A secret paradise facing Italy, nestled between Greece and Montenegro, France 2 public national television channel begins a long feature on Albanian tourism, choosing the country as a new holiday destination.
It was exactly this France 2 TV reportage on Albania’s dazzling beauties that attract an ever increasing number of visitors the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, has picked to extend a good day wishes to his Facebook followers on Saturday.
“Good morning to all and through this fantastic reportage on tourist Albania, I would like to wish you a nice weekend,” PM Rama wrote.
“After Montenegro and Croatia, Albania is the country that attracts tourists from all over Europe, with its pristine beaches, sumptuous mountains, immense national parks. Albania’s treasures are countless, but what it attracts more are the cheap prices,” France2 writes.
“It is country yet to be discovered by tourists, a hidden paradise tucked away between Greece and Montenegro. Albania and its crystal clear waters, mountain stunning landscapes and unspoiled nature. Totally isolated from the rest of the world during the communist dictatorship, Albania is attracting an ever increasing number of tourists, primary because it is cheap. Still far from mass tourism and overcrowding cities, at the heart of what is also called the pearl of the Balkans.
We are on the road along the Albanian Rivera, a 92-km stretch of coastline featuring coves, interspersed with seaside towns like Saranda. It is on this beach that two newly-graduated Parisian girls picked to spend holidays. The two clearly chose Albania when found out the cost of a week-long vacation here. Hotel accommodation, flight and food cost about 500 euro per person a week.
They arrived in Albania four days ago. It is a destination they have discovered on travel blogs, but the country hasn’t the best of reputation, yet like all the visitors we met said they felt safe.
“We have been told a load of nonsense. Watch out while in Albania. You are to two girls on your own. Beware of yourselves as it is not a super safe country, etc. and finally we are here. To our surprise we feel totally safe, whether day or night, it’s really great,” the two French tourists said.
We continued our trip deeper into the country that conceals so many cultural treasures, such as the museum city of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Two pensioners from the French city of Vierzon arrive at the hotel perched on a hill overlooking Berat.
Oh, how beautiful. We also have a minaret. One room costs 55 euros in a 4-star hotel overlooking the valley. We usually travel, but here it is not expensive, while we in the West would never be able for this. Here’s a table with local delicacies, cheese pie stuffed with spinach or meat. They are very delicious. I like them a lot. I love everything.
In this rather famous restaurant, each meal costs on average less than 10 to 20 euros, main course, dessert and coffee included. Our four retirees then begin a stroll along the old city’s alleys, a labyrinth of Byzantine, Greek and Ottoman influences.
Did you ever imagine Albania featuring such a rich historical and architectural heritage?
No. A bit anyway because we read things before departing.
Beranger Thibot, a 34-year-old Frenchman, has decided to make use of these tourism potential. In 2012, he founded an online French-Albanian travel and tour agency.
Here we are going to see a hotel that has been opened around three weeks ago.
This year the number of tourists in Albania has doubled. So Beranger Thibot is constantly looking for new hotels for his future customers.
You have direct access to the beach, you do not have cars that can disturb you and hotel offers sea view. But the devil often hides in the details. He checks everything from the filtration system of the pool to the construction of the staircase.
The problem is that we have yet to build handrails. It’s very pretty, but a little dangerous for children and even for adults.
He will ask the hotel a series of small construction works before sending his clients in these sea view rooms charged between 60 and 90 euros per night, breakfast included.
In a few years, the number of French tourists visiting Albania has jumped from 5 to 35 thousand. And according to observers, if the country develops investments in road and tourism infrastructure Albania has the full potential to become the tomorrow’s Croatia or Montenegro.