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Saturday: 08.00-16.00 (CET)
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How to get  there

Air
International Airport "Mother Teresa" (also known as Rinas) is approximately 25 kilometres from Tirana and has many direct flights from Europe. Main city connections include London, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Vienna, Zurich, Athens, Bologna, Budapest, Istanbul etc. The city of Tirana is linked with the airport by bus service. Departure for the airport is made from the station next to the National Museum, every hour to the airport.

Land Borders

From Greece:

  1. Kakavija, the southern border with Greece, you may enter in Gjirokaster;  2. Kapshtica, the south-eastern border with Greece, you may enter later in Korca;  3. Qafe Boti - Konispol relating to Fila;  4. Three Bridges relating Përmeti with Konica.

From Montenegro: 
1. Hani Hotit you enter from Podgorica to the town of Shkodra   2. Murriqan-Sukobina you may enter in the town of Shkoder  from Ulcinj and Budva, 3.- You can now enter from Vermosh, from where you may be linked to the region of Kelmendi in Albania and Plava Gucia in Montenegro

From Macedonia: 
1.
 Qafe Thana which relates to Pogradec, Elbasan and Librazhd;  2.Tushemisht, to southeast of Ohrid Lake, in direction of Pogradec;  3. Bllatë, in the direction of Peshkopia or Bulqiza and Burreli; 4. Gorica the road heads north of Prespa Lake.

From Kosovo:
1.  Vërmica,  2. Qafa e Prushit 3. Qafe e Morinës is the most common entry due to the new highway linking tirana with Prishtina, capital of Kosovo.
Through bus service you can also move through cities:  Tirana - Tetovo, Macedonia through Qafe Thana.
Tirana - Prishtina and other towns in Kosovo through Morina. Korce - Thessaloniki, Greece, through Kapshtica.
Tirana - Athens, through Kakavija.  Tirana - Sofia - Bulgaria, and Istanbul from Qafe Thana.

Sea Borders
The port of Durres relates to the Italian ports of Bari, Brindisi, Ancona, Trieste and Koperin in Slovenia.
Port of Saranda. Daily movements performed with the island of Corfu.  Port of Vlora. Relates to Brindisi and Otranto.
Source: http://www.akt.gov.al/al/text.php?id=17&lang=2  

When to visit
 
With  the type of climate it has albania can be visited year round. Spring and autumn are warm and nature puts at display its best attire, while summer is very hot and plenty of fun and sun can be had at a selection of beaches.

Visa Info
Entering Albania is easy and at NO charge for all those who do not require a visa. EU citizens do not require a Visa and can enter Albania with just ID cards. Procedures at both the borders and the airport are standardized and uncomplicated. For more info please visit: http://www.mfa.gov.al  

Currency & Banking
The lek  (sign: L; code: ALL) is the official currency of Albania. Introduced in 1926 by King Ahmet Zogu, the First Lek may have been named after Alexander the Great. Although Lek is the official currency, many shops and restaurants will accept Euros and USD at a slightly less favourable rate to the exchange offices. The Lek is stable and fluctuates between 137-140 Lek = 1 Euro and 103-110 Lek = 1 USD. There are many ATM machines in all major towns and cities.  VISA and Master will be accepted in most places, but there is no guarantee with other credit cards.

Useful Contact numbers
Police: 129
Traffic Police: 126
Fire Department: 128
Medical Emergency: 127

What to Visit

Tirana (capital city)
Tirana is the capital city. Relatively modern as a city, however ancient traces of inhabitations have been discovered in and around it. Main attractions include the main boulevard with Ministries built by the Italians in the 1920-1930-s, Clock Tower built in 19th century, and the Ethem bej mosque built in the 17th century. Tirana coloured buildings are a peculiar attraction. Ex Mayer Edi Rama decided to paint in bright colours old dilapidated communist style apartment block to revitalise and uplift the spirit of the city. The ex communist “block’ area is the entertainment heart of the city with trendy bars, cafés and nightclubs.

Kruja
Located only 40 km from Tirana it is a small town situated high up in a mountain side. It was the centre of resistance of Albanians again Ottoman invasions in the 15th century under the leadership of Albanian national Hero, Scanderbeg who managed to defeat for 25 years numerous Ottoman campaigns including Mehmed II also known as Mehmed The Conqueror. 
The castle, Scanderbeg and Ethnographic Museum and old style Turkish bazaar are worth visiting.

Shkodra
Shkodra is one of the most ancient cities in Albania. It was founded in the 4th century B.C. as the centre of the Illyrian tribe of the Labeates. Under the rule of the Illyrian king Gent, it became the capital of the Illyrian state. Cultural attractions to visit in Shkodra include the Rozafa Castle, the Lead Mosque, the Gjuhadol neighborhood, the Historical Museum of Shkodra and the Marubi Photographic Fund. Nearby, Northwestern Albania contains the following additional cultural attractions: Sarda, the Drisht Castle, Ura e Mesit (the Mes Bridge), the Shirgji Church and the Highlands Ethnographic Museum. Natural attractions include Shkodra Lake, Theth National Park, Razma mountain resort and Vermosh Mountain.

