Montenegro and Albania.

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Purps
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Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Purps » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:14 pm

I'm going to Montenegro and Albania in September so anyone have advice on must see trips? Starting in Croatia, Dubrovnik for a couple of nights, then travelling to Montenegro for 4 nights and wondering where is the best place to be based to explore the coastal area and a bit inland, then travelling to Albania- thinking two nights in Tirana and the rest 3/4 nights near Sarande? Is this ok for exploration? Then ferry to Corfu and after, fly to Athens before flight back to Adelaide.

Any tips re Corfu or Athens? Cheap but lush accommodation? Insider travel hacks?

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GLimpet
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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by GLimpet » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:12 am

We do some jobs around Berat, Albania. Our techs speak highly of it.
UNESCO heritage town or something.

I haven't been in that area since 2001, but was in Tirana last year.

I overnighted at the Athens airport Holiday Inn in July - very nice, with good airport shuttle pickup/dropoff, but was not cheap.
£181

September might be better.

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Purps
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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Purps » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:28 am

I'll be 3 nights in Athens, so happy to be more central (and way cheaper).

I'm reading that Kotor in Montenegro seems to be a good place to base oneself?

What did you think of Tirana?

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GLimpet
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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by GLimpet » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:50 pm

Purps wrote:I'll be 3 nights in Athens, so happy to be more central (and way cheaper).

I'm reading that Kotor in Montenegro seems to be a good place to base oneself?

What did you think of Tirana?


Not stunning to look at but vastly modernised since I was there in 2001.

Like, you can walk along the pavement now without disappearing down an uncovered manhole.

Quite pleasant really, interesting history. Nice food, not expensive.

I think it's the only European capital without a railway station.

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Lost Soul » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:55 pm

Albania is full of mountains and other ancient things.

They are finding all kinds of things while building the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. Anyway, it's a nice, new paved road on the route over the mountains through Berat into Greece.
https://www.tap-ag.com/the-pipeline/route-map

Some of the best ruins are right across from Corfu, at a place called Butrint. A ferry runs from Corfu. No crowds.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buthrotum

The people are very friendly to Americans, so tell them you're American. The food sucks, or did long ago.
IMPRISON BUSH!

INDICT HILLARY!

"Lost Soul is largely correct"- VinnyD

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Andrea1 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:15 am

I spent a month mainly in Albania last summer. Loved it,except for the heatwave. The people are so friendly, not fed up with tourists yet. The lake, mountain and valley area - Valbone/Thet, usually reached feom Shkoder and a ferry, but bordering on Monte Negro, Kossovo, is stunning. Lots of serious hiking that I didn't do. Sarande town isn't that attractive but it is convenient for a few places.
Berat is beautiful and another, similar place near to Sarande probably is too but I didn't go because of the heat. Next time.

Kotor is a must see but it won't really work as a base unless you're planning on doing more stuff in croatia/Bosnia area. The buses weren't all that frequent between countries i don't think.

Tirana is being transformed, pleasant to spend a day or two in. There are still plenty of holes in the ground, though -I was hobbling.

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by GLimpet » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:17 pm

Andrea1 wrote:I spent a month mainly in Albania last summer. Loved it,except for the heatwave. The people are so friendly, not fed up with tourists yet. The lake, mountain and valley area - Valbone/Thet, usually reached feom Shkoder and a ferry, but bordering on Monte Negro, Kossovo, is stunning. Lots of serious hiking that I didn't do. Sarande town isn't that attractive but it is convenient for a few places.
Berat is beautiful and another, similar place near to Sarande probably is too but I didn't go because of the heat. Next time.

Kotor is a must see but it won't really work as a base unless you're planning on doing more stuff in croatia/Bosnia area. The buses weren't all that frequent between countries i don't think.

Tirana is being transformed, pleasant to spend a day or two in. There are still plenty of holes in the ground, though -I was hobbling.

I must admit I kept an eye out for them after my experiences in 2001!


I was there on 1st/2nd August last year - 40deg then. Was that your heatwave?

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by RainbowFrizz » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:15 pm

In Athens base yourself near Monistiraki square. That area is closest to the main sites, pedestrian shopping area, Plaka district, etc. I stayed in a different area, so can't recommend a hotel.
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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Andrea1 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:01 pm

GLimpet wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:17 pm


I was there on 1st/2nd August last year - 40deg then. Was that your heatwave?
Yep. It was 42 degrees in Berat, water shortage deliveries in tanks.

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by BeatRaven » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:42 am

Superb movie about Albania -in my top 5 foreign films ever (but won't exactly have you dying to book a flight):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oud-e17lQY


Oops! It's in Albanian -but worth seeking out. Here's a mega-bleak clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDPnoOngVOY

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Re: Montenegro and Albania.

Post by Xerius » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:34 am

I really enjoyed Albania when I was there about ten years ago. The people are great, and the food is tasty and cheap. Tirana has a unique buzz to it, and it's fun to explore. As already mentioned, it certainly isn't the prettiest capital on the continent, but sprucing up all the drab Hoxha-era architecture with wild colors as they did last decade has helped.

Berat and Gjirokaster are the most attractive and historically intact cities in the country, and they're well worth hitting. I didn't spend a long enough time in the country to take in the ruins, but Butrint and Apollonia are both supposed to be excellent. The only thing that was routinely depressing was all the litter - taking a bus between cities, you'll stop at these gorgeous overlooks, then look down a cliff to see gigantic piles of rubbish. Maybe that's improved in the last decade...one can only hope.

The other routine part of travel across the country is bunker-spotting. The paranoid Hoxha regime build these domelike pillboxes all over the countryside for Albanians to defend the homeland from, as the Communist regime was utterly convinced an invasion by imperialist forces was inevitable. They're quite literally everywhere, likely because they're apparently almost indestructible.

Montenegro was lovely when I went as well (same trip). Kotor is the big focal point for tourism, but it's a good base only for if you're wanting to hit nearby spots like Perast and Herceg Novi. Cetinje and Stari Bar are much more easily reached from Budva (or Sveti Stefan, if you really want to splurge), and for inland places like Durmitor and Ostrog, you're better off being in Niksic or Podgorica (which many consider a dump). Ulcinj and Lake Skadar, by contrast, are almost better off being hit en route to Albania. When I was there, I ended up just doing a series of nights based on the coast - in Kotor, Budva, and Ulcinj - and then just jumping off from there.

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