Tourist reviews about Albania.
Is it worth to go to Albania and what is it famous for? Is it safe to travel alone? Is it suitable for a family vacation? Albania – reviews of the country, its cities and attractions, pros, cons and personal impressions, as well as recommendations for obtaining a visa and other tips and tips from experienced travelers.
Albania: what, where, when
The first thing I did was create a little travel itinerary for Albania. If you think it’s easy, try it yourself. It turned out that there are only a few famous places in the country, where it is recommended to go. So a lot of places I visited spontaneously, not even knowing about them before. I found a country that offered me much more than just strange towns with remnants of the communist past. My two weeks in Albania was a great way to see the most beautiful parts of the country and walk around without speeding up. One week in Albania may not be enough, so I took time to spare. There are two types of terrain in the country: the known (easily accessible) and vice versa. After a week, I realized that a trip to Albania required more time to live longer in this beautiful, diverse and open country.
What about the weather in Albania
The weather in Albania is perfect for travel during most of the year. Temperatures vary greatly from north to south, but throughout my trip there were mostly warm and sunny days. Locals say that summers can be very hot, so be sure to factor in the time spent at the beach. I was there during September and it was still up to 25 degrees on the coast.Albania and transportation: what options. I went to Albania with friends, hitchhiking in our car, which is very convenient. Traveling around the country with our own transportation is the best option. It gave us a lot more freedom and no strings attached in creating an itinerary. Another reason to travel by car: we discovered many amazing places in the country that can’t be reached by public transportation. Buses in Albania are available to most tourists and residents. Be sure to check the times in advance, so as not to stay in an unknown area overnight without an overnight stay. Roads in some areas are not very good, so we did not always match the data from the electronic map. By the way, with a cab in Albania – will take you anywhere in the country. It is economical to take a cab if you go in company, so it is worth thinking about.
How much did I spend in Albania: a fascinating trip
- I traveled on a budget of 50 euros a day. And it was easy for me and my friends to stick to our budget in Albania. Depending on your needs, Albania can be very cheap, or very expensive. Here are the numbers I got: food 5-10 euros, overnight stay 30 euros, bus 10 euros.
- Item one: Tirana . We stayed in Tirana for 2 days to visit the unusual capital. What awaited us were: museums in bunkers, cable car rides, and lots of fun things to do. All with a limited budget and a fascinating experience, this city fell in love with us immediately. I decided to stay at an inexpensive place called Central Tirana Apartment. If you want an even more budget-friendly option, I recommend Trip’n ‘Hostel. The weather was great, and the above travel locations added to our experience with even more excitement. It was too quick to be boring.
- But time goes on, so we moved on to Shkoder , where we only stayed for 1 day. I ended up in a small town to the north, which looked very sparsely populated. But the sights made it worth it. I was introduced to the incredible views of the castle, the cozy streets with lots of restaurants. And an equally interesting story shared by the locals. My schodern night was spent at the most amazing campsite with a gorgeous pool and a great restaurant. We rented a cute little cabin that looked homey and comfortable. I really liked the mentality of the country, as the residents are very friendly and caring people. The night passed and we were off to one of the most stunning areas of the Balkans.
- A day trip from Shkoder took me to the gorgeous little town of Tet. You have to agree it’s a funny name for a town. My friends encouraged me to venture out: an incredible day hike through the mountains that lead to Valbona National Park awaited us. I’ll be honest, the hike was very challenging, but rewarding. A nice bonus at the end pleased me: we came to the village of Valbona, where we tasted beer and fell into a sound sleep. Still, overcoming myself is so cool, I’m glad I have friends like that.
- And the magic of Albania doesn’t end there. The next day was my first ferry ride along the beautiful Lake Comani. Do you know where we were headed? You won’t believe it, but we had to take a step back, back to Shkoder.
- After that, something didn’t go as well as we expected with the trip. Soon we found ourselves among the thermal pools. We stumbled upon them by accident, but once we saw the sign with the thermal pools, we couldn’t pass by. You can only get here with your own transportation, or you can take a cab. The river in this area is overflowing with sulfur springs. Not far away I found an ancient bridge over the river.
- By the way, we met some locals there who were treating their joints with sulfur. One of the days I spent in Korca . I was pleasantly surprised by the many restaurants and cafes. Who doesn’t love a good meal outdoors. In the center of the city at the top of a pedestrian street I found a beautiful church. Along the street, locals suggested where Albania’s first school and a quaint lookout tower were located. We spent the night in the cozy Kristal Hotel.
