This memorable journey to a beautiful, lesser visited part of the Balkans will allow you to discover Albania, as well as one of the most breathtaking sites in neighbouring Macedonia. On this 11-day tour, you will take in the area’s magnificent Adriatic coastline, visit four Unesco World Heritage Sites, and delve into the fascinating Communist-era heritage of the region. The acclaimed broadcast journalist and broadcaster John Stapleton will join us for two nights of the tour, offering valuable insights into Albania and the broader region. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit one of Europe’s most beguiling and least known destinations before the crowds arrive.
With a long Adriatic coastline, Albania is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe , yet still one of the least visited where the mystique of its Communist past is beguiling to visitors from all over the world. This superbly crafted tour will allow you to discover Albania and a part of Macedonia before volume tourism prevails (new tourists from The Far East and USA are the largest number of new visitors).
Four historic landmarks around the Balkans have been shortlisted for the Most Endangered Programme, which aims to raise awareness of neglected monuments and sites across Europe.
An Albanian archaeological site and post-Byzantine churches, Bulgaria’s UFO-like communist monument and an abandoned casino in the Romanian city of Constanta have been selected among the 12 finalists for the pan-European “7 Most Endangered Programme 2018”.
The programme is a joint initiative by Europa Nostra, a leading European heritage organization, and the European Investment Bank Institute, aimed at raising awareness and mobilising efforts to save endangered heritage sites across Europe.
The final list of the seven most endangered heritage sites in Europe will be selected by the board of Europa Nostra on 15 March.
The 12 finalists, determined by a panel of experts in history, archaeology, architecture, conservation, project analysis and finance, were announced at the opening of the European Year of Cultural Heritage on January 16.
Are you wandering what to see in the Balkans? Then this ultimate list of Balkan highlights is for you! All the best destinations in the Balkan countries in one place!
As you probably know very well the Balkans is one of my favorite regions in the whole world. I keep returning there as often as I can, at least few times each year and I always keep finding new Balkan highlights there. That is why I’ve decided to create the ultimate list of what to see in the Balkans so you will have a great cheatsheet for your next trip to south-east Europe.
Since my personal bucket list for the area is still neverending I’ve asked few fellow bloggers and friends to help me with those highlights so you can see here as many awesome and worth visiting places as possible!
If you are a history buff and always keen to explore some less known places than this the right article for you. Actually travelling makes more knowledgeable travellers learn the most about while visiting different parts of the world, it is history. After all, it is the many tales, the great deeds of men and the mysteries attached to a destination that often attract travellers to places that are ancient. Apart from the knowledge associated to them, another thing that attracts travellers to these amazing heritage sites around the world are the architectural finesse with which they were built. Right from the structures to the building materials, some of these sites stand out to be no less than marvels. Here is a compilation of such places; pick the one you like and travel.
Tbilisi’s Nodar Dumbadze Professional State Youth Theatre will become the first Georgian troupe to perform for theatre-goers flocking to the UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Butrint in Albania to attend International Festival of Theatre ‘Butrinti 2000’.
Presenting their stage adaptation of William Shakespeare’s 1623-published play Much Ado About Nothing, the company will celebrate the 15th edition of the festival that has hosted over 60,000 local and visiting theatre-goers since its founding.
Director Dimitri Khvtisiashvili’s staging of the Shakespeare work will go on stage of the Ancient Amphitheatre Butrint on July 17, with the festival launching four days earlier.
The Georgian company was invited to perform at the festival along with local and international theatres including the Albanian Dance Theatre Company, Thesis Theatre Company from Greece and National Theatre of Beijing.
Albania’s coastline has grown in popularity as a budget sun destination for Italian families. We should follow their lead for a unique, culturally distinctive travel experience, says Ellie O’Byrne.
“ARE you from Cork? I recognised your accent. I used to live in Wilton. My wife is Irish.”
Living up to the ultimate cliché of the Irish abroad in the vertiginous UNESCO world heritage city of Gjirokastër, 70km inland from the Albanian Riviera, as dusk falls on the cobbled streets, is a satisfying feeling.
Stopping for a chat, chairs are gathered around and our near-neighbour joins us for a coffee.
Was the wall that I was sitting on really part of the oldest structure on Earth? Older than the Pyramids or Stonehenge? Did I really have it entirely to myself? There was no sound in the surrounding rocky countryside, save the bees buzzing and larks singing. In the distance, the azure Mediterranean shimmered around the island of Filfla, a few miles south of Malta.
The early morning sun burnt down from a cloudless blue sky to bring out the rich golden colour of the limestone that built Mnajdra temple. They certainly knew where to site a ritual centre, those Maltese builders, 5,000 years ago. But why? And how?
Fast forward 50 years. A car park now welcomes visitors to this Unesco World Heritage site. Barriers and walkways keep visitors away. A vast canopy provides protection against erosion. A tourist bus arrives every half-hour.
As the door closes on 2016 and people begin to look to up and coming destinations in the New Year, should we be looking to Albania? According to a report in Voice of America News, the World Bank just extended a $71 million loan to the country for tourism infrastructure.
“The World Bank said on Tuesday it had given Albania a $71 million loan to upgrade infrastructure in four southern towns to help attract foreign tourism but also urged local authorities to avoid unsustainable over-construction,” reports VOA.
Two of the four towns are UNESCO World Heritage sites, Gjirokaster and Berat, and the Port of Sarande and the southeastern town of Permet will also be getting makeovers.
(I travel to Albania with BikeTours.com’s President Jim Johnson on a specially constructed “President’s Tour” itinerary that modifies the regular “Albania’s UNESCO Sites with Rivers, Valleys, and Gorges” trip. (See: Come to Albania Now to See Emergence of a Young Country-Best Way to Experience Albania is on Bike Tour. This is 5th in the series.)
Our ride today, the 6th of cycling (7th of the tour), will bring us into the historic city of Gjirokaster – an Ottoman-era city carved into the hillside overlooking a spectacular river valley.
Today’s 46 km ride is one of the easiest – almost steadily downhill or flat – for a total elevation gain of just 200 meters and a loss of 360 meters. We follow the Vjoca River to Kelcyra Gorge.
When we decided to travel to Albania, we had absolutely no idea what to expect. We’d heard a few sound bites about bad roads and transportation challenges and a few vague assertions that it was an inexpensive place to visit – nothing to help us form any good ideas about what we would be experiencing. For us, as for most Americans, Albania was a completely dark place on our mental maps.
What we found in Albania was a mix of remarkable natural beauty, deep history, tempting food, and some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. It’s like Italy with limited public transportation and the French Riviera with more partially-constructed buildings and less attitude. Albania is like its neighbor to the south, Greece, but with far fewer tourists and a whole lot of Cold War bunkers.