The 9 best places to visit in Albania

Anita Hendrieka

Nov 18, 2023 • 7 min read

Rear view of man crossing bridge, Accursed mountains, Theth, Shkoder, Albania, Europe

A hike to the Theth Waterfall can be combined with the trail to the Blue Eye © Ben Pipe Photography / Getty Images

Albania is slowly becoming the jewel of the Balkans due to its sparkling crystal waters, impressive mountains and affordability for all types of travelers. Come with an open mind and a rough plan, and be ready to be submerged in a rich culture like no other in Europe.

If you’re planning a trip to this magnificent destination and are looking for the most beautiful places to visit but have no idea where to go in Albania , we’ve got you covered.   

Descending from the Qafae Pëjes pass towards the village of Theth, Albania

1. The village of Theth

Best place for hiking and adventure lovers

Theth might just be the most peaceful place to visit in Albania. This small village nestled in between the Albanian Alps is perfect if you’re looking for the best hiking in the country and dramatic landscapes to enjoy.

There are two hikes you must do while visiting Theth . The first is the hike to the Blue Eye , which leads you through a forest, over rivers and finally to a vibrant blue natural spring. This hike is easy to moderate and perfect if you’re not an experienced hiker.

The second is one of the most popular in the country and one of the most beautiful: the Theth to Valbona  hike. This trail starts from the top of Theth village, near Guest House Gjelaj, and it leads you through the Albanian Alps to breathtaking views at the top. It’s not for the faint-hearted, as it will take roughly six to eight hours to complete – but you will be glad you did it!  

Planning tip: Make sure you bring cash with you, as ATMs can be hard to come by, and almost everything will need to be paid for in cash.

Old houses and orthodox church in the old city of Korce

Prettiest place in Albania

When you visit Korce, make sure to stroll through the Pazari i Vjeter , which is the old bazaar of the city. Here, you can admire the bazaar’s 13th-century style in the form of old cobbled streets and Ottoman-style architecture.  

When you visit this area, be sure to pop into The Kooperativa, a communist-themed cafe that gives you a glimpse of Albania’s communist history from 1944 until 1991. 

Try the traditional alcoholic drink called raki, made from distilled grapes and very popular in Albania. You might even catch someone having a glass of raki with their morning espresso!

Streets of Old Town Gjirokaster, Albania

3. Gjirokastra

Best city for Albanian traditions

Known as the city of stone, Gjirokastra is a UNESCO city in the south of Albania. It was the birthplace of the former communist dictator, Enver Hoxha. 

One of the best things to do here, apart from walking the bazaar and visiting the castle of Gjirokastra, is to wander around  Zekat e House .  This traditional family home was built between 1811-1812 and is a beautiful example of some of the most fascinating Albanian home and marriage traditions. When you visit, one of the family members will show you around and explain the different rooms and their purposes.

If you love wine and want a foodie experience, then you need to take a trip to Te Fucite  (The Barrels). This family restaurant and winery specializing in smooth handmade wine offers platters of local cuisine for you to try while overlooking their vineyard and the surrounding mountains.

Planning tip: Try the dish called pasha qofte , which is essentially a cream soup made from milk with small meatballs inside. It’s a delicious dish you can only find in Gjirokastër.

People enjoy time on the beach, play snooker or having good food in the reataurant

Best place to go for beaches  

If you’re looking for a destination where you can lay about, get a sun tan and enjoy a dip in the sea, then you need to visit Dhermi . It’s one of the pearls of the Albanian Riviera and home to many summer music festivals, including the Kala festival and ION festival .

With idyllic beaches, trendy beach bars and views that might make you never want to leave, Dhermi is a hotspot for younger generations looking for the hottest parties and the best vibes of the summer. 

Try Restaurant Luciano for delicious food overlooking the water, or head to Alevra restaurant and beach bar to try some mouthwatering seafood with a twist.

Planning tip: Make sure you book well in advance if you’re visiting in July and August, as hotels can be booked out due to the festivals mentioned above.

5. P ë rmet

Best for white-water rafting and mountain biking

On a bend in the fast-flowing turquoise Vjosa river, about 32km (20 miles) from Greece where the river springs, is the hub town of Përmet. From here you can organize adventure activities from white-water rafting to camping, hiking and mountain bike riding in the region. Once an Ottoman-era commercial center, Përmet is "one of the greenest and cleanest parts of the country" today. The Vjosa River was recently designated as a wild river national park , Europe's first. 

Detour :  A 29km (18-mile) taxi or bus ride away is the Bënjë thermal baths next to an Ottoman-era bridge on the Lengarica River (a tributary of the Vjosa). In summer, you can pick up supplies from small vendors here; in the off-season, bring your own food and drinks. 

Best northern city in Albania

The city of Shkodra  is a breath of fresh air and is unlike any other city in Albania. When you arrive, you’ll notice most of the population peddling around the city by bike. While you’re there, do as the locals do and hire a bicycle for the day. Then head down to Liqeni i Shkodrës to enjoy the beautiful lake views. 

While you’re in the area, make sure you visit Rozafa Castle and ask one of the guides about the legend of Rozafa. Also, when you reach the top, you’ll experience a magnificent 360-degree view.

Planning tip: If you would like to do the Theth to Valbona hike and don’t fancy taking your luggage with you, a popular option is to leave your bags in Shkodra at your accommodation. Shkodra is a great city to base yourself in, as transfers will leave from there to take you to either Theth or Valbona.

Most peaceful village in Albania

Lin is a quiet village positioned on Lake Ohrid, which means there is excellent fishing here. If you’re looking for a lake getaway and craving silence and tranquility, this is a perfect choice. 

One of the best things to do is walk to the archaeological site on the hilltop, where you’ll get to see the well-preserved mosaics of a Paleo-Christian church built in the 6th century. If you visit in the summertime, the mosaics will be uncovered, and there should be a guide who can tell you all about their history.

You also get an incredible view from the top of Lin and can see North Macedonia as you look over Lake Ohrid.

A boy jumps off a pier into the Mediterranean Sea in Sarande (Saranda), Albania

Most visited place in Albania during summer

Saranda is the southern gateway to the Albanian Riviera and one of the best cities to visit, not least because it’s close to one of the region's best beaches, Ksamil Beach. 

Get a hotel in Saranda, where you’ll be close to some of the best restaurants in Albania and the city’s buzzing nightlife. Then explore the beaches of Saranda and Ksamil during the day.

One of the best things to do from Saranda is to hop on one of the day trip boat tours that leave from the boulevard and go to the beaches of Kakome and Krorez. Tickets start from €30.

Planning tip: The best time to visit Saranda is in May, June or September when the crowds are not crazy but the beach bars and restaurants are open. As this is a summer destination, most businesses close during the off-season.

Fishing boats in the harbor of Porto Palermo

9. Porto Palermo

Most underrated Albania Riviera destination

The triangle-shaped castle is a great reason to stop at Porto Palermo castle, as are the beautiful, unspoiled and peaceful beaches you'll find here – making for an excellent camping spot along the Albanian Riviera coast. 

You can also rent a kayak and paddle along the beaches and quiet bays. As you kayak, you’ll see the old military submarine bunker situated on the hill not far from the main beaches of Porto Palermo. 

Porto Palermo is filled with history and spectacular swimming bays and has a peaceful positioning along the Riviera.

This article was first published Oct 3, 2022 and updated Nov 18, 2023.

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Home » Travel Guides » Albania » 15 Best Places to Visit in Albania

15 Best Places to Visit in Albania

Albania may be a little country but there is a lot to see and do in this exciting up-and-coming location. Bordering Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo and Montenegro, Albania’s long coastline is one of the most ruggedly beautiful in the world.

While Albania is slowly becoming more popular with tourists it remains extremely undiscovered, as well as almost completely unspoiled. Albania boasts some of the best examples of Ottoman architecture in the world, along with supremely clear Mediterranean air and stunningly fabulous beaches.

And, perhaps best of all, travelling to Albania remains an extremely affordable trip, even compared to much of the rest of this part of Europe. Let’s have a look the best places to visit in Albania !

1. Albanian Riviera

Albanian Riviera, Himara

The Albanian Riviera is perhaps the most popular place in the country for tourists to visit. The riviera has a growing reputation as an important music location, with many international music festivals – including Turtle Fest and Soundwave Albania – having taken place here.

Nightclubs such as Folie Marine in Jale beach and Havana Beach Club near Dhermi draw young people from across Europe to the Albanian Riviera.

The seaside town of Himara is one of the riviera’s best places to visit, while Porto Palermo Beach, Llamani Beach and Filikuri Beach are some of the area’s finest sandy stretches, while Drymades Beach is one of the liveliest spots here.

Tirana

The capital city of Albania, Tirana will be the starting point for many people exploring the best places in Albania.

The city is home to few must-see tourist locations, but the 18th-century Et’hem Bey mosque is well worth a visit.

Tirana’s people, like the vast majority of Albanian locals, are exceptionally friendly and the city is supremely affordable, with surprisingly excellent food and drinks both very cheap.

Skanderbeg Square is one of Tirana’s most important places and this is where the National Historical Museum can be found too.

At the heart of Skanderbeg Square – and therefore the heart of Tirana – is a statue of the historic Albanian national hero Skanderbeg.

3. Llogara Pass

Llogara Pass

The Llogara Pass is one of Albania’s most famous places, with the road providing one of the most spectacular drives in the whole world.

Located in the middle of the Llogara National Park, the road travels to over 1,000 metres above sea level and the scenery will take your breath away.

At the top of the pass there is a good range of restaurants, which are ideal places to enjoy some of the most stunning sights in Albania.

Llogara National Park itself is home to animals such as the golden eagle, European wildcat and fallow deer.

A drive from  Tirana to Saranda taking in the Llogara Pass should take a few hours, but allow plenty of extra time to stop and take lots of photographs.

Berat

Berat is in the middle of Albania and it is believed to be one of the country’s oldest towns. Berat is often known by its nickname – the City of a Thousand Windows – due to its mix of Ottoman and Albanian architecture.

Berat’s main tourist site is the 140th century castle, Kalaja, which is still home to hundreds of people. Formerly among the most important Albanian cities of the Ottoman Empire, Berat was added to the list of Unesco World Heritage sites in 2008.

The Church of St. Mary of Blachernae is a must-see sight for anyone visiting Berat, as is the Mangalem Quarter.

Saranda and Lekursi Castle

Saranda is one of the hottest tourism locations in Albania, with the town having undergone a huge amount of development in the last 20 years or so.

Saranda is home to some of the most unforgettable beaches in Albania, while the Unesco World Heritage site at Butrint is located just outside of Saranda and is well worth a visit too.

Lekursi Castle is one of the best places to go in Saranda, with people flocking here to enjoy stunning sunsets. Saranda is located a short trip across the Ionian Sea from the popular Greek island of Corfu.

6. Gjirokastra

Gjirokastra

A Unesco city, Gjirokastra is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Albania. Unique Ottoman period architecture – with houses designed like small castles – can be found all over Gjirokastra, which has a military museum and art gallery in its amazing castle that dominates the skyline.

A folklore festival also takes place in Gjirokastra’s castle every five years – the last one was in 2015. Visiting the old Ottoman bazaar in Gjirokastra should be on the agenda for anyone visiting this part of the country.

Gjirokastra is famous as the birthplace of world-renowned author Ismail Kadare and Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha – today their old homes are museums.

Kruja

Located a short trip away from the capital Tirana, Kruja is a must-visit spot for anyone heading to Albania for the first time.

Kruja is home to the national ethnographic museum, but it is best known for being where the Skanderbeg museum can be found. Located in the Kruja castle, the museum is one of Albania’s most important and popular tourist attractions.

It was from this fortress that Albania’s hero – George Kastrioti Skanderbeg – defended the country from Ottoman invasion over a period spanning three decades.

The castle also offers staggering views of the Adriatic Sea. The national park Qafe Shtama and the tomb of Sari Saltik are also located close to Kruja.

Theth

Away from Albania’s biggest cities, in the north of the country, is Theth. Located high in the Albanian Alps, Theth is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and it is easy to see why.

Theth National Park is perhaps the most beautiful place in all of Albania, with its Grunas Waterfall and the Lock-in Tower both extremely popular with visitors.

The mountain peaks of Thethi, Boga, Razma and Vermoshi provide an unforgettable experience of Albania in its most natural state.

Hikers and nature lovers will find Theth to be one of the best places to visit during a trip to Albania.

9. Ksamil Islands

Ksamil Islands

The highlight of the Albanian Riviera is perhaps the Ksamil Islands, a remote group of three small islands located just off the coast, accessible only by boat from the small town of Ksamil.

Part of the larger Butrint National Park, the Ksamil Islands are a fantastic example of Albania at its most untouched and unspoiled.

Visiting the Blue Eye Spring is also a must for anyone who wants to experience what Ksamil has to offer during their magical Albanian break. July and August are the busiest time of year for the Ksamil Islands, but even then there are few tourists around here.

10. Shkodra

Shkodra

The largest town in the north of Albania, Shkodra is often considered the cultural capital of the country.

This is because it hosts events such as Carnival, Lake Day, the Children’s Festival and Shkodra Jazz Fest, while it is also home to a famous historic castle notable for its important role during the First Balkan War.

Shkodra has a simply gorgeous lake, while the medieval citadel of Drisht is only a few miles away. The famous Migjeni theatre is in Shkodra as well, along with an ace market that is well worth visiting. Shkodra’s Malazeze cuisine is perhaps Albania’s best too.

Vlore

In the south-west of Albania is the popular coastal resort of Vlore , which has long been best known for its olive production – it is believed to house some 280,000 olive trees.

Vlore has many important historic sights, but perhaps the most famous of them is the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building, which is where Albania declared independence a little over 100 years ago.

Today, there is a monument dedicated to this defining moment in Albania’s history. The area of Cold Water in Vlore is popular with younger tourists due to its choice of hip bars and restaurants.

12. Apollonia

Apollonia

Apollonia was once one of the most important cities in the world, and as such it is a must for anyone visiting Albania for the first time.

Found in the heart of Albania, within easy reach from the city of Fier, Apollonia’s ruins are breathtaking and the views from this part of the country are superb too.

Once upon a time, Apollonia was listed among the dominions of Pyrrhus of Epirus. Those days are long gone, but Apollonia should still be on the itinerary for anyone who wants to learn more about Albania’s rich history up close.

Durres

Albania’s main port, Durres is also one of the nation’s oldest cities. Durres is most famous for being home to the biggest amphitheater in the Balkans, while the unspoiled northern coastal stretch of Lalzit Bay is one of Albania’s most beautiful places to visit.

Tourists should consider taking time out of their schedules to visit the Durres Archaeological Museum, the Aleksander Moisiu Theatre and the Royal Villa of Durres during their time in the second largest city in Albania.

Many cultural events and feastings are held in Durres throughout the year, while the city is also the birthplace of Bujar Nishani, the current President of Albania.

14. Lake Koman

Lake Koman

For the most breathtaking scenery in the entire Balkans, visiting Lake Koman in Albania should be on anyone’s bucket list. Often described as one of the world’s great boat trips, the journey takes visitors from the hydro-electric dam at Koman to the port of Fierza.

While the locals that use the boat regularly may now take the rugged beauty of the Albanian mountains for granted, any first-time visitor will find the sights from the Lake Koman Ferry to be truly jaw-dropping. The trip on the ferry is also a great opportunity to see what life is like for many Albanians in remote areas.

15. Pogradec

Pogradec

One of the most up-and-coming places to visit in Albania is Pogradec, which can be found on the shores of Lake Ohrid in the east of the nation.

Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkan region and while the Macedonian side of the lake is more popular, Albania’s shore is definitely on the up.

Pogradec is famous for its rich folklore, while its Puppet Theater Festival is one of the most interesting events on Albania’s tourism calendar.

The stunning Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park is around 30-45 minutes away from Pogradec as well, while the springs of Drilon are also close.

15 Best Places to Visit in Albania:

  • Albanian Riviera
  • Llogara Pass
  • Gjirokastra
  • Ksamil Islands

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Gjipe Beach

The 9 best places to visit in Albania

From the beaches of the Riviera to remote ruins and pretty towns, this is where to go in Albania

Stuart Butler

Albania has been having a moment for a while now. Young people especially have been flocking here for beach holidays that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and it recently solidified itself as the music festival destination in Europe . 

For a trip here, expect Rugged mountains laced with quiet hiking trails, ancient ruins hiding in the shade of trees, stunning beaches ripe for exploration and fast-developing urban centres. Expect tradition, and an air of older and wilder Europe . Up for somewhere new? Here are the best places to visit in Albania. 

RECOMMENDED: 🏖 The best alternative Mediterranean beach breaks 🧳 The most underrated destinations in Europe ☀️ The best beaches in Europe ✈️ Your essential travel guide

Stuart Butler is a travel writer who has travelled extensively in Albania.  At Time Out, all of our  travel guides  are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our  editorial guidelines . 

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Where to go in Albania

Tirana

1.  Tirana

The capital of Albania, and the only place that genuinely feels like a city, Tirana isn’t overwhelmed by its recent repressive history. Instead of hiding away the Communist-era interrogation centres and prisons, city authorities have transformed them into darkly fascinating museums, art galleries and memorials – and then surrounded them with an ever-changing cast of hipster bars and restaurants. At weekends, ride the cable car up Mount Dajti to join the locals for a spit-roast lamb lunch with a view down over the city.

Berat

2.  Berat

Beautiful Berat is a town of two halves. Down on the river bank houses are clustered up tight against the side of a forested hill, their windows bouncing sunlight off the water. Take the steep climb up towards the summit of that hill though and you’ll arrive at Berat’s other – and much older – half. A restored medieval gateway leads into the Kalaja, or fortress, where wildflowers sprout from crumbling walls and a clutch of centuries-old churches and mosques have been turned into museums.

Ksamil

3.  Ksamil

Albania’s quintessential beach spot. Although far from undiscovered, Ksamil – which sweeps around a series of low, wooded headlands and encompasses a number of still glistening bays, beaches and small islets – is something special. Mass tourism, fuelled by visitors from neighbouring landlocked countries, has dramatically changed the Albanian coastline in recent years, but Ksamil retains the laidback magic that first attracted people to the Albanian Riviera. And, of course, the seafood is excellent.

Gjirokastër

4.  Gjirokastër

The story of the small hill town of  Gjirokastër , in southern Albania, stretches back at least 2,500 years – with some of the treasures from this great antiquity carefully laid out in the town’s small museum. Most people today though come here to see the 600 or so stunning Ottoman-era manor houses that dot the town and surrounding hillside, some of which are open to visitors. The pretty-but-touristy centre of town ( Gjirokastër is a favourite with bus tours on a day trip from Corfu) is all cobbled streets, arty cafes and less arty souvenir shops.

Butrint

5.  Butrint

Arguably the most impressive historical site in Albania, Butrint is an ancient Greek city of sunflower-yellow stones and rocks. Some of the ruins here – the theatre, Forum and public baths in particular – are extraordinarily well preserved, but just as much pleasure is to be had poking about the lesser-known ruins. To add to the wonder of the site, the whole complex is beautifully situated under shady woodland and on the shores of a quiet coastal lagoon.

Shkodër

6.  Shkodër

The large town of Shkodër, which lazes on the side of a lake a short way back from the sea, doesn’t make it onto many Albanian itineraries. Yet, with its pastel-painted buildings and elegant squares, it has a distinctly Italian ambiance. Add to this an abundance of history and culture and you have yourself a perfect city break. The city boasts some of Albania’s best museums (such as the Marubi National Photography Museum, which covers the history of photography in Albania, and the Site of Witness and Memory Museum, which outlines Albania’s recent Communist past), a large fortress complex, some excellent restaurants – and yes, the Italian influence extends to dinner – and long, sandy beaches just a short drive away.

The Albanian Alps

7.  The Albanian Alps

The Albanian Alps, otherwise known as the Accursed Mountains, are anything but cursed. The valleys of these soaring mountains are filled with meadows, pastures and lakes in vivid greens, while beautiful, traditional stone villages dot the region. The slopes, which are thickly forested and turn a fiery red and orange in autumn, lead to summits that are licked in ice and snow for months on end. Its fabulous hiking country and numerous day and multi-day trails snake around the slopes, the most celebrated being the three-nation Peaks of the Balkans Trail, which traverses neighbouring countries Kosovo and Montenegro.

Apollonia

8.  Apollonia

Far from anywhere, and little known to most foreign visitors to Albania, the ruins of the ancient Illyrian city of Apollonia are a huge 2,500-year-old complex of half-buried walls, mosaics and pillars, spread across olive tree-dotted hills. The theatre and the administrative centre still retain great grandeur, and the treasure-stuffed museum is well worth a visit. Away from the main ruins, one of Apollonia’s biggest draws is its feeling of quiet solitude. Come for the history, stay for the tranquility.

Gjipe beach

9.  Gjipe beach

The forty-five-minute cliffside walking trail to Albania’s Gjipe beach starts from beside the thick stone walls of the Saint Theodore Monastery. T he religious start is appropriate: as soon as you set eyes on this small, white-pebble beach, set below cliffs at the mouth of a wooded gorge, you’ll think you’re in Mediterranean beach heaven. The atmosphere at Gjipe remains low-key and development mercifully limited. There’s a seasonal beach café and, a short way up into the gorge, a basic camping area. Come in June or September and you might have it all to yourself.

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Discover the World

10 Best Places to Visit in Albania

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on October 3, 2023

Still very much off the beaten path, year-on-year Albania is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination thanks to its stunning scenery, interesting historic sites, and welcoming people. Isolated and shut off from the world for so long, Albania emerged from communist rule in 1991. Nowadays, visitors are invariably surprised at all that it has to offer; beautiful beaches lying alongside breathtaking mountain ranges and glittering lakes.

Thanks to its long and interesting history, Albania’s cities and scenic countryside are full of amazing old castles, Roman ruins, and Ottoman-era mosques and buildings, which make the country fascinating to explore. With picturesque towns such as Gjirokaster and Berat for visitors to enjoy, there is always something new to see and do.

The now colorful capital, Tirana, is full of monuments and museums offering a look at the country’s communist past. A fascinating country, now is the time to visit the best places in Albania, as word is quickly spreading about what this hidden gem has to offer.

10. Dhermi [SEE MAP]

Dhermi

With its welcoming turquoise waters and beautiful beaches that stretch into the distance, the gorgeous scenery of Dhermi is where many young Albanians head to in the summer. It is also home to some pulsating nightlife.

Located on a mountain slope overlooking the sea, the town boasts some stunning sunsets. Grabbing a drink at one of its numerous bars and restaurants while watching the sun go down is a lovely way to spend an evening.

While there is a fun and festive atmosphere about the place, with lively beachside bars blaring out music, there is more than enough beach to go around; you can always find a peaceful spot to simply kick back and enjoy the scenery of the Albanian Riviera.

9. Durres [SEE MAP]

Durres

Once the capital of Albania, Durres is located not far from Tirana on the country’s coastline. It is a very popular destination, which means that it can get a bit crowded during the summer.

With one of the largest ports in the Adriatic, the city is a bit stuffy and over-developed, although there is a nice stretch of beach for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. Along the seafront, there are lots of restaurants selling delicious fresh seafood.

Fought over for millennia by the Bulgarians, Greeks, Venetians, and Ottomans, among others, its wealth of historic sites entices just as many people as its beaches. The spectacular Roman amphitheater and fantastic archaeological museum are the undoubted highlights.

8. Sarande [SEE MAP]

Sarande

With its stunning location on the Ionian Sea, Sarande is blessed with year-round warm weather, sparkling waters, and a relaxed way of life.

While the seafront is a bit over-developed with its line of identity-less apartment blocks, there are lots of nice parts of Sarande to walk around, and loads of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops on offer.

In addition to the ancient ruins found in town, Sarande’s surroundings are full of historic sites and natural beauty, making it a great place to use as a base to explore the region.

