Albania is located in southeastern Europe, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. Lying along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, it shares frontiers with Greece in the south-east, Montenegro in the north, Kosovo in the northeast and the Republic of Macedonia in the east.
Albania has a Mediterranean climate with each season offering distinct, yet pleasant weather. Some features of the climate vary by region: The coastal areas have a Central Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The alpine areas have a Central Continental climate with cold, snowy winters and temperate summers. The lowlands have mild winters. Despite the rain, Albanians enjoy a great deal of sunshine; the country is second only to Spain in average annual sunny days. The overall climate is pleasant and favors outdoor activity.
Since the fall of Communism, the development of the Albanian economy has been fueled primarily by the service and construction industries, though tourism has recently played an increasing role in the economy and is growing rapidly. Given the continued development of both summer and winter resorts, people all over the world have begun to think of Albania as a tourist destination.
Flag: Black double-headed eagle on red background
International telephone prefix: 00 355
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Population: 3,150,886 inhabitants
Area: 28,748 km2
Capital City: Tirana
Relegion: In Albania, there is a peaceful coexistence of those practicing a variety of religious faiths. Muslims, Orthodox, and those following the teachings of the Catholic Church comprise the majority of people adherent to religion. In 1967, religious worship was prohibited and the country became the world’s only official atheist state. Since the end of the Communism, Albanians have been guaranteed the freedom of religion and have exercised that freedom in various ways.
Resorts & Places of Interest:
Saranda is one of the main tourist resorts in the Ionian sea. Having a mild microclimate, with over 300 days of sun/year, an excellent geographical position and a rich submarine fauna is becoming one of the biggest targets of real estates investors. The nightlife in Saranda can offer some excellent options, especially in the summer. Most of the restaurants, bars and pubs are along the coast. The people usually go late in the pubs and discos (after the evening stroll – at around 11:00 pm) but stay late, sometimes till the morning.
Evening stroll – Saranda is well known in Albania for its evening stroll, on the main road along the coast. This takes place every summer evening, starting at 7-8 p.m. It is a great occasion to meet and talk to the locals. People usually walk up and down the street, have a drink or dinner. Drinking on the street or on the beach is allowed in Albania, although walking around drunk is not appreciated.
This ancient site was a city through the Roman, Greek, Byzantine and Bishopric periods. Today it has become a UNESCO World Heritage site and includes a Roman temple, Byzantine Basilica and a well preserved Roman amphitheatre. Several public buses a day go to Butrint, get them from the main square or outside the big Butrinti hotel on the eastern waterfront.
Blue Eye Spring (Syri i kalter):
Is a hypnotic natural spring located off the main road between Gjirokastër and Saranda, about 3 km after the sign for ‘Tourist Attraction’. The short road to the sight curves around a lake and the view is quite scenic. The place is wonderful for having a picnic or enjoying the lunch at the restaurant nearby. To go there you can take an early minibus from Gjirokastra or Saranda and ask to be dropped off at the Blue Eye road – it’s a 10min walk from the main road. To go back just go in the place the first bus dropped you and flag down a bus again.
Ksamili is situated around 50 mins away from Saranda. There are frequent buses that leave from Saranda to Ksamil during the day. In Ksamil you can take the boat to one of the islands, try the fresh fish from the beach restaurants or take the ferry to Corfu.
Accommodation - Hotels & Apartments: