Welcome to Albania
In the heart of the Mediterranean, on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania is fast becoming one of the world’s most interesting getaways. Still relatively unspoiled by globalization, tourists will notice an inspiring mixture of civilizations and cultures – making this European country truly unique. Come – discover Albania for yourself!
Nestled in between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, and across the Adriatic from Italy, Albania boasts blue and turquoise seas, beautiful beaches, snow peaked mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. As well as stunning nature, Albanians themselves are famous for their hospitality, and tourists are welcomed with heart-warming generosity. Albanian history and culture is fascinating. Butrint, one of the world’s archeological wonders – and a UNESCO World Heritage site – in the south of Albania provides a glimpse of Mediterranean civilization from the Bronze Age through the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods – all atop a cliff overlooking Corfu. It’s not to be missed!Home of both Mother Theresa and the great 15th Century hero Skanderbeg, Albania today offers not only beach and mountain holidays, but also a vibrant city life, a relaxing outdoor cafe culture and you will see that it’s quickly evolving in a myriad of directions.
Albanian Hospitality and Culture
Albania is an incredibly hospitable culture and has its own particular traditions of courtesy. They are very closely related to the notion of hospitality, a notion similar to that of the sacred guest from Homer and classical literature. Many Albanian traditions of hospitality come from The Kanun, or “The Code”, a 15th-century text written by the powerful Dukagjin clan, although many of the laws written in the code date from earlier times. As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table. The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.
It is an Albanian tradition to shake hands when meeting one another, and in many cases, they kiss each other on the cheeks, generally four times. One of the most common gesticulation confusions arises from the fact that Albanians nod their heads up and down to mean “no”, and shake their heads left to right to indicate “yes”. Another specific Albanian gesture that may be confusing to foreigners is when the palm is placed in the chest, it expresses thanks. Also note that it is unacceptable to exhibit yourself topless in the seaside, or worse, naked; of course, there are many isolated places where you can do this in private.
Albanians are friendly and very open towards foreigners that visit their country. If you are lucky enough to be invited to visit an Albanian’s home, you will be treated as royalty. As written in The Kanun, the guest will be shown the highest respect by being offered a seat at the head of the table.
The guest is then regaled with the best the family has to offer, usually taking the form of homemade raki, traditional liquor.