7. Shkodra [SEE MAP]

Shkodra

Lying just a stone’s throw away from huge Lake Skadar that straddles the Montenegro-Albania border, Shkodra is a very pretty city to visit. The Buna River runs through town and the Albanian Alps can be seen off in the distance.

The undoubted highlight is Rozafa Castle. Over the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Illyrians, Venetians, and Ottomans, to name a few. The magnificent ramparts and ruins of the castle are fun to explore, and the views over Shkodra are breathtaking.

Although the center of the city has recently undergone extensive renovations, there are still plenty of lovely old buildings and historic sites to be found, such as the Ebu Beker Mosque and Orthodox Cathedral. The Historical Museum showcases just some of the region’s rich history and heritage.

With so much beautiful countryside surrounding Shkodra for visitors to explore, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

6. Berat [SEE MAP]

Berat

Widely regarded as one of the prettiest cities in the whole of the Balkans, Berat is known as ‘the Town of a Thousand Windows,’ as so many windows peer out at you from the front of its hillside buildings which are so tightly clustered together.

Located on a hillside, there are a number of Ottoman-era mosques and Byzantine churches scattered about town. One of the best views of Berat is from across the banks of the Osumi River which runs through it.

While simply wandering around Berat is a lovely way to spend the time, the town also has a great 13th-century hilltop castle, which is worth visiting for the outstanding views. There are also two interesting museums with some fascinating local costumes and artifacts on display and some splendid 16th-century icons.

5. Himare [SEE MAP]

Himare

With its beautiful setting on the Albanian Riviera, Himare’s sparkling turquoise waters and spectacular hilly coastline make it a great place to head if you’re after some sun, sea, and sand.

While its beaches and peaceful seaside promenade are what most people come for, the historic old town is lovely to wander around; its atmospheric tavernas are full of Mediterranean charm and delicious local seafood.

Perched atop a hill overlooking the old town is a delightful castle, which offers wonderful views over the sea. The nearby mountains also have some lovely trails and viewpoints for visitors to enjoy, while the surrounding countryside is home to spectacular churches and monasteries, such as the Monastery of the Cross and Athaliotissa.

4. Gjirokaster [SEE MAP]

Gjirokaster

Located in the south of the country, Gjirokaster is a delight to visit. Its beautiful old town is perched on the side of a hill overlooking a valley and its winding cobbled streets are full of quaint buildings and historic sites.

With over 500 homes and buildings protected and preserved as ‘cultural monuments’, Gjirokaster is full of wonderful architecture. It is often known as the ‘City of Stone’ due to the distinctive local rooves that can be seen everywhere you go.

Perched above the scenic Old Bazaar is Gjirokaster Castle, reputed to be the second largest in the whole of the Balkans. A fascinating place to visit, the castle has an underground Cold War-era bunker and an Armaments Museum for visitors to enjoy, alongside its impressive fortifications and ruins.

3. Kruje [SEE MAP]

Kruje

Lying just to the north of Tirana, Kruje – or Kruja, as it is known in English – is famous for being the home city of Albania’s national hero Gjergj Skanderbeg. In the 15th century, Gjergj managed to hold out against the Ottomans for 25 years from his base in Kruje.

Known as the ‘Adriatic Balcony’ by locals, the craggy mountain that looks over the city is home to the majestic Kruje Castle, which was once Skanderbeg’s base. Nowadays, there is an interesting museum about the hero as well as a fantastic 15th-century church located within its walls. The panoramic views from the castle are simply spectacular.

The Old Bazaar in the center of town is just as fascinating to walk around. Nestled away amongst its atmospheric streets you’ll find some delightful little cafes and restaurants, alongside the plethora of shops selling anything from souvenirs and artisan goods to antiques and leather products.

A picturesque and peaceful place, Kruje is well worth visiting for its historic sites and beautiful natural setting. The surrounding area is equally enchanting to explore, with its lakes, canyons, and mountains.

2. Butrint National Park [SEE MAP]

Butrint National Park

Home to a number of diverse ecosystems and stunning archaeological sites, Butrint National Park is a popular tourist destination, in large part due to its proximity to the Greek island of Corfu . Many people come to see its majestic blend of history and nature.

Covering a peninsula that is bordered by the huge Lake Butrint on one side and the Vivari Channel on the other, the natural beauty is magnificent; over 1,200 different types of animals and plants reside amongst its scenic wetlands, hills, and islands.

The main attraction, however, is the amazing archaeological site which covers over 2,500 years of history; this includes ancient city walls, remnants of a Roman theater, a Byzantine Basilica and two castles. Wandering around the ruins with the beautiful scenery all around you is a delightful experience. This is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems of what Albania has to offer.

1. Tirana [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Albania

Once full of grey, unwelcoming communist buildings, Tirana has transformed considerably since the early 90s. Albania’s capital is now a fun, friendly and festive place to visit.

Full of life, the now brightly colored pedestrian streets showcase some delightful Ottoman-era buildings and Italian architecture that highlights the country’s rich past. There are a number of great museums and art galleries worth checking out. Of particular interest is BUNK’ART, which was once a huge government bunker but now hosts art installations.

While it can be slightly chaotic in the traffic-filled center of town, the scenic Mount Dajti is just a short cable car ride away. With fantastic views of the city below and resplendent nature all around, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon.

With endless bars, cafes, and restaurants to be found around the trendy Blloku area, Tirana has a lively nightlife scene. Visitors to this under-visited capital invariably come away impressed at all that the city has to offer.

Map of Albania

Map of Albania

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13 best places to visit in albania [2024 travel guide].

Cazzy Magennis

Albania doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a tourist destination, but to overlook this Balkan gem, with miles of beautiful coastline, is a mistake .

For years the country was ruled with an iron fist by communist dictator Enver Hoxha making Albania as secretive as North Korea, and no one could get in or out.

But after Hoxha’s death in 1985 the country opened up and has been attracting an ever-growing number of visitors.

The charming capital Tirana is surrounded by mountains, and less than one hour’s drive from the coast at Durres.

There is plenty of interest to do and see , including some great museums, such as BunkArt, dedicated to the country’s reclusive past.

Albania has over 280 miles of coastline with serene bays, sandy beaches and small fishing villages. If that's not enough to convince you, you'll also get to admire some epic Ottoman architecture.

The unspoiled countryside is dotted with national parks, ancient castles and archaeological sites , and is home to the Albanian Alps which are perfect for hiking in summer and skiing in winter.

So, what is there to do in Albania? Plenty!

Let’s check out the best places to visit in Albania...

Travellerspoint

How to Get to Albania

Getting to Albania from the rest of Europe is relatively easy as it's served by three of Europe’s biggest budget airlines; Ryanair , Easyjet and Wizz Air .

There are daily flights from European cities to Tirana and Kukes.

If visiting from farther afield then it’s best to fly to a large hub such as Frankfurt or Amsterdam and take a connecting flight for the final section.

There are daily buses to Tirana from neighboring countries. Below are a few of the most popular routes!

In addition to the regional bus companies servicing these routes, Flixbus is one of the most popular bus companies in Europe with routes covering Bulgaria both domestically and internationally. 

  • Ohrid (North Macedonia) to Tirana - 3h0m
  • Skopje (North Macedonia) to Tirana - 7h0m
  • Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Tirana - 10h30m

There are no international train services between Albania and other European countries. 

Getting Around Albania

getting around albania

Hiring a Car

Hiring a car is a great way to get around Albania, and means you’ll have more freedom to explore as you please. For the best deals, check out Rental Cars ! 

Motorhome/RV

One of the best ways to get around Albania and the rest of the Balkans is to hire a motorhome/RV.

This is a great way to travel along the beautiful Adriatic and Ionian coastline, and can save you a ton of money on hotels and restaurants too as you can cook for yourself!

‍ Visit Motorhome Republic for the best deals! 

Albania benefits from semi-regular bus services and marshrutkas (mini buses with a fixed route), though delays can be frequent. Bus travel is very cheap and can be a good way to get between major cities.

Most of Albania’s often beautiful railway routes have fallen into disrepair and been closed down. As such it’s not really possible to travel Albania by train (for the time being at least). 

13 Best Places to Visit in Albania

Albania’s charming capital Tirana is nestled within the Skanderbeg Mountain range (you’ll hear a lot about Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg while in the country) and only 23 miles from the coast at Durres.

The city is packed with interesting things to see and do from Skanderbeg Square (told you) to the bunkers that used to act as government buildings and prisons during the reign of Enver Hoxha.

The city is also full of interesting architecture (think soviet brutalist style like the Tirana Pyramid ) juxtaposed with open parks, green spaces and mountain views.

Cafe culture is alive and well in Tirana and there are lots of pleasant places to sit out and drink the atmosphere of one of Europe’s most intriguing capitals.

The nearby mountains are easily reachable from the city and there is a cable car to the top of Mount Dajti. It’s also only a short hop to the Adriatic coast!

So whether you want to hike or ski in the mountains, or sunbathe at the beach, Tirana makes a great base for exploring. 

This walking tour is a great way to get a feel for the city and see the top Tirana attractions, or take a look at this Tirana itinerary ...

No matter how you choose to visit, this fantastic place is undoubtedly one of the best cities in Albania!

Top Things to do in Tirana

  • See Skanderbeg Square
  • Visit the BunkArt Museum
  • Take a trip up Mount Dajti

Where to Stay in Tirana

  • Hotel Stela Center - This gorgeous hotel is just a shot walk from the iconic Skanderbeg Square so it's in a great location for exploring the city. You'll also benefit from a ton of facilities including a shared lounge, on-site restaurant, a garden area, and a 24-hour front desk.

2. Petrela castle

Petrela castle

Petrela Castle is a popular tourist attraction not far from Tirana, and dates back to the 6th Century AD (though most of what you can see today was built in the 15th Century).

While Skanderbeg was off fighting the Ottoman Turks, the castle was controlled by his sister Mamica Kastrioti.

There's a restaurant located within the castle offering stunning views out across the Erzen valley and the peaks of the Skanderbeg mountains.

Petrela Castle is perched atop a 329 meter (1,079 foot) hilltop from where you can look out over the nearby olive groves. 

The castle is 10 miles south of central Tirana and takes around 30 minutes to drive.  Trust me, it's definitely worth visiting! 

3. Albanica Wine Region

Albanica Wine Region

Albania’s wine making tradition dates back over 3,000 years to the Illyrians who occupied this Balkan country long before the Romans.

There are four main wine regions from the coastal plains to the mountains and Albania produces popular wines from Merlot and Pinot Grigio to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Some of the country’s most famous grape varieties include Shesh, Vlosh, Berat and Debine, and some of the seeds found date back between 4,000 and 6,000 years.

One of the best ways to experience Albania’s wine culture (apart from enjoying a glass or two with lunch), is to take a tour.

There are some great wine tours starting in Tirana which include visiting vineyards, wineries and tastings.

A vineyard in Albania

For lovers of viticulture and history, exploring the wine regions is one of the best things to do in Albania!

If you're planning the ultimate European road trip and you're looking for some inspiration, then head to the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal . This is another fantastic wine region! 

The beautiful town of Berat

This central Albanian “City of a Thousand Windows” is famed for its quaint white houses dating back to the Ottoman occupation of the country.

The whitewashed stone houses of Berat cling to the hillside above the Osum River like the villages of the Amalfi coast in Italy.

With its stunning houses, narrow cobbled streets, a beautiful old castle and sumptuous mountain surroundings, it’s no wonder that Berat is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Berat is certainly one of the best places to visit in Albania and should be on the bucket list of every serious traveler.

Beautiful Berat Old Town

This full day tour to Berat from Tirana is a great way to experience the city if your time is limited, but otherwise you should allow at least two to three days to discover this Balkan gem.

Top Things to do in Berat

  • Wander around the beautiful old town
  • Visit Berat Castle
  • Take a tasting tour of Cobo Winery

Where to Stay in Berat

  • Hotel Rezidenca Desaret - If you're staying in Berat then make sure you check out this hotel as it's set in a beautiful location overlooking the city! Not only are the rooms spacious and cozy, but there's an on-site bar where you can enjoy the views.

5. Vlore (Bora Bora Beach Club)

A popular beach resort in Vlore

The palm-lined city of Vlore sits on a stretch of beautiful coastline where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea.

Here you’ll find Turquoize waters that lap at golden sandy beaches backed by lush, green mountains.

Like many cities in the region, Vlore has a rich and varied history from the Illyrians to the Greeks, Romans and Ottomans.

Vlore was once the capital of Albania and is the city in which the country’s independence was declared in 1912.

You’ll find plenty of interesting museums here, such as the Ethnographic Museum dedicated to the folk costumes and traditions of the region.

The hot Mediterranean climate means the city is perfect for hitting the many nearby beaches for some sun, sea and serious relaxation.

bora bora beach club albania

One of the best beaches is Bora Bora which has golden sand, clear blue waters, plenty of entertainment and dining options, and is patrolled by lifeguards making it perfect for families. 

Here are some more things to do in Vlore ...

Top Things to do in Vlore

  • Hit Bora Bora beach
  • Visit the Ethnographic Museum
  • Hike up to Kanine Castle

Where to Stay in Vlore

  • Veranda Boutique Hotel - Veranda Boutique Hotel is situated right on the front so naturally, many of the rooms feature breathtaking sea views! You can also take advantage of free private parking if you're planning a road trip around the country.

6. The Llogara Pass (Llogara National Park)

The Llogara Pass

The Llogara Pass is a mountain pass in Llogara National Park .

It's located high up in the Ceraunian Mountains close to the coastline of the Albanian Riviera!

This winding coastal road offers incredible views overlooking the Ionian Sea and rustic villages far below. The pass tops out at a staggering 1,043 meters (3,422 feet), so it’s not your average stretch of highway.

The Llogara Pass forms part of the SH-8 highway between Dhermi and Dukat i Ri and stretches for around 20 miles.

Driving the Llogara Pass is definitely one of the more fun things to do in Albania , but given the high altitude, sharp turns and occasional lack of barriers, concentration is needed when navigating this stunning stretch of road, especially in winter.

The Llogara National Park is also well worth a visit for its beautiful scenery of alpine meadows, rocky outcrops, rivers, lakes and forest . In winter the park transforms into a snowy wonderland.

No matter when you visit, there's a reason that this national park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

7. Gjipe Canyon

Incredible Gjipe Canyon

The Canyon of Gjipe is an 800-meter long canyon formed by the Ionian Sea on the Albanian Riviera.

The coastal waters of the canyon are home to loggerhead turtles among other interesting flora and fauna. It's also considered an important plant area thanks to some rare and endemic species found here.

Adrenaline junkies can have a go at canyoning or abseiling at Gjipe, and then finish up at the beach. 

The canyon opens up at Gjipe beach which is one of the most stunning stretches of coastline in all of Albania (and indeed the Balkan peninsula).

Gjipe Canyon beach

As Gjipe beach is only accessible on foot or by boat, it doesn’t get anywhere near the same number of tourists as other famous beaches in Albania.

If you’re looking for translucent, turquoise waters and a quiet, sandy beach to relax on, then it’s worth the extra effort to get there . For sure one of the best places to visit in Albania! 

To get to Gjipe you’ll need to take the SH8 (Llogara Pass) and turn off at a sign for the beach car park. From the car park, it’s a 45 minute walk along a rocky path down to the beach.

8. Porto Palermo

An amazing beach and the clear blue waters of the Porto Palermo

Porto Palermo is a large bay on the Albanian Riviera famed for its beaches and 19th Century castle.

Porto Palermo castle sits on a small peninsula that's all but cut off from the mainland save for a tiny strip of land by which to access the fortress.

The imposing triangular-shaped fortress once held a military prison, and it’s possible to explore the well-preserved buildings here.

There is a small, pebble beach with a restaurant and basic facilities. The water is clear and blue, and this quiet stretch doesn’t get very busy compared to other spots along this stretch of coastline.

If you're looking to admire Albania's natural beauty then I'd definitely recommend exploring this part of the country!

Top Things to do in Porto Palermo

  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Visit Porto Palermo castle
  • See the disused submarine base

Where to Stay in Porto Palermo

  • Qeparo Napolon Complex - If you're looking for a beach getaway then make sure you check out this property! Boasting an outdoor pool, a spacious sun terrace, and an on-site restaurant and bar, this place has so much to offer.

9. Gjirokaster

Old buildings in Gjirokaster

Gjirokaster’s beautiful old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its authentic Ottoman era buildings . It's also the birthplace of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha! 

This “City of Stone” is a real hidden gem and features a large medieval castle overlooking the town, Byzantine churches, Ottoman mosques and an ancient bazaar that has been trading for hundreds of years .

Be sure to check out the Artisan’s Center where you can browse handmade goods and souvenirs made using traditional methods.

Foodies will also love the city thanks to its unique cuisine which includes local specialities such as Qifqi; a baked rice and egg dish. Not only that, but Gjirakaster is famed for its white cheese and dairy products.

Gjirokaster Old Town

With so much on offer, there's no doubt that this old town is one of the best places to see in Albania!

Here's some more information on things to do in Gjirokaster if you're planning a visit...

Top Things to do in Gjirokaster

  • Visit Gjirokaster Castle Ruins
  • Wander around the Old Bazaar
  • Shop for gifts at the Artisan’s Center

Where to Stay in Gjirokaster

  • Hotel Vila Sharm - Hotel Vila Sharm is a luxury hotel thats known for its beautiful rooms, fantastic facilities, and great location. Breakfast is available at the property each morning and there's a restaurant and bar on-site.

10. The Blue Eye

the blue eye albania

The Blue Eye (known locally as the Springs of Bistrice, as it forms the Bistrice River) is a freshwater spring in Theth National Park, Southern Albania.

The spring is famed for its translucent waters that can be seen to a depth of 50 meters . It’s not clear exactly how deep the spring is, as divers have never been below the 50 meter mark and no one has ever reached the bottom.

Taking a dip in the chilly, fresh waters of the Blue Eye is one of the best things to do in Albania, and the surrounding forested countryside is stunningly beautiful.

The spring is located 14 miles northeast of the city of Sarande and takes 30 minutes to drive. Another option is to take a tour which includes plenty of time for swimming, and also takes in nearby Lekursi Castle.

Here's some more information about visiting The Blue Eye !

11. Sarande (Saranda)

Sarande is another resort town on the Albanian Riviera that's located on a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay.

To the west is the Ionian Sea and to the east, the foothills are covered in olive groves and a mountain landscape beyond.

The ocean around Sarande is known for its clear, turquoise waters which are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Above the town you’ll find the ruins of Lekursi Castle which offers stunning views out across the bay and islands, making it one of the best places to visit in Albania.

There's a restaurant next to the castle which is the perfect place to enjoy dinner and a glass of wine with a fantastic sunset.

In town, the Ethnographic Museum and old synagogue are worth a visit, and there are lots of pleasant cafes, bars and restaurants (though none beat the one at Lekursi for the views).

Here's a fantastic Saranda itinerary if you're interested...

Top Things to do in Sarande

  • Visit Lekursi Castle
  • See the old Synagogue
  • Enjoy a day at the beach

Where to Stay in Sarande

  • Hilltop Heaven Hotel - This is one of the most beautiful hotels that you'll find in Sarande as it offers stunning views of the sea and surrounding area. There's a bar on the property and you'll also have access to BBQ facilities.

Ksamil

The village of Ksamil lies 9 miles south of Sarande and is home to some of the best beaches in all of the Balkans (think Greece or Italy but a fraction of the cost).

In this stunning section of the Albanian Riviera, you’ll find azure, blue seas, sandy beaches and plenty of entertainment and dining options. 

The village forms part of the Butrint National Park , so as well as idyllic beaches, there's also plenty of beautiful countryside to explore from islands and wetlands to freshwater lakes and more.

Ksamil is one of the best places to visit in Albania, and even the whole of Europe thanks to its beauty, low prices and Mediterranean weather. 

You won't run out of things to do in Ksamil so what are you waiting for? This village is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania so don't leave it off your itinerary.

Top Things to do in Ksamil

  • Snorkel in the clear blue waters
  • Swim to an uninhabited island
  • Explore Butrint National Park

Where to Stay in Ksamil

  • Siars Hotel

Siars Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Ksamil because many of the rooms offer a private balcony where you can enjoy the sea views. Not only will you be staying in a beautiful area, but there's also free private parking.

13. Rozafa Castle

The Historic Rozafa Castle Standing on a rocky hill

Rozafa Castle (also known as Shkoder Castle) was an Ilyrian stronghold thanks to its location 130 meters above the surrounding countryside.

Within the ruins of the castle lies the 13th Century St. Stephen’s Church which was later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman era.

There is an old legend surrounding the castle that tells the story of Rozafa, the wife of a builder who was immured within the walls in a secret pact. There's even a lifesize sculpture of Rozafa trapped with the walls at the castle museum.

The castle commands impressive views across the city of Shkoder and the lake of the same name.

Rozafa Castle is 3 miles from the city of Shkoder which was once the capital of Northern Albania and is well worth checking out. 

Other Albania Travel tips

When is a good time to visit albania.

Albania is a great summer destination thanks to its warm climate (similar to Greece) and miles of sandy beach.

Autumn/fall is great too with temperatures still warm enough to swim well into October.

As the country has up to six ski resorts, Albania makes a great destination for winter sports and will cost a fraction of the price compared to resorts in the Alps.

How Long Should You Spend in Albania?

One week is a good length of stay for discovering Tirana and the Adriatic coastline. If you wish to explore the mountains too then 10 days would be more reasonable.

There are so many incredible places to visit in Albania that you could spend months there and not even scratch the surface.

Just be sure to include some of the beautiful locations on the Albanian Riviera on your itinerary!

What is a Good Budget for Albania?

Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe and a daily budget of $50 will suffice if staying in modest accommodation.

Food and drink are cheap, and you can enjoy a meal in a restaurant for under $10 if you avoid obvious tourist-traps.

Many wonderful hotels cost as little as $30 per night, which is almost unheard of in the rest of Europe. And this doesn’t mean that standards are lower either! 

Is Albania Safe to Visit?

Albania has something of a bad reputation, in part thanks to its years being closed off from the rest of Europe.

However the people are helpful and friendly, and the country is no less safe than other parts of Europe, with one major exception.

Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) are present in the northeast of the country along the border with Kosovo.

Don't venture off the beaten path in these areas and check with locals where is safe (even then, mines may have moved due to flooding and other natural phenomenons).

Provided you avoid the border area with Kosovo, and take the usual traveler precautions of not flashing valuables, you should have a worry-free time in this incredible country.

Can You Just Take a Tour to Albania?

There are a few good tours that take in some of the best places in Albania, from Tirana to the Riviera and national parks.

Below are a couple of the best picks:

  • 4 Day Albania Heritage Tour
  • 6 Day UNESCO Heritage and Food Tour

Where To Go After Albania?

Albania is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Europe , but there's so much more waiting for you on its doorstep...

Due to its location in southeast Europe, there are endless options for onward travel.

North Macedonia would be the obvious choice, with the beautiful Lake Ohrid just three hours by bus from Tirana.

It’s also easy to get to Montenegro , Bosnia, and Croatia , each very affordable but equally beautiful in their own right.

Alternatively, head across to Greece , Bulgaria and Turkey ; each filled with beautiful beaches, mountains and tonnes of history.

For more help, check out these other useful guides that we have on Europe:

  • The Best Places to Visit in Romania
  • The Best Things to do in Split, Croatia
  • Vienna on a Budget: The Best Things to do

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The Road Is Life

23 Best Places to Visit in Albania: Exploring Hidden Gems of the Balkans

Albania is an underrated gem of Europe that’s becoming increasingly popular for tourists every year. As more and more people discover the unique blend of history, adventure and stunning landscapes that Albania has to offer, it’s no wonder tourism is booming!

