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Tirana city guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in Albania’s capital

Food, Tourism, Travel January 22, 2019

Albania is coming in from the cold. After decades of isolation, Europe’s last undiscovered country is set on modernising and attracting visitors. Its capital, Tirana, is at the heart of this plan.

The first ever low-cost flights between the UK and Albania started in April 2018, when Wizz Air opened its new London Luton-Tirana route. And the historic city is in the midst of massive changes as part of the highly ambitious new Tirana 2030 project, devised by Milan’s Stefano Boeri Architects, which will totally reimagine Albania’s capital – filling it with concentric rings of green space, new public schools and eco-friendly housing.

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Albania’s Post-Communist Rebirth Gets a Jewish Twist

Culture, History, Religion January 22, 2019

On a windy mountaintop citadel in Berat, Albania, in a church lit only by incense lamps and their dim reflections off the peeling gold-painted icons, I met Simon Vrusho, the creator and director of the Muzei Solomoni, Albania’s first and only Jewish museum, which opened earlier this year.

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The Capital of Albania Has Transformed Into a Lively, Affordable Destination

Travel October 15, 2017

“Great energy comes from the young population that has inherited the hospitality and warmth of the Balkans combined with the Mediterranean spirit. All these youngsters travel and see the world, and we think that Tirana has all it takes to be a new favorited location.” In tandem with the Albanian Riviera’s beaches and the staggering natural vistas in the south-western part of the country on the Ionian Sea, buzzy Tirana is a delightful, cosmopolitan beginning to a seaside Balkan adventure…

Unexpected Highlights of a Trip to Albania

Travel September 2, 2017

What we found in Albania was a mix of remarkable natural beauty, deep history, tempting food, and some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. It’s like Italy with limited public transportation and the French Riviera with more partially-constructed buildings and less attitude. Albania is like its neighbour to the south, Greece, but with far fewer tourists and a whole lot of Cold War bunkers. In a lot of ways, it’s probably like other parts of Europe were 30 or 40 years ago, which gives it a feeling all its own. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Starbucks here. And, yes, it is cheap. And safe…

Albanian road trip: history behind the bunkers

Travel May 30, 2017

While ‘the land of eagles’ may be better known for its stormy communist past (with some 750,000 concrete bunkers still scattered around to prove it), it has a rich and diverse historical and cultural legacy. The best way to take in Albania’s ancient castles, lived-in World Heritage Sites and ethnographic museums is on a road trip, especially if you have limited time or aren’t keen on working out the country’s bewildering bus system. Start your cultural exploration of Albania in the north. Once an important trading town due to its favourable geographical position at the meeting point of two rivers and very close to the Adriatic Sea, Shkodra is considered the country’s cultural capital thanks to its music and literary traditions…

Albania’s bunker museums cast new light on a dark history

History, Travel May 30, 2017

Bunkers from the postwar Hoxha era still litter Albania’s landscape and, in the capital Tirana, are being opened to the public as the country explores its communist past. Spend just a few days in Albania and you’ll get a sense of how the country was suffocated in the iron grip of its communist dictatorship for nearly 50 years. The land, from gorgeous beaches to remote valleys, is still dotted, 25 years after the collapse of the regime, with tens of thousands of bunkers, concrete testament to the paranoia of Enver Hoxha, who led the country from 1944 until his death in 1985…

Six Unexpected Highlights of a Trip to Albania

Travel August 23, 2016

When we decided to travel to Albania, we had absolutely no idea what to expect. We’d heard a few sound bites about bad roads and transportation challenges and a few vague assertions that it was an inexpensive place to visit – nothing to help us form any good ideas about what we would be experiencing…

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