Just recently, my family and I have returned from our trip to Voskopoja in Albania. The place is also known more popularly as Moscopole. This decision to visit Voskopoja came from the many recommendations I’ve been seeing online. There have been many travel sites as well as blogs that have come to recommend the place for a visit.
I guess the want to visit this country came from a desire to see the ancient European sites, ones which reminded me of Rome and Greece. And Albania shares much in common with the ancient Greek and Roman cultures. There was also the great knowledge I got that Albania was still relatively undeveloped so it meant that there weren’t too many tourist traps to get caught in.
Albania was a great place to visit for the family. There were certainly a lot of places you can go to and a lot of sites to see. It’s a great country because one day we’re enjoying the beaches and the next we’re going up to Voskopoja to enjoy skiing in the mountains! So really, there’s something for everyone. Plus the feeling that it is still unspoiled really makes up for it not being fully developed as a tourist destination as of yet.
Going to Voskopoja
One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to Voskopoja. I learned that this small village was once an important place for trade and knowledge. But the different wars that ravaged the land had taken its toll as well on this place so many of its important buildings were torn down due to conflict.
The village however survives up to this day, and it made for a great trip for the family and me. Voskopoja is more than a thousand meters high, which lends to its cool climate. The climate as I had learned was ideal for winter sports such as skiing, which we were also able to enjoy.
Visit historical Sites
There are plenty of historical and medieval buildings to see in Voskopoja. The village itself is a historical wonder with plenty of history behind it. I had learned that it had gone through a lot of wars starting from the medieval times up to the 1st world war.
But the village still contained several old Orthodox Churches, monasteries and different small buildings. We saw the relics which contained beautiful murals done in the classic Orthodox style of painting.
It was great to let the kids see this as I knew it would build their character to learn about history in this way. They could actually see for themselves what they had been studying in their books. So the trip here alone was worth it.
I had noted thought hat there were several buildings which were already in ruins, which was pretty sad. I wish they could maybe do something to conserve this so other people can have a chance to see it for themselves. But I’m glad that we able to see it even in its current state.
Going further up the mountain, the climate significantly becomes cooler and on top of the mountain is snow. This mans one thing. Skiing. And of course some other winter activities and fun. But mostly it’s about skiing for me. There are some hotels here which can offer you good lodging while you enjoy the snow and ski. It hasn’t been fully developed yet to provide the amenities that large ski resorts have, but it does give you an unspoiled place to enjoy skiing.
I went here together with my family in winter so as to get the best possible chance to ski. We did enjoy a few days of skiing and the snow which was also great for the kids. It did mean packing a bit of extra clothing, but all in all we did not mind.
Enjoying with the Family
I really felt that Albania is a beautiful country which is blessed with so much natural beauty in its mountains, valleys and beaches. The whole country can be appreciated by those that love the outdoors, and even those that love appreciating the outdoors from their hotel windows.
While Voskopoja was one of the highlights of our trip to Albania, we were still able to enjoy a bit more of the other things that Albania had to offer. Together with my family, we went down to the coastal area or what is called the Albanian Riviera. It is a popular tourist destination but still remains largely unspoiled. The kids sure enjoyed going to the beach after all that skiing in the cold, winter climates.
I had also taken a look at the tourist office for other activities that they recommend. For those looking for more outdoor stuff to do, Albania had plenty of offerings as well. I learned about the national parks in the country as well as the hiking, kayaking and other outdoor tours we could do. I made a mental note of these places so we could plan it well for our next trip to Albania. But we’ll be sure to stop by Voskopoja still to enjoy a bit of skiing if possible. (I just hope the wife goes along with my plans still!)
Things to Remember
Albania is still relatively new to tourism. This has its pros and cons, but you may not find Albania to be as super modern or very comfortable as other European destinations. For this trade-off however, Albania contains many natural wonders which can’t be seen anywhere else.
Getting around can be a bit tricky as I’ve found the road conditions were rather poor. But making arrangements with the hotel regarding travel should make life a bit easier for you. There are also buses and trains which you can take, but mostly there are cars available for you to go around in.
The food is also quite good, but of course can take a bit of getting used to if you have a picky palate. There were quite some challenges in getting the kids to eat sometimes, but you can find something familiar on the menu to feed them. The local desserts are also quite tasty so you should have no problem in satisfying a sweet tooth or two.
You should still use bottled water just in case, but I’ve been told that the tap water is safe to drink. Still, I wanted to be extra careful since we did have kids with us. There are also plenty of alcoholic beverages for adults to enjoy, so no worries there!
All in all I’ve found Albania a lovely place to visit. It does still need a lot more improvement in its infrastructure and developments but the beauty the country contains is well worth the extra effort to get there. In fact, you’d do well to get to visit the place now as it just on the rise. You’ll find that you’ll have more to it for yourself before it becomes a full fledged tourist hotspot.
Just try to keep certain expectations at a minimum and plan well ahead of time. This way you’ll get to enjoy the vacation even if there may be a bit of hassle along the way!