Albania was never on my list of countries I particularly want to visit, but it has always intrigued me. For a long time, no other country could challenge it as the stereotypical backwards country, despite the fact that people in general actually knew and still know very little about it. On the other hand, Albania officially became the world’s first atheist country in 1967. That sounds extremely wise and progressive, at least to me. Unfortunately, it happened because of a desperate Communist dictator, so it certainly wasn’t all good.
Anyway, I felt that my impression of Albania needed to be challenged, and there’s no better way to do that than to go and have a look.
An irresistible last minute package deal became my way in. For just under 200 euros each, my wife and I got plane tickets and a room at a random hotel for a week in Durrës, a beach town just outside Albania’s capital, Tirana. After buying the package, we had about one day to prepare for the trip. So we didn’t, really. And yet we managed just fine.
This trip report comes in two parts. This part is about the 3-4 days we spent in and near Tirana. The other part is about the 3-4 days we raced with a rental car through Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo and North Macedonia.