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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Manager Magazin; Das Wanderwunder von Albanien ...Mrekullia e marshimit ne kembe ne Shqiperi.

26.07.2016  Wie die Alpen vor 200 Jahren

Das Wanderwunder von Albanien

VON FLORIAN SANKTJOHANSER, DPA
TMN
Die Berge im Norden Albaniens waren lange ein vergessener Winkel, ärmer noch als der Rest des heruntergewirtschafteten Landes. Doch nun wagen sich immer mehr Touristen in die bildschönen Hochtäler und geben den Einwohner eine Perspektive.
Sogar den Turm der Blutrache wollten die Fremden kaufen. Den Kulla e Ngujimit, der seine Familie seit 400 Jahre bewacht hat. "Aber ich wollte die Tradition nicht aufgeben", sagt Sokol Nikolle Koçeku. Der Wehrturm hatte die Herrschaft der Osmanen und der Kommunisten überstanden, als einer der wenigen in Albanien. Jetzt sollte er nicht der neuesten Invasion geopfert werden: dem Ansturm der Touristen.
Koçeku, 43, trägt besticktes Hemd, Weste und Bauchbinde, so wie immer, wenn er Besuchern seinen Turm zeigt. Er steigt die Holzleiter hinauf in eine Kammer, Dämmerlicht fällt durch die winzigen Fenster, niedrige Holztische stehen auf Fellen und Teppichen. Hier konnte sich ein Mörder der Blutrache entziehen, erklärt Koçeku. So lange, bis die Patriarchen der Familien von Täter und Opfer eine Lösung ausgehandelt hatten. "Aber das gelang nicht immer."
Die Kulla steht in Theth, einem Dorf in den "Verwunschenen Bergen" im äußersten Norden Albaniens. Es ist eine wilde Gegend, wo der Kanun, das mündlich überlieferte Gewohnheitsrecht, bis heute das Leben regelt. Die Menschen hier sind seit Jahrhunderten bitterarm. Wer konnte, zog weg. Zuerst in die Städte, und als das bizarre Regime des Diktators Enver Hodscha zusammenbrach, in den Westen. Doch nun geschieht ein kleines Wunder: Seit ein paar Jahren kommen immer mehr Wandertouristen in die Albanischen Alpen. Und mit ihnen kehren die Jungen zurück in ihre Dörfer.
Mit den Fernwanderwegen kommen die Touristen
Die wundersame Renaissance begann 2005, als die Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) einigen Dorfbewohnern Kredite gab, um ihre Häuser zu renovieren und Fremdenzimmer einzurichten. Zugleich wurde ein grenzüberschreitender Fernwanderweg markiert. Der 192 Kilometer lange Peaks of the Balkans führt durch Albanien, den Kosovo und Montenegro. Er brachte mediale Aufmerksamkeit und die ersten Besucher. Nun durchquert noch ein zweiter Fernwanderweg die Albanischen Alpen, die Via Dinarica von Slowenien nach Mazedonien.
Den meisten Urlaubern sind diese Ochsentouren freilich zu extrem. Sie bevorzugen die kurze Rundtour, die sich unter Rucksackreisenden gerade zum Fixpunkt auf der großen Balkan-Tour etabliert. Sie beginnt in Shkodra, der 2400 Jahre alten Stadt am Skutarisee, dem Zentrum des Nordens.

