Read more about the article Tirana – Albania
Tirana - Albania

Tirana – Albania

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Greek and Latin Theranda: the fallen material

Moving on our spontaneous very last minute mini break, after visiting the capital city of Montenegro, Podgorica, where our flight landed; we continued our journey south towards Albania where we would spend the next 2 days visiting the capital, Tirana, the Adriatic coast resort city of Durres, and the marvellous intact Ottoman city of Berat in the middle of the country. Not much time for that many places, but easily manageable since the size of the cities are small and you can do both Tirana and Durres in the same day as they compliment each other. Planning any longer for Tirana would be nonsense as there is not really much to do and visit there.

I must say coming to Albania is been quite difficult over the years hence why we kept postponing it. Flying into Tirana is not a cheap business at all! Perhaps the tax is very high, or there is no other choice from London than the only direct flight with British Airways so no competitive. The great news was to find out the new Ryanair route from London to Podgorica, a great location just 24 kilometres from the Albanian border. However do not even expect good overland transportation between both countries. There is only a bus per day between Podgorica and Tirana in each direction, but the next good news is that you can rent a car in Montenegro and drive it into Albania at a little extra cost for the insurance. With all this information on hand, it was clear this was our chance now.

Tirana is very easy to navigate, either on foot or by car. Most of the city centre was planned in the 1930s following a perfect orthogonal street grid, although this urbanism came at a cost, demolishing many older structures from the Ottoman period, and unfortunately many more were destroyed through the WWII period. What’s there today is not much and that’s the reason you should plan ahead your trip including other places/cities or you will actually face having nothing else to do. (more…)

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Read more about the article Podgorica – Montenegro
Podgorica - Montenegro

Podgorica – Montenegro

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Former Titogard under Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

An extremely very last minute holiday booked just 2 weeks before the flight to one of the less expected destinations, if I ever even considered to visit. However, thanks to Ryanair’s new route to Podgorica from London at that great introductory offer it was hard to resist the temptation for something else in this trip: crossing the border and finally visit Albania, aiming for Tirana and Berat. Another country to tick off the list, meaning up to this date there are only 5 more countries remaining in Europe to complete the visit to them all, 50 no less.

It was over 4 years since our first and only time in Montenegro, back them of course at the historic and touristy coastal cities of Budva, Kotor, Sveti Stefan and Bar. If you check these guides please forgive me if they are not that complete and descriptive as the ones from the recent years. It’s been a long time since I created them right at the beginnings of my blog project. Now, if you need some notes to compare both visits, then let me tell you it is impossible to do so. Podgorica has really nothing to see and do because it was heavily destroyed during WWII. Majority of its former Ottoman old town disappeared forever, and the “new city” that raised was the typical East Europe Soviet style with huge communal blocks, ugly with no sense for architecture whatsoever, just functional.

The entire city was built under this terms, yet still the small old town was spared some streets and rebuilt in part. Then, what was the reason to come here if there is nothing to see? Easy, our flight was landing here so why not to give it a go, briefly do the sightseeing and enjoy some delicious and cheap food before starting our way into Albania. It worked great for us; after all, we only spent 4 hours here including the lunch time. (more…)

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