Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop


Albania experiences

Kmann

Kmann

Iben & Henrik
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,395
Location
Virum
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 199 4Motion
Hi, has anyone beside @Slovenia done a trip in Albania?

We are very interested in all kind of experiences, tips, etc.. Planning next years 4-5 weeks trip, beside Greece and Portugal/Spain, Albaina has come up.

Not our first thought, but after a bit research it sounds interesting and could be an option. Is the food good, secure, road conditions, etc.

PS: Thanks for the nice post @Slovenia ;-)
 
sapto

sapto

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,665
Location
Central Switzerland
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
Hi, has anyone beside @Slovenia done a trip in Albania?

We are very interested in all kind of experiences, tips, etc.. Planning next years 4-5 weeks trip, beside Greece and Portugal/Spain, Albaina has come up.

Not our first thought, but after a bit research it sounds interesting and could be an option. Is the food good, secure, road conditions, etc.

PS: Thanks for the nice post @Slovenia ;-)
Sounds great! Look forward to your results in research! Last year a friend of mine did a trip to Albania however I am not sure if they drove in a Cali. I'll post some intel as soon as I got some.
 
sapto

sapto

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,665
Location
Central Switzerland
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
I guess you do understand German; I just found a thread on the caliboard.de

Lake Shkoder Resort

(relativ) neuer Campingplatz direkt an der Straße Hani Hotit - Skoder ca. 8 km nördlich von Shkoder.

Sehr schöne und ruhige Lage, nettes Restaurant und nette Betreiber. Nachts bewacht (wie alle Campingplätze in Albanien ...).

Leicht zu erreichen, beim Hinweisschild sofort rechts (aus Richtung Hani Hotit) bzw. links (aus Richtung Shkoder). Dann übers Bahngleis und 1,5 km den Feldweg zum See.

Allerdings für Albanische Verhältnisse etwas teuer (Übernachtung mit Strom 12,50 €), Essen im Restaurant für 2 Personen incl Bier ca. 15,-- €

GPS: N 42° 8' 18", E 19° 27' 56"

www.lakeshkodraresort.com
 
dayslikethis

dayslikethis

VIP Member
Messages
499
Location
Tenby
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Travellled through Albania many times in my Cali - Valbona Valley in the North East is one of the most beautiful places on this planet and Permet springs furthers south are incredible. Let me know if you need details - some parts are nicer than others i.e. beaches south of Vlora There are a number of routes to consider including via Montenegro coast road and through Shkoder or maybe you will arrive by ferry via Bari Italy to Durres. Once in Albania if you plan to go to Greece I would recommend going via Permet and into Ohrid Macedonia which is just beautiful In terms of security it's generally very safe. Roads are not great but improving.
 
Last edited:
dayslikethis

dayslikethis

VIP Member
Messages
499
Location
Tenby
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Valbona Valley Albania
 
Slovenia

Slovenia

Messages
130
Location
Slovenia
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
I have just come from Albania, yesterday evening. Was there with a motorcycle to do some off road riding.
The trip was through Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Montenegro and back through Croatian coast. I did mostly mountain roads, without pavement, but met many Germans with VW Syncro conversions and light off road trucks. Albania is safe, camps are nice and in this time of the season it is still hot.
 
RichardH

RichardH

VIP Member
Messages
84
Location
West Yorks
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Travellled through Albania many times in my Cali - Valbona Valley in the North East is one of the most beautiful places on this planet and Permet springs furthers south are incredible. Let me know if you need details - some parts are nicer than others i.e. beaches south of Vlora

Here is one of my videos which includes Permet springs

There are a number of routes to consider including via Montenegro coast road and through Shkoder or maybe you will arrive by ferry via Bari Italy to Durres. Once in Albania if you plan to go to Greece I would recommend going via Permet and into Ohrid Macedonia which is just beautiful (video
). From Ohrid there are two main routes to Greece. In terms of security it's generally very safe. Roads are not great but improving.
Hi. We are planning to go in May / June next year, doing a loop via Italy, Corfu (for a wedding) then Greece and back to the UK via Albania and Croatia. Albania looks wonderful. Any border-crossing advice we need to know about?
 
