With the end of communism, Albania emerged from profound isolation. In this long but decided moment of adaptation it opens up to the world, revealing from small and beautiful historic cities of the interior to uninhabited beaches bathed by the crystalline and warm waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas.
We look for destinations to explore. We look for unique experiences, framed in scenarios that, until then, belonged to the imaginary. This search feeds the traveller’s soul; it is the force that leads you to virgin places, because there lies the unexpected and there, somehow, you find another part of yourself. Still, just over a decade ago, thinking about visiting the “virgin” Albania started and ended right there: in the action of thinking. It was difficult for it to reach the age of majority, as a synonym for independence; the struggle went on for centuries and the painful aftermath for many years. The political and social instability of this Balkan country – with a mutilated economy and mortgaged growth to clash in developed Europe – did not allow Albania to be included in the list of must visits. With the exception of the most fearless, few would venture into this mountainous beauty, far from Western eyes … but that was in other times!
The country has tried, albeit with difficulty, to rise, since the 1990s, based on democracy. Although poor – or perhaps for that very reason – it keeps untouched places that have not yet aroused the interest of mass tourism.
And if in Tirana – especially in the neighborhood of Blloku, populated by shops, cafes, restaurants and bars – one can identify the proximity to any famous European capital, in Gjirokastra and Berat, both small mountain towns in the southern interior, we know the genuineness of an Albania that maintains Ottoman architecture to defy the slope of the slopes. Travel in Albania today to explore the new world.