Despite bordering some of Europe's most popular tourist spots, like Greece and Montenegro, Albania remains blissfully hidden from the spotlight. Adventurers looking for some ecotourism, or conversely ecotourists looking for some adventure, will be spoiled for choice in this Adriatic nation.
The best place to start is with Outdoor Albania, a tour operator based in Tirana, the country's capital, and specialising in sustainable travel, ecotourism, and showing visitors the best of what Albania has to offer.
Outdoor Albania provides tours and experiences related to Albania's rich heritage, its diverse culture, and adventures in its untamed wilderness. Adventurers can opt for tours of all lengths and styles, including white-water and sea kayaking, rafting in the Osumi canyon, mountain biking, and hitting the Albanian summits. If you need more convincing, Outdoor Albania's photo album should do the trick.
Outdoor Albania provides one of the best opportunities for ecotourism in Albania, considering their commitment to sustainability and their wide variety of outdoor adventures. This is definitely who you want to consult for guided tours in this hidden corner of Europe.
Go For a Wander
Tirana's mayor, Edi Rama, is an artist at heart. He's also responsible for the greening of Tirana, including the planting of thousands of trees and the rejuvenation of many downtown buildings through brightly painted facelifts. By simply wandering through the streets of Tirana, you can experience a totally different style of ecotourism, by exploring the latest eco-friendly initiatives by this progressive mayor, dedicated to bringing his capital to the forefront of European culture.
If you're a fan of cycling, Albania is slowly becoming your type of place. Apparently, following the fall of communism, Tirana and many other parts of Albania became obsessed with cars. Now, with a recent motion to improve cyclists' ability to exist in urban settings, cycling in Albania is becoming increasingly more user-friendly. Getting out of Tirana and into some cycling havens is easy, if you know where to look.
Albania's Caves of Pellumbas, just outside Tirana, are also known as The Black Caves. Certain elements of the caves' infrastructure was recently redeveloped by the Outdoor Association of Albania, who improved the paths leading to the Caves of Pellumbas, as well as accessibility within the caves.
The Caves of Pellumbas are one of the most valued archaeological sites in Albania, and perfect for visitors who are looking for some exploration and some adventure. The caves are filled with stalagmites and stalactites, as well as remnants of human culture and remains. In order to get to the caves, visitors can take a one-hour hike from the village of Pellumbas, a hike that is full of beautiful views and a stunning mountain experience. This day trip is something totally unique, and definitely well worth the effort.
The Outdoor Association of Albania is responsible for a lot of the country's sustainable tourism and ecotourism development initiatives, including a project at the Caves of Pellumbas. They're based in Tirana and are focused on the development of responsible tourism in Albania, something the country is able to prioritise due to the relative youth of its tourism industry, as well as the dedication and contribution of key players such as the OAA.
The projects undertaken by the OAA include promoting bicycle tourism in the northern part of Albania and the development of the Caves of Pellumbas, so by checking out what kinds of initiatives the OAA are involved in, visitors can be better informed as to what opportunities they may want to experience. The projects also offer ecotourists advice on the best way in which to experience Albania, and how to engage in adventure tourism in Albania in a responsible manner.
Just Go There
Albania is a wonderful country in which to engage in ecotourism; its modest beauty and relatively unexplored nature offers a intriguing and unique setting for those adventure ecotourists seeking something few people have experienced. The country's commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism development is a quality that remains attractive to ecotourists, and it is an ideal country for those wishing to get local, go green, and really do ecotourism. So what are you waiting for?
Photo Credit: Outdoor Albania