Berat  (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
A highlight of any trip to Albania, Berat is one of the country’s most beautiful towns, having been preserved as a museum city by the communist government. Its most striking feature is the collection of white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill to the castle, earning it the title ‘town of a thousand windows’. In the 3rd century BC an Illyrian fortress called Antipatria was built here on the site of an earlier settlement. The Byzantines strengthened the hilltop fortifications in the 5th and 6th centuries, as did the Bulgarians 400 years later. In 1450 the Ottomans took Berat, and after a period of decline it began to thrive in the 18th and 19th centuries as a crafts centre, specialising in woodcarving. The fortress houses several tens of houses where people still live as well around seven from 40 small Orthodox churches from the 13-16 century with frescoes and Icons.  St.Mary’s church houses the collection of the famous Albanian painter Onufri, who worked extensively in Albania and Greece. (Lonely Planet)

Durres
Durrës has an ancient history, the remnants of which make for a fascinating visit. It was founded by ‘Greek colons’ in 627 BC and named Epidamnos. For a brief period it became part of an Illyrian kingdom before being taken by the Romans in 228 BC and renamed Dyrrachium. War once again touched it in 48 BC when Julius Caesar and Pompey did battle nearby at a place today known as “Kavaja’s Rock” during the Roman Civil War. Despite all the bloodshed, the town itself was sacred to Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love, whose images fill the museum. Since Aphrodite’s decline, Durrës has changed hands between the Bulgarians, Byzantines, Argevins, Serbs, Venetians, Ottomans and German Prince Wilhelm of Weld. (Lonely Planet)
Bylis
This is the name of the Illyrian town next to the village of Hekal in Mallakastër. Established in the third century B.C., Bylis flourished as a political, economic, and cultural center of the community. The city was governed by an annual council of civil servants. In 230-146 B.C., it introduced bronze coins, which were used throughout this region. The handicrafts from the workshops of Bylis were competing with the handicrafts of Apollonia. The surrounding wall of Bylis, built in the second quarter of the fourth century B.C., is very well-preserved. The city consisted of several quarters and objects, such as the agora, which sheltered the inhabitants of the villages and their wealth in the event of war. An episcopate basilica with mosaics, reflecting paleochristian motifs from the fifth century, was also discovered in the area of Bylis. The barbarian invasions ruined Bylis in the sixth century and so the episcopate center was moved to Ballsh.

Architectonic Complex and the Monastery of Ardenicë 
It is thought that the foundations of this monastery were built in 1282 on the initiative of the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II Paleologus of Byzantium. The incentive must have come from the existence of the chapel of St. Triadha in the area, which was built centuries before. Speculations are that the chapel might have been built on the foundations of the ruins of a pagan temple. The temple was built to honor the goddess Artemis, from which the present name Ardenicë derives. Very close to the temple, in the outskirts of which lies the current monastery, passes the southern branch of the ancient Via Egnatia.

Apollonia ancient cite
Apollonia represent one of the most important archaeological sites of Albania. It is mentioned as a “ Big town and imposing” by Ciceron. It is located 11 km in west of the city of Fier. . The antique city of Apollonia is founded at the end of VII century B.C. from the colonists come from Corinth and Corcyra. At the V –IV B.C. the city arrive the most prosperity. At the time the city cut their moneys.The Roman Emperor August studied the philosophy in Apollonia. The encircling wall of the city is about 5 km enclosed a surface of about 140 hectars. The most interesting objects to be visited are the magnificent wall of Agonothetes (Building of the council of the city ) II Century B.C.

Gjirokastra (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Gjirokastër was declared a “Museum City” in 1961 and a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO in 2005. It is the main southern city in the country. Initially, it was an Illyrian settlement linked to the Argjiro tribe. According to legend, Gjirokastër was founded by Princess Argjiro. In the Byzantine Chronicles of John Kantakuzen, Gjirokastër is mentioned as the fortress of the Zenebish family. In 1417 the Turks conquered it and turned it into an important center of Ottoman power and administration for hundreds of years. Gjirokastër became the center of the Sanjak of southern Albania.  Visitors are impressed by the architecture of the city, the surprising landscape of the Drino Valley, and the invincible lime peaks of the Bureto and Lunxheri mountain chains. Whoever visits Gjirokastër understands Albania’s character –a beautiful and tough place with an uncompromising spirit.


Butrint ((UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The ancient town of Butrint is one of Albania’s and the Balkans’ major archaeological centers and is protected under UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is located on the shores of Butrint Lake, south of Saranda on the Greek border. The city’s name comes from a legend, according to which the city was founded by fleeing Trojans after the burning of Troy by the victorious Greeks. King Priam’s surviving son, Aeneas, sacrificed a bull to the Gods but the animal refused to die quickly and galloped to the sea before expiring. This was interpreted as a good omen and the place was called Buthrotum or “wounded.”



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