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Wanderlustingk

50 beautiful photos of Albania that will inspire you to visit Albania

December 27, 2017 by Karen Turner 6 Comments

  • 1.1 Note: All photos are all rights reserved by Karen at Wanderlustingk.  If you are part of the media and you would like to share these photos with your audience, you are allowed to share a maximum of 5 photos with credit and a link to my website.  You cannot share all 50.  I am happy to send HQ photos if you contact me, but if you rehost ALL of my photos without permission, you will be contacted by a photo licensing agency about copyright infringement.
  • 2 Photos of Theth, Albania
  • 4 Theth to Valbona and Valbona
  • 5 Photos of Berat Albania
  • 6 Photos of Shkodra / Shkodër
  • 7 Countryside in Northern Albania
  • 8 Photos of Kolmani Lake / Lake Kolman
  • 9 Have you been to Albania? Where was the most beautiful place in Albania that you visited?

The photos of Albania that you’ll see here

  • Theth to Valbona trail / Valbona
  • Assorted countryside (Northern Albania)
  • Koman/Kolmani Lake
  • E̶v̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶b̶y̶r̶e̶k̶ ̶s̶h̶o̶p̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶A̶l̶b̶a̶n̶i̶a̶ ̶  (Sorry, I was too busy eating to take photos.)

albania tourist photos

We didn’t get to the beach or the sea ( unforgivable, I know !), but I hope to return to Albania in the near future to see more of this beautiful country.  If I missed your favorite beautiful place in Albania, tell me where to go on my next trip. (I already have Vlora, the Southern Blue Eye, and Gjirokaster on my bucket list.) Thanks to Rohan & Max, Lavdi, and Cherene for being great company and the subjects in my photos.

Note: All photos are all rights reserved by Karen at Wanderlustingk.   If you are part of the media and you would like to share these photos with your audience, you are allowed to share a maximum of 5 photos with credit and a link to my website .   You cannot share all 50.  I am happy to send HQ photos if you contact me , but if you rehost ALL of my photos without permission, you will be contacted by a photo licensing agency about copyright infringement.

Photos of theth, albania.

Photo of Theth National Park in Albania. See how beautiful Albania is!

Photo of Albanian girl at restaurant overlooking the Blue Eye of Theth (the Blue Eye of the North) in Albania. This restaurant has the best views of the Blue Eye.

Theth to Valbona and Valbona

Photo of Theth to Valbona trail from Valbona peak in Albania. See how beautiful the Accursed Mountains of Albania are! #Travel #AdventureTravel #Balkans #Albania

Photos of Berat Albania

Sunset in Berat, one of the most beautiful places in Albania to visit. See why you should visit Albania through 50 beautiful Albania photos!

Photos of Shkodra / Shkodër

Photo of historical city centre of Shkoder Albania. Foto e qendrës historike të qytetit të Shkodrës. #Travel #Shkoder #Albania

Countryside in Northern Albania

Beautiful photo of bunker in countryside of Albania.

Photos of Kolmani Lake / Lake Kolman

Photo from Lake Kolman ferry, one of the most beautiful places in Albania.

Have you been to Albania? Where was the most beautiful place in Albania that you visited?

​Which photo was your favorite?

albania tourist photos

About Karen Turner

New Yorker–born and raised. Currently living in the Hague, the Netherlands after stints in Paris and Amsterdam. Lover of travel, adventure, nature, city, dresses, and cats.

Reader Interactions

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December 28, 2017 at 3:52 pm

The most beautiful place in Albania I visited was Drilon, near Pogradec, and Vila Art was the hotel with the best kitchen and food in Albania, I live already for 19 years in Albania.

December 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

In deed, unforgivable you didn’t went to the beach! Forget Dürres, go to Vlorë, Dhërmi, Qeparo, Himarë and Sarande. What a vieuws, unbelievable.

December 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Really nice and wonderful country. Thank you for sharing

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February 20, 2018 at 1:32 am

Very lovely and seemingly unspoiled!

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April 10, 2020 at 11:34 am

Albania is not a place I’d thought of visiting, but your pictures are great.

