Albania is a small and quiet country. Tirana, its capital, has very calm feel unlike many other European cities. No wonder. It is home to "only" about half a million people. Streets are vibrant and Tirana's magic is unlike of any other city.
For a long time, Albania was ruled by communists. This heavily influenced architecture in the capital. Unlike the rest of the Eastern Bloc, there are no huge plattenbau housing developments. However, the ruling class built amazing houses even though the rest of the country lived in poverty. Tirana has remained a cityo f contrasts. Yet it has been on the rise again.
No cars were on local streets until the end of socialism in the country in the year 1992. This reflects on present traffic. Chaos rules during peak hours and "the rule of the strongest" prevails.
So where to go in Tirana? Skanderberg square is situated in the city center and it features his statue. Worth of note is Edhem Bey mosque constructed in the 17th century. Close to the mosque, there is a clock tower, and the National Museum built during Enver Hoxha. The diplomatic borrough featuring amazig villas, is another beautiful place you may see. It used to be closed to the public during the rule of communists.
Many new buildings and entire districts have been built in Tirana. Be sure to see the brand new Markata E Fruta Perimeve marketplace and some of the wonderful restaurants around.
In case you grew tired of the city, set off to some of many beautiful parks around. Parku i Madh Kodrat e Liqenit is the one which is closes to the city center. But there are many more posibilities. For instance, you can go to Dajti national park and climb its mountains rising behind the city. You may also use a cable car running up to the very top of the mountain. The vista is amazing there.
Most certainly, you would visit Tirana when in Albania. So, I recommend you to spend there a day at least. Here you can get yourself more involved in recent Albanian history and its interesting culture.
We say goodbye to Albania today. Let's start again with a history that is inextricably linked with local monuments. Among the most important politicians after the founding of the Republic of Albania in 1912 was the Muslim Zog. He became Albanian president in 1924 and declared himself king four years later. He realized that Albania was too small a country to prosper on his own, so he established a relationship with Italy.
After a week we return to the Onufri Museum. Upstairs we discover the unusual painting The Last Judgment. We are also interested in the icon of Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena. I have never seen such an icon anywhere. After the tour, we walk through the labyrinth of alleys to the upper fortress, where there is a beautiful view of Mount Skodre, where dictator Enver Hodža had his name etched by acid.
From a trip to the mountains, I return to the concrete jungle of Tirana. The next day I plan a trip to Lake Komani. We drive towards the town of Shkoder, but in front of it we turn along the "yellow" road to the village of Komani. Then we go through the tunnel and get on a super small boat. I feel like I'm in another world. The mountains all around remind me of Norway, but the heat and water remind me of Thailand. Not beautiful.
Whatever you've heard about Albany, it won't stop luring and repelling, enticing and discouraging you. Nevertheless, I gave her a chance and went to form her own opinion of this contradictory country. Full of enthusiasm and expectations, I took a trip from Tirana to the nearest Quafstama National Park by jeep.
Although Albania is the poorest country in Europe, it is all the richer in natural beauty and history. Thanks to this, tourism in this country is on the rise. So let's take a look at what the forgotten corner of Europe has to offer its visitors. We chose Durrës for our holiday to be by the sea, but also within easy reach of nature, mountains and monuments.
Near the south Albanian town of Vlorë stretches Llogara mountain national park. Leaving only half-a-day for the park during preparations for my Albanian tour, I regreted this decision when approaching the park already. It is considred one of the most beautiful places in the country. Making treks into the mountains brings great, unforgettable experiences.
When I asked my Airbnb host in Tirana where should I go in Albania, he sent me to the small town of Përmet and the Bredhi i Hotovës national park near to it, both in the south of the country. The River Lengarices dug a grandiose canyon there which features thermal springs.
Close to Ohrid lake, large Shebenik-Jabllanica national park is situated by Macedonian border. It is one of the most remote places in Albania. Its peaks rise up to 2 200 meters and there live many rare animals and plants such as Balkanian lynx. Let's visit the park together.
Albania is not just a country with interesting history and wild nature. There are beautiful beaches scattered almost all along its bcoastline. Today we take a look at the most beautiful section of the coastline, the Albanian riviera in the south of the country.
Mere 30 kilometers from the capital of Tirana, there is Durrës, an easy-going coastline town. Many Albanians would claim there is nothing interesting about Durrës. They are right but go there nevertheless. Why? Local Mediterranean cuisine is simply stellar and the prices as well.
Hars nature, mountains, clear water, and the grandiose castle guarding a medieval town. This is Berat, one of the most pouplarp places in Albania and a proud gem on UNESCO's world heritage sites list. Let's take a look.
Amazing beaches, high mountains, beautiful national parks, lakes, traidional farmers, grandiose castle. Albania is a country of many great attractions and sights and it still retains its status of a land not yet discovered by mass tourism. Our following series will take you to some places which are worth traveling to.
Highly recommended place that I couldn’t forget during my visit to the area of Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, lies 28 km south of Ohrid, Macedonia near the border with Albania. It is the monastery of St. Naum, one of the most important collaborators and followers of Cyril and Methodius.