Albania, inland on the road: discovering beauty

Not only the sea, now well known to Italians, and Tirana, the bustling capital with a tasty gastronomic offer. The Land of Eagles is one treasure chest of cultural and natural jewels to discover and admire without haste. A road trip it’s the best way to get lost among stone villages, historic towns and castles where time seems to stand still. Without forgetting to relax among the natural springs and the deep water bodies at the edge of Europe.

Cultural gems

Palaces overlooking the sea, a long strip of golden sand and clubs that follow one another. At first glance, Durres it hardly impresses the visitor. Yet, if you go beyond the appearance, the city slowly reveals itself to visitors: from the waterfront renovated last year to the plans for the futuristic new port – which will apparently be the most important on the Adriatic coast of the Balkans – at the archaeological sites. As theRoman amphitheater, the largest in the region capable of accommodating up to 20,000 people in the past, built by Emperor Hadrian and discovered in the 1960s under the foundations of a residential area. the Byzantine Forumwith the Roman baths and the beautiful Corinthian columns, the Venetian Towerpart of the wall that enclosed the historic center, or theHammaman 18th century gem tucked away in a side street, which escapes the most distracted eye.


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A hundred kilometers separate Durres from Berata handful of white houses dotted with many windows where the watchword is to get lost. The city is the best example of secular religious coexistence in the Land of the Eagles, a place where the voice of the muezzin mingles with the sound of bells and where minarets alternate with crosses. A visit to the neighborhoods of Gorica and Mangalem, separated by the Osum River, with their churches, mosques and traditional houses, and the Solomon Museum, dedicated to the history of the Jews saved by the Albanians during the Second World War (Albania was the only country in the world that didn’t even deliver a Jew to the Nazis), then straight to the top of the Berat Castle, a former settlement still inhabited today. Here the Onufri Museumdevoted to the iconography of the homonymous Albanian painter, and the Church of the Holy Trinitywhich offers a wide view of the valley below, are two essential stops.

The Castle of Girocastro

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password, relaxation

About a three-hour drive through the rural heartland of the country, with a mandatory pit stop in the village of Tepelene famous for having the best source of water in Albania and for being the birthplace of Ali Pasha, an Albanian governor during the time of the Ottoman Empire who welcomed illustrious personalities to his court, including the English poet Lord Byron , separated from Berat Girocastro. The birthplace of former dictator Enver Hoxha (whose family home can be visited, transformed into an interesting ethnographic museum), is a gem of stone a few kilometers from Greece. A stroll through its labyrinthine historic center, among 19th century mansions, bazaars where you can buy carpets with geometric patterns and traditional taverns, before reaching the Chateau which offers an incomparable view over the slate roofs of the old town and the mountains. To contemplate at sunset, while the sun colors the summits in orange. Pushing even further inland, it is located Allow. The city is known, in its homeland, mainly for two things: the Glikoa compote made from fruit and sugar, and the Benje thermal baths. To reach them, you leave the small historic center, walk past the Church of Santa Maria a Leusë, an 18th-century Orthodox masterpiece built on the remains of a 6th-century building, until you reach reach your destination. The natural baths flow near an old bridge from the Ottoman era. From up there, you can get lost admiring the majestic surrounding mountains, but it is below that there is the best to discover: the healing water basins, among the best in Europe, and the canyon of Langarica, the undisputed kingdom of outdoor enthusiasts.

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