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March 25, 2021 at 3:04 am

Been to Albania 3 times and I still haven’t seen it all. Been to lezha, shkoder, Tirana, durres, elbasan for a bit. I think americans need to visit bunkart to see what the ppl had to go through. I want to see the south for the beaches. Berat, korca, would be awesome too. Love the castles. Byrek I love. The ppl are very friendly. Especially when I say te dua shqiperi.

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Albania Tour Guide

Beautiful Albania – 30 Photos of the most beautiful places in Albania

Albania has many beautiful places to see. Here is a list of the 30 most beautiful places and pictures that you can visit in Albania.

1. Thermal Springs of Benja in Permet

The Thermal Springs of Benja are one of the most beautiful locations in Albania.

Near the town of Permet, in the South of Albania, there are several natural hot springs. The water from the hot springs flows into the river. Some of the hot water from the river is diverted into some man-made pools at the bank of the river.

You can swim or soak in one of these stone pools at the bank of the river. Whilst you are soaking in one of the natural hot tubs, you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

The river that fills the hot pools is a magical light blue colour. Along the river, there are several little waterfalls and you constantly hear the sound of the water rushing by. Moreover, there is a gorgeous Medieval bridge that crosses the river, which was build during the Ottoman empire.

And the springs, the river & the Ottoman bridge are surrounded by a beautiful mountain landscape.

albania tourist photos

2. The Lin village

The Lin village is a small village at the banks of Lake Ohrid, near the border with North Macedonia.

The Lin village is situated on a small peninsula, that points into Lake Ohrid. The small village is close to the larger lake side town Pogradec. If you plan on visiting Pogradec, it is definitely worth making a stopover in the Lin village.

The Lin village is a quiet fishing village. It is a great example of an authentic Albanian village. If you like travelling off-the-beaten-path and meeting the locals, then you will really enjoy strolling through Lin.

The village has characteristic small houses with beautiful red roofs. Apart from the old town, you can also visit one of the oldest mosaics in Eastern Europe near the village.

albania tourist photos

3. The Lake Koman Ferry

In the North of Albania, near the town of Shkoder, you can take the Lake Koman Ferry.

From Shkoder city, you must drive for approximately 2 hours to get to Lake Koman. In Koman, you can board the Lake Koman Ferry boat.

The boat journey on Lake Koman is absolutely stunning. The lake is a bit like a long winding river, that turns and twists through the mountain landscape.

The Lake Koman ferry makes a 3-hour journey from the port of Koman to the port of Fierze. During the 3-hour journey, all you see is nature. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountain cliffs.

Every time, the boat will travel towards a cliff and you think the lake will end, there is a turn in the river and a new landscape is revealed.

The Lake Koman ferry was not intended to be a tourist attaction. It was actually merely aimed at transportation for the locals.

However, the ferry journey was so beautiful that tourists from all over the world came to board the Lake Koman Ferry.

Bradt Guides even descibed the boat trip on Lake Koman as “one of the world greatest boat trips”.

albania tourist photos

4. The Cape of Rodon

The Cape of Rodon is one of the undiscovered, hidden gems that only the local people know about.

The Cape of Rodon is a rocky peninsula that points into the Adriatic Sea. A narrow strip of land, which is overgrown with wild nature, points into the wild Adriatic sea.

The cape is about a 1.5 hour drive from Tirana and it is an absolutely stunning natural sight. You must park the car, and hike along a hilly trail for about 45 minutes. But it is worth the effort!

At the end of the hiking trail, you stand on the top of a hill, which overlooks the Cape of Rodon. You get a top view of the gorgeous peninsula.

You can hike down the steep hill, to visit the ruins of the castle of Skanderbeg. The castle was built by Albania’s national hero, in an effort to have easy access to the sea. Of course, there are several coastal and beach locations close to Tirana city.

However, the Cape of Rodon is the most natural, untouched and magical coastal spot near the capital city!

albania tourist photos

5. The view of Tirana from Mount Dajti

One of the best things to do, when you are staying in Tirana, is making a day trip to Mount Dajti.

Mount Dajti is the closest mountain near the capital city Tirana. From the bottom of the hill, you can take the Dajti Ekspres Cable Car to get to the Dajti Balcony.

