Albania

Albania

Etymology

Medieval Latin name of the country called by its inhabitants Shqipëri (literally “land of eagles,” from shqiponje “eagle”), from Medieval Greek Albania, possibly from a pre-IE word *alb “hill” (also proposed as the source of Alps) or from the PIE root *albho- “white” (see alb). Roman Albania was a land by the Caspian Sea (modern Daghestan); in English Albania was occasionally also a name for Scotland. [online etymology dictionary]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Si te investojme ne Bursen e Nju Jorkut (NY Stock Exchange) – Talk about strategies and programmatic in order to highlight the best chances to invest successfully in the Stock Exchange of New York. [meetup]

Tirana Socializers – A group for fun people who want to socialize and get to know new people. As Martha Medeiros has written: Slowly dies he who doesn’t speak to people he doesn’t know 🙂 [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Albania Women – Free Dating – Connecting Singles is a 100% FREE Albania dating site where you can make friends and meet Albania singles. Find an activity partner, new friends, a cool date or a soulmate, for a casual or long term relationship. [connecting singles]

Albanian Personals – Welcome to AlbanianPersonals.com, your compatible Albanian singles & friendship community. We offer a site that excels for a number of reasons.  [albanian personals]

Albanian Singles – At AlbanianSingles.com, we excel at helping you find your match safely and quickly. Through our extensive profiles, members can learn about each other before meeting in person. Our great quality assurance and customer service means all you have to worry about is looking good in your photo. [albanian singles]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Cultural Tour Albania – This cultural tour is for people who are interested to discover the history and experience the culture of a warm and incredibly hospitable country that has not been discovered by mass tourism yet. Albania is an emerging traveling destination that has much to offer, especially when it comes to cultural sites and natural beauty. [outdoor albania]

Cycling Tour South Albania – This tour is for active people who want to explore the coastal mountains of Southern Albania by bike. We will cycle through hills covered in olive groves, around the magnificent Lake Ohrid, and along the sparsely inhabited Ionian coast. [outdoor albania]

Discover the ‘Blue Eye’ – This walking holiday is great for active, outdoors-loving people who love walking and for those with a flexible, adventurous attitude. This walking holiday shows you the beauty of pristine nature and culture in the Albanian Alps where you will be hosted by local families. [outdoor albania]

Experience Koman and Rural Valbona by Ferry – This tour is for active people who would like to get a taste of the culture of the Northern Albanian “Malesore”, native Albanian highlanders. You will discover the Valbona Valley, its hidden attractions, and pristine panoramas by foot. [outdoor albania]

Guided Hiking Holiday – This two-week walking tour is for fit people who want to explore Albania in it’s full length, from the most Northern to the most Southern parts of the country. [outdoor albania]

Hiking in Scenic Southern Albania –  This tour is for people who enjoy a balanced mix of hikes, cultural visits and relaxation in the beautiful South of Albania. Traveling from the Adriatic to the Ionian coast, you can marvel at the splendour of Llogora Pass, see the mighty Cika peaks towering above the crystal waters and the white gravel beaches of the Ionian Sea. [outdoor albania]

Journey in to the Albanian Alps – Journey in to the Albanian Alps is for adventurous travellers who enjoy encounters with nature and cultural experiences such as staying in unique traditional houses of the native Albanian highlanders, the “malesore”. This walking holiday covers some of the most scenic parts of Albania and includes a ferry trip on the spectacular Lake Koman, a trek through the beautiful Valbona Valley and a visit to the Theth Valley. [outdoor albania]

Local Village House Trek – This tour is for adventurous travelers with open minds who like staying in the traditional houses of the native Albanian highlanders, the “malesore”. The tour covers some of the most scenic parts of northern  Albania and includes a world-class ‘Boat Trip on the Spectacular Lake Koman’, a trek through the beautiful ‘Valbona Valley’, and a visit to the ‘Thethi Valley’. [outdoor albania]

Majestic Mountain Trekking from Valbona to Thethi – This trek is for active and adventurous people who enjoy hiking and love to get to know the local people and their culture. We will hike the classic pass of the Albanian Alps that has linked the two most known valleys of the area – Valbona and Thethi – for centuries. [outdoor albania]

