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Albania is one of the „travel secrets“ in Europe. Not overcrowded, relatively cheap and easy to reach by plane – tourist numbers however are increaing rapidly. We visited the country just before the spring season – the weather was even warm enough for swimming.

Tirana – the capital – we skipped completly, starting point was Berat – the city of 1000 windows. This was one of the highlights of our tour. The castle is worth visiting with great views of the city and mountains but also the view of the old city from the other side of the river.

Next stop was Permet a small city in southern Albania at the river Vjosa. There are quite a few view points at the river (with nice colors) and the mountains. Highlight is the old Kadiut Bridge and the hot springs where you can take a bath. It was not so overcrowded as expected.

On the way to Saranda we stopped at the old city of Gjirokastra with the famous Bazaar and old castle. From Saranda we did some small tours, the first to Butrint which are ruins with greek and roman history. We visited the Blue Eye (Syri i Kalter) a very blue looking spring and Ksamil which is the (expensive and crowded) beach destination (with water like the Caribbean they say) but we found it empty and totally pre season.

The drive up the coast from Saranda to Vlora is Albanias „Highway #1“ (my interpretation). Lots of corners and nice views and a pass (Llogara pass) just above 1000m. The last day we spent in Kruja with beautiful views over Tirana.

Albania is a country that will defintly change the next years. A lot of road contruction is going on, a lot of investment in tourism. Now is a good time to visit.

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