Tag Archives: Albanian Colorado

20 Places that will change your Mind about Albania


Colorful landscapes, lakes, high mountains, rivers and valleys. Natural beauties that blend in cultural and historical heritage, inherited from our forefathers. All blended in the hospitable Albanian traditions that will follow you through your journey in Albania. So guys are you ready?

1. You didn’t know there are so many canyons and waterfalls? Well, I have good news, there actually are and I wouldn’t miss this one, Valbona Canyon.

Valbona Canyon

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Valbona Canyon, North Albania

2. How about beaches – not bitches… Just head south and the crystal clear Ionian waters of Gjiri i Granës will certainly not disappoint you.

Gjiri i Gramës

© Arton Krasniqi – Gjiri i Granës, Dhërmi, – South Albania

3. Welcome to Thethi! The gate to the Albanian Alps, waterfalls and canyons. Simply an amazing place for explorers and nature lovers to visit.

Stone Towers of Thethi

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Kullat e Thethit, North Albania

4. Is hiking too much for you? You’re in the right place. There’s a touch of melancholia every time I spend a night or two in the vicinity of Ohrid lake. Inspired from the changing moods of these waters was the Albanian poet Lasgush Poradeci. He observed the mountains casting their shadows over the depths of its sparkling waters and blended those landscapes in his poetry.

Lake of Ohrid, Pogradec

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Ohrid Lake, Pogradec, South East Albania

5. The surrounding sea waters form the only marine park in Albania – Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park.

Karaburun Peninsula

© Nëntor Oseku, Gjiri i Bristanit, Karaburun Peninsula

6. Another unique gem in Theth – Ujvara e Grunasit. So rare that it is considered a natural monument.

Wasserfall of Grunas, Theth

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Ujvara e Grunasit, Theth – Grunas Waterfall, North Albania

7. Time for history. Apollonia, the ruins of an ancient city in Illyria. It was founded in 588 BCE by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth, on a site initially occupied by Illyrian tribes.

Apollonia

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Apollonia, Fier

8. Ksamil Beach – A hideaway for many local and foreign tourists.

Ksamil Beach

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Ksamil Beach, South Albania

9. And many other valleys…

Valbona

© My Albania “Nature Explorers” – Lugina e Valbonës, North Albania

10. Dea – the Godness of Butrint, was discovered from the Italian archeologist Ugolini in1928. The Guardian recently listed the national park of Butrint as part of the top 10 national parks in Europe.

Dea

© Robert Hagen – Dea e Butrintit 

11. Kruja, the first capital of today’s Albania in the Middle Ages. It’s identified with our national hero, Skanderbeg.

Kruja

© Arton Krasniqi – Kruja, Albania

12. Mrizi i Zanave – Well known for its culinary delights and agritourism in the northern Albania. A lovely place to visit.

Fishtë

© Armela Bega – Mrizi i Zanave, Fishtë

13. More cliffs and rocky seaside…

The Pirates' Cave

© Armela Bega – Caves, South Albania

14. Too sunny and need some fresh air? Take the water motor bikes and head towards the Pirates’ cave. Afterwards, a stop at some of those hidden beaches is not a bad idea.

The Pirates' Cave

© Armela Bega – Shpella e piratëve – Pirates’ Cave, South Albania

15. Ok, let’s put it this way: If I were to retire today and I had to live somewhere in Albania, I would happily live in Dardha.

Dardha Village

© Armela Bega – Dardhë, Korca, South East Albania

16. Back to the 15th century there were no smartphones. During Skanderbeg’s fight against the Ottomans, the Petrela Castle, which was under control of Skanderbeg’s sister Mamica, signaled to Kruja Castle the coming of Ottoman troops using means of fire. Nowadays, it’s a pleasant bar/restaurant near Tirana.

Fortress of Petrela, Tirana

© Armela Bega – Kalaja e Petrelës – Petrela Fortress, Petrelë, Albania

17. Berat is known as the city of two thousand stairs or thousand windows, a castle on top, medieval museum and a beautiful river. Worth visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Berat

© Sarah Tzinieris – Berat, Albania

18. The Blue Eye is one of the most natural phenomenas in Albania. Crystal clear water bubbling in the surface from more than 50 meter deep karst hole (literally looks like a blue eye) and it’s surrounded by shades of green water. Here is a great video.

Blue Eye Saranda

© Sarah Tzinieris – Syri i Kaltër, Sarandë, South Albania

19. I can tell you that canoeing through Osumi River Canyon was a sensational experience. This spectacular landscape resembles a miniature Grand Canyon.

Canyons Skrapar

© Fadion Dashi – Osumi Canyons, Skrapar

20. Last, but definitely not least: This stop is the ultimate spot for your next Facebook poser shot. What a divine view and a deep sense of freedom! This daring traveller took the chance cruising through the steep and curvy Pass of Llogara…

IMG_3647

© Armela Bega – Llogara National Park, South Albania

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My Albanian Travels


“Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” – Lisa St. Aubin De Teran

Though I love traveling a lot, I must confess that I’m not a good traveller in my own country. I can only blame myself for several reasons. The moment I start being more open to the outside world, I realized my irreversible attraction to different cultures, diverse societies, people, languages, food, geographical shapes, or even relief changes. It certainly broadened my perspective through constantly testing my assumptions and regulating my own imagination to these different realities out there.

I usually don’t have that uncertain thrill of exploring something totally new when traveling in my own country, or that dying curiosity for sneaking in country’s  mentality, customs, and beliefs since I’m a native here. In addition, there’s always an inner sort of backyard mechanism that postpones the local trips for later. “I can always go to this or that place sometime…I live here”. The typical excuses we often come up with.

Still, my miscalculated perception has been challenged quite often when I visited some striking places in Albania which are quite an exotic work to mother nature. It’s difficult to rank them, but in this entry I would like to talk about one my favorites: The valley of Osumi river. It’s the most distinguished attraction in the area of Corovode-Skrapar with a Big Canyon, the biggest in Albania, 13 km long and 70-80 m deep.The canyon is often referred as the “Albanian Colorado”. I went there 4 years ago for canoeing with my co-workers. There are many travel agencies which offer these activities for local groups and foreign visitors. We turned into little children, cheering who paddles the most and which boat was getting first, turned upside down or stuck in the river’s caves. It was totally a mind-blowing trip. I had no idea something like this existed in my own country.

While canoeing along Osumi river, we couldn’t stop admiring the huge vertical walls made of these calcareous rocks sprinkled down by astonishing waterfalls. Of course we also heard some interesting local legends connected to the mysterious shapes of the canyon. The “Hole of the Bride” which is an old legend of a young woman being forced to get married without her consent. So on the way to the groom’s house she stopped, jumped off the horse and start praying to the canyon for getting her out of this trouble. The rock heard her prayer, opened a hole where she could hide to escape the misery.

The whole area is so not explored due to the lack of publicity and improper infrastructure which makes it even more exotic and natural. The canyon totally disconnects you from everyday life and burns into your mind forever. Definitely a MUST sight-seeing.