Leave Greece behind start memorizing the name of Albania

Albania, a country that can offer from heritage sites to white beaches, from museums to Ottoman architecture, a breathtaking coin to isolated villages, from archaeological sites to wild rivers.  It turns out that not only Greece can be beautiful and attractive. Albania, its neighbor, has everything it takes for a cheap and luxurious holiday.


As you visit Greek's islands with millions more tourists like you, know that Albania has become one of the top tourist destinations of the year. For more than four decades it has been isolated from the rest of the world, but since then many waters have passed through the Mediterranean, and today it welcomes tourists with open arms.

On the other side, they return her love back, because it is one of the most beautiful countries in the Balkan region, with food rich influences of Greek, Turkish and Italian cuisine, it's a generous and smiling nation, wild landscapes and the most beautiful beaches in the region. 


​ Many Israelis, discovered this beauty thanks to the fact that for the first time, direct flights to Albania began this year, so just before it becomes the next Mikonos for tourists, go to investigate the most virulent country in the area.


A little tip just before we dive into the really important things: in Albania it is very worthwhile to rent a car. Whatever the recommendations, public transportation outside the big cities is not yet at its best, and for an independent traveler it’s important not to miss the mountainous landscape, villages, and most importantly the smaller, lesser known beaches.


Albania places a high standard for its neighbors, not to mention the ridiculous accommodation prices in nearby areas. If you rented a car it is very good to start at the southern end, where you will find the Maldives in Albania. 


Start by visiting Ksamil, a small village with one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania. Since the Guardian has put it on the list of the 20 most beautiful beaches in Europe, has also been discovered by tourists. Saranda, is just half hour drive, where apart from a spectacular beach, you can also visit the fountain called ‘Syri Kalter’, the “Blue Eye”. The place is a wonderful natural phenomenon, since the spring feeds on another source of water from the earth and paints its water in turquoise color. 


A few kilometers north on the same axis are more isolated places between jagged mountains that descend sharply to the sea: Palasa, Jala, Gjipe and Dhermi are perfect beaches for quiet, beautiful stops.


Valbona National Park is exactly the place for camping enthusiasts in general and trekking in particular. The park, located in the Albanian Alps bordering Montenegro, is one of the last remaining mysterious places in Europe. Getting to the park is not easy, but when you arrive, you realize that it was worth the trouble.


A breathtaking alpine landscape, hidden springs between mountain ranges, floating glaciers, valleys and waterfalls, wild animals and nature; this is what the country offers in abundance.  People interested in continuing to see snowy peaks, green valleys, sparkling lakes and isolated villages can continue to trek to the Theth valley. The bonus is old shepherds' huts and sheep herds that meet most of the way. Since the area is relatively high and cool in the summer, it is highly recommended to keep up to date with the expected weather before leaving.


Lakes and rivers Lake Koman


Albania is full of lakes and rivers. The Koman River in the north of the country is one of the most popular sites in Albania. The river is surrounded by steep cliffs and later intersects the stone cliffs that formed one of the country's most beautiful canyons. The topographic structure and dense vegetation in the area contributed to the creation of various habitats for animals that are often seen on the banks of the river. In the southern part of Albania you will find the lakes of Ohrid and Praspa. Ohrid, which lies between Albania and Macedonia, is one of the oldest lakes discovered in Europe and one of the


The city of Korce


After all the white treks and beaches, you need a little civilization and coffee for your arteries and soul. The city of Korca, located in southeastern Albania, one of the most beautiful cities in the country, will provide you with these passions. The center of the city is the cherry on the cake - streets paved with stone and narrow alleyways, where time seems to have frozen and preserved as it was hundreds of years ago, and only the abundance of cafes and small restaurants is reminiscent of the distance that has passed through the place. The Catholic church of the Resurrection belongs to the great Orthodox church in Albania, and not only because of its historical importance, but also because the interior of the building is worth the time to schedule the stop in Korce. In August, the city celebrates its annual Korca Beer Fest, at the biggest event in Albania, with about 100,000 participants for five days.


The capital Tirana

Although it has been twenty years since the fall of the old Communist regime, the city has not yet completely changed its character. Along with cold communist architecture, graffiti and various monuments, Tirana offers modern construction and Western brands live side by side in coexistence. Some when say that the contrast is very reminiscent of Berlin, and last year Tirana was ranked in the British economic magazine, as one of the cheapest cities in Europe. For example a half a liter of beer and something good to eat, will cost less than five shekels, while the main course in the restaurant is around thirty shekels on average. 


In Tirana you will find five cheap shopping centers with all the best known brands: Zara, Bresca, Massimo Duty, Mango and many more.  You will find an abundance of cultural institutions, museums and memorial sites that were preserved until the Early Roman period.  The pyramid that once served as a museum for the preservation of the legacy of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha, now stands abandoned to be restructured and renovated soon.


The best food to eat


Albania has not only beautiful landscapes, but is also a country that reflects the range of influences left by various empires under their rule. For example, one of the most famous dishes in Albania is Byrek, filled with spinach or meat, a remnant of the Ottoman Empire that once ruled there. Turkish pastry is available everywhere, whether in the restaurant or street stalls. “Rakia”- a traditional drink similar to the famous Greek drink as well as of the Italian Grappa, is the most consumed alcoholic drink in the whole country.  Albanians love the drink so much that they drink it already at breakfast and before lunch and dinner. 



Butrient and Apolloni - The ancient Theater


Butrint and Apollonia are the two oldest and most important sites in the country. Butrint was a Greek colony dating from the Paleolithic period, which was declared a heritage site by UNESCO, which was abandoned at the end of the Middle Ages. 

Apollonia Archaeological Park was an ancient Greek city and colony founded in 588 BC, a city that has become a popular cultural center at the time. Apart from these, there are several other historic sites in Albania to visit, some of them in Kruje, the first capital of Albania, Berat and Gjirokaster. 


In addition, the South Outdoor Festival is an exceptional event that spans a number of villages for three days during which it can participate in attractions such as extreme sports, jeep tours, paragliding, diving, nature camping, traditional food and local beer. 


The Fustanella Festival is probably the local version of the Arad Festival. Is a little more modest, and is devoted entirely to the  local folklore, especially traditional Albanian songs and lasts for three days. Berat and Gjirokastra are the most ancient cities in Albania. Berat, also known as the City of the Thousand Windows, is divided into two parts - the Old City and the New City. It is possible to distinguish between the areas according to architecture: ancient with an Ottoman appearance and the new one with a more communist character. 


In the old town there are medieval ruins, and you can also visit the Castle of Calais and the Museum of Iconography. As darkness falls, thousands of windows begin to light up and the city becomes even more beautiful. Gjirokastra is an Albanian pearl hidden between mountain ranges and is perhaps the reason why many tourists find it hard to locate it. In the Old City there are steep stone lanes and an ancient Ottoman mausoleum, and beyond that, the second largest castle in the Balkans. In the castle you can admire the heavy cannons and the clock tower, but mostly the American plane that was overthrown during the Communist regime.






Postal Address

Embasy of Albania
Laz-Rom Building, 11 Tuval Street,
Ramat Gan 5252226, Israel

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Tel: 00972 03-5465866
Fax: 00972 03-6883314
Cel: 00972 (0) 54 904 2813
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