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The Albania Travel Company With A Difference
With so many Albania travel companies to choose from, picking the right one can be tricky. We take you to places other tour operators simply can’t reach – and in our own unique, informal style.
Not Your Usual Albania Travel Company
The Drive Albania story began in 2012, when company owner Ed Reeves travelled to Albania with his mother to write a story for the UK Sunday Telegraph newspaper (Old Lady Reeves had visited Albania twice under Communism when it was a European North Korea; read the story here). Ed was intrigued by Albania, and came back later in the year in his Toyota Rav4, thinking it would be tough enough to get him into the mountains. It wasn’t.
One thing led to another, and in a bad case of mission creep Ed found himself setting up his own Albania travel company, Drive Albania, in 2014 – at first from the UK, and from 2015 with a Tirana office, too.
The idea behind Drive Albania was to show foreign travellers the less-visited regions – which usually require a good 4×4 to reach, due to the often catastrophic state of Albanian mountain roads. In Ed’s view that the towns and cities offered by the typical Albania travel company, such as Durrës, Saranda, Pogradec and Vlorë, were best driven through as quickly as possible. The most rewarding experiences were to be found in the smaller towns and remote villages. The same is true five years on.
The Drive Albania Team
Meet the people behind this unique Albania travel company
Ed started his career in London’s “exciting media world”, beginning on Car Magazine, before going on to edit Ford’s pan-European customer magazine by way of GQ, House & Garden and even, bizarrely, Brides. After realising that working in media was a futile waste of time and effort, he decided to set up an Albania travel company specialising in off road Albania tours so he could combine his love of Land Rovers and the Balkans… He now lives mostly in Tirana with a small dog snatched from under a bin, Bubi.
Ardi was born and raised in Montenegro, came to Tirana a few years back to study dentistry, liked Albania, and stuck around. While he (very) slowly approaches the end of his studies, he doubles up as our lead driver. Ardi has driven just about everywhere in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia, yet still has an uncanny ability to get hopelessly lost. He has been trained in the dark arts of offroading by a British Off Road Driving Association instructor, and is also handy with a spanner – if you have toothache he’ll fix you in seconds.
Languages: English, German, Albanian, Serbo-Croat.
Henri was a graphic designer before joining the Drive Albania team, and also an enthusiastic weekend racer, winning hill-climbing events in both Albania and Kosovo. More recently he’s focused on rallying, and is one half of the 2018 Rally Albania championship-winning team. Henri is our go-to guy for serious off-road and wild camping tours, not just for his driving skills but also his Rain Man-esque devotion to packing camping kit.
Languages: English, Italian, Albanian.
Kreshnik (or Nik for short) has a background in logistics – before becoming a guide he worked on project management for two of Albania’s biggest highway builds, and then ended up managing a fleet of coaches for a large Albania travel company. Since 2016 he’s been a freelance, taking small groups of travellers all over Albania and the Balkans. In his previous life, Nik took several courses in 4×4 driving, and knows his way across the mountains, including little-visited Shebenik-Jabllanice, from where he originally hails.
Languages: English, Italian, Albanian.
Our second Nick lived in Germany for a time in the 1990s, before moving to the USA where he ended up working in construction. He returned to Tirana around 2012, and since then has worked as a guide and film fixer on projects including the infamously trashy 90 Day Fiancé. In his misspent youth, Nick was national cycling champion and represented Albania in road cycling at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. More recently he has acted as support drive on a couple of private bicycle tours for us, mainly because he can change a flat bike tyre.
Languages: English, German, Italian, Albanian.
Bubi is the Drive Albania Office Dog, a demanding and sometimes challenging role that requires him to sleep on the sofa, eat Bubi Food and fart in the back of Land Rovers. He was recruited from under a trash can in Tirana after failing to find a permanent position with any other Albania travel company, and retains many useful connections in the local street dog community.