The Cable Car journey lasts 15 minutes, and the view from the cable car is absolutely stunning! You fly accross treetops, by mountain cliffs, over little farm houses and you see Tirana city in the distance.

At the end of the cable car trip, you arrive to the Dajti Balcony at a height of 1613 above sea level. From the balcony, you have an amazing view of Tirana city, Durres beach and the Adriatic Sea.

albania tourist photos

6. The Blue Eye of Theth

The Blue Eye of Theth is one of the most magical places in Albania.

The Blue Eye of Theth is a natural mountain pool. It is located in the Albanian Alps in the North of Albania.

To visit the Blue Eye of Theth, you must take a 4-wheel drive taxi from Shkoder city to the Theth village in the Albanian Alps. The drive will take approximately 3.5 hours.

Once you arrive in the Theth mountain village, you must travel to the Nyderlysa village. You can either take a taxi for approximately 30 minutes or hike to Nyderlysa for about 3 hours. At Nyderlysa, you get on a 1 hour hiking trail through the mountains, which leads to the Blue Eye of Theth.

It journey is worth it though, the Blue Eye of Theth is absolutely stunning. The natural pool is filled with ice-cold mountain water. The water is so clear that you can see every little rock on the bottom of the pool.

The pool is surrounded by beautiful cliffs and greenery. And a little waterfall fills the pool with fresh water.

There is a wooden plateau on the top of the river, where you can enjoy a picnic or a fresh drink, whilst enjoying the beauty around you.

albania tourist photos

7. Zvernec island in the Narta Lagoon

Zvernec island is one of the most picturesque locations in Albania.

The island of Zvernec is a little island, which is located at a 20 minute drive from Vlore beach. Zvernec is connected to the mainland via a long wooden bridge.

From the coast, you have the most amazing view of the water, the wooden bridge and the island.

You can cross the wooden bridge to visit the little island. On the island, there is a little monastery, which was built during the 13th and 14th century, whilst Albania was a part of the Byzantine empire.

The island is actually very small, it is 430 meters long and 300 meter wide. And most of the island is covered in pine trees.

Zvernec is not a full-day trip experience. However, it is a great 30 minute stopover, which you can make on your way from Vlore to the beaches of the Albanian Riviera in the south!

albania tourist photos

8. Ksamil beach & Ksamil islands

Ksamil beach is a paradise! There are many beautiful beaches in the Albanian Riviera, but Ksamil beach is the most beautiful beach in Albania, without a doubt.

Therefore, Ksamil beach is called “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”.

The beach of Ksamil is set on a little peninsula, in the ultimate south of Albania. The beach has perfect white sand. And the water of the Ionian Sea is turqoise blue and crystal clear. And there are little wooden shutters that lead into the sea.

But the highlight of Ksamil beach are the four little islands in the sea. The Ksamil islands are located very close to the coast. You can swim to the nearest island. Or you can rent a kayak or boat to peddle to the further islands.

All the islands are uninhabited and completly overgrown with lush nature. Of the four islands, the twin islands are the most interesting. These two little islands are connected to each other by a narrow strip of land.

Stay until the evening for a beautiful view of the sun going over the little islands!

albania tourist photos

9. Gjipe Beach

Gjipe beach is one of the most remote beaches in the Albanian Riviera. Because the beach is completely surrounded by high cliffs.

Since the beach itself is more difficult to reach than the other beaches of the Albanian Riviera, it is completely private and isolated!

Whereas most of the beaches of the Albanian Riviera can be reached by car. Getting to Gjipe requires a hike. Take the road from Vuno towards the village of Ilias and follow the signage. The last part of the road is unpaved and rocky. You must walk for about 20 minutes to reach the amazing beach of Gjipe.

Gjipe beach truly is a hidden paradise! Although it is a bit more difficult to reach, it might just be the perfect beach you were looking for.

Make sure you bring some food and drinks with you though, because this hidden beach does not provide any catering.

albania tourist photos

10. The Grunas Waterfall

The Grunas waterfall is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Albania. The waterfall of Grunas is a 25 meter high waterfall in the Albanian Alps in the North of Albania.

You can hike to the waterfall from the Theth mountain village. It takes about 50 minutes to hike to the waterfall from the center of the Theth village. It is a medium difficulty hiking trip.

