With 690 berths, a 5-star hotel, luxury villas with their own moorings, apartments, a golf course, restaurants, shops and boutiques, Porto Albania is putting Albania on the map as the next luxury destination. Yachting & Boating World’s Stef Bottinelli reports.

Despite its fantastic location on the Adriatic coastline and proximity to Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy, Albania doesn’t have a single yacht harbour.

Swiss development company Finsec AG have decided to change all that and lay the foundations for Porto Albania – a mega yacht harbour on the Kalaja e Turres peninsula, less than an hour drive from the Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, the only international airport in the country – Albania’s first mega yacht harbour and resort.

The yacht harbour project

Taking in consideration the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage, archaeologists had to examine an area covering 20 hectares to see if important artefacts were located on building land for the future harbour basin before construction could begin.

A total 2,400 artefacts were found, which have since been recovered, secured and catalogued – including ancient amphorae. Once an expert assessment confirmed that no more culturally significant objects were in the area, the Albanian government granted the last permits, allowing work to start on Porto Albania.

The project is certainly ambitious and puts the country on the luxury map.
Once completed, Porto Albania will boast 690 berths accommodating yachts up to 70 metres in length, a 5-star hotel, harbour facilities, residential villas with their own moorings, apartments, shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafés, a congress centre, a spa, a home port, a visitor port, a golf course with two 18-hole rounds and multi-storey parking.

Under the management of Finsec AG and its Albanian subsidiary Finsec Port Sh.a.Tirana, construction companies will commence the first phase, involving filling in more than 55,000 square metres of land behind the harbour. They will also erect a breakwater over 800 metres in length and a harbour wall to create enough protected space for the berths. The project costs €112 million.

“We are focussing particularly on acquiring clients from the superior yachting class”, says Tunc Gökce, owner of the Turkish engineering company Arti Proje Consulting Ltd., the yacht harbour’s planners. “A VIP yachting club is planned for this express purpose, with a helipad and a separate pier for mooring superyachts.”

Porto Albania in Kalaja e Turres has many attractions on offer. The peninsula is only 60 minutes by car from the Albanian capital of Tirana, and 20 minutes from the port of Durres. The harbour is ideally located for boat trips to the north or south and is a suitable stop-over on the way to Croatia, Greece or Italy. The port of Budva in Montenegro is 70 nautical miles away and Corfu around 90. Guests will also benefit from tax free berths, VAT free fuel and services such as boat repairs and duty-free shopping.

“The project has a budget of around €112 million, making it the biggest ever investment in the Albanian tourism sector”, explains Alexander Auer, President of the Board of Finsec AG. “For the first time in the country’s history Porto Albania will combine a marina with international yachting and charters, a luxury hotel, villas, apartments and leisure facilities – a first for the seemingly unknown and untouched country of Albania.”

Accommodation, facilities and activities

Porto Albania will boast a 5-star hotel with 146 rooms and more than 250 apartments, a canal with villas equipped with private berths, a spa, perfect for a spot of pampering after a day of sailing, and a congress centre. Shops, restaurants and multi-storey parking will be built in one of the most modern, environmentally sustainable infrastructures existing. Emilio Tuñón und Marceline Ruckstuhl from Arquitectos (Madrid) – one of Spain’s most prestigious architectural offices-are handling planning and architecture for the harbour village and hotel.

A luxury family resort is also planned with more than 800 metres of sandy beaches. There will be a reception centre with a water world and thermal waters plus infrastructure such as shops, boutiques, restaurants and cafés, to make sure that all the guests’ needs and desires are taken care of. A golf course with two 18-hole rounds and more than 90 leisure activities – ranging from cycling to climbing, water-skiing and riding – will provide plenty to do for people of all ages, 365 days a year.

Those looking for peace and quiet can enjoy relaxing in the large botanical garden and olive plantations surrounding the resort, or can hop on their yacht and explore the stunning coastline.

Porto Albania is due to open in 2019.