Whether you’re planning a road trip through Albania or seeking ideas for your next beach holiday, I wrote this post about the best places to visit in Albania to inspire your trip to this captivating Balkan destination.

From popular beach towns on the Albanian Riviera to historic mountain villages, there’s something for every type of traveller waiting to be discovered. The best way to the see the highlights on this list in a short period of time is to follow my one week Albania road trip itinerary ! 

After several trips to Albania over the years, I was always amazed at the beauty of the landscapes, the kindness of the people and the surprisingly low prices (when compared to other popular European countries!) In my opinion, Albania deserves the attention it’s receiving as the new “hot spot” in Europe. 

I’d say that tourism numbers will continue to climb higher and higher so there’s really no better time to visit Albania than right now. So without further ado, let’s dive in and uncover the most beautiful places to visit in Albania! 

The Best Places to visit in Albania - a spectacular sunset view of Saranda

Sunset views in Saranda

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways 

  • Explore Albania’s diverse landscapes from the popular beaches of Ksamil to the ancient stone city of Gjirokaster
  • Escape the crowded tourist areas and discover hidden gems such as the mountain village of Kruje and the spectacular Osumi Canyon
  • Immerse yourself in Albania’s rich history and cultural heritage by tasting traditional foods and connecting with local culture in the mountain village of Theth
  • Experience the warmth and hospitality of the Albanian people everywhere you go. Albanians are known to be friendly and welcoming people.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and exploring ancient ruins

23 Bucket List Places to Visit in Albania

Berat .

Known as the City of a Thousand Windows, Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture, rich history and cultural significance.

Take a wander through the cobblestone streets of the historic neighbourhoods of Mangalem and Gorica. Getting lost in the narrow alleys allows you to stumble on hidden gems like ancient churches and mosques.

These old quarters of Berat are connected by the Gorica Bridge, where you can stop and admire an amazing view of the iconic white houses built into the hillside, cascading down towards the river below.

A visit to the Berat Castle is where it really gets exciting. Perched high up on a hilltop, towering over the old town and Osum River below, the panoramic views from top will absolutely blow you away!

Within the castle’s walls you will find restaurants, shops, towers, and Byzantine churches. Don’t miss the Onufri Museum which is home to an impressive collection of religious art and icons dating back to the medieval period.

A panoramic view of Berat, Albania

Panoramic view from Berat Castle

Gjirokastër 

The stone city of Gjirokastër is an incredibly well preserved Ottoman-era town that dates to the 12th century AD. It’s one of those places that just blows your mind with its striking features like the imposing castle and historic Ottoman houses.

Nestled within the dramatic landscapes of the Drino Valley and surrounded by mountains, the UNESCO listed old town of Gjirokastër stands as a testament to centuries of history.

The streets of Gjirokastër showcase a rich tapestry of influences from its Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman past. Take a stroll through the lively bazaar soaking in the sights and browsing the colourful shops for souvenirs. This is a great opportunity to taste some classic Albanian cuisine at one of the many local restaurants.

Finish your visit by walking up to Gjirokastër Castle to marvel at the stunning panoramic views and learn about the city’s history at the museum. Gjirokastër is an essential stop on your Albania road trip itinerary and if you’re planning a beach holiday in the south, it’s an easy day trip from Saranda .

The Old Bazaar in Gjirokaster

The Old Bazaar in Gjirokastër at sunset

  • Butrint National Park

Take a step back in time at the ancient city of Butrint which dates back to the 8th century BC. Located only 10 minutes south of Ksamil in a picturesque location, a visit to the ruins of Butrint will take you on an exciting journey through the ages of history. 

Butrint is well-preserved UNESCO listed park featuring a range of ancient sites that date back to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman civilizations. These impressive ruins have stood the test of time, some of the monuments can be traced back over 2,500 years! 

Marvel at the unique blend of history and nature as you explore the trails leading from one archaeological wonder to the next. The park is in such a beautiful setting, surrounded by lush vegetation and the shimmering blue Butrint Lagoon.

The journey through Butrint will take you through remains of temples, theatres, Roman baths and fortifications. The visit ends at the Butrint Archaeological Museum where you’ll find a display of artefacts from the Greek and Roman periods. The museum’s collection includes sculptures, jewellery, coins and everyday objects offering a valuable insight into the ancient city’s rich history.

Amazing ancient ruins of Butrint

The amazing ruins of Butrint National Park

Theth National Park

Discover the remote beauty of Theth, a small village nestled in the Albanian Alps. With its charming stone houses and iconic church, Theth is a place where time seems to stand still amidst the majestic mountains of the far north.

A visit to Theth offers a glimpse into Albanian rural life and a chance to connect with locals at your guesthouse and dine at traditional restaurants.

For the outdoor lover, it is a paradise waiting to be explored. The mountains of Theth offer an abundance of hiking trails and natural wonders to discover. Take a hike to the Blue Eye of Theth, a natural spring with a waterfall and crystal-clear waters.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Theth and highly recommend anyone visiting Albania to add this special place to your bucket list. The landscapes and people of Theth certainly left an impression as it quickly became one of my favourite places to visit in Albania.

Theth National Park - Must-See Places in Albanai

Exploring the village of Theth in northern Albania

Ksamil 

The coastal town of Ksamil has become known as the most popular place to visit on the Albanian Riviera thanks to its pristine beaches and picture-perfect islands. Ksamil has risen to fame on social media platforms resulting in a frenzy of beach-going tourists over the months of June – August.

While I agree that the beaches of Ksamil are comparable to those of the Maldives, it’s important to time your visit right to enjoy the best of this stunning beach town. Aim to visit Ksamil during May/early June or September/early October to avoid the overcrowded beaches and heightened peak season hotel prices .

Ksamil is the ultimate beach lover’s destination where you can bask in the sun on soft white sand, swim in the azure-coloured sea and taste fresh seafood at beachfront restaurants that overlook the Ionian Sea. The best part? This is all possible for a fraction of the cost of popular European countries like Greece or Italy!

Ksamil Saranda, Albanian Riviera

One of Ksamil’s beautiful beaches

Saranda is the largest town on the Albanian Rivera and a bustling hub for travellers to the south of Albania. Full of fascinating history and Mediterranean charm, Saranda captivates visitors with its sun-soaked beaches, lively promenade, and panoramic ocean views.

Saranda is the kind of place where you can get comfortable and stay a while in one of the many affordable apartments the town has to offer. It has become a hot spot for expats and digital nomads who reap the benefits of the mild climate and reasonable cost of living.

During my 3 month stay in Saranda I loved trying all the delicious restaurants , discovering sunset bars and exploring the amazing nearby beaches. Check out my blog post to see a round up of the top beaches near Saranda . 

Saranda makes an excellent base for those looking to explore the riviera by day trip. Take a boat tour to the spectacular beaches of Kakome & Kroreza, enjoy a sunset from the hilltop Lëkurësi Castle and venture out to the natural wonder of Syri i Kalter (the Blue Eye). Read my guide on the best day trips from Saranda to plan your adventures.

Saranda is one of the most popular cities in Albania

Taking in a magical sunset at Lëkurësi Castle

Known as the cultural capital of Albania, Shkodër entices visitors with its charming blend of medieval architecture, lively streets, and picturesque landscapes. The city is located at the foothills of the Albanian Alps offering the perfect gateway to places like Theth or Lake Shkodra, the largest lake in the Balkans.

Make your way up to Rozafa Castle for an amazing panoramic view of the city and Lake Shkodra, this is particularly nice to do at sunset. Take an easy day trip to the Mesi Bridge, a traditional Ottoman bridge in a beautiful river valley that dates to 1770.

One of my favourite things to do in Shkodër was simply strolling the pedestrian-only streets, stopping at cafes, browsing the cute shops and snapping photos of the pretty historic buildings.

Shkoder is one of the best places to visit in Albania

Visit Mesi Bridge on a day trip from Shkodër

Sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, the seaside village of Dhermi is a must-see on your Albania road trip itinerary . A visit to Dhermi is often the first stop for those who have completed the scenic drive over the Llogara Pass.

Dhermi may be small but it’s full of history and pretty scenery. With its cute white-washed buildings and blue domed church, the Santorini vibes are strong. The main draw to Dhermi is the idyllic beaches replete with clear turquoise water and backed by towering mountains.

Visit the hidden gems of Drymades Beach and Gjipe Beach and don’t miss a quick stop at the nearby Monastery of Saint Theodore. Stay awhile and soak up Dhermi’s serene beauty and laid-back charm, you’re bound to fall in love with the relaxed rhythm of coastal life. 

Drymades Beach, Albanian Riviera

Swim at Drymades Beach near the village of Dhermi

The historic port city of Vlorë is often referred to as the gateway to the Albanian Riviera. From here, you can begin the drive over the famous Llogara Pass and then visit towns such as Dhermi and Himare as well as the spectacular beaches the region is known for.

Vlorë had an important role in Albania’s independence, be sure to visit the Independence Monument and the Museum of Independence to learn more about the nation’s liberation.

Take an easy day trip to the ancient city of Orikum, located 20 minutes from Vlorë, which is home to ruins dating back to the Hellenistic period. Orikum Beach is a stunning place to spend a few hours soaking up the sun and swimming in the vibrant turquoise water.

The coastal city of Vlorë is a fantastic place to visit in Albania

Add the city of Vlorë to your Albania bucket list

Borsh Beach 

Escape the crowds of Ksamil and Saranda and opt to stay at this peaceful town on the Albanian Riviera instead of the tourist hot spots. Borsh Beach is the longest beach in Albania which is known for its laid-back atmosphere and traditional Albanian hospitality.

Enjoy dining on fresh seafood at one of the beachfront restaurants and lazy days spent lounging on the beautiful white shore. Head up to the ruins of Borsh Castle which was built in the cliffs behind the town sometime around the 4th century BC. Panoramic views over the surrounding countryside and coastline can be found from this prime vantage point.

The town of Borsh is famous for producing some of the finest olive oil in Albania. Take a tour of a local olive grove which has over 500 years of history to learn all about the harvest and production of Albanian olive oil.

I can highly recommend staying at Guest House Luiza , a beautiful property with friendly hosts and incredible beachfront location. 

Borsh Beach, Albanian Riviera

Borsh Beach, Albanian Riviera

Himare is another coastal gem on the Albanian Riviera which is easy to reach on a day trip from Saranda or as a stop on your Albania road trip. With plenty of hotels, restaurants, historic sites and stunning beaches, Himare makes a perfect beach getaway on its own.

Being a smaller town, Himare has a more relaxed vibe compared to Ksamil and Saranda making it a great option for those who prefer a quieter atmosphere. There are many attractions surrounding the town such as the Old Town of Qeparo, Porto Palermo Castle and the gorgeous Livadi Beach.

You can book a boat tour with a local operator that will take you to the secluded coves and hidden bays around the area. Himare Beach is also stunning so you don’t have to go far to relax in paradise.

Visit Himare Beach -One of the places to visit on the Albanian Riviera

The gorgeous Himare Beach

Llogara Pass 

The Llogara Pass is a scenic mountain road that connects the city of Vlorë with the rest of the Albanian Riviera. Crossing over this pass will give you a breathtaking view over the turquoise coast below.

There is a viewpoint at the very highest point which sits at 1,027 meters above sea level, right before the road begins to descend. This is where you can park the car and get out to admire the dramatic ocean and mountain views.

This is honestly one of the most epic drives I’ve done and one of the highlights of my road trip through Albania. The winding road takes you from the Ceraunian mountain range straight down to the pristine beaches of Dhermi where you can hop in for a refreshing swim.

Most people visiting the Llogara Pass make it a quick stop while passing through on a road trip however you can also see it on day trip from Saranda or Vlorë.

Llogara Pass - One of the best places to stop on the Albanian Riviera

Llogara Pass viewpoint

The Blue Eye of Albania

The Blue Eye is an enchanting natural wonder and one of the most popular places to visit in Albania. It’s located in the beautiful Albanian countryside near the village of Muzinë.

This unique phenomenon consists of a crystal-clear spring with water that bubbles up from a depth of more than 50 meters, creating a vivid blue hue reminiscent of an eye. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering trees, the scenery at the Blue Eye is absolutely breathtaking.

The water at the Blue Eye is so clear that it might entice you to hop in for a swim. It is possible to swim here but the temperature is icy cold (10°C) so be prepared for a very refreshing swim!

Taking a day trip to the Blue Eye from Saranda is the best way to visit, allow for around 3 – 4 hours for the excursion. You can easily book a tour to the Blue Eye which offers a relaxing experience that includes stops at several other attractions near Saranda. 

The Blue Eye is an iconic landmark of Albania

The mysterious Blue Eye is easily one of the most beautiful places in Albania

I couldn’t write a list about the best places to visit in Albania without including the country’s capital! The vibrant capital city of Albania is full of colourful buildings, bustling markets, and rich history.

Explore the historic landmarks of Tirana including Skanderbeg Square, the National History Museum, and the iconic Et’hem Bey Mosque, showcasing the city’s cultural heritage.

Wander through the Blloku district, once a restricted area but now a trendy neighbourhood filled with popular cafes, restaurants, and boutiques, offering a glimpse into Tirana’s modern lifestyle.

Swing by the Castle of Tirana which includes the remnants of a 14th century fortress. Nowadays you’ll find restaurants, cafes and shops within the castle walls making it a fun place to have lunch or drinks. 

Tirana is the capital and a popular place to visit in Albania

Visit Tirana, the bustling capital city of Albania

Off the Beaten Path Places to Visit in Albania

Apollonia .

Dive into centuries worth of history at one of Albania’s most important archaeological sites, the ancient city of Apollonia. Located around 30 minutes north of Vlorë, the ruins are home to over 2700 years worth of fascinating history! The site is set on a hilltop among the olive groves and surrounded by countryside views. 

Apollonia was once thriving city in ancient Illyria which now attracts visitors to marvel at the impressive Greek and Roman buildings. Enjoy a journey through the ages and experience the timeless beauty of Apollonia as you wander past ancient temples, theatres, and the pillars of a 2nd century façade.

The visit ends at the Museum of Apollonia where you’ll get a close look at some of the archaeological findings that have been unearthed from the site. If you’re planning to rent a car and drive to the south from Tirana, Apollonia makes an easy and worthwhile stop on the way down.

The ancient city of Apollonia

The amazing ancient city of Apollonia

Immerse yourself in the local culture and natural beauty of the town of Përmet in southern Albania, not far from Gjirokaster. Located in a beautiful spot in the heart of the Vjosë River Valley, this is a place to connect with nature and local traditions.

Visitors to Përmet can enjoy an authentic experience as you explore the town and stop for lunch at a local tavern, check out Bar Restaurant Trifilia for a nice traditional meal. A unique highlight of Përmet is the huge rock that you can climb up for spectacular city and river views.

Enjoy a dip in the Benje hot spring which are known for their healing properties and stunning scenery. There’s an Ottoman bridge near the springs that spans over the river below, creating a magical scene to enjoy as you bathe in the springs. 

Përmet is often overlooked by visitors to Albania so if you’re a lover of hidden gems, add this lovely town to your Albania bucket list.

Permet Hot Springs

Permet Hot Springs

Not far from Përmet, the town of Tepelena offers more opportunities to connect with Albania’s fascinating culture and history. A great way to visit Tepelena is to combine it with a stop in Përmet on a day trip from Saranda .

Take a step back through history as you wander through the ancient walls of Tepelena Castle, echoing tales of the past. The castle was once the residence of Ali Pasha , a powerful Ottoman ruler known for his political influence.

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Vjosë River, soaking in panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Experience the warmth of traditional Albanian hospitality as you interact with friendly locals and savour authentic cuisine.

Tepelena, Albania

Discover centuries of history in Tepelena

The pretty city of Korçë or Korca is located in the far southeast region of Albania, not far from the Greek border. Very few tourists make it out to this off-the-beaten-path city as it’s fairly out of the way compared to the more popular places in Albania.

For those who make the effort to visit Korçë, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of unique adventures and memorable cultural experiences. Some of the must-dos in Korçë include exploring the city’s lively Ottoman-style bazaar and sampling local delicacies at traditional taverns.

Make a point of visiting the Korca Brewery to taste the famous beer of Albania that you’ll find all over the country. Stop at the National Museum of Medieval Art to see a unique collection of artwork and religious artefacts dating to the Byzantine period.

Visit Korce in southeastern Albania for a unique off the beaten path adventure

The beautiful city of Korçë

The lakeside town of Pogradec lies on the shores of beautiful Lake Ohrid on the far east side of Albania. Lake Ohrid is Europe’s oldest and deepest lake sharing a border with North Macedonia.

Similar to Korçë, Pogradec receives minimal tourism but the town is a nice place to stroll through and it’s surrounded by picturesque landscapes. The history of Pogradec goes all the way back to the 5th century BC when Illyrian tribes inhabited the area.

Take a walk up to the 5th century castle ruins on a hill above town for a stunning panoramic view of the lake. Nearby attractions include Drilon National Park and the small village of Tushemisht which has many canals running through the streets.

Pogradec, Albania

Pogradec, Albania

Discover the historic city of Elbasan in central Albania, known for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture, rich history and vibrant culture. Several times per year the streets of Elbasan come to life with festivals and celebrations that brighten up the city with music, dancing and traditional food.

Get lost in the old quarters of Elbasan. A place where narrow cobblestone streets lead to hidden gems such as historic houses and mosques, providing glimpses into the city’s history and daily life. Visit the Ethnographic Museum which is housed in a traditional Ottoman-era building, to learn about the city’s history, customs, and traditions.

The imposing Elbasan Castle is the centrepiece of the city with a colourful history that can be traced back to the 15th century. The castle is the remaining legacy of Ottoman sultan Mehmed II who built it to protect Elbasan from threats and invasions.

Elbasan Castle walls, one of the best places to visit in central Albania

Elbasan Castle walls and clock tower

Perched atop a rugged hill and surrounded by mountains, Krujë is a captivating little town steeped in history and culture. The iconic Krujë Castle proudly dominates the town as a symbol of resistance against Ottoman invasion. You can visit the castle to learn more about its history and take in the panoramic valley views.

Another highlight of Krujë is exploring the cobbled streets of the Old Bazaar, where vibrant markets stalls and traditional craft shops invite you to browse. This is a fantastic place to pick up a souvenir or two to remember your time in Albania.

Visit the Skanderbeg Museum, dedicated to Albania’s national hero, and learn about his valiant efforts to defend the country’s independence. With its breathtaking scenery, ancient monuments, and historical significance, Krujë is a must-visit destination for travellers exploring central Albania. It makes an easy day trip from Tirana.

Kruje - mountain village of Albania

The village of Krujë is an impressive place to visit in Albania

Valbona Valley National Park

Tucked away in the Albanian Alps, Valbona Valley National Park offers an exciting escape to the unspoiled wilderness of the north. Towering peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers create a dramatic backdrop for outdoor adventures and exploration.

Hikers can traverse scenic trails, leading to alpine meadows, hidden waterfalls, and panoramic viewpoints. The emerald waters of the Valbona River provide opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and picnicking along its scenic banks.

Retreat to a cozy guesthouse or mountain lodge after a long day of adventures where you’ll be greeted by the warm hospitality of the locals. Valbona Valley is one of the best places to visit in Albania for adventurers and those looking to get off the beaten path.

Valbona Valley, Albania

The majestic Valbona Valley of far north Albania

Osumi Canyon

Embark on an unforgettable adventure to the Osumi Canyon, often dubbed as the Grand Canyon of Albania, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. The Osumi Canyon is a natural wonder in southern Albania and a paradise for adventurers and nature enthusiasts.

Its imposing limestone cliffs, reaching heights of up to 100 meters, create a breathtaking landscape of rugged beauty. Visitors can embark on exhilarating hikes through the canyon, navigating its winding paths and hidden caves while marvelling at the pristine wilderness that surrounds them.

Be sure to explore the tranquil waters of the river, where kayaking and rafting offer a unique perspective of the canyon’s sheer walls and lush vegetation. A trip to Osumi Canyon promises a thrilling outdoor experience.

Osumi Canyon, Albania

The incredible Osumi Canyon

Map of Albania’s Best Places

Click the image below to view a larger, interactive version of this map. 

Best Places to visit in Albania

FAQs About Best Places to Visit in Albania

What are the must-visit destinations in albania.

If you’re on a time limit and only have one week to spend, here are the most iconic places in Albania you definitely shouldn’t miss.

  • Gjirokastër
  • The Blue Eye 

How many days do I need to explore the most beautiful places in Albania?

To visit the best places in Albania on a road trip, I would allow a minimum of one week, follow my itinerary to plan your trip. However if you have more time, it would be easy to stretch it out over 10 – 14 days.

Visiting Albania's Blue Eye - The Best Places to visit in Albania

The Blue Eye is an iconic landmark of Albania

Is Albania safe for tourists?

Yes, Albania is generally considered safe for tourists. However, as with any destination, it’s essential to take usual precautions and stay informed about local conditions.

Albania has had a reputation for being a dangerous, crime riddled country thanks to movies like Taken . However this is far from the truth and serious crimes against tourists in Albania are very rare. 

During my stay in Albania, I was blown away by the friendly and welcoming locals. Of course, petty crimes such as pick pocketing can happen anywhere so it’s important to be aware and cautious in busy areas. 

Best Places to Visit in Albania - Shpella-e-Pellumbave

A spectacular cliffside beach near Saranda

Is it safe to drive in Albania?

The internet is full of misconceptions about the dangers of driving in Albania. All it takes is a quick Google search to read all about the poorly maintained roads full of potholes and the crazy Albanian drivers that will inevitably cause you to get in an accident. 

Having driven in Albania on several trips, I can assure you that these articles don’t paint an accurate picture. The roads were mostly fine to drive on, you can expect some potholes as you drive through rural areas but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I expected.

They main thing to watch out for, especially on mountain passes, are the locals who don’t seem to mind overtaking people on blind corners. As long as you are a confident driver who takes things slowly and cautiously on the windy mountain roads, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Just be aware of other drivers not adhering to the rules of the road, as you would be in any other country that you drive in. After driving in countries all over Europe, I don’t see Albanians to be any more dangerous than other nationalities. 

Day Trip to the Blue Eye from Saranda

Explore Albania on a road trip

Where can I rent a car in Albania?

If you’re planning to road trip through Albania , you can easily rent a car in any major city such as Tirana or Saranda. Renting a car is the best way to get around the country, giving you flexibility to explore the landmarks of Albania on your own schedule. 

The best part about driving around Albania is the affordable cost of renting a car. At only 25 – 35 euros per day, this makes renting a car possible for every budget. Of course you also have the option to travel Albania by bus however in my experience, renting a car is definitely the way to go.

→See prices and availability for booking your rental car in Albania online←

Llogara Pass on a day trip from Saranda

Driving over the Llogara Pass on the Albanian Riviera

What is the best time of year to visit Albania’s top destinations?

The best time to visit Albania’s top destinations is during shoulder season aka the spring and autumn months, particularly from April to June and September to October. During these months, the weather is nice and the crowds are thinner compared to the peak summer season, allowing for a more enjoyable experience.

If you’re planning a beach holiday in Albania, I would advise to avoid peak season (July and August) as this is when the south of Albania is at its peak capacity for tourism. Speaking from experience, the beaches in Ksamil are much more enjoyable in September as opposed to July. Not to mention the prices are also cheaper outside of peak season!

The best places to visit in Albania

Visit Albania during shoulder season to avoid crowded beaches

Final Thoughts on Visiting these Famous Landmarks in Albania

I hope that this article has inspired you to get off the beaten path and discover the beauty and charm of this underrated Balkan gem. As you can see, Albania offers a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be explored, from ancient cities to pristine beaches, rugged mountains and bustling cities. 

