Hello from my 120th country, Albania! This marks the end of my 2-month European Trip and all I can say is this is such an amazing country to visit! Albania isn’t a very popular tourist destination compared to other European Countries so I wasn’t expecting much. Aside from the grand plan to visit every country in the world, the reason why I chose Albania is to just relax and take a City break.
Well, this supposed City break turned out to be one of the best days of my trip. Adriatik Hotel in Duress made sure that I completely enjoy my stay and relax by hosting me in one of their best rooms! As if it’s not enough, Adriatik Tours LLC showed me around with a private car and a private tour guide. I am so spoiled here! Hahaha. Anyway, with or without these blogging perks, I absolutely loved Albania and I’d be back one day! For now, I’ll give you 10 Reasons Why Albania Should Be On Your Destination Bucketlist This 2019.
1) It’s an active destination- When you travel a lot in European Cities, there will come to a point that you’ll feel like it’s all the same— beautiful architecture, huge castles, good food, century-old churches, lots of quaint cafes and restaurants, and of course– thousands of tourists (yourself included) trying to get the perfect Instagrammable photo. Albania is an amazing country to do something different in Europe. You can go rafting, swimming, sailing, hiking, and what not! It’s a totally good country to take a break from the City.
2) It’s historrific!– The Town of Berat is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Town since 2018 and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a town surrounded by mountains and hills where the past and the present blend harmoniously. I went here with Adriatik Tours where we started from the Medieval Town next to the Mangalemi Neighborhood and the Old Bazaar by the river. We then headed to the Fortress dating back to the 4th Century BC and is located on top of the hill overlooking the Osumi River. This town is just so beautiful. The Onufry’s Gallery is a must visit!
The Ancient City of Durres, just less than an hour from the capital of Albania (Tirana) is also very interesting. In the Old Town, you’ll get to see the ruins of the Town Forum, Roman baths, City center, Townhall, Roman Amphitheater, Byzantine walls, Venetian tower and an Archaeological museum with a panoramic display of discoveries and urban planning of the city.
3) They have beautiful beaches- Whether you want to swim, snorkel, simply feel the sand between your toes or all of the above, you can get this wherever you might find yourself in Albania. The most famous are the Dhermi Beach in Dhermi, the Livadhi Beach in Himare, the Pulebardah Beach in Seranda, and the Borsh Beach in Borsh.
4) It is cheap compared to other European Countries- We all know that Europe is expensive but Albania is a lot cheaper compared to other European Countries. As per Numbeo, a full meal at an inexpensive restaurant is around 4.78 Euros, a pint of draught beer at 1.20 Euros, and a one-way ticket for a local transport is at 0.32 Euros. Everything stated here could be twice or thrice as much in other parts of Europe.
5) It is still raw- Compared to other countries in the Balkans, this country is still raw and untouched by any effects of tourists coming in. You went get a thousand tourists with you as you look through the galleries in the museum or as you relax by the beach, you won’t get the rip-off tourist prices in car rentals, you won’t be charged exorbitant admission fees wherever you go, and most of all, you’d get the chance to experience things as it is. So visit ASAP while it’s still like this. Things will never be the same again once tourists come flocking in!
6) The locals are very friendly and nice- Out of all the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Albanian people to me are the warmest and the most sincere. Unlike people in some European Countries who are always on the rush to go on and about their everyday lives, Albanians always give me a shy smile or a quick wave. Sometimes, they would even say hi and attempt to start a conversation (yes they do try to speak in English especially the younger generations). This is where I feel ‘most welcomed’ in Europe, really! 🙂
7) Their local cuisine is worth traveling for- If there’s love at first sight, there’s also love at first bite and that’s what I experienced in Albania. Adriatik Tours took me to the best restaurants around serving authentic Albanian Cuisine and the moment I tasted it, I know it was made out of the best meat and fish and the freshest ingredients.
Here are some that made it on my ‘Eat List’: A. Restaurant Muzakajt in Berat where you have to try their Stuffed Peppers, Spinach Pie, Homemade Wine, and different Local Dishes and the Village of Fishtail near Lezhë where you can taste some extraordinary traditional Albanian food prepared in a modern way.
The chef here uses the freshest seasonal products from his garden to create some culinary masterpieces such as the Jufka with Mushrooms and Fermented Cream and Yogurt Pies made with Local Berries, among many others 🙂 If you’re not a fan of their local food, worry not as International Restaurants are all over the place especially in Tirana.
8) Agriculture is their thing- Vegetarians and foodies, rejoice! Albania is home to one of the freshest vegetables in fruits in Europe simply because it’s their thing. I told you about the Love at First Bite that I’ve experienced here and aside from the culinary skills of everyone in the kitchen, I have to say that it’s because of this as well. All their cuisine is infused with the taste of the freshest tomatoes, onions, and garlic and that alone took the food quality to an entirely different level. What more if they add the freshest lime, ginger, potatoes, and lettuce? YUM!
9) It is SAFE- Personally, I never had any bad experience with the people here in Albania. I felt safe wherever we went and the locals have been really nice! Compared to other European Countries where pickpockets are always on the move, Albania has just a few cases of this. However, the rate has been increasing over the past 5 years so I still suggest you still take the necessary precautions.
10) It’s easy to get to places and other countries from here- Aside from having their own airport called the Tirana Airport, they also share a border with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece. These countries are easily accessible by car, bus, or train.
WHERE I STAYED IN DURRES, ALBANIA
Less than one hour away from Tirana is this town called Durres where a lot of beaches are. This is the last 4 nights of my trip around Europe and surely, Adriatik Hotel made it memorable by providing me with an Executive King Room where there is a seating area, a desk, a TV, a phone and a mini-bar aside from all the nice things you’ll find in a nice hotel like comfortable bed, a nice toilet, and bath complete with bathrobes, toiletries, and fresh towels. You can also book it directly on their website.
Less than one hour away from Tirana is this town called Durres where a lot of beaches are. This is the last 4 nights of my trip around Europe and surely, Adriatik Hotel made it memorable by providing me with an Executive King Room where there is a seating area, a desk, a TV, a phone and a mini-bar aside from all the nice things you’ll find in a nice hotel like comfortable bed, a nice toilet, and bath complete with bathrobes, toiletries, and fresh towels. One of the best things about my room is I have a huge Balcony complemented with the view of the ocean and my own Jacuzzi! The blue and white interior as well as the floor to ceiling window on the living area surely infused the room with all the relaxing and refreshing coastal vibe which reminds me of our sailing days in the Florida Keys. The balcony is huge and it looked like a porch to me where 2 sunbeds are ready to take all the stress away.
The staff is amazing and professional. They honestly set the bar high to the word hospitality. I absolutely loved my stay! They also provided me with 3 tours with a Private Car, Private Driver, and a Private Tour Guide care of their Tour Company, Adriatik Tours.
Adriatik Hotel is 5-star Luxury Hotel which was totally refurbished and renovated last April 2017. It used to cater only to Diplomats, Head of States, Chairs from all over the world when it was constructed in 1957 so I felt like a real VIP when I was here haha.
They take pride in offering impeccable and professional service, their newly renovated rooms, the best view of the Albanian Coast, and the largest outdoor pool in the coast. Overall, this hotel is notably worthy of my recommendation!
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