Albania was a trend destination this year. What does that mean? The author of this text wanted to know exactly. She spoke to two Globetrotter travel consultants who recently visited the Balkans. One thing first: traveling to Albania is not just a trend. Albania is probably one of the last oases in Europe.
What comes to your mind, dear reader, when you hear the word trend destination? Is it also Caribbean beaches, chic hotels, full bars and lively street cafes? “You can find the latter on every corner in Tirana, the capital of Albania,” says Carla Riss, Globetrotter travel advisor at the Aarau branch. The exciting thing about the cafés is that, in contrast to local climes, they are almost exclusively occupied by men. There is really “käfelet”, gesticulating and discussing. The keyword is exciting.
Carla Riss and Pascal Schmid, Globetrotter travel consultants in Zurich, agree that the city with its communist past and buildings is very exciting. Accordingly, the accommodations, which are rather simple and do not necessarily correspond to the “European standard”. The hotels and inns are often run by families, says Carla. In this context, she mentions the exceptional hospitality that is shown throughout the country. And last but not least, the fine Albanian food, which is available practically everywhere for little money.
Nature like in Norway
The adjective “beautiful” is not used in Tirana, but it definitely comes into play. And that is when we talk about nature in Albania. For example, the rather isolated Valbonatal in the north of the country should not be missing on any trip to Albania. On the contrary. “Between the mountain ranges I felt like I was in Norway,” Carla sums up. The valley is best discovered by hiking. “And make sure you bring your time, because the journey there is long.” Speaking of time. If you have a little more of it available, three or even four weeks, a trip to Albania combines with the neighboring countries Kosovo and Macedonia. «Or with Greece. The island of Corfu is very easy to reach from Albania », says Pascal
Albania trip = Caribbean feeling
But back to Albania. A “real” trend destination also includes the beach and the sea, right? In the south of the country you can even feel that Caribbean feeling, says Pascal. For example in Dhermi, which is located between the larger towns of Vlora and Saranda. The locals would also like to spend their free time in the south, says Pascal. That speaks for itself. In general, the country is visited by many tourists from neighboring countries, but less by «western» tourists, both travel advisors believe. The question of whether the word trend destination does not apply to Albania cannot simply be answered with yes or no.
Italy 40 years ago
“It would be great for the people in Albania if tourism grew,” says Carla. Because poverty is already being felt, especially in rural areas, yes, cell phones and computers are not at all taken for granted. “Sometimes I felt like I was in Italy. But 40 years ago. ” But that is not meant negatively at all, on the contrary. It is precisely what is tangibly original that makes Albania so special as a travel destination and even an “oasis in Europe”. According to the latter statements of the two travel consultants, the author of this text is convinced that a trend destination should not be reduced to chic hotels and full street cafes. There is definitely more to it than that. So off to Albania? Oh yeah! (See box).