Travel Experts’ Choice: 6 Unforgettable Places in Albania - Into Albania

Travel Experts’ Choice: 6 Unforgettable Places in Albania

With the Coronavirus pandemic locking everyone in, IntoAlbania thought to get some of the country’s travel bloggers and curious explorers talking about their most memorable destinations. Here is what they had to say.

1. Kostenjë Mountains @wheretfislena

The self-proclaimed “Alberican” (i.e. Albanian-American) travel photographer has chosen this off-the-beaten path site as her top most memorable destination: “Finally got to boost my immune system the way humans were meant to,” she writes of her visit to Kostenjë. You can find the beautiful region near Elbasan, only 40 km from Tirana. Check it out.

2. Mat River in Shkopet Village @ida_nurce

The journalist has an especially nostalgic bond to Shkopet, as it is her birthplace. Well, it doesn’t hurt when your birthplace has such a spectacular landscape. Located about 60 km from Tirana, the area has a simple bucolic yet mountainous beauty with the calming Mat River flowing through it. Stop and stare.  

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Gazetarja @ida_nurce ndan këtë histori për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Kur jemi të vegjël duam të largohemi pa e kthyer kokën pas. Ndërsa rritemi mendojmë sikur të ishim edhe një herë të vegjël. Unë e rigjej këtë ndjesi fëmijërore sa herë marr rrugën për të shkuar në vendlindje. Atje ku e gjithë aventura e jetës sime më vjen si një panoramë e gjallë. Këtë vend gjithmonë e dashuroja ta shihja nga xhamat e makinës. Flija gjithë rrugës dhe aty i thoja mamit “Më zgjo kur të arrijmë te lumi jeshil!” Sot sa herë kaloj andej, ndaloj dhe nuk ngopem duke e parë. Sa ëndrra më ka ngjizur vendi im i bukur! Mund të ecësh shumë larg, por kurrë mos harro ta kthesh kokë nga ke ardhur! #intoalbaniatravelsintime ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ When we're children, we want to leave without looking back. As we grow older, we want to be young again. I experience this child-like state each time I visit my birthplace. It's there that the entire adventure that is my life comes back to me, in the living, breathing panorama. I've always loved catching a glimpse of this place from the car windows. I would sleep through our entire journey but, at this spot, I would always tell my mom: “Wake me up when we get to the green river!” Now, whenever I pass by, I stop and cannot get enough of the view. How many dreams were born in my beautiful land! You can go very far, but do not ever forget to turn toward where you came from!

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3. Prush in Vaqarr @sonilahyseni

Many travel experts surprisingly opted less for the sensational and more for the intimate and easily accessible route. We tend to agree, there is a certain appeal to the spontaneity of the day trip, to barely stepping out of one’s familiar backyard and finding the new. A nearby spots that granted our explorer a day “full of emotion” is Prush in Vaqarr, a village in the outskirts of Tirana.

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Sonila Hyseni, e apasionuar pas fotografive dhe udhëtimeve ka ndarë për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime këtë histori 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Mund të mos jetë fotoja më e bukur që kam, por ka shumë vlerë për mua. Edhe pse lëvizja nuk lejohet në këto kohë të vështira, më duhet ta pranoj se kam marrë pak liri (duke ndjekur çdo masë të nevojshme, patjetër) për të vizituar disa vende me biçikletë. Ky është një vend i vogël në Prush, një fshat 20 minuta me biçikletë nga Tirana. Zona ka një miksim të mrekullueshëm të elementëve natyrorë: një liqen, kodrina, pemë të gjata, lëndina, qingja dhe cicërima zogjsh. E adhuroj bisedën me vendasit, veçanërisht me të vjetrit të cilët i konsideroj shumë të veçantë. Ata më kujtojnë gjyshërit e mi (të cilët nuk jetojnë me mua në qytet) dhe më ndihmojnë të ndihem më afër tyre. Një mike e imja dhe unë patëm një bisedë shumë të këndshme me Meremen (pas meje në foto) për ndryshimet mes jetës në qytet dhe fshat. I jam shumë mirënjohëse për kujtimet që ndau me ne. Më pas, morëm kohën tonë për të eksploruar zonën. Ishte një ditë plot emocione. ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ It may not be the best photo of a landscape that I have, but it means a lot to me. Though moving around is not allowed during these difficult times, I must admit that I have taken the liberty (following all precautions, of course) to visit a few places by bike. This is a small lake in Prush, a village located a 20-minute bike ride from Tirana. The area has a wonderful mix of natural elements: a lake, rolling hills, tall trees, lawns, lambs, the tweeting of birds. I love chatting with the locals, especially the older generation whom I consider very special. They remind me of my grandparents (who don’t live with me in the city) and help me feel closer to them. My friend and I had a warm conversation with Mereme (behind me in the photo) on the differences between city and village life. I'm grateful for the memories she shared with us. Afterward, we took our time to explore the area. It was a day full of emotions. @sonilahyseni #intoalbania #albania #sharealbania #visitalbania

