devoted to those who suffered persecution under the former communist regime – a sad and twisted part of Albania’s history.


Kalasa is a place of ruin. Beyond the once-majestic castle walls lay an ancient neighbourhood, a busy and tired little town of ruins and labyrinth streets. Whilst taking in the sights, you’ll roam through courtyards, churches and the ruins of where the castle walls once stood. After Kalasa, move on to the Gjirokaster Castle, in the city of Gjirokaster (formerly known as Argyrokastro). The castle is bulky and eerie, overlooking the river valley below. It NOW contains a military museum featuring the captured artillery from the Communist regime and resistance. There is also a captured US air force plane on site – a sign of the struggle Albania once had against Western Powers.
Roam the streets of the cities to FIND stunning churches and chapels, many of which still operate today. There are a number of chapels in Kala, including St Theodore, the Church of the Holy Trinity and the chapels of St Mary Blachernae and St Nicholas. Visit the ancient ruins of Butrint, with remains spanning over a range of periods and often dating back to 2500 years old.

It’s a cheap place to travel

Albania is a cheap country to travel around. You can travel around in private or public transport, eat out and stay in HOSTELS and hotels all for reasonable prices. Because of its location, Albania has coastline to offer very similar to that of Greece, just cheaper and less tourist-based. To put it simply, Albania is a back packer’s heaven.
Budget around $15 a night for a really good HOSTEL – you can find ones with reviews online and most of which have positive ratings and are super cheap. Hotels that are given the rating between three and four stars range in price, starting at roughly $25 and costing anywhere up to $50 per night. This often depends on the location and type of room booked. Try the Baron Hotel or Milingona Hostel in Tirana for great, affordable accommodation.
Cuisine in Albania is a mixture of many cultures, the biggest influence  being Greek, Italian and German – so you’re sure to find a restaurant that you like. Eating out in Tirana is fairly cheap, especially on the outskirts of the main square where you can get meals ranging from $10 up to $35.

The beaches there are incredible

The coast LINE of Albania is as beautiful and as untouched as the rest. There are tourist beaches, like Vlore, where passengers from Italy dock and board ferries, and where beach clubs, cafes and restaurants come by the dozen. Most of the nicer beaches are located in the southern part of Albania, and all lie within close proximity of the Albania Riviera.
Dhermi Beach is located 42km south of Vlore, and is a great beach for those who enjoy the perks of eating alfresco, drinks at beach clubs but beaches that are near empty. You can get buses from Tirana to Dhermi  daily at midday, and buses run between Vlore, Dhermi and Sarande. Dhermi beach boasts white sands and rentable umbrellas and sunbeds, great for the family. However if you’re into something a little more secluded, walk down the beach to Perivoli Beach and you’ll have the whole thing to yourself!
Further south of Dhermi is Sarande, which is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Albanian Rivera. Sarande is known for beaches with white pebbly sand and deep blue water. Nearby is the ancient city of Butrint, and due to its location, Sarande is HOME to a large Greek ethnic minority.
Make sure to see the stunning horseshoe bay that makes up Sarande, giving a spectacular view between the mountains and the Ionian Sea. Nearby to Sarande is the village of Ksamili, which houses a beautiful beach with several small islands that can be swum to. Ksamili is a quirky village, notorious for its toppling buildings – the effects of buildings BEING put up illegally and being sabotaged by the police.http://stunningplaces.net/why-albania-is-is-becoming-a-popular-place-to-travel/

Albania as Honeymoon Destination (Romantic Getaways)

ALBANIA, Albania

Albania is a country that belongs to southeastern Europe. MORE than half of the terrain is mountainous and the entire country experiences diverse climatic conditions during winter and summer seasons. A splendid array of flora and fauna is interspersed with traditional cities and flanked by coral fringed coastline of translucent tropical waters.
Nestled between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro boasts of its blue and turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, rivers, lakes, snow peaked mountains and forests. Apart from its natural beauty, Albania is well known for its warm welcome and hospitality. For the traveler who is interested in ancient architecture and historical monuments, Albania has many such places. Tirana – the capital city, Vlora, Korce, Suranda opposite to Corfu Island and Shkodra are the places with many palaces, ancient monuments, shrines of different religions and bustling bazaars. Albania is HOME to many luxury resorts and has a plenty of opportunities for water sports and other adventurism.

