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Location - South east Europe; Capital - Tirana; Population - 2.9 million; Currency - Lek MORE ALBANIA

From Saranda a limited number of buses run along the Albanian Riviera to Himara and Vlora. And don't forget a visit to Shkodra, near the Montenegro border - April/May 2018.


albanianote3A 200 Lek note. Shqiperise means Albania in Albanian








albania515Before reaching Himara and Dhermi further along the coast I stopped off at the tiny bay of Palermo


albania519There's a restaurant on the main road from where you get a decent view of the bay, the small beach and the castle. There's also some decrepit buildings, pictured, constructed during the communist era by the Chinese - Palermo


albania522The bay is very sheltered, with still waters and little wind - Palermo















albania524A short walk from the restaurant brings you to Porto Palermo Castle - Palermo















albania530This tunnel was originally used by the Soviet Union to shelter their submarines - Palermo


albania533A brief stop in Himara, a few kms further north of Palermo















albania537I based myself at Dhermi's lovely curve of coastline for a few days


albania540As it was out of season the only restaurant open was Luciano's, with most people being workers painting and decorating in readiness for the summer. This was the beach on a Saturday, the busiest with day-trippers - Dhermi


albania541The main beach next to Luciano's - Dhermi















albania556Fishermen unfurl their nets as the sun goes down - Dhermi
















albania557There's several smaller coves heading north from the centre though they suffer the blight of overdevelopment. Half-finished buildings and rubble interrupt the attractive coastline and turquoise sea - Dherm


albania574The Albanian Riviera coast from Palasa beach in the distance, to Drymades and then Dhermi close-up. Note that buses stop on the main road high above the beach, so the return walk is a steep and sweaty one with all your luggage. Get a taxi!


albania576A bird's eye view of Dhermi and the Ionian Sea
















albania571The obligatory concrete bunker, this one being on the walk from Dhermi to Drymades


albania562Above Drymades beach is the twisting and turning road that takes you high over the Llogoraja Pass to Vlora - Drymades


albania563The transparency of the water is amazing! Drymades















albania565'Drink beer and feel better'. Don't think this has been approved by the health authorities - Drymades















albania566Yes OK, after you - Drymades



albania579The best coastline I saw in Albania was the approach to Gjipe, the first beach south of Dhermi














albania585Gjipe beach comes into view, and just about visible to the right is Jala beach















albania590It's a bit of a mission to reach Gjipe, with only 4x4s being able to negotiate the rutted dirt-track, but it's worth it


albania591There's a campground for those with tents, making it popular with backpackers and locals alike - Gjipe


albania596A worthwhile walk is following the stream into the gorge - Gjipe















albania592Kayakers start on their way to Jala beach - Gjipe
















albania614Vlora is the third largest city in Albania


albania616The rather smelly port area - Vlora


albania610Bright street art along Ismail Qemali - Vlora















albania609The very Socialist Realist Independence Monument. Albanian independence was declared in Vlora in 1912 - Vlora



















Haha, brilliant! The Messi resemblance is so bad it's good! A souvenir shop in Vlora


albania642Mother Teresa welcomes visitors to Shkodra. Though Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was born in modern-day Macedonia she's of Albanian-Indian descent














albania638The city, near the Montenegro border, has a buzzing but relaxed feel to it - Shkodra














albania641Not a swear word but Albanian for 'for sale' - Shkodra


albania631The tourist heart is pedestrianised Rr Kole Idromeno which is full of bars, cafes and restaurants - Shkodra


albania630At the entrance to the pedstrian zone is the main mosque - Shkodra















albania639A short minute walk away is a Cathloic cathedral - Shkodra
















albania644A local band playing during the city's May Day festival - Shkodra


albania649Not to be outdone by Berat and Gjirokastra, Shkodra has a hilltop fortress of its own, and boasting fantastic views too


albania648The ruins of Rozafa Castle stand high over Lake Shkodra - Shkodra














albania672The fortress is set at the strategic meeting point of three rivers - Shkodra














albania654The Buna River (Bojana in Montenegrin) flows out of Lake Shokdra - Shkodra


albania659The city is the gateway to the Albanian Alps and an ideal base for excursions to Lake Shokdra and Lake Koman - Shkodra


albania673Riverside refreshments at Buna River - Shkodra















albania676Shkodra didn't escape Albania's ruthless communist past; this is the Site of Witness and Memory













albania675The museum is dedicated to those who suffered under the regime - Shkodra


albania680The former monastery was transformed into Sigurimi (secret police) detention cells where people were interrogated and moved to prison camps, or executed - Shkodra


albania690Political prisoners describe this as a typical setting of a torture room - Shkodra















albania696Lake Shkodra is a short drive or cycle ride from Shkodra, either heading north or west. This is Shiroka, the first resort west of Shkodra, which is followed by Zogaj just before the Montenegrin border


albania701Lake Shkodra is split between Albania and Montenegro, where it's known as Lake Skadar - Shiroka


albania703Just beyond Shiroka is a small pebbly beach, a little dirty but fine for a brief laze














Surprise surprise a concrete pillbox bunker - Shiroka
















albania711Alfresco dining is the way to go at a lakeside restaurant - Shiroka


albania713A mountainous backdrop to Lake Shkodra - Shiroka




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LINKS - tourist info - Tirana Times newspaper, in English - Tirana tourist info


I am not responsible for the content of external websites.


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