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Albania (Bradt Travel Guides) Paperback – 19 Mar 2012

29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides; 4 edition (19 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841623873
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841623870
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Gillian Gloyer first tried to visit Albania in the early 1980's, when it was one of the most closed countries in the world. Needless to say, this attempt was a resounding failure, although she did manage to see some of its fantastic beaches from the deck of a Greek ferry. Nearly twenty years would pass before she finally made it to Albania and felt the sand of those beaches between her toes.

Gillian lived in Albania for four years, directing a programme of training for young political party activists. She travelled all over the country and discovered that there was a lot more to Albania than beaches. She wrote Bradt's 'Albania' after she finished working there, to encourage more people to visit this fascinating country. She is a hill-walker and a former archaeologist, both interests which give her plenty of scope in mountainous, ancient Albania. She is also quite keen on nice food and wine, which Albania is also rather good at. When Gillian is not in Albania or writing about it, she continues to work on democracy-related projects, such as training election officers or observers, or running voter education programmes.

Product Description

Review

"The best all round guide yet to this fascinating country." The Sunday Times "An indispensable companion for all visitors." Mail on Sunday "[A] lucid and readable guide book... invaluable." The Observer

About the Author

Author Gillian Gloyer has lived and worked in Albania. Now based in the UK, she visits the country frequently.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By cemery on 21 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not only the best guide to fascinating Albania, but is one of the best guide books I've used, ever! The March 2012 edition is extremely well researched, up to date, clearly written and well presented. It draws on what is obviously the author's in-depth experience of the country, presented with the traveler in mind.

I found it to be extremely useful to plan travel in advance. The guide gives very helpful information to work out what you what areas will be of most interest, and plot out what might be possible. You also gain in advance a sense of the history and great strengths of this incredibly interesting country and its people, as well as the challenges it faces; an understanding that deepens while travelling with access to the ideas, tips and location specific information in this guide. The information equips you to explore more from a great starting place.

I was traveling alone in Albania, and found the guide to be incredibly helpful both in a practical sense, and also in enriching the travel experience. Information about accommodation and cafes is detailed and clear, with options for different budgets, tastes and expectations spelt out to assist with decision making. This is supported with useful maps of the different locations. Details about travel by bus was more than enough to get started, supported of course with the help of anyone else in town that you ask! I found the information about particular sights to be extremely invaluable and inspirational, particularly when presented as a mini self guided tour, eg Butrint, or even a concise paragraph to help unpack the beauty of an Ottoman house to appreciate more about context.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Brant on 11 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this guide for a short trip using public transport around Southern Albania. I normally buy Lonely Planet guides, but I'm not completely unfamiliar with Bradt Guides, since Bradt Guides cover several destinations where Lonely Planet don't currently go. In the case of Albania, Lonely Planet only covers the country in regional Guides such as that covering Eastern Europe, and their coverage lacks detail, which is why I chose this one.

I have found in the past that Bradt Guides tend to be very strong on making the reader want to visit a place, but less so when it comes to practicalities. I was therefore encouraged to find a good selection of accommodation listed to suit all budgets, including the nowadays often neglected cheapskates like me! Also encouraging was the presence of detailed information regarding bus times. Unfortunately in practice, much of the latter information turned out to be inaccurate or out-of-date, so I would warn prospective buyers of this guide against placing too much reliance on this. A good rule of thumb is that if you want to get somewhere by bus in Albania and you haven't got accurate up-to-date times from a reliable source, get to where the buses leave from as early in the morning as possible!

The maps were not always accurate, either. For example, I was unable to find the cheap hotel in Vlora that was marked on the map where I wanted to stay. I assumed it had closed down, since change is taking place very rapidly in Albania, but after checking into somewhere else, I discovered it several blocks north of the location marked on the map.

There is certainly plenty of room for improvement, but this is currently the best reasonably up-to-date guide to Albania, and given the current pace of change in the country, being up-to-date is very important.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kim Mitchell on 3 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As first time visitors to Albania we were looking for a comprehensive guide and this ticked all the boxes. I normally default to Lonely Planet guides but they didn't have one for Albania alone (it was included in an 'other' Eastern Europe countries type book) so I was a bit dubious but this compares favourably. We found the restaurant guide for Tirana really helpful especially as there is a grid map directing you to it - we ate at some places tucked away we never would have found! A very helpful guide overall!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This travel book, rich with educational material on the tourist- shy country of Albania is a must have, if wanting to learn all about the rich and wonderful culture of the Albanians.
The book explores not only the history of Albania, but its potential as a developing country. The author discusses her journeys, her experiences, and the feelings she had whilst living in Tirane, the Capital city of Albania.
*5 out of 5 stars*
This book aims and succeeds in the portrayal of a country which holds, with its untouched lakes, mountains, history- a potential to be a successful tourist hotspot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith1 on 29 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
I really found this guide difficult , the maps are small and hard to work out , I would go with lonely planet however there's not currently for Albania. Had a great trip though it's a fab country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fiona P on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found it useful but it needs to be updated. Since there are not other guidebooks on Albania it is definitely a good idea to get it before you go but I am can't say I am totally happy with it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Laszlo Wagner on 5 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
If you want to travel around Albania and do more than just hit the few most visited highlights, this is no doubt the book to take.

It is the only English-language guide devoted to Albania alone, and it offers a good coverage of the places and things to see, fairly up to date details of transport and accomodation options, decent maps of both regions and individual towns or cities, as well as well-written background information on culture and history. All the stuff you would expect from good practical guidebooks like the better-known Lonely Planet series (whose coverage of Albania is dismal!).

It is also fairly balanced in covering both budget and upmarket places to stay, something other books often fail at.

So why only 4 stars?

Well, some of the maps would need to be more accurate - they sometimes showed places on the wrong street or corner. Also, in a few cases, practical details were missing, with the existence of accomodation being mentioned, but not the usual details on how much it cost. Same goes for transport info.

Finally, and most mystifyingly, the author has chosen to use non-standard place names ("definite", conjugated forms) even though she herself admits this form is not what you will see in Albania on maps, destination signs of buses or road-signs!

However these shortcomings are well outweighed by all the useful info in the book. If you are planning to tour this little-visited country independently, don't leave home without a copy!
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