Readers’ Choice: Top 8 Most Memorable Places in Albania - Into Albania

Readers’ Choice: Top 8 Most Memorable Places in Albania

While the Coronavirus pandemic kept everyone safely locked inside their homes, IntoAlbania launched the #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime campaign in May to celebrate our readers’ favorite travel memories around the country and to keep them looking forward to their summer vacations.

Among the great contenders, there were some expected destinations (many people were missing the Riviera!), some more adventurous one (many stuck at home understandably felt the desire to climb a mountain) and other tamer, more accessible places. Below are the eight most memorable destinations among our travel-loving readers.

1. Gjipe Bay

Tied for first place with Mount Çika, the small but spectacular Gjipe was one of the most popular destinations among our readers. This remote canyon and go-to summer destination by the Ionian is located right between Dhërmi and Jala. Though it only takes 20 minutes to climb down to the beach, it is enough of a barrier to keep it less populated. About this exclusive camping spot, our reader asks “why go to “4-5-star hotels when you could stay right here, in the company of 1500 real stars?” Well put!

In general, the Ionian Riviera topped the list with diving in Drymades and the discovery of ancient history in Grama Bay, among other gems.

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@clauhepburn për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Zbritja në gjirin e Gjipesë vetëm, në orën 2 e gjysëm të mëngjesit, ishte emocion i fortë dhe i frikshëm. Doja thjesht të lija pas “jetën e lodhur të Tiranës" për disa ditë. Nuk kisha telefon apo elektrik dorë me vehte përveç flashit të iPad-it. Për të fjetur kisha marrë vetëm tapetin e jogës kështu që, siç mund ta shihni edhe në video, duhet të “sajohesha” pak për të fjetur çdo natë. Mund të gjesh gjithmonë zgjidhje vetë. Gjëja e parë që bëja çdo mëngjes, pasi hapja zinxhirin e çadrës, ishte një not freskues. Gjatë gjithë kohës isha i rrethuar me gjermanë – ata udhëtojnë shumë. Kishte një rrugë të mrekullueshme nga Livadhi deri në Himarë. Aq shumë u mahnita nga ajo, sa humba rrugën e, natën vonë, u gjenda në një pyll me baterinë në 2%. Në mëngjes, u përpoqa të kthehesha në Livadh por më bllokoi rrugën një fanatik që kujdesej për dhitë e tij. Nisa të vrapoj dhe u ktheva përsëri në Himarë. Si përfundim, desh humba autobusin dhe nuk më kishin mbetur as lekë për të blerë ujë apo ushqim. Por e gjeta një mënyrë edhe kësaj rradhe. Gjatë gjithë udhëtimit, u ndjeva vërtet afër natyrës, njerëzve dhe, mbi të gjitha, vetes. Getting down to Gjipe bay at 02:30 am alone was quite a strong scary emotion.I only wanted to get out of the “Tirana expired life” for a few days.I didn’t had a phone or a torch except my iPad flash.I also don’t have a sleeping pad except my yoga mat so as you can see in the video i arranged something different to sleep on every night.You can always find a solution by your own self.The first thing i have been doing every morning after opening my tent’s zip was having a fresh swim.I was surrounded all the time by Germans,they travel a lot.There was a wonderful path from Livadhi beach to Himara,and i was so amazed from it so i lost my way at night in the forest with 2 % of battery. I tried to get back to Livadhi in the morning and i got stuck for the second time from an old maniac man taking care of his goats.I started running and got back again in Himara.

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2. Mount Çika

The Riviera strikes again, but this time for its high peaks and breathtaking vistas. If you were wondering about the most exhilarating peak among our Instagram followers, look no further than the “utterly unforgettable” Mount Çika.

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Historia që @afrimtahiraj ka ndarë me ne për #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ Të gjithë, me të drejtë, impresionohen me pamjen që të ofron panorama e Llogarasë. Por a e keni menduar çfarë panorame mund të ofrojë mali që shtrihet mbi të? Mali i Çikës është mali bregdetar me lartësinë më të madhe në Europë. Alpinistët e mbajnë ngjitjen në këtë mal, sidomos në dimër, si një nga eksperiencat më të veçanta dhe të paharrueshme. Por Çika është nga ato male që kurrsesi s'mund ta pushtosh, sepse ajo i pushton të gjithë. Ngrica, dëbora, erërat dhe terreni tejet i vështirë harrohen teksa shijon panoramën magjiike, aq magjike sa e ke të vështirë që të shkëputesh prej saj. E teksa mendon që i ke marrë maksimumin eksperiencës tënde, në zbritje, për shkak të lartësisë do shijosh një perëndimin të zjarrtë si askund tjetër. Magjik, i vrazhdë, sfidues dhe pushtues, i tillë është ky mal. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ Everyone, with good reason, is impressed by the majestic view of the Llogara mountain range. But, has anyone ever thought of the view from the mountain that sits above it? Mount Çika is the highest coastal mountain in Europe. Professional climbers consider it the most unique and unforgettable climb, especially in the winter. But Çika is one of those mountains that you can never conquer, but it conquers all. The frost, snow, winds and harsh terrain fade into the background as you take in the magical view from its peak, so magical that you never want to leave. And, just as you think that you have gotten all you can out of this experience, on your way down from the great heights, you get to witness a scorching sunset like no other. Majestic, severe, challenging and conquering – this is Çika. #intoalbania #albania #shqiperia #stories #colorsofalbania