You could easily spend months exploring the country and still not see it all, there is truly no shortage of spectacular places to visit in Albania. If you’re looking for some useful guides to plan your trip, check out all of my Albania travel articles and itineraries below! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram if you have any questions🙂

Lukova Beach near Saranda, best places to visit in Albania

Wishing you safe and happy travels in Albania!

Read More Albania Travel Guides

  • The Best Restaurants in Saranda
  • The Best Hotels in Saranda
  • The Best Hotels in Ksamil for Every Budget
  • The Best Beaches in Saranda
  • Saranda vs Ksamil – Which town should you stay in? 
  • 12 Awesome Day Trips from Saranda + How to Get There
  • Day Trip to the Blue Eye from Saranda – Ultimate Guide 
  • The Ultimate One Week Albania Road Trip Itinerary

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Bucket list places in Albania

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Home > 25 Unmissable Sites & Places To Visit In Albania Beyond Tirana

25 Unmissable Sites & Places To Visit In Albania Beyond Tirana

Post author Drita

Written by our local expert Drita

Drita is a shy Albanian girl. Her Mom is from Kosovo, her Dad from Serbia. She loves to travel & share travel trips to help first-time travelers exploring Albania & the Balkans.

Explore Albania’s hidden treasures with our guide on places to visit in Albania. While the capital city of Tirana may be a familiar name, this handpicked list of destinations offers a fresh perspective on this captivating country. 

Albania truly has it all – from natural wonders like the mesmerizing Blue Eye Spring and pristine sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters to cultural gems steeped in ancient history and stunning ancient ruins.

Join us as we uncover the secrets of this beautiful nation, nestled among the Balkan countries, and embark on an adventure that promises both awe-inspiring landscapes and rich cultural experiences.

Albania Travel Blog_Best Places To Visit In Albania

Albania is a country that has yet to hit the map of most European tourists . Though a buzz is starting to build about this beautiful country around the Balkans , most of Europe and the world is still pretty unaware of this place. 

In this post, we’ll introduce you to the best of Albania, from the best cities to fun things to do.

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Best Places To Visit In Albania

With soaring mountains, fascinating valley towns with thousands of years of history, national heroes followed by passionate, prideful people, and a riviera that is up and coming as one of the best in Europe, there is no time to wait – make sure you visit Albania before the majority catch wind of the buzz.

For those looking for a bit more information and wanting to be inspired by the place, we are glad you have landed here. Without further ado, here is a list of some of the best places to visit in Albania, including the most impressive cities and small towns throughout the country.

In no particular order, here are ideas on places to go in Albania, covering regions spread evenly throughout the country:

Best Cities To Visit In Southern Albania & Coast

1. gjirokastra – one of the best cities on my list.

Things to Do On The Albanian Riviera - Gjirokastra Castle

Gjirokastra is known for its beautiful Ottoman architecture and excellent location among the snow-capped peaks of the South Albanian Drino Valley. Charming cobbled streets lead to the castle, the most essential part of the city, often called the “City of Stone.”

While visiting Gjirokastra, you will also want to see the Zekate House, an early 19th-century tower considered the best example of Ottoman architecture in the city. This beautiful and fascinating ancient city is easily one of the most beautiful places in Albania.

  • Your Guide To Gjirokastra
  • Find a Gjirokastra tour we recommend here.

2. Albanian Riviera

Albanian Riviera Guide - Gjipe beach

The Albanian Riviera is, without question, one of the most popular tourist spots in Albania. The Riviera has a growing reputation as an important music center with numerous international music festivals, including Turtle Fest and Soundwave Albania.

Nightclubs such as Havana Beach Club near Dermis and Jale Beach’s Follie Marine attract young people from all over Europe to the Albanian Riviera.

The seaside town of Himara is one of the coolest up-and-coming places on the Riviera. The beaches of Llamani, Porto Palermo, and Filikuri are some of the most beautiful in the region. The beach of Drymades is one of the busiest and most fun in the Balkans. The Riviera definitely tops the list if you’re trying to figure out where to go in Albania for a beach vacation.

  • Where To Stay On The Albanian Riviera

3. Pogradec

Pogradec in Albania: Ohrid Lake shore with some people and boats in the late summer

Located on the shore of Lake Ohrid in eastern Albania, Pogradec is one of the most promising places in the country and is well worth a visit.

Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans , and although the Macedonian part of the lake is more popular, the Albanian coastline is undoubtedly growing.

Pogradec is known for its rich folklore, and the Puppet Theater Festival is one of the most interesting events to take place in the country.

Shenk-Jablanica National Park is located about a 30-45-minute drive from Pogradec, near the fountains of Drilon.

  • How To Get From Ohrid To Saranda
  • 5 Most Beautiful Lakes In Albania

Berat one of the places to visit in Albania

Berat is known as the “city of a thousand windows,” thanks to the typical Ottoman-style houses that Berat is famous for. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site  with more than 2,000 years of packed history.

The ancient city of Berat is an absolute must-see in Albania. If you climb to the top of the castle, you will be treated to a fantastic view of the city of Berat . Inside the fortress walls, you will see houses where people still live their everyday lives.

Wine tasting is one of the best things to do, especially for vino lovers. Albania is home to a surprisingly good vineyard scene. You can visit the four best vineyards (Cabo, Nurellari, Malinati, and Luani) in a day and taste the best of local Albanian wine.

Also, you may visit Roshnik – a well-known village in the area of Berat, which is often called the cleanest and one of the most civilized villages.

If you are a budget traveler and love to connect with other travelers while backpacking, you should stay at Berat Backpackers, an excellent hostel in one of the most beautiful places in Albania; you  can find rates and availabilities here .

  • Best Things To Do In Berat
  • Where To Stay In Berat
  • Find a Berat tour we recommend here

A donkey standing next to a red door in Qeparo, a popular place to visit in Albania

Okay – confession – Upper Qeparo is magical and maybe my favorite place in Albania (and no, not just because of the donkey I saw). It is an ideal place to see a traditional Albanian village but with a quirk: the village was left half abandoned.

After the fall of communism, many people went abroad, and the village was completely deserted. About half of the village is renovated, but many old stone houses are still in ruins. The streets are touched with age, with beautiful views and a rich history surrounding them.

You might lack things to do, but that is the beauty of this quiet, authentic village.

Where To Go In Albania - Dhermi

With turquoise waters and beautiful secluded beaches, the beautiful landscape of Dhermi attracts young Albanians from all over the country in summer. Not only the beaches but also Dhermi is the epicenter of lively nightlife, another reason the young people flock here when school’s out.

The city is situated on a hill overlooking the sea and offers spectacular sunsets. Take a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants at sunset; it is always an excellent way to spend the neon evening in Dhermi.

Although this place offers a cheerful and festive atmosphere , with lively beach bars scattered throughout, there are more than enough beaches for a quiet place to sit and enjoy the Albanian Riviera landscape.

7. Theth National Park – Albanian Alps

8 Ideas For Biking And Hiking In Eastern Europe_Blue Eye of Theth

If you like to spend time outdoors, Theth is undoubtedly one of the best places in Albania and makes for a great Albania weekend getaway.

Nature lovers will enjoy the serene landscapes and charming villages that are still filled with authentic traditions, cuisine, and unique cultures.

Far away from the largest Albanian cities, tucked in the north of the country at the top of the Albanian Alps , Theth remains quiet and quaint most of the year.

T he National Park in Theth is probably the most beautiful place in Albania, with Grunas Falls and the Lock-in Tower well-liked by tourists. If you’re planning a getaway in nature, Theth is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania for sure.

Mount Theti, Razma, Boga, and Vermoshi offer an unforgettable experience of Albania in its most natural state, experiences you certainly cannot miss. If you love the outdoors, Albania is one of the best places you can travel to in Europe.

  • How To Get From Shkoder To Theth
  • Theth To Valbona Hike In The Albanian Alps
  • Find a Theth tour we recommend here.

8. Osumi Canyon – Kanionet e Osumit

Albania - Osum river canyon - kaniones Osumi Drone. High quality photo

Tucked away in the south of Albania, the Osumi Canyons offer an adventure like no other.

This natural wonder boasts soaring cliffs, emerald waters, and dramatic rock formations, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers. You can embark on a thrilling canyoning expedition, navigating through the canyon’s twists and turns.

Marvel at the sheer walls rising around you as you traverse the pristine waters. The Osumi Canyon is a hidden gem where you can connect with the raw beauty of Albania’s landscapes.

View of Lake Ohrid with fisherman boats near Lin in Albania

The picturesque village of Lin is located on a small peninsula on the western shore of Lake Ohrid. This beautiful lake separates Albania from neighboring North Macedonia and is an important region of study for the southeastern part of the country.

Lin, on the Albanian side of the lake, is a beautiful place, which is obviously its main attraction. It is a lovely village with many sandy and pebbly beaches , ideal for a picnic on a sunny afternoon or paddleboarding on the calm, beautiful waters of Ohrid.

10. Saranda

Best Hotels In Saranda, ALBANIA - beach

A coastal gem on the Ionian Sea , Saranda is a popular destination for sun and sea lovers. Its beautiful beaches, including Ksamil and Mirror Beach, offer a chance to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun. Saranda is also a gateway to exploring ancient sites like Butrint and the mesmerizing Blue Eye.

The town’s vibrant waterfront promenade comes alive in the evenings, offering a taste of Albania’s lively nightlife.

Lekursi Castle is one of the best places in Saranda where people can go to enjoy breathtaking sunsets. Saranda is a short trip across the Ionian Sea and just an arm’s length away from the famous Greek island of Corfu .

  • Rent A Car In Saranda
  • Fun Things To Do In Saranda
  • Where To Stay In Saranda

Things To Do In Himare, Albania - Sunbathers on the beach in Himare resort, Albania.

Himare is a quieter coastal town  a few hours north of Saranda. The views are breathtaking and ideal for resting on the beach for a few days.

The popular promenade has several good restaurants to try, and if you are looking for a calmer and cooler atmosphere than Saranda , it is one of the best places in Albania where you can relax. But for party animals, there are still plenty of restaurants and nightlife to keep the thirst for excitement alive.

  • Epic Things To Do In Himare
  • Find a Himare tour we recommend here

Brands We Use And Trust

Best places to see in central albania.

Best Castles In Albania - Durrës Castle

Once the capital of Albania, Durres is located near Tirana , on the country’s coast. This is a very popular destination, meaning there can be gobs of people here spilling over from Tirana in the summer months.

With one of the largest ports of the Adriatic, the city is somewhat suffocated with development. However, there is a good stretch of beach where tourists and locals can enjoy many lovely beaches. And along the promenade, many restaurants offer delicious fresh seafood near the sand.

Over thousands of years, a war between Bulgarians, Greeks, Venetians, and Turks has made this city’s history as rich as its beaches. The impressive Roman amphitheater and the fantastic archaeological museum are among the biggest pulls to the town.

  • How To Get From Tirana To Durres
  • How To Get From Saranda To Durres
  • Find a Durres tour we recommend here

13. Mount Dajti National Park

Albania in Winter - View of the Dajti Express cable car and lake

For those seeking tranquility in the heart of nature, Mount Dajti National Park is a haven. Located in southern Albania, this park offers a serene escape with its lush forests, pristine lakes, and some of the best hiking trails in the Balkans .

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply yearning for a peaceful retreat, you’ll find solace in the park’s natural beauty. Hike to the summit for panoramic views, explore the serene Liqeni i Dhëmbelit (Tooth Lake), or relish the peaceful ambiance away from the bustling world.

  • Best National Parks In Albania

Things To Do In The Albanian Riviera - Ksamil Beach

South of Saranda, near the Greek border, is the beautiful seaside resort town of Ksamil, located in Butrint National Park. It has an impressive coastal location with many flocking to it.

Ksamil is one of the best beach towns in Europe and will make you feel as though you have just touched down at the beaches of the Caribbean. It is an escape in Europe like none other.

The village has bars and restaurants on the beach and four small coastal islands surrounded by crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming and diving.

This is undoubtedly one of the last unknown treasures on the continent. Today, however, more and more tourists are finding Ksamil, and it is rapidly growing into one of the most popular destinations in Albania.

One of the best beaches in Albania, featuring a majestic palm tree on its sandy shore.

In 1912, Albania declared independence in Vlore. Therefore, Vlore holds a special place in the hearts of us Albanians. That is why the Museum of Independence is located in this small town .

If you are a huge history buff looking to engulf yourself in Albanian history, you can go to the ancient Kanina Castle. According to local projections, the castle dates back to the 3rd Century B.C.

If you are interested in nature and the beautiful Albanian environment, you can visit the Bay of Vlora. You can enjoy the gentle sea breeze and simultaneously observe the bay’s fauna. There are many species of animals in the area, some of which you may not be familiar with or have ever imagined seeing in Europe.

Balkan Cities - Kruja castle in Albania

On paper and in person, Kruja is an ideal small-town road trip destination. It is small enough to be seen in a short afternoon or evening with loads of local history and beautiful Albania scenery to go with it. Not to mention, it is less than an hour away from the country’s capital, Tirana.

Located just 20 miles northwest of Tirana, Kruja is a historic city at the foot of the impressive mountain by the same name. It is a small hillside town whose roads are as sloped as they are jagged from the worn cobblestone. You will have fun walking the streets for the afternoon and stopping at a cafe for a local fix.

The population is around 60,000, which is to be expected in the suburbs of Albania’s biggest city. As such, there is enough entertainment and things to do to occupy as long as you like; however, there is no need to spend more than a few hours if you prefer.

Kruja is the hometown of an Albanian hero, a man named Skanderbeg, whose memory isn’t lost in the hearts of the Albanian people. Visit the medieval castle, the site of a legendary battle won by Skanderbeg against the Ottoman Turks, and make a stop at the Skanderbeg Museum. You will surely be educated on Albania’s famous hero while visiting, making Kruja one of the top 10 things to do in Albania for history buffs , no question.

With such close proximity to Tirana, you would be much better off finding a place to sleep in the capital city .

Here are some of our favorites there:

  • Hotel Panorama : Check out the hotel & prices here ↳
  • Mervin Hotel : Check out the hotel & prices here ↳
  • Sar’Otel Boutique Hotel : Check out the hotel & prices here ↳
  • Souvenirs To Buy In Kruja & Throughout Albania
  • Find a Kruja tour we recommend here

Natural Wonders & Parks To See In Albania

17. the blue eye.

Blue Eye Albania - Syri i Kalter or Blue Eye, a natural spring

Nature’s own masterpiece, the Blue Eye, is a mesmerizing natural spring in southern Albania. Its crystal-clear waters form a stunning pool that’s so clear you can see the depths below.

The vibrant blue hue of the water, surrounded by lush greenery, is truly a sight to behold. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing swim or a serene spot for a picnic, the Blue Eye offers a unique and refreshing experience.

  • The Beauty Of The Blue Eye

18. Butrint National Park

Butrin - Things to Do In The Albanian Riviera

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Butrint National Park is an archaeological wonderland that allows you to step back in time.

The ancient city of Butrint, nestled within the park, boasts Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian ruins, all shrouded in lush greenery. Wander through ancient theaters, temples, and fortifications as you uncover layers of history.

The Greeks lived in Butrint in the 6th Century B.C., and later, the Romans seized power. Butrint is one of the longest-inhabited cities in Europe. The first remains of life date back to 50,000 years ago! You can’t imagine the history this city holds.

What sets Butrint apart is its unique blend of nature and antiquity, with a backdrop of forests and wetlands that provide a haven for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts.

  • How To Get From Saranda To Butrint
  • UNESCO Sites Of Albania
  • Find a Butrint tour we recommend here

A brick building in Korca that is a must-see on your guided tour.

Known as the “City of Serenades,” Korca is a charming town in southeastern Albania that exudes a laid-back vibe.

It’s a great place to visit to explore Albania’s cultural heritage, with its traditional architecture, the country’s best museums, and lively local markets. Don’t miss the chance to savor the local cuisine and experience the warmth of Albanian hospitality.

Korca offers a glimpse into everyday life in Albania, away from the tourist crowds.

  • What To See & Do In Korca

20. Bovilla Lake

A cloudy sky over Bovilla Lake one of the serene places to visit in Albania

Nestled in the hills surrounding Tirana, Bovilla Lake is a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to unwind and enjoy nature. You can take a boat ride on the lake, have a leisurely picnic, or hike in the nearby hills for panoramic views. The tranquil atmosphere and natural beauty make Bovilla Lake a perfect day trip from Tirana.

  • Where To Go Hiking In Albania

Northern Albania

21. shkoder.

Best Castles In Albania - Old church in Rozafa castle ruins near Shkodra city

Located in the north of Albania, this picturesque city is one of Albania’s best destinations and a good starting point for fantastic road trips through the region. You will learn that Shkoder is a city of bicycles. Most locals you find, especially around the center, all ride bicycles as transport around town.

It is also an incredibly cheap place. If you are looking for a place in Albania where you get the best value for your money, look no further than Shkoder.

Travel back in time with the charm of Shkoder. The architecture is different from any other city in Albania. You might even feel like you are in an old-school film nearly a Century back in time.

If you were learning some simple phrases in Albanian, you might have difficulties conveying them in Shkoder. Southern Albanians speak a different dialect than northern Albanians, like in Shkoder.

Find a Shkoder tour we recommend here.

Vuno’s not on the tourist radar anymore, much less on the local radar. It is a tiny town along the route to the Albanian Riviera.

Vuno has the same charm as Upper Queparo, which I love so much. Traditional stone houses and cobblestoned roads pass through the village and lead to a beautiful view of the olive groves and beaches along the Albanian Riviera. However, Vuno was abandoned decades ago and is only slowly (very slowly) rebuilding.

Gjipe Beach is not far away, and it is nice to chill if you stay in Vuno for a few nights.

23. Apollonia

Where To Go In Albania - Temple ruins in Apollonia Albania

Apollonia is an ancient city that flourished during the Roman Empire. Today’s biggest draw to the town for you is all the well-preserved ancient buildings and remains inside the Apollonian Archaeological Park. It is a must-see for those who are into Roman architecture and the period.

Find an Apollonia tour we recommend here.

A sandy beach with umbrellas, a must-visit place.

One of the best places in Albania is Borscht. Borsch has the longest beach in Albania, making it one of the most noteworthy in the country. Situated among olive groves, it is a beautiful place to hide from the madness of Saranda in summer.

We highly suggest visiting Borsch Castle, which is located on the mountain overlooking the beach. The castle is in ruins but is still often completely forgotten by tourists. The view is breathtaking, and there is still a reason to visit it.

The castle also has an old mosque, which the Turks added. The mosque does not hold services because it is almost completely destroyed. However, its beautiful interior is still pretty much intact, and you can see some awe-inspiring paintings on the ceiling.

Things To See In Tirana & Surroundings

25. et’hem bey mosque, tirana.

THINGS TO DO IN TIRANA, ALBANIA - Clock Tower and Mosque in the center, Tirana, Albania

The largest city in Albania, Tirana is home to Et’hem Bay Mosque, which demonstrates the beauty and friendliness of Islam. It is not a large mosque, but the Et’hem Bay mosque has a beautiful architectural structure. The dome’s interior has a complex image that will make your jaw drop. This mosque is not only a religious but also a historical symbol for Albania.

Apart from the mosque, Tirana is packed with sites such as Bunk’Art, Dajti Mountains National Park, the National History Museum, the National Art Gallery, Sheshi Skenderbej, and many other attractions.

  • How To Spend A Weekend In Tirana
  • Top Places To Stay In Tirana
  • Massive List Of Things To Do In Tirana

Albania Travel Guide: What To Know Before You Go

The best part about Albania as a holiday destination is undoubtedly the unknown. Not everyone has weighed in on their experiences, but those who’ve been there know what it’s like. Those who haven’t can only guess.

Hopefully, the following information will allow you to paint a clearer picture of the best of Albania and where to go in Albania.

Transportation In And Around Albania

What To Wear In Albania_Sarande

Getting around Albania as a tourist is an adventure in itself, and honestly, it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. The country’s transport system offers a mix of modernity and a touch of the old school, giving you a real feel of the place.

First things first, buses and furgons (minibuses) are your best bet for getting from city to city. They’re affordable, reasonably reliable, and a great way to mingle with locals. Just be prepared for a lack of strict schedules; furgons, for example, tend to leave when they’re full. It’s part of the charm, really.

For those looking to explore more remote areas, renting a car might be the way to go. It gives you the freedom to discover Albania at your own pace, and while the roads can be a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality, the stunning views you’ll encounter are worth every bump. Just make sure you’re comfortable with a bit of adventurous driving.

In cities, walking or grabbing a taxi for short distances is your best move. Taxis are relatively inexpensive, but it’s a good idea to agree on the fare before you start your journey to avoid any surprises. For the tech-savvy traveler, Albania does not have Uber or Lyft. Instead, you will need to use the local Speed Taxi App, which makes it easy to get around the urban areas.

And here’s a little tip: don’t hesitate to ask locals for directions or advice on getting around. Albanians are known for their hospitality and are usually more than happy to help a visitor out. So, whether you’re navigating the bustling streets of Tirana, exploring the historical sites, or soaking up the sun on the Albanian Riviera, getting around is all part of the experience.

Other Expenses In Albania

Hiking In The Balkans - Beautiful landscape of Accursed Mountains viewed from Valbona-Theth

Let’s break down the expenses you’re likely to face so you can enjoy your trip without any money woes. First off, accommodation prices can vary widely, from budget-friendly hostels to more luxurious hotels . Hostels are a steal, especially if you’re cool with sharing a room. For a bit more privacy, guesthouses or mid-range hotels are the way to go, and they won’t break the bank either.

Food is another area where you can either save or splurge. Street food and local eateries are your best friends if you’re looking to keep costs down. They offer delicious, authentic Albanian dishes at prices that are hard to beat. If you feel like treating yourself, there are also higher-end restaurants where you can indulge in gourmet meals at a fraction of what you’d pay back home.

Getting around is another consideration. Public transport, like buses and furgons (minibusses), is dirt cheap, but brace yourself for a lack of punctuality. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace, though fuel and rental fees add up. For city jaunts, taxis are convenient and reasonably priced; make sure to agree on the fare upfront.

Don’t forget about entrance fees for museums, historical sites, and natural parks. They’re usually not too steep, but they can add up if you’re hitting up multiple spots in a day. Lastly, set aside some cash for souvenirs and unexpected finds; Albanian markets are treasure troves of unique gifts and handmade crafts.

All in all, Albania is a budget-friendly destination, but like any trip, it’s the unplanned adventures that often become the most memorable (and sometimes the costliest).

And don’t forget to budget for a few authentic, local souvenirs to remember your travels!

Albania itineraries for the places to go in albania.

Here are a few examples of how to spend the weekend exploring the top sites in Albania. We’ve also listed longer itineraries for travelers who appreciate fresh air and discovering some more of the many beautiful places in Albania for more than a weekend.

  • Day 1 : Tirana (explore Skanderbeg Square, National History Museum)
  • Day 2 : Krujë (visit Krujë Castle and the Old Bazaar)
  • Day 1 : Tirana
  • Day 2 : Durrës (enjoy the beaches and visit the Roman Amphitheatre)
  • Day 3 : Berat (explore the historic castle and Ottoman architecture)
  • Day 2 : Berat
  • Day 3 : Gjirokastër (visit the fortress and the Ethnographic Museum)
  • Day 4 : Sarandë (explore the city and nearby beaches)
  • Day 5 : Butrint National Park (discover ancient ruins)
  • Day 2 : Krujë
  • Day 3 : Shkodër (visit Rozafa Castle and the Mes Bridge)
  • Day 4 : Berat
  • Day 5 : Gjirokastër
  • Day 6 : Sarandë
  • Day 7 : Butrint National Park
  • Day 3 : Shkodër
  • Day 5 : Apollonia Archaeological Park (en route to Gjirokastër)
  • Day 6 : Gjirokastër
  • Day 7 : Sarandë
  • Day 8 : Butrint National Park
  • Day 9 : Himarë (enjoy the beaches and relax)
  • Day 10 : Return to Tirana or departure city

Best Time To Visit Albania

If you’re eyeing a trip to Albania, nailing the timing can massively enhance your experience. Planning your trip to Albania between April and June or September and October is hitting the travel jackpot. These months offer that just-right weather: comfortably warm, tailor-made for outdoor jaunts without battling the summer blaze. Plus, you sidestep the tourist tide, ensuring a chill vibe as you delve into Albania’s treasures or bask in its serene aura.

