With wild rivers, mountains and Unesco sites aplenty, Albania is emerging as an exciting Mediterranean destination – but its wilderness could be devastated by huge dam-building projects.
The Vjosa is the last big, free-flowing river in Europe outside Russia. Photograph: Alamy
Albania is easily the friendliest, safest place I’ve ever visited, I was treated with nothing but courtesy, smiles, and hospitality every single place I went. It may be a country still rebuilding after decades of North Korea style isolating communism, but you have nothing to fear from the amazing people here. The capital city, Tirana, is a rapidly growing city.
Some people take themselves shopping on their birthday, some people throw big parties, some people eat cake, some people sit in their rooms and cry. I like to treat myself to adventures.
Vlorë, on the central coast of Albania, is a place that upon first glance might not seem all that appealing to spend much time in comparison to some of the other spots further south along the Albanian Riviera, but recently I had a chance to see it like I had never before – through a spotting scope and a pair of binoculars.
For too long, Albania has been ignored as a tourist destination. I get it. The country has had to bounce back from a lot. For years, Albania was under one of the most repressive communist totalitarian regimes in history – even North Korea has more trade partners and diplomacy than Albania did thirty years ago.