Albania, Europe's Forgotten Treasure.

Albania is famous for its beaches on the Adriatic Sea. Its coast is a tourist attraction that every year attracts vacationers who want to enjoy its villages nestled in the mountain of labyrinthine reliefs. In winter the snow covers its mountains (that's what the name Albania refers to).
It is a country that has stood apart for centuries and its international isolation until recently makes it one of those undiscovered destinations for intrepid travellers on tight budgets.

When it comes to buying the plane ticket, the most comfortable flights are those that do not stop at the Mother Teresa International Airport, but it is usually cheaper to travel to Italy or Greece and take the ferry. In Italy there are boats from Bari to Durrës and Ancona daily. There are also buses from Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Sofia and Pristina (Kosovo). We have to bear in mind that Albania does not require a visa for European, Austrian, New Zealand, American and Canadian citizens; However, if you have to pay entry and exit fees to the country, both for people and private vehicles.

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The Albanian capital is a puzzle of different architectures and environments and our point of reference will be Sheshi Skënderbeg, the central square. Towards the south through Dëshmoret we will find communist vestiges, such as its old headquarters, and the current building of the Albanian government. The main restaurants are also grouped on this street. To the north is the bus station. In the square is the Albanian History Museum and the Palace of Culture.


Durrës has a long beach along the town that is somewhat dangerous because cars circulate on it. We can visit the mosque and the archaeological sites around it. To the east is the bay and the train station and at the top is the Palace of King Ahmet Zogu.

Gjirokastër or Gjirokastra

South of Albania is Gjirokastër, an ancient city-museum that is a true natural spectacle and a labyrinth in which it is easy to get disoriented. It has buildings from the 19th century of very varied shapes and a castle from the 6th century before Christ.

Saranda (Sarandë)

This small town winds its way up the hill enjoying the best climate in Albania. There is an archaeological site in nearby Butrint, believed to have been founded by the Trojans. The best beach in the area is Ksamili, about 17 kilometers to the south. This beach is paradisiacal and has four islands that can be reached by swimming.

Get to know Albania

A good way to approach the Albanian world is through its most famous writer, Ismail Kadaré and his Chronicle in stone (1971), where we will find information about the Albanian traditions.

Its official currency is the Lek and its capital is Tirana. It is a country forged from the recent independence of the Ottoman Empire and the kingdom of Italy. This country does not exceed three and a half million inhabitants and speaks Albanian and some Greek in the south.

It was the last bastion of communism in Europe since it did not initiate the reforms for the market economy until the mid-1980s.

Gjipë Canyon - A hidden gem

A hidden beach near the Gjipe Canyon, it is one of the most picturesque beaches in Albania. It is not visible from any road, as it is well hidden behind the steep slopes of the mountains.

It is not easy to get there, and it is only possible by car + walking. Follow the Google maps route, prepare for a dirt road and park in the huge parking lot under the pine trees (you will see signs for this). Wear comfortable shoes instead of flip flops. From the parking lot, follow an indicated path for approximately 30 minutes on foot in absolutely spectacular scenery. The view over the sea and the distant mountains from the shore is breathtaking! You will also see some bunkers clinging to the slope just off the path. The beach itself is wonderful, with sparkling sand and gorgeous shallow waters. It has a lot of free area, but there is also the option of carrying an umbrella. There are a couple of bars, so you can eat and drink something simple. There is also a campsite behind the beach. The closest city to the Gjipë Canyon is Dhërmi.

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The bunkers

Throughout Albania you will find some curious bunkers built in the years of the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. They are curious shelters that were designed to repel external attacks and that today conjures bad memories of the past. These bunkers were prepared to withstand tank fire and aerial attacks and today they only serve to give a strange air to the landscape and to remember the times of the military paranoia of the cold war.

Albanian culture

The predominant ethnic group in Albania is Albanian and there is a minority of Greeks. They are generally hospitable people and they have some different managers like tilting their heads to both sides to say yes (Po) and turning it to say no (Jo) that they may miss us. In Albania you will see a strong generation gap between pro-Western youth and the older generations that still keep the costumes and customs of the dictatorship in the villages.

albania hotels

Hotels are available in all cities and Airbnb is also operational here. If you wish to book a villa, then always, I highly recommend Clickstay Villas for a taste of luxury! For further reading on city breaks, you can always take a look at Bucharest City Guide.

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