Tag Archives: Mrizi I Zanave

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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Mrizi i Zanave – The Culinary Delights of Northern Albania


A restaurant with its farm, vineyard, and vegetable garden, its own olive plantation, delicious wine, lovely nature of the countryside with historic significance sets the ground for a unique experience for many visitors. I’m referring to Mrizi I Zanave in village Fishte of Zadrima commune. This place apart from the historic importance as the birthplace of Gjergj Fishta known as one of the most prominent figures of the Albanian literature and politics of 19th century with significant contribution to the Albanian cause, sets a fine example of a newborn social-economical tourism pattern in traditional Albanian gastronomy. Last weekend i visited Mrizi i Zanave for the first time and I was immediately impressed. The food was delicious, modern touch spicing up local tradition. Everything 100% BIO, 100% Albanian. Freshly picked vegetable from the garden cooked and served in ceramic plates from a nearby ceramic business, dairy products such as goat or cattle cheese processed by the restaurant staff, country ham preserved down in their basement, red Kallmet wine from the local vineyards, local fruit dessert, originate an authentic dining experience even for us locals.

The owner of this place Altin Prenga, who’s passion goes beyond the ambition of a young passionate Albanian cook, had a broader prospective of his investment. The core of his business is offering delicate taste of rural culinary in its natural habitat with absolute fair pricing, through promoting not only values of environment preservation, but also by enhancing the development of local economy in the region. I found this extremely useful as certain Agritourism initiatives are new in Albania. This modern form of intra-cooperation between local businesses in building sustainable Agritourism can sure lead to an increased interest in the quality of regional products, as well as awareness of replicating such business models in other parts of the country. 

Agritourism is not widespread in Albania though people are becoming more interested in knowing how their food is produced and what food they consume. A honey and wine tasting activity, learning about cheese-making, picking fruits or vegetables, or shopping for local hand-crafted gifts can be added value to every local culinary business. These are simple ideas which can add value to a business but also represent the cultural highlights of such localities. Furthermore, two decades of foreign incursion of culinary savors have sort of under-shadowed our traditional gastronomy. Opening an Italian restaurant or something similar to western European taste is more common to find in Tirana or other main cities. It’s not necessarely better just a safer bet. Foreign is mainstream, seen as cool and in vogue. There’s no need to reserve a table in advance in most restorants here, but not at Mrizi I Zanave. I called 2 days in advance to book a table for three in the weekend and I got one only after 3:30 pm. That’s what’s a pattern of successful investment with multiple positive trickle down effects in local economy. That’s a great example to follow. Made in Albania.