Sea-kayak along the Beautiful Ionian Coast – This sea kayaking tour is for people who like to be on the water and visit secluded beaches that yclingan only be reached from the water. We will explore the caves, beaches, picturesque villages, and historical and archaeological sites of the Albanian coast, and enjoy the delicious cuisine of this region. [outdoor albania]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Albanian Riviera – is perhaps the most popular place in the country for tourists to visit. The riviera has a growing reputation as an important music location, with many international music festivals – including Turtle Fest and Soundwave Albania – having taken place here. [the crazy tourist]

Apollonia – Apollonia was once one of the most important cities in the world, and as such it is a must for anyone visiting Albania for the first time. Found in the heart of Albania, within easy reach from the city of Fier, Apollonia ruins are breathtaking and the views from this part of the country are superb too. [the crazy tourist]

Berat – is in the middle of Albania and it is believed to be one of the country’s oldest towns. Berat is often known by its nickname – the City of a Thousand Windows – due to its mix of Ottoman and Albanian architecture. [the crazy tourist]

Durres – Albania’s main port, Durres is also one of the nation’s oldest cities. Durres is most famous for being home to the biggest amphitheater in the Balkans, while the unspoiled northern coastal stretch of Lalzit Bay is one of Albania’s most beautiful places to visit. [the crazy tourist]

Gjirokastra – A Unesco city, Gjirokastra is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Albania. Unique Ottoman period architecture – with houses designed like small castles – can be found all over Gjirokastra, which has a military museum and art gallery in its amazing castle that dominates the skyline. [the crazy tourist]

Kruja – Kruja is home to the national ethnographic museum, but it is best known for being where the Skanderbeg museum can be found. Located in the Kruja castle, the museum is one of Albania’s most important and popular tourist attractions. [the crazy tourist]

Ksamil Islands – The highlight of the Albanian Riviera is perhaps the Ksamil Islands, a remote group of three small islands located just off the coast, accessible only by boat from the small town of Ksamil. Part of the larger Butrint National Park, the Ksamil Islands are a fantastic example of Albania at its most untouched and unspoiled. [the crazy tourist]

Lake Koman – For the most breathtaking scenery in the entire Balkans, visiting Lake Koman in Albania should be on anyone’s bucket list. Often described as one of the world’s great boat trips, the journey takes visitors from the hydro-electric dam at Koman to the port of Fierza. [the crazy tourist]

Llogara Pass – The Llogara Pass is one of Albania’s most famous places, with the road providing one of the most spectacular drives in the whole world. Located in the middle of the Llogara National Park, the road travels to over 1,000 metres above sea level and the scenery will take your breath away. [the crazy tourist]

Pogradec – One of the most up-and-coming places to visit in Albania is Pogradec, which can be found on the shores of Lake Ohrid in the east of the nation. Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkan region and while the Macedonian side of the lake is more popular, Albania’s shore is definitely on the up. [the crazy tourist]

Saranda – is one of the hottest tourism locations in Albania, with the town having undergone a huge amount of development in the last 20 years or so. Saranda is home to some of the most unforgettable beaches in Albania, while the Unesco World Heritage site at Butrint is located just outside of Saranda and is well worth a visit too. [the crazy tourist]

Shkodra – The largest town in the north of Albania, Shkodra is often considered the cultural capital of the country. This is because it hosts events such as Carnival, Lake Day, the Children’s Festival and Shkodra Jazz Fest, while it is also home to a famous historic castle notable for its important role during the First Balkan War. [the crazy tourist]

Theth – Away from Albania’s biggest cities, in the north of the country, is Theth. Located high in the Albanian Alps, Theth is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and it is easy to see why. [the crazy tourist]

Tirana – The city is home to few must-see tourist locations, but the 18th-century Et’hem Bey mosque is well worth a visit. Tirana’s people, like the vast majority of Albanian locals, are exceptionally friendly and the city is supremely affordable, with surprisingly excellent food and drinks both very cheap. [the crazy tourist]

Vlore – In the south-west of Albania is the popular coastal resort of Vlore, which has long been best known for its olive production – it is believed to house some 280,000 olive trees. Vlore has many important historic sights, but perhaps the most famous of them is the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building, which is where Albania declared independence a little over 100 years ago. [the crazy tourist]

