Exploring Albania: Landing in Tirana, Vlore and Llogara National Park


Prepare to explore the seemingly undiscovered, the authentic and the ridiculously stunning landscapes that sit modestly here in Albania. Honestly, I haven't been this excited to discover somewhere in a while. A little bit about Albania. Albania sits on Europe's south eastern Balkan peninsula and is met at its coastline with both Adriatic and Ionian waters. With Corfu, the Greek island, just a 30 minute boat from the southern beaches of Albania, and Greece just south of the country, you can get an idea of just how beautiful the water and climate is here. That's before you've explored the Albanian Alps and the many castles and archaeological sites that Albania is home to.
Despite its beauty, Albania is considered one of the most under developed countries in Europe. Admittedly, right now the flight paths and frequencies don't make it the easiest adventure to plan.
My first impressions of Albania here in Tirana were so different to anywhere I've ever been. They had the non uniformed, free for all road strategies that you find in Bali, streets lined with second hand shoe shops and fruit markets like those in Asia, but the architecture and eateries like those in Europe. It took me a while to process it, but I loved it.
The locals were soft, friendly and seriously inquisitive. It's quite clear tourism isn't prominent here, but that's not to say it isn't welcomed. I felt safe.
Vlore and Llogara National Park. Extremely happy with a sleep of more than 3 hours, we woke in our hostel to a fresh breakfast of cheese, tomatoes, boiled eggs and bread before setting off on our four hour journey toward the coastline. Now that we had passed through Vlore, it was time for for one of the most beautiful drives I've ever done. In Europe, anyway. Welcome to Llogara National Park.
Isn’t it just magical?! Next, we get to the coast in Dhermi ready to hop into the International festival that is putting Albania on the map… Kala Festival. International acts, sunset dance parties, beach dance floors, ocean front yoga and massages, group BBQs, speed boats to secret gorge locations, fairy lit walkways and jetty filled DJ sets. All this in addition to crystal clear, lukewarm turquoise waters and a 360 combination of mountains, beaches and undiscovered Albanian landscapes. It’s safe to say – there’s no festival on the map quite like it.