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Saturday, August 29, 2015

What’s it Like to Travel in Albania?

Kate in Ksamil Albania
Image: travelFREAK
Albania was the country I was most looking forward to visiting this summer. It fit my dreams — home to a fascinating culture and some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, yet a bit of an underdog. A Balkan country I hadn’t visited yet? Sold!
But the biggest factor was meeting two lovely Albanian girls this past spring. Erisa and Bianka joined my second Central America tour. Both of them immigrated from Albania to the US when they were teenagers and both go back to visit often.
Soon our tour days were filled with stories and anecdotes from Albania, and learning from Erisa and Bianka allowed me to get to know a culture that most people only know from watching Taken.
(Side note: Erisa was watching Taken in the theater and suddenly let out a scream. One of the Albanian mobsters in the kitchen scene was played by a friend of hers. True story.)
So I wanted to enjoy my trip to Albania, but I wanted to make my friends proud, too. I wanted to give Albania a fair chance and get to see the wonderful parts, not just the negative stereotypes.
Here are the things I learned — and what you should know — when traveling to Albania.
What's it Really Like to Travel in Albania?

Albania is one of the least developed countries in Europe.

I’ve visited nearly every country in Europe. Honestly, Albania is the least developed of all the ones I’ve seen, less so than Bosnia, Macedonia or Bulgaria (though it’s worth noting that I haven’t been to Moldova or Belarus yet).
What does this mean? Roads are in poor condition. There are no central bus stations and public transportation is a headache (more on that later). The water isn’t safe to drink. There is hardly any tourism infrastructure beyond a tiny bit in Saranda and Berat. Get outside the tourist areas and you’ll find nobody who can speak English.
Does that make Albania a bad place? Not at all. I’m saying this because you should know what to expect before you arrive. While they’re very different countries, the lack of development in urban Albania reminded me of Cambodia several times.
The average monthly wage in Albania is 45,539 lek ($369 USD). Assuming 22 days of work per month, that’s just $17 per day. Adding that to the difficulty of ever leaving the country and you’ve got a very tough situation for much of the population.
Albania shut itself off from the rest of the world for much of the 20th century, but so many of its residents are facing a different kind of imprisonment today.

Albania is a Muslim country.

This may surprise you, but about 59% of Albanians are Muslim! About 17% are Christian and the remainder are nonbelievers or followers of other religions.
That said, it’s a largely secular Muslim country, and religion does not influence its government. I could count the women I saw wearing a hijab on one hand — and that includes my time in Tirana.
The only way you’d know the prominence of Islam is that mosques are everywhere. I also noticed that it was rare to hear the call to prayer blasted out early in the morning, a big change from places like Indonesia and southern Thailand.
Butrint NP, Albania

The Albanian language is like nothing you’ve ever heard.

Don’t think a smattering of Serbo-Croatian will help you out here — Albanian, while technically an Indo-European language, is not related to any other living languages. It’s like Basque that way.
In areas like the more upscale parts of Tirana, the city center of Berat, Saranda, and Ksamil, you can get by with English; sometimes, Albanians speak Greek or Italian as their second language. (A taxi driver in Tirana and I spoke entirely in Italian!)
But like anywhere else in the world, learning a few words of the local language will delight the locals. Përshëndetje (per-shen-DET-yeh) means hello and falaminderit (fa-la-min-DAIR-eet) means thank you.

The Albanian flag is everywhere, and not just on government buildings.

My foreigner friends often rib me about how Americans always have their flags on display. But seriously, we’re not the only ones! People from Denmark, South Africa, Turkey, and Norway, among others, are just as demonstrative with their country’s flag.
And the blood-red Albanian flag topped with a double-headed eagle is seen everywhere throughout the country. Not only that, they sell Albanian flag merchandise everywhere — think everything from t-shirts to posters to tea towels. I noticed the same thing in Kosovo, too, which is home to ethnic Albanians.

It’s dirt cheap.

