Travelling in Albania is fascinating – even more so if you take the time to get to know it.
It’s been three months and the verdict on spontaneous travel is in: I LOVE IT. It hasn’t always been easy, but the experience has changed how I’ll travel in the future.
Did you know Albanians put teddy bears outside their houses to ward off bad spirits? And that some kids in Serbia only go to school in the afternoon? Enjoy some of the things I’ve learnt after spending two months in the Balkans.
Albania doesn’t have a great international reputation. It’s famed for its mafia, drug trade and human trafficking. Naturally, this image raises the question of whether it’s safe to travel here. After two weeks in Albania and I can tell you: it is.
Poor public transport means hitchhiking is popular in the Balkans. For weeks I ignored the encouragement to do it. And then I got stranded at the Macedonian border.
Dogs are not usually treated well in Albania. Anyone who has lived in Albania will have a horror story you don’t want to hear. For more than a week, it broke my heart. When I had a chance to visit a dog shelter in Vlore, I took it. I wanted to see something positive.
The Blue Eye is a striking natural spring extending to a depth of about 50m. During the communist era Syri i Kalter was reserved for the party elite. Now it’s a popular attraction in southern Albania. It’s also bloody cold to swim in.
The village of Theth attracts up to 10,000 people a year. But despite it’s popularity, visitors still have an authentic stay in a peaceful community in the heart of the Albanian Alps.
The small community of Theth is nestled in the Albanian Alps. It’s only 70km from Shkodra, but the drive there can take up for four hours. At least there’s plenty of entertainment along the way…