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Old 20-03-2019, 06:56   #1
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Cruising Albania Places to see?

In the planning stages for Summer 2019, it looks like we'll be passing by Albania on our way to Greece. We're looking for ideas on places to stop in Albania, no definite time restraints. Please chime in if you've been to Albania and can provide some suggestions.

Thanks

Ken
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Old 20-03-2019, 07:32   #2
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

Albania is one of the most interesting places I have ever sailed to. Don't cut your time short.

Sarande itself is a great town with friendly people and low restaurant prices but go to UNESCO sites Gjirokastër and the Blue Eye. I wonder if Agim Zoli still runs the port - a great guy and the man in charge for years.
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Old 20-03-2019, 07:35   #3
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

We were featured on TV in Albania:

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Old 20-03-2019, 07:39   #4
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
Albania is one of the most interesting places I have ever sailed to. Don't cut your time short.

Sarande itself is a great town with friendly people and low restaurant prices but go to UNESCO sites Gjirokastër and the Blue Eye. I wonder if Agim Zoli still runs the port - a great guy and the man in charge for years.
Thanks. How long were you in Albania?
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Old 20-03-2019, 08:52   #5
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
In the planning stages for Summer 2019, it looks like we'll be passing by Albania on our way to Greece. We're looking for ideas on places to stop in Albania, no definite time restraints. Please chime in if you've been to Albania and can provide some suggestions.

Thanks

Ken

Try Vlore a big open bay, very upmarket resort. I visited twice last year by car. No info on mooring.
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Old 20-03-2019, 13:49   #6
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

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Thanks. How long were you in Albania?
Less than a week....Don't remember exactly.
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Old 21-03-2019, 23:41   #7
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

Hi Kenomac, we visited Albania in Sept 2017 and found it an interesting place. We sailed from south to north stopping at Sarande, anchoring overnight near Orikum/Vlore, then stopping at Durres. You must check in/out of every location where you go to shore with a shipping agent. When we anchored we did not go to shore so no agent required.

Main sights are:
Gjirokastra and Butrint from Sarande. We caught the local bus to Gjirokastra for a pittance. Here are the details of an excellent agent in Sarande - Jelja from Saranda Sumer Tours, info@sarandasummertours.com, +355 694 859 383. €45.

Durres: interesting commercial port where you literally dock with the cargo ships and tug boats. Not for everyone but we loved it. Make sure you have a board or something to keep your fenders off the big black tires lining the dock. Shipping agent - Ilir Gjergji +355 682036329, adetarag@gmail.com
Contact Ilir in advance with your ETA and he will wait for you in the harbour, show where you can moor, come on board and deal with the formalities etc. He takes documentation to the authorities and comes back with the clearance. Before you leave for another harbour or another country, its the same procedure as is included in his fee. Daily fee for the harbour was 10 eur, his fee around €40 from memory.
From Durres you can visit the capital, Tirana (which we didn’t).
Other sights in Albania include Lake Skadar in the north (bordering Montenegro). We saw the lake from the Montenegro side only. Another location recommended to us was Scodra but we didn’t go there either.

We strongly recommend choosing a calm weather window to visit Albania and you will only need about a week. The coastline is quite exposed with not many places to shelter. There is one marina in Albania, Orikum near Vlore. We’ve heard it’s an attractive place however apparently you have to check into Vlore then sail 7nm to the marina and then do the reverse on the way out to check out of Vlore.
We have posted two videos on YouTube about our travels in Albania. If interested you can search ‘Let’s Dance Sailing’ in YouTube and watch #32 and #33. While they are primarily for entertainment you will pick up a few more tips there.
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Old 22-03-2019, 00:03   #8
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

I have been to both Vlore and Sarande and found that the people were very friendly. We visited the Blue Eye; a must see when in Albania. I even jumped in for a swim. Really, really cold.

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Old 22-03-2019, 01:00   #9
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

Never sailed Albania but drove my VW bus down the entire coast and then back up the middle and out at lake ohrid.... amazing, friendly, adore americans (because america was the first country to recognize kosovo, where there are tons of ethnic albanians)..... Beautiful coast, burnt desolate places in the interior, just a very cool place. Would love to sail there sometime....
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Old 22-03-2019, 01:27   #10
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Re: Cruising Albania Places to see?

We sailed Albania twice and were probably one of the first boats there. First is get 777 that covers the area it is accurate with the latest info on depths ect. We did not have it first time and we had to work into Shengjin with on information as everything changed


You do have to check in and out of each port but they make it painless and will work with you - the agents are great and make life easy - and we stopped at non ports - we just had to tell them and they could careless - they just do not like extra surprised but they will work with you if you do surprise them. They are learning how to deal with small boats.


In our first trip we went into Vlore and then down to Orikum which is only real marina there. It was run by an Italian but not sure now. We left the boat there and went to Tirana and over to Kruja (the real hero of Albania and a man who kept the Ottomans at bay for a long time - 2 us pres have visited among other world leaders) and then we went on to Kosovo, Macedonia ( or what ever it is called now) and then on to Romania and Bulgaria - do not miss the historical museum in Tirana as if you want to see what life was like at the beginning of the communist dictatorship and the harsh reality of it they had a floor dedicated to it and makes does not mince words or images or movies about it.
We also went to Berat which is a beautiful city and fun getting there via mini buses.


We sailed up to Shengjin which is a resort community but you can take a car or hire a taxi for not much to go to Shkoder which is one of the oldest cities if not the oldest city in Europe.


On our second time in we started in Shengjin and left there to anchor off a small fishing port before heading on to Durras. One thing you can not escape see are the pillboxes - they built about 600k of them and at the anchorage they used some of them to protect the shoreline from erosion.


In Durras we sailed in and got permission to dock and a guy met us at the dock and directed us to where they wanted us. Just behind a big freighter. He worked with the dock guys to make sure our fenders were in the proper locations to protect our boat and then did all our paper work and we walked into town. Our big mistake is we did not spend more time there. We wish we had spent 2-3 days exploring the town.


From there we went down to Orikum again and then when we left we told them we were going to stop in Porto Palermo where there is an old dock (for free) and an old Ali Pasha fort/castle - and now we understand you can tour the old sub base there that the Soviets used - it is underground and suppose to be incredible. By the way when we went into the dock a policeman came down and helped us tie up and got a phone call and we heard our boat name several times. He said to us Tirana asked if you ok? We run ais and they had tracked us down the coast - not unlike has happened to us in Italy, Greece and other countries. We are just glad someone is watching over us.


From there we sailed into Sarande and used an agent called Nancy from ourownexpeditions (search for it on the net) and she was great. An American who is married to and Albania and trying to get folks to come to Albania. Great lady. When we went in I was really sick and told her so. She arranged for an English speaking cab driver to take me to the hospital and stay with me and translate and bring me back. I had pneumonia and the doc told me not to go anywhere for 10days and got rx filled (upto date meds and really good stuff) and the cab driver told Nancy and she said you are staying until the doc sees you in 10 days as I will not check you out. It was a good choice as she knew I would leave early and it was a good thing as I was pretty sick and probably the minute I felt better would have left.
From there we went to Butrint and a very very old city they are working hard to reclaim.


If we could have wintered over there we would. It was a wonderful country and we loved it. If it was in our route of travel we would go again. and we rode buses and train and minibuses everywhere - a simply great country.




OH forgot one thing. They also recently opened up the huge underground complex built by the dictator in case of nuke war. I think it is near Vlore but not sure. It is said to be a you got to see this. It was not open when we were there.
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