Before this trip, I thought Macedonia was the cheapest country in Europe — and Albanian prices are in line with Macedonian prices or even slightly lower. Like everywhere else in the world, you’ll pay more in urban and touristy destinations in Albania and less in smaller towns and less popular destinations.
Some price examples: I very rarely spent more than $10 (or even $5) on a meal, and only did if I had a few drinks somewhere fancy. I paid 350 lek ($3) for prosecco at the chic bar on top of the Sky Tower in Tirana. Beers? Around $1 at a shop or $2 in a bar. I went on a shopping spree in Tirana and spent about $8 per shirt and $18 per (nice) dress.
Most unbelievably, I paid $18 per night for a hotel room in Berat that had both a double and single bed, air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom, and it was centrally located.Eighteen dollars. I’ve paid more than that in Cambodia for much worse rooms.
Just one thing — get rid of all your Albanian lek before leaving the country, because nobody will change it. (I’ll be giving mine to my Albanian friend Erisa to spend on her next trip home!)
Butrint NP, Albania

Public transportation can be maddening.

Mountain bus rides can be the most beautiful and frightening of overland transportation. Albania kicks things up a notch on the ride from Saranda to Gjirokastra, where several treacherous passes are crossed without any safety precautions. The guardrails, when they exist, are barely knee-high and seem to be more symbolic than protective.
Cities in Albania don’t have central bus stations, nor do they have travel agencies that work with every bus company. For me, getting the right ticket from Saranda to Berat required me to go from door to door, agency to agency, listening to them telling me where to go in Albanian as I nodded without understanding, then finding another agency, again and again, until I found someone who sold those tickets! All the buses depart at different street corners.
As for the quality of the buses, you definitely won’t have air conditioning and if temperatures are in the high 90s (36 C), which they very often are in Albania during the summer, it will be even hotter inside.
Finally, sometimes you’ll arrive and find out that your connecting bus doesn’t exist, which happened to me in Fier. I needed to pick up a bus to Berat and found out that nothing existed and my only option was to jump in the back of some guy’s van. More on that below.
Albanian Shellfish

Food can be hit or miss.

You know, there were times that I really loved the food in Albania, but much of the time I found the food to be uninspiring.
Lots of meat pounded into patties or formed into sausages. Lots of stews. Lots of salads. I hate to say it, but as a cheese lover, I found that most of the cheeses I tried had an unappealing flavor to them, almost like they had started to go bad. (Coming straight from Greece with its stupendous feta exacerbated this, I’m sure.)
But Saranda had wonderful seafood, especially shellfish and octopus, and like elsewhere in the Balkans, you can always find good pizza.
For what it’s worth, my favorite traditional meal in Albania was at a place called Taverna Leo in Saranda. I had the most wonderful stuffed zucchini and squash. But then a few days later I ordered stuffed peppers at one of the nicest places in Berat, trying to recreate the magic, and it just didn’t happen. Those odd flavors crept back in.
Boat in Ksamil Albania

The evening stroll is the place to see and be seen.

Like the rest of the Balkans and much of the Mediterranean, cafe culture rules and so does the evening stroll. As soon as the sun begins to set and temperatures turn livable again, it seems like everyone comes out for the evening to stroll down the street and sit at cafes. No matter how old or young you are, you’re there. It’s what people do.
This was most prominent in Berat. During the day, nobody would be out on the main cafe street (the super-hot summer temperatures may have been a reason), and you wouldn’t believe the difference come evening.
Saranda, Albania

You see children with their grandparents most of the time.

This may just be a Saranda thing, but I often saw Albanian children being cared for by their grandparents, no parents to be seen. It may be cultural, it may be just for vacation, or it might just be a coincidence. Either way, I saw it as evidence of strong and close families.
Berat Albania

Albanians will question why you’re actually there.

Over and over, Albanians were incredulous that I was visiting their country. “Why would you come here when you could go anywhere else?” they kept asking me. My friends experienced the same reactions.
No matter how much praise I heaped on the country, the kind people, the beaches, the mountains, the delicious seafood, Albanians would refuse to believe their country could be a tourist destination.
At one point, a waiter in Berat told me, “You’re lucky. All of us are stuck in this town.” “You’re right. I am,” I told him. “But this is such a beautiful town that you get to live in.” He snorted and walked away.
Tirana Albania

Tirana is one wacky and vibrant city.

