10 Reasons you should add Albania to your bucket list
- It’s absolutely beautiful. Think Swiss Alps in the north and warm turquoise beaches in the south. The best part, though? It’s not overrun with tourists, or the price tag that comes with them.
- The food is delicious, and healthy. Grilled meats and veggies. Yogurt dishes, rich pepper sauces, and warm flat bread. It’s simple, real food in delicious combinations. I love it.
- The people are truly kind. Honest and straightforward… but kind. In the U.S. a women might forgo telling you you’ve got lipstick on your teeth for the fear of being awkward. Not so in Albania. “I love that color of lipstick, it looks great on you, but you must get it off your teeth.” Fair enough.
- It’s unlike any other place in the world. It’s a predominantly Muslim country in the middle of southeastern Europe. It’s such a fascinating clash of expectations. When you think of Europe you don’t necessarily expect to see Mosques, and don’t expect to hear the call to prayer at 5:50 am, but that you will. In many ways, though it still feel very “typically European”. Think people dressed in sleek black sipping coffee in cafes for hours while talking about anything and everything.
- It cheap! Like, really cheap. A delicious cappuccino is 100 leke (less than $1), a pizza is 300-500 leke. We can eat out as a family of 4 for about $20 easily with drinks included.
- It’s still unspoiled by overtourism. This beautiful country that sits amongst the touristy likes of Greece and Croatia and is just a one hour flight from Rome or Venice is still relatively unknown. You can visit a UNESCO world heritage castle from the 3rd century B.C. and not have anyone else around.
- It’s very family friendly. Albanians LOVE kids. It’s such a kid friendly culture. Children are always welcome. Don’t be surprised when your kids get their cheeks kissed, their hair tousled or they are picked up and hugged. “It’s the Albanian way”, a friend of mine told us. They often put playgrounds in nice restaurants, coffee shops and malls so that the kids can play and the adults can enjoy a long philosophical conversation about life. I have also seen kids dancing traditional Albanian folk dances along with the grown ups at a local pub at midnight.
- The customer service is excellent. I’ve been to a lot of hotels in A LOT of different countries and the customer service in Albania has been the best. Read about our experience at our favorite hotel in Berat here.
- The beaches! The entire western and southern coast of Albania is coastline. The water is a patchwork of brilliants blues. Crystal clear, warm and beautiful.
- Ancient history. There is so much fascinating history. From the ancient Illyrians, to the national hero, Skanderbeg holding off the Ottomans in the 1400s, to the bunkers scattered throughout the countryside a ghostly memory of communist times past...
It’s a fascinating, and beautiful place with a complicated history that is absolutely worth visiting, so add it to your list!