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3. Adventure in the outskirts of Tirana

Though some of us may forget, there are countless outdoor adventure options within 20 minutes to an hour outside of the urban life of the capital. For those who would like to step out of the city for a moment and immerse themselves in cycling or rock climbing, Bovilla and

4. Theth

Would you trust a best travel list without Theth in it? Neither would we! This alpine village is pure magic and everyone attest to its otherworldly atmosphere. What’s not to absolutely love? Fresh, tranquil, remote, spectacular. “I’ve travelled a lot in my life,” our experienced traveler admits, “but Theth has to be the most peaceful spot I’ve ever visited.” Agreed!

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Ben Washburn ka ardhur nga Amerika para disa muajsh dhe tani jeton në Shqipëri me të dashurën e tij shqiptare. Kjo është historia që ai ndan me ne për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Në Shqipëri erdha për herë të parë në 2017-ën, pasi takova të dashurën time, e cila është shqiptare, në Universitetin e Oksfordit. Si Amerikan, nuk dija shumë mbi Shqipërinë në atë kohë. Gjatë udhëtimit dy javor, u mahnita me kulturën, njerëzit, peizazhet dhe ushqimin shqiptar. Nga të gjitha udhëtimet tona në Shqipëri, Thethi është ai që më ka mbetur më shumë në mendje. Kujtoj si i jepja makinës në rrugë shkëmbore e të pasfaltuara me orë të tëra, njëkohësisht i përpirë nga peizazhi dhe i mbërthyer nga një adrenaline e fortë. Alpet e Shqipërisë janë marramendëse. Ecëm gjatë për të arritur tek Syri i Kaltër, ku notova dhe u hodha për zhytje nga shkëmbi. Qëndruam në një bujtinë mikpritëse e shijuam bukën e freskët, kafen turke, djathin e bërë vetë dhe perimet e mëngjesit. Kam udhëtuar shumë në jetë, por Thethi është pa dyshim vendi më paqësor që kam përjetuar ndonjëherë. Megjithatë, Thethi mbetet një nga shumë vende të bukura që kam parë në Shqipëri. Atëherë, nuk mendoja se pas tre vjetësh ky vend i pabesueshëm do të ishte shtëpia ime e re. Jam shumë mirënjohës që është. 🇦🇱” ⠀ After meeting my Albanian girlfriend at Oxford University, I visited Albania for the first time in 2017. During this two week trip, I was amazed by the culture, people, landscapes, and food. Out of all our trips in Albania, Theth stands out the most. I remember driving on bumpy roads on cliff ledges for hours, feeling both fascinated by the landscape and experiencing an adrenaline rush. The surrounding Albanian Alps are breathtaking. We hiked all the way to Syri i Kalter, where I swam and went cliff jumping. We stayed in a cozy guesthouse and enjoyed freshly made bread, Turkish coffee, homemade cheese and veggies for breakfast. I’ve travelled a lot in my life, but Theth has to be the most peaceful spot I’ve ever visited. Yet, Theth is just one of many beautiful locations I’ve visited in Albania.At the time, I would’ve never guessed that 3 years later this incredible country would become my home

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5. Narta Lagoon

Another uniquely appealing lagoon is Narta, a bit more south of the country. Permanently gorgeous colors, abandoned buildings and pelicans that pose like ballerinas. We agree with our reader – this place deserves our undivided attention.

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Historia e @klajdpapadhimitri për #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Laguna e Nartës, Vlorë. Ndonëse tashmë me Koronën, flamingot janë kthyer me shumicë, hera e parë që pashë flamingo në Shqipëri ishte në këtë ditë nëntori të 2019-ës. Ishte vit relativisht i thatë dhe në lagunë thuajse nuk kishte ujë. Ajo që më habiti më shumë ishte afërsia e tyre. Pata rastin ti shihja me kujdes dhe ashtu edhe rashë në dashuri me ta. Tashmë kthehem shpesh në Nartë ti fotografoj (si në foton e dytë). Kam kuptuar se të fotografosh shpendët është një nga kënaqësitë e mia më të mëdha. Janë të paparashikueshëm dhe dhurojnë vetëm poza të veçanta. ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ ⠀ Narta Lagoon, Vlora. Though flamingos have swarmed the Narta Lagoon recently, with Coronavirus clearing the air and waters in the area, the first time I had the chance to witness flamingoes up close was on this November day of 2019. There was a draught and the lagoon barely had any water. What surprised me the most was their proximity to me. I could study them and their movements to my heart’s content and it may be how I fell in love with them. I return to Narta often to photograph them (as in the second photo). I’ve come to understand that photographing birds is especially rewarding. The are unpredictable and produce unique images. #intoalbania #albania #sharealbania #colorsofalbania