At the bottom of the waterfall, there is a natural pool with emeralt green water. It is one of the most beautiful places, I have ever seen.

To visit the waterfall, you must travel to the Albanian Alps. However, if you plan on hiking from the Theth village accross the Valbone Pass to the Valbone village. Make sure you plan an additional night in Theth, so that you can explore the natural wonders of Theth, like the Grunas waterfall and the Blue Eye of Theth.

albania tourist photos

11. Drymades beach

Drymades beach is on of the most beautiful hidden beaches in the Albanian Riviera. The beach of Drymades is located to the South of Dhermi beach. However, it is a completely different world.

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Drymades is completely different. It is a natural beach with a beautiful rock formation in the middle of the beach.

There is perfect golden sand and the incredible turqoise water, is calm and still. If you want to get away from Dhermi, it is the perfect place to enjoy a natural beach.

And even though, the Guardian ranked Drymades beach as the second most beautiful beach in Europe. And the Lonely Planet calls Drymades: “One of the more attractive beaches in the Albanian Riviera”. It is still quiet in the high season.

So if you find yourself in the Northern part of the Albanian Riviera, then Drymades beach should be on the top of your list!

albania tourist photos

12. The Mangalem district in Berat city

Berat is by far the most beautiful historical city in Albania. And the historical center of Berat is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.

The old town center of Berat was built on the slope of the hill. If you look upwards from the valley, you will see hundreds of little white houses that were built on the side of the hill.

That is why Berat is also called “the city of a thousand windows”. Because if you stand at the bottom of the hill, it literally feels like all the little windows look down at you.

The historical city center of Berat consists of two historical neighbourhoods: The Mangalem Quarter and the Gorica Quarter. Of the two neighbourhoods, the Mangalem Quarter is the highlight.

You can spend your morning exploring the Berat Castle on the top of the hill. And then take some free time to explore the historical city center by foot.

Insider tip: Go for lunch or dinner in the Gorica Quarter on the other side of the river. Because from the terraces in Gorica, you will have a stunning view of the river, the Mangalem Quarter and the Berat Castle.

albania tourist photos

13. Mirror beach

Mirror beach is a small beach surrounded by cliffs in the South of Albania.

If you have researched the Albanian Riviera online, you have most definitely come accross Ksamil beach. Because Ksamil is called “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”. Simply said, Ksamil is a paradise-like beach and without a doubt the most beautiful beach in Albania.

Mirror beach, on the other hand, is much less known. It is a small beach, which is completely surrounded by cliffs.

When you stand on the beach, you will see cliffs on either side and the waves come crashing towards the shore.

The beach is called Mirror beach, because the water of the sea looks like a gigantic mirror, as it reflects the sunlight. Needless to say, it is an absolute blast to watch the sun go down in the evening.

I am not saying that you should not visit Ksamil beach, because you absolutely should! However, if you find yourself in the high season and Ksamil beach is busy on the day you visit. You may want to spend some time at the nearby Mirror beach as well, so that you can enjoy some privacy too!

And Mirror beach gets raving reviews on Tripadvisor, so you do not have to take my word for it, simply read some reviews!

albania tourist photos

14. The Grand Park in Tirana

The Grand Park in Tirana is one of the most beautiful places in the capital city. When people ask me about visiting Tirana city, I usually recommend a walking tour through the city center. Because it gives you a lovely overview of the landmarks and the history of Albania.

If you do decide to go for a walking tour of Tirana, I recommend you finish your tour at the Grand Park of Tirana.

There is a large artificial lake in the middle of the park, which gives you a stunning view of the surrounding park lands and neighbourhoods. Walk or go for a run along the water. Or enjoy a lazy cup of coffee, whilst staring accros the water.

Although the Grand Park is not a full-day trip or a destination in itself. It is the perfect ending to a day of exploring the capital city of Albania.

albania tourist photos

15. Rana e Hedhun beach

Rana e Hedhun is a stunning beach in the North of Albania.

If you arrive at Tirana International Airport, you can either travel to the North of Albania or the South of Albania. The South of Albania is mostly known for the beautiful beaches of the Albanian Riviera. And the North of Albania is popular amongst hikers, who enjoy exploring the Albanian Alps.

