Printable travel guide for Albania
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Albania that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Albania Page.

Basic Facts

Official Country Name: ALBANIA Population: 4 Million: Telephone Code: 355 Time Zone: +1 : 28765 sq km Language(s): ALBANIAN Capital: Tirana (1 million), Ethnic Groups: ALBANIANS, Highest Mountain: KORAB (2751 m) President: Sali Berisha, Government: Parlamentary Republic: Exchange LEK Rate: 98 LEK = US$1 Health Risks: nothing to mention. Electricity: 220 v: Country Name in other languages: SHQIPERI (native language)

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Albanian coast... It is one of the most attractive parts of tourism and sport in Albania. It has an extension of about 450 km and is generally clean. The largest part of the coast is bathed by the Adriatic Sea. Along the entire coast, shallow beaches offer relaxation to the people and are well preferred by the community. In the northern part of Adriatic, the main beaches are those of Velipoja and Shen Gjini. From the Bay of Vlora to the cape of Stillo at the border with Greece extends the Ionian coast, a rocky coast dotted with inspiring landscapes and small gritty beaches. The Ionian coast provides a range of possibilities for diving activities. Its main beaches are Palasa, Dhermi, Jali, Spilea , Qeparoi, Himara, Saranda, Ksamili etc. The Albanian coast offers possibilities for exercising a wide range of sport activities such as swimming, sailing by boats, strolls by motor - boats, diving etc. LAKES 1. The most important center of tourism is the Lake of Ohrid, situated in the southeast part of the country. This is the deepest lake of the country and of the whole Balkan Peninsula, with a maximum depth of about 300m. The lake is home to a fish, called Alcoran (a kind of trout, unique in this lake). Here is a range of tourism destinations such as Lin, Pojska and the city of Pogradec, Tushemisht as well as the karstic springs of Drilon. Lake Ohrid is a natural destination frequented not only by domestic tourists, who usually rent houses for their accommodation in the area of Tushemisht. 2. The Lake of Prespa is situated in the southeastern part of the country. It is the highest tectonic lake of Balkan Peninsula and simultaneously the largest National Park of country 3. In the inner party of the country there is a range of small icy lakes and karstic, from which worth mentioning are the 12 glacial lakes of Lura in the district of Dibra. They form a National Park famous for its attractive nature among numerous woodlands. Also in the area of Lura, horse racing is a well-known activity as well. This activity is carried out in the traditional way at the Field of Mares Mountains Albanian territory is abundant in mountains and hills, which constitute 2/3 of the country area. The most important destinations are Dajti, Llogaraja, Dardha, Bozdoveci, Voskopoja, Valbona and Thethi. These destinations offer natural possibilities to exercise numerous activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, trekking, cave exploration, mountain bikes etc. The most significant places for developing mountain climbing and trekking are: the chains of Korabi and Lura in the area of Dibra, Maja e Hekurave and Kollata in the area of Tropoja, Vermoshi, Boga, Thethi and Razma in the area of Shkodra and Malesia e Madhe, Alps of Terbuni in the area of Puka, pass of Llogaraja in the area of Vlora etc. A specific activity that can be exercised in the mountains is Mountain Bike. Mountain Bike “Tours” are carried out in the Albanian Alps such as Thethi, Boga etc. Albanian nature offers possibilities for other sports and active holidays like aeronautics, which is connected with the very suitable topographic and natural conditions of Albania.

