TRAVEL to Europe’s little known gem, and uncover crowd free beaches, azure blue sea and very cheap beer.
By LUCY SHEREF
Albania is THE place to go for beautiful beaches and cheap beer
If you’re looking for something a little different to the typical ‘fly and flop’ holiday, then consider Albania, a true jewel in the crown of the Adriatic sea.
Nestled between Greece and sharing the same ocean as Venice, Albania has remained largely undiscovered by tourists for years, due in some part to a troubled Communist history.
However all of that has passed, and Albania remains an incredibly safe and peaceful country to visit, albeit far less visited than its more showy neighbours.
And with the price of a European holiday set to increase after Britain’s EU exit, this may be one of the last places you can enjoy a budget break this close to home.
The Albanian Riviera is THE place to relax
With natural beauty to rival any self respecting coastal region, Albania is the starlet of the Adriatic, so visiting the beautiful beach towns is an absolute must do.
And don’t forget the Ionian coast, home to several better known islands, including Kefalonia and Corfu, as well as hugging the coast of stunning Sicily.
For those who do travel to the country, the picture-perfect beauty, scenic landscapes and abundance of UNESCO sites promise to enthral.
And for those who relish the opportunity to enjoy cut-price craft beer, which can be bought for less than a pound, making Albania one of the cheapest places in Europe to enjoy an ice cold lager on the beach.
Albania is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Although the main draw, the beaches aren’t all that this undiscovered country has to offer, and venturing off the beaten track to some of the renowned UNESCO sites around the country will leave you awe-struck.
From the pretty stone city of Gjirokastra, to hilltop houses in Berat — the country is ripe for exploring the historic World Heritage Sites.
And if you are keen for some big city living, the capital Tirana is a fun and vibrant city, home to cute coffee shops, stylish bars and colourful communist-era architecture to wow you.
If you’re worried the cosmopolitan city will break your budget, don’t be concerned, as the price of a three-course meal will set you back as little as £15. Perfect for those wanting to indulge in some epicurean delights.
Top 10 secret beachesFri, June 10, 2016
10 of the most breathtaking secret beaches from around the world. Hidden out of sight and off the beaten track you’ll find tropical paradise in all corners of the globe
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Youtoumi, Antipaxos, Greece. Multiple boat trips around the Greek Island of Anti Paxo will take you to this spectacular settingMultiple boat trips around the Greek Island of Anti Paxo will take you to this spectacular setting [Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Stivina, Viz, Croatia. Recently voted Europe’s best beach, this secluded cove is worth the difficult trip. Viz can only be visited by hiking along a steep and narrow path or by taxi boat from nearby Raukavac cove [Getty]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Railay Beach, Thailand. Limestone cliffs isolate this tropical paradise from the mainland. Accessible only by boat, Railay Beach is a shining example of Thailand at its finest [Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10San Fruttuoso, Liguria, Italy. This holidaymaker heaven is marked by the unusual backdrop of a Catholic abbey. Wrangle your way there by trek or ferry and take in the incredible building, surrounded by steep, mountainous terrain [UIG via Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Point of Sand, Little Cayman, Caribbean. If you can track down this jaw-dropping beach on the northern island of the tiny Little Cayman island, chances are you’ll have it all to yourself [Getty Images/Hemis.fr RM]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Chia, Sardinia. The sleepy village of Chia is home to a line of pristine bays along the coast [Getty Images/imageBROKER RM]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Voted best beach in Europe, Notre Dame Beach, France. A delightful break from the bustling French Riviera, Notre Dame is a secluded paradise with all the trimmings of luxury. A delightful break from the bustling French Riviera, Notre Dame is a secluded pa [Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Diaz Beach, Cape Town. Set in a dramatic backdrop of sheer cliffs is the incredible Diaz Beach, part of the Cape Point Nature Reserve [Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Hyams Beach, NSW, Australia. Tucked into quiet Jervis Bay south of Sydney is this hidden treasure. Locals will tell you it’s home to the whitest sand in the world [Getty Images]
- GETTY IMAGES1 of 10Holbox Island, Mexico. Just separated from the northern tip of the gorgeous Yucatan Peninsula is the untouched Holbox Island [Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image]
But for the vast majority, the ultimate goal is to enjoy the stunning beaches of the ‘Riviera’. Albania’s answer to the legendary French getaway, the riviera is the coastal area running along the Ionian sea, meeting the Adriatic with a splash.
Synonymous with white sand beaches free from crowds, and turquoise water tempting tourists to take a dip, the riviera conjures up a quintessential Mediterranean atmosphere.
While tourism is increasing year on year, all signs point to this hidden gem being uncovered soon.
Delicious food and wine at budget prices, deserted beaches to enjoy all to yourself — Albania is THE place to go before the secret’s out.
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