Skint Brits are flocking to spend winter in Albania.
Many are making the most of cheap flights and even cheaper hotels and heading off to the tiny republic, which boasts a Mediterranean climate and year-round sunshine.
It comes at a time when it is claimed up to 80% of immigrants arriving in small boats on UK shores are Albanian.
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Travel experts say they have seen a surge of trips to the country recently – with many lasting months as Brits make the most of the fact that living there is on average 64% cheaper than the UK.
A spokesman for Travel Republic said: “September is the month when most people hot foot it over to Albania, and they tend to stick around for four.”
Flights to Albania are as cheap as £24 – with eight airlines travelling to the country.
A pint will set you back just £1, while a three-bed apartment directly on the beach costs just £280 per month.
Five star hotels can cost as little £30 a night.
Greek island Corfu is just a 30 minute boat tour away if you fancy a weekend excursion and the temperatures in Albania remain in the early 20s during the UK’s coldest months.
One pensioner who is an avid Albania fan said: “I visit as it is just so much cheaper and nicer than the UK in winter, especially at the moment.
“I can end up with my British pension still in my wallet at the end of the month. It is a no brainer.”
Francesca Masotti, an Albania expert who writes for the advisory Culture Trip site, added: “One of the best things about travelling to the Land of the Eagles you will be welcomed by the locals. Albania is one of the friendliest countries you’ll ever visit.
“Albania is also one of the least dangerous places in Europe. But visitors need to make sure they bring a pair of stretchy pants with you, because the cuisine is fantastic… and completely affordable.”
Despite this, there has been a rapid increase in the number of Albanian migrants crossing the English Channel.
Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “The rise has been exponential and we think that is in the main due to the fact that Albanian criminal gangs have gained a foothold in the north of France.”
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