In 2012, Linda Harris, our Product Manager for Eastern Europe, visited Albania - not your typical holiday destination. Find out how she got on:
"Last year I went to Albania on the ‘Europe’s Last Frontier’ tour. When I told my friends and family that I was going there, I was met with a lot of blank faces. Albania was off the tourist map for many years and the tourism industry is only starting to develop there now, so not many people know what it has to offer.
This for me was one of its attractions. I liked the fact that I was still in Europe but felt that I was off the beaten track. Now is the best time to go to Albania before everyone else finds out about this hidden gem! It was wonderful going to some of its main highlights and sometimes being the only group there.
This tour has a nice balance of culture, history and walking with breathtaking scenery. I found learning more about the history fascinating. Albania was a communist state until 1991 and in 1967 became the world’s first atheist state. During this time hundreds of mosques and churches were destroyed. More recently religion has grown in importance once again. 70% of the population are Muslims and it is refreshing to see how people with different faiths live together so harmoniously.
Albania is a lovely country, filled with fascinating historical sites, stunning scenery and friendly people. The highlights for me were the towns of Gjirokastra and Kruja, both built in very scenic locations. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint is also a very interesting archaelogical site. I must also mention our wonderful Tour Leader Endrit and driver Fati; the tour would not have been the same without them!
I travelled in September and the weather was lovely; Albania is located just across the water from Corfu and next door to Greece so has a Mediterranean climate. I also enjoyed the food which has a lot of influences from Italy and Greece. Albania is still very good value and the food and drink was very inexpensive."