What do you know about Albania

Undiscovered Europe - Travel Tips & Information for Albania

What do you know about holidays in Albania? Not much, I suppose. Felt the same way! No wonder, since the country was completely sealed off until the fall of the communist regime and the years of upheaval and restructuring were initially unsuitable for attracting streams of visitors.

It is now clear that Albania is making great efforts to achieve a More travel-friendly infrastructure build up and to make the country attractive for guests.

What made me go on vacation to Albania? The originality and the imposing mountains, the Mediterranean location and the millennia-old cultural diversity. But what was it really like to travel through Albania?

Travel destination Albania

Albania vacation is still an insider tip. The one for the past 10 years slowly emerging tourism has a lot of development potential. In many places you try hard, some things still go wrong. Nevertheless, a solution is always found. It is the spontaneity and the warmth of the people that make so many irritations quickly forget.

Albanian Riviera

If you are looking for originality, you should focus on this Backland focus. Here you still have the opportunity not to move on the well-trodden path as a tourist, but to move on to feel like a traveler and explorer.

The Stretches of coast are unfortunately already paved with hotels and apartment complexes in many places. Rather off-putting, at least in my opinion.

You can find more articles about Albania here

  • Why you shouldn't miss Tirana under any circumstances.
  • Here you can find my tips for Eastern Albania including a day trip to Macedonia.
  • In the south of Albania there is a real Mediterranean feeling - those were my highlights.
  • I was traveling with this tour operator and I was very satisfied [advertisement].

I quickly got into conversation with these two market women.

The garbage problem in Albania

There are certainly also conditions that make themselves noticeable negatively: z. B. the one that is still present Garbage problemthat has already been worked on a lot. Nevertheless, you can still see a lot of rubbish and rubble lying in the landscape. Also Building sins often line up like a parade of ugliness and spoil the cityscape.

To Renovation of the old building fabric Often there is a lack of money and valuable cultural assets are wasted away. Concepts and overarching ideas for the development of a region are missing. But you can see that people are working everywhere. The Albanians are doing their best. It will be interesting to see what the country will look like in a few years.

Please take your rubbish away - not yet working everywhere in Albania.

In Albania, hospitality is a matter of honor

When I mentioned that I wanted to go to Albania, the usual reaction was astonishment (“What are you doing there?”) And well-meaning warnings (“Don't let yourselves be stolen!”). When it comes to Albania, most people think of theft, crime and blood revenge first. How exactly these prejudices came about is not entirely clear to me.

Just got me Friendliness and helpfulness enthusiastic, with which strangers are received. Newcomers are eyed curiously, but never obtrusively pursued. Even a few stammered Albanian vocabulary arouse euphoric admiration and they will always try to help you. Several times I received small gifts such as fruit, vegetables, flowers or biscuits. Just because!!!

There are also bridges for cars, don't worry!

Transport in Albania

I was traveling with a handful of fellow travelers, a minibus and a guide, so it was extremely comfortable. I have been assured, however, how good it is public transport in Albania is working. Very inexpensive intercity buses run between the larger cities. The other places are connected by minibuses. Since the road network has improved significantly in recent years, you can also travel around the country by car / rental car on your own without any problems.

Entry requirements in Albania

You need vacation for your Albaniano visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months.

Ottoman architectural style in the old town of Berat.

Money in albania

The The national currency is the Lekthat you can neither buy nor sell abroad. In May 2015 I exchanged a rate of 1 Euro = 140 Leke. In larger towns (as well as in Tirana airport) you will find money exchange offices and ATMs.

If you want to be on the safe side, check with your financial institution before your trip whether your card is recognized in Albania. For example, V-Pay cards do not work.

The usual Credit cards such as Mastercard, Visa etc. are at best accepted in larger hotels - you cannot pay with them in smaller shops and guest houses.

Here you can find more tips on the subject of payment methods when traveling.

As the price level overall very moderate you will be fine with a handful of cash. A freshly tapped beer costs 55 leks in the brewery bar, so not even 50 cents. You can buy delicious Börek on hand for a similarly low price, and overnight stays in small guest houses are available from around 8 euros per person. A glass of wine in the restaurant costs around 1.50 euros and for around 10 euros you can dine like a king with several courses and drinks.

Rich cultural evidence from different epochs - here the archaeological park of Apollonia.

Internet in Albania

I have to admit that before my trip I suspected that I rarely or no internet access in the Albanian hotels. Exactly the opposite was true: I had EVERYWHERE very passable and free wifi.

