Albania is one of the countries in Europe that many travelers can overlook. Because of this, it is a hidden gem that offers a lot to its visitors. Before you go, it is important to know some facts about Albania to better appreciate your adventures there.
The Riviera is stunning, the landscapes are beautiful, and the people are some of the most hospitable you will find. So, if you want to learn more about this country, you have come to the right place. Here are the top interesting Albania facts to know about.
Common Facts About Albania
Let’s begin with the most common facts about the country that everyone should know.
Albania Used To Be The Poorest Country In Europe
While it may not look like it now, Albania used to be the poorest country in the region. Communism fell in 1991, and this is when the local regime also collapsed. The country was in isolation for almost five decades, which is why it did not go through much development.
Of course, it has recovered now. Although it is still one of the developing countries in the region, the tourism industry is now booming, and the infrastructure has also gotten a lot better.
The Country Has The Least Developed Riviera In The Region
Europe is known for its incredible rivieras, but Albania has the least developed ones. However, this doesn’t mean that the beaches are not spectacular. Anyone that loves going to the beaches will love the unspoiled natural beauty that the beaches have to offer here.
70% Of The Country Is Filled With Mountains
70% of Albania is occupied by mountains, offering lots of nature. The country also shares certain mountains with other countries. As you drive around here, you will cross many mountains, valleys, passes, and much more.
The Highest Point Is Maje E Korabit
One of the top Albania facts is that the highest point in the country is Maje e Korabit. The point is also known as Golem Korab. It is also the highest peak in Macedonia and sits on the border between both countries.
Raki Is The National Drink
Yes, the national drink of Albania is Raki, but you must beware. That is because the Raki you will find in Albanian villages can be three times stronger than your average drink. So, be sure to pace yourself if you decide to indulge in it. It is certainly addictive with delicious flavors, particularly homemade ones.
Fun Facts About Albania That Will Make Your Trip Worthwhile
Are you planning a trip to Albania? If you are, here are some fun facts about Albania that will make your trip more interesting.
You Will Not Find Any McDonald’s In The Albanian Capital
Albania was isolated for almost five decades, which is why McDonald’s didn’t open up in the country. It is one of the few countries in Europe that doesn’t have this fast food chain. However, you will find Domino’s and KFC when here.
The Country Has More Than 700,000 Bunkers
Enver Hoxha, the former dictator of the country, built the bunkers to defend against any invasions against the country. These bunkers were created to withstand any chemical or atomic attacks. Most of them are underground and have never been used.
A Great Souvenir From Albania Is Opinga
One of the top fun facts about Albania is the most common souvenir you need to know about. It is a pair of opinga, which is a classic Albanian shoe. It is worn by both genders, so be sure to take it home with you.
Albania Hosts 30% Of The Plant Collection In Europe
The most important thing to any Albanian is nature, which is why the country is home to more than 3,000 plant species. To put these statistics in perspective, it comes to 30% of the entire plant collection in Europe.
The Skadar Lake Is The Largest body of Water In Albania
Visiting Albania will be incomplete without visiting Skadar Lake at least once. It is the largest water body in the region, and you will find a lot to do here. You can do everything from hiking various trails to partaking in different outdoor adventures here.
Interesting Albania Facts You Probably Didn’t Know Before
Here are some of the top interesting facts of Albania that most people don’t know about.
Albania Was The First Country To Claim Atheism
In 1967, Enver Hoxha declared Albania an atheist state. Because of this, it was the first country in the world to lay its claim to atheism. This was part of taking the country to another level of communism by abolishing all religions.
Today, Albania Is One of The Few Muslim Countries In Europe
Even before Albania was turned to atheism by the dictator, it was a Muslim country. Even now, it is one of the few Muslim countries in all of Europe. Around 80% of the population in Albania is Muslim as of 2010.
Lazarat, An Albanian Village, Is The Cannabis Capital Here
One of the most interesting Albania facts is that one of the cities is the capital of cannabis. Lazarat is where you will find the biggest amount of cannabis being produced to export to the rest of Europe. Anyone that loves cannabis should check out this village during their trip.
The Most Abundant Car In Albania Is A Mercedes
If there is one car that is abundant in Albania, it is a Mercedes. No one knows why this is the case, but that is how it is now. Communism isolated the country, and because of this, many people did not know how to drive or even have cars.
The Word “Besa” Will Ensure Your Safety In The Country
Anyone that wants to stay safe in the country can use the word Besa. It works like an honor code, and all Albanians respect this code. When you require help, you can use this word, and people will come to help you in no time.
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Funny Facts About Albania That Will Bring A Smile To Your Face
While the country has been through a lot, there are still some funny facts about Albania that will lighten your mood. Here are the top ones to know about.
People Love To Eat Frog Legs In The Southern Part Of Albania
When you venture towards the south of Albania, you will find that frog legs are a delicacy. For example, you will find this delicacy commonly on the menus of Gjirokaster. Even in the wild, many Albanians don’t hesitate to eat frogs.
Even if you are not keen on frog legs, Albanian food is an absolute treat so be sure to indulge in some local dishes when visiting.
More Albanians Live Outside Than In The Country
One of the top Albania facts is that almost half the Albanian population lives outside the country. After the regime fell in 1991, many locals left the place to look for a better life and opportunities. The influx of money from these migrants has helped the country a lot in its development.
The People Consider It Good Luck If A Baby Pees On You
Yes, if a baby pees on you, the Albanians think it will bring you good luck. On the other hand, the locals also consider it good luck if a bird poops on any part of the body. So, if you are in Albania, and a baby pees on you or a bird poops on you, then consider yourself incredibly lucky.
The Locals Have An Official Evening Walk, Known As, Xhiro
In the evenings, you will see many locals going for a walk, which is also known as Xhiro. This is the official walk that the locals take after dinner to burn their calories, talk to neighbors, and enjoy the peace.
It is a cultural element, and in many classic towns, even the roads are closed during this time. The locals open up the roads again once they are done with their official evening stroll.
You Will Find Many Scarecrows
One of the top interesting facts about Albania is that you will see many scarecrows as you travel the country.
That is because the locals believe that if a scarecrow is there on a property while it is building, it will keep the evil eye away. So, the scarecrow is nothing scary or sinister for the people.
Instead, it works like a good luck charm. Because of this, you will find scarecrows on many new properties that are being built in the country.
Discovering More Fun Facts On Albania
These are all the top facts about Albania that you need to know about if you plan on going to the country. Anyone that wants to enjoy Europe but doesn’t want too many crowds during the peak season can go visit Albania. You will find some of the most pristine Albanian beaches untouched by humans.
Besides that, the country has so much to offer in terms of local cuisine, landscapes, vibrant life, and much more. The people are the nicest and most hospitable. Be sure to add Albania to your bucket list and visit it at least once.