Travel to Albania – Episode 268

categories: europe travel

Dhermi Albania

The Amateur Traveler talks to Francis Tapon from about Albania which has gone from a totally closed society 20 years ago to a destination that Lonely Planet ranked as the #1 destination for travel this year (that was before some of the recent protests).

Francis says that because it was isolated for so long it created an exotic and unique culture. Abandoned bunkers still line the country from back when their fear of invasion had nothing to do with tourists. He recommends we start in the capital of Tirana and from there go to Krujë and its legendary Skanderbeg castle.

Albania is a budget destination that offers some of the cheapest (and slowest) train rides in Europe. Frances rates one of the most beautiful places as the Ionian coastline. Albania also boasts Unesco sites like Berat, the city of a thousand windows, and the archaeological city of Butrint which was founded by the Greeks and then later ruled by the Romans, Venetians, and Ottomans.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Francis Tapon
Hike Your Own Hike
The Hidden Europe
Skanderbeg Museum
Archaeological city of Butrint
Lake Ohrid
Lonely Planet Eastern Europe (Multi Country Guide)
Drin river


More hotels go completely smoke-free
Delta Offers Owner of Dead Kitten $50
Albania protests turn violent


Erick Smith recommends when you Travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota (Episode 252) you visit Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Mary recommends when you Travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Episode 259) you also visit:

  • The Mattress Factory – Museum of Contemporary Art, including James Turrell’s play on light.
  • The National Aviary – “America’s Bird Zoo”, featuring 600 species of birds and interactive programs, including some that are geared towards children

Carrie from NYC says if you /2007/05/05/episode-89-the-galapagos-islands/#comments you should check out la Isla de la Plata. They call it the Poor Man’s Galapagos because it has most of the same animals as the Galapagos but it isn’t as touristy/expensive. They also offer super cheap scuba diving classes there (I think $300/one week instruction + PADI certified).

Traveling Soon? These useful links will help you prepare for your trip.
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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Albania – Episode 268”



Wow! Looks and sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I remember in 2006 when I met a couple who had bought land and were developing a seaside resort in Albania and they told me there was next-to-zero tourism on the high end (this was 2006) It’s amazing how far tourism has come in just 5 years. After this podcast its migrated higher up on my list of places to go!



I’m catching up on episodes I missed while traveling and was especially interested in this one as I was in Albania last October. I came over the border from Macedonia at Lake Ohrid, headed south to Butrint and Saranda, and then all the way north via Tirane and Shkodra to Montenegro. I had intended to visit the Ionian coast, but it turned out I had arrived too late in the year and B&Bs etc. had shut down.

I didn’t think the roads were that bad – my prize for the worst roads in Europe still goes to Moldova, perhaps with the Crimea as runner up – and my absolutely best day in Albania was the drive from Korca through the mountains to Gjirokastra. I easily saw more horses and donkeys that day than cars – see I used a car and driver, but there is a bus.

Note that in addition to Lonely Planet’s “Western Balkans”, Bradt has a guidebook solely for Albania which is a much better resource.



I’ve found this interesting article interesting talking about my country 🙂 Guys just sharing, Check out if anyone of you will need local information about the Albanian Perle, Vlora 🙂 Keep up your great job.



True story … every one is super helpful when you need help and they wil ALL invite you for a coffee and raki (local drink, usually made at home).

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