In der gepflegten Fußgängerzone sieht man junge Westler in Cafés sitzen, zur Festung spazieren oder in den Reisebüros ihre Fähre für den nächsten Morgen buchen. Denn der schnellste und schönste Weg ins Valbona-Tal führt über den Koman-Stausee. Der Minibus startet früh morgens. Zwei Stunden rumpelt er durch eine Schlucht bis zum Fährhafen. Am Anleger sind Restaurants in die Felswand gebaut, die Reisenden drängen sich bei dem einzigen, das schon WLAN hat.
Als die Fähre anlegt, strömen die Albaner in den kühlen Innenraum. Aufs Sonnendeck setzen sich nur die Touristen. Sie wissen nicht, wie sengend heiß es dort in den nächsten Stunden wird. Aber was tut man nicht alles für ein Selfie? Der Hintergrund ist jedenfalls grandios. Mal zwängt sich die Fähre durch Hunderte Meter hohe Felswände, dann weitet sich der See wieder.
Waghalsige Bären-Begegnung
Am Fährhafen in Fierza wartet Catherine Bohne mit ihrem Geländewagen. Ein Verband bedeckt ihren Hals. Wegen des Bären-Zwischenfalls, wie sie sagt. Die Amerikanerin, Ende 30, wanderte durch den Wald, als sie eine Bärenmutter mit ihren Jungen sah. Entzückt rief sie ihren Mann. Was man halt so macht, wenn man aus New York stammt und sein halbes Leben Bücher verkauft hat. Die Bärin packte sie und verpasste ihr eine Ohrfeige, die Krallen schlitzten ihren Hals auf.
Nun ja, sagt Bohne, zumindest würden die Nachbarn im Dorf sie nun endgültig respektieren. "Sie erzählen einander, ich hätte einen Bären verjagt." Catherine Bohne kam 2009 das erste Mal nach Albanien. "Ich wollte eine Forscherin sein", sagt sie, "etwas entdecken wie im 19. Jahrhundert".
In einem Reiseführer hatte sie ein Foto von Valbona gesehen, einem abgelegenen Hochtal. Sie musste an die Reise mit ihren Eltern nach Griechenland denken, als sie acht Jahre alt war. Damals hatte sie auf der Fähre ein Land gesehen, grün, still, geheimnisvoll. "Was ist das?", hatte sie ihren Vater gefragt. "Das ist Albanien", hatte der Vater geantwortet. "Niemand kann dorthin gehen."
http://m.manager-magazin.de/lifestyle/reise/a-1102553.html#spRedirectedFrom=www

Monday, July 18, 2016

Come ci vede il vicino.....Albania: una costa che assomiglia ai Caraibi


La parte meridionale del paese da Valona a Saranda è costellata di spiagge bianche o rocciose, davanti a un mare di purezza incredibile


Un diamante ancora allo stato grezzo, ma con sfaccettature di grande bellezza. Sembra questa l’immagine che più si addice all’Albania, una terra un po’ snobbata dai grandi flussi turistici ma che nasconde paesaggi di grande suggestione, spiagge che sembrano quelle dei Caraibi, grande ospitalità.

Albania: una costa che assomiglia ai Caraibi

E’ la costa sud dell’Albania, quella che s’affaccia sulla parte più meridionale dell’Adriatico, a regalare scorci naturali mozzafiato, nel tratto che va da Valona a Saranda e oltre, nella zona del Parco nazionale del Passo di Llogaraja, a un tiro di schioppo dall'Italia ma ancora lontana dall'immaginario del turista: montagne verdeggianti e rocciose a ridosso di spiagge sabbiose o alte scogliere e mare cristallino in cui tuffarsi. Mare in Albania è sinonimo divacanza low cost. La zona costiera, seppur a tratti affollata in agosto, è ancora poco conosciuta dal turismo di massa e così i prezzi di hotel e ristoranti sono tutt'altro che elevati. Ecco alcune delle località più belle per una vacanza di mare in Albania che, state certi, saprà sorprendervi.

Valona, la storia e le spiagge - Valona è una delle città più antiche dell'Albania. Fu fondata nel VI secolo a.C. con il nome di Aulona. Nel 733 fu annessa a Costantinopoli: appartenne quindi ai Normanni e al regno di Serbia dal 1345. Nel 1464 fu conquistata dai turchi e, e per breve tempo fu anche veneziana. Non lontano da Valona ecco la spiaggia di Jal che si trova a sud della città, pochi chilometri oltre la più nota diDrymades, vicina al villaggio di Vuno. Una spiaggetta incantevole e molto tranquilla, sabbiosa, bagnata da meravigliose acque turchesi, di cristallina trasparenza. Drymades è un incanto: splendida insenatura di sabbia dorata dove è possibile campeggiare o affittare un bungalow e godersi uno degli spettacolari tramonti caratteristici di questo tratto dell’Albania.

La grotta dei pirati - La Spiaggia di Livadhi, ai piedi del castello della città, è incorniciata da una folta vegetazione alle spalle e da pareti rocciose ai lati: anche qui il mare è eccezionalmente trasparente, prova di una natura ancora preservata. Qui l’offerta ricettiva è la più ricca della costa. Molti ristoranti di Himara sono gestiti da che propongono gustosi ed economici piatti a base di pesce, calamari e gamberi. Accanto a Dhermi borgo antico e pieno di attrattive con meravigliosa spiaggia a mezzaluna, ecco le piccole e stupende baie, Shkambo,Jaliksari Gjipea, che si allungano per circa due chilometri. Si raggiungono in auto, in barca o a piedi in 15-20 minuti lungo sentieri costellati di vigne che collegano la strada alla costa. Da non perdere la Grotta dei Pirati che un tempo dava riparo ai predatori del mare e oggi famosa per l’intimità del suo spazio ammantato di un intenso azzurro.

Le belle spiagge di fronte a Corfù - Sarandasi affaccia su una piccola baia aperta verso meridione e circondata da colline, e ha proprio di fronte l'isola greca di Corfù. Una stretta catena collinare la separa dalle pianure situate ad oriente, la formazione collinare si estende a meridione fino al canale di Vivar e a nord della città si eleva fino ai 600 m di altitudine. Nella zona di Saranda da non perdere Ksamil, una località turistica sulla costa nei pressi dell'antica città di Butrinto e a 17 km da Saranda e con alcune belle isolette intorno alla magnifica spiaggia. Per finire con la spiaggia diPulebardhat, in assoluto tra le più belle dell’Albania, dalla quale si può partire in barca per scoprire e godere di meravigliose piccole insenature che ne costellano la vicina costahttp://www.tgcom24.mediaset.it/viaggi/mare/albania-una-costa-che-assomiglia-ai-caraibi_3020455-201602a.shtml


Shqipëria: Një bregdet si Karaibet

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plazhTIRANË, 18 Korrik/ATSH/.- Një diamant ende në stadin e përpunimit, por me bukuri të rralla. Duket kjo pamja që i përshtatet më shumë Shqipërisë, një tokë akoma e paprekur mirë nga turistët, por që fsheh peizazhe shumë të bukura, plazhe që ngjajnë me ato të Karaibeve dhe një mikpritje të madhe.
Në shkrimin e publikuar sot nga websiti italian “Tgcom 24”, thuhet se është bregdeti i jugut të Shqipërisë, ai që të dhuron pamje natyrore të mahnitshme, që shtrihet nga Vlora në Sarandë, dhe në zonën e Parkut Kombëtar të Llogarasë.
Male të gjelbër dhe shkëmbor, pas plazheve me rërë ose shkëmbinjve në detin e kristaltë, nga të cilat mund të zhytesh.
Deti në Shqipëri është sinonimi i pushimeve low cost. Zona bregdetare, edhe pse shumë e populluar në muajin gusht, është ende pak e njohur nga turizmi i masës dhe çmimet e hoteleve e restoranteve janë të larta. Ja disa nga vendet më të bukura për pushime në Shqipëri, që të jeni të sigurtë do t’iu surprizojnë.
Vlora, historia dhe plazhet–  Vlora është një nga qytetet më antike të Shqipërisë. U themelua në shekullin e VI p.e.s me emrin Aulona. Jo larg Vlorës është plazhi i Jalës që ndodhet në jug të qytetit pak kilometra nga plazhi i njohur i Drimadhës, afër fshatit të Vunoit. Një plazh i mrekullueshëm dhe i qetë, me rërë , i lagur nga ujëra të mrekullueshme ngjyrë turkuazë dhe transparentë. Drimadhës është një magji: me një rërë të artë ku është e mundur të qëndrosh dhe të shijosh një nga perëndimet spektakolare karakteristike të Shqipërisë.
Beautiful sandy beach Lukova (Lukove), Shpelle, Albania.
Shpella e piratëve- Plazhi i Livadhit, në këmbët e kështjellës së qytetit, është e rrethuar nga një bimësi e dendur dhe në të dy anët nga shkëmbinj : edhe këtu deti është transparent , dëshmi e një natyre ende të ruajtur.
Shumë restorante në Himarë ofrojnë ushqime shumë të shijshme dhe pjata me bazë peshkun , kallamarët dhe karkalecat. Pranë Dhërmiut , një bregdet antik dhe shumë tërheqës me plazhe të mrekullueshme, ndodhen edhe disa ishuj të vegjël si Shkambo, Jaliksari dhe Gjipea , që janë afër dy kilometra. Tek këta ishuj shkohet me makinë, varkë ose në këmbë për 15-20 minuta .
Për mos t’u humbur është shpella e piratëve që kohë më parë strehonte piratët e detit e sot e famshme per intimitetin e hapësirës së saj në rritje, me ngjyrën blu të fortë të ujit të detit.
Plazhet e bukur përballë Korfuzit- Saranda një gji i vogël, i hapur në jug dhe i rrethuar nga kodra, ka përballë ishullin grek të Korfuzit. Në zonën e Sarandës nuk është për t’u humbur Ksamili , një vend turistik mbi bregun e qytetit antik të Butrintit , 17 km larg nga Saranda dhe rrethuar nga disa ishuj të vegjël përreth plazhit të magjishëm. Për të përfunduar me plazhin Pulëbardhat, absolutisht ndër më të bukurit në Shqipëri, tek i cili mund të shkosh me varkë për të zbuluar dhe shijuar ishuj të tjerë të vegjël që rrethojnë bregun./k.s/ /a.ghttp://www.ata.gov.al/shqiperia-nje-bregdet-si-karaibet/

