Albania is located in the south-eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, Albania is a small country bordered by Yugoslavia and Greece. The country has witnessed many vicissitudes in its eventful history-from fleeing refugees and blood vendettas, to years of dictatorial rule. Yet, Albania manages to offer tourists the traditional Mediterranean charm and a heady blend of different religions, cultures and landscapes.
Albania is the poorest country of Europe and one of the least visited by travelers. This is partly because travel infrastructure is far from extensive.
But Albania does have a few things to offer to the visitor. Rough scenery, a beautiful coast, authentic villages that have survived the communist period to name a few.
Tirana , the capital city, is a small and compact place that is best explored on foot. Its architecture bears considerable influence of Italian as well as Turkish monuments, lying as it does exactly between Rome and Istanbul. The Skënderberg Square is a huge open space in the centre of the city while Mt. Dajti, at 5,030 ft, towers over the eastern side. Tirana is dotted by many museums.
Durrës (also Durazzo ) is a historical city founded by the Greeks. You are unlikely to miss the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre and the King Ahmet Zog Palace, both of which stand on a hillside.
Shkoder and Butrint are two places that would be of much interest to a history buff. Shkodra is one of the oldest cities in Europe while the ruins of Butrint are a treasure trove of antiquities relating to the Illyrians and Greeks.
Among the lesser-known places, Berat , Gjirokastra, Elbasan, Korce , and Kukës are worth exploring. Also, Albania has some of the finest beaches in Europe. Hiking, trekking and cycling are some other options in Albania.
Since Albania experiences scorching summers and cool winters, the best months to visit the country are September and October, when the days are long and the climate quite pleasant.
Tirana is the capital of Albania, and the biggest city of the country. Still it is a small and compact place that is best explored on foot. Its architecture bears considerable influence of Italian as well as Turkish monuments, lying as it does exactly between Rome and Istanbul. The Skënderberg Square is a huge open space in the centre of the city while Mt. Dajti, at 5,030 ft, towers over the eastern side. Tirana is dotted by many museums.
Shkoder is a very old city that has managed to keep characteristic appearance, with narrow streets with tall stone walls on both sides, and tall gates, although a large part of it has been transformed after World War II, with straight wide streets and tall residential and public buildings. The city expanded with several new quarters, and the industrial zone was built north of the city. Needless to say that these quarters are of little interest to the visitor.
The main sights of the twon are the Castle (Rozafa), the Turkish Bath (hamam), the Mosque of Plumbi, and many old houses with an appearance characteristic the region. The city lies next to the lake and the residents use the beach of Shiroka for recreation.
Butrint is a major archeoligal site in Albania. It has been included in the World Heritage list of UNESCO.
Butrint occupies a small peninsula between the Straits of Corfu and Lake Butrint. Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city, and a bishopric. Following a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of the ruins representing each period in the city’s development. The limits of the World Heritage site were expanded in 1999 to include not only the walled city from the Greek and Roman period (approximately 16 ha), but an additional 184 ha to better protect the site.
The 2400 year old town of Berat is located in southcentral Albania. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns of Albania. As you can see from the pictures, it is no wonder that Berat is also known as “the town of a thousand windows, also the Museum City”
Berat is a good base for exploring the region. The Monastery of Ardenica is not too far and the important archeological site of Apolonia can also be visited in a day.
Korce is located in southeastern Albania. It is a good place for exploring this hilly region.
One of the most important archeological sites ion Albania, Apolonia is set in a beautiful landscape. The front of one of the temples is still standing and with the mountains in the back it is a great sight.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.