Off the beaten path – Albania

Located in Southeastern Europe, Albania, sitting on the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, is a little off the beaten path. Bordered by Serbia and Montenegro to the north, Greece to the south and Macedonia to the east, this Mediterranean country is an exotic holiday destination to sit back and relax without burning a hole in your pocket. Albania is a water lover’s paradise with azure seas and a long coastline. The Ionian has a sunny and warm sailing weather,  with predictable winds in summer – great for people learning to sail. And for hikers, there is a lot of mountainous terrain, perfect for an array of sports like climbing, hiking, scrambling, mountain biking and more. 

Experience the Dajti Ekspres Cable car at the Dajti mountain for an unforgettable 15 minute ride at 1200 metres above sea level, passing through Dajt Oark to reach Tirana.

The capital Tirana has a population of a little over 300,000, with an eclectic mix of traditional European structures, soviet style five story buildings and mid-east influenced architecture. There are places on the outskirts of Tirana for canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Korca is a city located in the east of Albania close to the border of Greece. Built high up on a plateau, Korca is a must see if you love Turkish style rugs and carpets. The entire city seems to be devoted to the manufacture and sale of every size, color and type of rug. The beautiful Orthodox Cathedral in the city center is the largest church in the country.

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Dating back to 500 AD, Petrela Castle is an ancient structure, which is in relatively good shape considering the history attached to it. At one time or another, Petrela was the primary defense of the city of Durres. It has been held, used and conquered by Romans, Greeks, Turks and other. Seriously off the beaten path, getting to Petrela requires a sturdy Jeep or Landcruiser. It is a very bumpy road, but the view is more than worth it.

While Albania is struggling to recovery from a communist pass, it is a fairly safe place to visit. The people are nice and it is definitely an opportunity to visit a country off the beaten path.

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