Tirana was a huge surprise to me! I had no idea I would love it so much. I think most of this was because I stayed in the Blloku neighborhood, an upscale area which used to be exclusively for the elite of Tirana.
Some of my favorite experiences were climbing to the top of the the derelict pyramid in the center of town and having drinks on top of the Sky Tower during sunset. And all the shopping, of course! I practically bought a new wardrobe at a Pink Woman boutique downtown and a Tally Weijl store in the Tirana East Gate (TEG) mall outside town.
Berat Albania

Berat is one of the most unusual-looking old cities I’ve ever seen.

I went to Berat for to see its UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, and I wasn’t disappointed. Have you ever seen a place that looked like this before? It’s the city of a thousand windows!
Berat is a tiny place and you don’t need more than one full day and two nights here. Spend your time exploring the town on foot. The main cafe street comes to life around sunset — it was amazing to watch it transform from being totally empty to a swarming crowd!
Ksamil Albania

The beaches on the Riviera are glorious.

Did you know that Albania is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe?Here you’ll find clear water like the beach above, in Ksamil. (I feel dishonest just looking at that photo, though — it was filled with people and I photoshopped them all out for a nicer photo. It is CRAZY crowded there.)
Saranda, a relaxing resort town, makes a great base for exploring the south. It has a great boardwalk, beaches with free chairs and umbrellas, and several good restaurants and cafes. There wasn’t a lot to do, which made it a good place to chill out.
I spent six nights in Saranda and could easily have stayed longer. If the internet were better (i.e. didn’t randomly stop working twice a day), I’d consider it a digital nomad hotspot for summer.
It was an easy hourlong bus trip to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins at Butrint, and a bit north of there, the near-island of Ksamil with its beaches. Ksamil was chock full of families and umbrellas, but you’ll find fewer people on the rockier beaches.
Other beaches worth visiting are Himare and Drymades, or just drive up the coast and stop wherever looks good!
Kate in Albania

Yes, I recommend Albania for solo female travelers!

I felt very safe in Albania and aside from guarding against theft, I don’t think there are any specific precautions that solo female travelers should take beyond the basics. I experienced zero sexual harassment or sexist treatment and wasn’t so much as hit on by a single Albanian man, even in bars and clubs.
There is one issue: for transportation to some places, you’ll have to get into an unregistered taxi, which is pretty much just a random guy with a car. I had to do this when I found out there was no bus from Fier to Berat. It was the only option.
If you get into this situation, I recommend doing what I did: I took a photo of the driver’s face, took a photo of his license plate, and pretended to make a phone call to a friend saying that I was coming soon and repeating his license plate number clearly.
I do this all over the world and it’s an extra layer of safety — the driver thinks you have someone looking out for you and knows he can’t try anything without getting caught. Is it 100% foolproof? No. Nothing is. But it helps quite a bit.
All this being said, I don’t recommend Albania for new and inexperienced travelers. It’s a challenging country in many ways for even an experienced traveler, and I recommend you cut your travel teeth on a few different countries in Europe before you travel to Albania on your own.
Full solo travel disclosure: I traveled with my bud Jeremy for most of my time in Saranda but traveled the rest of the country on my own.
Ksamil Albania

Albania is mostly undiscovered, but it won’t stay that way.

I don’t expect Albania to grow into a major tourist destination in the next decade, but things are absolutely going to change as the country continues developing.
I expect to see many more tourists, especially along the Riviera. I could see Tirana becoming a popular stag do hotspot as well. But one place where I think we’ll see the most growth is in the adventure and outdoors travel industry.
Albania is home to beautiful, pristine mountain ranges. The Peaks of the Balkans trek through Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania is starting to get more attention (for more on that, my friend Katie did the trek recently and is now blogging about it) and I fully expect to see more hiking, mountain climbing, canyoning, rafting, and outdoor lodges spring up in the future.
If Montenegro was lauded as the new Croatia, Albania could very well become the new Montenegro.
The verdict? Albania is great. Go now. Or go in a few years. You’ll be very glad you did.
Essential Info: Tirana is home to Albania’s only commercial airport. I traveled overland and arrived in Saranda via ferry from Corfu, Greece. Ionian Cruises has one ferry in each direction each day costing 19 euros ($22) and it takes an hour and 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the Ionian Cruises ticket office is not at the dock but down the street! Get your tickets in advance or you’ll have to hail a taxi in a panic like I did!
I departed Tirana via Montenegro Hostel’s direct shuttle to Podgorica, Budva, and Kotor. It costs 40 euros ($46) and should take five hours. While we had some nightmarish logistical issues due to a Norwegian tour group on the bus before our pickup, it was a very comfortable journey. I highly recommend it, as the alternative is taking several public buses of dubious quality. They also stop for a photo op at beautiful Sveti Stefan.
In Saranda I stayed at this modern Airbnb rental with a stunning balcony view for an absurd $35 per night. It can sleep up to seven. Keep in mind there is no kitchen whatsoever besides a small fridge.
In Berat I stayed in this incredibly comfortable hotel room via Airbnbwith air conditioning for an even more absurd $18 per night.
In Tirana I stayed in a private ensuite room at Propaganda Hostel, which is in an ideal location in the chic Blloku neighborhood, for 27 euros ($31) per night.
New to Airbnb? Sign up here and get $25 off your first stay from me!
Overall, I think visiting Tirana, Berat, and Saranda (plus a day trip from Saranda to Ksamil and Butrint) makes a good weeklong trip. I spread mine out over ten days. If you want to visit other countries at the same time, you could easily expand your trip to Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, and/or Montenegro.