Sunday, July 17, 2016

KARABURUN 360’ OF UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE. YOUR PERFECT ALL YEAR DESTINATION

KARABURUN 360’ of unforgettable experience. Your perfect all year destination


KARABURUN 360’ OF UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE. YOUR PERFECT ALL YEAR DESTINATION


ON SUNDAY, 03 JULY 2016. POSTED IN ENGLISH

ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING KEY BIODIVERSITY AREAS OF THE ENTIRE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN, HOLDING A WIDE VARIETY OF FLORA AND FAUNA SPECIES.
KARABURUN 360’ of unforgettable experience. Your perfect all year destination
Mirjan Topi and Oresta Saliaj, PPNEA
The region of Vlora bay - Karaburun - Cika Mountain lies on the southwestern part of Albania and it has been distinguished as one of the most interesting key biodiversity areas of the entire Mediterranean basin, holding a wide variety of flora and fauna species. This area is without any doubt, one of the most touristic sites of Albania, not only due to its high natural values but also for rich history and culture. Here are found almost all touristic elements of Albania, in just a small surface of land. All this, brings the exiting thought, that this mosaic of nature and culture has been created there just for tourism. In this area, are found some of the Albanian’s most beautiful coast and beaches; the only peninsula of Albania – Karaburun; the largest island of Albania – Sazani; the only Marine National Park of Albania Sazan-Karaburun; there are found high mountains, clean fresh waters; monuments of nature, monuments of culture; the ancient city of Orik, the medieval castles of “Gjon Bocari” and “Sofo”; the old church of “Marmiroi”, the fantastic caves of “Duk Gjoni” and “Haxhi Aliut”; the National Park of Llogara and many other touristic sites and objects.
Why 360’ Experience Dear Tourists? To describe all what can be enjoyed in this area, would even not be enough the entire pages of this magazine, and this is not a literature metaphor, but a true statement. We will start now to describe for you a simple 360’ journey in Karaburun, and you may make this trip real: We start in January: where you can experience 360’ the Mediterranean winter - feel the unique, cozy and diverse wintertime in Karaburun when experience goes beyond any limits. See the Golden eagle in the skies, over the green and white of Llogara and Cika Mountain, smelling the flavor of “Arapashi” coming from the welcoming guest houses. In February: climb the Çika Mountain and feel the diversity of the KARABURUN. Enjoy the magnificent view of the coastline from the top of Çika, feel the benefits of trekking in pure nature in sunny days. In March: Celebrate the spring coming at Llogara and admire the Flag Pines. Perfect for all forms of trekking and hiking. Just pick the right equipment and be ready to get the most out of one of the most picturesque part of Albanian. In April: Dukati valley - explore the diversity and boldness of KARABURUN. The valley is cut into the mountain slopes and provides breathtaking experience from mountain through Orikumi Lagoon to the sea. In May: Birdwatching at its fines. You’ll find about 105 species of birds here, at this time. The high cliffs of Karaburun are perfect for nesting of pelagic seabirds, and you might be the first discovering some nests or colony. In June: Be an explorer -go deep into history in the phenomenal caves. Go after pirates, explore the breathtaking costal caves of KARABURUN. Find out the richest rocky diary of the Mediterranean and learn the legends around some of the most amazing caves. In July: Dive into the mystery hidden underwater. Explore the underwater museum underwater habitats – the secret treasure of KARABURUN that keeps 20thcentury artefacts in an unforgettable form. In August: Encounter the land of castles and legends from different times. Explore the rich cultural heritage of different times and cultures. In September: The amazing Orikum Lagoon. Watch wetland birds or breathtaking sunsets. Enjoy breathtaking views and go exploring the coast from the sea with unforgettable boat trip. October: From Orikum citadel to Orikumi lagoon. The enchanted colors and mythical smells of autumn in KARABURUN. Find out the boldness and power of this area. In November: Enjoy the unique polyphony. Encounter the astonishing sounds of KARABURUN –the birthplace of polyphony –a unique style of singing that stays in your heart for lifetime once heard. In December: A different Christmas experience. Find what we call 360 Christmas –go up in the mountain or down the valley. We hope to have made you already curious! You are all welcome, in our country: in the Land of Eagles and Castles.
http://www.albaniantravel.info/AlbanianTravel/english/item/karaburun-360-of-unforgettable-experience-your-perfect-all-year-destination

