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Albania: Trip in 10 days

We left for ten days during the month of June 2021 to discover Albania. We hadn't planned a well-defined route, but only booked the first few days in Tirana and then in Berat.

According to the Albanians, the months of July and August attract a lot of tourists, the restaurants and the beaches are often crowded. So, if you prefer to travel quietly, favor a stay during the months of May / June or even in September / October, for a temperature of around 25 degrees, relaxing beaches, and hotel restaurants without the crowds of the summer period. Flights for the month of June cost us just € 60 return per person from Geneva to Tirana.

We won't explain our entire trip in detail, but we will reveal our reviews, places and favorite addresses to give you some tips for a great stay. Obviously, we don't hold the absolute truth and it's totally possible that you won't agree with us! This country was a real crush, so much so that it could well be part of the next educational game Memo Trotter .. To be continued!

L'Albanie en 10 jours © Mathilde Racloz / Memo Trotter

Tirana : The sleeping capital

Tirana is a friendly city, where it is pleasant to walk around. However, we did not find this city to be very vibrant. It is possible that the health crisis and our weekday visiting days degrade our view of Tirana and that in normal times Tirana may be an active and very attractive city.

Tip: Prefer renting a car after visiting Tirana.Indeed, driving from the airport to Tirana Center as well as in the city center is very sporty and parking spaces in the city center are scarce!

We did find the historic sites astonishing, both in terms of their content and their originality (Cf: Le Bunker’Art).You can also visit great and fascinating museums such as the National Historical Museum which traces the history of Albania or the House of Leaves which explains the espionage of Albanian citizens during the communist period.

The places to eat are many, varied, inexpensive and spread across different areas of the city, such as:

- The Old Bazar district "Old Bazar": Here you will find typical, inexpensive places as well as a weekly market, the "Pazari i Ri". The restaurants around this square are all divine and the welcome is very warm. You will be able to taste very good byrek! These are kinds of pies garnished with different foods: meat, vegetables, or even cheese. You will find them at any time and in any establishment.

- The Tirana Castle “Kalaja e Tiranes”: At the heart of the castle, high quality bars and restaurants mingle. Among them: The Tartuff Shop, a restaurant where truffles honor every dish!

- The Bulko: The area is neither really welcoming nor particularly pretty, but you can find nice little restaurants like Ejona.

To rest away from the crowds of the capital, there are several rooftops such as the Piano Bar Observator or the Sky Bar to sip one (or more) cocktail (s) while admiring a beautiful sunset.

The magnificient Berat

Berat is a bewitching, calm and charming town.We found that there were a good number of guesthouses offering the possibility of reserving three or four rooms at most. We stayed in the Arben Elezi guesthouse for 25 € a night and we were delighted: the rooms are spotless, the terrace gives a breathtaking view of the city, the breakfast is very generous and included in the price.

Berat © Memo Trotter

After a walk of less than an hour, you can reach the Castle of Berat (Kalaja e Beratit.) Up there, you will enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the friendly welcome of the inhabitants nestled in their stone houses..We cannot repeat it enough: we have received superb hospitality all over the country.

Tip: Stay at least two nights to enjoy the city and the surrounding area.

We have always come across excellent restaurants serving Albanian specialties; especially Antigoni where the welcome, the terrace and the dishes are remarkable. The price of two complete meals, that is to say, starters, main courses, bottle of wine for two people is only 15 €. Good to know: you will notice that one of the waiters looks strangely like Magnus Carlsen.

Apollonia Archaeological Park

Parc archéologique d'Apollonia © Memo Trotter

We visited the site for several hours, honestly?The site has nothing to do with the Butrint site located near Ksamil.However, the walk is pleasant, the turtles are numerous and the remains are well preserved.

The booming Adriatic coast between Vlora and Radhimë

After a few hours of driving, we stopped for a meal in Vlora. We quickly saw that hundreds of hotels are under construction and beachfront restaurants are plentiful. At first glance, we were not particularly seduced by this city. The prices are higher than in Tirana, Berat or Gjirokastër for example.

