I Spent 5 Months In This Trending Country And Here’s What Surprised Me The Most

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If you comply with any journey blogs or learn journey information, (and since you’re right here studying this, I will assume you do!) then you’ve got undoubtedly examine Albania.

This small nation positioned on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe has been gaining increasingly more consideration lately for vacationers searching for one thing completely different, reasonably priced, and exquisite.

colorful fishing boats saranda albania

Digital nomads additionally find it irresistible, and for good reason.

I spent 5 months initially of 2021 residing in Albania, and I am a kind of individuals who gained’t shut up about it.

Despite having been to many extra nations since then, at any time when individuals ask, “what country has been your favorite” or “what country left the greatest impression,” the reply is all the time Albania. 

Here Are Some Things That Surprised Me The Most About Albania: 

berat albania white houses
If you get to Berat, ask for Lili (you’re welcome)

Keep The Promise

The very first thing that stunned me probably the most about Albania was the individuals.

The individuals you will see on this nation are a few of the nicest, most useful, and most welcoming that I have ever encountered in all my years of touring and residing overseas.

You might need heard individuals check with “Balkan Hospitality,” and that is completely a factor. Balkan individuals might sound a bit tough across the edges, however that is only a little bit of a tough exterior that a few of them have constructed up through the years.

I can’t inform you the variety of instances we now have interacted with some gruff older males whom we have been a bit intimidated to method at first however ended up ingesting rakia round a desk with their household by the tip of the dialog. 

In Albania, there’s a time period: BESA, which implies to maintain the promise.

This is extra of a lifestyle right here, and the individuals will exit of their manner that can assist you and make you’re feeling welcome, permitting them to be reliable and retaining the promise of peace. 

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gjirokasta albania buildings
The city of Gjirokaster can’t be missed

For instance: One time we took a public bus to a different metropolis and upon reaching the vacation spot, the driving force realized we have been not sure the place to go. He didn’t converse any English and was shouting at us and demanding my cellphone, scary proper?

Upon taking my cellphone he referred to as our guesthouse and discovered the place it was, after which proceeded to mainly maintain our palms and escort us there, ensuring we have been okay.

We have been actually speechless at how out of his manner he went to assist us. This is the Balkan hospitality that I am speaking about. Name one other nation the place this could occur, I’ll wait. 

A Not-So-Secret Secret 

It’s humorous as a result of most individuals I converse to about Albania have by no means heard of it, and it appears the one ones who do know are different vacationers and digital nomads.

While it was once a little bit of a secret, Albania has been rising in recognition for a lot of causes.

After going viral on TikTok recently, Albania isn’t such a top-secret vacation spot anymore. Yet, once we arrived in Albania in January 2021, we have been stunned to see so many different ex-pats residing right here already.

When doing our analysis, we assumed it was comparatively unknown, but it surely ended up being the one nation the place we made so many buddies rapidly as there was a fairly well-established neighborhood of ex-pats and locals right here. So, if Albania was a secret earlier than social media, it wasn’t a really well-kept one.

Note: a lot of these we met have been Americans, as we will keep a year visa-free

woman standing in Gjirokaster
 castle Albania
An Albanian couple helped us get in right here once we confirmed up simply at closing, so good!

From Budget To Bougie

Albania is an affordable destination, that is completely true, and most vacationers who come already know this.

I got here to Albania understanding this and was nonetheless stunned at how little you may spend right here and dwell comfortably.

My condominium in Saranda value underneath $500 a month and had sea views and a pool, to not point out high-speed wifi and good TVs. I have buddies who pay underneath $300 a month for his or her condominium as a result of they made some good native connections, so it may be performed. 

You can get a beer for underneath a greenback at most locations, and meals (except for imported gadgets) could be very low-cost as effectively.

However, one factor to grasp is which you could additionally splurge in Albania, and a few lodging and eating places can run you Western costs after which some.

Pro-tip: turn into regulars at a few of the seaside bars within the early days of the opening season (springtime) and be handled to a free bowl of recent mussels each time and all over the place you go!

korca beer and mussels on the beach albania
Enjoying free mussels on the seaside in Saranda

In the tip, it’s all about the way you wish to dwell, however do take into account that the Albanian Riviera will get pricey because the summer time season approaches, so make sure that to grasp any rental agreements beforehand.

Many individuals I know had their lease doubled in the summertime, so that is one thing to work out earlier than signing something. 

Beach Please 

Ok, let’s discuss concerning the seashores. Most individuals who come to Albania within the hotter months accomplish that looking for the Albanian Riviera, and for good motive.

Albania has probably the most lovely seashores I have ever seen. The rocky shores make for crystal-clear water, and the sunsets are unbelievable.

Saranda has some respectable smaller seashores round it you may take pleasure in, and naturally, Ksamil is turning into increasingly more well-known as being as lovely because the Caribbean. 

@maldivosaur Best seashores in Albania half 1 #hot #holiday #beach #destination #travel #traveldestinations #albania ♬ Calm Down Andre Soueid – andresoueid

One factor to appreciate, although, is that whereas not almost as crowded as different in style European locations, a lot of Albania’s seashores are removed from a secret come summer time.

While beautiful, I was so stunned that these locations get crowded rapidly, and costs begin to creep up.

If you’re actually searching for a quiet place to flee, head north and search out some smaller seaside cities alongside the coast. Ask any native, and they’re going to most likely insist you be part of them and their household on a visit (severely). 

bunkers in albania
Bunkers Bunkers Everywhere

Postcard Perfect Views 

I was, and proceed to be stunned at simply how lovely Albania is. Everywhere you look, there can be a turquoise coast crashing beneath the cliffs, or mountains and gorges, rivers, and all the things in between.

One factor that I couldn’t imagine was the crystal clear green-blue of the Vjosa river that runs from Greece throughout Albania and into the Adriatic Sea.

This river is so lovely and necessary, in truth, that it has simply turn into the primary Wild River National Park in Europe. 

If you’re fortunate sufficient to name Albania house for some time, you’ll seemingly be stunned to see how simple many of the nation is to discover through public busses and, in fact, by renting a automobile. 

(*5*)

Yes Means No And No Means Yes 

While English is broadly spoken in Albania, the official language is Albanian, known as Shqip. When talking Shqip, one factor to concentrate to is how individuals point out sure and no.

Yes is Po, and No is Jo. Not too tough, proper?

Now comes the difficult half, Albanians point out sure with a shake of the pinnacle, which means they’re saying Po and shaking their head, which appears to be like and feels like No to a foreigner. 

@maptrekking how cute is that this place?! #albania🇦🇱 #travelalbania #visitalbania #traveltiktok ♬ albania. – ssuzieed

When they imply no, they nod their head up and down and say Jo. Still with me?

If you suppose it’s a bit complicated to learn, think about residing it. You would suppose it could get simpler, and it did, however even after months, there have been nonetheless many conditions the place this interplay induced some confusion.

Luckily, Albanians are understanding and affected person with foreigners, so it’s all good. 

I hope my expertise leads you to ebook that ticket, bus, and even the ferry from Corfu, Greece to discover Albania and all it has to supply.

Don’t inform me I didn’t warn you concerning the Rakia energy, although!

But severely, if you’re searching for an attention-grabbing and distinctive place to discover, with fantastic individuals and interesting tradition… the reply is all the time Albania. 

woman in field in albania with mountains
Thanks for all of the reminiscences Albania!

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