However, even if you decide to visit the Albanian Alps, you can still enjoy an afternoon on the beach! There is no need to travel all the way to the South of Albania, in order to enjoy a few hours on the beach.

Rana e Hedhun is a gorgeous beach close to Shkoder city. Most hikers plan a 3-4 day round trip through the Albanian Alps, which starts and ends in Shkoder city. I recommend you plan 1 extra day in Shkoder, to explore the historical city center in the morning and to go to Rana e Hedhun beach in the afternoon.

Rana e Hedhun is also known as “Thrown Sand”. Because the beach is known for its large sand dune. You can climb the hill and slide down the sand dune towards the sea. Although there are some small restaurants along the shore, the beach still has a “beach village” feeling.

Avoid the nearby Shengjin beach, which has many hotels and resorts along the shore. And visit the beautiful beach instead.

albania tourist photos

16. Butrint

Butrint is the most beautiful UNESCO Heritage Site in Albania. It is an archaeological park set on the little peninsula.

At Butrint, you can visit the ruins of an ancient city. Throughout history, Butrint was a Greek city, a Roman city, a bishopric, a part of the Venetian empire and a part of the Ottoman empire. As a result, in the park you can see ruins of each period of the cities development.

However, when I write about an archaeological park, sometimes people think it is only of interest to historians and archaeologists. Which is absolutely not true.

Yes, Butrint has stunning ruins. But it is the nature surrounding the ruins that makes this park something special.

The archaeological park is set on a little peninsula, which is overgrown with lush nature. And surrounding the peninsula, there is beautiful water of Lake Butrint and the Vivari channel.

Because of the unique combination of historical ruins and nature, everyone will enjoy a 2-hour visit to Butrint. And it is conveniently located near Ksamil beach, Saranda beach and the Blue Eye of Albania, so you can easily combine it with another destination!

albania tourist photos

17. The Blue Eye of Albania, near Saranda

The Blue Eye of Albania is a magical spot.

Essentially, the Blue Eye of Albania is a fresh water spring. There is an underwater cave deep underneath the water. And the spring pumps fresh water to the surface of the river with an enourmous force.

The reason why this fresh water spring, became a touristic attraction, is its mesmerizing beauty.

The water of the spring is a bright blue colour. So bright in fact, that you won’t believe it is natural.

Moreover, the spring is called “The Blue Eye”, because it resembles a human eye. The underwater cave is the black pupil of a human eye. And the bright blue water is the iris of a human eye.

A fun fact is that nobody knows exactly, how deep the Blue Eye of Albania is. Numberous divers have tried to reach the bottom of the spring. However, this type of cave diving is extremely dangerous, because the diver has to swim against that enourmous water pressure. The Blue Eye is at least 50 meters deep, but nobody knows how much deeper…

For the adventurous people, you can jump into the spring from a platform at the top. And you will resurface immediately after, because the water pressure will push you up!

albania tourist photos

18. The springs of Drilon

The springs of Drilon are a beautiful touristic location near Lake Ohrid.

Lake Ohrid is a massive lake on the border of Albania and North Macedonia. On the Albanian side of the lake, you can visit the town of Pogradec, the village of Lin and the springs of Drilon.

The springs of Drilon are the origin of the Drin river, which flows into Lake Ohrid. This beautiful place is a well-known touristic resort amongst the Albanian people. Along the waterside, there are many decorative threes. And there is a little pond, which crosses to a tiny island.

It is a very pretty and peaceful location. And if you are in the area of Lake Ohrid, it is definitely worth a stopover.

albania tourist photos

19. Jale beach

Jale beach is my personal favorite beach in the Albanian Riviera. And if the above picture has not convinced you, then I do not know what will…

Jale beach is a small beach in the middle of the Albanian Riviera. If you drive along the coastal road, you will find Jale between Dhermi beach and Himare beach.

The beach itself is a small bay facing the Ionian Sea. Amongst the locals, Jale beach is known as “the beach with the clearest water of the Albanian Riviera”.

On one side of the half-moon shaped bay, there is a little peninsula with a hotel overlooking the beach. This hotel was actually used during the communist regime by the party elite. And it is still functional as a hotel until this day!