- And the last point of the trip was Gjirokaster, where I spent only a day in the town, which is a cultural heritage of UNESCO. This is a place where the roofs of the houses are made like a new art form. It’s interesting to walk around and there are a lot of nice cafes and restaurants. But the prices are not the cheapest, although the service is the same. I really liked the castle, I recommend it to everyone to visit. I had amazing views of the old town.
So, I had a lot of fun on my trip to Albania. I recommend going there with friends, it can be boring. But even worse is to get lost in an unknown country without your own transport.
Perhaps one of the most interesting, unusual and original countries for me. So many ambiguous things there).
It was my love for Harry Potter that brought me to Albania. Have you no idea how Potteriana is connected with this country? And it was in the Albanian forests where Voldemort was hiding after he failed to kill Harry.
So when during our vacation in Montenegro we were offered to go there, I was ready to pay any money to go.
I only got a glimpse of the Albanian forests. People don’t want to go to the forests. Maybe they’re afraid of the Dark Lord. Although, it’s great here without the forests, so it didn’t spoil the trip.
A few facts about Albania:
- Mother Teresa was born here. However, she was expelled from here and declared a traitor.
- The Albanians are the opposite. If an Albanian nods – he does not agree, this movement means “no”. If he shakes his head, it is an expression of agreement.
- In the past, tourists weren’t allowed to come here. They hid such beauty for themselves. In fact, the reason for the isolation was the authoritarian regime (which, by the way, was also the reason Mother Teresa was expelled).
Now about the attractions, which came to my personal taste.
It is, first of all, the Chobo winery. You can see the wine cellar, learn how the wine is made. And do a little tasting.
Also impressed with the Blue Eye. It is a spring, memorable for the amazing bright blue color of the water.
You can swim and sunbathe in Xamile. I was surprised by the beach: at first I could not understand why it had such a coarse sand. I had never seen such sand. And then I realized that it was just very small stones!
In general, Albania is not a bad country. But the streets are restless, so I would not come here for vacation. But for a couple of days – please.
Actually, I’m a big fan of the Balkan Peninsula, and I’ve spent there more than one vacation. And, of course, there is no better country for my heart than Serbia, but at some point it became interesting to see what Albania is all about. About this country the average Russian knows almost nothing. And for good reason. In fact, for all its ambiguity, Albania is very interesting to visit and is even slowly gaining tourist infrastructure. You can get here in different ways, both by land and by air. I took an ordinary tourist bus from Montenegro. Everything is close – a couple of hours of travel and a relatively short queue at the border.
Both Albania itself and the Albanian part of the partially recognized republic of Kosovo look pretty deserted. Most of the landscape is occupied by unfinished houses (so it is customary – leave the armature for the upper floors – in case there is extra money, another son gets married, and so on). There are also a lot of car markets, endless car sales, salvage yards, car repair shops – the feeling is that all the used car junk from all over Europe is concentrated here. There are a lot of American and European flags. Of course, Albania is as to the moon to the European Union, but now this country is injected quite a lot of sponsorship money. This is especially evident in the roads. The roads here are really cool – good asphalt, new road signs and signs, reflectors and even electronic displays with the temperature of the road surface and air.
There are Albanian diasporas in almost every country in the world, especially in Italy (and for the same reason, in part, there are many cars with Italian license plates in the country – they simply are not moved). Up to a third of the adult working-age population goes to work abroad and sends money back to their families. America is loved and praised here, in part because of this. The people are not yet accustomed to foreigners, despite the fact that the flow of tourists increases year by year. The fact is that Albania has long been a very closed country, from which it was impossible to leave. The local rulers were always very complicated in their heads; the number one enemy was alternately declared to be the USSR, then China, then, of course, Yugoslavia. And in general, the unresolved Kosovo question makes the situation in the region, to put it mildly, uneasy. Albanians don’t like Serbs, Serbs can’t stand Albanians, and if you came here to contemplate the surrounding reality, try not to touch political issues – there’s just no point. So they look at the newcomers as aliens and timidly try to talk to them. English is more or less in use only in the service sector, and in a souvenir shop on the border with Montenegro a saleswoman spoke Russian with difficulty. The main religion is Islam, but locals somehow do not produce an impression of particularly religious citizens. Except that in the countryside women cover their heads, and in the capital everyone is dressed in secular style, and there are not so many mosques. The Albanian language is interesting: it is not clear where it came from and is not included in any of the language groups. And to the ear it is completely unplayable and seems very complicated, although in fact it is probably not.
