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Lonely Planet/Sazan Island an important destination to visit in 2016

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Baku, February 16, AZERTAC/ATA

Lonely Planet traveller magazine describes Sazan Island as one of the most important destinations to visit in 2016. Foreign visitors have always been attracted by the nature and love to explore the culture and history of Albania.

Sazan is a small island in Vlorë County in Albania. It is strategically located between the Strait of Otranto and the entrance to the Bay of Vlorë and has an area of 5.7 km2 (2.2 sq mi) with no civil population.

In addition to being the largest island in Albania, it is a military facility and sometimes in clear weather it may be seen by eye from the coast of Salento, Italy. More than half of the island’s surrounding marine area form part of the Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park. In 2014, the Regina Blu ferry was established by a Radhime-based hotel owner making trips to Karaburun Peninsula and Sazan Island while stopping along the secluded beaches. The island was open to the public in July 2015.

There have been numerous tourists visiting historical cities like Kruja, Durres, Shkodra, Butrint, Berat and Gjirokastra.

According to Lonely Planet Traveller magazine Albania offers a remarkable array of unique attractions, not least due to this very isolation: ancient mountain behaviour codes, forgotten archaeological sites and villages where time seems to have stood still. With its stunning mountain scenery, a thriving capital in Tirana and beaches to rival any elsewhere in the Mediterranean, Albania has become the sleeper hit of the Balkans.

The professional writers and journalists of Lonely Planet share their experience about tourism in Albania aiming to promote best attractions thorough reviews, little-known facts and authoritative recommendations.

Durrës is the second largest city in Albania, the biggest port and the hub of the railroad system. It is one of the most ancient cities in Albania. It is one of the most ancient and economically significant cities of Albania. Durrës is at one of the narrower points of the Adriatic Sea, opposite the Italian ports of Bari and Brindisi. Durrës is home to Albania’s main port, the Port of Durrës, and to the newest public university, the Aleksandër Moisiu University.

The ancient ruins of Butrint lie 18km (11mi) south of Saranda and are a real gem if you have a fascination for the ancient world. The remains are from a variety of periods, spanning 2500 years. The poet Virgil claimed that the Trojans settled Butrint, but the site has been pored over by archaeologists and no evidence of this has been found.

Greeks settled Butrint during the 6th century BC, although the area had been settled long before by the Illyrians. Within a century of the Greeks arriving, Butrint had become a fortified trading city with its own acropolis, the ruins of which you can still visit. Just below the acropolis in the forest is the 3rd century BC theatre, also used for performances by the Romans.

Shkodra, the traditional centre of the Gheg cultural region, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The ancient Rozafa Fortress has stunning views over the nearby lake, while a concerted effort to renovate the buildings in the Old Town has made wandering through Shkodra a treat for the eyes. Many travellers pass through here between Tirana and Montenegro, or en route to the Lake Koman Ferry and the villages of Theth and Valbona, but it’s worth spending a night to soak up this pleasant and welcoming place.

Berat weaves its own very special magic, and is easily a highlight of visiting Albania. Its most striking feature is the collection of white Ottoman houses climbing up the hill to its castle, earning it the title of ‘town of a thousand windows’ and helping it join Gjirokastra on the list of Unesco World Heritage sites in 2008.

Gjirokastra‘s eerie hilltop castle is one of the biggest in the Balkans and easily the town’s best sight, most definitely worth the steep walk up from the Old Town. Inside there’s an eerie collection of armoury, two good museums, a shot down US Air Force jet and a hilariously hard to use audiotour that is included in your entry fee.

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