Albania: the new destination of Italian tourism

Himarë Beach

 Himarë Beach

The coastline and sea of Albania are attracting an increasing number of tourists, particularly from Italy.

With five thousand years of history, archaeological parks, Unesco World Heritage sites, over 400 km of coastline and inland areas that are still virtually unknown, Albania is a fascinating destination, with uncontaminated beaches, premium hospitality and breathtaking views, all at truly reasonable prices: Albania is the perfect low-cost summer holiday destination.

How to get there

 

AF Francesca – Durrës Port

AF Francesca – Durrës Port

 

Adria Ferries runs daily departures from Italy’s three Adriatic ports: Trieste, Ancona and Bari to Durrës. As a leader in sea travel between Italy and Albania, Adria Ferries satisfies the needs of both departing passengers and the numerous carriers who ship goods between the two countries. “Our ferry services between Italy and the “Land of the Eagle” have so far carried over 4.2 million passengers and more than 910,000 vehicles with them.” - says ship owner Alberto Rossi, the chairman of Adria Ferries.

The company provides its guests with a whole range of innovative and high-quality services, such as the on-board catering offering traditional Italian dishes, the new children’s play area, an excellent accommodation service, and also state-of-the-art procedures guaranteeing passenger safety.

Customers who choose to travel with Adria Ferries obtain a whole range of benefits, including early booking, the “return and save” promotion with discounts up to 50% on the return journey, free travel for children, discounts for campers, motorcyclists and groups and up to a 35% discount if the ferry + accommodation package is booked with the “Il Mondo in mano” Tour Operator.

There are currently three ferries in service: AF Marina, AF Michela and AF Francesca. A fourth will be added by the end of the year. For anyone planning a holiday in Albania, the company also provides the services of its own Tour Operator, called “Il Mondo in Mano” for seaside holidays and various tours to discover the Land of the Eagle.

 

Things to see in Albania

Albania is a unique experience for anyone seeking a holiday surrounded by the countryside and culture and also for culinary enthusiasts.

 

Ksamil Beach 

Ksamil Beach

 

Ksamil is in southern Albania, on the Ionian Sea, facing the island of Corfu (the word “ksamil” actually means “six miles” in Albanian): it is part of the Butrint national park, a protected natural area and also a major archaeological site. Just like the Apollonia site, founded by the Greeks and conquered by the Romans, which is in central Albania. Together with the beaches of Dhermi and Himarë, Ksamil is one of Albania’s most popular tourist destinations.

 

Durrës Tower

Durrës Tower

 

Travelling by sea from Trieste, Ancona and Bari with Adria Ferries takes you to Durrës, Albania’s major port. This ancient city, which was founded by the Greek colonies and known as Dyrrachium, was the capital of Albania until 1920 and is now its most important port. The Via Egnatia, the ancient Roman road linking Durrës to Istanbul, started here and near the port it is still possible to see the ruins of the Venetian Tower and the Castle, destroyed and rebuilt, one of the major defensive positions of the Balkans. Close by there are the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre built in the second century by Trajan, the largest in the Balkans, with room for 15,000 spectators. Major archaeological finds are housed in the Archaeology Museum and the Ethnology Museum, but the market is the place to discover the true spirit of any city, offering an insight into its local customs and products. At the end of Bulevardi Dyrrah, the indoor fruit market offers a myriad display of colours, flavours and stories of the local population.

The capital, Tirana, is easily reached from here. It is a modern city, enlivened by the bright colours chosen by the “Artist-Premier”, Edi Rama, as mayor of the city, and characterised by skyscrapers, mosques and open churches. The places to visit are Skanderbeg square, dominated by a statue of the national hero on horseback, the Bunk’art Museum, the castle fortresses, Kroit Chruch, Tanners’ Bridge, Ethem Bey Mosque, the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Paul and the Orthodox Church of the Resurrection. Tirana is a university city and a seat of culture, with museums and five libraries, including the national library, housing one million books.