Jale is also pupular for its campsides, where you can rent a tent near the beach.

Moreover, if you are in Jale, you can book a sailing, biking, canoe or hiking trip to the nearby Gjipe beach. Since Gjipe is complety surrounded by cliffs, you can peddle your way to this hidden beach, if you start from Jale beach!

albania tourist photos

20. Porto Palermo and the Castle of Ali Pasha

Porto Palermo is a stunning sightseeing location in the Albanian Riviera.

In the middle of the Bay of Porto Palermo, you can visit a little peninsula. It is almost an island, but it is connected to the mainland via a narrow strip of land. On the peninsula, you can visit the Castle of Ali Pasha.

The Castle of Ali Pasha is trianglar shaped castle. The highlight is the rooftop deck, which gives you a panoramic view of the entire Bay of Porto Palermo.

Historians are devided over who actually built this triangular shaped castle. Although some Albanian history books say it was built by the Albanian governor “Ali Pasha” during the Ottoman empire. There are others, who believe it was built by the Venetians, since it has the same shape as the Venetian castle at Butrint.

It is of course possible that history was re-written during the communist period, because the Albanian Ali Pasha was a national hero, which fit the nationalistic promotion of the communist dictator.

Regardless of who built this castle, I definitely recommend a quick stop on route to the South of the Albanian Riviera. If only to take a stunning picture from the castle’s rooftop!

albania tourist photos

21. The stunning view from the Llogara Pass

The Llogara Pass offers one of the most beautiful views in Albania.

The Llogara Pass is a viewpoint on the coastal road along the Albanian Riviera. All the beaches of the Albanian Riviera are located alongside the main coastal road. The coastal road starts at Vlore beach and it leads to Saranda beach in the South of Albania.

The Llogara Pass is the highest point on the coastal road. It has a height of 1043 meters above sea level.

When you drive from Vlore beach to the south, you will drive over the winding road to the Llogara Pass before you reach Dhermi beach.

From the Llogara Pass, you can see Dhermi beach, the Dhermi village and Palase beach. Moreover, you will have a stunning view of the Ionian Sea.

There is a lovely restaurant at the top of the pass, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, from where you can enjoy the view. It is great to plan a coffee break or a lunch at the restaurant on your way the south of Albania.

albania tourist photos

22. The Venice Art Mask Factory

The Venice Art Mask Factory is by far the most interesting place to visit in Shkoder city.

The Venice Art Mask Factory was started by Edmond Angoni. He is an Albanian man, who worked in Italy for many years, before returing home to Albania to start his studio.

The factory produces handicraft masks for the Venetian carnival. All the masks are hand-made by a series of artists. And they are one-of-a-kind.

The Venice Art Mask Factory has a reputation for producing high quality masks, which are exported and solt in shops all around the world.

Apart from the art studio, there is a mask showroom. In the showroom, you can see a large collection of Venetian masks. And if you like you can buy one of the masks as a souvenir to bring home.

Shkoder as a city is known for its artistic vibe and the Venice Art Mask Factory is one of the highlights.

albania tourist photos

23. Monastery beach

Monastery beach is one of the best kept secrets in Albania.

Monastery beach is a little beach located between Saranda beach and Ksamil beach. It is a part of the Albanian Riviera, but it is not a well-known beach.

Both Saranda beach and Ksamil beach are incredibly popular beaches. Saranda is the largest coastal city in the Albanian Riviera. Therefore, Saranda is also known as “the capital of the Albanian Riviera”. Ksamil beach is the most beautiful beach in the Albanian Riviera and known as “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”.

However, both Saranda and Ksamil are busy and they attrack many tourists in the high season. Therefore, if you want to get away from the crowds in the high season, Monastery beach is a great option.

Monastery beach is secluded. The beach is surrounded by high cliffs on both sides. The best part of this beach is the isolation and privacy.

You can hike up the hill to the 14th century monastery of Saint George. From the hill, you have a stunning view of Monastery beach, the Ionian Sea and Lake Butrint.

