As we approach the end of this year, we take time to appreciate our accomplishments in 2023, and some of us plan our travels for the next year.
As an Albanian from Kosovo myself, Albania was almost unreachable for many of us during Enver Hoxha’s Stalinist regime – from 1944 until his death in 1985. Then with the fall of communism in Albania, in December 1990, followed by the Bosnian War between 1992-1995. Later in 1997 the civil war in Albania came, and the genocide in Kosovo between 1998-1999. nightmares, after nightmares made us unable to visit Albania, until the war in kosovo finally ended.
Now in 2023, looking back at how much has changed both in Kosovo and Albania, makes my heart so happy.
As a world traveler, there is nothing better than showing my motherland, the country where my mother tongue comes from, the place where I yearn to go back as often as possible, visiting my family and old friends.
Today, I am happy to start a new travel category on my blog, talking about Albania, especially its southern region.
Albania offers a delightful blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural richness that makes it an ideal destination for summer travel in 2024.
Travelling to Albania in summer 2024 promises a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, affordability, and genuine experiences. Whether you seek relaxation on pristine beaches or adventure amidst stunning landscapes, Albania offers a unique and unforgettable journey for traveler’s seeking something extraordinary.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you plan an unforgettable journey:
Before You Go
Health and Safety: Ensure you have travel insurance and are updated on routine vaccinations. Research any specific health precautions needed for Albania.
Currency and Budget: The local currency is Albanian Lek (ALL), but Euros are acceptable everywhere. While many places accept cards, having cash is advisable. Plan your budget considering accommodation, transportation, food, and activities.
Language and Culture: Albanian is the primary language. Learning a few basic phrases can enhance your experience. Understanding cultural norms and customs is also helpful.
Places to Visit in Southern Albania
Albanian Riviera: This stretch of coastline offers numerous hidden beaches and charming villages. Don’t miss Dhermi, Jala, and Borsh beaches for their crystal-clear waters and relaxed atmosphere.
Vlorë: Nestled along the Albanian Riviera, Vlorë stands as a testament to the country’s rich history and breathtaking natural beauty. With its azure waters, picturesque beaches, and historical significance, this coastal city has enchanted visitors for centuries. The allure of Vlorë extends beyond its historical landmarks. Its coastline is adorned with stunning beaches that beckon sunseekers and adventurers alike. The pristine shores of Radhime, Uji i Ftohtë, and Zvërnec offer a serene escape, while the crystal-clear waters of Jonufër Beach are a haven for water sports enthusiasts.
Himarë: A picturesque town with beautiful beaches like Livadhi and Potam. Explore the Old Town, visit the Castle of Himara, and indulge in fresh seafood.
Sarandë: A coastal gem, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. Visit Ksamil Beach, Butrint National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Lëkurësi Castle for panoramic views. Sarandë stands as a picturesque gem on Albania’s coastline, captivating visitors with its blend of ancient history, stunning beaches, and lively atmosphere. Sarandë’s lively ambiance is amplified by its cultural scene. The waterfront promenade comes alive with street vendors, cafes, and restaurants serving up delectable local cuisine. Fresh seafood, traditional Mediterranean dishes like “tave kosi” (baked lamb with yogurt), and an array of mezze-style appetizers tantalize the taste buds, offering a gastronomic journey through Albanian flavors.
Gjirokastër: A UNESCO-listed town known for its Ottoman architecture. Wander through the cobblestone streets, visit Gjirokastër Castle, and explore the Skenduli House. Gjirokastër, known as “The City of Stone,” boasts a mesmerizing old town characterized by its Ottoman-era stone houses, earning it a coveted spot on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. The well-preserved cobblestone streets and intricately designed homes, many dating back to the 17th century, evoke a sense of stepping back in time, providing a living museum of Ottoman architectural heritage.
Syri i Kalter (The Blue Eye): A natural spring with mesmerizing blue water, perfect for a refreshing swim or relaxation amidst nature.
What to Consider
Accommodation: Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak season. From beachside resorts to guesthouses, options cater to various preferences and budgets.
Weather: Summer in Albania can be hot and dry, perfect for beach outings but consider the heat when planning outdoor activities.
Respect Local Customs: Albanians are hospitable people. Respecting local customs and traditions, such as modest dress in certain areas, shows appreciation for the culture.
Explore Local Cuisine: Try traditional Albanian dishes like Fërgesë, Tavë Kosi, Bukë misri, Baklava, and fresh seafood. Embrace the café culture and indulge in Turkish coffee.
Exploring the south of Albania in summer 2024 promises an enriching experience, blending history, nature, and coastal beauty. As you plan your journey, keep these considerations in mind to ensure a seamless and memorable trip.
How to get to Albania
There are a lot of direct flights to Tirana from many European capitals. I would suggest traveling to Tirana by plane, and then either rent a car or take a bus to your preferred destination.
Albania boasts unspoiled landscapes that range from breathtaking beaches along the Albanian Riviera to stunning mountains in the north. The Spring-summer season reveals the country’s natural beauty in full bloom, making it an ideal time for outdoor adventures.
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Photos (c) Edisa Shahini
*Disclaimer: This post is 100% not sponsored