Albania Journals

Hitchhiking & Sightseeing Albania

Best of IgoUgo

An August 2004 trip to Albania by dangaroo

Quote: Travelling around the great country of Albania

1 Shard of Glass in my Foot Please

Best Of IgoUgo

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History -Durres, first discovered by the adventurous southern neighbours the Greeks in 627 BC, is Albania's largest city along the coast and it's no.1 port. The Illyrians (ancestors of what are now Albanians) moved in in around 312 BC but were soon forced away and the town changed hands between the Romans and the Greeks followed by the Bulgarians and then it became part of the Venetians large empire. The Turks got hold of it in 1501 and the Albanians and Durres finally got independence in 1912, unfortunately it only lasted for 3 days (is that the shortest ever?), this time Albania fell to the Serbs and it was until the following year when they raised the flag again and crowned Durres the c...Read More

Albania's Northern Light

Best Of IgoUgo

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A Lasting Impression:I'm aware the newer border with Montenegro near Ulcinj is now open but I was happy with the way I arrived in the country. On a swealtering day in mid July, I started the day off in Budva and hitchhiked a few cars to a police checkpoint near Petrovac, I decided to follow the sign to Podgorica and began a long walk up a steep and windy road. Realising I had no water and that I was incredibly thirsty, I longed for a coca-cola or even better a beer! The chance of this happening let alone a car stopping seemed unlikely though, eventually I sighted a small empty farmhouse on the hill and refuelled from a water pipe! Perfect, then I decided to stop walking and hide under the ...Read More
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Gjirokaster undoubtedly one of my favourite towns in the world is a little town nestled in the mountains in Albania, slightly south from the town of Tepelene where water is unbelievably tasty (this town was visited by Lord Byron who was so impressed he wrote a poem called Mother Albania about the area)Which ever way you get to the city, you are sure to pass through beautiful scenery, green valleys, streams, waterfalls and small mountains await. Gjirokaster is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate." on top of the mountain lies a large and powerful castle that guards the city below.The city dates ba...Read More

Hitchhiking in Albania

Best Of IgoUgo

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These days I'm not doing a great deal of travelling but when I was on a larger trip in the past, I tried to hitchhike everywhere for several reasons. It saved money, I liked it, I met locals and very often it was quicker than public transport.Albania was going to become an interesting experience from as early as Podgorica in Montenegro, when me and my Slovenian travel partner at the time were kicked out of a Mercedes full of chickens and old ladies for not being prepared to pay a ridiculous fee to go over the border. There is a lot of minibuses on the road who will stop when they see a white (or possibly any) backpacker on the road. Hitchhiking is usually done by waving down ca...Read More

Butrint

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Albanian Archaelogical Wonderland!"

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Nestled in the South Western corner of Albania, in what is perhaps Albania's most accessible region, Butrint is found 20km south of the sea side resort town Sarande. Corfu is nearby and day-trips are the common way of getting to Sarande and Butrint, I however was on a journey around Albania and had hitchhiked down there from Sarande. Taxis on that route probably wouldn't be too dear though, particularly if shared.Butrint is the end of the road really, just above the Greek border it is surrounded with wonderful hills and a large lagoon. Cattle and sheep gently graze in the nearby fields and a man waits at the entrance to this magnificent park waiting to collect a membership fee ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 15, 2009

Saranda

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Albanian Ibiza?"

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Well not exactly, it's not that overloaded with tourists and doesn't possess as many clubs blaring out in your face music but the chances are that if you've gone to Albania, it's to avoid tourists a little bit and enjoy a pleasant country without Northern European tourists in their white shorts, shoes, socks and beany hat gorping into their Daily Mail. Saranda does get a handful of curious day-trippers from Corfu and is even a bit of a destination in its own right.Saranda is in a gorgeous location, with a short gulf seperating itself from Corfu, a palm tree lined promenade with a small white beach and jade coloured sea. There's not quite as many high rise buildings as say Praia da Rocha in...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 15, 2009

Tirana

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Metal Pyramids, Lots of Bananas and Free Cheese"

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I was busy reviewing Saranda when I realised that I somehow also forgot about Albania's unique capital during a spell of reviewing Albanian places some month's ago. Sightwise there's little to see in Tirana but it's worth hanging around a bit to absorb the atmosphere. Having come in to Tirana at dusk in the summer, I was wondering what was going on - people were lighting trash by the road side, there was a mess everywhere, cars were non stop honking and then all of a sudden the minibus dropped everyone off at what seemed to be a roundabout. Trying to find a hotel (nothing planned before and no hostels then - think one has opened these days) could have proved difficult as I was ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 15, 2009