Albania, no doubt one of the best up-and-coming spots on the travel map, shines during these shoulder seasons. You’ll stumble upon tranquil spots aplenty, making it a breeze to soak up the nation’s raw beauty and rich culture at your own rhythm. It’s best for hiking enthusiasts, offering paths through some of the most stunning landscapes you’ll ever tread – without the hassle of scorching heat or the unpredictability that comes with winter.

July and August, while they promise minimal rain and generous sunshine, crank up the heat, especially along the coast and within city confines. Yet, for the beach aficionados, it’s perhaps best to note the sea’s allure peaks towards summer’s end. The waters are invitingly warm, perfect for a dip, and the sands begin to whisper peace as the tourist buzz fades.

Here are the best beaches in Albania.

There is no wrong time to visit Albania, though; any time away from work you can get, you should visit this mesmerizing Balkan country .

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Final Word On Albania

As we conclude our tour of Albania’s hidden gems and must-see places, you’ll find that this country is a true gem. From the bustling Skanderbeg Square to ancient archaeological sites, Albania offers so many experiences.

Relax on pristine beaches along the Adriatic Sea or venture into the surrounding areas with picturesque mountain ranges like Llogara Pass and national parks such as Theth and Llogara.

Albania’s transformation from a closed communist regime has made it a safe and welcoming destination. Whether you’re road-tripping, exploring major cities, or enjoying hot springs , Albania’s natural beauty, pristine beaches, and rich culture are sure to leave a mark.

With reliable public transportation and affordable taxi options, Albania is an excellent base for exploring nearby mountains, coastal roads, and lakes. Whether it’s your first visit or a return to uncover more, Albania awaits with open arms. Explore this Balkan country, and you’ll quickly understand why it’s becoming a sought-after European destination.

  • If You Have Kids, These Are The Must-See Sights In Albania
  • List Of Things To Do In Albania
  • Explore The City Of Tirana, Albania
  • Albania Accommodation
  • Best Time To Visit Albania 

Comments (7)

We recently visited my son, who lives in Albania. I followed a number of your recommendations & we had the trip of our lives. I’m planning my next trip back, and I want to thank you for promoting this beautiful country.

We recently visited my son who moved to Albania a year ago. I followed your blog and included a number of your recommendations in our Albanian travels (the BEST was Lili at Homemade Food Lili in Berat. What an experience!). There are not many bloggers who include Albania in their travels.. I’m so thankful you did. What a beautiful country with the kindest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met in all my travels. Planning my next trip back soon.

I would like to hire a car in tirana city and one way to sarande Any reputable albanian hire car in tirana please

Did you find one? Planning on doing the same

please, when you take the responsibility to advertise the tourism in Albania, you better learn the history properly. Everything you see in Albania speaks Albanian, neither roman nor greek. It requires deeper study to tell the world that Butrinti, and all historic sites of ALBANIA speak the history of ALBANIANS who were the ones to create other NATIONS. Descending by Pelasgians/Illyrians, the ALBANIAN people are the oldest in Balkan/ILLYRIAN Peninsula and their ALBANIAN Language is the base of all the other languages that our neighbours speak. The time will come when the world will learn that TROJ=LAND or T’ +ROJ= TO+LIVE= was the land inhabited by ALBANIAN speaking people and was the only EMPIRE before roman and byzant were introduced. The logic says that it should be 1 and then you can divide it by smaller 2 pieces. please don’t take credits of ALBANIAN history and give them to others before knowing the TRUTH- Before GOD you are very WRONG and so before us, ALBANIANS-thanks

I have just one day in Tirana what could i see?

Hmm, maybe enjoy a traditional Albanian meal at one of the local restaurants in the Blloku district. (This area is known for its vibrant atmosphere) as well as Bunk’Art and a wander the city. Try looking here for other ideas https://www.chasingthedonkey.com/a-weekend-in-tirana-in-48-hours/

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12 of the best things to do in Albania

After years of isolation, albania is now one of europe’s most sought-after destinations. with wild scenery, diverse culture and warm hospitality, it’s also home to some of the most spectacular nature on the continent.

best places to visit albania

A lbania, sandwiched between Montenegro and Greece on the Balkan peninsula, is having a moment. A country that was closed to the world just over 30 years ago has blossomed and is welcoming an increasing number of visitors — nearly three million in 2019 — keen to explore its unique culture and traditions.

Writer Ismail Kadare once said that “an Albanian’s house is the dwelling of god and the guest” to describe the country’s warm welcome. I know this intimately: I came to Albania for a long weekend in 2017 and never left. I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country since then, and found it unlike anywhere else in Europe. Prices are far below those in most of the traditional European holiday hotspots, which has made it attractive for visitors — you could get by on £20 a day or less, including camping or a hostel, great Albanian food and even a glass of wine. Food, drink and transport are at least half the price they are in the UK, while entrance to sites is either free or equivalent to a pound or two.

The capital, Tirana, ideal for city breaks, is a fascinating mix of fascist-era Italian-style buildings painted in bright hues of yellow and pink, mural-covered communist-era apartments, and men drinking coffee and playing dominoes in the streets. But the real beauty of Albania is found outside the cities, where vast mountain ranges run from north to south like a craggy spine, with azure rivers winding through their vast canyons. Here are the top things to do in Albania.

Main photo: a ferry cruise boat on Komani Lake near the Albanian town of Fierze (Getty Images)

The distinctive architecture of Gjirokastra (Alamy)

1. See the world heritage towns of Berat and Gjirokastra

The Unesco world heritage site towns of Berat and Gjirokastra in southern Albania are unmissable for their Ottoman architecture, castles and bazaars. In Berat, visit the Solomon Museum, tracing the history of Albania’s Jews; in Gjirokaster, the historic Skenduli House and the Ethnographic Museum provide unique insight into Albania’s cultural quirks.

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The ruins of Butrint (Alamy)

2. Walk through Balkan history

Visit Butrint on Albania’s western coast, a Unesco world heritage site where you can walk through thousands of years of Balkan history via ancient amphitheatres, bastions and forts; or Apollonia, which dates back to the sixth century BC. Divjake is also a must-see, with bicycle paths, lagoons and beaches, pelicans and flamingoes. Eat at restaurant Ali Kali, meaning “horse”, where a waiter serves all-you-can-eat fish on horseback.

The beach at Saranda (Alamy)

3. Relax on the Albanian Riviera

The Albanian Riviera on the Ionian Sea stretches from the city of Vlore to Saranda, just across the water from Corfu, and is a mix of whitewashed villages perched on rocky outcrops and glorious beaches that stretches for miles. Amid its winding roads and olive groves are opportunities to visit music festivals or see ancient ghost towns such as Tragjas.

Kol Gjoni, a bujtina in Valbona Valley (Alamy)

4. Check into a traditional guesthouse

“Bujtinas” are found throughout the country. These traditional family-run guest houses are a great way to immerse yourself in the country, and will serve local delicacies including candied watermelon (gliko) and slabs of goat’s cheese, alongside stories from years ago. The best are found in mountainous Tropoje and in the remote southeastern town of Voskopoje — both great during the snowy winter months.

The bunker entrance to the Bunk’art 2 museum in Tirana (Alamy)

5. Understand Albania’s history in Tirana

You’ll need a couple of days to explore Tirana, the capital of Albania. It’s a compact city: most of the big sights are accessible on foot, and Tirana Free Tour will show you round for nothing. Don’t miss the House of Leaves and museums Bunk’art 1 and 2, all of which provide a harrowing look at the rule of former dictator Enver Hoxha.

Other must-see sights include the National History Museum, Tirana Castle, the Dajti Ekspres cable car and Tirana Zoo. Stop to see the house of Ali Shijaku, with its traditional interior, floor-to-ceiling artworks and a cobbled courtyard perfect for drinking coffee in.

tiranafreetour.com

Street life in Shkodra (Alamy)

6. Shop for souvenirs in the Accursed Mountains

A trip to the remote village of Theth in the Accursed Mountains — also known as the Albanian Alps — is a must, as is a ferry ride across Komani Lake to stone guesthouses only accessible via the water. Here you can hike or just relax while enjoying fresh Albanian cuisine such as meat baked in yoghurt, bean stews with peppers, or fresh fish served with seasonal salads. In the villages of Lezhe and Shkodra, there are opportunities to visit winemakers, potters and ateliers where vibrant bolts of fabric are hand-woven from wool and silk.

albania.al/destinations/albanian-alps

Theth National Park (Alamy)

7. Hike national parks — but beware of bears

Heading off into any of Albania’s national parks — Llogara or Valbona being two great examples — is always an adventure; just watch out for the Balkan lynx, bears, and wolves who frequent them. Here you can walk, bike, ride, canoe, wild camp and even paraglide.

albania.al/destinations/national-parks

The ruins of Spac (Alamy)

8. Visit a former communist gulag

The former communist gulag of Spac near Reps is a sobering experience that provides some context to Albania’s complex past. Clinging to the top of a mountain are the ruins of the former prison, including cell blocks, interrogation rooms, isolation cells and administrative buildings. Visitors can look down into the valley below where bodies of those who died due to malnutrition or disobeying orders were thrown, or up towards the mines where people were forced to work long hours in the freezing cold, often for decades at a time. It’s not a joyful experience, but Spac is an important reminder of the struggles Albania has endured.

www.wmf.org/project/spa%C3%A7-prison

At the Venice Art Mask Factory in Shkodra (Getty Images)

9. Visit a Venetian mask factory in Shkodra

At the Venice Art Mask Factory in Shkodra, 50 staff hand-craft Venetian masks of more than 1,700 distinct designs that are exported around the world. Alongside the factory, you’ll find a museum dedicated to Italian photographer Pietro Marubi, who spent most of his life in the city. Shkoder is also home to a spectacular 4,000-year-old castle that sits 130m above the shores of Lake Shkoder and is framed by the Albanian Alps.

nomads-travel-guide.com/places/venice-art-mask-factory

10. Give back to the community at the Fundjave Ndryshe centre

Visit the non-profit Fundjave Ndryshe centre, just outside Tirana, for a meal. You’ll be served dishes such as raw seafood marinated in lemon juice, pasta and risotto with locally grown truffles and a wide selection of Albanian mezze. The best part is that the money you spend is directly ploughed back into the cause, which helps vulnerable local people with housing and English lessons.

fundjavendryshe.org

Ardenica Monastery (Getty Images)

11. Find art in a monastery

Ardenica Monastery in Fier County is reported to be where 15th-century Albanian hero Gjergj Kastrioti, known as Skanderbeg, was married; much later, it was repurposed as a nightclub for the communist elite. The club is no more, but behind the carved oak doors of the 12th-century Eastern Orthodox monastery you can see intricate gold-tinted frescoes painted by some of Albania’s best artists, dating from the 1700s and 1800s.

spottinghistory.com/view/9334/ardenica-monastery

A fisherman on the Vjosa river (Alamy)

12. Follow the path of the Vjosa river

Trace the river Vjosa through the country, stopping at towns and villages on the way. Start in Permet, famous for hot springs and roses, and head to Tepelene, the birthplace of the great Ali Pasha, before continuing to Vlora, where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea.

see-river.net/about-river.5.html

Inspired to visit Albania but yet to book your trip? Here are the best packages from BA Holidays and Expedia . These are the best tours of Albania from our trusted partners .

Sign up for the Times Travel Newsletter here .

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The Perfect 5 to 7 Days in Albania Itinerary

Published on October 25, 2023

by Michael Rozenblit

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best places to visit albania

As one of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations in Europe (and even in the Balkans) planning out the perfect Albania itinerary can seem a bit of a challenge. Figuring out where to go, what to see and how to get around when you only have 5 to 7 days in Albania can seem a bit overwhelming.

Albania is a beautiful country in the southeast of Europe with miles and miles of gorgeous Adriatic coastline to rival that of Croatia and Montenegro, vibrant cities that pulse with youthful energy and life and historic ruins with a fraction of the crowds that you’ll find in neighbouring Greece.

If you are considering a trip to Albania and don’t know where to start, then this itinerary is sure to be a help. In it, we outline a route so you can figure out how to spend five to seven days (or more!) exploring this gorgeous Balkan nation.

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Albania?

Before mapping out the details of your route, you’re likely wondering how many days in Albania in order to see a lot of diverse places and also not feel rushed (or spend too much time in transit and not enough time in the destinations itself).

In general, plan to spend at the very least 5 days in Albania if you want to see more than just the capital. Ideally, you would want a week or more if you want to spend time in an array of different locations in the country.

Albania is not a large country, however, it can take a bit of time to get from one point to another so this is something to keep in mind when figuring out how many days to set aside for your itinerary. There are also a surprising amount of great places to visit that really deserve the time, so if you can, try to spend one week in Albania.

Even if you only have 5 days to spend, you will still be able to take in a great deal of sites and historic towns and cities in the centre of the country. While you may not have all the time to see the southern Adriatic coast or some of the ancient ruins the country has to offer, it’s enough time to get a good feel for the nation.

Town of Berat

Getting To & Around Albania

If you plan to simply visit Albania as a stand-alone trip, then your best bet is to fly into Tirana’s international airport. There are quite a few connections to Tirana from destinations all over Europe, so it’s easy to get to from abroad.

Many travellers also head to Albania as part of a longer trip through the Balkans or Greece. If you’re coming from elsewhere in the Balkans. you can arrive to Albania via bus from Montenegro, North Macedonia or Kosovo. Most major cities in these areas have connections to Tirana and it can be a great continuation for your trip.

If you’re travelling to Albania from Greece, you can reach the country via ferry from Corfu or overland from the mainland. Regardless, it would make the most sense to do this route in reverse – beginning in Sarande and ending in Tirana.

Once in Albania, it can be tough to figure out how to get around. In the cities like Tirana, you can generally rely on your own two feet while there. And if you want to get around via public transport, this is definitely a viable option.

There is a robust bus network in Albania, however, it can be a bit of a challenge to navigate it and to figure out where there are connections. If you’re in doubt, always check with the reception at your accommodation – they will likely be able to set you in the right direction.

If you are adventurous and want to take the most control over your trip to Albania, then consider hiring a car .

Driving in Albania can be a bit chaotic and it’s best if you feel you are experienced, however, it can be worth it if you want to have the most freedom in your itinerary and want to venture even further off the beaten path. An Albania road trip is a great idea if you’re a confident driver!

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana

5 to 7-Day Albania Itinerary

Day 1 – tirana.

The most logical starting point for any Albania trip is its capital city of Tirana . Located in the north centre of the country, spending a couple of days exploring this dynamic and chaotic city is essential whenever you travel to Albania.

Spend your first day seeing the highlights of Tirana. It’s a pretty compact city and most things are located within easy reach of one another, however, there is a lot packed into a small area. To learn more about the history of the city, consider joining a free walking tour  or  a paid walking tour  of the city.

Begin in Skanderbeg Square, the main gathering point in the city. From there, you can visit the National History Museum and take in the imposing Et’hem Bej Mosque.

Those interested in Albania’s communist history will be interested in the House of Leaves Museum and, of course, you cannot miss a stroll along the pedestrianised Rruga Murat Toptani and exploring the Fortress of Justinian area.

National History Museum in Tirana

Where to Stay in Tirana

Hotel Antigone – Centrally located in the heart of Tirana, this 3-star hotel has a range of rooms along with breakfast, room service and an on-site restaurant and bar.

Hotel Boutique Vila 135 – This luxury hotel in the centre of Tirana has amenities like breakfast, a restaurant/bar on site, parking included and an airport shuttle. There are several plush rooms on offer.

Trip’n Hostel   – Offering both dorms and private rooms, this hostel is centrally located and has great common areas for guests to enjoy. A perfect option for budget and solo travellers.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Tirana hotels!

Day 2 – Tirana

Your second day should also be dedicated to digging deeper in Tirana and seeing more of what this city has to offer.

Spend some time at the Bunk’Art 2 Museum, a converted communist-era bunker turned history museum. Then, cross the river over the Tanner’s Bridge and take some time to explore the Blloku neighbourhood.

Here, you can take in iconic buildings like the Pyramid of Tirana (built as a museum dedicated to former dictator Enver Hoxha) and take in Mother Teresa Square or visit the Grand Park of Tirana. After taking in this area of the city, it’s time to get a great view.

Ride the cable car (known as the Dajti Express) to the top of Moun Dajti, a mountain overlooking the city. Here, there are plenty of fun activities, such as mini golf and rollerblading.

The Pyramid in Tirana

Day 3 – Durres

After a couple of days exploring Tirana, it’s time to move on and see some other areas of the country. Plan to spend the majority of your day in the coastal town of Durres, however, where you choose to spend the night is up to you.

Especially if you’re travelling around by a rental car, it can be easy to stop in Durres for the day and end in Berat to spend the night.

You could also do this if travelling by bus as the buses from Tirana to Berat stop in Durres, so it is on the way – if you are taking public transport, you will have to find storage for your luggage, which can be an inconvenience. You could also opt to spend the night in Durres and continue onto Berat first thing the next morning.

Durres is located only about 30 minutes drive and 45 minutes on the bus from Tirana. Once you’re there, the best activity is to simply take the time to lounge on the beautiful beach and enjoy the gorgeous Adriatic.

You can also take in historic sites – most notably the Durres Amphitheatre. This massive amphitheatre dates back to the 2nd century CE and is very impressive. History buffs will also love the Archaeological Museum, which houses artefacts from the Hellenistic, Greek and Roman periods.

Durres Amphitheatre

Where to Stay in Berat

Hotel Bila Nino – This 3-star hotel in Berat has a number of comfortable rooms along with a garden, terrace and bar for guests to enjoy. There is also free parking on site.

Hotel Republika Berat – A good luxury option, this 4-star hotel is located in the centre of Berat. They have a range of rooms to choose from, private parking, an airport shuttle and breakfast each morning.

Berat Backpackers Hostel – Backpackers and budget travellers will love this highly-rated hostel. Located in an old house in central Berat, they have great common areas and both dorms and private rooms.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Berat hotels!

Day 4 – Berat

Day four of this itinerary for Albania is dedicated to exploring the historic town of Berat. Known as the “town of a thousand windows,” this medieval town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Albania’s largest castle (the Berat Kala), there is a lot of history to take in here and it is absolutely beautiful.

Berat is known for its wide collection of beautifully preserved Ottoman-era houses that decorate the historic Mangalem quarter of the Old Town – this was the traditional Muslim area of the city. The other part of the old town – Gorica, located across the river – was the historic Christian quarter of Berat.

While in this beautiful city, take the time to wander around the old town and feel its living history. Of course, you cannot miss a hike up to the castle – which will provide excellent views of the city below. There is also a lovely, village-like atmosphere around the castle. There are walking tours available if you want to explore with a guide.

If you want to venture a bit outside the city centre, then there are also some wineries where you can sample some locally-made vintages or you can join a cooking class to learn more about traditional Albanian cuisine. You can also head out to the nearby Bogove Waterfall.

In the evening, you can’t miss a stroll along Boulevard Republika – the main pedestrianised thoroughfare in Berat. This provides excellent people-watching opportunities and an unrivalled energy.

Streets of Berat

Day 5 – Gjirokaster

If you’re seeing Albania in 5 days, this is the final day for you – and boy, is it a great one! Your destination for this day is the beautiful UNESCO-listed town of Gjirokaster. Located in the south of Albania, you’re going to need to have an early start to get here – especially if you’re taking the bus! Getting from Berat to Gjirokaster will take about 3 hours.

Known as the Stone City, Gjirokaster is an absolutely beautiful, historic city that should not be missed when you visit Albania. In modern times, it’s known as the birthplace of Enver Hoxha, the former Albanian dictator, however, there is plenty of other history here as well.

Of course, no visit to Gjirokaster is complete without wandering around the medieval-era castle, which was originally constructed in the 13th Century. Also, make sure to take the time to stroll through the Old Bazaar, where you can browse through artisan shops and maybe pick up some interesting souvenirs from your trip.

While wandering around the old town, take in the historic, Ottoman-era stone houses – these historic homes are part of the reason that Gjirokaster is inscribed on the UNESCO list.

Clock tower in Gjirokaster

Where to Stay in Gjirokaster

Hotel Bebej Tradicional – This rustic 3-star hotel is located in the centre of historic Gjirokaster. They have several great rooms to choose from, free parking and a restaurant on the premises.

The Stone Sky Hotel – This lovely hotel has a range of comfortable rooms for guests to choose from. There is also breakfast each morning, free parking, 24-hour reception and a restaurant/bar.

Stone City Hostel – A great option for backpackers and solo visitors, this highly-rated hostel has a number of room types to choose from, great common areas and a kitchen and day trips are organised.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Gjirokaster hotels!

Day 6 – Sarande

If you’re seeing Albania in one week, then you don’t need to get as early a start as previous days – especially if you feel there is more to see in Gjirokaster! You can spend your morning here – perhaps visiting somewhere like the Cold War Tunnel Museum. This 800-metre tunnel was built as a bunker during communist times and has now been turned into a museum.

After a morning in Gjirokaster, you don’t have a long journey to the final destination of your Albania travel itinerary – Sarande, a city on the Albanian Riviera. This is one of Albania’s most popular coastal cities and it is only about 1-1.5 hours away from Gjirokaster – there are several buses that depart each day.

If you’re self-driving, consider making a detour to the famous Blue Eye – a gorgeous natural spring filled with crystal-clear water located in between Sarande and Gjirokaster.

Once you arrive in Sarande, take the time to stroll around the lovely seaside and take in the views of the gorgeous Ionian Sea.

There are plenty of beautiful beaches to lounge on along with a ruined castle to walk up to and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea. Plan to spend the rest of your time in Albania with Sarande as a base.

City of Sarande

Where to Stay in Sarande

Hotel Kanes – This seaside hotel is great for visitors to Sarande. There are several rooms to choose from – many with sea views. There is a terrace to enjoy along with an airport shuttle and free parking.

Buzë Boutique Hotel – Located right on the beach, this trendy hotel has a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, a private beach area, a terrace and an on-site bar to enjoy a drink in the sunshine.

Saranda Backpackers – This waterfront hostel is a great option for budget travellers to Sarande. They have plenty of different rooms to choose from and great common areas.

Day 7 – Ksamil & Butrint

On your final day in the country, take a day trip from Sarande to the areas of Ksamil and Butrint National Park to the south of the city. Both areas are easily reached via bus from Sarande in about 30 – 40 minutes and buses leave frequently throughout the day.

Whether you’re driving yourself or taking the bus, start your day by visiting Butrint National Park, which is located furthest south on the route. This archaeological park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (there are so many in Albania! ) and is filled with fascinating ancient Greek and Roman ruins that will really put into perspective just how old and how long people have inhabited this area of the world.

In the park, you can see ruins of ancient forums, amphitheatres and temples. Set along the backdrop of the Ionian Sea, it is truly a wonderful place to end your trip and visiting here is one of the best things to do in Albania.

After exploring the park, hop on the bus (or get back in the car) and head a bit north to Ksamil . This area is home to some of Albania’s best sandy beaches and it is the perfect place to lounge around in the gorgeous sunshine and swim. You can enjoy views of Corfu not far in the distance, along with seeing some of the picturesque Ksamil islands.

If you’re leaving Albania after this day, the quickest and easiest way is to fly out via the airport on nearby Corfu in Greece, which is easily reached via ferry in about 1.5-2 hours. Alternatively, you can continue on to mainland Greece via bus or car – the closest major city is Ioannina.

