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Your guide to visiting Albania

All you need to know about Albania: the Land of the Eagles

We traveled to Albania in June 2022 with the intention of staying here for 2 months. After our experiences in Georgia we were keen to discover more of what the Balkans has to offer. We explore the cities of Tirana and Durrës, and check out things to do, as well as some of the underrated attractions that should not be missed.

 

Great food, lovely people, beautiful beaches and seafronts; Albania should definitely be on your list! In case you did not know, we absolutely love history and Durrës in particular has some excellent places to visit in that regard, including a Roman amphitheatre! We also learn much about Albania's sad, troubled past and its recovery, shedding a whole new light on this country for us.

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Our interactive map & guide to Albania

Check out all of the places we visited in Albania courtesy of this interactive map from Wanderlog. Tap any of the numbers for more information including directions, our blog posts, links to reviews and much more.

Wanderlog is a free travel planning app that allows users to create trip itineraries, organize flights, hotel and car reservations, view places to visit on a map, and collaborate with friends. It is super handy and has made a big impact on our travel planning. It saves time and is super easy to use!

Interesting Facts

Here are 16 interesting facts about Albania. Some may just surprise you!

1. As like many of its fellow Balkan countries, Albania has many castles and historical sites.

2. In 1967, Albania proclaimed to be the first atheist state in the world, although according to a 2011 survey, 61% - 80% of Albanians now identify as Muslim.

3. Albania is the 18th smallest country in Europe and ranked 145th in world standings.

4. The population of Albania is less than 3 million, 35th out of the 50 countries in Europe. More than half of the Albanian population actually live outside of the country. 

5. True figures vary, but there is said to be a staggering 700,000 bunkers and tunnels in a country which is smaller than the U.S state of Maryland. They were built by paranoid former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, who ruled the country with a brutally oppressive regime between 1941 to 1985.

6. The Albanian language is amongst the oldest in Europe and even the world.

7. Albania was isolated from the world for nearly 50 years until the fall of the communist dictatorship in 1991. It was one of the poorest countries in Europe with mass poverty and corruption, however in recent years, owing to a rise in industry and tourism, it is now seen as an up-and-coming country in the region.

8. Over 70% of Albania is covered in mountains.

9. Albania is one of a very few countries in Europe that do not have a McDonalds.

10. Owing to over 3000 species, Albania is home to 30% of Europe's plant collection.

11. The city of Lazarat is widely touted as the 'capital of cannabis', and is the biggest exporter of cannabis in Europe.

12. Scarecrows are actually seen as a good luck charm in Albania.

13. When an Albanian agrees with you, they will shake their head. A 'nod' actually means 'no', unlike many countries where this would be the opposite.

14. Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, aka Mother Theresa, is the heroine of Albania and the only Albanian to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

15. Albania is part of NATO and formally became a candidate to join the European Union in 2020.