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ALBANIA


Location - South east Europe; Capital - Tirana; Population - 2.9 million; Currency - Lek MORE ALBANIA

From Saranda a limited number of buses run along the Albanian Riviera to Himara and Vlora. And don't forget a visit to Shkodra, near the Montenegro border - April/May 2018.

 

albanianote3A 200 Lek note. Shqiperise means Albania in Albanian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania515Before reaching Himara and Dhermi further along the coast I stopped off at the tiny bay of Palermo

 

albania519There's a restaurant on the main road from where you get a decent view of the bay, the small beach and the castle. There's also some decrepit buildings, pictured, constructed during the communist era by the Chinese - Palermo

 

albania522The bay is very sheltered, with still waters and little wind - Palermo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania524A short walk from the restaurant brings you to Porto Palermo Castle - Palermo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania530This tunnel was originally used by the Soviet Union to shelter their submarines - Palermo

 

albania533A brief stop in Himara, a few kms further north of Palermo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania537I based myself at Dhermi's lovely curve of coastline for a few days

 

albania540As it was out of season the only restaurant open was Luciano's, with most people being workers painting and decorating in readiness for the summer. This was the beach on a Saturday, the busiest with day-trippers - Dhermi

 

albania541The main beach next to Luciano's - Dhermi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania556Fishermen unfurl their nets as the sun goes down - Dhermi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania557There's several smaller coves heading north from the centre though they suffer the blight of overdevelopment. Half-finished buildings and rubble interrupt the attractive coastline and turquoise sea - Dherm

 

albania574The Albanian Riviera coast from Palasa beach in the distance, to Drymades and then Dhermi close-up. Note that buses stop on the main road high above the beach, so the return walk is a steep and sweaty one with all your luggage. Get a taxi!

 

albania576A bird's eye view of Dhermi and the Ionian Sea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania571The obligatory concrete bunker, this one being on the walk from Dhermi to Drymades

 

albania562Above Drymades beach is the twisting and turning road that takes you high over the Llogoraja Pass to Vlora - Drymades

 

albania563The transparency of the water is amazing! Drymades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania565'Drink beer and feel better'. Don't think this has been approved by the health authorities - Drymades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania566Yes OK, after you - Drymades

 

 

albania579The best coastline I saw in Albania was the approach to Gjipe, the first beach south of Dhermi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania585Gjipe beach comes into view, and just about visible to the right is Jala beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania590It's a bit of a mission to reach Gjipe, with only 4x4s being able to negotiate the rutted dirt-track, but it's worth it

 

albania591There's a campground for those with tents, making it popular with backpackers and locals alike - Gjipe

 

albania596A worthwhile walk is following the stream into the gorge - Gjipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania592Kayakers start on their way to Jala beach - Gjipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania614Vlora is the third largest city in Albania

 

albania616The rather smelly port area - Vlora

 

albania610 Bright street art along Ismail Qemali - Vlora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania609The very Socialist Realist Independence Monument. Albanian independence was declared in Vlora in 1912 - Vlora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haha, brilliant! The Messi resemblance is so bad it's good! A souvenir shop in Vlora

 

albania642Mother Teresa welcomes visitors to Shkodra. Though Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was born in modern-day Macedonia she's of Albanian-Indian descent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania638The city, near the Montenegro border, has a buzzing but relaxed feel to it - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania641Not a swear word but Albanian for 'for sale' - Shkodra

 

albania631The tourist heart is pedestrianised Rr Kole Idromeno which is full of bars, cafes and restaurants - Shkodra

 

albania630At the entrance to the pedstrian zone is the main mosque - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania639A short minute walk away is a Cathloic cathedral - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania644A local band playing during the city's May Day festival - Shkodra

 

albania649Not to be outdone by Berat and Gjirokastra, Shkodra has a hilltop fortress of its own, and boasting fantastic views too

 

albania648The ruins of Rozafa Castle stand high over Lake Shkodra - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania672The fortress is set at the strategic meeting point of three rivers - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania654The Buna River (Bojana in Montenegrin) flows out of Lake Shokdra - Shkodra

 

albania659The city is the gateway to the Albanian Alps and an ideal base for excursions to Lake Shokdra and Lake Koman - Shkodra

 

albania673Riverside refreshments at Buna River - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania676Shkodra didn't escape Albania's ruthless communist past; this is the Site of Witness and Memory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania675The museum is dedicated to those who suffered under the regime - Shkodra

 

albania680The former monastery was transformed into Sigurimi (secret police) detention cells where people were interrogated and moved to prison camps, or executed - Shkodra

 

albania690Political prisoners describe this as a typical setting of a torture room - Shkodra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania696Lake Shkodra is a short drive or cycle ride from Shkodra, either heading north or west. This is Shiroka, the first resort west of Shkodra, which is followed by Zogaj just before the Montenegrin border

 

albania701Lake Shkodra is split between Albania and Montenegro, where it's known as Lake Skadar - Shiroka

 

albania703Just beyond Shiroka is a small pebbly beach, a little dirty but fine for a brief laze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surprise surprise a concrete pillbox bunker - Shiroka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

albania711Alfresco dining is the way to go at a lakeside restaurant - Shiroka

 

albania713A mountainous backdrop to Lake Shkodra - Shiroka

 

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2018 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

http://albania.al - tourist info

http://albaniatourism.info

www.tiranatimes.com - Tirana Times newspaper, in English

www.visit-tirana.com - Tirana tourist info

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

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