The Balkan state of Albania has had an eventful history and was strongly influenced by Stalinism until the early 1990s. The country borders with Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. With its beautiful coastal landscape and magnificent mountains, it is still considered an insider tip in Europe. See andyeducation for education in Albania.
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Fast facts to know
- Belongs to the poorer countries of Europe.
- Hospitality is a matter of honor.
- No visa required for entry.
- Offers sandy beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, imposing mountain landscapes, fertile plains and many beautiful lakes.
- Interesting mixture of architectural monuments and social influences through changing history under different rulers.
- The most Stalinist regime in Europe until the early 1990s.
- Medical care is insufficient.
- Mobile network coverage is excellent.
- Considered a travel insider tip in Europe.
Exciting cities in Albania
History of Albania
- 1,000 BC the Illyrians settled in the Western Balkans.
- 3rd century BC Romanization beginning in the Roman Empire.
- Byzantine, Bulgarian and again Byzantine rule followed, as well as shorter periods under the rule of Serbia, Naples, Venice and others
- After a Turkish defensive war in the 15th century, Albania fell to the Ottoman Empire for 400 years.
- Many Albanians converted to Islam.
- After the First Balkan War in 1912, the Kingdom of Albania gained independence.
- Occupations during the world wars and the 4-year annexation to Yugoslavia followed by alliances with Russia and later China.
- Member of the Warsaw Pact since 1955.
- 1967 enactment of a total ban on religion.
- Mass emigration beginning in 1990 after the fall of the communist regime.
- After increasing dematization in the years that followed, official candidate for accession to the EU since 2014.
Climate & travel weather in Albania
- Inland: continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.
- Coastal areas: June to August very dry, mild, rainy winters.
- It is best to plan a bathing holiday in May, June and September.
- Hiking in mountain regions is also best in spring or autumn, for higher regions summer is also suitable.
Ideas for trips in Albania
- Historical centers of Berat and Gjirokastra.
- Ruined city of Butrint.
- The idyllic farming village of Theth.
- Royal Tombs of Selca e Poshtme (Tomb of the Kings).
- Petrela (very beautiful castle ruins).
Eating & drinking in Albania
- Mediterranean cuisine with oriental influences, similar to Greek and Turkish cuisine.
- Often used: lamb, feta cheese, fish, seafood, fruit, salad, lots of vegetables.
- Albanian food is always very freshly prepared.
- Lunch is the most important meal, usually accompanied by a good salad.
- You eat very late in the evening.
- Albanian hospitality is evident in lavishly prepared dishes.
- Typical dishes:
- Byrek (minced meat with eggs, vegetables and cheese, in puff pastry)
- Fergese Tirane (eggs, liver, cottage cheese, seasoned with garlic)
- Fasule (thick white bean and onion soup)
- Burani (thick green bean and onion soup)
- Qigra (snail-shaped bread made from chickpea flour)
- Turshia (very spicy marinated vegetables such as aubergines, red peppers, green tomatoes, peperoncini, pickled in vinegar with garlic, salt, pepper and herbs)
- Fileto pule (chicken fillet)
- Paidhage gici (grilled piglets)
- Speca, patellxhan zgare (grilled eggplant and peppers)
- Gel me patate (potato stew with vegetables and beef)
- Tave kosi (mutton cooked in yoghurt)
- Tave zarzavatesh me mish (vegetable casserole with meat)
- Qofte (oblong meatballs)
- Biftek (minced meat stuffed with feta)
- Halva (sweet, adopted by the Turks)
- Xupa (nut pudding)
- Sheqerpare (sweet balls of dough baked in butter)
- Typical drinks: dhala (buttermilk), bosa (made from bulgur, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, water) and raki (clear schnapps, similar to fruit brandy)
- Albanian Alps
- Lake Ohrid
- Albanian Riviera