PIGS are passé; it’s time for Albania mania!


Maybe travelling to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain has become a bit samey or perhaps the Euro has taken its toll on our ever stretched pockets? Maybe the British have become more intrepid as travellers and desire to expand their horizons away from ‘The English Pub’ on the Costas and fighting for a square inch of beach?
Whatever the reason there is no doubting that the Balkans are becoming a hot holiday destination within Europe with Albania causing quite a stir with very good reason.
Hailed as “one of this year’s most intriguing prospects” by the Financial Times and listed as the top European destination for 2011 by the auspicious Lonely Planet Guide, Albania, the land in which Norman Wisdom is revered, is receiving ever more interest. 
The portal ‘Homes Go Fast’ recently released figures that show enquiries for property in Albania are up 45% year-on-year, particularly astonishing when compared against other more established second home markets which at best have remained static or at worst seen decreases.
So just what is it that Albania is offering to make it so popular this summer?
ü      The weather – July and August have average temperatures of 30˚C and rainfall during those months is usually less than 50mm.
ü      The sea is the Adriatic or Ionian depending on how far south you might find yourself. Both of these offer clear waters easily reaching a very warm 27˚C in the summer
ü      The price – being not yet a Euro member and still an emerging country has proved advantageous with the cost of dining out significantly less in Albania. The Thomas Cook travel guide suggests a good meal in a restaurant will cost around £7.
But what about the family? Here are some highlights that should keep everyone happy.
The beautiful safe beaches with warm seas are sure to keep young children amused. For a guaranteed sandy beach then head for the north of Albania to Lalzit Bay for example. Here the opportunity to build endless sandcastles and paddle in the warm waters of the Adriatic will mean a perfect holiday for tired parents as well as the kids.
Older children will absolutely love the Aquadrom in Tirana. With four varied pools and plenty of adventure slides this will be a big hit with the family.  Alternatively for fun on dry land head towards one of Albania’s fabulous castles. Steeped in history and dating back as far as the 3rd century BC, these medieval gems will surely have children romping around the ramparts.
Almost every town in Albania has traditional fairground rides and the evening is the time to head for the centre of town. Traditionally in the evening Albanians will take a gentle stroll with their families along the Xhiro (promenade) and enjoy the balmy evening while the children get spoiled with ice cream and a ride on the carousel.
Teenagers can be notoriously hard to please but hopefully not in Albania. The larger beaches offer all you could want in the way of modern watersports. Snorkelling is good in the south around the rocky headlands with lots of opportunity for diving off rocks into the clear blue waters or just generally messing around in rock pools.
A four-wheel drive tour up country will have the whole family experiencing a terrific adrenalin rush or why not spend a day mountain biking and seeing the country from the saddle. If you are feeling hugely adventurous then white water rafting is also available in the spring / early summer.
The nightlife in Albania, it can be fair to say, hasn’t yet reached Western standards but the demand from the youth of Albania is ensuring rapid development. In the capital Tirana itself there are many night clubs and bars (karaoke bars are proving very popular!) and there are a growing number of sophisticated wine bars that are frequented by elite Albanians and overseas visitors.
If however you are holidaying along the coast then the night life will be more relaxed. Restaurants and bars provide excellent entertainment, often with local music and traditional dance to enjoy. But for young people the place to go is the beach. The port town of Durres is particularly renowned for beach parties which can go on to the early hours of the morning. 
Property expert, Ravin Maharajah comments on why they selected Albania as the destination for their new 5* development in Lalzit Bay:
“We firmly believe that Albania is going to explode as a tourist destination in the next 5 years. Due to join the EU in 2014, this country shows every positive sign of going the way other Southern European countries such as Croatia and Montenegro have over the past 10 years.
“Albania benefits greatly by sitting outside the Euro and this means that the cost to our investors is hugely reduced.  Buying an apartment or villa at Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa is farcheaper than buying the same property in Greece or Croatia. We have priced the development very realistically and it demonstrates to international buyers the huge opportunity that Albania poses – apartments starting from €29,000 is amazing value in this quality of resort.
“Currently there is every indication that our development will go through the major transition that the neighbouring countries have done and these properties will be worth a great deal more in the next 5 to 10 years – we are confident that investors should be able to make a very strong profit before the project is even finished.”
For more information on visiting and investing in Lalzit Bay please go to www.lalzitbay.com or call 0845 125 8600 today.