John spent his last holiday in Albania while Belinda has been creating itineraries for the last two years. Our chairman Nick has his sights set on a motorbike journey along the coast road which is meant to be both exhilarating and fascinating. Time will tell.
Why we like Albania
We think that Albania is set to emerge as one of the most fascinating countries within the Balkan Peninsula. Far from being the stereotyped socialist satellite that one might expect, today Albania is more culturally allied to Greece and Turkey than it is to Russia. There is no denying it has a long way to go, but if you thrive on being one of the first, then we urge you to explore it now.
What to expect on your holiday or tour to Albania
Albania is an immensely diverse country with a multitude of options for a holiday. Archaeology enthusiasts can spend hours in the complex sites of Butrint and Byllis, while history lovers have plenty of ancient castles, Ottoman fortresses and the museums in places such as Berati and Gjirokastra. Art connoisseurs should visit the little-known medieval churches, with their beautiful frescoes, and the icon collections in Tirana, Korça and Berati and all with a backdrop of mountains which cover 70% of the country. While there are a number of good hotels available in the main towns and cities, the essence of Albania is to stay in small family-run hotels or guest houses in idyllic little mountain villages where delicious lamb, fresh vegetables and excellent Albanian wine are always on the menu.
Some ideas for a tour to Albania
- Don't miss the ancient city of Butrint, with archaeological remains spanning 2,500 years.
- Explore the Ottoman cities of Gjirokastra and Berat, with their unique domestic architecture and their imposing hill top castles.
- The national collections of religious art, in Tirana, Korça and Berati, contain wonderful icons painted by the 16th-century artist Onufri.
- Built before the Roman conquest, Rozafa Castle was last used for military purposes as recently as 1913.
- Visit Kruja, the family seat of Albania's 15th-century hero,Skanderbeg.