Albania as Honeymoon Destination (Romantic Getaways)

Albania, an unspoiled land, well known for its natural beauty and cultures, and is FAST becoming one of the worlds most interesting romantic getaways.  Albania is Europe’s undiscovered jewel – a melting point of culture and exotic influence.
This diverse land consists of white sand beaches, tidal flats, tropical rainforests, freshwater lakes and an intra-mix of ancient culture and arts – perfect for a romantic gateway. Enjoy the romance of Albania with a wide range of luxury accommodations perfect for honeymoon night. Experience some of the world’s most impressive marine life or walk through the streets of colonial towns seeing old architectural monuments and passing to bazaars while hand-in-hand with your PARTNER. You can either go to Corfu island that have its own unique charm and character that will entertain both of you with a lot of offerings.
Albania has stunning landscapes and beautiful beaches. It has many rivers originating from the high mountains making way to the sea. Its specialty is Beach HOTELS IN THE Albanian Riviera with 90 Coastline Hotels from Adriatic to the most famous Blue Coast of Ionian which own a private beach for a great romantic vacation.
Why Visit Albania as Romantic Getaways?
  • Bird Watching in the coastal wetlands of Karavastaja.
  • Strolling in the streets of old towns and exploring archeological sites.
  • Candle light Dinner in old palaces is nothing can be compared.
  • If you want to take a historical tour just take a round of the towns of Butrint, Gjirokaster, Berat, Durres and many others would not make you feel disappoint.
Beaches and Water Sports in Albania
For those, who prefer a relaxing way of spending their Albania romantic holidays, Albanian seaside is perfect. It has beautiful beaches of the Ionian and Adriatic seas combined with great Mediterranean climate and delicious Albanian freshly caught seafood will make your romantic holiday MORE delightful.
In Albania, there are plenty of thing to do like Sea kayaking, Rafting, Cycling, Snowshoeing. For a romantic getaway it has a wide range of hotels located close to the beaches of the Albanian Coastlines. If you want to bask in the Ionian & Adriatic coastal sunshine, take part in water SPORT activities, the beaches of Albania give you the chance to do it all.
Albanian National Parks:
Dajti National Park, Lura National Park, Divjaka Pines National Park, Llogara Park, Fir of Drenova National Park, Valbona Valley National Park, Tomorri Mountain Park, Fir of Hotova National Park, Shtam Pass National Park, Zall Gjocaj National Park, Prespa National Park, Butrint National Park, Thethi National Park, Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park
Coastal Tourism in Albania
Adriatic Coast : By the Adriatic coast you will find clean sea waters, HIGH quality service, traditional and modern cuisine, lagoons, lakes and rivers. There are great possibilities for nature lovers, eco-tourists and others.
Ionian coast : Some large tectonic bays are Vlora Bay, PORTO Palermo, Saranda Bay etc. Here you can dive, sail, fish etc.

Things to consider

The MAIN problem to a viable tourism industry is the lack of a clear strategy. By far, tourism is not seen as the main economic industry of the country. Some problematic issues include spatial planning such as illegal construction, unregulated waste disposal, poor road and public utilities infrastructure, illegal logging and hunting, and unclear land ownership.

Albania romantic destination is also famous for

Albania BEST time to Visit
Albania has two main seasons – summers and winters. Summers are hot & dry while winters are quite humid & miserable in the country. Albania has a mild, Mediterranean climate. The country enjoys a good DEAL of sunny weather, with an average of around 300 sunny days each year. The best time to visit is from April to October.
Best Season: April to October.
Summers: April to October. In the summer, visitors often find the inland towns to be quite hot, with July usually BEING the warmest month.
Winters: November to March. In Tirana and in other inland cities on the plains, temperature sometimes drops below freezing, but this is usually only at night, and it is rare for ice or snow to last MORE than a day.
Monsoons: Most of Albania’s annual rainfall occurs between late autumn and early spring; outside of the mountainous areas, it is unusual for it to rain in summer.

