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Albania is a small country in Europe with plenty of places to discover. Albania has had an intensive history coming from the Illyrian tribes with a later influence from the Greeks by the 7th century BC. Then came the Roman ruling until 395 AD. After several battles and resistance, Albania was under the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. During WWI Albania was occupied by Greece, Serbia, France, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. By 1939 during World War II, Italy invaded Albania bringing difficult times to this land. In 1941, the communist party in Albania was born and it ruled until the Soviet Union declared its dissolution. By March 1992, Albania elected their first democratic president leaving behind 47 years under the communist party. Albania has been open to the world since then and its economy has started to grow with the free market. Now you get the chance to visit this unique place but make sure to have all the documents required for your visit, such as the Health Declaration Form. COVID-19 has forced Albania and most countries around the world to put better control of international visitors with a focus on health. Follow through with the medical forms required so you get a smooth entry to Albania. Apart from the information on all the tourist attractions you get to visit in Albania, we will explain further about these new health guidelines.
First of all, you have Tirana, Albania’s capital. The city thrives under Ottoman-era constructions and Italian buildings. We recommend visiting Bunk’Art, an art site that used to be a government bunker during the communist period. Did you know Albania holds over 700,000 bunkers around the country? These are now popular attractions reminiscent of the communist time. Tirana’s landscape shows Mount Dajti which is possible to visit through a cable car ride, giving you spectacular views of the city. Get around the Blloku area where the edgy atmosphere will get you to an unforgettable nightlife experience. If you want to enjoy some nature near Tirana, visit the Bovilla lake which is only one hour away from the capital.
Another special site is the Butrint National Park which combines nature and historical monuments. This is a peninsula by the Lake Butrint and the Vivari Channel which creates a magnificent ecosystem. Flora and fauna species are over 1,200 types in this area, that share hills, and islands. However, the most impressive attraction is the archaeological site that compromises a Roman theater, a Byzantine Basilica, and two castles bordered by historical city walls. You can also find the Lion Gate coming from the 4th century BC. The name comes from the inscriptions that portray a lion in the midst of eating a bull. This is a direct representation of the fierceness of their inhabitants when facing the enemy. The entrance is very narrow so not a lot of people can pass it at the same time. Overall, throughout the year you get to see plenty of events, concerts, and art performances in the benefit of local schools and universities.
The Albanian Riviera showcases pristine beaches that are yet to be discovered. Himare is one of the famous beaches, with turquoise waters and hilly scenery, this is a special place to relax under the sun. In Hamare, you can also visit the old town where delicious Mediterranean food is waiting for you. If you walk up to the hill, there is a castle with incredible views over the coastline. Continue exploring the countryside and reach the Monastery of the Cross and Athaliotissa, with further history to uncover. Grama Bay is another hidden gem for beach lovers and the only way to get there is by boat or hiking 7 hours. For this reason, this place is so secluded that you almost have the beach for yourself.
You can also visit the city of Berat where you can find the famous castle Kalaja surrounded by mosques and churches. The city is known as the “city of thousand windows” because most homes have large windows in their facades and these houses are painted white which keeps harmony in the site. Kala, Berat’s citadel, is also a special place to visit. There is a fortress from the 300s that are shaped around constructions from the 1200s. The medieval homes are still used as bars or convenient stores which brings a great combination of modern and ancient times.
Get your way to Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its unique Balkan style architecture. Houses in this city resemble small-scale castles made with stones. The main castle in Gjirokastra is a venue for a folklore festival every five years. There is also a Cold War Tunnel that turned into a museum. This is another bunker built during the communist period to protect the Albanian population from a possible nuclear attack. The tunnel has 800 meters long and has 59 rooms that would have functioned as power generators, government offices, and water storage. You should visit the Kordhoca bridge, a historical monument built in 1820 that was the only road connecting Gjirokastra with their neighboring cities. It preserves its original structure with some restoration done in recent years.
Albania is a special country with plenty to explore and we are sure you want to visit soon. However, you should know about the new entry requirements due to COVID-19. Albania as many other countries in Europe has restricted international visitors to mandatory health guidelines. iVisa.com keeps updated pages about the countries that are currently allowed to enter Albania, please refer to our application pages to check on this eligibility. For international travelers entering Albania, they should have a Health Declaration Form confirming their disposition to follow with the sanitation rules dictated by the government. Albanian authorities have displayed a great number of medical personnel to all the airports to have further screenings done to incoming visitors. There isn’t a specific requirement to enter a quarantine after arrival, however, this will be decided for special cases by the health authorities. The self-declaration you will be presenting will have to accept any decision made by the Public Health Authority. Besides, you must wear a mask in enclosed public spaces for your safety and remember public transport is only working at minimum capacity. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped but the authorities have put in place plenty of rules so the entry of international tourism can continue with all the security measures. The Albania government wants you to have a special time in the country, but this must be within the health rules imposed recently. Continue with your Health Declaration Form and start your journey to Albania.