Beautiful European country with barely any tourists ‘much cheaper than Greece’

The guaranteed sunshine and beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean have been a magnet for British travellers for generations.

Located only a few hours by plane from the UK, low-cost air travel often means a week in a Southern Europe resort is more affordable than a holiday in the UK.

However, as the price of breaks in traditional hotspots like Spain and Greece has continued to rise finding a cheap vacation in the Med has become more of a challenge.

Alternative destinations like Croatia, which provided the stunning backdrop for TV series Game of Thrones, and Turkey have gained popularity but post-pandemic they too have become more expensive.

But bargain-loving holidaymakers are in luck because there is another country nestled between Italy and Greece perfectly set up for them to live it up without breaking the bank: Albania.

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Flights to the former Communist country start from as little as £20 with the trip from the UK taking just over two hours.

Once there the cost of living and accommodation compares favourably to the rest of the continent.

On a visit to the stunning Riviera in the south of the country, met two backpackers from New Zealand only too happy to sing Albania’s praises.

“We were planning to go Croatia,” said Laura Hewson, 23. “But one of our friends who’d been to Albania told us [we should go there]. They said it’s like Greece or Croatia but cheaper and a lot more beautiful because there are not as many tourists.

“We’re actually staying at a four-star hotel with breakfast included for the same price that we were staying in hostels with eight [strangers] in a room in Italy and Spain.”

Her companion Farrell Modd, 22, said the pair had also been attracted to Albania after seeing its incredible scenery on a number of TikTok travelling accounts.

Farrell felt the reality had managed to match the epic videos online and was impressed with how well it was set up for tourists.

“It’s beautiful,” she said with a smile, “clear blue water, lots of swimming spots.”

The Kiwi women were enjoying a spot of sunbathing in the resort town of Vlore where, despite it being the middle of November, the temperature was a balmy 19 degrees.

The palm tree-lined beachfront was almost completely abandoned so the pair practically had the place to themselves.

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Not that Vlore is lacking in amenities for a tourist seeking some fun, the street backing onto its main beach is lined with bars and restaurants with very competitive prices.

A dinner in Albania rarely costs more than £10 to £15 per person in high-end establishments, while those looking for more cost-effective options can eat freshly prepared pizzas for under £5.

Then there are the drinks, on Vlore’s main strip beers start at just £2 whilst spirits and cocktails are around £4.

Those prices hadn’t escaped the attention of Farrell and Laura, who explained they had plans to make the most of the low cost later that night.

“We love a good cocktail,” Farrell added. “So we’re planning on getting some tonight. They’re like 500LEK (£4) whereas in a lot of other places it’s been like €10 euros, I think we went to a place in Madrid where it was €15.”

Those wishing to enjoy Albania’s beautiful beaches for ultra-low prices might have to act swiftly as the country’s reputation as a tourist destination continues to grow.

Laura believes the country won’t remain Europe’s best-kept secret for long.

She said: “I think next summer [a lot of tourists will come here]. I’ve heard more people talking about Albania.”

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