Se volete godere dell'Albania lasciatevi coccolare dalla squisita ospitalità di quel popolo

Albania. Melting pot in miniatura

di Claudio Visani

Tra memorie veneziane e turche, tra spiagge accoglienti e una popolazione ospitale che ha imparato l'italiano grazie a... Pippo Baudo. Un Paese tutto da scoprire

Contenuti correlati

La cosa più bella dell'Albania sono gli albanesi. Se volete conoscere davvero il Paese delle Aquile,   mescolatevi a loro. Evitate i viaggi organizzati, visitatela on the road. Scoprite a piedi i quartieri della piacevolissima Tirana. Muovetevi con gli autobus e i furgoni (furgon) del loro originalissimo e creativo sistema di trasporto - che non ha stazioni, fermate e orari ma ti porta sempre dove vuoi andare - per raggiungere le città più vicine alla capitale. Noleggiate invece un'auto per arrivare nelle località dell'interno e del Sud più difficili da raggiungere, come le bellissime e ancora poco frequentate spiagge tra Valona (Vlora) e Saranda (Sarande). Fatevi condurre dalle loro guide improvvisate alla scoperta dei bellissimi siti culturali e archeologici: da Scutari (Shkodra) a Butrinto (Butrint), da Berat (Berati) ad Argirocastro (Gjirocastra). 

Se volete godere dell'Albania lasciatevi coccolare dalla squisita ospitalità di quel popolo, gustatevi la gentilezza che vi accoglie per strada, in ogni albergo, caffè o  ristorante; ascoltate i racconti degli anziani sulle tragedie provocate dai conflitti etnici e dalla dittatura comunista nel secolo scorso; interagite con i sogni e la voglia contagiosa che i ragazzi hanno di cambiare in meglio il loro Paese.

E sentitevi, per una volta, cittadini del mondo a comunicare con la vostra lingua, l'italiano che qui quasi tutti parlano. L'hanno imparato dalla nostra tivù di Stato con le antenne retrattili che venivano alzate di nascosto durante il regime di Enver Hoxha: i più maturi seguendo Canzonissima, Celentano e Pippo Baudo, i più giovani con i cartoni animati e Ambra Angiolini.   

Prima tappa Tirana, la capitale divisa - come del resto il Paese - tra desiderio di occidentalizzazione e conservazione della propria identità. VOLI LOW COST da diversi aeroporti italiani. Se non cercate alberghi a 5 stelle, noi ci siamo trovati bene al Vila 3, 500 metri dal centro, poche camere moderne e pulite, economico (doppia da 35 euro a notte), piacevole bar-giardinetto interno, cucina della proprietaria, personale gentilissimo; e come ristorante, abbiamo mangiato bene all'Era Vila, nel quartiere di tendenza Blloku, dove vi portano i menù tridimensionali sui mini tablet e servono ottimi piatti della cucina tipica albanese (mitico il Fergese con interiora, uova, formaggio e peperoni cotto e servito in scodelle di terracotta) a 500-700 leke (4-5euro). Muovetevi a piedi lungo i bei boulevard stile impero costruiti durante l'occupazione italiana degli anni Trenta-Quaranta. Godetevi, specie nel fine settimana quando c'è poco traffico, Piazza Skanderbeg e gli edifici coloniali che la circondano, il grande prato dove Hoxha aveva fatto erigere la sua statua di bronzo, poi abbattuta dalla folla inferocita, e dove resiste invece quella equestre dell'eroe nazionale Skanderbeg, alias Giorgio Castriota, figlio di un principe albanese che riuscì per ben 13 volte, tra il 1443 e il 1468, a respingere l'assalto delle armate ottomane nella sua Kruja. Visitate la bella moschea di Et'hem Bey, l'unica risparmiata (perché considerata monumento nazionale) dalla furia antireligiosa del regime che proclamò l'Albania il primo stato ateo del mondo. Al suo fianco c'è il campanile della chiesa cattolica, a ricordare che la tolleranza e il rispetto tra le diverse religioni del Paese (60% di musulmani, 20% cristiani ortodossi, 10% cattolici tra i fedeli, ma molti tra i laici sono agnostici) sono nel dna degli albanesi. Infine, camminate per le strade del quartiere rom a Est della piazza, dove sui marciapiedi si tengono i mercatini di tutto, dall'ortofrutta ai mobili usati, e dove capita di vedere ai piedi dei palazzi l'asino legato all'ingresso. (24 luglio 2014)http://viaggi.repubblica.it/articolo/albania-melting-pot-in-miniatura/230056