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4. Karavasta Lagoon @anxhi_celiku

Famous for birdwatching and home to the rare Dalmatian pelican, this lagoon is an internationally famous and highly coveted destination among those “in-the-know.” And, “in case you don’t know, this place has the most beautiful sunsets in the entire country,” our lagoon enthusiast writes. See for yourself.

5. Çika Mountain @afrimtahiraj

Çika mountain is evidently a climber’s paradise, voted as a top destination among both our readers and travel experts. The Çika Peak offers perhaps the most awe-inspiring view of the entire country: a panorama of the spectacular Ionian and that famous shoreline of the Riviera. 

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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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6. Morava, Korça @deli_mucollari

The climb to Morava mountain generated the first and most inspiring memory of all our travel experts. Climbing the Morava peak is a way to meet God, our traveler says, as here is “the greatest of all creations, the most vivid of hues, a perfection that heals your eyes.” Sounds good to us.

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Historia dhe fotoja e parë për fushatën #IntoAlbaniaTravelsInTime nga @deli_mucollari 👇🏻 ⠀ ⠀ Njerëzimi gjithnjë ka dashur të prekë majat më të larta të Tokës për të takuar Zotin, për ta pasur botën në grusht njëherë, për tu ndier Perëndi veç pak. Po është e çuditshme se si, sa më lart që ngjitesh, aq më të imët të bën të ndihesh madhështia e një mali shekullor. Morava është thuajse shtëpia ime, e kam parë shpesh nga dritarja e dhomës dhe kurrë nuk guxoja ta sfidoja veten për ta ngjitur. Admiroja kryqin e bardhë mbi të dhe thoja me vete që ndoshta ishte më mirë të vazhdoja ta kundroja nga dhjetëra metra më poshtë. Por në kohën e vet, njeriut i duhet ta takojë Zotin me doemos, në një ditë që s’e pret e s’e pandeh. Ndodh në dhomëzën tënde ose në majën e një mali prej burimit të së cilës ke pirë ujë në etje të mëdha. Aty Ai të tregon krijimin artistik më të bukur, koloritin më të gjallë, majat sfiduese dhe shtigjet drejt tyre si për të thënë se ka gjithmonë një rrugë. Ai të tregon përsosmërinë e një imazhi që të shëron sytë, e një toke të pashterur që prodhon jetë, e një qielli paqeje që na rri si çati e sigurt mbi kokë.. Dhe të thotë: “Po ti ç’ke bërë?”⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ *** ⠀ Morava is my second home. I have looked at it from the window of my room often but never had the courage to challenge myself to climb it. I gazed at the white cross on the peak and always assumed that it was better if I stayed put and admired it from a distance. But the time comes that one must meet God and it happens when you least expect it. It can happen in your little room or up on the mountain’s peak, where you drink from its sources in moments of great thirst. There, He shows you the greatest of all creations, the most vivid of hues, the most defiant peaks as well as their paths, as if to say that there's always a way. He reveals a perfection that heals your eyes, of an ever-fertile earth that brings life, of a peaceful sky that shelters us like a roof over our heads. And He asks: “And you, what have you done so far?“

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