Surface area : 28748.0 km2
Population : 3619778 inhabitants
Time difference : +1h
In hotel shops and those in town, and bazars (especially that of Kruje), you get carpets, silver and copper filigrees, wood and alabaster sculptures, ceramics, a lot of embroidery, leather, books and local folk music. Shops and markets are open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
In addition to the Balkan dishes made from cheechkebabs (kebabs) and koftes (meatballs), you have delicious Albanian specialties such as tave kosi (lamb with yoghurt), fergese tirane (meat, liver, eggs and tomatoes), ēomlek (meat and onion), rosto me salce kosi (sour cream roastbeef) and kukurec (mutton-stuffed tripes). You also have a wide variety of sea water and freshwater fish. Albanian wines are plentiful and of good quality. Local beverage is raki (anisette) or ouzo. The Scanderberg cognac is said to be the best. There is foreign but also local beer and Fernet (local Fernet Branca) to push everything down. Cheers is 'Guezuar!'
Haggling is not only meant to obtain good businesses, but is also a form of politeness. The pleasure must last and finally you make a good deal. Albanian life is regulated by the Kanum (canon in Greek). This code of honour is also closely linked to the laws of hospitality and protection of travellers.
Here, distances should be multiplied by five, before getting an itinerary. Do not get fooled by the apparent proximity of destinations as indicated on maps as Albania remains behind the times.
There are many untouched beaches and coves, which are difficult to find on the rest of the Mediterranean coast.
The town of Gjirokasta, with its medieval roofing-slate houses, inspired the most wonderful novel of Ismaļl Kadare ('Chronicle in Stone').
Lastly, the ancient site of Butrint, opening both to the blue Ionian sea and to the green of an inside lake, is a wonder.