Ever dreamed about cheap holidays in a beautiful place? So did I, but the difference is that I actually made my dreams come true! In this blog, I want to tell you about my previous trip to Albania, and I wouldn’t be lying saying it’s a cheap alternative to Greece island Corfu. We went there at September when the season was already over, but it definitely felt like a hot summer days every day because temperature didn’t even drop lower than 24C. (75.2F)
From the city we’ve been staying in Albania, especially from our hotel balcony you could actually see the end of Corfu Island. You could even reach Corfu with a ship if you wanted to. What I am trying to say is - we had same beaches, same sun and same water for about 3 time cheaper price than we could have had in Corfu. The city we’ve stayed in is called Sarande. You can find more about it here. Our hotel was like 20 minutes walking distance from the city center, but only 5 minutes from the famous Mango beach. Hotel was just recently built, so everything was brand new + we got the meal included and paid unbelievable low price for four people three-night stay. Let me tell you, that breakfast was over amazing. It included fresh fruits, crepes, eggs etc., etc. And every single day all the food was cooked just before we get up so you basically get all the food straight out of oven ready for you! To be fair the hotel looked more like a family business, so I guess that is the reason why it made us feel so welcome. The only minus was the road to get to hotel, but it’s understandable and I am sure it has changed by now, when we went there the hotel was just build, so bumpy road is totally acceptable for beginning. Talking about roads, if you are traveling all around Albania, be prepared for a lot of rough roads out there in that country. What else can I say about Albania is that it’s super cheap - big plates of food in restaurants, strong cocktails for an affordable price in nightclubs. Don’t forget to try out their traditional dishes, more about Albanian dishes you can find right here.
But what surprised me the most is how friendly people are there. I’ll be honest, before I went there, I thought it’s going to be scary, and people will not be as lovely as they were. But that is probably because I knew very little about Albania as a country. It does look a bit of an old-fashioned and developing country when you’re driving through, but once you reach beach cities it all changes because they are no worse than any other sunny nation has.
If you ever visit Sarande, make sure you visit “Bora Bora” beach. No, it doesn’t look anything like real Bora Bora, but it’s worth a visit 100%! And take a water bike ride to the small islands around, because you can get some beautiful pictures out there. But be careful, in the middle of water is the border between Albania and Greece, and Greece doesn’t really like if you swim over to their side, don’t know if they dislike Albanians or what, but Albanians says you better don’t swim there if you don’t want to risk your life.
In Sarandë, we’ve met few fantastic kind-hearted people, with who we sadly have lost contact by now, but I can guarantee you if you go there – you’ll make some new friends for sure! They do have their language, but surprisingly a lot of them can speak English well, which is good because it makes communicating with tourists very easy. Also, it is better to have money ready before you go there because it is challenging to find a place where you can exchange money for their currency - Albanian Lek. Right now 1 Great Britain pound is about 142 Albanian Leks.
I keep saying everything’s cheap in Albania, but of course, they do have expensive restaurants and hotels too. Every place in the world has more affordable and more expensive places. It’s your own choice where to go and what to do, but we chose cheaper places to eat and to sleep, so we can havemore money to spend for fun, and our choices didn’t disappoint us at all.
Albania as a country is full of mountain roads. And because we’ve been road tripping from Macedonia to our beach city Sarandë, we had to drive for almost 9 hours through all Albania and face loads of mountain roads. My advice is if you are going to rent a car make sure it has excellent and stable brakes because you’ll need it on your trip. But besides that, if you are not going to be the one driving, it’s a candy for your eyes how beautiful everything looks from up high there in the mountains. The only thing I’d like to inform you is that we landed in Macedonia because it was way cheaper to get into Macedonia and then drive to Sarande, than flying straight to Albania. Don’t know if tickets to Albania are always that expensive, or we just chose the wrong time, but you’re planning a trip to this amazing country, you can look for cheap tickets to and around in my favorite website Skyscanner.