Butrint National Park

Have More Time?

There are lots of different options of places to visit in Albania if you have more time. For instance, if you’re coming from Montenegro or North Macedonia (or continuing on there from Albania), it can be worth spending some time in the north of the country.

The town of Shkoder in the north of the country is gorgeous and has a lovely location on the massive Lake Shkoder – sharing a border with Montenegro.

Those looking to get up in the mountains or who want to add some activity to their trip will love exploring the Albanian Alps in the northeast of the country. Particularly popular is the Valbona to Theth hike, a thru-hiking route that takes about 8 hours to complete from one village to another in some of Albania’s most beautiful national parks.

If you want to experience more of Albania’s coast, then it can be a great idea to add a stop in the lovely coastal city of Vlore in between visiting Berat and Gjirokaster.

Vlore has plenty of beautiful, sandy beaches and is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Albania. Make sure to take the time to stroll through the historic centre of the city while enjoying the vast seaside promenade.

Ruins of Rozafa Castle

Travelling in Albania is one of the most interesting, challenging and diverse places to head to in all of Europe. Retaining an off-the-beaten-path charm and boasting a broad and varied history, Albania is a destination that no visitor soon forgets.

Are you planning on visiting Albania? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

best places to visit albania

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About Michael Rozenblit

Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Both solo and with his partner, Maggie, he has travelled to over 50 countries across the globe and has a particular affinity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He’s lived in numerous countries worldwide but currently resides in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Michael

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best places to visit albania

24 Incredible Places to Visit in Albania in 2024

Last Updated on March 6, 2024

This site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer  for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission (for which I am very grateful).

Some of the main questions for anyone travelling to Albania is “What are the best places in Albania?”, “What are the best holiday destinations in Albania?” or “What to visit in Albania during my holiday?”. 

Albania has many great cities, towns and villages that you shouldn’t miss out on when you come to visit.

Therefore, I have named some of the best places to visit in Albania that you should visit during your time here. 

From quaint Albanian villages to happening Albanian cities and beach towns – there’s something for everyone coming to Albania.

Discover places to visit in Albania, plateau of terracotta rooftop buildings interspersed with green trees and grassy areas leading up to a large stoney mountain under a blue sky

There are so many reasons why you should visit Albania. It’s a country that is truly unique and authentic. Around every twist and turn, you will find another beautiful landscape or beach. 

The people are extremely friendly and very hospitable. 

best places to visit albania

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Over the last several years, it has fast become my favourite country in the world due to its uniqueness and strong traditional ways that no other country in Europe can offer.

So whether you’re wondering what to do in Albania in summer, planning a hiking, or looking for a cultural city visit, this guide of the best places to visit in Albania has you covered.

From Tirana to Ksamil, Saranda to Dhermi, and beyond, let’s take a look at the best Albanian holiday destinations!

Table of Contents

Here are the most incredible places to visit in Albania

Experience Albania summer destinations, body of water with grassy shore in front of rising hill covered with brown slate rooftop white buildings leading up towards forested area

Anyone thinking about where to go on holiday in Albania will definitely start by thinking about Berat. This is one of the best places to visit in Albania and is very popular amongst tourists.

Berat is also known as the town of one thousand windows due to the Ottoman-style houses that Berat is famous for. It is now a UNESCO site as there are over 2000 years of history to explore so it has a very rich history. 

If you walk to the top of the castle you get amazing views of the city of Berat. Within the castle walls, you will also see everyday homes that people still occupy today. 

There are also four wineries (Çobo, Nurellari , Malinati, Luani ), where you can taste some great local wines! You can read my full Berat guide on the best things to do here .

Berat is one of the most beautiful cities in Albania and one of the most famous places in Albania, because of this, it has some of the best tours in Albania!

Where to stay in Berat

best places to visit albania

Affordable Hotel

Hotel Ansel is affordable and conviently located for your trip to Berat.

The rooms are fully equipped with free toiletries, free Wi-Fi and a TV. The resturant also services a delicious Italian or vegetarian breakfast!

By staying here, you’ll be right by some of Berat’s best attractions such as the beautiful Tomorr Mountain National Park.

Discover what to do in Albania in summer, patio area with brown wooden chairs and tables next to grey stone house with flat screen wall-mounted television screen in front of stone wall and more stone buildings in front of green forest in the distance

Recommended Hotels

Some of the most highly recommended hotels include  Hotel Mangalemi ,  Guesthouse Arben Elezi  and  Hani i Xheblatit .

Learn about things to see in Albania, upward angle of white stone building covered in creeping green ivy under an azure blue sky with sporadic wispy clouds

Hostel recommendation

There is only one hostel that I recommend you stay in when you visit and that’s  Berat backpackers . This is one of my  favourite hostels in Albania .

It’s set in one of the old Berat houses and is one of the most beautiful and fun hostels in Albania. 

The breakfast is delicious, and they also offer different tours which you can join. In the summer you also have the option to camp in the backyard.

Find tourist destinations in Albania, harbour with turquoise blue water and sandy beach with wooden jetty next to buildings and forest area with hills and mountains in the distance

One of the top places to visit Albania has to offer those who want to get off the beaten path is Himare. This is a less busy beach town located a few hours’ drive north of Saranda.

The views in Himare are incredibly pretty and it’s the perfect place if you want to chill out by the beach for a few days. 

There’s a promenade with some really good restaurants to check out. Himare has a more relaxed, chilled vibe than the likes of Saranda which makes it a great spot for a vacation to Albania.

This is one of the best places in Albania to relax but still has options for restaurants and nightlife – perfect for a long weekend in Albania as well as a longer stay.

I highly recommend making a trip to the old part of Himare which is in the hills, next to the castle.

From there you get incredible views of the Riveria and you also get to see a traditional village, it’s so pretty! 

➡ Read more: You can read my Himara guide on the best things to do here

These are the top Places to Visit in Albania, sundrenched stone-paved street of white buildings with brown wooden doors and window shutters and grey car parked further down

Located in the north of Albania, this city is very quaint and a great doorstep to some fantastic hiking in the area. You will notice that Shkodër is the city of bikes, everyone’s biking! 

But is Shkodër worth visiting if you’re on a budget? Yes – actually, it’s an incredibly affordable place.

The architecture is unlike anywhere else in Albania. In fact, I think Shkodër is one of the best Albanian cities to visit.

One of the must-do things to see is Rozafa Castle located just outside of the city.

You may notice that you have stepped back in time into an old-fashioned film – that’s the charm of Shkodër, one of the best locations in Albania!

🌍 Interesting fact!  The southern Albanians speak a different dialect to the Albanians in the northern places like Shkodër and in Kosovo.

Picture of the UNESCO city of Gjirokaster with old stone houses and greenery showcasing one of the best places to visit in Albania

4. Gjirokastër – The city of stone

A lot of people either go to Berat or Gjirokastёr because they think because they are both UNESCO cities they will be the same – WRONG!

Make sure you visit Gijrokastёr too – it’s one of the best Albania cities to visit, with cobbled streets and a castle perched at the top. Gijrokastёr is definitely worth the stop.

Make sure you save a few hours for the castle where you can see and climb if you wish on the old army tanks, plus you get some of the best views in Albania.

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There is so much to see here including underground tunnels, a weapon museum (you can actually pick up the weapons!) and abandoned rooms of the castle.

Spend an afternoon wandering the streets and people-watching from a café. Gijrokastёr has a lot of character and is one of the best places to see in Albania.

Where to stay in Gjirokastra

Find the best Albania tourist attractions, luxury hillside hotel with painted white walls and grey slate roofs complete with pool and plenty of decking and balconies as well as tables and chairs sat amongst green grassy area with trees and mountains in the distance

Kerculla Resort  – Luxury Accommodation Option

This hotel in Gjirokastra came highly recommended by one of my readers and upon research, it’s the top-rated hotel in the town.

It’s a beautiful hotel equipped with a swimming pool and stunning views – perfect for a summer vacation in Albania!

Stay in all the must visit places in Albania, view looking out across rooftops of buildings and trees towards large looming mountain in the distance under a grey cloudy sky

Guesthouse Mele  – Mid-range accommodation *My personal favourite!

This guesthouse is a perfect base for exploring the city of Gjirokastra. It’s only a 5-10 minute walk to the old bazaar but far away enough that it’s peaceful & quiet.

The breakfast is fantastic and quite a spread of delicious Albanian food. The hosts of the guesthouse are the real highlight of this guesthouse though!

If you come to Gjirokastra I highly recommend booking this guesthouse. It’s also only a 1-minute walk from the Ethnographic Museum.

P.S. Gjirokaster can be a great day trip from Saranda, so if you’re thinking about basing yourself by the sea instead, take a trip for the day to explore Gjirokastrer’s natural beauty instead.

Choose your Albania holiday destinations, open room with wooden table and chairs to one side and sofa with cushions and soft stools on a patterned rug on the other in front of stone wall with reading nook to one side

Stone city  – Budget accommodation for Backpackers

The best hostel in Gjirokastra and my favourite one in Albania is  Stone City Hostel . This hostel has had some incredible renovations and is possibly the prettiest hostel I have stayed in, ever! 

I highly recommend staying here if you’re a backpacker in Gjirokaster – it’s one of Albania most beautiful places!

📚 Read more: You can read my full Gjirokaster travel guide here

19 Incredible Things to do in Tirana, Albania 2021, cable car travelling along narrow cable over road lined with green shrubs and mountains in the distance

5. Tiranë – The capital of Albania

Tirana is one of the best cities in Albania for your next holidays and one of the coolest cities in Europe in my opinion.

It has an edge, there are lots of things to see and most importantly for any traveller, the alcohol is cheap. 

In the summer as most people have migrated to the beach of Saranda or Durres the city isn’t as busy but in the winter the city is thriving again. There are some wonderful places to party in Tirana as well. 

Don’t forget to visit the raki bar, Komiteti . You can try all the different flavours of raki here and it’s set in a sort of museum! It’s a cool place to hang out.

You can also look at the old communist leader’s house, Enver Hoxha.  I highly recommend visiting the House of Leaves, which is where you can find out a bit more about what Albania was like in communist times. 

During the evening, locals come to mingle in Skanderbeg Square so it can be a great place to people-watch ! Et’hem bey mosque is also nearby and a good place to see as well.

There are lots of things to do in Tirana and plenty of tours to take, including some of the top tourist spots in Albania, so I highly recommend spending a few days in the largest city in the country.

Whilst in Tirana make sure you visit one of the best tourist attractions in Albania – Bunkart 1 & 2.

Tirana is definitely the best city to visit in Albania if you love history and art and culture, but aren’t that keen on the beach.

Where to stay in Tirana

See the best tourist places in Albania, hotel room with soft white bed and writing area with modern style chair and cosier-looking armchair further back by grey curtains

The Plaza Hotel Tirana   – Luxury hotel

This Tirana luxury hotel (5 stars) is not to be missed on your trip to Tirana. It’s got everything you would ever need including spa, gym, breakfast and 3 restaurants on-site.

Find out where to travel in Albania, courtyard with table and chairs under canopy of tree with green plants in pots to the sides

Trip’n Hostel – Best hostel in Tirana

If you’re looking for a good hostel to stay in there is no other option than Trip’n Hostel! I absolutely loved my stay here. The owners are super lovely. 

If you want a fun and chilled hostel then make sure you choose this one, trust me, you won’t be disappointed! 

The breakfast here is amazing, and they have their own bar where they also make their own beer.

This fantastic hostel is also close to some of the top Albania tourist spots.

➡ Read more: Full guide to the most incredible hotels in Tirana

Find the best things to see in Albania, long distance shot of Saranda with coastline showing many tall buildings close together next to waterfront with blue ocean under a cloudy sky

Saranda is where I am based in Albania and I think it’s one of the best cities in Albania to visit.

It is one of the most popular Albania summer destinations, but I personally think it’s worth visiting all year round. Is Saranda worth visiting in the spring? Yes! How about in winter? Also yes!

In the summer this is one of the thriving beach cities in Albania and one of the best places to visit in Albania in summer.

Saranda is a great mix of beach life, good restaurants and the main location in Albania for nightlife. 

💛 Anita’s Top Recommendations: Check out these incredible tours in the local area!

👉 Hike Gamti Mountain with Bovilla lake view : Enjoy a fun hike with the most incredible views!

👉 Take a Boat Tour: Party like a local and meet other travellers on this epic boat tour.

👉 Attend a guided waterfall tour: Form unforgettable memories, visit the Bogova waterfall and swim in crystal clear waters!

In the summer a substantial number of Albanians come here to live and work for the tourist season so the nightlife here is very prominent.

When the winter starts it turns into a sleepy beach city but still boasts great weather.

In fact, Saranda itself gets over 300 days of sunshine a year so if you have to spend winter anywhere in Europe I would spend it here! 

Make sure you read my full guide on Saranda which includes the best things to do, best places to eat and where to stay! If you’re wondering where to go in Albania, Saranda can be a great start!

Where to stay in Saranda

The best tourist destination in Albania, pristine white hotel room with soft white linen bed and white curtains under white ceiling with light grey walls and desk with large flat screen television

Demi hotel  – Luxury Hotel

is an amazing beach hotel that is found in Sarandë. The hotel faces the Ionian Sea in possibly the best area to stay in Albania if you enjoy high-end bars and restaurants.

The hotel is 2 km from Saranda Ferry Terminal, and thus it is easily accessible. The four-star hotel is elegant with affordable nightly rates, high-end room service and it is kid-friendly.

Visit Albania attractions, front of Hotel Apollon with white walls and glass doors behind modernist landscaping with blue sea in the background

Hotel Apollon  is an incredible four-star hotel found 5 km from the centre. Also, the hotel has private beaches with sun loungers and umbrellas.

Hotel Apollon is kid-friendly, has a bar and restaurant, offers free Wi-Fi and high-quality room service.

➡ Read more: The best hotels in Saranda, Albania

Popular tourist spots in Albania, aerial shot of seafront with white beaches and built-up area with plenty of buildings connected by winding roads

One of the top places in Albania that will leave you speechless is Ksamil. Only a 20-minute bus ride from Saranda is this beautiful paradise.

The only advice I would give is to visit in any other months except for July and August. During those two months, the place is absolutely packed with other people on their Ksamil holidays. 

It’s much nicer to visit in the of the season when most of the summer tourists have left and there are only a few sunbeds left.

White sand and crystal clear water, what more could you want?

There are also a few islands which you can swim out to as well as you can rent a jet ski or paddle boat and spend the day relaxing in the Albanian sun! 

🧳 MUST-HAVE : Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing ! Me and thousands of other travellers use it to stay safe on the road. Click here to check it out.

Ksamil is often referred to as the most beautiful place in Albania and for good reason, it’s stunning! Make sure to bring a camera with you!

It’s easy to see why Ksamil is one of the top Albania holiday destinations – especially in the summers due to its amazing beaches.

Ksamil is definitely a southern Albania gem.

➡ Read more: You can read my full Ksamil guide on the best things to do and where to stay

See the best cities in Albania, store front with thin tables and chairs placed evenly along the street on grey cobbles with ornate lampposts and brown wooden window frames

When you come to Albania you will no doubt try one of the local beers Korça. Well, you can visit the city where Korça is made and produced.

The best thing about it is that you will get beer for the wholesale price. That means you will pay a pittance for a bottle of beer, that’s insane!

While Korça is definitely one of the best cities in Albania if you want to enjoy the nightlife, it’s also has so much more to offer.

Korça is set in a valley so the city is surrounded by mountains.  It’s one of the best places to visit in Albania during winter. From Korçë you can also do some amazing hikes in the surrounding area.

I want to name this the best city in Albania because it has everything you need and some of the most beautiful architecture in the country.

Where to stay in Korce

Find the best villages in Albania, courtyard with wooden tables and chairs in front of glass-fronted restaurant with lights on

Villa Ester – Hotel recommendation

One of the most recommended places to stay in Korce is Villa Ester . It’s one of the most beautiful accommodation options with the best reviews!

Places to visit in Albania, large stone courtyard with old well surrounded by building with balcony and warm electric lights

Hani i Pazarit – Boutique Hotel

Hani i Pazarit boutique hotel is a popular pick for many travellers coming to Korca because of its history. It’s located in the old bazaar which means it’s the perfect place to explore nearby sites.

It’s also set in a 350-year-old building and they have done a great job at preserving the history of Albania.

💡 Top tip : I would highly recommend booking in advance if you do come to Korca, especially at the weekends. Things can get booked up very quickly as Korca is one of the main Albania destinations for locals.

Best Albania summer destinations, aerial shot of stone watchtower surrounded by more modern buildings and streets with trees and mountains in the distance

 9. Kruja

Kruja is a must see in Albania. It’s a small town positioned on the top of a mountain. It’s referred to as the city of Skanderbeg.

Skanderbeg is a national hero who saved the Albanians from being taken over by the Ottoman Empire at one point. 

He tricked the Ottomans and told them that he wanted to go back to Albania to help them take over the country. But in fact, he went back to Albania and rallied the troops against the Ottomans. 

Kruja is so underrated but it is one of the most amazing places in Albania.

In Kruja there is a castle and a big museum which is amazing to learn more about Albanian history.  There are also the most incredible markets which are hundreds of years old. 

Here you will find the most beautiful antiques and unique Albanian souvenirs. The antique shops are filled with little treasures!

It’s only a 45-minute bus ride from Tirana and costs 100lek. Kruja is one of the best towns in Albania and it’s well worth staying here if you have the time.  

Where to stay in Kruja

Learn where to travel in Albania, tall stone tower with series of small stone walls leading up hillside to rocky mountains

Emiliano Rooms – My favourite place to stay!

I highly recommend staying at Emiliano rooms if you do stay. The property is in one of the original houses within the castle walls. The staff are incredibly friendly, and the price is incredible! 

Make sure you have the traditional dinner here even if you don’t end up staying here.

Read more: You can read my full Kruja guide on the best things to do here

24 Incredibly Beautiful Places to Visit in Albania, old stone building with arched doorway in front of hillside covered in green vegetation under a cloudy sky

10. Qeparo – one of the most beautiful towns in albania

There are two parts to Qeparo – old/new or up/down. Upper Qeparo is magical and possibly my favourite place I have been to in Albania.

It’s the perfect place to see a traditional Albanian village, but there’s a twist. This one is half abandoned. 

After communism fell many of the villagers left from here to other countries and therefore the village was completely abandoned.

These days about half of the village has been renovated but many of the old stone houses stay derelict. 

The streets are cobbled (although, my favourite sandals were still very supportive), the views are magnificent, and history is rich here. There’s not much to do apart from awe at this beautiful village.

One of the best villages in Albania, Lower Qeparo is situated right on the beach and is a chilled out little beach town.

I highly recommend a visit to these unique Albania villages as they’re some of the top things to see in Albania!

📚Read more: The Charming Half-Abandoned Village of Old Qeparo, Albania

Things to see in Albania, wooden structure for shade on stony beach in front of blue sea under an azure blue sky

One of the best places to go in Albania is Borsh. Borsh is also very chilled and holds the longest stretch of beach in Albania, making it one of the best beaches in Albania !

It’s situated in between olive groves and is a nice place to get away from the craziness of Saranda in the summer.

I highly recommend making a trip to Borsh castle which sits on the mountain overlooking the beach.  The castle is in ruins, but it’s often missed by tourists and is completely forgotten and is one of my favourite historical sites to visit in the south.

The views are simply stunning, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the top Albania attractions. Make sure to pack your camera if you travel here, you will regret it if you don’t!

There’s also an old mosque on the castle walls. This was added by the Ottomans!

It’s not a working mosque as it’s nearly completely ruined but it’s beautiful inside and you can still see some of the paintings on the ceiling.

Best things to do in Albania in summer, aerial shot of coast with sandy beach and grassy areas meeting clear blue water

When thinking of the best places to visit in Albania, Dhermi comes to mind. Dhermi is becoming one of the most popular places to visit along what has become known as the “Albanian Maldives” – the Albanian Riviera.

There are some great beaches and the town is made for tourists, lots of accommodation and restaurant options here. Seriously, pack your sandals and some snacks and you could spend hours at the beach here.

You can choose to stay right on the beach or in the village above.

Dhermi is a great place to base yourself as it’s the middle of some great places to visit in Albania. Make sure if you stay in Dhermi to make a trip to Gjipe beach , one of the best Albania vacation spots.

It’s one of the best beaches in Albania which is hidden in between a canyon and hosts some of the top festivals in Albania during the summer.

Where to stay in Dhermi

Top tourist destination in Albania, hotel pool with beach recliners and umbrellas surrounded by green forested area next to sea under a setting sun

Elysium Hotel – luxury Accommodation Option

This hotel is a luxury accommodation option that has a swimming pool, shuttle service right down to the beach and friendly staff.

It’s located just above Dhermi Beach, so you get a view of the beach as well as the mountains above.

See the best Albanian cities, hotel room with large white bed and white walls with wooden ceiling and wooden chair

Drymades Bungalow – Mid-cost accommodation

This is the place to be during the summer. With fantastic accommodation options including bungalows, wooden rooms and stone rooms, friendly staff and a fun vibe throughout.

Perivolos Apartments – Budget accommodation

This place has a great view and only a short walk away from the beach. You can also find an outdoor pool and incredible staff.

➡ Read more: Where to stay in Dhermi, Albania

24 Incredibly Beautiful Places to Visit in Albania, hillside covered with white buildings and green trees under an azure blue sky

Vuno is off the tourist radar and often missed! It’s a very small village along the Albanian Riviera trail.  There’s a charm to Vuno just like Upper Qeparo.

Vuno was too abandoned but today it’s slowly being revived. Stone houses and cobbled stone paths lead throughout the village.

You gain magnificent views over the olive groves and the beaches of the Albanian Riviera.

Gjipe beach is not too far away from here and is a great thing to go see if you end up basing yourself in Vuno for a night or two.

Albania beaches: Most Beautiful Beaches in Albania, vibrant turquoise waters lapping at rocks and sand next to grassy hillside with small building off to one side

If you are looking for fun things to do in Albania in summer, you must include a visit to at least one beach!

And one of the best places to visit Albania has to offer beach lovers is Jale, a beach town that has become popular in recent years.

This is possibly the best place in Albania for holidays on the beach and there are many accommodation options, beach parties and the perfect place to relax.

You can hire a kayak and visit some of the nearby hidden coves and beaches, Gjipe being one of them!

Where to stay in Jale

Best villages in Albania, hotel pool with perfectly still water next to myriad of sunloungers and shading umbrellas and palm trees under a cloudless blue sky

Folie Marine Beach Hotel & club – Luxury accommodation option

If you’re looking for luxury, then this is it! This is one of the most beautiful places in Albania for a hotel and the Folie Marine Beach hotel also offers 3 restaurants and swimming pool and everything you would need for a real beach getaway.

Rea Boutique Hotel – Mid-range accommodation

Located just outside of Jale is Rea Boutique Hotel. This five star hotel has incredible views friendly staff. By staying here, you’ll be moments away from Spille Beach.

The best places to visit in Albania, hotel room with a bath tub with rose petals, a glass of wine and a view of Albania

Located in northern Albania, Theth national park is one, if not the most beautiful national park in Albania. It’s truly one of the best places to visit in Albania!

Theth is a picturesque village hidden in a valley surrounded by mountain ranges. From here you can start some great hikes through the Albanian Alps and see some of the best Albania nature attractions.

The area is a haven for lovers of wild animals and beautiful nature. Over 2/3rds of the park is covered in trees. Theth is isolated but slowly tourism is developing.

Theth is the top tourist destination in Albania for outdoor enthusiasts.

There’s an abundance of things to see including the park itself, springs, waterfalls, stone carvings and more. These are some of the most amazing sights in Albania!