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

5 reasons every traveller should add Albania to their bucket list

albaniaA fisherman steers his boat along the shoreline with the snow-covered mountains of Albania in the distance.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Locked between dramatic mountain faces and azure blue seas; it’s nothing short of a miracle that Albania hasn’t made it onto the mainstream tourist trail yet.
“Shqipëria” to the locals, it’s known to its natives as the land of the eagles, a moniker adopted from folklore tales passed down from generation to generation. They tell of how a young Albanian saved an eaglet from certain death at the fangs of a venomous snake. And it’s that willingness to do things for others that sums up the spirit of the country.
Albanians are known for their hospitality, kindness, and affinity for knocking back glasses of homemade raki. The days of communist dictatorship are a distant memory for all but a few. Albania is looking ahead to a brighter future. There is no better time to visit than now.

View As: One Page Slides

Berat is the jewel in the crown of Albania


Tucked between the Tomorr mountain — which locals claim to be the resting body of a fallen giant — and the Osum river, Berat is the jewel in the crown of Albania. Home to 60,000 people, many of whom tell tales of being forced to work in the munitions tunnels carved by the Communist government into nearby hills. It’s a town of two halves — the winding medieval white-washed streets cut a course on the right bank of the river, while an altogether more modern settlement is the hub of the town on the left bank.


High above the town lies its castle – a fortress built to protect the town and its inhabitants from Byzantine raiders. Once it was a front line of wars between powerful empires vying for control. Now, a slippery marble paved road keeps all but the most determined flip-flop clad tourists from reaching the top.
Consecutive invasions of Berat have left the town with a mixture of architecture. The Turks brought their influence, as did the Communists. An interesting amalgamation of styles that are both pleasing to the eye and the camera.


Where to stay: Ex-pat Scotti has been running ‘Berat Backpackers’ since 2009. It’s the stuff of backpacker dreams; Cuni the rather aloof cat, a legend in the hostel world helps to secure that.  The 250 year old home offers more than comfortable lodging, and excellent social vibes. Comfy corner sofas, incredible views across the town, good home cooking, and cheap beers are all part of the charm.
Doubles and dorms are available from £8 (€10,  US$11) a night. Worth the furgon ride

Valbona National Park offers fantastic trekking, climbing, and camping.


