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 comply with any journey blogs or learn journey information, (and since you might be right here studying this, I will assume you do!) then you’ve got undoubtedly examine Albania.

This small nation positioned on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe has been gaining increasingly more consideration not too long ago for vacationers searching for one thing totally different, reasonably priced, and exquisite.

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 kind of individuals who gained’t shut up about it.

Despite having been to many extra international locations 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 stunned me essentially the most about Albania was the individuals.

The individuals you’ll find on this nation are a few of 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 might sound 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 inform you the variety of instances we’ve interacted with some gruff older males whom we have been a bit intimidated to strategy 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 implies to maintain the promise.

This is extra of a lifestyle right here, and the individuals will exit of their manner that will help you and make you’re feeling welcome, permitting them to be reliable and holding 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 motive 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 telephone, scary proper?

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

We have been actually speechless at how out of his manner he went to assist us. This is the Balkan hospitality that I am speaking about. Name one other nation the place this may 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 recognition for a lot of causes.

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

When doing our analysis, we assumed it was comparatively unknown, nevertheless it ended up being the one nation the place we made so many mates rapidly as there was a fairly well-established neighborhood 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 will keep a year visa-free

woman standing in Gjirokaster
 castle Albania
An Albanian couple helped us get in right here once 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 stunned at how little you possibly can spend right here and reside comfortably.

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

You can get a beer for underneath a greenback at most locations, and meals (except for imported gadgets) may be very low cost as nicely.

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

Pro-tip: turn into regulars at a few of the seaside bars within the early days of the opening season (springtime) and be handled to a free bowl of contemporary mussels each time and in all places you go!

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

In the top, it’s all about the way you wish to reside, however do understand 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 lease doubled in the summertime, so that is one thing to work out earlier than signing something. 

Beach Please 

Ok, let’s speak in regards to the seashores. Most individuals who come to Albania within the hotter months accomplish that looking for the Albanian Riviera, and for good cause.

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

Saranda has some respectable smaller seashores round it you possibly can take pleasure in, and naturally, Ksamil is turning into increasingly more 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 appreciate, although, is that whereas not practically as crowded as different standard European locations, a lot of Albania’s seashores are removed from a secret come summer time.

While gorgeous, I was so stunned that these locations get crowded rapidly, and costs begin to creep up.

If you might be actually searching for a quiet place to flee, head north and hunt down some smaller seaside cities alongside the coast. Ask any native, and they’ll most likely 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 stunned at simply how lovely Albania is. Everywhere you look, there might be a turquoise coast crashing under the cliffs, or mountains and gorges, rivers, and the whole lot in between.

One factor that I couldn’t imagine 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 essential, in truth, that it has simply turn into the primary Wild River National Park in Europe. 

If you might be fortunate sufficient to name Albania dwelling for some time, you’ll doubtless be stunned to see how straightforward a lot of the nation is to discover by way of public busses and, in fact, by renting a automotive. 

(*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 tough, proper?

Now comes the tough half, Albanians point out sure with a shake of the pinnacle, that means they’re saying Po and shaking their head, which appears 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 might 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 in regards to the Rakia power, although!

But severely, if you’re searching for an fascinating and distinctive place to discover, with fantastic 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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