Where to stay in Theth

Find the best city to visit in Albania, tall wooden house with accompanying long low wooden house surrounded by green foliage in the foreground and by taller rocky mountains behind

Bujtina Polia – Mid-range accommodation

This is where we stayed for 2 nights and I highly recommend it. We had a little cabin which was nice and cosy.

It’s located right next to the Theth church and about a 20-minute walk to the centre of Theth (where the mini market is).

The family were friendly, and the food was good. Breakfast was a buffet and was filled with all the right things to prepare for the days hiking.

We also had lunch there ( 500lek pp ) which was a range of dishes like meat, cheese, salad, soup, bread and water.

They have family style dinners which were €10 per person. There was a lot of food and a typical Albanian style of lots of different dishes, so you get a bit of everything.

Discover places to visit Albania, wide shot of built-up areas and hilltop ruins looking out over large body of water with mountains in the distance

Perhaps one of the most unique tourist destinations in Albania for history buffs and one of the top cities in Albania is the coastal city of Vlore.

Vlore is much bigger than the likes of the more popular Saranda. It’s the start (or end) of the Albanian Riviera .

The city has a special place in history because Vlore is where Albania claimed independence in 1912. This old city was founded in the 6th century BC and used to be named Aulona.

There is plenty to do in and around Vlora.  I highly recommend going to the castle, you get spectacular views of the city from here. Sazan island is also close and is the largest island in Albania. 

It’s a military zone but recently It started opening in the summers for tourists to come see. There are plenty of beaches in Vlore to check out too.

Where to stay in Vlora

Find Albania holiday destinations for you, long wooden balcony with potted plants and chairs looking out across large bay with blue water and cloudy blue sky

Regina Blu – Luxury Accommodation

This is one of the best luxury places to stay within Vlora. It has a beautiful view of the sea with an incredible pool and facilities.

Visit spots that are a must see in Albania, stairs leading down towards seafront with clear turquoise waters and manmade pool to one side

Hotel Liro – Mid range hotel

is also a popular option as it is located right in the cliff-face with a private beach and friendly staff.

Find the best towns in Albania, ruins of large stone building with columns and steps surrounded by trees under a blue sky

I must be honest, Fier is not my favourite place in Albania. But it does have one advantage – Apollonia!

Apollonia is a UNESCO world heritage site full of history and one of the best tourist places in Albania! It’s an ancient Illyrian and Greek city.

Less than 5% of Apollonia has been discovered, which is truly incredible because as you walk around the park you will soon understand how much is yet to be discovered!

Apollonia is one of the main attractions within the country.

Durres is a port city and a popular pick for a beach getaway for Albanians living in Tirana as its only 35km from the capital. It’s the most ancient city in Albania with a history going back as far as 3000 years.

The biggest thing to see in Durres is the ancient Amphitheatre which seats over 15,000 people. The theatre is the second largest in the Balkans and is a great thing to see if you end up in Durres. 

From Durres, you can head north for some incredible nature and hiking. Only an hour away is Cape of Rodon which I highly recommend visiting. It’s home to sandy beaches and a 14th-century castle!

Places to visit in Albania, photo of Anita in the Benje hot pools with old bridge in the background

Permet is near one of Albania’s natural wonders – hot water springs! The town is known to be the cleanest and the greenest being named the city of flowers. 

One of the main features of this town is the enormous rock that lies in the centre called the stone of the city. It is one of the most unique Albania tourist attractions.

There’s also a beautiful old bridge called Katiu which is right next to the springs. Don’t miss out on this very special holiday destination in Albania!

Where to stay in Permet

Tourist places in Albania, window with balcony and red flowers in baskets next to black and white sign for Funky Guest House

Funky Guesthouse – Mid range accommodation option

This guesthouse has fantastic reviews and provides an excursion that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Permet- horseback riding!

If you want to see the springs and local area via horseback, then you’re going to love this place.

The guest house is cosy, clean and equipped rooms with a great buffet breakfast which is included.

The guest house is right in the centre of Permet so it’s close to all the restaurants and sightseeing in this city.

The rooms are clean and up to date so you can enjoy an excellent quality room at a very affordable price.

📚 Read more: Check out my Permet travel guide here

Things to see in Albania, aerial view looking down on ruins with small stone walls and brown vegetation

20. Finiq/ Phoenice

Finiq is an incredibly under-visited site located just out of Saranda ! It’s one of the most underrated tourist places in Albania.

The Finiq archaeological park is still mostly yet to be discovered but there’s a Roman theatre, Hellenistic houses, a small prostylos temple, Byzantine church and lots of relics.

The site was formed in the second half of the 5th century BC and is one of the best places in Albania.

Many tourists don’t even know this site exists which is such a shame. From the park, you gain amazing views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a very peaceful place. 

I highly recommend taking a picnic up to the site and enjoying the view and history!

See the best tourist places in Albania, aerial view of island with stone fortification structure surrounded by green vegetation and azure blue sea

21. Porto Palermo

The Porto Palermo castle and its beach are a great stopover during a holiday to the Albanian Riviera. The castle was built in the 19th century and belonged to Ali Pasha. 

The castle is unique because it’s in a star shape instead of the usual 4 corners a castle normally has!

You will also see old army barracks beside the castle and nearby there’s also a submarine bunker!

The beach is small and rocky but lovely, nevertheless. I have also seen people camping right on the beach here!

Discover things to see in Albania, aerial view of beachfront with turquoise water to one side and built-up areas with tall buildings and promenade on the other

22. Pogradec

Right on the border of Macedonia is a popular stopover holiday spot for families. Pogradec offers beautiful views of Lake Ohrid which is over 4 million years old. 

The lake is under UNESCO protection as it’s home to as many as 17 aquatic animal species which are majority native to this lake.

The town is one of the must-see places in Albania for nature lovers who are after a peaceful holiday by the lake!

Where to stay in Pogradec

There are many great affordable hotels to stay in the city. The top three hotels are:

  • Hotel Millennium
  • Perla Hotel
  • Hotel Enkelana

As Pogradec is a resort town, there are plentiful hotels here. If you’re looking for a more Vila-type accommodation rather than a large hotel, then try Vila Sigal .

Best place in Albania for holiday, stony mountainsides with grassy areas under a cloudy blue sky

23. Llogara national park

Llogara national park is great for a summer or winter getaway and is easily one of the best places in Albania. Within the park, you have many options – hiking, paragliding, camping and you’re also close to the sea!

The Llogara pass is one of the most beautiful drives in Europe.

You gain stunning views of the Albanian Riviera, particularly Palase which is the best beach before/after the national park (it’s one of Albania’s best beaches).

If you love hiking, then good news because Llogara is the gateway for the Karaburun Peninsula.

There is still not a lot of information about this peninsula as it’s the most untouched part of the Albanian Riviera.

To get to the hidden coves and beaches – truly some of the best Albania hidden gems – you must hike for 4-6 hours one way and there are no certain tracks yet.

Where to stay in llogara

There are not too many options when it comes to accommodation in Llogara National Park. The top 3 hotels in the park are Llogara Tourist Village , Hotel Alpin and Hotel Restorant Alberti .

Choose the best city to visit in Albania, aerial shot of island covered in green foliage and spaced out buildings with neatly segmented farmland in the distance

24. Butrint National Park

The last place but certainly not the least is Butrint – a UNESCO protected area nearby Saranda and next to Ksamil .

The Greeks inhabited Butrint in the 6th century BC and later the Romans took over. But Butrint was inhabited well before that, in prehistoric times. The earliest evidence of life is from 50,000 years ago!

The park is incredibly big, you can easily spend the whole day here exploring all that it has to offer. There’s one restaurant within the park at the top otherwise there’s also another one down the road. 

I highly recommend looking at Ali Pasha Fortress which is not too far from the main park at Butrint as both are must visit places in Albania.

You can reach it by catching a ride with a local fisherman or walking down from the viewpoint on the road going towards Butrint.

📚 Read more: Visiting Butrint, Albania: One of Albania’s Best UNESCO Sites

There’s a roundup of the best places to visit in Albania that you simply cannot miss. There are plenty more places to visit while you’re in Albania.  Every town, village and city are unique, and none are the same. 

➡ Read more: Unique Things to do in Albania

My advice would be to hire a car and drive around the country. This way you can see a lot more. If you don’t have access to a hire car, make sure you read my guide to transport through Albania !

Frequently Asked Questions

This will really come down to personal preference, but most people will -rightly – tell you that Theth is the most beautiful National Park in the country. For me, Shkodër , Berat, Gjirokastёr and Ksamil are also some of the most beautiful places in Albania.

You really can’t visit Albania without visiting the beach. But which one? If you can only visit one, one of my favourites is Dhermi Beach. I also really love Himare Beach, which is a little less touristy.

Definitely the beach! Head to the Albanian Riviera and have your pick of the best towns and cities in Albania for beach bumming. Some of the best places are Saranda, Vlore and Dhermi – these are some of the best coastal towns in Albania.

Saranda is one of the best cities to visit in Albania and is very popular with tourists, Berat is also well known by tourists due to its extensive history and popular attractions.

Albania is a year round destination however, Albania’s beaches are best enjoyed April to September.

So there you have it – my 24 top places to go in Albania! Have you been to any of these must-see places in Albania?

Is there somewhere I haven’t mentioned that would make this list up to 25 amazing places to visit in Albania? Tell me in the comments!

More articles you will love:

  • Albania Weather: Best time to Visit Albania
  • Traditional Albanian Food: Delicious Albanian Dishes to Try!
  • Guide to Saranda [Albania]: Must-do’s, Food, Hotels

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The Comments

I had always wanted to check out the smaller European countries and Albania has been on the list for far too long. About time I get geeed up and get this done. Good to know that you can fit in so much on short trips too! Tirana is an absolute must I guess!

I must admit that we’ve never thought about visiting Albania, but after reading your post I’m wondering why not.. 🙂 Some of the towns look like those in Greece, so I’m sure we’d like it there. But how’s Albanian food? What are your specialities? The beach Ksamil looks pretty inviting, so we’d certainly consider going there too. And we’ll follow your advice and avoid going there during summer time. Thanks a lot for sharing this! 😉

Michela of Rocky Travel

I have never been to Albania, being close to Italy, it’s quite convenient, however there aren’t many flights to Tirana as far as I know. The azure waters of Ksamil look like a great spot for beach lovers. Bookmarked this page!

Catherine Salvador Mendoza

When I see or hear Albania, reminds me of the girl from Switzerland that I met at a homestay, her name is Albana! Rhymes, right? lol and also the famous song nowadays, Havana na na na hahaha! And the names of these places have the special character such as ë. Albania looks very peaceful and beautiful. Interesting facts like regions in the Philippines, we have different dialects, too! Ksamil is a gorgeous white sand crystal beach, no wonder why many tourists flock here so good to know when to avoid the area.

I knew absolutely nothing about Albania before reading this, I had no idea it was so beautiful! Those beaches look gorgeous – I will remember to avoid them in the summer peak season though! I like the sound of Saranda too, I could do with some sun!

I havent traveled all over Albania yet but I have been to Sarande for a day trip from the island of Corfu and found it to be a nice place to chill out on the beach. I went 10 years ago and the place wasn’t really built up but probably has improved since then with hopefully some good eating places. Great list here. 🙂

Marcus and Mel

We love visiting UNESCO sites and yes both Berat and Gijrokastёr look very interesting. We would like to visit in the Spring or Autumn to avoid the heat and crowds of the summer months.

We visited most of these sites last year before spending a week in Saranda. We absolutely loved the country and was blown away by the food, scenery and towns. Thanks for sharing. It brought back great memories

Megan Jerrard

I would love to visit Albania at some stage, and as I’m trying to tick off as many UNESCO sites as possible, I would first start in Berat. Himare and Saranda sounds like fabulous cities for the coast though. I love how authentic Albania still appears – can’t wait to visit!

Albania looks beautiful, especially Saranda. I like that there is 300 days of sunshine, my kind of place! Ksamil looks stunning, pure paradise. I think I will be looking into going to Albania in the near future.

If you would consider buying an apartment in Albania where would you choose the best city? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Anita Hendrieka

It totally depends on what you’re into! If you love the beach then Saranda or Vlora might be a good option. If you love city life then Tirana. Keep in mind during the winter in the Albanian Riviera is very quiet and a lot of businesses close. But, this is why I love Saranda because it’s busy in the summer and super quiet in the winter.

Thank you very much for the information, I’ve been reding most of your articles getting ready to visit Albania.

Cheers from Chile

Thank you so much for this guide! A friend of mine and I are thinking of an impromptu trip in a few weeks to Albania and Macedonia as neither currently requires a PCR test nor has quaratine restrictions. Plus, as they border one another, we can travel via rail between the two.

I cannot get over how inexpensive lodging is in Sarande and other cities! Unbelievable!

If you only had 3-4 days in Albania, where would you go? Also, are you for hire as a tour guide?!

Paul johnston

Hi there, we are four intrepid travellers in our late 50s. We are touring Albania at the end of April. We want to stay either in Jasmin or Sarandë for a Friday night- which would be best for bars restaurants at this time of year Thanks paul uk

Hi Paul! I’m not sure what you mean by Jasim but here’s a blog post on restaurants in Sarandë we recommend 🙂 We also specify if they’re open during winter/summer: https://www.anitahendrieka.com/saranda-restaurants-albania/

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Albania Travel Guide

Last Updated: April 29, 2024

An old stone tower and stone wall in Albania with rolling hills and mountains in the distance

Albania is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Though it increases in popularity each year, the country is largely ignored by tourists; many still think of it as a post-communist backwater (as if the world hasn’t changed in the last 30 years).

Yet this is a land of untouched natural beauty, with a rich history dating back to the ancient Illyrians and Greeks. It has become a solid favorite of backpackers looking for an affordable, off-the-beaten-path destination to explore.

I absolutely loved my time visiting Albania. It’s a country full of good food and welcoming people. I enjoyed it so much that I extended my stay.

Hikers and nature lovers can partake of all the hiking and trekking here, beach lovers have the Albanian Riviera along the Ionian coast, and history buffs can marvel at the country’s uncrowded UNESCO sites in Butrint (an ancient Roman city), Berat, and Gjirokastër.

Albania is on the up and up, with more tourists visiting each year. I think it will become as popular (and expensive) as Croatia in the next couple of years, so visit now before the crowds come!

This travel guide to Albania can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time in this underrated destination!

Table of Contents

  • Things to See and Do
  • Typical Costs
  • Suggested Budget
  • Money-Saving Tips
  • Where to Stay
  • How to Get Around
  • How to Stay Safe
  • Best Places to Book Your Trip
  • Related Blogs on Albania

Top 5 Things to See and Do in Albania

An old stone tower and stone wall in Albania with rolling hills and mountains in the distance

1. Explore Tirana

Albania’s capital is rapidly transforming into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, with its bustling cafes, eclectic museums, and trendy shops and galleries. Sip coffee at one of many espresso bars, dive into the developing digital nomad scene, soak up history in Skanderbeg Square, and enjoy the city’s booming nightlife. For a hefty dose of local culture, check out Bunk’Art, a former bunker built during the Cold War that’s since been turned into an interactive art space. If you’re in town for more than a couple of days, take the Dajti Ekspres to the top of the nearby mountain, check out the cave of Pellumbas, or go and explore the Roman and Byzantine ruins in nearby Durrës.

2. Visit the historic town of Berat

A city that’s been around for 2,400 years, Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the highlights of visiting Albania . It’s also known as “the City of a Thousand Windows” because of its unique white-walled Ottoman homes, picturesquely stacked atop one another on a crumbling hillside and characterized by their many windows. Visitors should make it a point to wander around Kala, an ancient neighborhood with panoramic views, historic mosques and churches, and a 14th-century castle. There are also a number of noteworthy museums in Berat, including the Ethnographic Museum, which is housed in an ornate 18th-century Ottoman home.

3. Drive the Llogara Pass

The Llogara Pass is a steep (at times the incline is 11%), winding road that rises over a thousand meters (3,500 feet) into the mountains and overlooks the glittering Ionian coast, which has been nicknamed the Albanian Riviera. This road goes from Orikum to Dhërmi, and there are lots of scenic stops along the way. If you need to stretch your legs, the trails at Llogara Pass National Park are a fantastic place to do so. Post-hike, grab lunch at one of the many roadside restaurants in the park. Though it used to be a dangerous and narrow road, the Llogara Pass was repaved in 2009. It’s still a tricky route, but it’s worth it — this is the most scenic drive in the country (and one of the most scenic drives in all of Europe).

4. Hike from Valbona to Theth

T of the most famous day hikes in Albania, this is an old mule trail that leads you across the Accursed Mountains. This section is moderately challenging and takes around eight hours in total. There are fresh water springs along the way, as well as some cafes on the route, but make sure you bring plenty of water just in case. It’s a stunning area with an abundance of flora, fauna, and wildlife to see. In Theth, there are some other hikes as well. Most notably, the Blue Eye of Theth is a shockingly blue pool of water fed by a small waterfall that can be reached in about three hours (one way) from Theth.

Also protected by UNESCO, Gjirokastër is famous for its stonework. Wander the cobblestone streets, hike and explore the castle, swim in nearby waterfalls, and visit the best examples of Ottoman-era architecture in the area. There’s a C old W ar museum here that’s housed in an old 800-meter-long (2,624-foot) bunker from the 1970’s. Close to the nearby village of Muzinë is the incredible natural spring called the Blue Eye. Gjirokastër, for me, is one of the best spots in the country.

Other Things to See and Do in Albania

1. relax on the albanian riviera.

Pristine beaches, turquoise water, cheap and delicious seafood — the Albanian coast has all the beauty and wonders of Croatia, without the high prices and crowds (for now). Dhërmi and Ksamil are considered to have the best beaches in the country, with miles of white, sandy beachfront. If you want a busier beach destination, go to Himarë, where the beach has a promenade lined with cafés and bars. For something more off the beaten path, make your way to Gjipe Beach. For a bustling, developed beach town, visit Sarandë, which is packed with hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.

2. Enjoy the view from Rozafa Castle

Situated near Shkodër in northwestern Albania, the 4th-century Rozafa Castle has panoramic views of the area, including the Buna and Drin Rivers. The fortifications here originally date to the 10th century BCE, when the Illyrians lived in the area (the current castle replaced those fortifications). Legend has it that a young woman sacrificed her life to imbue the castle walls with longevity. There isn’t a whole lot to see here, but the ruins are impressive, and it’s a good spot from which to watch the sunset. The Shkodër History Museum provides a great overview of the castle’s past, including the background of the medieval families who lived here. Admission is 150 ALL.

3. Visit the National Museum of History

The National Museum of History in Tirana offers a view of the country’s rich history and is divided into eight sections: antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, independence, iconography, the National Liberation Anti-Fascism War, the Communist Terror, and Mother Teresa (who was born in Albania). There’s a remarkable collection of ancient Greek and Roman mosaics, columns, and statues unearthed in Albania as well. The collection is extensive, so give yourself around three hours here. Handily, nearly the entire collection is signed in English. Admission is 500 ALL.

4. Explore the ancient ruins of Butrint

Greeks from nearby Corfu settled Butrint in the 6th century BCE. It quickly became a large trading city that was still prosperous when the Romans took over in 167 BCE. Nowadays, you can wander the pathways between what’s left of the city, including well-preserved arches and colonnades. In 2003, Butrint was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. It makes for an ideal day trip from Sarandë. I took my time there and spent about three hours exploring the ruins. The entrance fee is 700 ALL and the 45-minute bus ride costs 100 ALL.

5. Admire the art at Bunk’Art

Bunk’Art 1 and 2 are former bunkers that have been turned into museums and galleries underneath Tirana. Built in the 1970s for Albania’s elite, the bunkers’ 100 rooms have now been transformed into a museum and art space. Bunk’Art 1, located on the outskirts of Tirana, focuses on Albania’s communist past and the lives of average people under communism. Bunk’Art 2, the more recent addition, is located right in Tirana; it focuses more on the secret police that were used by the regime to terrorize the population and maintain order. Admission is 500 ALL.

6. See the ancient ruins at Apollonia

Like Butrint, Apollonia was one of the most important cities in the ancient world. The Greeks founded it in 588 BCE, and it fast grew into a city-state with a huge slave trade (just like Butrint). The Romans took over in 229 BCE, when it became a cultural center with an important philosophy school. Even Julius Caesar sent his nephew (Octavius, who became Emperor Augustus) to study there. Today you can visit the ruins (a UNESCO Heritage Site), which include a theater and the restored façade of the administrative center. Admission is 300 ALL.

7. Visit Shkodër

As the largest town in the north (and home to the Rozafa Castle), it plays host to many of the country’s biggest festivals like Carnival, Lake Day, and the Shkodra Jazz Festival. The city’s Old Town is filled with picturesque, pastel-colored homes and buildings. A lot of people breeze through Shkodër on their way to Montenegro from Tirana, but I recommend spending a day or two here. Check out one of the interesting museums here, like the Marubi National Photography Museum and the Site of Witness & Memory Museum. The former is an Albanian photographic museum; the latter commemorates the victims of the communist regime in the city. e to get to Valbonë. If you don’t want to do that, there are day trips available. You can spend a couple of hours on the lake before going up the Shala River, where you can eat lunch, rent a kayak, or chill on the “beach” (the rocky embankment). The mountain water of the Shala is super clear and clean; it looks almost tropical. The restaurants here also rent rooms (or let you camp for free) if you want to stay the night.

9. Go hiking

Albania has lots of incredibly scenic hikes. If you spend most of your time in the south, you’ll get your pick of coastal hikes along the Ionian Sea, including Mount Çika and through the Ceraunian Mountains. In the north, the hike over the Valbona Pass to the village of Theth is popular for a reason; it’s an incredibly beautiful route (and not for the faint of heart). Routes around the country vary in length and difficulty and trekking information isn’t readily available — large parts of these hikes are still undeveloped, so hire a guide if you want to explore. Outdoor Albania has lots of options to help you get started.

10. Take a wine tour

Albania has one of the oldest winemaking traditions in all of Europe. Albanian wine makes use of incredibly rare grapes, and some of the traditional practices date back to the Bronze Age. Many wineries are family-owned and located in breathtaking settings. You can take wine tours from Berat, Lezhë, and Tirana, on which you can sample some of the country’s finest. Expect to pay at least 6,500 ALL for a day trip.

11. Get spooked at Sazan

The “ghost” island of Sazan is a 30-minute boat ride from the southern port town of Vlorë. It served as a Soviet military base and chemical weapons facility for many years before being abandoned. In 2017, the government opened it for tourism, although officially it remains a military base. The rooms in this vast network of nuclear bunkers and tunnels are still stocked with beds and kitchen supplies, and you can still find abandoned gas masks in the valley nearby. Tours don’t run all the time, so you need to ask in the tourist information office in Vlorë. They can book you onto a tour if they are running. Expect to pay 3,500 ALL or more for a day tour to the island.

12. Hike Osumi Canyon

This gorgeous river canyon in southern Albania makes for the perfect day trip from Berat. It is over three million years old, stretches for 40 kilometers (25 miles), and towers 40 meters (131 feet) above the river. The most popular way to see it up close is with a rafting tour. Tours are available February-June and start at 7,000 ALL per person, which includes transportation from Berat, lunch, and 2-4 hours on the water. You can also opt to hike down through the canyon and explore the ancient rock formations and caves via a 12-kilometer trail.

13. Visit the House of Leaves

The Museum of Secret Surveillance, aka the House of Leaves, is an award-winning museum in Tirana located in the old Sigurimi building (the Sigurimi were the secret police). The building was originally used by the Gestapo during the German occupation, continuing as a base of operations for the secret police until 1991. The exhibitions highlight what life was like under German and then communist rule, shedding light on the methods used to spy on, prosecute, and execute enemies of the regime. It’s sobering but incredibly insightful. Anyone even remotely interested in the dark side of Albania’s past will find this museum fascinating. Admission is 700 ALL.