 

Tirana – View of the city

Tirana – View of the city

 

Also well worth a visit is Berat, the museum city of a thousand windows lying on the side of a hill and a Unesco World Heritage site. A fortress stands over the town, which is surrounded by city walls with twenty-four defensive towers, enclosing the white Mosque, the Dormition Cathedral, numerous Byzantine churches, the Onufri Museum and the Ethnography Museum. Many excellent wine producers have opened over recent years around Berat, a land of vineyards, such as the “Cobo Winery”.

 

City of Berat

City of Berat

 

Another delightful seaside town is Vlorë, in southern Albania, which is already a highly developed tourist destination, with hotels in various categories, apartments, B&B, restaurants and bars. Vlorë has the entire range of tourist facilities and could be a valid alternative to the well-known tourist destinations of the Adriatic. Places to visit there include the Muradie Mosque, the Monument to Independence in Flag’s Square and the ancient districts, including the Jewish quarter.

 

Vlorë Beach

Vlorë Beach

 

It is an easy trip from Vlorë to Apollonia, dedicated by the Greeks to the god Apollo and founded in 588 BC, a strategically and logistically important city-state for sea trade. It is now possible to visit the archaeological site, but only a small percentage has been excavated so far and almost all the treasures remain underground. It was an extremely rich city, at the centre of trade and a crossing point of the Via Egnatia leading to Constantinople. Important ruins from the classical era lie alongside Byzantine churches with their Romanesque capitals, creating a fascinating combination. Berat is already a Unesco World Heritage site, as an example of an Ottoman city, and Apollonia has been nominated as one.

 

Apollonia – Archaeological Site

Apollonia – Archaeological Site

 

Another Ottoman city is Gjirokastër, in southern Albania, the museum city located on the side of a hill looking over the valley and famed for its massive use of stone in building the houses and the streets. It is known as the “city of stone” and represents a meeting point of Albanian, Greek, Ottoman and Roman culture. The city developed around the castle at the top of the hill, the second largest in the Balkans and dominating the surrounding plain. The characteristic old town of Gjirokastër stands at the top of the hill, with its splendid houses, artisan workshops, restaurants and charming hotels.

 

Gjirokastër Castle

Gjirokastër Castle

 

The number of foreign visitors attracted by a country that retains its cultural identity and hidden treasures continues to increase. Albania offers a wide range of solutions to suit all tastes: there are plenty of open-air activities for sports lovers and culinary enthusiasts can enjoy the flavours of a genuine culinary tradition based on the products of the land and the sea, accompanied by the excellent local wines. Visiting this country offers the chance to enjoy its attractions, but also to contribute to spreading its culture and values and allowing it to take its rightful place among the great countries of the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Italian tourists also choose Albania because it is an inexpensive option, with lower costs than other tourist destinations on the Adriatic, and also easy to reach. Adria Ferries connects Italy to Albania with a journey of just a few hours and departures from the ports of Ancona, Bari and Trieste, according to need.

For more details visit the section Tour Operator 

Check out our articles here: 

  • "Adria Ferries punta sul turismo verso l'Albania" - TREND
  • "Albania, viaggio nel Paese delle Aquile da Tirana a Durazzo" - ANSA ViaggiArt
  • "Le spiagge più belle dell’Albania adriatica"Siviaggia
  • "Albania trendy tra movida e spiagge caraibiche" - Tgcom24
  • "Albania Storia e bellezza da scoprire al di là dell'Adriatico" - Emotions Magazine
  • "Viaggio in Albania da Tirana a Apollonia, passando per Berat e Valona" - Il Sole 24 ore

Adria Ferries meets Prime Minister Edi Rama

meeting edi rama

 

Ten million tourists within five years

An important step on the Press Educational Tour organised by Adria Ferries in Albania was the meeting with Edi Rama, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tirana, where the Prime Minister received a group of journalists behind closed doors and proved to be open to dialogue and to answering the numerous questions of those present. The rooms of the Prime Minister’s Office are large and furnished in the classic style of Giò Ponti, the Italian architect who has designed various buildings in Tirana.

