Peace Paradise

A Foreigner's Perspective of Albania


This is my mini-guide about southern Albania, specifically what I call the "Greek Villas" region (Dhermi-Himara). I moved here and loved it, and I'll tell you why on this very page.

I'm an expat who,

after years of world exploration found a paradise
few foreigners were aware of. Clean, cheap, near
the sea, all kinds of food, no religion,
and above all peace.


Each region of Albania is unique, and

the area of Himara is my favorite. It combines the best characteristics of Albanian and Greek culture (many locals identify as Greek).







BELIEVE IT OR NOT

Fishing and swimming in October!
October 29, 2020

I love this photo. Fishing in a bikini in October!

CONTENTS

CONTENTS

 Why do I like Albania?

 Why do I like Himara better than other Albanian towns?


Best of Both Worlds (Greek and Albanian culture)


Food


Outdoor Action Activities

Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities


Do I need a visa for Albania?


Transport and

other recommended Albanian spots


Photo Gallery

 

I hope you enjoy reading my opinions of this fascinating country, and say "hello" if you decide to come! :)

Why do I like Albania?

Warm weather 10-11 months a year, hospitable people, delicious food, low prices, no visa hassles. What's not to like? :)


Why do I like Himara better than other Albanian towns?



An enormous advantage for those who like to be outside (hiking, swimming, fishing, biking, or just strolling on the promenade) is that it is CLEAN here. Crystal clear waters. Air that is fresh every day. No noise or traffic jams (except for a few weeks in August for the high season).

One of the big benefits, FOR ME, of this slice of paradise is that it is very SECULAR. You will never see or hear a mosque, there are only a few tiny Greek Orthodox churches.

If your preference is to visit Catholic churches the northern part of Albania can provide that, and if you want mosques Saranda and Ksamil has those, but here in Himara there is not even a single mosque.

Another advantage of these southern towns is that it is warm enough to swim in the sea, even in November or March.

There are also not blocks and blocks of continuous concrete blight like you'll find in overdeveloped places like Vlora. Once you get to towns like Himara, Orikum or Borsh you can easily find a nearby stretch of beach to call your own.

Local Albanians are among the friendliest. It doesn't matter if they are lounging in a cafe or busily rushing from one place to another (in the Balkans it's usually one or the other - no middle ground ;)), they will take the time to help you.


Life here for tourists is easy...

in two senses. People are relaxed and friendly. And arriving in the country is a breeze (there are not the obscene amount of documents, payments and border runs that you have in places like Thailand, for example).



Best of Both Worlds


In Himara you get some of the best of Albanian AND Greek culture. Food, music and the laid-back lifestyle are influenced by both sides, and the beaches here are second to none.

In fact, in my opinion, the only coastline that can compete is in Greece. I've been to Bali, Thailand, Croatia, Florida and other beaches, and they do not compare with Albania.



If you are not a citizen of the European Union, Albania becomes even more important.


Remember, starting in 2021 every non-EU traveler to places like France, Spain or Greece must either get a visa from their local embassy, or get pre-approval on the internet before you are allowed to enter the European Union. A passport from USA, Japan, Australia, etc., is no longer enough if you want to visit the EU.


Albania has no such restrictions, it's a very welcoming place! :)

Food in Himara



Aside from the various restaurants and cafes, two supermarkets and numerous corner shops have everything you can find at home, plus many specialty products imported from Greece (olive and sunflower oil, baklava, yogurt, feta, candies, etc) and Italy (macaroni, muesli, peas, cheese, pesto, etc), all at prices cheaper here than what they would cost if you bought them in Greece or Italy.

Fruits and vegetables direct from local farms are offered daily.

A kilogram of sweets cost a mere one euro. Cinnamon, hazlenut, milk, lemon, strawberry, sesame, malt, and (my favorite) mint flavors.

One. Euro.

INTERNATIONAL AND 
LOCAL PRODUCTS


The hummus you see depicted is imported from Greece, but with Albanian prices. Cheap AND good!


Soaps and cosmetics (Palmolive, Nivea, Garnier, Protex), toothpaste (Blend-a-med, Colgate, etc.) are readily offered in most stores. I didn't need to bring any of this stuff on the plane, everything was already here.

A MINT CALLED
GLOB!

Any country that can produce a mint with the name "glob" and have it be the tastiest mint in the world is OK in my books.

OUTDOOR FUN

As we're so near the water swimming is a great way to spend the day. The sea is warm enough March to November (maybe December!).

If you like boating or fishing you have an abundance of opportunites year-round. The locals are very friendly and may offer to take you on an excursion in their boats, show you the best fishing spots or teach you how to use rod and reel.

(Learn a few Albanian and Greek phrases, it will be helpful to you and bring happiness to the natives that appreciate the effort).

Hiking, volleyball, basketball, jetski, parasailing, sunbathing, are also on the list. :)

HIKING IN NEARBY VUNO


 Vuno is a hilly town half an hour from Himara.
Classic Greek architecture can be found in
the most unusual places (the locals totally take
it for granted) and there are spectacular
scenic views that are found nowhere else.

INDOOR


Architecturally and historically the area evokes a combination of Corfu (Greece) and Perugia (Italy), beautiful stone and woodwork throughout Himara and Vuno. I'm thinking about starting a walking tour that would cover some of my favorite locales.

Hungry? Try local dishes from Greek, Albanian and Italian restaurants. If you like meat, lamb and seafood grills abound. If you are vegetarian, dishes like pasta, pizza, salads, eggplant, etc are plentiful.

If you prefer to cook for yourself the local markets carry all types of grains, cereals (including muesli), fruits, vegetables, cheeses, biscuits, drinks, chips, spices, etc.. You won't notice any difference from what you buy at your local supermarket. Correction, the local foods have less (or no) chemicals -- and are much cheaper! Alcohol (yay) and cigarettes (ugh) are available at every shop. There are also three gelato (ice cream) shops in town.

Watch the beautiful sunsets and sunrises as Sol dips and rises from behind the Greek islands. Corfu is a hop, skip and jump away, clearly visible from the Himaran shore. At night gaze at a spectacular field of stars (no tall buildings and no pollution to block them!) from your private terrace or from one of the seaside cafes.

There are two billiard (pool) halls in town. Enjoy a sport without the sweat. :) A great way to meet locals, as the competition and excitement is fierce but friendly.



Cliffs, forests, hills, mountains, lakes and sea all

contribute to a photographer's dream. And there

are those gorgeous sunsets...

DO I NEED A VISA?



Entry into Albania is hassle-free for most countries. No visa payments. No corona test required. No problem. :)

Citizens of most countries can visit for up to three months with the only document necessary a passport. Americans can stay one year (!) visa free.
 
There is a hospital and three pharmacies here if you have medical needs. Last I checked, in Himara there are precisely zero fatalities from corona.

Check out my Transport page for schedules and other recommended cities.


PEACE
GALLERY

MODERN LUXURY IN 
PARADISE






This was one of the best apartments I rented in Albania, and
for value one of the best in the world. Support a friendly and sweet local couple by checking out  their
winter rentals here.











CONTACT US!