Albania was a country that I knew next to nothing about (before visiting) and I am forever grateful that I was able to visit it.
It is an ancient land and people and they have somehow been forgotten or annexed by popular history.
Original Albanians can trace their lineage to the proud Illyrians, who were cultured and organized even before their more well-known neighbors, the ancient Greeks, came into the picture.
I learned from every Albanian I was able to meet and talk to that they consider themselves a unique and different ethnic community. They declare that they are their own ethnic “people” as they did their best NEVER to mix with those outside and there is proof that they are “older” than the Greeks, the Romans, the Slavs and all those surrounding them.
They were so determined to stay purely Albanian that they have a legend about how 2000 Albanian women committed suicide after being raped by Romans. I have not found any historical reference of this, but their purity and their unique ancient ethnicity is something they all are very proud of.
Being in the Balkans and hearing the conflicting stories of the Croats, the Serbs (the Slavs) and the Albanians is confusing. Human nature wants to take sides and “decide” who is in the right, but I realized first hand that opinions can easily change depending on the perspective that is being shared.
If you want to enjoy your time in the Balkans, keep an open mind and respect all perspectives. If you can, stay away from any political discussion, but I have to admit hearing them share their view of “history” is fascinating.
Our favorite places in Albania were:
- Shkoder (mountains and lakes)
- Ksamil (stunning beaches)
Watch our videos to get a better idea of what Albania looks like:
(Please note that some of our videos are especially made for the places we stayed at. These hotels or campsites gave us accommodation free of charge or at a discount.)
Here’s a compilation of our Adventures in Albania:
What you can see while in Shkoder…
What you can see while in Tirana…
What you can see while in Ksamil…