Maps

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

AIR : Through “Mother Tereza” International Airport, 25 km northwest of Tirana. Linkage with the city is provided through taxi services , taxi fares mounting to approximately 20 USD “ Mother Tereza” airport Tel. + 355 4 371 201, 362 137 BY SEA Albania can be accessed by sea through its main ports: Durres, provides linkages with the italian ports of Ankona, Bari, Brindisi and Trieste Vlora, provides linkage with the italian ports of Bari and Brindisi Shen Gjini, provides linkage with italian port of Bari Saranda, provides daily connections with the Greek Island of Corfu BY ROAD: From Montenegro through Hani Hotit and Murriqan- Sukobina. The first road leads to the Northern City of Shkodra and Shkodra Lake, while the second links Shkodra with Ulcini. From FYR Macedonia through Qafe Thane pass leading to Pogradec, Librazhd and Elbasan. From Tushemisht at the South- Eastern extreme of Lake Ohrid leading to Pogradec. From Bllata, leading to Peshkopi or Bulqiza and Burrel From Gorica the road leads to the northern shores of Lake Prespa From Kosovo, through Morina pass, which links Kukes ( Albania) with Prizren ( Kosovo)

Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest. Hostels Hotels Camping Other Options

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Restaurants, Supermarkets, Street Food, Local Specialties ...

Money and Costs

Lekë, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs...

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Passports: A valid passport is required to enter in Albania. Identity cards are not accepted. Visas: By a Decision of the Prime Minister of the Republic, the citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter in Albania: E.C. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland , Italy, Luxembur, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,United Kingom, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus. EFTA Countries : Norway and Switzerland OTHER : U.S.A., Canada, Turkey, Israel, Japan, South Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, Croatia, Malysia Bulgaria,Romania. The citizens of other countries may obtain visa at any entry point by payment : Saudi Arabia, FYR Macedonia, Bahrain, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and United Arab Emirates. The citizens of other countries are required to obtain visas in the embassies of the Republic of Albania or Albanian Consulates in their respective or neighbouring countries. During the summer tourist season, between 1 of June until 30 of September , the Albanian Government provides the following incentives. All foreign citizens of albanian nationality can enter in Albania without visa. In such a case identity cards are accepted as valid. Do not need visa for this period of time the citizens from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia- Herzegovina.

