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Albania travel guide for Indians

May 22, 2018

Albania

Most people are only dimly aware of this European country with its isolationist and communist past. Few know of its pristine beaches, Roman ruins, Ottoman towns and hospitable locals. It is quite distinct from its neighbors in its language, cuisine and customs.

Tirana, the capital has the usual trendy bars, traditional restaurants and night spots but it’s also different from other European cities with its mish-mash of communist, Italian and modernistic architecture. The Blloku area of the city was off limit to all but the party members. After the communist era, in an effort to modernize, most buildings were painted in vivid colors and they make quite an impact.

Berat is an old charming town with Ottoman style houses and a citadel. From the town’s Mangalemi district, a cobbled and steep path leads to splendid 14th century citadel known as Kalasa and a great spot for a viewing. The town had over 30 churches but most are now locked (key keepers are usually in the vicinity and will let you in for tips). Other interesting sites are the Onufri Museum and the Ethnographic Museum.

Ionian Coast is the most appealing part of Albania. The beaches are ringed with rugged mountains and the pristine sand; said to be the only unspoilt section of the Mediterranean coast. On a clear day, you will be able to see Italy from the top of the 1027m-high Llogaraja Pass.

Gjirokastra was once an important Ottoman trading hub and has Ottoman style houses and a maze of cobbled streets. It was also the birthplace of the Albanian dictator Envar Hoxha. At the town’s center is the 6th century citadel which was used as a prison by King Zog, the Nazis[SS1] and the Albanian dictator. The citadel’s spooky interior exhibits an American jet that was forced down in 1957, tanks and other weaponry.

Kruja is just 35 km from Tirana is where Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg resisted the Ottoman invasion. Skanderbeg’s statues and likeness are scattered all over the town. The town’s castle is the most popular spot and houses a number of restaurants; a history museum as well as an ethnographic museum. A restored Ottoman Bazaar just below the path leading to the castle is popular for buying souvenirs.

Saranda, a seaside town just off the Greek island of Corfu has a number of beaches and a promenade. 20 km south of Saranda is Ksamili which has better beaches. Known as the hidden gem, Ksamili’s beaches have white sands and crystal clear waters.

Albania is an interesting and economical destination for a European vacation. So if you plan to visit, book early to get early bird discounts and bargains. For all your foreign currency needs, visit www.buyforex.com and get the best deals and trouble free service. EbixCash World Money multi-currency forex card comes with pin/chip security and can be used at ATMs for cash withdrawal. Don’t forget to get travel insurance too.

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