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tirana & Albania: in libreria la prima guida turistica per i viaggiatori italiani

Attenzione: apre in una nuova finestra. StampaE-mail
E’ un piacevole invito a conoscere e far conoscere meglio l’Albania, una delle mete più affascinanti e nel contempo meno note dell’Europa mediterranea. E’ “Tirana & Albania”, la prima guida turistica per i viaggiatori italiani firmata da Francesco Vietti e Benko Gjata, pubblicata da Morellini Editore, distribuita nelle principali librerie. Più di centottanta pagine ricche di informazioni, con oltre novanta tra inserti fotografici, mappe e schede, approfondimenti sulla storia, la geografia, il clima e la cultura e soprattutto tantissime descrizioni dettagliate e  indicazioni pratiche sulle più importanti attrazioni turistiche e i principali itinerari da seguire.

(TurismoItaliaNews) “Tirana e Albania” è la nuova guida di viaggio dedicata alla scoperta di una delle mete meno note e più affascinanti dell’Europa mediterranea. Prodotto da Morellini Editore nella collana LowCost, il volume compatto e funzionale presenta l’ulteriore pregio di essere proposto ad un prezzo veramente competitivo per le pubblicazioni di questa categoria. La guida è ora presente in tutte le librerie, a disposizione dei viaggiatori italiani che costituiscono, con oltre novantamila presenze, il gruppo più numeroso di turisti stranieri che visitano ogni anno il “Paese delle Aquile”.
Nato grazie alla collaborazione tra l’antropologo Francesco Vietti, responsabile dei viaggi in Albania per il tour operator di turismo responsabile “Viaggi Solidali” e Benko Gjata, giornalista, direttore del Centro di Cultura Albanese e responsabile del portale turismoalbania.com, il volume presenta ai lettori un ritratto completo del paese, con un ampio approfondimento sulla capitale Tirana, una serie di gite giornaliere e di itinerari di più giorni che abbracciano l’intero territorio albanese.

Unico nell’attuale panorama editoriale, il volume intende presentare al pubblico italiano una destinazione alternativa, vicina ed economica per le proprie vacanze, un Paese che si sta rapidamente affermando come nuova destinazione turistica grazie alle sue bellezze naturali e alle testimonianze artistiche della sua storia unica nel panorama europeo. Pensata per chi vuole scoprire Tirana e l’Albania di là dai luoghi comuni, la guida accompagna alla scoperta di un Paese che è da sempre un ponte tra Occidente e Oriente, terra di dialogo tra religioni e di sintesi tra i Balcani e il Mediterraneo. Un Paese che storicamente ha sviluppato forti legami con l’Italia, grazie alla vicinanza geografica e culturale e che, seppur ancora poco conosciuto dai turisti italiani, riserva sorprese e continue emozioni ai viaggiatori.

Presentata per la prima volta nell’importante cornice della XXVII edizione del Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, la guida ha ricevuto il plauso delle massime autorità albanesi. Il Primo Ministro della Repubblica d’Albania Edi Rama è intervenuto di persona alla presentazione della guida al Salone elogiando gli autori ed esprimendo la sua convinzione che la guida fornirà un importante contributo alla scoperta dell’Albania come destinazione turistica. Parole sottolineate anche dal Ministro albanese della cultura Mirela Kumbaro, intervenuta alla prima presentazione pubblica della guida nel capoluogo subalpino.

