Today is Dec 31st 2021 as I write this blog. We arrived on Dec 15th. One of Europe’s hidden gem. A place that is untouched by tourism is the country Albania.Unspoiled beaches, beautiful mountainous landscape, interesting history, delicious Mediterranean cuisine, friendly, open & hospitable people are found here.Located across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, directly above Greece, it is full of surprises.
The country’s one major airport (Mother Teresa) is located outside of the capital Tirana. Many of Europe’s low-cost airlines have connections to and from Tirana. Some of the examples are British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Alitalia, and Aegean Air.
Once you’ve arrived at Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, you can get to the city center with private shuttle companies (480 Albanian Lek), express buses (250 Albanian Lek), and taxis (about 2,500 Albanian Lek). We took Yellow taxi to Blloku neighborhood where we will be staying. We paid 20 Euro.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
April-June and Sep-Oct
There are taxis, public buses and you can rent a car.It’s a walkable city in Tirana, the capital.
The Albanian lek (ALL) is the official currency of Albania. $1 usd is approximately 100 Lek.
Albanian is the official language. Minorities in the country speak their own native languages like Greek, Romani, Macedonian and others. Italian and English are the most popular foreign languages.
It is generally safe but be mindful of pick pockets.
You cannot drink tap water. Filtered water is cheap to buy.
I would suggest rounding up or 10%-15% of the bill.
1) Opposite head shake
People shake their head side-to-side to mean yes or to acknowledge that they are listening to you. Shaking head up & down means ‘ No.’
2) Albanians love America & Americans
They love America more than any other country in the world. I have seen several streets and landmarks after American leaders and previous presidents during my road trip. A road in Tirana is named after George Bush because he came and visited Albania during his presidency.
According to the Albanian Constitution, there is no official religion and all religions are considered equal. Even though it’s considered a Muslim country, many are not practicing Muslim. From my observations, religions here in Albania live together in peace.
The country does not have an effective sanitation system. Sometimes there are not enough trash bins.
To help the locals who earn money by collecting the plastics & cans ( they earn less than $1 per kilo) is to keep a separate bag for these & hang them on the end of the dumpster. So I started doing that so they don’t have to rummage through the trash.