Albania - Profile
- Albania, known as Shqiperia in Albanian, is situated on the Adriatic Sea between Greece and the republic of Montenegro.
- After decades of rule by a strict Stalinist regime, which systematically discouraged any contact with the outside world, Albania has now opened its doors to foreign tourists and the number of visiting cruising yachts is steadily increasing. Whilst the welcome may be warm, visiting yachts can still be treated with some suspicion by officials.
- The main ports of entry, Durres, Vlore and Saranda are all commercial ports with few or no facilities for visiting yachts. There is a new marina at Orikum, near Vlore with some facilities, and a marina planned for Durres.
- The opening up of the country in the early 1990s has brought freedom to the people but has also affected the economy. This has caused high unemployment and has forced many people to emigrate. Greece and Italy are the main targets, which many Albanians try to enter illegally in small boats. Cruising boats sailing the Adriatic should be aware of the possible presence of small unlit boats.
- Cruising along the coast offers many possibilities although permission to do so must be obtained when clearing in. One of the main attractions inland are the remarkably well preserved Greek and Roman ruins at Butrint, which is best reached from Saranda. The capital Tirana is 24 miles inland from the port of Durres.
- It is not advisable to leave a yacht unattended or without someone appointed to keep an eye on it.
- Be aware that not all the buoyage conforms to the IALA System A as it should and anchoring in areas marked as "minefieds" (although mostly cleared), are best avoided.
The climate is Mediterranean in type, with hot summers and mild winters. The wind in summer is mostly onshore, stronger in the afternoons and dying away at night. Unpredictable thunderstorms are common in the summer.
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