dayslikethis

dayslikethis

VIP Member
Messages
499
Location
Tenby
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Hi. We are planning to go in May / June next year, doing a loop via Italy, Corfu (for a wedding) then Greece and back to the UK via Albania and Croatia. Albania looks wonderful. Any border-crossing advice we need to know about?
Sorry only just noticed this post and have posted some data on borders on another post of yours. Sounds a great trip. I've not done the border crossing from Greece into Albania. It shouldn't be busy in May / June as diaspora don't return until much later in summer. You should certainly visit Sarande and the beaches there are beautiful -once you go north of Vlore they are not so good (clear). There is a good road from Sarande to Tirana and after Tirana its OK to Montenegro. Depending on your timing I would highly recommend going inland from Sarande where the mountains are stunning and aim to go through Berat. The area really is "old world". I remember getting to the top of a mountain road in the middle of nowhere and hadn't seen a building for miles when we came across a wedding party dancing in a circle in the middle of the road - amazing sight. Tirana is an experience and we were lucky to be able to visit Enver Hoxha's main nuclear bunker (5 floors) in the city. Its rarely open but incredible to see. Keeping this post brief - Montenegro is just beautiful - coast road will take you past Sveti Stefan (stunning) and Budvar (ok) but make sure you visit Kotor old town, a small deviation from coast road. Croatia is beautiful but have you considered diverting into BiH and visiting Mostar? Enjoy the trip happy to give you a
ny more tips via pm.
IMG_0537.JPGIMG_8652.jpg ZK2B9398.jpg ZK2B9435.jpg ZK2B9688.jpg IMG_6873.jpg
 
Last edited:
RichardH

RichardH

VIP Member
Messages
84
Location
West Yorks
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Thanks again to those who gave advice about Albania. We had a great time there and plan to return another year, although it’s disconcerting to drive about in a relatively recent Cali with only 3rd party insurance (that was via the Caravan & Motorhome Club and was the best we could get - most insurers won’t cover Albania at all). The standard of driving there was better than we had expected, no worse than Italy, and although there were lots of police checkpoints we were always waved through. We had no issues at the borders - our green card was accepted and there were no demands for extra payments. The people we met were welcoming and friendly. No problems in finding fuel. I’ve never seen so many petrol stations anywhere in the world! We enjoyed Berat (thanks for the suggestion) and Girokaster. The most memorable part of the trip was the ferry-ride from Komani up towards the Valbona National Park. It’s reckoned to be one of the most spectacular boat trips in the world - similar to the scale of the Norwegian fjiords. The approach road is in poor condition (an hour and a half to cover 28km) and I was glad of the Cali’s relatively good clearance. It’s best not to examine the supports of the final bridge till you’ve driven over them. Driving on to the ferry was a white-knuckle experience too (get there an hour before departure to avoid the worst of the scrimmage). It’s possible to do the return ferry trip in a day, but we opted to take the Cali with us and return towards the coast via the long and winding road from the upstream ferry station. Overall Albania was a highlight of our two month circuit via Italy, Greece, Croatia etc. Can’t wait to see more!
 
dayslikethis

dayslikethis

VIP Member
Messages
499
Location
Tenby
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Thanks again to those who gave advice about Albania. We had a great time there and plan to return another year, although it’s disconcerting to drive about in a relatively recent Cali with only 3rd party insurance (that was via the Caravan & Motorhome Club and was the best we could get - most insurers won’t cover Albania at all). The standard of driving there was better than we had expected, no worse than Italy, and although there were lots of police checkpoints we were always waved through. We had no issues at the borders - our green card was accepted and there were no demands for extra payments. The people we met were welcoming and friendly. No problems in finding fuel. I’ve never seen so many petrol stations anywhere in the world! We enjoyed Berat (thanks for the suggestion) and Girokaster. The most memorable part of the trip was the ferry-ride from Komani up towards the Valbona National Park. It’s reckoned to be one of the most spectacular boat trips in the world - similar to the scale of the Norwegian fjiords. The approach road is in poor condition (an hour and a half to cover 28km) and I was glad of the Cali’s relatively good clearance. It’s best not to examine the supports of the final bridge till you’ve driven over them. Driving on to the ferry was a white-knuckle experience too (get there an hour before departure to avoid the worst of the scrimmage). It’s possible to do the return ferry trip in a day, but we opted to take the Cali with us and return towards the coast via the long and winding road from the upstream ferry station. Overall Albania was a highlight of our two month circuit via Italy, Greece, Croatia etc. Can’t wait to see more!
Glad you enjoyed it. As you sail up the fjord (valley) look up to your left on the mountain road, we drove about 80km on the worst and most hair-raising road on the planet. My wife said she wish she'd worn a sports bra it was so bumpy!! Its a road I'd never travel again. Valbona Valley is truly stunning. As for the numerous petrol stations - Happy to tell you why in a pm LOL
 
Frankyworthy

Frankyworthy

VIP Member
Messages
96
Location
Manchester
Vehicle
T5 SE 174
Hi. We are planning to go in May / June next year, doing a loop via Italy, Corfu (for a wedding) then Greece and back to the UK via Albania and Croatia. Albania looks wonderful. Any border-crossing advice we need to know about?
Hi Richard,

Did you make this trip. We are considering something similar. Any info advice pls?
 