What to see
There are no distinctive tourist attractions in Albania, and where to find them. There are, however, archaeological antiquities – such as the ancient city of Butrint (a UNESCO world heritage site) or the city-museum of Berat. But it is worth going here mainly to see the way of life, which is very different from the European. I would recommend going to Tirana, all the museums, squares, interesting streets and the greatest number of English-speaking people, including couchsurfers, are here. In the center, the capital looks quite livable. There are statues of Mother Teresa everywhere – she was just an Albanian. On the way you’re sure to see bunkers, they are steadily associated with this country. They were actively built by the dictator, whose name was Enver Hoxha, he ruled from 1944 to 1985, and it was tough – read it, if you’re interested. Hoxha was preparing for war with the rest of the world and ordered these bunkers to be built all over the country. The bunkers are small defensive structures, which, for all their plainness, can take a direct hit from a tank. They didn’t come cheap – they cost as much as a full-fledged apartment, but what kind of logic could one speak of? They built a lot of bunkers, 700 thousand, enough for all the combat-ready men. Today, painted with graffiti, they are turned into a tourist attraction and a public toilet. Well, if you are indifferent to all these historical artifacts, Albania offers excellent seaside resorts. In contrast to Montenegro, where in the summer there is nowhere to fall, but these resorts are not spoiled by so many tourists. Well, the service is quite acceptable and prices are much lower. This is in that part of the country, which is closer to Greece.
It’s been written about a lot, and it won’t escape your notice – there’s just an insane amount of Mercedes cars here! It seems that the locals have some sort of complex connected with this. I don’t care what condition the car is in or what age it is. If “Mercedes” – you have to take it. Maybe once these cars seemed too pipe dreams, and now at the very least “I can afford”? And there are an unbelievable number of car washes here, as if it is considered the most profitable business. A car wash in Albanian would be “lavazh”. I noticed that Albanians shake their heads in agreement and nod if they want to say “no” – curious. Life in Albania is very cheap, only gasoline is expensive. Toll roads were not found in the country. In general, you can have a good time here. Albania is very unique and controversial, but it is on the way of great change, and it can be seen everywhere, so if you’ve never been here, it might be worth to go at least for a few days.
What tourists think about Albania
Read the reviews of tourists about Albania, the hidden pearl of the Mediterranean. What do they write about the weather, hotels, beaches, sea, excursions and entertainment? Pros and cons of holidays in Albania in 2022.
And Travelata – favorable tours
Reviews about the weather in Albania
The long Albanian coast has a warm Mediterranean climate. Three hundred days a year the sun shines. The swimming season begins in late April and lasts until October, but up to +22 ° C water gets warm only in June.
ksenia-deva: “In June, the sea in Saranda is cold, but there is also a mountain river flowing into the sea, making the water even colder than usual.
July and August are dry and hot. The temperature rises to +28. +35 ° C, and sea water to +25. +26°С. Due to the winds the heat near the sea is easily tolerated, while in the central areas it can be uncomfortable.
According to tourists’ reviews, the velvet season in Albania is warm and beautiful. In September, the daytime temperature is +25. +27°С. The sea is heated to +24. +25°С.
Oleg Porkonov: “Albania in September is sunny and hot. It is warm and stuffy in the streets. Affects the city dust and exhaust gases.
The rains come in late fall and early spring. Winters in Albania are mild and humid. The climate in the mountains is harsher, with a lot of snow.
Alexander G.: “I’m sure that in summer, during the season, everything plays with different colors. But in January, it is sheer disappointment.
Ksamil (Photo: Artur Malinowski / flickr.com)
Hotel reviews in Albania
For several decades, Albania was closed off from the rest of the world. Now it is trying to attract travelers, so many tourist accommodations are being built in resort areas. According to the reviews of tourists, hotels in Albania do not always correspond to the declared stardom. Compared with Turkey and Egypt, the service there is minimal.
There are few comfortable 5-star hotels, such as Grand Blue Fafa Resort and Gloria Palace. Holidaymakers are more in demand in budget hotels 3 *, low-cost apartments and farmhouses.
To make your holidays in Albania in 2022 a success, carefully read the reviews of tourists about the hotels.
Ljudmila: “In the Regina Hotel 3* everything is great with food and service. I couldn’t really complain, the rooms, cleaning – everything was fine.
I can’t complain about the room, the cleaning is good. : “Mondial Hotel 4* is my favorite hotel. I can’t wait to stay there and it has a bar on the roof and an amazing view.
LeraRomanova : “My impressions of Aler Luxury Hotel Vlora 4* are very good. The staff at the front desk was very nice and very welcoming.
View from the hotel (Photo: booking.com / Aler Luxury Hotel Vlora)
Reviews about the beaches and the sea in Albania
The coast is washed by the waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Near the beaches there are many conifers, so the air smells of seawater and warmed pine needles. In addition to sandy beaches, Albania has small pebble beaches.