The Prime Minister welcomed the group in a sizeable room with two large prints of Italian origin affixed on the walls, depicting the sea and Albania, symbols of the close historical link between Italy and Albania. In a colloquial and at times ironic tone, Edi Rama, also known as the Artist Premier, as he is an established painter, spoke about the issue of the huge influx of tourists to Albania over the last five years, discussing the reasons for this and the close ties between Italy and Albania, including the problems, but more often the benefits, that Albanian tourism presents in the eyes of its Italian neighbours. Albania has, in fact, become an increasingly popular destination for Italians, for their summer holidays and at other times of the year as well.

“We expect to receive up to ten million tourists over the next five years” - he said. “Many come from Central and Northern Europe, from countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, but there is also an increasing number of Italians, and recently also Israelis. We have everything a tourist needs, starting with our cultural heritage, even though a great deal of it was lost in the 1960s, including the 2,500 churches that were destroyed”.

 

edirama meets alberto rossi

 

Albania is a little Italy: that is why it is popular

On being asked why Italians choose Albania for their holidays and why he would recommend coming here for anyone who has not already done so, the Prime Minister replied that many Italians view Albania as a little Italy, similar to the country of their grandparents, with all its strengths and weaknesses. Many Albanians speak Italian and there are also shipping routes from Italy to Albania, the busiest of which are the routes travelled by Adria Ferries, which operates multi-week outward and return services between Ancona and Durrës and Bari and Durrës with its ferries, AF Michela, AF Francesca and AF Marina.

Interest in the Land of the Eagle has increased and it received six million visitors last year. Tourists choose Albania as a holiday destination for a variety of reasons, starting with the cultural heritage, but also more recent attractions, such as development of wine tourism, the planned new tourist port of Durrës, the new face of Tirana, the construction of new, five-star hotels by international hotel chains and the creation of resorts, including in the mountains, as part of a broader program of global transformation called Urban Renaissance.

 

edi rama meets journalists

An important aspect that emerged from the meeting was the great responsibility that Italy has for Albania. It is a cultural and economic reference point for Albanians, a method of spreading our language, spoken by everyone in Albania, and an opportunity for Italian enterprise, as there are excellent opportunities for investment in both tourism and infrastructures.

Tourism in Albania is undergoing major development, as the country is confirmed as a popular destination for summer holidays, with all its resources and potential.

What are the things to see in Albania? There are numerous reasons for visiting the Land of the Eagle. This includes archaeological sites such as Apollonia, nominated as a Unesco World Heritage Site, and places of ancient history, such as Berat, an Ottoman city that is already a Unesco site. For those choosing seaside holidays, there are the resorts of Sarandë and Vlorë, and also mountain destinations in the north of the country.

Albania is therefore an “El Dorado” for potential investors or anyone who simply wishes to take a ferry from Italy to Durrës and enjoy the beauty of an unexplored land.

 

Check out our articles in albanian here: 

  • “L'Albania è una piccola Italia: ecco perché piace" - SiViaggia
  • "L'Albania chiama, le imprese rispondono" - EconomyMag
  • "Il miracolo Albania? Incentivi fiscali e investimenti vantaggiosi per le imprese estere" - ildenaro.it
  • "Vacanze in Albania: per ritrovare l’Italia d’altri tempi" - Moto-OnTheRoad

 

Taulant Balla: the albanian government is focusing on tourism

Ministro turismo albanese

 

During the Educational Press Tour in Albania, the twenty-three journalists taking part were given the chance to meet the chairman of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party, Taulant Balla, on 29 March in Tirana. The central theme of his speech was the role of the Albanian parliament in promoting tourism in Albania to highlight the country’s heritage worldwide.

Albania offers tourists a variety of natural landscapes to satisfy all tastes: 70% of the territory is formed of mountain chains of various altitudes, depending on the area, nature parks, reserves, long rivers such as the Drin and the Vjosa, numerous lakes and over 400 km of coastline, with the crystal-clear waters and enchantingly beautiful beaches that make Albania a pearl of the Adriatic Sea.