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6. Nivica, Tepelena

When we think of Tepelena, we immediately think of crisp, refreshing, invigorating water. One of its most gorgeous waterfalls is in Nivica! You can take a dip or immerse yourself in it, like our traveler. “Among the infinite treasures that Nivica hides within it,” she writes, “this was only the surface of an infinity.”

7. Lakes of Lura

Last but definitely not least are the amazing lakes of Lura National Park. The glacial lakes are surrounded by dense beech forests, black and white pines and many other trees, which combined with the lakes to create a spectacular sight. “The seven Lakes of Lura, I had heard, were like 7 diamonds in the midst of mountain ranges,” our traveler writes and, indeed, they are.

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Historia e @albionamucoimaj për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Që e vogël jam kujdesur për natyrën rreth meje dhe dashuria sa vjen e rritet. Nga kjo dashuri janë frymëzuar edhe udhëtimet për të njohur Shqipërinë nga njëri cep në tjetrin, e në cdo udhëtim adhurimi për vëndin tim rritej dita ditës. Ama më kishte ngelur peng dicka. Kisha dëgjuar për 7 Liqenet e Lurës që ishin si 7 diamante në mesin e maleve. E vogël, i kisha parë në televizor dhe endërroja t'i vizitoja. Vite më vonë dëgjoja se pemët rreth këtyre liqeneve priteshin e shiteshin, por nga larg nuk e perceptoja dëmin që ishte bërë. Kjo foto më kujton ngazëllimin e aksioneve të mbjelljes së pemëve në atë park kombëtar, të kontributit tim në një vënd të cilin e kam dashur shumë që fëmijë. Mbase nuk pata fatin ta shihja ashtu si natyra e kishte stolisur por arrita të jepja një ndihmë për rigjenerimin e saj. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ ⠀ Ever since I was a child, I have taken care of the nature world and this love has only grown stronger with time. It is because of this that I began exploring Albanian from corner to corner. My adoration for my country grew with each new destination. But, there was one which I hadn't reached yet and had my eye on since I was little. The seven Lakes of Lura, I had heard, were like 7 diamonds in the midst of mountain ranges. I had seen them on TV and longed to visit. Many years later, I would hear the news of trees in the area being cut and sold but, from a distance, I couldn't perceive the damage that had been done. This photo reminds me of the euphoria of planting trees in the national park, of my contribution to a place I've loved since childhood. Maybe I never saw it as nature had intended it to be, but I had a literal hand in its regeneration.

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8. Courtyard of the National Historical Museum

While no exotic destination by any means, the serendipitous run-in with this this eye-catching architectural object in the courtyard of the Historical Museum in the center of the capital made our city girl realize there are plenty of gorgeous details right around the corner. We just need to see them!

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Historia e radhës për #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime nga @romina.gjinali 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Ku është ky vend i bukur? – shumë nga ju më kanë pyetur. Të dielën e shkuar duhet të regjistroja një video kështu që u zgjova shumë herët dhe u bëra gati. Nga ora 7 e mëngjesit, isha në qendër të qytetity. Por diçka më kishte shpëtuar. Ishte e njëjta ditë me Maratonën e Tiranës dhe çdo rrugë në qendër ishte e bllokuar. Kur e kuptova, u pendova për fatin e keq. Kush mund ta parashikojë një sprovë të tillë në një mëngjes të qetë të dielën?! Gjatë rrugës për në Muzeun Kombëtar, megjithatë, ky objekt më kapi sytë dhe nuk mund të ndaloja pa e parë. Në fund të fundit, ne e filmuam diçka të Dielën. ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ ⠀ Where is this beautiful place? – many of you have asked. Last Sunday I had to shoot a video so I woke up very early and got ready. By 7 am, I was at the city center. But something had slipped my mind. It was the same day of the Tirana Marathon and every central street of the city was blocked. When I realized, I regretted my bad luck. Who would possibly predict such an ordeal on a quiet Sunday morning?! On my way to the National Museum, however, this object caught my eye and I couldn't take them off it. We did film something on Sunday, after all. #intoalbania #albania #tirana #visittirana #sharealbania #colorsofalbania #visitalbania

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