And you do not have to make up your mind now. Because Monastery beach is conveniently located between Saranda and Ksamil. So if you find either beach too crowded, you can easily drive or take a taxi to the quieter Monastery beach.

albania tourist photos

24. Petrela village and Petrela Castle

Petrela Castle is a great place to visit for a day-trip from Tirana.

Petrela is a little village located very close to the capital city Tirana. From Tirana’s city center, it will only take you about 25 minutes to drive or take a taxi to Petrela.

Although Tirana and Petrela are close to each other, they are completely different worlds.

When you drive into the Petrela village, you will immediately fall in love with the romantic athmosphere. As you drive along the winding road, you will see Olive groves everywhere.

Along the road, there are little restaurants and mom-and-pop owned hotels. At the top of the hill, you can visit the Petrela Castle. The castle was built on the top of a large rock.

From the castle, you have the most amazing panoramic view of the valley, the little village and the hills.

The castle used to be a part of the defense of the national hero Skanderbeg. Skanderbeg was a military commander, who defended the Albanians against the invasion of the Ottoman Turks. Skanderbeg himself was based in the nearby Kruje Castle, but his sister Mamica was based in Petrela.

albania tourist photos

25. The Albanian Alps

If you enjoy visiting rough and untouched nature, then you must definitely visit the Albanian Alps.

The Albanian Alps are also known as the Accursed Mountains. The Alps are a large mountain range in the North of Albania.

The beauty of visiting the Albanian Alps is that they remain remote until this day. This is mainly due to the fact that this region is still relatively difficult to reach.

If you would like to visit the Theth mountain village in the Albanian Alps, you must book a four-wheel-drive taxi in Shkoder city. From Shkoder city, it takes roughly 3.5 hours to get to the Theth village.

Although the first part of the road to Theth has asphalt. The last hour of your journey, you will drive on a stoney dirt track.

However, it remoteness also is the beauty of the Albanian Alps. You can spend the night in an authenic guesthouse. And as you wander through the little villages of the Albanian Alps, it feels as though you are going back in time.

One of the main attractions is a day-hike accross the 1800 meter high Valbone Pass. This part of the mountains is so remote, that the only way to get from the Theth village to the Valbone village is by hiking the trail. There simply is no road connecting the two villages.

albania tourist photos

26. The view from Lekuresi Castle in Saranda

The Lekuresi Castle is a great place to visit, if you are staying in Saranda.

Saranda is the largest coastal city in the Albanian Riviera. The city’s hotels are built around the large bay.

To get an amazing view of the city of Saranda, you can drive up the steep road to Lekuresi Castle.

From the castle’s walls, you have a stunning panoramic view. On a clear day, you can see the entire city of Saranda, Corfu island, Ksamil beach and Butrint.

The castle was built by the Ottomans Turks in the 16th century, when they ruled over Albania. The main reason for building the castle was the strategic location. From the castle, the Ottomans could control the road to Butrint and protect their empire from attacks from Corfu island.

Although the castle itself is mostly in ruins, it is the view that makes this location worth visiting.

albania tourist photos

27. Grama Bay

Grama Bay is one of the most gorgeous and unspoiled beaches in the Albanian Riviera. Grama Bay is a part of the Karaburun Peninsula. Karaburun is a rocky peninsula that points into the sea between Vlore beach and Dhermi beach.

There are several hidden beaches along the peninsula of Karaburun, but Grama Bay is the absolute highlight without a doubt. Therefore, Grama Bay is also known as the “jewel of the Albanian Riviera”.

Grama Bay is a very remote beach. It can be reached by taking a boat from the Dhermi village. The boat trip costs roughly 150 euros, but it can accommodate 6 or 7 people. The only other way is hiking for 6 hours, however, you will need to hike through the remote and hilly terain. And you definitely need a good supply of drinking water.

Grama Bay is also known as “the Bay of Scripts”. Because Grama Bay provides shelter from the rough sea. Throughout history, sailers carmed inscriptions and symbols in the cliffs surrounding the bay, to give thanks to their gods.

Scholars have analyzed the inscriptions in the cliffs and found ancient, medieval Greek and Latin languages.

Visiting the Bay of Grama is absolutely worth it, however, it does require some proper planning to get to this hidden gem.

albania tourist photos

28. The endless view from Kruje Castle

Kruje Castle is a classic day-trip destination for tourists, who are staying in Tirana. Mostly because it is a beautiful sightseeing location, which is only a 45 minute drive from Tirana.

