If you’re reading this, means that you are interested in Albania. Here are 5 things to love about Shqipëria and absolutely distinguish it from the other countries in the region.
1.Hospitality or the tradition of honoring the guest
Hospitality is a distinguished trait of Albanians. It has been transmitted through generations and is a strong institute of the moral code of Albanians. “Buke, kripe e zemer te bardhe” – bread, salt and a big heart, this is what encapsulated the essence of the albanian hospitality. The host honors the guest by offering a full table with homemade food and drinks and seats the guest at the head of the table, which is only reserved for elder people and distinguished visitors. The albanian word for friend and guest is merged into one, “mik”.
2.Everybody speaks English, Italian, French, Greek
Well, that’s a generalization, but most of the people you meet can communicate in English, Italian, French or Greek. The Albanian language has 36 letters in the alphabet, making it easy to mimic original sounds of other languages. Due to migration to Greece, Italy and Germany, their languages are the best option after English, though young people up to 35 years can speak above average. Oh, they can also speak Spanish thanks to south-american soap operas. Muchas gracias!
3. Albanians love foreigners
Albania was under communism for almost 50 years, going through one of the harshest regimes of the world. Having said this, it is understandable that Albanian hasn’t been in contact with different cultures for a long time, thus tourists are still treated with curiosity. However, they will do their best to make foreigners feel as comfortable as possible, because after all, tourists are guests in their country and Albanians value guests highly. The locals are friendly and get excited to meet foreigners!
Compared to its counterparts in the region, Albania is relatively cheap for Western standards. A delicious lunch at the seaside ranges from 15-20 Euro, whereas in other cities go from 10-15 Euro. A traditional beer in markets costs around 1-1.5 Euro, whereas in bars goes up to 2-2.5 Euro and daft beer is even cheaper than that. In Albania it’s customary to leave small tips ranging from 20-50 leke (equivalent to 15-40 cents) if you’re having a drink, or 100 leke (0.90 cents) and upwards if you’re having a meal. That’s much lower than most Western countries where the tipping culture ranges from 10%-20% of the final bill. However, if you do pay 10% and upwards of the bill, the staff will greatly appreciate it.
5. Sunny weather
The geographical position of the country makes it possible to have approximately 300 sunny days in a year! Although that doesn’t differ much from other Balkan countries, the upside of being in Albania means that you can take advantage of the beautiful coastal beaches from April to October. Oh, the Albanian riviera is comprised of virgin beaches with dazzling blue waters and white shores (this doesn’t even make justice to them).
So tell me, what is there not to love about Albania?