Misty mountains and alpine streams dominate this untouched corner of the unexplored country. The traditional way of life is slowly changing in the steep-sided valleys. Farmers are turning their hand to hosting trekkers looking for adventure.
The region borders Kosovo, territory fiercely claimed by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. It’s home to wild dog, wolves, and bears. But don’t let this put you off. The mountains offer fantastic trekking, climbing, and camping.


Albania is becoming a stoic pinpoint on the map for travelers from around the globe. New roads are being built, hotels are under construction, and the country is planning to build a second airport, at Kukës – development which will make visiting northern Albania a much easier and more attractive prospect.


Where to stay: Traditional but comfortable lodging is available at home stays throughout the valley. Albania’s reputation for good hospitality earns its name in Valbona.  But by far the most popular place to kip is Quku i Valbonës. Halfway up the valley the family run business has great food, the most comfortable beds, or a place to camp if that’s your thing. The showers are great too!
Beds start from £20 (€25,  US$28) a night. Book here

The Lake Koman ferry offers a breathtaking view of the 'Accursed Mountains'


A ride along Lake Koman is only comparable to a trip on the Norwegian fjords. Bottle green trees meet the waters edge along the breathtaking route.  The landlocked lake through the Accursed Mountains’ is actually a hydro-electric damn, but also forms part of an ancient route from Kosovo to Albania. The rickety ferry stutters into life several times a day, passing scenery which has to be seen to be believed.

5 reasons every traveller should add Albania to their bucket list

albaniaA fisherman steers his boat along the shoreline with the snow-covered mountains of Albania in the distance.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Locked between dramatic mountain faces and azure blue seas; it’s nothing short of a miracle that Albania hasn’t made it onto the mainstream tourist trail yet.
“Shqipëria” to the locals, it’s known to its natives as the land of the eagles, a moniker adopted from folklore tales passed down from generation to generation. They tell of how a young Albanian saved an eaglet from certain death at the fangs of a venomous snake. And it’s that willingness to do things for others that sums up the spirit of the country.
Albanians are known for their hospitality, kindness, and affinity for knocking back glasses of homemade raki. The days of communist dictatorship are a distant memory for all but a few. Albania is looking ahead to a brighter future. There is no better time to visit than now.

View As: One Page Slides

Berat is the jewel in the crown of Albania


Tucked between the Tomorr mountain — which locals claim to be the resting body of a fallen giant — and the Osum river, Berat is the jewel in the crown of Albania. Home to 60,000 people, many of whom tell tales of being forced to work in the munitions tunnels carved by the Communist government into nearby hills. It’s a town of two halves — the winding medieval white-washed streets cut a course on the right bank of the river, while an altogether more modern settlement is the hub of the town on the left bank.


High above the town lies its castle – a fortress built to protect the town and its inhabitants from Byzantine raiders. Once it was a front line of wars between powerful empires vying for control. Now, a slippery marble paved road keeps all but the most determined flip-flop clad tourists from reaching the top.


Consecutive invasions of Berat have left the town with a mixture of architecture. The Turks brought their influence, as did the Communists. An interesting amalgamation of styles that are both pleasing to the eye and the camera.


Where to stay: Ex-pat Scotti has been running ‘Berat Backpackers’ since 2009. It’s the stuff of backpacker dreams; Cuni the rather aloof cat, a legend in the hostel world helps to secure that.  The 250 year old home offers more than comfortable lodging, and excellent social vibes. Comfy corner sofas, incredible views across the town, good home cooking, and cheap beers are all part of the charm.
Doubles and dorms are available from £8 (€10,  US$11) a night. Worth the furgon ride! Book here

Valbona National Park offers fantastic trekking, climbing, and camping.


Misty mountains and alpine streams dominate this untouched corner of the unexplored country. The traditional way of life is slowly changing in the steep-sided valleys. Farmers are turning their hand to hosting trekkers looking for adventure.
The region borders Kosovo, territory fiercely claimed by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians. It’s home to wild dog, wolves, and bears. But don’t let this put you off. The mountains offer fantastic trekking, climbing, and camping.