We stayed in Radhimë in a hotel with a sublime private beach twenty meters from our home for only € 30 per night. You can find a large number of accommodation between Vlora and Radhimë offering the same services at the same price.

Tip: If you want more tranquility, choose Radhime in Vlora

All the restaurants are located by the sea, but we haven't found a favorite address.The food is decent, but more expensive and less delicious than elsewhere.

The enchanting crossing of Llogara National Park

Explore the splendid Llogara Park which rises over 2000 meters above the sea. The road to Himarë is breathtaking, the forest is lush and the views spectacular. Don't hesitate to stop at a roadside chalet to observe animals such as deer, wild boars and wolves.

Tip: Watch out for bends as the roads are twisty and Albanians tend to stop anywhere on the road!

The quiet Himarë

Himarë is a small town where it is very pleasant to stay. The most beautiful beaches of the Albanian coast are about thirty minutes drive away, among them, Gjipe Beach, Jale Beach or Filikuri Beach.

They all have the same attractive features: turquoise water emerging from a dense forest.

Himarë © Memo Trotter

The Amadeus restaurants and Taverna Stoli are beautiful places by the sea, ideal places to enjoy a gentle sunset while listening to the sound of the waves. Prices are generally very affordable and less excessive than in Vlora.

The ideal and the splendid Porto Palermo

From Porto Palermo to Queparo, you will find on your way very pretty beaches and small coves out of sight. We were lucky to find ourselves alone or with only a dozen people on the same beach. The place is peaceful, the landscape is authentic, wild and very sparsely inhabited. From your beach towel, you can also visually search for bunkers hidden in the mountains.

A few minutes from Porto Palermo you can access the village of Qeparo. The large beach of Qeparo is not particularly attractive, but it is an ideal place to take a break, stroll and eat before returning to enjoy the green nature in Porto Palermo.

Tip : Enjoy !

The boiling Ksamil

Ksamil is the most touristic place we have visited. Yes, there are people on the deckchairs and in the streets, yes, the restaurants are more expensive than elsewhere and yes, the hotels are part of the landscape. Despite all this, the place remains atypical, charming and dynamic.Indeed, each walk will make you discover the beauty of the crystalline waters of the beaches of Ksamil.

Here you can enjoy very good quality seafood and grilled fish! We loved the Bella Vista Ksamil as well as Ftelea Fishop and Grill, both restaurants serve excellent and well prepared produce. The points of interest revolving around Ksamil are above all the island of Corfu located a few kilometers by boat where day trips are possible as well as the site of Butrint.

Indeed, as described earlier in the article, Butrint is a well-preserved archaeological site. Its ancient monuments are diverse: Roman baths, chapels and of course, its famous Roman theater. You can also opt for a boat trip on the lake, which allows you to contemplate the immensity of the site from another point of view!

Tip: Prefer tours and beaches in the morning because the beautiful beaches of Ksamil fill up quickly.

The beautiful Gjirokastër

We have only been in the town of Gjirokastër but we loved this small town with character perched in the mountains. If you are in a car, always keep one hand on the handbrake during perilous climbs, this will ensure that you are prepared if you come across a school bus on the turn ;-)

We would have liked to stay longer in Gjirokastër because it is pleasant to walk in its historic center dotted with small fortresses and beautiful white houses. In addition, the restaurants serve only the culinary specialties of the country. We particularly appreciated the Odaja restaurant which offers delicious dishes.

After a 20-minute walk, you can observe a breathtaking view of the city as well as of Mount Mali from the fortress overlooking the city center.

Gjirokaster © Memo Trotter
Tip: Plan to stay at least two days in Gjirokastër if you have time, it is a very pleasant stopover after staying in the Adriatic coast and ideal for doing some nice hand-made shopping, before heading back to Tirana.

In short, it was 10 days of pure discovery, in a magnificent country. Our only regret is surely not having had enough time to make beautiful hikes or to discover more of the North of the country.

Did you like our article ?You have any questions ? Don't hesitate to leave us a comment, we will answer you with pleasure!

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1 Comment

Ben Ben
Ben Ben
Feb 20, 2023

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