Albania.. a hidden Gem
For years I have been thinking of visiting this country with a mysterious past located on the beautiful Ionian peninsula, so after a year of planning I was on my way. This hidden gem that is yet to be discovered by tourists has great food, cheap prices, lovely beaches and tons of archaeological sights, old and new. I entered Albania through the city of
Shkoder which is located between Lake Shkoder and the Albanian alps. Since we were driving through, we made a stop at the highest point in town and walked
around the ruins of the castle of Rozafa. Great views of the area.
We then drove further south and entered the capital city of Tirana. Booked a terrific stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, located about a 37 minute walk to the town center.
So much to see:
The tunnels, The Pyramid, Bunkart 1&2, city square, House of Leaves, interesting architecture , churches even a piece of the Berlin wall and the Dajti Express Cable Car which was amazing - The longest cable car in Europe with great views of the city.
So much to see.
After a few days in Tirana, I was headed to the beach town of Himare by way of Vlore and Zvernec Island., a monastery in the middle of nowhere.
The drive through the mountains was interesting with some breathtaking views.
Himare is a small beach town on the coast. We stayed in the lovely REA Boutique Hotel, which is a small 8 room very modern hotel on the water. The town is very easy to navigate, and we decided to walk to the castle ruins (lots of castle ruins in Albania). At the top, great views but not much else around.
A few days in Himare, and we were off again, heading to Gjirokastra, a town with many hills and stone houses, plus a castle.
before finally ending in Berat, our final destination.
Berat is a lovely town surrounded by mountains and located on a river. The town is very picturesque.
We stayed in the first independent hotel in Albania and had to make a morning climb up and down. We
visited Mosques and the only castle in Albania that people actually still live in.
We visited the Osum canyon and got to swim in some very cold water, saw waterfalls and even stopped
at the Brides Hole.
Visiting the Berat castle was interesting and the wife went to a cooking class with people who lived in the castle.
The daily climb to my hotel room was great exercise.
On the way back to Tirana following 3 exciting days in Berat, we stopped at the Karavast Lagoon, the largest in the country, and had in interesting lunch at a fish only all you can eat for one price restaurant.
Put Albania on your list; it was a wonderful country and dealing with Tour Albania was nothing short of a lovely country waiting to be discovered. Highly recommend you deal with "Visit Albania Tour Operator", TOP NOTCH outfit.