One of my dreams fulfilled: to have my photo taken with the word “Albania” (my surname, pun intended)

I had no expectations whatsoever when I visited Albania. Apart from my unexplainable excitement of having a photo taken with the name “Albania” (forgive my surname silliness issues), I did not know much about the country so I tried to avoid reading past writings about it. I really wanted to visit it with a fresh slate.

Albanian people are seriously beautiful. I was surprised by this as I felt I was inside a closeted catwalk, an audience to a host of models coming together to strut on the streets of Tirana, Albania’s capital. Far from being a consumerist country, it’s a nice sight to see naturally beautiful people, with no-frills clothing and make up.

Some Tips on Visiting Albania:

  • Flights from Manila to Tirana are quite expensive, so you might want to touch base in Greece, then take a bus to Albania.
  • Albania is part of the EU and as Philippine passport holders, you will be needing a Schengen visa to enter. However, I’m quite unsure with the process as I do not know of anyone just yet who tried applying for a Schengen visa through this country. You can try applying through any other EU country which you will also be visiting on your trip.
  • Accommodations are very affordable. It’s even more affordable to stay here than in many Southeast Asian countries! I stayed in Hotel Doro City, a 4-star hotel with the price of a 3-star in Southeast Asian countries. It is in the heart of the city with all sightseeing areas just walking distance from the hotel.
  • If you’ve got time, you can visit Gjirokastër, a quaint hilly town in Southern Albania. It is famous for Mother Teresa, this being her birthplace and hometown. You will really feel everyone’s respect when you speak of her. Coming here, it feels like you’re going back in time. Highly recommended!
  • Download the Explore Albania app. This will save you loads of time in trying to find the best travel and destination routes.
  • Why I want to go back: I truly enjoyed being in this country where simple living lies at its helm. No high-rise buildings, no rushing, and people taking their time with their meals and coffees. I love places like this.
  • As with any country in the world: Do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂

P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in the local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