Are you wondering where your next trip should lead you? Albania may not be the first country most people consider during their trip planning stages. But it is definitely worth to visit Albania! And now is the right time! Let us tell you why:

#1 – The Albanians

Albanians are just a fun, hospitable and nice bunch of people! We have been trying to find an explanation for that in another blog post. But tourism is developing in their country and where you can find an intrinsically helpful person today, there might be a professionally helpful person tomorrow. You have better chances of meeting the real people and make more truthful experiences now than probably any time later.

Anna and an Albanian family

Anna and super hospitable Albanians who invited us in for coffee after we had asked permission to camp near their house.

#2 – Albania is a beautiful country

Landscape-wise Albania has it all. High mountains, remote villages, a Mediterranean Sea coastline, midieval cities, forests and nice lakes. No matter if you want to spend your holidays on beaches or pursuing all kinds of outdoor activities, Albania is going to deliver!

#3 – Albania’s history

Albania has a long and sometimes weird history. Almost every European empire has left some traces during their rule in Albania. And when the struggle for independence finally succeeded, one of the harshest communist regimes in Europe was built. You can see signs of this history almost anywhere. If it’s the well preserved midieval cities or communist bunkers spread around the country. It all tells a story of a colorful past.

Willie and an Albanian bunker

A remainder of the communist past: thousands of these mushroom shaped bunkers can be found in the countryside and in cities.

#4 – Albania is different

Capitalism is still quite new in this country and you can feel that. Look at the retail market, for example. Even in Tirana you will find only one or two branches of the big Western European supermarket chains. And there are no Albanian chains either. Most businesses are small and owner operated. Of course, this is also the case in many other countries around the world. Within Europe, however, this is quite an oddity.
And although this makes things more complicated in a way, we like this kind of economy! First, it just feels right to buy directly from the farmer or in a small store. Big chains tend to spend money for marketing, lobbyists and other things that do not enhance the customer’s product quality experience. Apart from that, they tend to use their market power to dump prices. It is good to not be part of that game every once in a while. Second, you just get in touch with locals inevitably. When you are looking for special items your only chance is to ask around. It may be a lengthy process, but it is often fun and you gain insights into local culture and habits.

Albanian store front

One of those owner operated stores that just sells anything the village needs.

#5 – Albania is cheap

Albania is a poor country. What makes life hard for its inhabitants, makes life cheap for western visitors. It’s hard and unfair, but think of it that way: Every Lek spent in Albania supports its economy and is a building block for a better future. Food, accomodation and entertainment are especially cheap for western travelers. Mind that gasoline and diesel, however, are as expensive as in Western Europe.

#6 – Albania is close

Although completely off the beaten path, Albania is within a two hour flight from about anywhere in Europe. This interesting and excitingly different country is just on your doorstep and easily reached!

#7 – Times are changing

While other countries are keen on leaving the European Union, Albania is trying hard to become a part of it. Its economy and administration are transforming and opening steadily. Some of the above described things are about to change and may be different or gone tomorrow. Apart from that, there is this vibe of change and hope, you will feel while visiting. A feeling that you cannot experience anywhere in the world!

We hope your flights are booked and your bags are packed by now, go out there and visit Albania! It is definitely worth it. If you have further questions or things to add to this list, just leave a comment!

Continue reading our Albania travel guide!

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