I came to travel via journalism. Before I started Drive Albania, I spent a decade floating around London working on magazines such as GQ, Esquire, Men's Health, Car Magazine and at one point, bizarrely, even Brides Magazine! I ended up writing a fair amount of travel stories, which brought me to Albania in 2012.
My mother, who was very left-wing, had visited twice in the 1980s when Albania was supposedly closed to the outside world. In 2012, the Telegraph asked her to go back (with me, the journalist, in tow) to see how it had changed. The answer was "a lot". I was fascinated with the country, and the following year drove down in my Toyota Rav4 to do some more exploring. I quickly discovered that the road network was so bad that even this fairly capable 4x4 was out of its depth.
One thing led to another and today I find myself living in Tirana, running a small agency focused on getting visitors to the more remote regions of Albania and Kosovo.
Ed's Travel Expertise
I've travelled extensively in Albania and Kosovo, by Land Rover and on foot. I'm a particular fan of the east of Albania, the borders with Kosovo and Albania, Dibër, Çermenika and Shebenik-Jabllanicë National Park. To the south, the mountains of Kurvelesh are wonderful. These areas are very hard to get around, with isolated villages and simply extraordinary landscapes.
Tours by 4x4 are my speciality, as are pan-Balkan road trips. I really love planning routes that link together the key cities and sites — it can be a bit of a brain-twister but is very rewarding when a good route comes together!
- Wine tasting tours
- Horseback riding
- Cooking classes
- Sailing, yachting and motor boating
- Bicycle tours
- Food tours
- Food, wine, events and nightlife
- Sightseeing Tours
- Bird watching
- Beer and drinks tasting
- Local culture
- Getaways and short breaks
- National parks
- Road trips
- Skiing and Snowboarding
- Festivals and events
- Nature and bush walks
- Hot springs
- Countryside and village visits
- War sites
- Cultural, religious and historic sites
- Self-drive or vehicle rental
- Art and architecture
- Party and nightlife
- Local boat rides
- Adventure and sport
- 4x4, quad and ATV trips
- Wildlife, landscapes and nature
- Boat tours, water sports and marine wildlife
- Sightseeing, attractions, culture and history
- Air tours, road trips and transfers
- Beach, romance, getaways and relaxation
- Special interests and hobbies
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Ed's best travel experience
In my early days in Albania, I borrowed a friend's 4x4 and headed out alone into the Çermenika mountains to the east of Tirana. The tyres were pretty bad, and before long I had a blowout. Then, I discovered there was no jack! After a bit of improvising with wood, I managed to change the wheel, only to find the spare was also flat. After spending the night in the car I decided I had to walk to the nearest village for help. Four hours and two encounters with bears later, I arrived, covered head-to-foot in mud, much to the bemusement of the locals.
Why is Ed the right travel expert
Being a Brit in Albania gives me a different perspective on what's interesting and what's not. For me, places like Durrës, Vlorë, Pogradec and Saranda are only places to drive through as quickly as possible, although Saranda is ok for a night if you're catching the Corfu ferry. In my opinion, rural Albania and all the smaller towns and cities are the best places to go. I know I can show you this unique, off-the-beaten-track side of this fascinating country.