Try stunning Albania for your next holiday destination
Albania has been off the tourist map for many years, due to the particularly bad era of communism in the Baltic country. However, recently Albania tentatively opened its doors to international tourists. The first tourists to arrive here found it a fascinating, unspoiled place, with its ancient Greek and Roman ruins, crumbling castles, beautiful landscapes and pristine Ionian Sea beaches to rival any Mediterranean location. The following is a brief introduction into this lesser-known, but inviting destination.
The Accursed Mountains
Bjeshkët e Namunam or the Accursed Mountains may sound a little daunting. However, this striking mountain range is also known as the Albanian Alps. The mountains with their dramatic peaks make for impressive scenery as they spread over the borders of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. The area is perfect for hiking, trekking and mountain climbing and other outdoor activities. Between the peaks lie thick forests, green valleys and pretty, traditional stone villages to explore, where you can meet the friendly locals.
Rozafa Fortress, Shkodra
There are many fortresses to visit on a holiday in Albania. However, the Rozafa Fortress is special, due to its unusual history. The fortress offers panoramic views over the town of Shkodra and the lake of the same name.
Rozafa fortress was initially founded by the Illyrians, and later rebuilt by the Venetians and Turks. However, the fascinating story behind it is that it takes its name from a woman who was walled up in the ramparts as an offering to the gods. The unfortunate woman was allegedly walled-up for good luck, but insisted they leave two holes in the stonework. This was so that she could still breastfeed her baby, while trapped inside.
Site of Witness and Memory Museum
The Site of Witness and Memory Museum started out life as a Franciscan Seminary. However, it was used at the Shkodra headquarters of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the communist era. This meant it was used as a prison and interrogation centre for political detainees. Many thousands of people were imprisoned here with many never reemerging from the building. The museum pays homage to the horrors that took place in the building with illustrations and other exhibits. Some walls display photos of some who died there, along with testimonies from survivors. Visitors can even see the original cells and interrogation rooms.
Beaches of Albania
Along its southern coastline, Albania has many beautiful beaches, with clean sands lapped by turquoise waters. These beaches easily rival neighboring Greece, but without the heavy price tag. Among the best are Drymades, a pretty small bay close to the village of Dhërmi and a mixture of pebble and sand beaches. This lovely beach is quiet, even in the summer months, and is perfect for relaxation.
Next in line is Dhërmi Beach, one of the most popular resorts in Albania, but while it is busy in summer, there are quieter spots to be found, even at peak season. Borsh is the largest beach on the Albanian Riviera, offering a pristine, 7-km stretch of sand, while backed by mountain peaks and olive groves.
Give Albania a chance on your next holiday trip – this lovely destination could easily become one of your favourite destinations for years to come.
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Latest update: November 18, 2020