RichardH

RichardH

VIP Member
Messages
84
Location
West Yorks
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Hi Richard,

Did you make this trip. We are considering something similar. Any info advice pls?
Hi! Yes we did. My August post in this thread summed up how much we enjoyed Albania, despite the slight anxieties of driving with only third party insurance. Since then the Caravan and Motorhome Club's insurers have joined the others and also dropped the availability of Albanian third party cover, so unless you can find an alternative you'll have to buy it at the border (probably easy enough to do - we found the people at the border helpful and welcoming - but claiming on a non-UK policy might be interesting). We would have stayed there longer if we had had comprehensive cover. However we found that driving in Albania was fairly stress-free. We saw no manic drivers and didn't feel at risk. The speed limits seem to be very strictly controlled. The only near-miss we had was on a good road in Montenegro, where a speeding car tried to overtake us as we were turning left.

Here's a link to the review I put on TripAdvisor about Komani Lake: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aztjqkiqjdb2xbm/Komani Lake..docx?dl=0.
That was the highlight of our time in Albania but there was a lot we didn't see. We'd love to go back and spend more time there.

The rest of the journey was delightful too. We were away from mid-April till mid-June, travelling quickly down through France until we found some sunshine, dawdling in Provence for a few days then heading into Italy. We visited the wine area around Barolo, the Cinque Terre and lots of the mediaeval villages in Tuscany and Umbria, staying in local campsites (ACSI card and app invaluable) and aires (helpful to have a loo). Mostly we stayed on each site only one or two days. Throughout the trip we never booked a pitch and never had a problem finding a place to stay, although you need to plan your route, as campsites are less frequent in Italy than elsewhere. We ate out a lot (for us that's part of the pleasure of travelling) and cooked on our Cobb at other times. It was helpful to have our Brompton bikes with us, folded on the internal rear luggage shelf. We didn't plan much of the route in advance. In a few places, in order to explore the towns / villages in the evenings, we stayed in small hotels with parking (if there was no local campsite or aire), but we slept in our lovely Cali most nights. The Terme di Saturnia were a pleasant diversion one morning. In Rome, we left the van on an out-of-town ACSI campsite for a couple of days while we visited friends in the city (safer and cheaper than parking in town). Then Herculaneum and Pompeii and on to Calabria for more sunshine. Unlike the UK that year, northern and middle Italy was afflicted by cooler and wetter weather than usual in early 2018. We really liked Matera and Lecce, the villages in Apulia and the old part of Bari.

I had booked the overnight ferry from Bari to Igoumenitsa as soon as the tickets became available that year, as I understood that the boats are often fully booked. It's easiest to book through an agency. We used Greek Ferries Club. Our ticket allowed us to put the roof up and "camp" overnight on the lorry deck (we always sleep "upstairs"). The ferries from there to Corfu are much more frequent and we bought a ticket just before departure. Corfu was as warm and sunny and laid-back as usual. From there we headed north through Albania, spent a few hot days beside the sea in Istria, then quickly through the ongoing cold and rain in northern Italy back into Provence and cross-country north back to Calais with an overnight stop or two at France Passion vineyard sites.

Let me know if there's anything more specific you'd like to know. I'd be glad to help. Meanwhile we are looking forward to this year's late spring / early summer trip to Hungary, probably Romania, and the countries between here and there. There's a lot to be said for retirement!
 
ThomasHJ

ThomasHJ

Messages
117
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Did a long trip trough many countries in Europe recently. Lot's of Balkan countries as well, including Albania. Found Albania to be a real adventure, in a positive way. Beautiful nature. Roads weren't always great, but we managed in our old T4. A gazillion gas stations, especially along the high way. Horse and carriage on the highway, people walking, on bikes. People selling fruit on the highway and others stopping to buy it. In the cities it kind of felt like there were no traffic rules, but that didnt seem to be a problem, as everyone was quite relaxt and calm. Quite a lot of stray dogs. Some lying in the middle of the road or on roundabouts. People walking cows. The differences between camp sites were huge. Some were defenitely of a different standard then what you might be used to. But others were great. One or two were even a bit to good; very luxurious, while just outside the camp site you could see people having a tough life. Felt wrong. Prefered more basic campings. If you do go, promise yourself you visit camping Pa emer. I should keep it a secret but I can't. It's a dream. You park the van on the beach and you're in camping heaven. Feels like wild camping on the beach. The owner took 15 years to build an island in the sea in front of the camp site, on which theres a small restaurant. The road leading up to the camping feels like its a 1000 years old. Potholes, etc. Well worth it. Fresh fish can be bought from a shop nearby every morning. BBQ on the beach. Have only met friendly people and never felt unsafe or anything. Not many people we met spoke English, but we managed. Loved it.
 