Drinking water in Albania

The hygienic conditions are generally very good as far as the food is concerned. Fruits and vegetables should always be washed before eating them. The tap water is not necessarily recommended. It is better for Central European stomachs to use bottled water or to have a LifeStraw water bottle * with them. The fountains in the mountain villages are fine and the ice-cold water tastes delicious.

Although Albania is actually a predominantly Muslim country, you can find many Orthodox churches. These old paintings did not survive the "atheistic period in Albania from 1967 - 1990 so well ...

The quiet place

The Sewerage is not particularly efficient in many places, which is why, as in Asia, it is not customary not to throw paper in the toilet, but in that Trash can Besides.

In Albania, showers are often not closed cubicles, but rather a shower on the wall and a drain in the floor. Sometimes there is a curtain, sometimes there isn't. After a lot of splashing around, half the bath is under water. This also explains why the plastic slippers are very practical in hotel rooms - so that you can move around the wet room without getting your feet wet.

Street train in Tirana

The best travel time in Albania

I was out in May - the Early summer until June is that perfect time for hiking. The weather is quite stable, but not too hot, like in midsummer (July / August).

But also that autumn (September / October) is well suited. Good rain equipment is recommended! We had some heavy rains with thunderstorms and hail. The temperatures can also plummet at times - so have a jacket or sweater in your luggage because you always need something to wear in the evening.

Communication on vacation in Albania

You can get to Tirana and the more touristy areas Cope relatively well with English. If you want to travel off the beaten track, you can a few chunks of Albanian not hurt. I have been assured that Albanian is not that difficult for Germans to learn because of certain grammatical similarities.

Still, I found the language quite demanding. It felt like three days before I B. could notice that "danke = faleminderit" means. In general, however, they will always try to understand you somehow and to help you. Nobody will turn away from you with a shrug and just let you stand.

“Yes” means “po” and is often confirmed by bending the head to the right. “No” means “jo” and is underlined with a nod of the head. Vigorous lifting of the head is a particularly clear no. It takes some getting used to that the gestures work exactly the opposite of our habits.

Bottom up! = Gëzuar!

To the compulsory raki you can't get around. The favorite drink of the Albanians is a mostly strong, clear schnapps made from grapes, plums, mulberries or the like. It is drunk on every occasion and at any time of the day. A "normal" glass easily contains 50 cl, a "double" a good 100 cl.

refusal is almost impossible, but it is not considered impolite if you do not finish your glass.

Also Wine is often made for home use. The quality is quite different. I drank excellent wine at an Albanian winemaker that doesn't have to shy away from international comparison. At the beer are the brands Tirana andKorca common - both are very good to drink!

Teacher Sotir from the small mountain village of Benje invited us to his home for raki.

Eating in Albania

The local food is not refined, however very tasty and rich. Several courses are served one after the other in the evening. An integral part is almost always one Mixed salad with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, sheep cheese and olives. Often there is also one tasty vegetable soup with carrots, potatoes, fresh parsley and a dash of fresh lemon to round it off. Is very popular Byrek (or Börek) - Puff pastry pockets with various fillings (cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onions, etc.), which can also be bought cheaply on every street corner.

This Albanian specialty is called peta: wafer-thin layers of dough with various fillings, such as B. cheese, herbs, tomatoes, onions.

The main courses are primarily very meat-heavy. Due to the rich selection of salads, vegetables and fruits, vegetarians are not neglected either. Vegans are rather unknown and should be prepared to have to explain their diet.

In addition to meat, it is made in the coastal region fish eaten and served deliciously grilled on the plate. Desserts are often small pieces of cake, sometimes just some fruit and of course, as mentioned above - raki!

The breakfast is not particularly rich. Usually there is the obligatory white bread that is served with every meal. With eggs, feta cheese, tomatoes and cucumber, sometimes jam or an apple. In addition to coffee and the so-called Mountain tea (a herbal tea that is also drunk a lot in Greece) there are often very artificial tasting juices (orange, multi-fruit or "apple" in a poison green color).

In gastronomy, the following applies: fast service = good service

A particularly noteworthy peculiarity of the Albanian staff: fast service = good service. It is quite possible that the next course will already be served, even if you are still chewing on the previous one. Or pulled the plate away shortly after you had the last bite on the fork. This sometimes creates a somewhat rushed atmosphere, but take it with serenity - you are only meant well!

By chance I saw a big folklore festival in Gjirokaster, which only takes place every 5 years and is followed with great attention throughout the country.

Albania vacation - my conclusion?

Definitely go there!

Enjoy the mountains and the hospitality. Hike for hours and let your gaze wander. Eat well and cheaply. Don't let yourself be put off straight away if something doesn't work according to our standards. There are tons of good reasons to travel to Albania!

Travel tips Albania - even more to read

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