View Full Version : Albania - anybody been?

03-12-09, 13:48
Based in Corfu with Albania tantalisingly close and I fancy a cruise there. I know it has been bad in the past but has anyone got experience of recent visits. What is the situation?

03-12-09, 16:31
I haven't got there myself yet altho we did visit Montenegro last year.
It's certainly OK to visit Sarande, and also Orikum marina near Vlore.
Altho Durres is still not yacht friendly I understand.
I wait to be corrected by someone who's been!

03-12-09, 16:45
One way to see Albania from Corfu is to take a day trip from either Corfu Town or Kassiopi. You get a trip to the site at Butrint which is an amazing place - you can see the lagoon and fort sitting in Nikolas Taverna in Agni Bay, but that does not give you any sense of the scale of the settlement going back through Venetian to Byzantine, to Roman and of course ancient Greek. Sarande is the port - mixture of modernish water front, decaying communist era square boxes and rampant development along the short bit of road out of town!

There is little else on the coast to see as you go north of Sarande although I understand from reading other odd accounts there are some pleasant anchorages and one of the ports has a bus service to Tirana should you be tempted.

03-12-09, 17:32
We have Dutch friends who took their catamaran there last year and loved the place. Very basic, simple and very very cheap. Most of all very friendly. They loved travelling around by the old and slow trains for pennies.
Made me want to get back across to that part of the Med.... just keep it to yourself otherwise it will become another charter boat fillled nightmare.

03-12-09, 18:04
The day trip from Corfu town Tranona suggests might be an interesting taster to suss out a possible cruise. I know Sir Rod doesn't cover it - anybody come across a pilot of any kind?

03-12-09, 18:20
The day trip from Corfu town Tranona suggests might be an interesting taster to suss out a possible cruise. I know Sir Rod doesn't cover it - anybody come across a pilot of any kind?

There is one that includes Albania as we've got it on the boat but if I recall it seemed to lack current info. Know this is not much help as our boat is a few miles away so I can t teel you author but it might spur you into googling for it. Ours covered Albania as well as Montenego and Croatia. Good luck

03-12-09, 18:24
when you say old fashioned - do you mean out of date? I was looking for some up to date info. do you know the publisher or author by any chance?

Roaring Girl
03-12-09, 18:30
A quick google on 'sailing Albania' came up with a 2008 good report on noonsite, with valuable info. There's also a slightly older report (2005) at http://home.online.no/~pernoll/R7_Albania.html, both of which look quite positive.

04-12-09, 02:00
roaring girl - thanks for the link -read that with interest and only served to fuel my interest further! I see the authors went back in 2007 and already could see the light of the future dawning - now maybe the time to go, before everybody else.

04-12-09, 22:43
I had a dig around in our inbox and found this info sent to us by our Dutch friends.

'Don't be put off by all kinds of horror stories! They simply aren't true. Security in Albanian ports/marina is excellent. People are very friendly, helpful and hospitable. They are also very poor -- so we politely declined (sometimes using a little white lie) invitations to dinner, car rides etc. as we didn't want them to spend a month's wages to entertain us.
In Dürres we met a German couple who kept their boat in Montenegro -- they'd visited Albania the last four years on their way to and from Greece and had never encountered any problems. Few tourists visit Albania, so your visit is really appreciated.

We visited two Albanian ports, Dürres and Vlore, and the one and only marina (near Vlore). Dürres was our port of entry. In Dürres as well as in Vlore call Port Control and they will direct you to a berth alongside one of the quays. Both are commercial ports, so not geared to yachts, but we didn't have any problems apart from a few black smudges on the hull as they use tractor tyres to fend boats off.
Port Control will send an agent to your boat. He will do all the paperwork and get you an Albanian courtesy flag (not obtainable anywhere else). Our agent in Dürres was George, he spoke good English (most officials do) and we paid him 45 Euros. This included a week in Dürres port, where we waited for the right wind. You have to show your papers to the authorities at your next ports of call.
When in Dürres do take the train to Tirana, the capital. This will set you back only 0.80 Euro (return) and it's an experience you won't forget. Tirana is well worth visiting if you want to get an impression of what Albania is like.
In Vlore the quay we were directed to was a bit dilapidated (lots of things are in Albania), but friendly fishermen helped us moor. In such cases a few cans of beer are very much appreciated. In Vlore you will be given a leaflet that has all the information you need to get to the marina. You have to call at Vlore first to report to the authorities anyway.
The marina is run by an Italian company. The first three nights are free. Shops in a nearby village, a fifteen-minute walk.
Opposite Corfu is Sarande. This is not really a port, just a quay, totally unprotected. Safe in fair weather only!
Buy an English-Albanian dictionary. It will cost you only a few Euros and we found it very helpful when shopping. Simply look up what you want to buy and show it to them. Supermarkets are few and far between. Markets and the small shops are better value for money too. Fruit and vegetables are awfully cheap. Getting Albanian Leke is no problem, there are lots of ATMs.
Lonely Planet's Western Balkans has a good section on Albania.
We used British Admiralty and Italian charts -- they are not very detailed but we managed.
A few weeks before we visited Albania a new pilot called 777 Albania was published, written by the same author as 777 Croatia, which is excellent. Unfortunately 777 Albania is available in Italian only, but as most of the drawings speak for themselves you might find it very useful. We didn't manage to get hold of a copy, otherwise we would certainly have bought it.'

Makes me want to go there but might not be everyones cup of tea. As I say keep it to yourself....

05-12-09, 11:42
thanks Vonasi that's brilliant information. it certainly sounds perfectly do-able.