Albania is becoming a stoic pinpoint on the map for travelers from around the globe. New roads are being built, hotels are under construction, and the country is planning to build a second airport, at Kukës – development which will make visiting northern Albania a much easier and more attractive prospect.


Where to stay: Traditional but comfortable lodging is available at home stays throughout the valley. Albania’s reputation for good hospitality earns its name in Valbona.  But by far the most popular place to kip is Quku i Valbonës. Halfway up the valley the family run business has great food, the most comfortable beds, or a place to camp if that’s your thing. The showers are great too!
Beds start from £20 (€25,  US$28) a night. Book here

The Lake Koman ferry offers a breathtaking view of the 'Accursed Mountains'


A ride along Lake Koman is only comparable to a trip on the Norwegian fjords. Bottle green trees meet the waters edge along the breathtaking route.  The landlocked lake through the Accursed Mountains’ is actually a hydro-electric damn, but also forms part of an ancient route from Kosovo to Albania. The rickety ferry stutters into life several times a day, passing scenery which has to be seen to be believed.


The landscape is a photographer's dream and easily could have been plucked from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mountains tower above the lake as it weaves its way to Fierza. It’s a route used by tourists and locals alike — meaning it’s a great chance to practice pigeon Albanian (or sit back, have a beer and take in the views).


Lake Koman is the most scenic route to travel to the Valbona National Park from Shkodër. It has been described by The Guardian as “one of the world’s great boat trips”.

The tiny village of Himarë is home to the freshest seafood around


This sleepy fishing village facing the Ionian Sea remains relatively untouched by backpackers flaunting tales of far-flung lands. Seafood restaurants line the seafront, enjoying unspoilt views over the town’s beach.


Less than half an hour’s stroll away from the Xhiro is ‘Albania’s Ibiza’ – Jala. Locals and tourists alike descend on the beach to drink at its bars, swim in crystal clear waters during the summer months. It’s a world away from the serenity of the surrounding villages.


Reminders of Albania’s communist dictatorship past are ever present.  On a clear day the Greek island of Corfu is visible – too visible for those once in Tirana’s corridors of power awaiting an imminent invasion which never came. The now defunct fortifications line the roads leading between the coastal towns and villages.


For a truly undiscovered experience take the coastal route between Vlora and Himarë. Google Maps directs tourists away from the twisting mountain roads as they descend down from Mount Çika, but the hairpins bends are a thrill for any driver — but maybe not so much for passengers!


The original hermit kingdom was not always as open and welcoming as it is today. As recently as the 1980’s, tourists required a chaperone to visit, were prevented from mingling with locals, and were only allowed to see what the government wanted them to see. Nowadays the fortifications are used as bars, storehouses, or have fallen into disrepair.

The capital city of Tirana is a dystopian museum to the past


Tirana is possibly Europe’s most unique capital city. At first glance, Tirana doesn’t have a huge amount to offer a wandering soul, but its quirkiness makes it worth a day-trip at the very least. 
The International Center of Culture (or the Pyramid of Tirana) tops Albania’s list of weird and wonderful attractions. Opened in October 1988 was intended to be a museum to Enver Hoxha — the leader of Albania’s communist cult. The pyramid now sits empty and derelict. It’s an ad hoc climbing frame for plucky locals and tourists hoping to get the perfect selfie.


Tirana is the centre of Albanian life. Smartly dressed men and women work their way through the chaotic traffic like in any other European capital. It’s the home of the country’s night life, especially the Blokku area, a section of town formerly reserved for the country’s elite.
Where to stay: Unlike most places in Albania, there is a wide choice of places to sleep. Backpackers flock to Trip’n’Hostel — just a stone’s throw away from the central Skanderbeg Square. Good showers, tasty breakfast, and a relaxing garden make this a great place to exchange backpacking stories with other travellers.
Beds start from £8 (€10,  US$11) a night. Book here
Read the original article on Tiny Rucksack. Copyright 2016.
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