Albania is probably the least known country of Europe, only Transnistria, which isn’t recognized by anyone, could rival it. While a fair share of people will ask:
“Albania? Is this some country in Europe?”
another bunch replies:
“Ohh yes! War, crime and poverty.”
Even the interested of us will have come almost only about all the stereotypes displayed throughout the media until recently.
Only very few people can claim to have visited “the Land of the Eagles” and experienced what it’s really about.
These are events of the post though, incidents that happened more than 15 years ago.
Nowadays there are merely one of the many peculiarities that make this country so special. Part of the reason we would call it an extraordinary oasis in a rather conformist Europe.
It’s a county that could be named Europe’s former North Korea, that went through a state in which it was its India. But much more difficult is to pinpoint the current state of affairs.
No surprise Albania was chosen by Lonely Planet as the top destination to visit in 2011.
Today Albania is probably one of the safest and most welcoming destinations in Europe. The great unknown lures people in and the friendliness and hospitality, paired with some of the most amazing landscape, do their part to make the visitor fall in love with the country.
Is this the reason why the National Tourism Board dubbed it “A new Mediterranean Love”?
We have traveled the world extensively and seen our share of sights, mountains and people, but only Shqiperia (as the Albanians call their country) fascinated us this much, took us captive with its beauty, both in landscape and character of its inhabitants.
Many of our guest are reminded of their travels to Asia, the vibrant bazaars and colourful street sellers, on first sight chaotic traffic conditions and potholed roads, the maze of Gordian knot forming electricity lines, lack of international brands and big supermarkets and special curiosity that foreigners are met with.
Sometimes it’s almost unbelievable to find such a gem only a two hours flight away from home.