Our journey began when we moved to Kosovo as a family back in February 2012, my husband was already working in the country and was also posted here during his time in the British Army, so following an initial visit with my daughter in September 2011, my husbands knowledge of the country and the prospect of us all being together again we made the decision to move.
It was enough for me to give up my career in travel; which I loved, sell our house, leave family and friends and move to a country and area I knew little about.
I have to say it was a move I do not regret, although originally our plan was to emigrate to Australia for a better life we found it in a place we least expected to ever live, being closer to home, friends and family also made it easier.
The move gave us quality time together and wonderful opportunities to travel and explore this amazing Balkan Region.
Time spent in Kosovo as well as weekends and holidays in North Macedonia, Greece & Croatia, all very accessible by car from where we live; something my husband has loved as he hates flying, so a driving holiday is preferable for him.
We have also been very fortunate to meet some lovely people, hopefully now life long friends from Kosovo, Albania & Croatia, it was some of these friends that first introduced us to Albania – A country closed off from the world during the Communist era, one I knew little about or ever expected to go to on holiday.
Our first trip to Albania was in September 2013, we stayed for 1 night in Tirana then headed South just past Durres, near Kavaje to a place called Plazhi i Gjeneralit (General’s Beach) our good friends Jeremy & Altina recommended a stay here, they were frequent visitors when they wanted to escape for a few days by the sea, being the nearest coast to Kosovo and the tips we have had from Altina we decided to give it a try.
To be perfectly honest that first trip was not without problems, we found the roads and traffic chaotic, especially in Tirana, we got lost numerous times, even with written instructions from our friends to Plazhi i Gjeneralit.
‘At that time the infrastructure was still a working progress and there were limited signs to follow’
However once we arrived to find a deserted beach, small wooden villas dotted around the gardens of a secluded bay and the restaurant serving delicious fresh seafood, we could see the attraction.
Yes the villas were basic and very rustic, wifi was non existent and the hot water was temperamental, however for 30 euro per night we were not complaining because the weather was perfect, we were by the sea and we enjoyed long days on the beach, my daughter loved exploring the rock pools, burying us in the sand and we all enjoyed the beautiful sunsets at the end of the day.
‘It reminded me of caravan holidays spent in Cornwall, with family as a child’
Evenings were spent at the restaurant, where the food and hospitality were great. We struggled slightly with the language but managed with the very little Albanian we new – we took Altina’s advice to pre order the village bird (roast chicken dish, cooked in rice and vegetables) for dinner one night, which was delicious, also to try the homemade pizzas & salads, both amazing. Seafood was also delicious, fresh from the catch of the day.
They also have a great wine selection and rakia (fruit brandy popular in the Balkans) a drink myself and my husband now have a taste for – the best we have tried is raspberry rakia, which apparently is hard to find, if anyone knows someone producing or supplying raspberry rakia I would love to hear from you.
The restaurant also serves a light breakfast, eggs cooked to your preference, bread, cheese, jam, tea & juice included in the room rate. This is a typical breakfast in Albania and one I really enjoy.
This family run beach resort is a real find, we have since returned twice, most recently in August this year, where we met up with Jeremy & Altina. We hadn’t seen each other for 4 years so it was so nice to meet up here again in Albania, time spent relaxing on the beach and catching up with old friends.
It was also great to see how much the resort had improved in the years since we were last there, from the new scandi type villas (highly recommended) to the new sun loungers/parasols and beach bar, this place is now on the tourist map, much easier to find with better signs and road improvements made, also wifi in the new villas.
This confirmed to me how much tourism has grown since our first visit and continues to do so. Read more
It’s where our love affair with Albania began and why I am now on a mission to show you what this beautiful country has to offer.
Thanks for reading my first blog, please like and share to spread the word.
Albania should be top of your holiday list for 2020Simply Albania
If you would like more information on Plazhi i Gjeneralit please feel free to contact me.
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