When I lived in Croatia and Bulgaria last year, I made it my mission to see as many Balkan countries as possible! Through all my weekend trips, I managed to visit almost every single one. However, due to misconceptions (I’d always heard it was unsafe for solo female travelers!), I skipped out on Albania! Seriously regretting that decision!!!
I connected with Briana from Awestruck Abroad through a travel Facebook group. After reading her blog and captivating stories, I knew she had to post something for all of you about Albania! Plus, I wanted to get rid of some of the misconceptions and stereotypes about the country. Briana has outlined below the top 6 reasons why you MUST visit Albania! Raise your hand if Albania is now your next travel destination (Me!)
1 // RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP
Albania is a spectacularly cheap country. With fresh seafood dinners costing under $10, your wallet will love this Mediterranean destination. Eating out in the restaurants is actually so cheap and convenient, I hardly have any reason to cook. A fresh salad or plate of grilled vegetables will run me two or three dollars, and oftentimes small-town locals are so delighted to have foreigners in their restaurants that it’s not uncommon to be sent over a free appetizer or dessert plate!
2 // MOUNTAIN VIEW OR OCEAN FRONT?
Mountain view or ocean front? I’ll take both, please! In Albania, you don’t have to pick between the two. Albania is a coastal country bordering the Adriatic Sea on the western side, but the north also boasts spectacular peaks of the Albanian Alps, fondly known as the “Accursed Mountains” for their rocky, untamed terrain. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous hike with breathtaking views or crystal clear cerulean waters, Albania can offer both in a single day’s drive.
3 // FRIENDLY LOCALS
The locals are really, really, really nice. A few months ago, when my car blew a flat tire on the side of the road, a wonderful local changed it in under five minutes— and refused any money for his good deed. Just last weekend I purchased some groceries from a local shop, but quickly realized I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for them all. Unfazed, the kind shopkeeper insisted that I take home the groceries anyways, and bring back the money the next day. I am still blown away by their selfless generosity!
4 // SAFE FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS
5 // HISTORICAL PARADISE
The amount of ancient history here is staggering. From the ancient Illyrians, to the Romans, to the Ottomans to the Byzantines, Albania has artifacts from thousands of years of great empires. In my small town of Durres, I live one minute from a massive Roman amphitheater that once held 20,000 spectators for gladiator fights, directly adjacent to a massive medieval wall that once protected the city, and right down the street from the pillars and ruins of a once-thriving Byzantine marketplace.
6 // UNLIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY
It is completely unique. You will never visit another country like Albania. It is beautiful country with charm and grit alike, boasting its very own unique language, heritage, and history. This is a country reserved not just for travelers, but for adventurers.
To find out more about Briana, check out her blog Awestruck Abroad. Briana is an international teacher currently living Durres, Albania. When she’s not teaching, she also enjoys photography, yoga, writing, and of course, dreaming up future travel plans! You can follow along on her adventures on Instagram. More questions on Albania or teaching abroad? Drop her an email at awestruckabroad [at] gmail.com.