Aug. 13 - Aug 18 2023
Aug. 30 - Sept. 5 2023
Hiking in Albania
Continued from Montenegro...
Albania part #1
Aug. 13 to Aug18, 2023
Leaving Podgorica (Montenegro's capital), we took a bus to Shkodër in northern Albania. Visiting Albania was done in two parts: the first visit was done around mid-August in order to hike the famous Teth to Valbona trail (in northern Albania), while the second part was done at the end of August and early September after a short visit to Kosovo and North Macedonia. During our second part, we visited Berat and Tirana (Albania's capital). Click here to see our itinerary.
Shkodër was a captivating city that left us with an amaing impression: it was different than Montenegro (architecture, food, warmth of people, etc.). We took a walking tour that led us through the storied streets of city, where history and culture intertwined. The city's religious diversity stood out as we explored, learning about Albania's unique tolerance for various religions. Mosques and Catholic + Orthodox churches coexist harmoniously, reflecting the nation's inclusive spirit. Shkodër's nightlife came alive after 7pm (even on Sundays!), pulsating with vibrant bars and loud music. We walked on Kole Idromeno Street (buzzed with energy !) as people strolled, enjoying the ambiance, while others relaxed, observing the lively crowd walking by. See some pictures below from Shkodër.
We hiked the Teth to Valbona trail, 14 kilometers of stunning views with perfect weather (1000m elevation gain, took us 6.5 hours). Staying and dining with locals (real local homestays) was the highlight of this part of the trip, giving us authentic experiences that made the trip unforgettable. The hike showcased top mountain scenery, while sharing meals and stories with our hosts added a special cultural touch to the adventure. Local homestays offered a true immersion into the region's culture. We slept in rustic stone mountain houses and meals were lovingly prepared by the hosts' wives, featuring entirely local, organic ingredients. The food was delicious and very affordable! After our hike and 5 days in the mountains, we left for Kosovo.
Hiking Teth to Valbona
Albania part #2
Aug. 30 to Sept 5, 2023
After a short visit to Kosovo and North Macedonia, we took several buses from Ohrid (North Macedonia) to Berat (Albania). I created a short post on how to get between theses two cities as there are no direct buses.
Berat had a really nice, calm atmosphere. It is called the town of a thousand windows (see large picture below).
After Berat, we took a bus to Tirana, which was the biggest city we visited on this trip.
Tirana was lively and colorful and this is where Albania's hopes and dreams coalesce into a vibrant whirl of traffic and brash consumerism. We had fun walking the city’s grand boulevards lined with fascinating relics of Ottoman, Italian and communist past (from delicate minarets to loud socialist murals).
Continue reading... Bulgaria was my next destination.