ThomasHJ

ThomasHJ

Messages
117
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Oh, ATM's are few and far in between. And when you do find one, quite often they are out of order or empty. You'll want to cary cash and take out quite a bit of it when you do find an ATM. And when you take a ferry out of Albania (to Italy for example), be sure to rember you wont be able to pay with Albanian LEK on the ferry and wont be able to pay by card, as we found out. So bring euro's or youll go hungry :)
 
Frankyworthy

Frankyworthy

VIP Member
Messages
96
Location
Manchester
Vehicle
T5 SE 174
Hi! Yes we did. My August post in this thread summed up how much we enjoyed Albania, despite the slight anxieties of driving with only third party insurance. Since then the Caravan and Motorhome Club's insurers have joined the others and also dropped the availability of Albanian third party cover, so unless you can find an alternative you'll have to buy it at the border (probably easy enough to do - we found the people at the border helpful and welcoming - but claiming on a non-UK policy might be interesting). We would have stayed there longer if we had had comprehensive cover. However we found that driving in Albania was fairly stress-free. We saw no manic drivers and didn't feel at risk. The speed limits seem to be very strictly controlled. The only near-miss we had was on a good road in Montenegro, where a speeding car tried to overtake us as we were turning left.

Here's a link to the review I put on TripAdvisor about Komani Lake: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aztjqkiqjdb2xbm/Komani Lake..docx?dl=0.
That was the highlight of our time in Albania but there was a lot we didn't see. We'd love to go back and spend more time there.

The rest of the journey was delightful too. We were away from mid-April till mid-June, travelling quickly down through France until we found some sunshine, dawdling in Provence for a few days then heading into Italy. We visited the wine area around Barolo, the Cinque Terre and lots of the mediaeval villages in Tuscany and Umbria, staying in local campsites (ACSI card and app invaluable) and aires (helpful to have a loo). Mostly we stayed on each site only one or two days. Throughout the trip we never booked a pitch and never had a problem finding a place to stay, although you need to plan your route, as campsites are less frequent in Italy than elsewhere. We ate out a lot (for us that's part of the pleasure of travelling) and cooked on our Cobb at other times. It was helpful to have our Brompton bikes with us, folded on the internal rear luggage shelf. We didn't plan much of the route in advance. In a few places, in order to explore the towns / villages in the evenings, we stayed in small hotels with parking (if there was no local campsite or aire), but we slept in our lovely Cali most nights. The Terme di Saturnia were a pleasant diversion one morning. In Rome, we left the van on an out-of-town ACSI campsite for a couple of days while we visited friends in the city (safer and cheaper than parking in town). Then Herculaneum and Pompeii and on to Calabria for more sunshine. Unlike the UK that year, northern and middle Italy was afflicted by cooler and wetter weather than usual in early 2018. We really liked Matera and Lecce, the villages in Apulia and the old part of Bari.

I had booked the overnight ferry from Bari to Igoumenitsa as soon as the tickets became available that year, as I understood that the boats are often fully booked. It's easiest to book through an agency. We used Greek Ferries Club. Our ticket allowed us to put the roof up and "camp" overnight on the lorry deck (we always sleep "upstairs"). The ferries from there to Corfu are much more frequent and we bought a ticket just before departure. Corfu was as warm and sunny and laid-back as usual. From there we headed north through Albania, spent a few hot days beside the sea in Istria, then quickly through the ongoing cold and rain in northern Italy back into Provence and cross-country north back to Calais with an overnight stop or two at France Passion vineyard sites.

Let me know if there's anything more specific you'd like to know. I'd be glad to help. Meanwhile we are looking forward to this year's late spring / early summer trip to Hungary, probably Romania, and the countries between here and there. There's a lot to be said for retirement!
Many thanks Richard,
Thats very helpful. We’re planning a trip in September / October so plenty of time to think this through.
So, did you just do Corfu then back, not the rest of Greece at all?
 
RichardH

RichardH

VIP Member
Messages
84
Location
West Yorks
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Yes. We had driven to Corfu for a friend's wedding and then had a relatively short time to get back home again, otherwise we would have stayed longer and done more of mainland Greece.

Incidentally, and off topic, we visited El Hierro (the smallest and least touristy Canary Island) for a week last month, without the van, and chatted to a young German couple rough camping beside the sea in a Cali. They had rented theirs in Gran Canaria and were Canary-island hopping on the local ferries for their few months of maternity / paternity leave. We saw a few other motor-homes on the island too, mostly from mainland Europe. There is only one campsite and no-one was in it, but there seemed plenty of places to stop where overnight stops would be tolerated. It appears that there's a ferry from southern Spain to the two bigger islands. It's expensive to do the long voyage out from the mainland, but then relatively inexpensive to take vehicles between the islands. Has anyone on the forum done that trip with their Cali? Any recommendations?
 
Top