When people talk about the Balkans, they usually think of Montenegro or Croatia. But Albania does not immediately come to mind. Although the nature here is beautiful and the climate is Mediterranean, the prices are also lower than those of the neighbors.
We talked to YouTravel.me travel expert Natalia about why Albania is the perfect vacation destination this summer.
1. No need to know the local language
Now Albania is one of the most promising and fastest growing tourist destinations. Why? It is beautiful, safe here, and the residents love and respect Russian-speaking tourists. This is no coincidence: before the closure of the borders in the 60s, Albania and the Soviet Union cooperated closely. And even after the rupture of diplomatic relations, Albanian schools continued to study Russian. Now you can also meet Albanians who are happy to talk to you in Russian, and those who are younger are fluent in English. Almost like in Georgia.
Berat, city of a thousand windows
2. Varied rest
Albania is a small country on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. But, despite the size, travelers have plenty to do here. You can relax on the beaches, swim in the sea (there are two of them: Ionian in the south and Adriatic in the north) or numerous lakes, go hiking in the mountains or explore historical sights. Here are ancient cities, medieval fortresses and castles, incredibly beautiful early Christian temples and monasteries, as well as mosques with unusually beautiful paintings.
And, of course, food. Albania is a good place for gastronomic tourism. Local cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean, Balkan and Turkish at the same time. They love meat, seafood, fresh vegetables, herbs and garlic. All cooked in vegetable oil.
Must-try: Tirana ferges (vegetable casserole with soft cheese), tav kosi (baked lamb topped with yogurt) and local wine.
Tirana, the capital of Albania
3. It's easy to get here
Main news — From May 1, 2022, Albania has canceled visas for Russian citizens. There are no direct flights yet, but you can get there with just one change – through Turkey. Prices one way start from 20 860 rubles.
4. No covid restrictions
Another plus: since May 1, all covid restrictions have been canceled in Albania! No PCR test or vaccination certificate is required to enter the country, the mask regime has been canceled inside, and all establishments work as usual. Museums, parks, cafes, restaurants, spas, stadiums, nightclubs and discos – all this works and is waiting for tourists. It looks like the summer in Albania promises to be hot.
Monument to Skanderbeg in Tirana Square
5. A good place to invest
Many tourists after visiting the country decide to buy property on the coast. The real estate market is growing rapidly. During the last quarter of 2021, the volume of foreign direct investment in Albania increased by 302 million euros. And this figure continues to grow. But until now, Albanian properties remain among the most inexpensive in the Mediterranean region: the average price for an economy-class apartment in the country is slightly more than 38,000 €. In the center of the capital Tirana, a square meter of apartments costs about 1865 €.
Alarm: since last year, you can get a residence permit for investing in real estate in Albania. At the same time, it is not necessary to be the sole owner of a house or apartment: it is enough to own at least 50% of the share of the object.
Albania has not yet become the new Ibiza or Paris, and this is its main merit. On the one hand, there are no crowds of foreigners, on the other hand, there are recreation options for different budgets.
Choose something new, discover the unknown.