I Spent 5 Months In This Trending Country And Here’s What Surprised Me The Most

I Spent 5 Months In This Trending Country And Here’s What Surprised Me The Most

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If you observe any journey blogs or learn journey information, (and since you’re right here studying this, I will assume you do!) then you’ve gotten undoubtedly examine Albania.

This small nation situated on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe has been gaining an increasing number of consideration just lately for vacationers in search of one thing completely different, inexpensive, and delightful.

colorful fishing boats saranda albania

Digital nomads additionally like it, and for good reason.

I spent 5 months initially of 2021 dwelling in Albania, and I am a type of individuals who received’t shut up about it.

Despite having been to many extra nations since then, at any time when individuals ask, “what country has been your favorite” or “what country left the greatest impression,” the reply is at all times Albania. 

Here Are Some Things That Surprised Me The Most About Albania: 

berat albania white houses
If you get to Berat, ask for Lili (you’re welcome)

Keep The Promise

The very first thing that shocked me essentially the most about Albania was the individuals.

The individuals you can find on this nation are among the nicest, most useful, and most welcoming that I have ever encountered in all my years of touring and dwelling overseas.

You might need heard individuals confer with “Balkan Hospitality,” and that is completely a factor. Balkan individuals may appear a bit tough across the edges, however that is only a little bit of a tough exterior that a few of them have constructed up over time.

I can’t let you know the variety of occasions we’ve got interacted with some gruff older males whom we have been a bit intimidated to method at first however ended up ingesting rakia round a desk with their household by the top of the dialog. 

In Albania, there’s a time period: BESA, which suggests to maintain the promise.

This is extra of a lifestyle right here, and the individuals will exit of their method that can assist you and make you’re feeling welcome, permitting them to be reliable and retaining the promise of peace. 

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gjirokasta albania buildings
The city of Gjirokaster can’t be missed

For instance: One time we took a public bus to a different metropolis and upon reaching the vacation spot, the driving force realized we have been not sure the place to go. He didn’t communicate any English and was shouting at us and demanding my cellphone, scary proper?

Upon taking my cellphone he known as our guesthouse and discovered the place it was, after which proceeded to mainly maintain our fingers and escort us there, ensuring we have been okay.

We have been actually speechless at how out of his method he went to assist us. This is the Balkan hospitality that I am speaking about. Name one other nation the place this is able to occur, I’ll wait. 

A Not-So-Secret Secret 

It’s humorous as a result of most individuals I communicate to about Albania have by no means heard of it, and it appears the one ones who do know are different vacationers and digital nomads.

While it was a little bit of a secret, Albania has been rising in reputation for a lot of causes.

After going viral on TikTok recently, Albania is just not such a top-secret vacation spot anymore. Yet, after we arrived in Albania in January 2021, we have been shocked to see so many different ex-pats dwelling right here already.

When doing our analysis, we assumed it was comparatively unknown, however it ended up being the one nation the place we made so many pals shortly as there was a reasonably well-established group of ex-pats and locals right here. So, if Albania was a secret earlier than social media, it wasn’t a really well-kept one.

Note: a lot of these we met have been Americans, as we are able to keep a year visa-free

woman standing in Gjirokaster
 castle Albania
An Albanian couple helped us get in right here after we confirmed up simply at closing, so good!

From Budget To Bougie

Albania is an affordable destination, that is completely true, and most vacationers who come already know this.

I got here to Albania understanding this and was nonetheless shocked at how little you possibly can spend right here and reside comfortably.

My condominium in Saranda price below $500 a month and had sea views and a pool, to not point out high-speed wifi and good TVs. I have pals who pay below $300 a month for his or her condominium as a result of they made some good native connections, so it may be completed. 

You can get a beer for below a greenback at most locations, and meals (apart from imported objects) may be very low cost as nicely.

However, one factor to know is which you can additionally splurge in Albania, and a few lodging and eating places can run you Western costs after which some.

Pro-tip: grow to be regulars at among the seashore bars within the early days of the opening season (springtime) and be handled to a free bowl of contemporary mussels each time and all over the place you go!

korca beer and mussels on the beach albania
Enjoying free mussels on the seashore in Saranda

In the top, it’s all about the way you wish to reside, however do take into account that the Albanian Riviera will get pricey because the summer time season approaches, so be certain that to know any rental agreements beforehand.

Many individuals I know had their hire doubled in the summertime, so that is one thing to work out earlier than signing something. 

Beach Please 

Ok, let’s discuss concerning the seashores. Most individuals who come to Albania within the hotter months accomplish that looking for the Albanian Riviera, and for good motive.

Albania has essentially the most lovely seashores I have ever seen. The rocky shores make for crystal-clear water, and the sunsets are unimaginable.

Saranda has some first rate smaller seashores round it you possibly can take pleasure in, and naturally, Ksamil is turning into an increasing number of well-known as being as lovely because the Caribbean. 

@maldivosaur Best seashores in Albania half 1 #hot #holiday #beach #destination #travel #traveldestinations #albania ♬ Calm Down Andre Soueid – andresoueid

One factor to comprehend, although, is that whereas not practically as crowded as different fashionable European locations, a lot of Albania’s seashores are removed from a secret come summer time.

While beautiful, I was so shocked that these locations get crowded shortly, and costs begin to creep up.

If you’re actually in search of a quiet place to flee, head north and search out some smaller seashore cities alongside the coast. Ask any native, and they’ll in all probability insist you be part of them and their household on a visit (severely). 

bunkers in albania
Bunkers Bunkers Everywhere

Postcard Perfect Views 

I was, and proceed to be shocked at simply how lovely Albania is. Everywhere you look, there will likely be a turquoise coast crashing under the cliffs, or mountains and gorges, rivers, and every part in between.

One factor that I couldn’t consider was the crystal clear green-blue of the Vjosa river that runs from Greece throughout Albania and into the Adriatic Sea.

This river is so lovely and necessary, actually, that it has simply grow to be the primary Wild River National Park in Europe. 

If you’re fortunate sufficient to name Albania dwelling for some time, you’ll seemingly be shocked to see how simple a lot of the nation is to discover by way of public busses and, in fact, by renting a automobile. 

(*5*)

Yes Means No And No Means Yes 

While English is extensively spoken in Albania, the official language is Albanian, known as Shqip. When talking Shqip, one factor to concentrate to is how individuals point out sure and no.

Yes is Po, and No is Jo. Not too troublesome, proper?

Now comes the tough half, Albanians point out sure with a shake of the top, that means they’re saying Po and shaking their head, which seems and seems like No to a foreigner. 

@maptrekking how cute is that this place?! #albania🇦🇱 #travelalbania #visitalbania #traveltiktok ♬ albania. – ssuzieed

When they imply no, they nod their head up and down and say Jo. Still with me?

If you suppose it’s a bit complicated to learn, think about dwelling it. You would suppose it will get simpler, and it did, however even after months, there have been nonetheless many conditions the place this interplay brought about some confusion.

Luckily, Albanians are understanding and affected person with foreigners, so it’s all good. 

I hope my expertise leads you to ebook that ticket, bus, and even the ferry from Corfu, Greece to discover Albania and all it has to supply.

Don’t inform me I didn’t warn you concerning the Rakia energy, although!

But severely, if you’re in search of an attention-grabbing and distinctive place to discover, with great individuals and interesting tradition… the reply is at all times Albania. 

woman in field in albania with mountains
Thanks for all of the reminiscences Albania!

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