Would you want to visit Albania? Share away!

Blogerja amerikane: Shqipëria, vendi i ëndrrave të mia

FullSizeRender-32Tiranë, 25 Gusht /ATSH/ – Guida e rradhës për në Shqipëri vjen nga “Adventurous Kate”, një blogere nga SHBA e cila udhëton e vetme nëpër të gjithë botën.
Në një shkrim të veçantë dedikuar udhëtimit të saj nëpër Shqipëri, Kate përshkruan në detaje çdo moment të kësaj aventure që sipas saj nis kështu:
“Shqipëria ishte vendi që mezi po prisja të vizitoja këtë verë. Ishte pjesë e endrrave të mia – vend i një kulture të mahnitshme dhe e disa prej plazheve më të bukura në Europë, por ende pak ‘i humbur’.”
Më tej, në përshkrimin e saj Kate tregon sesi i lindi idea për të vizituar Shqipërinë, e kjo ndodhi pasi ishte miqësuar me dy vajza shqiptare, emigrante në SHBA, që e kishin shoqëruar atë në një tur në Amerikën qëndrore. Të prezantuara si Erisa dhe Bianka, këto dy vajza i kishin rrëfyer Kate histori dhe anekdoda për Shqipërinë, duke i dhënë mundësinë asaj të njihte një vend që sipas saj shumica e njerëzve e njohin nëpërmjet filmit Taken. Kështu, në mënyrë që t’i jepte Shqipërisë një shans për të njohur dhe anët e saj të mrekullueshme e jo vetëm steriotipet negative , ajo vendosi ta vizitonte personalisht vendin tonë dhe mbeti padyshim e mahnitur.DSCF1286
Ndonëse fillimisht tregon se vendi ynë ka ende disa probleme me infrastrukturën për turistët dhe sqaron nivelin e zhvillimit dhe të ekonomisë tonë, duke mos harruar pa përmendur faktin se shumicën e shekullit të 20-të Shqipëria e ka kaluar në izolim të plotë duke lënë pasoja edhe në ditët e sotme.
Artikulli nis me faktin e parë, se “Shqipëria është një vend mysliman”, çka për blogeren Kate është mjaft interesante pasi njihet kryesisht si një vend laik, ku feja nuk ndikon në qeverisje. Më tej gjuha shqipe është sërish në fokus, si një gjuhë “që nuk ka lidhje me asnjë gjuhë tjetër ekzistuese”, pavarsisht prejardhjes së saj indo-Europiane.
DSCF1162Ajo çka tërheq vëmendjen e saj është gjithashtu prania e flamurit Shqiptar kudo, (jo vetëm në ndërtesat qeveritare) si dhe shitja e simbolit kombëtar të shqiptarëve në forma të ndryshme, në bluza e deri në postera. Të njëjtin detaj ajo e ka vënë re dhe në Kosovë, duke sqaruar se është vend me kombësi shqiptare. Por fakti më i mahnitshëm për të janë çmimet absolutisht të ulëta në Shqipëri, duke listuar një sërë produktesh si ushqimi, kafet dhe birrat, por dhe veshjet.
Ndërsa kritikon disi transportin publik dhe mungesën e stacionëve të autobusve dhe mjeteve të tjera të transportit, ajo rrëfen një eksperiencë jo fort të këndshme me mundin që ju desh të kalonte për të mbërritur në destinacion.
Megjithatë jeta e natës dhe kafja e pasdites janë ndër momentet e saj të preferuara, duke e krahasuar këtë zakon me kulturën e Ballkanit dhe sidomos Mesdheut për kënaqësinë e konsumit të kafesë që dominon kudo. Kujdesi i gjyshërve që shoqërojnë nipërit dhe mbesat është një tjetër element, që Kate e vlerëson si një tregues i rëndësishëm i familjeve të forta dhe të mbyllura.DSCF1098-Edit
Por surpriza më e madhe për të do të jetë Tirana, tepër e këndshme e që do ta donte shumë me jetën e gjallë dhe vibruese që ofron kryeqyteti shqiptar.
Vizitat në Berat, në Sarandë, Butrint e Ksamil janë gjithashtu pjesë e guidës së saj ku ndjesitë nuk kanë nevojë për komente dhe ajo i prezanton me fotot mahnitëse për të gjithë ndjekësit e saj.
Riviera Shqiptare si gjithmonë merr 5 yjet për disa nga plazhet më të bukura të Europës, me ujërat e kaltra e të ftohta si Ksamili, Himara dhe Drimadhesi. Duke shtuar se Shqipëria është jo plotësisht e zbuluar ajo shton se nuk do të jetë përgjithmonë kështu ndaj i nxit lexuesit e saj t’a vizitojnë vendin tonë sa më parë, ndërsa e rekomandon shumë dhe për femrat turiste që udhëtojnë vetëm duke mos harruar të përmendë dhe larminë e mundësive për turizëm e sporte të ndryshme përgjatë gjithë vitit.
Përshkrimin më të detajuar mund t’a lexoni në artikullin origjinal:

Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut Diber/librazhd

Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut

  • Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut
  • Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut
  • Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut
  • Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut
  • Stebleva turistike dhe Çesma e Gjizaxhiut
cezma e gjizaxhiutTIRANË, 28 Gusht / ATSH- N.Lena/ – Stebleva shtrihet midis zonës së Dibrës dhe asaj të Librazhdit. Ajo është perlë e vërtete për bukuritë e rralla natyrore. Është shumë e përshtatshme për turizëm, pasi verës ka lulëzim të plotë, ndërsa dimrit mbulohet me borë, pra është e përshtatshme për turizmin e bardhe dhe sportin e skive. Shumë steblevas, tashme biznesmene, kanë ndërtuar shtëpi ku qëndrojnë për pushime.
Qëndra e turizmit klimaterik malor ngrihen në vende ku kushtet klimaterike janë më të mira se ato të vendbanimit të përhershëm. Klima është motivi kryesor tërheqës, që i shndërron këto vende në destinacione turistike. Kjo zonë karakterizohet nga një klimë me ajër të pastër dhe të shëndetshëm që shkarkohet nga lartësia mbi nivelin e detit mbi 1000 metra, nga prania e pyjeve, nga ujerat e ftohtë si dhe nga fakti që kjo zonë është tërësisht me orientim bujqësor dhe blegtoral, faktorë këta që i motivojnë turistët potencialë në përzgjedhjen e destinacionit turistik në kërkim të kushteve më të mira. Të ardhur në këto zona për turizëm klimaterik janë ish-banorët e kësaj zone dhe së fundmi edhe të huaj që kane marrë informacion për veçantitë e zonës dhe të shtyrë nga kurioziteti për këto vise të bukura dhe për të kaluar disa ditë në ajrin e pastër dhe klimën e mrekullueshme. Këta vizitorë mund të sistemohen në shtëpitë e fshatarëve si miq, por edhe ne qëndra hotelerike që kanë filluar të ndërtohen. Tani së fundi disa biznesmenë dhe investitorë vendas kanë ndërtuar edhe shtëpi të vogla turistike. Prej shumë cezma1vitesh po zhvillohet një lloj turizmi që lidhet me mjedisin rural. Pritja e turistëve këtu mund të bëhet në hotele, pensione, kampingje, apartamente të lëna me qera, në shtypi të dyta të fshatarëve etj.
Agroturizmi është një tjetër mundësi ekonomike për zonën dhe përfaqëson atë lloj turizmi që është i lidhur me fshatin, ku krahas veprimtarive argëtuese turistike, zhvillohen edhe veprimtari të tjera karakteristike të zonës si, korrje, vjelja e frutave, përgatitja e ushqimeve, ëmbëlsira të veçanta, punime artizanale etj.
