Berat

National Geographic :Albania, one of 10 Places That Deserve More Travelers

The 9th of June, National Geographic, published an article about the 10 places that deserved to be visited the most. Albania was one of them, but also our neighbor Kosovo.

In the article is also mentioned the recent opening of the country towards the tourism compared to the other countries in the Balkan.

In the south coast there can still be found some ruins from the past. In particular Butrint, which is located only 20 min from the city of Saranda. Butrint is an archaeological site that is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage in 1992. Today it is an ancient city, under the open sky, which used to be inhabited for many centuries. The cities of Berat and Gjirokastra and the Ohrid Lake are also listed in the UNESCO. Albania is a country whose diverse aspects will know how to amaze you!

 

Autor Estelle Thomas ©Ecotour Albania

Source : http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/features/ten-places-that-deserve-more-travelers/

Gjirokaster

 

Butrint Amphithetre

EXPLORATION OF ALBANIA BY SUISSE MOI - Part 2

That is how Albania is described by the famous Swiss blogger.

“Suisse moi” is a famous Swiss travel blog. Recently they have published a video about Albania.

In this video is described the journey of Sylvain Nicolier, a nomad traveller, who has travelled around the world for lots of years promoting beautiful landscapes sometimes in a humoristic way. Before starting this new adventure he asked online for suggestions or challenges about what to do in Albania. And finally the day to come to Albania has arrived…

He is a freestyler, as it is also shown by the way he starts his video, on the top of a car in Tirana. He visits the city of Tirana, meeting people down the street, playing like a child in the park, climbing up the Pyramid of the ex – dictator or bunkers of the communist regime. According to him, Tirana is the city that best represents the country, with a mix of architectural styles and religions.

His journey continues to Elbasan. He focuses on the little morning customs of the city, children playing in the park, youngsters enjoying a coffee outdoor and elderlies playing domino. For lunch Sylvain decides to taste the famous byrek.

His next stop is in Tushemisht, besides the lake of Ohrid and after that in Korca, where he manages to find folk dancers performing in the city center. He also tastes the local cuisine such as qofte and beer “Korca”.

He continues his trip inVoskopoja, Rehova, thermal water in Benja, a magical and quite place where Sylvain also decides to take a bath. He didn’t miss the city of the flowers, Permet, the Blue Eye, where he had to jump in the cold water as part of a challenge, Saranda and the Albanian Riviera. One of the challenges proposed was to roller skate down to Dhermi. And the challenge was of course accepted and accomplished.

The blogger promises to return in Albania, once again to visit the north of the country.

Sylvain arrived to Albania the 6th of May, and he has spent 10 days in this amazing country.

The one thing that made Sylvain doubtful about his journey was the language. He thought before departure, that it would be hard for him to find English or French speaking people everywhere. He knew for sure that his sister, Anouk, his producer, Geoffroy Dubrueil, and one car would be in Albania waiting for him.

It has been almost two years that Sylvain travels through the unusual concept of Suisse moi (Swiss me).

He has already been to Marok, Togo, Quebec, Mexico etc.

He has developed an entirely new concept or way of traveling. He follows neither touristic travel guides, nor group tours organized by touristic agencies. He organizes the steps of his trip on his own and through suggestions or challenges proposed by others. He aims to discover the world in different aspects such as food, traditions and sports. Then he shares his adventure online by the videos he takes while traveling.

On his second video of Albania you can see how he challenges himself to eat the head of a lamb, eye included and “playing” the cifteli a traditional Albanian music instrument.

As for the name he confesses that he wanted to play with words such as “Swiss me in Mexico” or “Swiss me in Corsica”.   

Source : http://www.suissemoi.com/2016/05/15/cote-albanaise/

 

La face cachée de l'Albanie   

 

 

Discovering Berat

Today we will head to Berat, a must visit city during your stay in Albania.

Also known as the city of thousand windows, in Berat you will enjoy the vibes of the past, an environment which you will find very pleasant.

With a very particular charm, this little city is part of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 2008.

The most adventurous will surely make their way up to the fortress of Berat by foot, but for the others to go there by car is also a possibility. To have a walk inside the fortress means to see closer the charming characteristic white houses of the city, to visit the ruins of this ancient fortress as well as to discover some little secrets such as the statue of the head of Constantine the Great, the church of St Theodor built with red bricks and the cistern of the Byzantine Era who was used to save the water.

In the fortress you can also find the museum of the famous Albanian painter of the 16th century, Onufri. Some of his works are placed in the museum together with other painters’ works. By entering the museum you can also visit a small church, where were found two codex of the VI th and IX th century. Today these codex’s are stored in Tirana and are also listed in the UNESCO.

From the ruins of the Berati castle you will have the opportunity to admire a view of the Tomorri Mountain, in the east of the city with a height of 2416 m. This mountain is also famous because it is a pilgrimage place for the Bektachi, second largest religion in Albania. From the castle of Berat you can also see a building that looks like the White House in Washington DC: Albanian University of Berat, a private one. Even though it is a relatively new construction it perfectly matches the architecture of the city and the traditional white houses.

Once back down in the city you can walk through the main street of Berat and so discover the main sites like the new cathedral and the big mosque.

We invite you to “get lost” in the Mangalemi neighbourhood, with small and narrow streets. There you can find the Bachelors’ Mosque and a big number of shops to pick up some souvenirs.

If you are still in for more you can cross the bridge and visit other neighbourhoods, Gorica and Kala, with multiple windows houses, who will surely enchant you.

Author Julie Terrol ©Ecotour Albania

 

Boston Globe : Albania, an undiscovered gem!

Albania and the city of Berat are considered by Boston Globe as a touristic destination for 2016. The author of this article, Christopher Muther refers to Albania as an undiscovered gem.

The author describes the lack of infrastructure, the bad condition of roads, not a good public transport and the limited access on the internet.  But according to him these are the reasons why this country is worth visiting.

In his article he also mentions’ the beautiful Albanian Riviera, referring to it as breathtaking.

Description of the Boston Globe:

This is not a place for tourists in search of luxury, or for inexperienced travelers, but I can assure you that what you get for the price you pay is really great. If you are not sure about traveling there by your own, you can contact a travel agency. For many years Albania was an isolated country, but since the fall of the communist regime it is a well - known travel destination. In Albania you may notice lack of infrastructure, bad road conditions, not a good public transport and limited internet access. But exactly because of these you should visit this undiscovered gem. The beaches along the Riviera are breathtaking.

Direct flight? NO. Best time to travel to Albania? September.