EDINBURGH Airport is celebrating two new routes to Albania.
Scotland will be linked to the eastern European country for the first time as both Ryanair and Wizz Air launch flights to the capital, Tirana.
Irish budget giant Ryanair will be offering flights from October 31. There will be two weekly flights, Tuesdays and Saturdays.
And low-cost airline Wizz Air will launch its new service on December 18, flying three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
This gives Schotten the opportunity to fly to the up-and-coming destination five days a week.
Kate Sherry, Chief Commercial Officer (Aero), said: “We’re excited to offer our passengers more travel options and, for the first time, to connect our countries and capitals.”
“From the historic landmarks and attractions of Edinburgh to the stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage of Tirana, this will be an exciting new route that improves Scotland’s connection to the Balkans.
“We look forward to adding Tirana to our destination list.”
The former communist country offers cities, countryside and pristine beaches along a coastline as beautiful as Croatia’s.
You’ll also find Ottoman-era towns, Roman ruins to rival those on the Adriatic, and a vibrant capital with brightly painted buildings, traditional restaurants and trendy bars.
The communist-era monuments in Skanderbeg Square and the Pyramid of Tirana (formerly a museum for Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha) offer glimpses of Albania’s recent past.
However, those who want to feel the true pulse of Albania should head to the mountain towns of Berat and Gjirokastra Unesco World Heritage Sites and essentially open-air museums on life in the Ottoman period.
Avid hikers will love the Valbona Valley, with its karst limestone mountains and peaks plunging down to the sea, and the Albanian Riviera, where you’ll find pristine beaches along the Ionian coast, some of the least developed stretches of sand in the Mediterranean.
There are beaches for every occasion: Gjipe offers tranquil, cliff-fringed sandy beaches, Dhermi is a must for party-goers, while history buffs should detour to Ksamil and its Roman ruins at Butrint.
Prices are lower than in neighboring countries like Greece and Montenegro, and visitors are warmly welcomed by locals in a country not yet hit by mass tourism.
And with the decidedly Mediterranean weather, it promises to be a popular and inexpensive excursion.
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