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Albania is a hidden gem on the Balkan Peninsula. Most people are familiar with Greece and its rich history, philosophers, and mathematicians. Well, Greece shares a border with Albania, and it’s a much cheaper place to visit. There are no crowds because many tourists still don’t know about it. The food is fantastic, and the Ottoman empire has remarkably influenced the culture.
You could spend a month traveling, and it will feel like you’re saving money. What’s even more, the locals will treat you with incredible hospitality. Since there aren’t that many tourists, they take great care of the people that want to get to know their country. Take a look at some of the must-see attractions in Albania.
This city started as a castle on a hill. It was originally named Kalaja, but it changed when more people started living there. Inside the castle, you can find both mosques and churches. Christians and Muslims live in peace, and their places of worship being close to each other is proof of their multiculturalism.
You might have heard of the city with a thousand windows, not knowing that it’s the nickname for Berat. The architecture is incredibly unique, and large windows peep out from traditional houses. If you’re a fan of culture and history, you can also visit the museums and learn more about the place.
Butrint National Park
Butrint is really close to Corfu, which is one of the most famous Greek Islands. Because Ancient cultures didn’t have the same borders as today, there are traces from when they mixed. The most famous landmark is an archeological site over 2,500 years old.
The national park is also home to more than a thousand species of plants and animals. That makes Butrint the perfect symbiosis of history, nature, and culture. Those who want to swim can go to the lake or visit the Ksamil beach.
The waters are crystal clear, and you can schedule some snorkeling sessions. Visiting Butrint will feel like uncovering a hidden gem.
Mention Skanderberg to anyone in Albania; they’ll treat you as if you’re their long-lost brother or sister. You’ll feel that most if you decide to visit Tirana. It’s the capital city of Albania, and it only became popular a century ago. That’s why the architecture is different from the rest of the country. It’s trying to bring a bit of modernity to the tradition.
However, that doesn’t mean that the people there have forgotten their roots. The massive statue of Skanderberg is the most famous landmark. It represents the military commander who united Albania and helped them rebel against Ottoman rule. When you talk to the locals about him, you’ll see their faces light up with a smile.
The rest of the city is organized around the statue in the shape of a star. One of the best things to do is visit a small café near the side of the road and order tea. They’ll give you a special glass for it, and you’ll notice that it’s got more flavor than what you’re used to.
While sipping tea in the café, don’t connect to any public networks without a VPN. Albanian hackers have a reputation filled with exploits, and you don’t want to be their next target. If they notice you’re a tourist, they might want to steal your personal info or infect your device with malware. You won’t know their location since they’ll hide behind a screen. A VPN will protect your device no matter which network you connect to.
Shkodra is the place where all of the cultural events take place. It’s near Montenegro, and conquests and battles have shaped the city’s landscape. The troubling past gave rise to a massive trading center, now Albania’s cultural capital.
The must-see attraction here is definitely Rozafa castle. Legends say that three brothers started it. They were building it during the day, but the walls fell every night. An older man told them they had to sacrifice and bury one of their beautiful lives inside the walls. That was to be the woman who first brought lunch to her husband.
The older brothers told their wives, while the youngest didn’t say a word. His wife, Rozafa, brought him lunch and agreed to be sacrificed so they could finish the castle. However, she had a few conditions. She wanted her arm to be free, so she could hug her child, a breast to feed it, and a foot to nurse him to sleep. The walls never fell.
A few final words
Filled with legends, superb culture, and rich history, Albania is one of the top spots to visit in the Balkans. You can adore the architecture, the exotic beaches, or the medieval castles. You won’t be disappointed by what you see!
About This SIte
Hi! I’m Stephen Schreck! A travel addict, wordsmith, and shutterbug.
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