Per saperne di più
Morellini Editore
via Alciati 7, 20146 Milano
tel. 02-45491653
Viaggi Solidali
piazza della Repubblica 14, 10152 Torino
tel. 011-4379468
Centro di Cultura Albanese
via L. L. Colli 12, 10128 Torino
Via Miramare 9, 20126 Milano
tel. 011-543682

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Motivating Potential of Albania’s South Coast

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Albania is renewing its vital environmental and community infrastructures in order to boost the country’s potential for tourism in the nature-rich south coast. The improvements aim at upgrading coastal village conditions, protecting nature and cultural endowment and traditions, and attracting more local as well as international tourists in a sustainable way.
Lluka Nikollori worked and lived far away in the capital for years, while his childhood home, in Albania’s coastal village of Ilias, slowly deteriorated.
But now he’s back, and –at 80– is embarking on a new adventure. 
A small grant helped him cover most of the costs for a new roof and facade on the century-old structure, using traditional architectural elements.
A grant is also paying half of what it is costing him to turn the place into a small bed and breakfast.
“There are two things I am doing this for. One, it is in order to maintain the legacy of my childhood home. And two, I will benefit economically,” says Nikollori.
The small grants which helped Nikollori to transform his home is part of Albania’s Coastal Village Conservation and Development Program, supported by the World Bank and other international donors.
The multi-faceted program aims at developing and promoting tourism in a sustainable way along Albania’s potentially tourist-rich southern coast line, through improving community infrastructure and promoting local construction traditions.

Open Quotes
There are two things I am doing this for. One, it is in order to maintain the legacy of my childhood home. And two, I will benefit economically. Close Quotes
Lluka Nikollori, 80
resident of Ilias

Under a new roof: residents of various places on the south coast got a chance to renovate their houses while preserving local construction traditions. Here, Lluka Nikollori, who used the grant to turn his renovated home into a small bed and breakfast.
The program uses inclusive approaches to sustainable development of the coastal areas.
Under a community development component of the project, Nikollori and other coastal village residents applied for grants to renovate their old roofs, facades and other basic structures, on condition the renovations comply with local architectural tradition, and that the beneficiaries contribute to the cost of rehabilitation.
“I was in need of a new roof and if it hadn’t been for the program, I would have ended up paying a lot more and would have gotten less quality.  I paid less and got a better roof,” says Kristofor Gjomemo, another Ilias resident.
Gjomemo and his wife received a grant that paid for 70 percent of their new roof, made of the same clay-style tiles their coastal village has used for generations. 
Elpiniqi Gjikondi got a similar grant to retile her roof through the same program, in the coastal village of Qeparo.
“I like that it looks old, with the same old chimneys just as it was in the past.  I like this,” she says.
Open Quotes
When people saw that the new water supply was being built, there were many requests to come back to return to the old village. Close Quotes
Stefan Kokedhima
Qeparo village leader

Improving community infrastructure: this multi-faceted program helps promote tourism in a sustainable way along Albania’s southern coast line.
More than a dozen villages in three of Albania’s coastal municipalities have benefited from the development program, which in addition to the renovations to houses, is also upgrading the village infrastructure, with water supply systems, new roads and newly paved village squares. 
Such improvements are leading former residents to return, say village officials, like Qeparo village leader, Stefan Kokedhima.
“When people saw that the new water supply was being built, there were many requests to come back to return to the old village,” he says.
After years of working in hotels in other places, Nestur Vjero has finally returned to his coastal village of Vuno, where the development program gave him two small grants to renovate his ancestral home, and turn it into a small hotel.
“People here who have goats or, I don’t know, sheep and stuff, can sell their products, and all the fields of olives can give so much to the tourists too, like oil or olives,” Vjero says, adding that he hopes that soon he’ll be sharing his home –and his village’s other attractions– with incoming tourists whose money will benefit all!