Pushimi nëpërmjet agoturizmit nuk përfshin vetëm momentin e pushimit apo një argëtim të thjeshtë, por paraqet mundësi për t’ju përkushtuar veprimtarive që synojnë të pasurojnë personalitetin e turistit. Pra, bëhet fjalë që të praktikohen pushime inteligjente, të stimuluara në mënyrë të kulturuar ku koha kalohet sipas dëshirave të vizitorit. Format e agroturizmit janë të shumta. Ato ndryshojnë sipas vendeve dhe brenda vendit, sipas rajoneve për nga karakteristikat e pritjes, shërbimeve te afruara, mjedisi, kushtet natyrore etj. Agroturizmi ose turizmi rural, është motivi më tërheqës. Ekoturizmi është destinacioni final I kësaj zone. Ai fillon me një shëtitje të zakonshme përmes një pylli të qetë deri në eksplorimin dhe studimin e karakteristikave natyrore origjinale të viseve të largëta. Parqet natyrore, rezervatet ecezmagjuetisë, peizazhet e mbrojtura etj, janë rajone ekoturistike që tërheqin vëmendjen e turistëve për vlerat rekreative, edukuese dhe estetike të tyre.
Shërbimet bazë për zhvillimin ekoturizmit, për t’a bërë atë një faktor të rëndësishëm ekonomik në rajon, janë sigurimi i transportit dhe infrastruktura, ndërkohë që për kushtet e sistemimit dhe të ushqimit kërkesat mund të jenë shumë modeste.
Ndërtimet në këto qendra turistike janë të kontrolluara dhe në harmoni të plotë me mjedisin për rreth. Qendrat turistike të ekoturizmit janë mjedise të mbrojtura, të cilat janë të vendosura në relieve dhe kushte klimaterike të ndryshme. Këtu mund të shfrytëzohet edhe turizmi i gojëdhënës apo mitit, i kuriozitetit dhe ngjarjeve e historive të ndodhura. Në një bisedë me Fatmir Brazhdën për doket, zakonet dhe gojëdhënat e zonës, më rrëfeu për çesmën e Gjizaxhiut, ku shkojnë e vizitojnë shumë kurioze ngjarjesh e historishë. Pse ka këtë emër? E pyeta Fatmirin
kohë më pare e më tha se një tregëtar grumbullonte gjizë në fshatrat e Steblevës dhe e transportonte atë me kuaj dhe e dërgonte në qytetet si Elbasani apo edhe në Strugë. Banorët e këtyre zonave e quajtën Gjizaxhiu dhe kështu e thërrisnin kur kishin për të shitur gjizën apo dhe djathin e tyre. cezma3
Këtë punë ai e vazhdonte vite me radhë, mirëpo ngaqë po bënte këtë lloj tregtie, normal që mbante shumë para me vete. Kjo gjë u nuhat nga disa hajdutë apo kusar, të cilët i dolën në pritë afër kësaj çesmeje në drejtim të fshatit Steblevë. Gjatë përpjekjes me ata për të mos ju dhënë paratë hajdutëve, ata e vranë Gjizaxhiun. Kështu që aty ku ai u vra fshati i bëri dhe varrin Gjizaxhiut të mirë dhe që edhe sot quhet Varri i Gjizaxhiut e po ashtu mori emër dhe kjo Çesëm. Nuk dihet emri apo origjina e Gjizaxhiut të mirë, por edhe sot njerzit vijnë e bëhen kurioze për jetën dhe historinë e tij. Vijnë, pine nga një grusht uje në çesmën me emrin e tij dhe ikin në punën e tyre. Stebleva ka dhe histori të tjera të bukura, përfundon Fatmiri. Ndërsa turistët bëhen kurioze për këto histori dhe ngjiten drejt Steblevës. /a.kehttp://www.ata.gov.al/stebleva-turistike-dhe-cesma-e-gjizaxhiut-303740.html