Albania Travel Costs

An old stone tower and stone wall in Albania with rolling hills and mountains in the distance

Budget hotels can be as cheap as 2,500 ALL per night for a double or twin with a private bathroom and A/C. More realistically, expect to pay around 3,500 ALL or more per night. Most hotels offer a fairly large breakfast, too.

Airbnb is a great budget option here. Private rooms start at 1,800 ALL per night although they average about 3,600 ALL. Expect to pay at least 5,800 ALL for a full apartment or home. Prices double when not booked in advance.

For anyone traveling with a tent, camping is available around the country, and it is perfectly legal to wild camp (i.e., pitch your tent anywhere on public land). If you prefer sticking to campsites, prices are usually around 1,200 ALL per night for a basic plot for two people and a tent without electricity.

Food – Like its Mediterranean neighbors, Albanian cuisine relies heavily on fish, olive oil, and local produce (especially onions). Breakfast is usually bread, cheese, and yogurt. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Meat stew, grilled sausage, meat pies, and fresh salads are some of the more traditional dishes. Beef, trout, calamari, and sea bass are all popular staples. Goulash is also popular, though mostly in the mountain regions. Some of the most popular must-try dishes in Albania include byrek (a salty pie with various fillings) and speca me gjize, a dish of stuffed peppers. Wash it all down with tea or raki, a traditional alcoholic beverage.

For a meal at a sit-down restaurant, expect to pay 500-700 ALL for an appetizer, wine, and main course. For a really “nice” restaurant (or maybe one serving fish or sushi), you’re likely to spend 1,400-2,000 ALL. The most expensive meal I had in Albania was at this high-end fish restaurant in Tirana — it cost me 3,500 ALL, which is only $31 USD. That included fish, oysters, and wine!

Pizza starts at 550 ALL, while non-European food like Indian, Thai, or Chinese food costs around 600-900 ALL for a main dish. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around 600 ALL for a combo meal.

Expect to pay around 150 ALL for a beer, 150-250 ALL for a glass of wine, 70 ALL for a bottle of water, and 140 ALL for a coffee.

If you are planning to cook your own food, a week’s worth of groceries cost 2,500-3,500 ALL. This gets you basic staples like pasta, rice, vegetables, and some meat.

Backpacking Albania Suggested Budgets

If you are backpacking Albania, expect to spend about 4,400 ALL per day. This budget covers a hostel dorm, cooking your meals, limiting your drinking, using public transportation to get around, and sticking to free and cheap activities like hiking and free tours. If you plan on drinking a lot (Sarandë and Tirana are big party spots), add another 500-1,000 ALL to your daily budget.

On a mid-range budget of around 9,000 ALL per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or private Airbnb, eat out for most meals, enjoy a few drinks at the bar, see more museums and palaces, do a day trip or two, and take the occasional taxi to get around.

On a “luxury” budget of around 15,000 ALL per day, you can stay in a hotel, eat out for all your meals, see all the sites you want, do lots of day tours, and take taxis where you want. This is just the ground floor for luxury. The sky’s the limit!

You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages — some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in ALL.

Albania Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips

Albania is an affordable country to visit. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend a lot of money, even if you’re staying in private rooms or hotels. You really have to go out of your way to spend money here. But, if you are looking to travel cheap, here are some tips on how to save money :

  • Take a free walking tour – Tirana Free Tour offers a free walking tour that highlights the city and its sites. There are also free walking tours in Berat and Shokdër. Just be sure to tip your guide at the end!
  • Cook your own meals – Many hostels here include kitchen facilities, so if you want to save money, cook your own meals. Groceries are cheap here and there are a lot of farmer’s markets around where you can pick up fresh produce.
  • Stay with a local – Staying with a local via Couchsurfing is a great way to save money and connect with a knowledgeable local who can share their insider tips and advice.
  • Bunk up in a hostel – Hostels in Albania are cheap, especially if you book a shared room.
  • Walk everywhere – Most towns and cities in Albania are walkable, so skip the public transportation and taxis to save money.
  • Enjoy the outdoors – There are plenty of free hiking trails and outdoor activities around the country that can fill your days.
  • Take advantage of wild camping – As it is legal to camp anywhere in Albania, traveling with a tent, or in a camper van, is the perfect way to save money on accommodation.
  • Bring a water bottle – The tap water here usually isn’t safe to drink, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. LifeStraw is my go-to brand, as their bottles have built-in filters to ensure that your water is always clean and safe.

Where to Stay in Albania

You won’t find many hostels outside of the main tourist cities, but private guest houses are pretty cheap in the countryside anyway. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Albania:

  • Trip’n’Hostel (Tirana)
  • Friends Hostel (Gjirokastër)
  • Himara Relax Hostel (Himarë)
  • The Wanderer’s Hostel (Shokder)
  • Saranda Backpackers (Sarandë)

How to Get Around Albania

An old stone tower and stone wall in Albania with rolling hills and mountains in the distance

Public transportation – In most towns and cities, almost everywhere is accessible on foot. Otherwise, take the bus. The fares cost around 40 ALL per ride.

To get from the airport to Tirana, the cheapest way is via the airport shuttle. It runs from 6am until 6pm and drops you off near the National Museum of Tirana. It costs 400 ALL (one-way) and takes around 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a taxi for around 2,500 ALL.

Taxi – Taxis are readily available in all the major cities. Expect to pay 300 ALL to turn on the meter plus another 300 ALL for every kilometer. A lot of taxis will try to quote you a price instead of using the meter, which is almost always overly inflated. Make sure they put on the meter to avoid getting ripped off.

Train – Albania has a small rail network, but I never saw or heard of anyone taking it. The locals I talked to say it is too unreliable and slow. Buses are much faster, cheaper, and more reliable so use them instead.

Bus – Buses are the main form of inter-transportation in the country. They loosely follow a timetable. From major cities and starting points, they tend to leave on time but after that don’t count on it. But getting to your destination? Add an hour buffer just to be safe. The roads are always jammed and aren’t in great shape, so on-time arrivals are rare.

Buses cost from 300 ALL to over 1,000 ALL depending on how far you go. A bus from Sarandë to Tirana takes about 5 hours and costs about 1,700 ALL, while Berat to Tirana costs about 400 ALL and takes under three hours. The two-hour journey from Vlorë to Berat is around 400 ALL.

Pre-booking is never necessary. Just show up at the bus station and grab your ticket.

To find bus routes and prices, use BusBud .

Car Rental – Car rentals start at 1,500 ALL per day. The roads are in bad shape, so be sure to drive carefully. Drivers need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent a car here.For the best car rental prices, use Discover Cars .

When to Go to Albania

Albania has a Mediterranean climate, which means super-hot summers (July-August), with a daily temperature averaging over 32°C (90°F), mild winters on the coast, and cold winters in the mountains (November-February).

The best time to visit Albania is during the spring (May-June) or fall (September-October). During this time, the weather is mild, with average daily temperatures around 21°C (70°F), making it perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Of course, if you want to enjoy Albania’s incredible coastline, the best time to come is during the summer. Albania is not yet a huge tourism draw in Europe, so it is rare to find sites and attractions overly crowded, and prices don’t inflate much during peak season. It’s sweltering at that time of year, however, so come prepared for hot weather!

Those who want to get the most bang for their buck should plan to travel during the off season, from November to March. Prices are at their cheapest — though it must be said that the weather can get very cold. If you’re visiting the coastal areas, don’t expect to be able to swim.

How to Stay Safe in Albania

Albania is generally a safe country to visit. Violent crime is rare but petty crime can be an issue so don’t flaunt your possessions and always make sure your valuables are out of reach while on crowded buses.

Solo female travelers should generally feel safe here, however, the standard precautions apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone intoxicated, etc.).

If you’re using public transportation in Tirana, pickpocketing can be a concern, as in most other urban areas around the world. Never set down valuable items; keep them tucked away out of sight.

Locals are really proud of their country, and Albanian culture has a long tradition of guest hospitality. Moreover, Albania is a “nighttime” country (i.e., people stay out late), so there are always eyes and ears out, keeping would-be criminals in check. (Many of the women I met there told me they feel very safe walking around at night for that reason.)

The main danger in Albania is reckless driving. Albania has some of the highest road fatality rates per capita in all of Europe, so be sure to pay extra attention when driving or while walking near busy roads.

Near the border with Kosovo, landmines can still be found. Avoid hiking off the marked trails there, and keep an eye out for signs and warnings.

Scams aren’t super common, but they do occur. You can read about common travel scams to avoid here .

If you experience an emergency, dial 112 for assistance.

The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. This protects you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations . It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:

Albania Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources

These are my favorite companies to use when I travel. They consistently have the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors. They are the companies I use the most and are always the starting point in my search for travel deals.

  • Skyscanner – Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
  • Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
  • Booking.com – The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
  • HostelPass – This new card gives you up to 20% off hostels throughout Europe. It’s a great way to save money. They’re constantly adding new hostels too. I’ve always wanted something like this and glad it finallt exists.
  • Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
  • The Man in Seat 61 – This website is the ultimate guide to train travel anywhere in the world. They have the most comprehensive information on routes, times, prices, and train conditions. If you are planning a long train journey or some epic train trip, consult this site.
  • Rome2Rio – This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. It will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost.
  • FlixBus – Flixbus has routes between 20 European countries with prices starting as low 5 EUR! Their buses include WiFi, electrical outlets, a free checked bag.
  • SafetyWing – Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
  • LifeStraw – My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
  • Unbound Merino – They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.
  • Top Travel Credit Cards – Points are the best way to cut down travel expenses. Here’s my favorite point earning credit cards so you can get free travel!

Albania Travel Guide: Related Articles

Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on backpacking/traveling Europe and continue planning your trip:

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The Perfect 7-Day Croatia Itinerary

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The 6 Best Hotels in Copenhagen

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  • The Best Places In Albania...

The 7 Best Places in Albania to Visit During the Summer

best places to visit albania

Summer is the best season to visit Albania. The “land of the eagles” is home to some of the most spectacular beaches and coastal destinations in Europe. For those who want to spend their holidays trekking or hiking mountains, no need to panic: Albania has spectacular mountains, too.

Natural Feature

A view of the ocean from a day bed on Livadi Beach, Albania

Another not-to-miss place to visit in Albania during the summertime is Himara, the main village situated along the Albanian Riviera. Himara is mostly known for its intense nightlife and stunning neighboring beaches, like Livadhi and Spile. The best thing to do here, besides spending some time swimming in the crystal clear waters of the enchanting bays, is to head to the spectacular Ali Pasha Castle, a large fortress located 15 minutes from the town that offers breathtaking views over the sea.

Palm tree lined board walk along the sea and apartment buildings, Saranda, Albania

Forest, Natural Feature

Church of Theth, Theth, Albania

6. Pogradec

Lake Ohrid backing onto snowy mountains, Pogradec, Albania

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Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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5 places to travel that are just like bora bora but way cheaper.

Bora Bora is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. The island comes in at No. 2 on U.S. News & World’s Report’s list of Best Places to Visit for 2023-24.

But a trip to this luxurious island is hardly cheap. According to the estimates of Bora Bora Insider, you can expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000.

Discover More: 3 Places To Travel That Are Like Hawaii but Way Cheaper

Find Out: 4 Genius Things All Wealthy People Do With Their Money

Surely, Bora Bora is a special place, with its soft white sand beaches, translucent blue waters and reputation as the “Romantic Island,” but it’s not the only place with such gorgeous wonders and relaxing scenery. If you’re on a frugal budget, you might want to consider visiting another equally enchanting island.

Let’s look at five island vacation destinations that are quite similar to Bora Bora, but much more affordable .

Fiji, a fellow popular vacation spot and fave honeymoon destination, is an excellent alternative to Bora Bora. It also has white sand beaches and clean, aqua waters. We’d be amiss to describe this as a “cheap” place to visit, but it is generally more affordable than Bora Bora. According to Budget Your Trip , a one-week trip to Fiji typically costs around $1,205 per person. This price tag includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Check Out: 7 Vacation Destinations To Avoid on a Retirement Budget

Moorea, French Polynesia

Like Bora Bora, Moorea is part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands archipelago. It’s a great spot for people looking to snorkel and scuba dive, or just soak up the sun in idyllic beach scenery. Budget Your Trip estimates that a one-week trip to this captivating island averages $2,302, which includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

The Maldives, a tropical oasis in the Indian Ocean, is similar to Bora Bora in that it has overwater villas, shimmering clear lagoons and sugar-white sand beaches. But it’s generally a less expensive island getaway. According to Budget Your Trip, a one-week trip to the Maldives for a couple averages $4,244 and includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Famous for its vibrant rainforests, lush waterfalls and pristine beaches, Jamaica is another tropical paradise that rivals Bora Bora but is cheaper to visit. Budget Your Trip estimates that a one-week trip to Jamaica for two costs $1,713, on average, and that includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Ksamil, Albania

Never heard of Ksamil, Albania? It’s time to get acquainted. Like Bora Bora, it’s famous for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It’s also one of the most affordable beach destinations in Europe, period. A one-week trip to Albania for two averages $1,125, a price tag that includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing, according to Budget Your Trip.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com : 5 Places To Travel That Are Just Like Bora Bora but Way Cheaper

best places to visit albania

5 Places To Travel That Are Just Like Bora Bora but Way Cheaper

B ora Bora is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. The island comes in at No. 2 on U.S. News & World’s Report’s list of Best Places to Visit for 2023-24.

But a trip to this luxurious island is hardly cheap. According to the estimates of Bora Bora Insider, you can expect to pay anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000.

Discover More: 3 Places To Travel That Are Like Hawaii but Way Cheaper

Find Out: 4 Genius Things All Wealthy People Do With Their Money

Surely, Bora Bora is a special place, with its soft white sand beaches, translucent blue waters and reputation as the “Romantic Island,” but it’s not the only place with such gorgeous wonders and relaxing scenery. If you’re on a frugal budget, you might want to consider visiting another equally enchanting island.

Let’s look at five island vacation destinations that are quite similar to Bora Bora, but much more affordable . 

Fiji, a fellow popular vacation spot and fave honeymoon destination, is an excellent alternative to Bora Bora. It also has white sand beaches and clean, aqua waters. We’d be amiss to describe this as a “cheap” place to visit, but it is generally more affordable than Bora Bora. According to Budget Your Trip , a one-week trip to Fiji typically costs around $1,205 per person. This price tag includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Check Out: 7 Vacation Destinations To Avoid on a Retirement Budget

Moorea, French Polynesia

Like Bora Bora, Moorea is part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands archipelago. It’s a great spot for people looking to snorkel and scuba dive, or just soak up the sun in idyllic beach scenery. Budget Your Trip estimates that a one-week trip to this captivating island averages $2,302, which includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Maldives 

The Maldives, a tropical oasis in the Indian Ocean, is similar to Bora Bora in that it has overwater villas, shimmering clear lagoons and sugar-white sand beaches. But it’s generally a less expensive island getaway. According to Budget Your Trip, a one-week trip to the Maldives for a couple averages $4,244 and includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing.

Jamaica 

Famous for its vibrant rainforests, lush waterfalls and pristine beaches, Jamaica is another tropical paradise that rivals Bora Bora but is cheaper to visit. Budget Your Trip estimates that a one-week trip to Jamaica for two costs $1,713, on average, and that includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing. 

Ksamil, Albania

Never heard of Ksamil, Albania? It’s time to get acquainted. Like Bora Bora, it’s famous for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. It’s also one of the most affordable beach destinations in Europe, period. A one-week trip to Albania for two averages $1,125, a price tag that includes accommodation, food, local transportation and sightseeing, according to Budget Your Trip.

More From GOBankingRates

  • Barbara Corcoran: 3 Cities To Invest in Real Estate Now Before Prices Skyrocket
  • 10 Best New Buys at Big Lots That Are Worth Every Penny
  • This is The Single Most Overlooked Tool for Becoming Debt-Free
  • 3 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com : 5 Places To Travel That Are Just Like Bora Bora but Way Cheaper

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  1. Best Places in Albania #travel #explore #albania

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  3. Berat 2024

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COMMENTS

  1. Best 9 places to visit in Albania

    Discover the diverse and beautiful destinations in Albania, from hiking and adventure in Theth to beaches and festivals in Dhermi. Learn about the culture, history and cuisine of this Balkan gem with Lonely Planet's tips and stories.

  2. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Albania (UPDATED 2024)

    Best Places To Visit in Albania Tour in 5 days. 10. Eco Tours. from ₹64,688. per adult (price varies by group size) Walking Tours. See all. Walking Tour of Tirana. 88. City Tours. from ₹1,386. per adult. City & Food Tour of Tirana in One Day. 60. Food & Drink. from ₹7,855.

  3. 15 Best Places To Visit in Albania in 2024

    The town of Dhermi hosts popular music festivals, including Kala Festival, Turtle Fest, and ION Festival, which attract many backpackers. Further south, the seaside town of Himare is one of the best places to visit in Albania for some of the best beaches in the country. 5. Osumi Canyons.

  4. 15 Best Places to Visit in Albania

    The seaside town of Himara is one of the riviera's best places to visit, while Porto Palermo Beach, Llamani Beach and Filikuri Beach are some of the area's finest sandy stretches, while Drymades Beach is one of the liveliest spots here. 2. Tirana. Source: RussieseO / shutterstock. Tirana.

  5. 9 Best Places to Visit in Albania This Summer

    Discover the diverse attractions of Albania, from its historic capital Tirana to its stunning beaches and mountains. Explore ancient ruins, medieval towns, cultural museums and more in this guide by a local expert.

  6. 10 Best Places to Visit in Albania (+Map)

    10. Dhermi [SEE MAP] With its welcoming turquoise waters and beautiful beaches that stretch into the distance, the gorgeous scenery of Dhermi is where many young Albanians head to in the summer. It is also home to some pulsating nightlife. Located on a mountain slope overlooking the sea, the town boasts some stunning sunsets.

  7. 13 Best Places To Visit In Albania [2024 Travel Guide]

    13 Best Places to Visit in Albania. 1. Tirana. Albania's charming capital Tirana is nestled within the Skanderbeg Mountain range (you'll hear a lot about Albania's national hero Skanderbeg while in the country) and only 23 miles from the coast at Durres.

  8. 20 Best Places to Visit in Albania in 2024

    5. Gjirokaster. Gjirokastra is one of the best places to go in Albania if you want to see the country's more traditional side. This small inland city is the other historical city alongside Berat that is recognized by UNESCO for its exceptionally well-preserved character.

  9. 23 Best Places to Visit in Albania: Exploring Hidden Gems of the Balkans

    Valbona Valley is one of the best places to visit in Albania for adventurers and those looking to get off the beaten path. The majestic Valbona Valley of far north Albania. Osumi Canyon. Embark on an unforgettable adventure to the Osumi Canyon, often dubbed as the Grand Canyon of Albania, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. The Osumi ...

  10. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Albania

    Best Places To Visit in Albania Tour in 5 days. 10. Eco Tours. from . $774. per adult (price varies by group size) SPECIAL OFFER. Pearls of Albania tour in eight days (3 UNESCO sites) 17. Historical Tours. from . $1,587. $1,428. per adult (price varies by group size) Explore Thethi, the unknown part of Albania in two days. 2.

  11. 25 Unmissable Sites & Places To Visit In Albania Beyond Tirana

    Without further ado, here is a list of some of the best places to visit in Albania, including the most impressive cities and small towns throughout the country. In no particular order, here are ideas on places to go in Albania, covering regions spread evenly throughout the country: Best Cities To Visit In Southern Albania & Coast 1.

  12. 20 Must-Visit Attractions In Albania

    Once in town, don't miss the BunkArt, a majestic coveted bunker built in the outskirts of the town in the 70s by the former dictator Enver Hoxha. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about the Communist history of Albania. 2. The UNESCO town of Gjirokastër. Archaeological site, Bazaar.

  13. 12 of the best things to do in Albania

    7. Hike national parks — but beware of bears. Heading off into any of Albania's national parks — Llogara or Valbona being two great examples — is always an adventure; just watch out for ...

  14. The Perfect 5 to 7 Days in Albania Itinerary

    Day 1 - Tirana. The most logical starting point for any Albania trip is its capital city of Tirana. Located in the north centre of the country, spending a couple of days exploring this dynamic and chaotic city is essential whenever you travel to Albania. Spend your first day seeing the highlights of Tirana.

  15. 12 Best Places to Visit in Albania

    Berat. Best Places to Stay. Located in southern Albania, Berat is the place to visit historic Ottoman architecture, especially in the houses that line the area's rolling hills. Berat is in the middle of Albania and home to the Kalaja castle, which has a district with churches and mosques.

  16. Most Beautiful Places in Albania to Visit: 12 Incredible Albania

    For those seeking a blend of history and natural beauty, the Cape of Rodon is unquestionably one of the most beautiful Albania destinations. 6. Gjipe Beach. Tucked away along the Albanian Riviera, Gjipe Beach is one of Albania's hidden gems that truly captures the essence of untouched beauty.

  17. 15 Best Things To Do in Albania in 2023 (Activities & Attractions)

    7. Visit the City of 1,000 Windows (One of the Best Things To Do in Albania) The beautiful city of Berat is known affectionately as the city of 1,000 windows. It's a unique, UNESCO World Heritage Site that gets its name from its Ottoman-style houses looking out over Osum creating a stunning visual effect.

  18. Albania Travel Guide 2023: All You Need to Know

    Getting around the cities, or between the cities, by bus is a very affordable option. For example, in Tirana, bus tickets are around $0.50 per journey. Taxis are also available for private transfers, and you should expect to pay around $3 for a 1.5-kilometer city fare. Car rental is another way of exploring Albania.

  19. 24 Incredible Places to Visit in Albania in 2024

    1. Berat. Anyone thinking about where to go on holiday in Albania will definitely start by thinking about Berat. This is one of the best places to visit in Albania and is very popular amongst tourists. Berat is also known as the town of one thousand windows due to the Ottoman-style houses that Berat is famous for.

  20. Albania Budget Travel Guide (Updated 2024)

    Albania Travel Guide. Last Updated: April 29, 2024. Albania is one of Europe's best-kept secrets. Though it increases in popularity each year, the country is largely ignored by tourists; many still think of it as a post-communist backwater (as if the world hasn't changed in the last 30 years). Yet this is a land of untouched natural beauty ...

  21. The 7 Best Places in Albania to Visit During the Summer

    The last best place to visit in Albania during the summer months is Pogradec and Ohrid Lake. Nestled between Albania and Macedonia, Ohrid is the oldest and deepest lake in Europe. The main Albanian town is Pogradec, a lovely place that boasts restaurants, beaches, and cafés.

  22. 5 Places To Travel That Are Just Like Bora Bora but Way Cheaper

    Bora Bora is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. The island comes in at No. 2 on U.S. News & World's Report's list of Best Places to Visit for 2023-24. But a trip to this...

  23. Top 7 Countries in Europe with the Cheapest Hostels (2024 Guide)

    1. Bosnia and Herzegovina. You might not think of Bosnia and Herzegovina first when planning a budget-friendly European trip, but trust me, it's a must-visit. This country is packed with history and stunning views, and it's incredibly affordable. Take Sarajevo, for example.I stayed at Hostel Kucha right in the old town, where rooms start at just 11 euros a night.

  24. #fyp #view #in #view #best #place ti visit #albania #palushi

    adi_p7 · 2023-9-17. Follow. #fyp #view #in #view #best #place ti visit #albania #palushi. Elia Kalisi - ⚜️EliaShenaOfficial.

  25. 5 Places To Travel That Are Just Like Bora Bora but Way Cheaper

    The island comes in at No. 2 on U.S. News & World's Report's list of Best Places to Visit for 2023-24. ... A one-week trip to Albania for two averages $1,125, a price tag that includes ...