The many places to visit in Albania obviously include the capital Tirana, a peaceful city full of restaurants, shops and markets. Then there is Gjirokastër, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Albania’s oldest cities, with a wide range of historical landmarks, and Apollonia, founded in 588 BC and now home to an archaeological site, with ancient ruins including a church, a theatre and a monastery. Vlorë is one of Albania’s most celebrated seaside towns and its beaches, some of the most beautiful in Albania and the Balkans, are a popular tourist destination. Berat is a typical Ottoman city and can be visited on foot, strolling through the enchanting streets of the old town. It offers breathtaking views and is also a favourite destination for adventurous sports lovers, such as rafting in the canyons of the Osumi river. Durrës is one of the country’s major cities and ports and links Italy and Albania through the ferry services offered by Adria Ferries, with several departures a week from the ports of Trieste, Ancona and Bari. It is a relaxing town full of historical sites to visit. Shkodër is considered to be the ‘cycling’ capital of Albania due to the chance to use bikes everywhere. The sites to visit include Rozafa Castle, built by the Illyrians and offering a panoramic view over the city, but also the stroll around the lake of the same name, the history museum and the cathedral. Butrint, one of Albania’s most attractive towns, is situated close to Sarandë, a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, and also an archaeological site with numerous ruins, including an amphitheatre and a Roman temple. The infinite variety of places to visit in Albania obviously also includes the Albanian Alps, the main tourist destination of which is the village of Theth and its characteristic waterfall, one of Albania’s most stunning attractions.

In view of the numerous attractions of Albania and the importance of the tourist industry to the country’s economy over recent years, Mr. Balla expressed the hope that the hospitality structures will be improved without altering the natural setting too much, as it is one of Albania’s strengths.

The country’s hospitality structures have found themselves dealing with a large flow of foreign visitors over the last two years, but have recently been renovated and now offer all comforts, together with beaches on a par with the most popular tourist destinations over the last decade. Sarandë, Vlorë, Durrës and Dhermi are the seaside towns with the most tourist structures and have 3/4/5-star hotels offering a wide range of services and plenty of attractions for the most demanding guests.

Albania is still an undiscovered paradise for many people, but it is a country that offers plenty of opportunities for visitors and has now become one of the favourite destinations of Italian and foreign tourists seeking low-cost holidays.

 

 

Conferenza stampa Adria Ferries turismo in Albania

 

According the Mr. Balla, the tourism industry has made a major contribution to the country’s economy, in terms of both revenues and employment opportunities. It has therefore become a strategic sector for Albania and the Assembly, government, donors, institutions and private companies in the sector have been focusing on preparing the legal and regulatory framework, which is an essential requirement for investment and sustainable development.

 

Conferenza stampa Adria Ferries turismo in Albania

 

 

The Assembly has also adopted favourable tax legislation for the tourism industry, such as the Strategic Investment Legislation, which has reduced the value added tax on services supplied by international brands and restaurants at hospitality venues such as farmhouse holiday structures to 6%, in order to assist and support investors.

The aim of these strategies is continual growth of the country on all fronts, in both productivity and in the services offered, but also to improve its international image. According to Mr. Balla, the most attention and work must be focused on expanding the age range, currently concentrated on tourists in the 25-44 age bracket, and an increase in tourists arriving in Albania from beyond the regional border. Modelling the tourist structures to suit a more “cultural” type of visitor, by enhancing and improving the museums, archaeological sites and other monuments, is also a priority.

 

Italy and Albania are closer than ever 

According to the statistics of the Albanian Institute of Statistics (Instat) in January 2019, the number of foreign visitors to Albania in 2018 was up by 15.8% on 2017, at over 5.9 million people. Italy is in fourth place behind Poland, Macedonia and Greece, with 436,000 tourists who chose Albania as their holiday destination, up 20% on the previous year. Tourism is becoming an increasingly important sector of the Albanian economy. The resulting economic impact is distributed across various sectors, including an increase in sales of hotel activities, an increase in employment and an increase in travel agency sales. Mr. Balla had the following words to say about Adria Ferries initiative of organising an Educational Press Tour Press to attract the attention of Italy’s leading media publications: "The Adriatic Sea does not divide our two countries, it unites them,” he said. “We are friends of Italy and we warmly welcome Italian tourists and guarantee them a safe and enjoyable holiday. We are very pleased with this joint venture with Adria Ferries for this event". The Italian company has been running ferry services between Italy and Albania for many years, with multi-week, departures from the ports of Trieste, Ancona and Bari to Durrës, and has now started a campaign to promote tourism in the Land of the Eagle.