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A visit in Permet – thermal springs, canyons and an untouched panorama

A visit in Permet – thermal springs, canyons and an untouched panorama

Permet is a city situated in eastern part of Albania and it is known for many tourism attractions for its thermal springs which are very curative and recommended by doctors. These thermal springs are situated in the banks of Langarica Canyon, which attracts hundreds of tourists every year. The canyon is located about 200 meters from the thermal springs and his altitude varies from 30 m to 150 m. Through the rocks of the canyons crosses Langarica river, known as “the blessed river” for locals.
The canyon is surrounded by the forests and mountains of Dangelli and Shqeri and streams in Vjosa River. The natural panorama along the canyon is stunning and untouched by the human hand. It changes through the seasons and gives a colorful and expressive display of the nature in this area. Inside it has many caves, a variety of trees and aromatic bushes, and thermal springs formed by sulfur waters which stream from the caves.

Photo by Hoteleriturizemalbania.al about his experience  Most of the tourists that visit these thermal springs are Albanians which use this natural resource as a cure for many diseases such as skin or bones diseases, rheumatism, ect.  
They come from nearby cities such as Tepelena or Gjirokastra but also from Tirana or even Kosovo and Macedonia. Both banks of the Langarica Canyon get very populated during the summer season, especially the streams near Kadiu Bridge, an architectonic monument built three centuries ago.

Saranda Mayor: Saranda welcomes 12.000 Polish tourists per year

Saranda coastline

Saranda Mayor: Saranda welcomes 12.000 Polish tourists per year

About 12 thousand Polish tourists visit Saranda coastal city every year. This is what Saranda Municipality Mayor Florjana Koka declared during a meeting held in Saranda with the head of Albania-Poland parliamentary group, Polish MP Tomas Glogowski. Among these tourists you can also meet Polish businessesmen which have established businesses in the Albanian Riviera, mostly in Saranda coastline, according to the Mayor.
The meeting was held with the aim to strengthen economic ties between Albania and Poland in the tourism sector and the inclusion of Saranda in tour guides by tourism agencies. The Saranda Municipality Mayor also declared that Saranda municipality is willing to participate in joint projects financed by the EU with similar Polish cities, aiming at developing tourism and economic activity.
In turn, the Polish MP Tomas Glogowski appreciated the warm welcome by the Municipality of Saranda and praised the natural beautiful landscapes of Saranda city and highlighted the importance of Butrint national park as the most wonderful archaeological site in the region. According to Glogowski, the local government should play an important role in the development of tourism and the city in overall.
News source/photo credits: ATA
- See more at: http://invest-in-albania.org/saranda-mayor-saranda-welcomes-12-000-polish-tourists-per-year/#sthash.MXownLzn.dpuf

Tirana gets at least 600 tourists per day

Tirana capital

Tirana gets at least 600 tourists per day

If ten years ago was very unfamiliar to see foreigners in the streets of Albania, today this is a normal thing, especially for people living in big touristic cities or along the Albanian Riviera. The luster of the Albanian Riviera and the cultural / historic heritage of old cities of Berat, Gjirokastra, Kruja, ect., have overshadowed the tourism potential of Tirana capital. Situated in the middle of the Albanian territory and the most developed / modernized city of Albania, Tirana is attracting more than 600 visitors per day, according to the Albanian Telegraphic Agency.
For most of the tourists, it is the starting point of their tour in Albania. One of their most favorite places to visit is the Pyramid, a monument built by Dictator Enver Hoxha as a tribute to his figure and an attempt for immortality.
Another important accessory of the city which is welcoming dozens of visitors per day is the Clock Tower, an old building established near to an old mosque in the city center whose four page walls on the roof dome have big clocks. The entrance is free but the only trick to see the city panorama from above the roof is to climb its 90 stairs.
Tourists prefer to visit the city by walking and most of the times in groups. They want to visit Enver Hoxha’s house and get astonished by the old traditional handmade souvenirs and clothes. According to tourism experts, Tirana is not a city where tourists spend the most of their time while staying in Albania, but it is a city worth exploring.
Cover photo by Arton Krasniqi
- See more at: http://invest-in-albania.org/tirana-gets-at-least-600-tourists-per-day/#sthash.bZ4NyTy7.dpuf