Albania, tucked down in the south-east corner of Europe, is becoming more and more popular for intrepid backpackers. And why not? With great history, stunning beaches and amazing scenery, it really is a hidden gem and one of the most under-rated destinations on the continent. What’s more, there aren’t many countries in Europe as cheap as Albania, making it perfect for backpackers on a budget! So, perhaps a gap year in Albania should be added to your list of must-see places?
But what is there to do in Albania? The answer: more than you might think! The Mediterranean beaches, unspoilt and uncrowded, often put the beaches of Greece and Italy to shame; the historical sites, especially those harking back to Communist rule, are numerous; and the city of Tirana is vibrant, with some great nightlife. You might want to take a guide book though, as many of the best places to visit are not entirely known by those from outside the country!
There’s one other really important thing to remember about Albania. The common perception of the country being an unsafe place, rife with crime, isn’t accurate at all. The people are friendly and crime is no more of a problem than anywhere else. Attitudes towards Westerners are also good. So, don’t let misguided thoughts about this amazing country stop you from visiting!
Working in Albania
You won’t be able to find any of the common gap year jobs while on a gap year in Albania, and most people wouldn’t even bother trying. You might be able to find work with charities though – there are still many disadvantaged people in the country needing help – as well as roles teaching English in schools. Don’t worry if you can’t find a volunteering opportunity though, as Albania offers loads to keep you entertained, at a price you can afford!
Albania is situated perfectly for onwards travel. How about heading to the cradle of civilisation, Greece, which borders Albania to the south? Or you could head over the Adriatic Sea and visit Italy, one of the favourite countries for those backpacking around Euro. For something a bit different though, there’s also the chance to head north into countries such as Montenegro or Croatia – both of which are becoming more and more popular on the tourist trail.