Albania, Budget travel, Europe, Expat life, The Balkans

10 fascinating facts about Albania

  1. The fact that is is still so unknown. Where is it you ask? Albania is a small country in Southeastern Europe that many have still never heard of. It’s nestled between Montenegro and Greece, and sits directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. 
  2. They once had a King named Zog, and no, he was not a robot. He was, however the first and only king of Albania ruling from 1922-1939. 
  3. No means, yes, and yes, means, no. Shaking your head side to side means, yes in Albania and nodding up and down indicates, no. It does make for some comical miscommunication at times. 
  4. There are thousands of communist bunkers scattered throughout the countryside. You can even visit some that have been turned into a tourist attraction in the capital of Tirana. The communist dictator Enver Hoxha was extremely paranoid and these bunkers are relics left over from that time. 
  5. This predominantly Muslim nation refused to give up the names of Jewish people during WWII. Due to their code of Hospitality known as “besa”. They hid thousands of Jewish people, saving their lives. This tells you so much about the incredible Albanian people.
  6. Mother Theresa was an ethnic Albanian and a national hero who was born in Macedonia. She is the only Albanian to be awarded a Nobel peace prize. 
  7. There are only 3 million people living in Albania. That’s about the same population of Wyoming, USA. 
  8. Albania has the most coffee shops per capita in the world. Coffee culture is everything in Albania. People will sit with others and sip espresso for hours. 
  9. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Burger King ( update: there is now a Burger King!) are nowhere to be found. But they do have a KFC which is the only American franchise restaurant in Albania. Funnily enough it is situated directly actoss from the home of former dictator, Enver Hohxa. 
  10. There are more Albanians living outside of Albania than in it. After the fall of the communist dictatorship, thousands of Albanians fled across the globe to countries from Turkey, and neighboring Greece, and Macedonia to The United States, and Canada. 

It’s a fascinating and beautiful place! If you find yourself in the Balkans, it’s absolutely worth making your way to this amazing land.

❤️ Melissa

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1 Comment

  1. Sara

    May 18, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Wow, I didn’t know that Albanians were such (unsung) heroes during WW2. That’s amazing. I wish more stories would like about these heroics. I read an article this morning about women who wrote secret codes to tell the stories of the terrible medical experiments going on by using their own urine as invisible ink. I can’t even imagine how terrifying these acts of bravery must have been. Side note – I had no idea there were 3 million people in Wyoming. That seems like a lot, lol.

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