"Touring Albania" Albania by SallyM

Albania Travel Guide: 2,166 reviews and 5,875 photos

Having long wanted to visit Albania, we finally got around to booking a tailor-made tour through Regent Holidays.

We had a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and guide/interpreter at our disposal for a whole week, during which we visited Tirana, Kruje, Durres, Berat, Saranda and Gjirokaster. This was luxury indeed.

Some of our hotels were perhaps less luxurious (the hotel in Berat was very dated, whilst the hotel in Saranda wasn't finished yet), but it was a great adventure.

It was a good thing that we had a driver at our disposal - I would have hated to drive on some of the roads we covered. The mountain road on the way down to Saranda was a case in point. "Were you expecting a road like this?" our guide, Ilir, asked me at one point. "Well, I was expecting a road," I replied.

Archaeological Remains

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the ancient sites of Apollonia and Butrint. Apollonia was hard to get to - one of the roads was closed - but when we eventually found it, we had it to ourselves. My other half asked the caretaker of the small museum on the site (through our interpreter, Ilir) why so many statues were headless, thinking that maybe at some point they had been deliberately decapitated, perhaps for religious reasons. The caretaker's response? "Because they have no heads".

It was almost a disappointment at Butrint to discover a group being given a guided tour - though it was hardly crowded by tourist standards.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unspoilt
  • Cons:Litter, unreliable water and electricity supplies
  • In a nutshell:Mountains, sea and ruins without the crowds
  • Last visit to Albania: Jul 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (9)

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Oct 7, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Interested to hear you say albania was your best trip. Never been there, but it is on my very long to do list. Looks great from your tips. Irene

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    Enjoyed this! I wonder if Albania copes better with tourists now? Who, indeed, could resist staying at the Hotel California??

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    albania is indeed a very interesting country. i have been there twice and will go back again in september.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Feb 8, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    Wow...excellent page of a less travelled country Albania. Great writeups like the use of dolls and enemy plane. Cheers from Penang, SL :)

  • y2ketan2007's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2008 at 8:44 AM

    Tirana seems nice even though Albania is amongst the least developed European nations.

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Jun 30, 2007 at 9:04 PM

    Hello Sally! I had similar experience in the museum in Kruje. I was alone and a man followed me and turned off the lights when I left a room. I thought it was funny. I loved Albania and Albanian people. Happy birthday from Finland!

  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2007 at 4:33 PM

    I know what you mean about other tourist groups, there is an edge of hostility between them in out of the way places :)

  • barryg23's Profile Photo
    Nov 25, 2006 at 5:48 AM

    Nice travelogue, I like your museum story. The fact that so few people visit Albania makes it all the more interesting I think.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2006 at 3:48 AM

    Well Sally, that is funny. "Please Miss, may I have the key to the security locker so I can put other valuables with yours. I promise no one will take them." Tlhanks for the smile. joe


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