Information about Albania
Located in South-eastern Europe, Albania is fast becoming one of the world’s most interesting getaways. The country borders Montenegro to the North, Kosovo to the Northeast, Macedonia to the East and Greece to the South. As much as 70% of the total area of 28,748 square kilometres is rugged and fairly inaccessible, the remaining 30% which is mainly to the east and south of the country houses the majority of the population which totals just over 3.6 million at the last census in 2007.
To the West, Albania has a magnificent coastline extending over 362 kilometres that links the country with the Adriatic Sea from the border with Montenegro to the north down to the bay of Vlora and then with the Ionian Sea from Vlora down to the border with Greece.
The Adriatic coast is a low-lying one, with large protected bays such as those of Vlora and Durres, which have been used as harbours since ancient times. The Ionian coast is very rugged with rocky coves along the narrow coastal strip and steep mountains rising almost straight up almost much of its length. This geological activity has created many caves at the base of the cliffs and beautiful coastal resorts.
The Adriatic Sea separates Albania from Italy via the Strait of Otranto which is only 45 miles across at it closest point and the Ionian Sea separates Albania for Corfu which is only 4 miles across at its closest point. The country’s proximity to Italy and Corfu as well as its borders with Greece and Montenegro provide easy access for international tourism with visitors primarily entering the country by ferry and vehicle.
Albania has a mild, Mediterranean climate. Many visitors will find that it never gets cold in the lowlands. The Ionian coast, in particular, is very clement, with average winter temperatures of 8-10 °C. In Tirana and in other inland cities on the plains, the temperature sometimes drops below freezing, but this is usually only at night, and it is rare for ice or snow to last more than a day.
The country enjoys a good deal of sunny weather, with an average of around 300 sunny days each year. Most of Albania’s annual rainfall occurs between late autumn and early spring; outside of the mountainous areas, it is unusual for it to rain in summer.
Albania, which is officially called The Republic of Albania, is a parliamentary democracy established under a constitution renewed in 1998. Elections are now held every four years to what is known as the People’s Assembly. In April 2008, Albania received its official invitation to join NATO, full member status of which is expected in 2009.
In June 2006, Albania signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement which is an important first step on the road into entry into the Eurpean Union. The country receives EU funding and assistance in order for it to achieve full membership which is expected to be around 2014. Many see Albania as the last of the Balkan countries which will be permitted to join the Union.
After the end of communist rule Tirana experienced its fastest population growth as people from rural areas moved to the capital in finding a better life. In 1990, Tirana had 300,000 inhabitants, but the large-scale influx since then from other parts of the country has increased the population to well over 800,000. Construction of property has struggled to keep pace with this change but is now also experiencing the desire for local and international inhabitants to live in a better standard of accommodation.
The expansion of Tirana has meant that whole new areas to the west and the south of the centre are under development with the building of high quality but low cost property. Ownership of property by international investors is primarily to experience strong capital growth and regular long term rental income.
TiranaInternationalAirport underwent heavy modernisation between 2005 and 2007 under the terms of a 20 year private concession. The concession included the construction of a completely new passenger terminal and various infrastructure improvements, including construction of a new access road. The new facilities were inaugurated in March 2007 and significantly improved the services offered to air travellers.
Albania’s other property hotspots are all coastal and are mainly in the municipalities of Durres, Vlora and Saranda.
Just 33 kilometres away from Tirana, Durres is the resort which most people in Tirana visit either at the weekends or for the short breaks. Am estimated 600,000 tourists visit Durres annually which has led to it becoming the most concentrated area for the construction of holiday properties on the coast. The geography to the north of the resort has naturally limited construction however to the wide sandy beaches that link Durres with Kavaje to the south have allowed mass construction of apartments, shops, bars and restaurants.
Further south the bay and city of Vlora lend themselves to an excellent investment proposition. The beautiful beaches, vibrant city and bustling ferry port are all good reasons that tourists visit and stay in the city, which is one of the oldest in Albania. With the completion of the new highway that links Tirana and Durres to Vlora, the journey time from the capital is approximately 2 hours.
Just south of Vlora is the Sazan Bay which is overlooked by the town of Orikum. This tourist hotspot is a tourist destination of the future with a beautiful natural bay, panoramic views of Sazan Island and a mountainous backdrop. The mountains together with strict planning regulations will ensure against over development in Orikum which will be further enhanced by improvements in the infrastucture which are to include a pedestrian promenade and enlarged beach
Saranda is the jewel in the crown of Albania. The beautiful bay, clean beach and crystal clear blue water are the obvious attraction to a town which is surrounded by high ground creating a natural boundary. With its ferry link to Corfu offering the quickest (20minutes) access to Saranda the area is already an extremely deisrable location with most properties having the all important sea view.