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From the wildest river to the bluest bay! Experience all the senses of Albania

Albania proudly showcases its enchanting landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. The theme "Albania: All Senses" takes center stage, promising visitors an immersive experience of the country's diverse offerings. As we embark on this sensory journey, our first two destinations are must-visit highlights: the pristine Vjosa River and the captivating Bay of Mirrors in Saranda.

Into the heart of nature with the Vjosa River

Our adventure begins with the Vjosa River, often called Europe’s last wild river. Flowing uninterrupted from its source in Greece through Albania to the Adriatic Sea, the Vjosa River symbolizes natural beauty and ecological significance. Its untouched waters wind through canyons, gorges, and valleys, creating a landscape as dramatic as it is serene.

Vjosa River delta, with a mountain landscape and green fields in the background.

The Vjosa River winds through canyons, gorges and valleys. © Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Albania

Visitors to the Vjosa River can engage in various activities that bring them closer to nature. Kayaking and rafting are popular choices, offering a thrilling way to experience the river’s rapids and serene stretches. Hiking trails along the riverbanks provide stunning views and opportunities to spot diverse wildlife. The Vjosa River is a destination and a journey into the heart of nature’s unspoiled splendour.

Saranda: Home to the Bay of Mirrors

From the inland beauty of the Vjosa River, our journey takes us to the stunning coastline of Saranda, home to the Bay of Mirrors. This enchanting bay, known locally as “Gjiri i Pasqyrave,” is aptly named for its crystal-clear waters that reflect the sky and surrounding landscape like a perfect mirror.

The Bay of Mirrors is a haven for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. Its pristine beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. The underwater world here is vibrant and teeming with marine life, making it an excellent spot for diving. The bay’s tranquil atmosphere is ideal for those seeking relaxation and a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

A bird's eye view of Pasqyra beach with its blue waters, sun umbrellas on the sandy beach and rocky mountains.

Pasqyra beach on the coast of Saranda. © Ministry of Tourism and Environment of Albania

Saranda is a lively town that complements the beauty of the Bay of Mirrors. Visitors can explore ancient ruins like the nearby Butrint National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town offers a range of dining options where you can savor traditional Albanian cuisine, rich in flavors and fresh ingredients. The combination of historical intrigue and natural beauty makes Saranda a must-visit destination on any Albanian itinerary.

While the Vjosa River and Saranda’s Bay of Mirrors are standout highlights, Albania’s allure extends far beyond these destinations. The country is a tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. From the vibrant capital city of Tirana, with its colorful architecture and bustling markets, to the ancient towns of Berat and Gjirokastër, Albania offers a rich blend of history, culture, and modernity.

Albania’s culinary scene is another sensory delight. Traditional dishes such as “break” (a savory pastry), “tavë kosi” (baked lamb with yogurt), and fresh seafood reflect the country’s Mediterranean influences. Albanian cuisine is a palate feast paired with locally produced wines.

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