We entered Albania near Peshkopia and continued driving north along the mountain range with wonderful views towards the high mountains. Our first major stop was the Valbona Valley. We found a very nice overnight spot in the mountains and did some beautiful hikes there.
As it was the beginning of June there still was lots of snow at higher altitudes so we could not cross the mountain ridge over to Teth. The beautiful landscape reminded us of Tyrol a lot. One evening a very lovely Dutch couple joined us at our scenic overnight spot. We had a wonderful time and travelled together for two days. As they are foodies meeting them was not only a social but also a culinary highlight.
From Fierze we took the car ferry to Koman. It was a beautiful ferry ride with high cliffs and mountains rising from the artificial lake.
We researched that one town to visit in Albania is Kruje. We read about a nice bazaar and about the castle. But when we saw that the bazaar is actually just one huge tourist souvenir shop and has nothing authentic anymore, we turned around and drove up in the mountains again.
In Osum canyon we met a lovely family and spent some days together, enjoying the nice company. It was so nice to finally meet some other travelers again. We really miss it that we don’t meet as many travelers as before Covid19. We really like the exchange and all the travel stories.
And then it started to get hot…very hot…40°! Same as last year we drove from water spot to water spot to cool down. Besides that, we did not do much else – well the number of ice coffees drank increased a lot…
As the forecast predicted very high temperatures for a long time we decided to drive more or less directly back towards North Macedonia. It was a shame as there would have been beautiful mountains to hike, but it was just too hot for us…
One impressive stop on the way east was the „blue eye“ – a spring where 10000l/sec emerge from the ground. Also, Gjirokaster was a nice town which we explored in the morning – luckily while our car was parked in the priceless shade…
Without the excessive heat we would have liked Albania even more and we would have stayed longer in this beautiful country.
NOTES & ANECDOTES
there are no well-known and big fuel companies
one day we failed to withdraw money at many different ATMs. As it turned out with our bank account the minimum withdrawal amount is 50 Euros. Because everything is so cheap in Albania we only wanted to get the equivalent of 40 Euros.
it was harder to find water sources compared to the neighboring countries
most places will make cappuccino from a Nescafé packet. If you want an espresso coffee with steamed milk you need to order a latte or tall macchiato (makiato te gjate).
after 16 months we were back in a country which uses „our“ alphabet
foreign language skills were pretty good. Many people speak Italian, English or German as second language.
Albania was the first country we visited in Covid19 times where the people acted like the virus didn’t exist at all anymore. We talked to several people, and they explained to us that they all already had it and now they don’t care about it anymore.
we spent 22 days in Albania
Exchange rate (02.06.2021): 1 Euro = 123LEK (Albanian Lek)
we spent one night on the parking lot of a restaurant. The rest we wild camped.
diesel price was 1,26€ (155 LEK)
we drove approximately 1600km in Albania
we spent 10,50€ Euro per person per day. In Albania we went to Restaurants and Cafés way more often. The daily costs do not include fixed costs like car insurance + taxes and travel health insurance.
we went to a mechanic once
road condition: ranging from 4 to 8 (out of 10 points); from good tarmac to rather bad roads with large potholes and parts broken-away.
driving style / manners: a bit wild