Festivals

Festivals

Gjirokaster Folk Festival – This significant festival takes place around September every four years in southern Albania, with the last edition happening in 2009. First organized in 1968, the event sets out to bring an interesting assortment of folk musicians, performers, and artists from across the Balkans and around the world to perform in front of large audiences. The last event attracted over 1,000 artists with one of the highlights being the iso-poliphony style of Albanian folk singing, which has been chosen by UNESCO as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’. [iexplore]

International Festival of Modern and Contemporary Dance – Held in Durres each October, this festival is designed to bring aspects of international contemporary dance to Albania and demonstrate innovative forms of expression. Four years ago, the organizers decided to stage the first edition because they believed that Albania was too steeped in its own folk scene and culture needed to be more modernized. Performances are followed by workshops where everyone invited to take part. [iexplore]

Korça Beer Festival – Thought to be the biggest public celebration in Albania, the Korca Beer Festival in August serves 14,000 pints of beer over four consecutive nights of revelry. Korca is Albania’s oldest and favorite brand of brew, and is named after the town that hosts the event every August. Traditional food, live music with some international bands playing and plenty of dancing are featured heavily on the menu. [iexplore]

National Festival of Urban Folk Songs – Every March, this festival is organized as a tribute to the folk songs that are performed in towns and villages across Albania. This style of music is very different than traditional folk music, having been revised through more modern methods of orchestration and interpretation. The town of Elbasan hosts the celebration on the first day of spring each year and welcomes performers from across Albania to showcase their talent. [iexplore]

Tirana International Film Festival – Taking place each year in November, Tirana International Film Festival is the first of its kind to take place in Albania. First held in 2003, it mixes a combination of short pieces with full-length features. A nationwide event, the festival has received patronage and endorsements from a number of international names from across Europe and America. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Buses – Buses are essentially bigger, slower, cheaper, and slightly more reliable furgons. They leave according to a schedule—though what exactly constitutes this schedule can be a mystery. Buses leaving from Tiranë invariably stop every 100 meters on the road out of the city to pick up villagers. The only procedural difference from a furgon is that on buses, you typically pay en route. Someone will come up the aisles; tell them your destination and pay them. It’s worth listening and watching to what others are paying. [matinic]

Car and Taxi – The government of Albania has spent a lot on the ring roads and hence they are very smooth to travel in Tirana. Getting around by taxi can cost about $400 Lek where as at night the cost about $600 lek. When the taxi is booked from the hotel, it can charge $100 lek over the normal charge of the taxi. There is also a facility for mini-vans that run across the city. [world66]

Furgons – Furgons are small, privately operated minibuses, usually carrying between 8 and 20 passengers. They can be thought of as long-distance group taxis. They offer nothing in the way of a schedule, organization, comfort, or safety. But they happen to be the most commonly used, fastest, and generally most convenient way of making your way around the country. [matinic]

Trains – Guidebooks and locals have many colorful stories to tell about the novelty that is Hekurudha Shqiptarë (Albanian Railways). Contrary to some of the most prohibitive warnings, the train system is not dangerous, nor is it packed with criminals. In fact, some of the cars are quite comfortable in a nineteenth-century sort of way, replete with old pen-and-ink drawings of local attractions. [matinic]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

ProductTank – ProductTank provides an opportunity for Product Managers in Tirana to exchange ideas and experiences about Product Design, Development and Management, Business Modelling, Metrics, User Experience and all the other things that get us excited. [meetup]

Startup Grind Tirana – Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. We host monthly events in 200 cities and 85 countries featuring successful local founders, innovators, & investors. [meetup]

Tirana Nextcloud Community – The Tirana Nextcloud community meets to improve Nextcloud. Design, programming, translation, finding bugs, spreading the word, etc – everyone who wants to get active is invited! So bring your laptops with you! 🙂 [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

Your Expat Community in Albania – Tungjatjeta, and welcome to our expat community in Albania! The InterNations platform was created to help expatriates around the globe to navigate the obstacles and challenges of moving to a foreign country. Many expats in Albania have made use of the wide variety of resources available on our platform, both during and after the process of relocating here. We’re a member-driven community, so please feel free to add to our knowledge by sharing your own experiences of life in Albania. [internations]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Ambasada Pink/LGBT Pro Shqiperi – PINK Embassy aims to make it possible for the Albanian society in the development, position, rights and needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and people still confused about their sexual orientation (questioning) be fully respected and that their needs and concerns are addressed appropriately. [facebook]

Resources

Resources

Places in Albania

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