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Trip Report

Albania - the underestimated Balkan jewel

Visiting the capital city, historical Kruje castle, loads of fresh and tasty local food & up to the North of the country for a lovely biking trip around Shokdra lake with getting to know the locals

by zuzanaAbout Me:Happy person traveling the world read more

EuropeAlbania6 days / October 2018

Highs & Lows

Biking trip around Shokdra lake rewarded with tasty & super fresh seafood dinner

The other side of the beauty - loads of trash & litter in the streets but mainly in the nature (not everywhere of course)

Itinerary Overview

With a rented car, we arrived directly in the crazy city center, with two streets suddenly becoming four and cows crossing in the opposite direction. We've walked through the pulsating city center, incredible during night, feeling secure all the time. We've been strolling through the lively streets, eating tasty fresh olives and other amazing food at one of the many open food markets, admired the colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. Our final stop was Mother Teresa Square, full of breathing history and emotions. Overall, I would point out Tirana as being one of the most beautiful tourist cities in Albania and the best start for tourists on their journey to explore the rest of this stunning Balkan country.

  • 3 Nights: Tirana
    Capital city of the country with a lot of history
  • 3 Nights: Shkodër
    Beautiful nature, biking trip around Shkodra lake and close destination for crossing border to Montenegro
  • Day trip: Krujë District
    Ideal day trip from Tirana by car, full of history as being the center of Skanderberg's rebellion against Ottoman Empire

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    We went in October and Albania was chosen on purpose, as during this month it's still warm there but not too hot, so you can enjoy a lovely warm autumn still wearing shorts and T-shirt. We've been there in total for a week, which for the locations we wanted to see was enough time, and we haven't been in a rush. Maybe it would have been good to have the car rented for the whole time in Albania, however the trip from Tirana to Shkoder by bus was absolutely fine without any problems. No changes from my side as everything went well and according to our imagination. But next time I would definitely stay longer as there is so much to explore :)...Read More

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    Nothing.

  • How was the food?

    Local food, local food market, seafood in Shkodra - very tasty and super fresh! I don't remember any restaurant in particular, but there were plenty of options where to go and eat, all with really friendly local people, fresh ingrediences and cheap prices.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    As a tip, I would say renting a car for the whole duration in Albania is worth it, once you get used to the traffic (especially in Tirana) it's pretty syn optical, in case you can get used to the Balkan style of driving with people, bikes and cows crossing in the opposite direction :) I would recommend more time than a week, depending on what you want to see - for example for more time in the nature, hiking in rocks etc.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Renting a car is the best travel option, bike around Shkodra lake but otherwise travelling by bus is also ok and definitely safe (and cheap).

  • Booking details?

    All booked over Booking.com

Lodging

  • CheckInn Hostel - great location, very close to the city center; nice small hostel with very friendly atmosphere, clean room and tasty breakfast

  • Mi Casa es Tu Casa - Shkodra Backpackers Hostel - great location close to the Lake with the possibility to rent a bike (for free!), spacious clean room, chilling atmosphere and with delicious breakfast included