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Backpacker’s day trip to Apollonia In the midst of the Mediterranean, bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, Albania has recently emerged as one of the world's most interesting traveling destinations. And Apollonia, is certainly one of them. The famous Roman orator Cicero, astonished by the beauty of Apollonia named it in his Philippics, “magna urbs et gravis” - a great and important city. While, Octavian Augustus studied philosophy in Apollonia until he heard news of Caesar's murder. Getting to Apollonia The trip from Tirana to Fier is 115 km long and an additional 10 km to Apollonia. You can easily hitchhike in Albania, and the road to Fier is a very busy one and definitely you’ll get a ride, just get to one of the routes exiting Tirana, or you can take the minivan to Fier which costs 500 ALL. The best and slowest route to Fier(absolutely a stunning experience) is taking the train from Tirana, it runs once per day and costs 205 ALL. For more info check the following website http://www.mpptt.gov.al/transportet/orari.php There is no direct bus to Apollonia, but you can grab a taxi from Fier, which would cost you about 1500 ALL (if you don't like to share a cab) one way. Taking the minivan costs exactly the same and choosing this means of transport makes more sense if you are a group of people traveling together. Taxis are easily found all around the city of Fier. You’ll pass through the Gylakea, that is the ancient name for today’s field of Myzeqe . Along the way, you will spot some small agricultural villages, where time seems to have stopped and it still feels like communism. These villages have peculiar names like Ferma Clirimit (translated Liberation Farm) accompanied by old buildings still holding on to graffiti paying homage to Marxism and Leninism. Archeological Attractions in Apollonia Established in the 7th century B.C., by settlers from Corinth and Corcyra, the ancient city is located to the west of the modern city of Fier. The city has a 4.5 km long surrounding wall encircling an area of 137 hectares. It has been estimated that during the developed stages of the city, 60000 inhabitants lived inside its imposing walls." At the entrance to the Apollonia ruins is a 13th-century-AD monastery, Shenmri (St. Mary), displaying artifacts from the site as well as medieval frescoes and stone carvings. It is a fascinating place to visit which remains mainly undiscovered. As you walk around the area you will also come across some modern history when you see remains of bunkers and tunnels used in Communist times. Among the most interesting monuments worth visiting are the Bouleterion (city council), the library, the triumphal arch, the temple of Artemis, the Odeon built in the 2nd century B.C., the two-storey 77 m long Stoa, a theater with a capacity of ca. 10000 spectators, and the Nymphaeum (a monumental water fountain covering an area of 2000m2), which has been visited by the Roman emperor Sulla. In the third century AD it lost its importance when an earthquake shifted the course of the river and the city lost the harbor that had made it an important port. Relaxing Unfortunately, there are no hostels or cheap hotels around the area, but camping under the shadow of centenary olives, outside the archeological site is perfect. Apollonia is located on a hill overseeing the sea in the far horizon, and you could enjoy a beautiful quiet sunset in a cool breeze. Getting Around The ticket to the main entrance costs xxx for foreigners and xxx for locals. Upon entrance you could ask for the guide which is included in the ticket price. One of the guides is Admir Xhelaj, and he knows a great deal regarding the subject. If he finds out you’re interested, he’ll show you some very cool facts and stuff. Activities in Apollonia While in the park is forbidden to play any sort of game or cook, we managed to have permission to play some Frisbee in one of the flat grounds over the hill and barbeque. Another good idea is to hike along the old walls of the city approx a 4.5 km hike (Bring plenty of water on a sunny day). Communism bunkers sit at the top of the hill where the Acropolis used to be situated; an underground route links all of them, which might be a good idea to explore if you’re up for it. All the surrounding area has great trails for mountain biking, a trip of no more than 5-6 km takes you to the sea, which has a white sanded beach very rarely frequented near the delta of the Seman River making it a perfectly peaceful camping site. Food and beverages At the site you can find two main restaurants, one located near the entrance and one on top of the hill, highly recommend the upper restaurant for the enjoyment of good views and hydration after the hike. Attention though, they don’t have a written menu and could sometimes abuse with prices. The main dish of course is meat, which is the local delicacy. Prices for the main dish are as follow: Pork meat: 650, Lamb meat: 750, local whole Chickens: 1200, Veal: 700. The other restaurant has a written menu with prices as follows: Pork meat: 600, Lamb meat: 800, local whole chickens: 1100, Veal: 700. If you want to be closer to the sea, do not take the turn that takes you to Appollonia, but keep going further down the road and you will come across village of Seman. There’s a great restaurant in this village, named after the owner Vangjel Profka. Food is really fresh and the place healthy crowded and there are a lot of choices in salads and other local specialties for vegetarians. Enjoy it !!!

Photos

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Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas... Some of the nice places around: Rock Cafe, well this is the nicest place for the authentic music lovers, you'll find great music performed live every Friday and Saturday, the owner is a nice guy to and the atmosphere is real friendly. Mumja, this the newest night club in Tirana, it's more of a Lounge in fact, but real cool and you can find the most attractive and hippest crowd around, music is usually, chill out house, lounge, latin Cuba, well this is a latin music place, nice cuban style decorations inside, used to be the hype of Tirana, after the manager left and opened Mumja :), still lots of people go, sometimes during busy weekends you might be left out, if you don't have the club card. Just pretend it's usual that you're going in and don't look confused at the bodygards. Living room, well this is the showy place, beware to go dressed up, and with planty of cash if you want to party all night, during summer there's a nice terrace where you can sip, talk listen sit whatever. The crowd is somewhat older 25-40 and the music is so different every time, depends on the DJ's mood :) New Irish, this is a very nice Irish style pub, the people going there are totally cool (including me:), the best place to hang around during week days, the owners are a really nice couple; and enjoy your beers!!!! Cannon, this is a small, but I really recommend this sort of a Irish pub, with wooden chairs and tables, the crowd inside is usually real nice, and you can even request any of your favourite songs, as long as it's blues, rock, rock&roll. It's has a very warm atmosphere and it's a great place to go dancing even during week days. If you want to know more ask gentip

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

Climate and When to Go

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

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External Links

Official Country Website:
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