 

Italia ed Albania unite per il turismo in Albania

 

 

 

Check out our articles in albanian here:  

 

  • “Turizmi, Balla bashkëbisedim me gazetarët italianë" - BalkanWeb
  • "Balla bashkëbisedim me gazetarët italianë: Turizmi sektor strategjik, pas 2013 u rrit ndjeshëm kontributi në ekonomi" - 360grade

 

Tourism in Albania: 2019 Press Educational Tour

Discover the unexplored land of Albania


“Discover the unexplored land of Albania” is the central theme of the Press Educational Tour (28 March – 1 April 2019) organised by Adria Ferries, the ferry company that has been operating a service between Italy and Albania for fifteen years and whose ferry services cover the entire Adriatic, from Ancona, Bari and Trieste to Durrës .
This event took a group of thirty journalists from Italy’s leading newspapers to visit several of Albania’s best tourist locations and to meet several government representatives at the inauguration of the event, in the magnificent surroundings of the Hotel Plaza di Tirana, on 29 March.
The Albanian Minister of Tourism, Blendi Klosi, and the Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti, both spoke at the opening press conference, where they were joined by the Chairman of Adria Ferries, Alberto Rossi, in the common aim of Growing together.

 

Tourism in Albania: 2019 Press Educational Tour

 

 

The speech of the Minister of Tourism, Blendi Klosi

 

The speech of the Minister of Tourism, Blendi Klosi

 

Mr. Klosi focused on the opportunities for development of the country offered by tourism and started his speech with the motto: “Two peoples, one sea and one friendship”, obviously referring to Albania’s Italian neighbours and friends.

He said that there was a 60% increase in Italian tourists arriving in Albania in 2018, corresponding with around 326,000 people.
This percentage is expected to grow in the future, up to over half a million Italians who choose to take their holidays in Albania.
Valuable assistance will be offered here by the major tax relief that the Albanian government is offering to all Italian investors who view the country as an opportunity for their own enterprise and decide to invest in tourism in Albania.

 

 

The Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti

 

The Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti

 

The Minister of Culture, Elva Margariti, did not focus just on the chance to discover Albania, but also on its priceless cultural treasures, archaeological sites, monuments and castles.

In her speech, Ms. Margariti emphasised how work has already started to revitalise and restore the cultural heritage of Albania, with a view to continually evolving economic development based on the places of cultural and historical interest, such as the archaeological sites, monuments, castles, monasteries and rural villages, the unsold treasures of the “Land of the Eagle”.
Adria Ferries organised this conference to promote tourism and culture in Albania and to attract the attention of the Italian media to what is still virtually an unexplored country.


Read the articles in Albanian here:

  • “Shqipëria një botë e pashkelur, Klosi: Në 2019 presim mbi gjysmë milionë turistë italian" - javanews.al
  • "Balla bashkëbisedim me gazetarët italianë: Turizmi sektor strategjik, pas 2013 u rrit ndjeshëm kontributi në ekonomi" - 360grade
  • "Shqipëria një botë e pashkelur, prezanton pasuritë turistike të vendit" - vloranews.al
  • "Ministri Klosi iu prezanton Shqipërinë turistike gazetarëve italianë" - abcnews.al

 

Italy-Albania Lines

Ferries

info booking adria ferries

Monday - Friday: 08:30 - 13:00
  14:30 - 19:00
   
Saturday: 09:00 - 13:00 

NOTE!  This site uses cookies and similar technologies. If you not change browser settings, you agree to it