Albanian free camping facilities

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Sweep
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Albanian free camping facilities

Postby Sweep » 11 Feb 2019, 11:18pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-47157127

Half a million!!

Anyone encountered these?

Don't suppose anyone has a handy OSM gpx guide?

Many many not converted/abused must surely be good overnight stops?

Closest I have ever got to Albania was a late 70s sighting of it from a ferry/ship going from Greece to Italy when interrailing.
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keithg
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby keithg » 12 Feb 2019, 5:50pm

I was in Albania last year and hardly saw any of these. Expected to see them all over the place but I think they’re either overgrown, or converted.
There really didn’t seem to be any available for overnighting that I could see.
Great country though.
Campsites are few and far between in the countryside, may be different on the coast but we were mainly in the mountains.

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Sweep
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby Sweep » 12 Feb 2019, 6:58pm

keithg wrote:I was in Albania last year and hardly saw any of these. Expected to see them all over the place but I think they’re either overgrown, or converted.
There really didn’t seem to be any available for overnighting that I could see.
Great country though.
Campsites are few and far between in the countryside, may be different on the coast but we were mainly in the mountains.

Did you freecamp a fair bit keith?
Could you give us a brief bullet point note of albania's pluses?
Sure is odd that you didn't see many - perhaps the half million was just more government propoganda and albanians working the system by falsifying worksheets.
Last edited by Sweep on 12 Feb 2019, 11:56pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mercalia
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby mercalia » 12 Feb 2019, 7:11pm

hmm a bit far to go just to get some free bivvying Sweep? :wink:

There are a couple of old WW2 pill boxes on the North Beach Cliffs just outside Lowestoft aslong as you can bear the smell inside...
by thw way nothing to stop you camping there I think amonsgt the gorse

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Sweep
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby Sweep » 12 Feb 2019, 11:57pm

mercalia wrote:hmm a bit far to go just to get some free bivvying Sweep? :wink:

There are a couple of old WW2 pill boxes on the North Beach Cliffs just outside Lowestoft aslong as you can bear the smell inside...
by thw way nothing to stop you camping there I think amonsgt the gorse

cheeky sod mercalia.

For that crime I won't tell you my prime bivvying spot up the coast in caister.
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Aquila
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby Aquila » 13 Feb 2019, 12:47am

I was in Albania not long after the fall of Enver Hoxha. Marshall law, curfews lots of poorly dressed soldier's with AK's. Just as many plain clothes and uniformed police everwhere with guns also. There was literally hundreds of those dome pil boxes on the side of the road from Tirana to Berat.

I'd love to go back one day. If one thing stays with me from my time there.it would be the wonderful friendly and generous people i met, they were really looking forward to brighter more prosperous Albania which now seems to be bearing some sort of fruit. I wish them well.

gbnz
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby gbnz » 13 Feb 2019, 8:32am

mercalia wrote:hmm a bit far to go just to get some free bivvying Sweep? :wink:


On the other hand........have to admit I've noted a number of absolutely superb "free bivvying / camping" sites locally. Only issue is that being ten to twenty minutes ride from home, it's not worth my camping out :wink: (NB. I can remember as a kid having a nights camping on the local moors, along with one of the parents. And as it rained, blew a gale and |I became soaked to the skin, even as a nine year old, I thought why? (The house was only two miles away!)

keithg
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby keithg » 18 Feb 2019, 8:16pm

Sweep wrote:
keithg wrote:I was in Albania last year and hardly saw any of these. Expected to see them all over the place but I think they’re either overgrown, or converted.
There really didn’t seem to be any available for overnighting that I could see.
Great country though.
Campsites are few and far between in the countryside, may be different on the coast but we were mainly in the mountains.

So did you freecamp a fair bit keith?
Could you give us a brief bullet point note of albania's pluses?.


Away from the cities where cyclists in kit stick out like an uncomfortable sore thumb, the people in the countryside are delightful, friendly and hospitable. Often we didn’t have to pay for our coffees (which were never to my taste anyway) in the informal roadside “cafes”. Its very cheap to drink and feed in Albania.
Roads are quiet and traffic is well behaved. Road surfaces leave a little (actually quite a lot) to be desired.
The mountain areas are very scenic. I gather the coast has been developed for Euro-tourism and spoilt in some areas but these we avoided for that reason so I cannot, in fairness, comment reliably.
The farms and fields we saw are quaint and very rustic, like Britain 50 years ago but it does have signs of poverty and hardship which as a prosperous Western cyclotourist made me think. Food is not great but plentiful and cheap as is the beer.
We did wild camp a few times in the very higher areas but it was difficult to find the right spot there and much harder in the lowlands where there are people and fields and farms everywhere. Even quite small towns had a cheap hotel however. WiFi is surprisingly good in most bars so we often used Booking.com (weirdly) tofind somewhere.
I’d recommend it as a destination off the beaten track.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the mountainous bits we most enjoyed were...very hilly! Mileages suffered as a result

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Sweep
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby Sweep » 18 Feb 2019, 9:42pm

many thanks for the reply keith.
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gregoryoftours
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Re: Albanian free camping facilities

Postby gregoryoftours » 21 Feb 2019, 11:36pm

I saw just a few of those pill boxes in time in Albania, most of them looked like they'd be pretty scummy inside and they were on bits of land that I would have rather set my tent up on instead. In the mountains of the North (called the Accursed mountains!)I always managed to find really nice places to wild camp, although occasionally it took a little while to come across a suitable spot. I'd echo other people's feelings, Food is really great, and the portions are huge to the point of wastefulness. I found it to be the most genuinely friendly country I've been to, with the exception of a couple of places where there is a bit of a tourist trekking industry eg Theth, although the rough (in places very rough) unsurfaced road that comes to that village from the south was the best part of my trip. The country felt very safe to me. I'd avoid the main trunk roads, as they can be pretty nasty traffic-wise. The small mountain roads are really nice, and can be very rough. I put my bike on a bus from Tirana up to shkodra in the North, a really great old city with a good atmosphere and a really established cycling culture. On arrival I got invited on a Sunday ride with a load of locals to the nearby lake and a picnic! Booking.com is your friend, making it easy to get a place to stay anywhere. Also you can get really good value SIM card with data deals; much cheaper than roaming with your own provider here. The best when I was there last year was ALB mobile. The Bradt Albania guide is really good. Good large scale maps of the mountains can be bought at the airport ( the full range of Huber Kartographie GmbH maps, only a couple of which were available on Amazon). If you're going to be mostly in the North consider flying to Montenegro rather than Tirana.