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[edit] Other destinations

  • Butrint - Largest archaeological site from Greek era in Albania. It lies on the coast in the southernmost tip of the country, near the Greek border. Minibuses are available from Saranda.

Byllissecond largest archaeological site from Roman era in Albani

KamenicaIllyrian Culture

SelcaIllyrian Culture

  • Tomorri Mountain ridge in the southern part of Albania, not far from Berat. This part of the country is formed by parallel mountain ridges (up to around 2000-2500 m) separated by valleys. Although the ridges are not very long, they offer few days of hiking with enormous scenic beauty and fantastic panoramic views. Tomorri is one of the most known ridges with a Bektash monastery and chapel on the very top.

Albanian Riviera the golden part of Albania

  • Albanian Alps, . This mountainous complex on the north of the country forms the border between Albania and Montenegro. Rich on rainfalls, sheep, bare rocks and scenic views it is one of the places in Albania you should see. One of the places where you can be less than 10 km away from the nearest village and still have a day long trip there.

Albanian Riviera

Map of Albania

[edit] Understand

The majority of the people in Albania are Muslim, which can be influential in the way many Albanians lead their lives, but, unlike most other countries, Albania also has a large number of religious minorites (mainly Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic), making the country far from homogeneous in that sense. Another factor worth mentioning is that in Albania, it is the custom to nod your head to say no, and shake your head sideways to say yes; please take this fact into account in the daily interactions with these people.

[edit] History

Following the defeat of the Axis powers at the end of World War II, a totalitarian Communist government was established, presided over by resistance leader Enver Hoxha. Albania became infamous for its isolation, not just from the market-run democracies of Western Europe, but with the Soviet Union, China, and even neighboring Yugoslavia. Even as the Iron Curtain came down and Communists lost power throughout Eastern Europe, Albania seemed intent on staying the course, alone.

But in 1992, several years after the death of Hoxha, the Communist party finally relinquished power and Albania established a multi-party democracy with a coalition government. The transition has proven difficult, as corrupt governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, a dilapidated infrastructure, widespread gangsterism, and disruptive political opponents. Today Albania is making progress, with EU integration as its goal; Albania signed the SAA on June 2006, thus completing the first major step towards joining. In 2008 Albania received an invitation to join NATO.

[edit] Get in

Sign at the Albanian - Macedonian border crossing on the southern shore of Lake Ohrid [Photo: Rolf Palmberg]

[edit] Visas

The European Union, U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand nationals can enter Albania without obtaining a visa but you'll have to pay an entry fee of €1 (if you visit Albania on a daytrip it can be free, for short stays it can be €1). Be sure to receive a reciept and keep it with you, as guards may request it upon exiting the country as proof of payment. The Albania guards are very nice and do their best to help out and will, on occasion, allow fees to be paid in dollars or will forget to charge you. It's worth making sure you've got the Euros on you as the customs officers at Mother Teresa airport don't give change.

As of 2008 the entry fee has been changed from €10 into €1. There is a scam going on at the border with Montenegro: guards ask for €10, but when you give them €1 they agree and let you in.

As well as paying to get in, you need to pay €1 to leave the country. When crossing the border with Macedonia on foot, the guards only accept €1 and €2 coins, you can not pay with two €0.50 coins.

[edit] By plane

Tirana's "Mother Teresa" International Airport [2] is located just 15 minutes away from the city. It is served by numerous European flag carriers such as British Airways, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Austrian, and the low cost carrier Germanwings. A new, larger terminal opened in 2007.

At the airport exit there are numerous taxis 24/7 that can take you to the city. The taxi fee to the city center is 25 Euros. Taxi fees to other locations are posted on a placard just outside the exit doors.

There is a bus that runs once an hour between the airport and Skanderberg Square in the centre of Tirana. It costs 200 lek each way, leaves on the hour from the airport and at 25 past the hour from Skanderberg Square. It runs from about 8AM to 7PM.

[edit] By train

It is not possible to cross the border to Albania on a train, because there are no connections.

[edit] By bus

You can reach Tirana by coach from

  • Istanbul, Turkey (20hr, €35 one-way)

  • Athens,Greece (13 hr, €30)

  • Sofia, Bulgaria (22 hr, €25)

  • Tetovo,Macedonia

  • Prishtina,Kosovo (10 hr, €20)

[edit] By boat

  • Ferries to Durrës arrive from Bari (9h, €50) and Ancona (19h, €70). A high-speed service operates from Bari (3h, €60).

  • There is also a reliable overnight ferry service operated by Skenderbeg Lines from Brindisi to Vlore Skenderbeg Lines.

  • Ferries from Corfu to Saranda every day.

[edit] By car

You can reach Albania by car from:

  • Podgorica, Montenegro

  • Ohrid , Macedonia

  • Prizren, Kosovo

where pass the main roads.

There is a 10-euro/person tax, which must be paid upon entering Albania. After payment of the tax to the police, the customs officer will issue a "road tax certificate", which you must keep until you leave the country. When you exit the country, you'll pay 2 euro/day and return the certificate.

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