Favorite 10:  Exploring Albania with The Blonde Gypsy - Into Albania

Favorite 10:  Exploring Albania with The Blonde Gypsy

Larissa Olenicoff, aka “The Blonde Gypsy”, is one of the most popular travel bloggers in the Balkans. Thanks to her instagram page and her website, “The Blonde Gypsy” travel stories and features are becoming a source of inspiration for many people to visit Albania. That is why we decided to do a Favorite 10 edition about Albania with her. Check it out:

1. Favorite Albanian city:

Tirana. It’s chaotic, yet so cool and calm at the same time. It’s grown so much into a cosmopolitan capital since I first visited seven years ago and what you can’t find in the city, you can find only a short distance away (the sea, lakes, caves, castles, mountains).

2. Culture Spot:

Shkodra. There’s a lot of cultural history in this town as well as one of my favorite museums, the Marubi National Museum of Photography. Rozafa Castle and its view of Lake Shkodër, the Buna and the Albanian Alps are also unmissable for any visitor in my opinion.

Castle of Rozafa

View of the lake from Rozafa Castle, Shkodra, photo by IntoAlbania.

3. Nature spot:

From the tip of the Karaburun Peninsula to Llogora. This entire stretch to me is like heaven on earth with its sea caves, aquamarine beaches, hidden lagoons, and lush forests all within such a condensed area.

4. Traditional dish:

Elbasan Tave, the OG kind with lamb (because I’ve been seeing it more and more with beef and that’s just not right).

5. Outdoor experience:

I’ve heard Theth is just amazing, but I haven’t been there myself yet so I’ll go with its Albanian Alps sister, Valbona. That whole valley is really spectacular for hiking or just escaping to for some peace and quiet. It’s also easier to get to Komani Lake from there and take a boat ride, another magical experience to be had in Albania.

Valbona Valley in Kukës, photo courtesy of Egzon Bytyqi

6. Guilty Pleasure in Albania:

Raki. End of story.

7. The place that has left you speechless:

Too many places to name but special mention goes to Palasë Beach circa 2015. It is the northenmost beach along the Albanian Riviera (Ionian strip) just below Llogora Pass and there used to be not much there except a beach hut or two and campers, but sadly it’s been developed into some fancy resort + villas over the past couple of years. I’m sure it’s a sexy place, but not worth the destruction of the coastline and I will always miss the ruggedly beautiful version of it…

Photo courtesy of The Blonde Gypsy.

8. Your favorite underrated place in Albania:

Korça. Though the number of visitors have been growing steadily over the past few years, I still think not enough tourists are including it on their itinerary which is a shame. It is one of the cutest, coziest little towns in Albania with an incredible amount of culture to experience and so much to see both in town and in its surroundings.

Badarosh peak

Morava Mountain, Korça, photo by IntoAlbania.

9. Favorite urban spot:

Noel Bar which is hidden below Pedonale in Tirana. This is literally a home away from home for me and its owners (Maya & Miri) like my Albanian parents. If you want to experience some real soul in Tirana, this is where you need to come for some raki and tasty qofte (but not on a Sunday, they are closed).

Photo courtesy of The Blonde Gypsy.

10. Favorite instagrammable spot:

Berat. With its “1,000 windows”, awesome Osum river and perfectly placed castle, I think Berat may be the most photogenic town in the country with its UNESCO sister Gjirokaster as a close second.

Photo courtesy of The Blonde Gypsy.

By: IntoAlbania

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