For a beach holiday is good biggest resort in the north – Durres. According to reviews, tourists like the clean beaches of the seaside town Vlora. They are ideal for bathing children. On the Adriatic coast the sandy beaches of Shengina, Lezhi and Velipoje are in demand.
If you like a more secluded vacation, choose the small resort of Saranda, which is located in the south of the Albanian coast, opposite the Greek island of Corfu. Its sandy beaches are washed by the clear Ionian Sea. There is no noise and crowds of tourists!
From June to October you can unwind on the sandy shores of Lake Ohrid, the deepest lake in Europe. The tourists stay in the hotels of the picturesque town Pogradec .
rylada: “The water on rocky beaches is excellent, but aqua shuts are desirable – where the stones are bigger, there are a lot of sea urchins.
Elena fk: “Vlora is a nice and cosy town with wonderful beaches”.
Vasilii Kulev: “My advice: Don’t go to Vlora and Durres, in general there is very poor service, poor infrastructure and bad beaches. Spoil your impression of this beautiful country. Go to the south, to Ksamil and Saranda, that’s where the real Adriatic, azure water, cool (but still inexpensive) facilities and good hotels”.
ZhuchOK: “We have traveled almost all the coast of Albania from north to south, and I can say with confidence that Dhermi Beach is the best beach we have seen.
Beach in Saranda (Photo: Artur Malinowski / flickr.com)
Excursion Reviews in Albania
Vacationers are taken on excursions to the lakes, Tirana, Durres, Shkoder and Berat. During these trips tourists are shown the Ottoman bridge in Mesa, the ancient fortress of Rosafa and museum city Gjirokastra, which is included in the list of UNESCO monuments. From Vlora travel by sea to Karaburun Sazan National Marine Park. One-day tours cost 40-60€.
To make your vacation in Albania in 2022 go without problems, read the reviews of tourists about the excursions.
Ann: “You can get to the Marine Park only by boat. There is a lot of different animals and vegetation under the water. I thought you could see it only in Egypt.
Rusochka: “We went to Koman Lake. It’s very nice, but if someone had told me how long is the road and what it is. I wouldn’t have gone. I came back to the hotel is not good.
According to tourist reviews, in 2021 in Albania were popular jeep safaris, rafting and kayaking on rivers, paragliding, trekking in the mountains, horseback riding tours and bike rides. We advise to visit the capital of the country with children in Tirana, to take a cable car up the mountain Daiti and visit the archaeological museum and preserve Butrinti, which is located in southern Albania. There are water parks and attractions in Durres, Saranda and Vlora.
Butrint National Park is a beautiful park! Nestled among the eucalyptus bushes and other overseas trees, it is steeped in an era of great conquests.
j-unona: “We visited the Blue Eye karst spring on a trip to Albania and were struck by the beauty and appeal of the place.
kas100: “Tirana, the capital of Albania, has never been a touristy town, but it’s exotic enough.
The Kruja Fortress is a popular attraction. (Photo: Tipfinder / flickr.com)
Pros and cons of holidays in Albania
Albanian resorts are not as well promoted as popular holiday destinations in Montenegro and Greece. Nevertheless, tourists from Russia and other countries willingly go to this country. Many of those who have been to Albania, left positive feedback and would like to return again.
The advantages of holidaying in Albania in 2022:
- Warm comfortable climate.
- Clean Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
- Nice sandy beaches.
- The picturesque Albanian Alps.
- Hospitable locals.
- Good roads.
- Good food.
- Architectural and historical attractions.
Aland1: “The cities in Albania are distinctive. When you drive through them, it feels like you’ve sat in a time machine and traveled back in time.”
- The garbage problem has not been solved.
- The service is not well developed.
- Almost no “all inclusive”.
- There are few direct flights from Russia.
Yuri M.: “I got there via Tivat in Montenegro. I rented a car there.
Durres (Photo: marcofieber / flickr.com)
The nuances of holidays in Albania and tourist tips
Every year in the summer and fall, Russians can get into Albania without a visa. Most often the visa-free regime is appointed for the period from April 1 to October 31, but it can change. At other times you can enter the country with Schengen visa.
In addition to Russians, the Albanian resorts are frequented by Belarusians and Ukrainians. Russian speech can be heard on the beaches, in hotels and on excursions.
Albanians are quite conservative in their views. In communication with them, avoid topics of politics, religion and same-sex marriages.
Supermarkets accept not only the local currency – lekis, but also euros. The exchange rate can be found on signs above the cash register.
Those who cook on their own, it is more profitable to buy products in the markets. There they are 10-15% cheaper than in stores.
There is no central heating in Albania. If you want to go to this country in the off-season, find out in advance how the room is heated.