TIRANA, March 2
There is a good deal of untapped potential for winter tourism in Albania, yet lack of investments, infrastructure and communication ties between the public and private sectors, possible exposure to climate change, and increased competition from neighboring countries significantly affect this underdeveloped sector.
Albania’s tourism industry is a major contributor to the country’s economy, but it struggles to upscale all-year-round and mitigates seasonality.
Worldwide, the best approach to overall improve tourism is done through sustainable and responsible tourism products and experiences. Modern consumers and travelers demand personalized experiences that make them feel part of the communities they visit.
Tourism seasonality causes resources overuse during the high season months and it can even damage the destination’s image (think of those articles: 10 crowded tourist destinations to avoid).
Travelers and tourists who visit a destination carry with them an entire digital network that they feed information and memories through content uploads. When those travelers are provided personalized experiences that exceed expectations and at the same time make an impact on local communities, the traveler takes home some unique and amazing memories.
The summer season in Albania usually spans between April and October. July and August are usually the peak season with tourists flocking to the beach or to the Northern Alps. November and early spring rely on outdoor and cultural tours, while the colder months lack strategies that influence tourism demand and traveler behavior at the destination.
A handful of ski resorts, mostly located in the Korca area, opened their slopes and are ready to welcome visitors. The slopes of Bigell in Dardha are among the best for skiing in Albania. Although these resorts are not like those in other European countries, local businesses invest a lot in this type of tourism. The Biggle slops also have a single chairlift and the
Meanwhile, Shishtaveci village in Kukes is a great destination for winter sports. The village organizes an annual winter skiing contest. This edition took place on Sunday, March 1st.
However, a shift from skiing to alternate tourism activities was noticed even in countries where snow is a key player in the travel and tourism sector. The threat of climate change is the leading reason why top destinations are considering alternative activities to keep the flow of tourists coming. Snowshoeing, hiking, trekking, wildlife observation, paragliding, ice climbing, ice fishing, thermal baths, health tourism, river sailing, kayaking, cycling holidays, etc.
Read more on Hiking Holidays in Albania
Known winter destinations
Korca, Dardha, Voskopoja, Vithkuqi, Boboshtica
Llogara National Park and the Ceraunian Mountains
Lesser known but totally worth it winter destinations
Peshkopia, Zagradi, Rabdisht
Kolonja Area and Gramozi Mountain
Shebenik-Jabllanica National Park
Qafeshtama National Park
Prespa National Park
Read also: Best Winter Activities in Dibra
Do the polar bear plunge… in thermal baths
Read our Guide to Thermal Baths in Albania
Culinary Vacations and Wine Tours
Local food and wine or raki by the fireplace on a cold winter evening are hard to resist. Mirdita, Lezha, Pogradec, Korca, Berat, Permet are some of the regions where gastronomy, wine and cultural heritage mingle.
Stargazers know that winter brings the best starscapes. Cold air holds less moisture, which one of the reasons why the sky looks hazier in summer.
In December, January and February, though, the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere looks out to the edge of the galaxy, while in summer it looks at the brightest part of the Milky Way.
Winter is the time when some of the largest constellations come out. Orion, Sirius, Gemini, Monoceros, Cassiopeia, Taurus, and even Andromeda shine brighter in winter. The best place where to find astrotours is Shebenik Jabllanica National Park
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Main Photo by Ilir Shyti