The Castle of Kruje is located on a hilltop and it has the most amazing view. From the castle, you can see the entire city of Tirana, several other villages, the valley, the mountain landscape, the Adriatic Sea and Durres beach.

Inside the castle, you can also visit the Skanderbeg Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. The Skanderbeg Museum is dedicated to Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg. He was a military commander, who reunited the Albanian tribes in a fight against the invasion of the Ottoman Turks. And in the Etnographic Museum, you get a unique insight in an Albanian family house.

There is also a lovely Bazaar market with handicraft items. And there is a variety of restaurants and coffee houses.

But by far the highlight of visiting Kruje is the endless view.

albania tourist photos

29. Pirate’s Cave

Close to Dhermi beach, you can get on a speed boat and visit the Pirate’s Cave.

This activity starts from Dhermi beach. You can get on a speedboat from Dhermi to the Pirate’s Cave, which costs 8 euros per person. Or you can buy a combined boat trip to the Pirate’s Cave and Gjipe beach for 2000 Lek (approximately 17 euros).

The Pirate’s Cave is a stunning location. The cave is located underneath the Saint Theodoros Rock. It is a sea cave, which can accommodate one small boat. The ceiling is high and there is a hole in the ceiling through which a little light enters the cave.

The Pirate’s cave is a beautiful location and based on the reviews on Tripadvisor it is one of the best things to do near Dhermi beach.

albania tourist photos

30. Driving along the coastal road

The coastal road between Vlore beach and Saranda beach is a stunning route. This is the main road that leads by all of the most beautiful beaches of the Albanian Riviera.

Be sure to plan some extra time, if you are driving along this road. Because from the turning and twisting road, you will have many stunning views of the beaches below.

Moreover, you will certainly want to get off the road to visit the little beaches below. Apart from beaches, you can also make a stop at the Llogara Pass, which is a high viewpoint. And you can visit the Castle of Ali Pasha, which is located on a little peninsula in the Bay of Porto Palermo.

All the larger beaches, like Dhermi beach, Jale beach, Himare beach and Borsh beach are clearly indicated. However, if you aiming to visit some of the smaller hidden coves, like Gjipe beach, Aquarium Bay or Drymades beach, you will need to bring a route description with you.

And finally, I do want to mention that you must be an experienced and confident driver in order to drive in Albania. Not all the Albanian drivers follow the rules of the road, so you will have to be extra alert to avoid an accident. If you doubt your driving skills in a foreign country in any way, please book a tour or a private driver.

About me

I am an Albania Tour Guide , who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania . I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania! Kind regards, Manon

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Book your free  Albania Planning Session via Skype now, by using my online scheduler to find a time that’s convenient for you.

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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

The best beaches of the Albanian Riviera

Tom Masters

Jun 24, 2019 • 4 min read

albania tourist photos

Sandy Drymades beach during summer, on the Ionian Sea, Albania.

Albania’s rugged coastline, with traditional villages nestled in isolated bays and golden beaches lapped by turquoise waters, was a revelation when travellers first started discovering the country during the turn of the century. Since then Europe’s last untouched beaches have changed almost beyond recognition, but there’s still plenty of reason to come here and explore this magnificent coastline where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet.

You may have heard of the Albanian Riviera and its beaches, once catchwords of true backpackerdom – their names were synonymous with unspoilt sands backed by rolling hills covered in olive groves, rustic accommodation right next to the water, and grilled meats and cold beers for the equivalent of a handful of change.

Inevitably that hasn’t endured; asphalt roads now connect all but the most far-flung of the Riviera’s villages, while hotels, restaurants and holiday homes dot the coastline. Today you’re more likely to be competing for beach space with a day-tripping family from Tirana than a crowd of international shoestringers. And yet, despite the Riviera’s transformation, there are still idyllic and breathtaking spots along this craggy coast. Here are some of the very best.

A high-angled shot of Dhërmi beach during summer with turquoise water

The beach at  Dhërmi  is one of the most famous in Albania , a dazzling strip of white rock several kilometres long that is lapped by deep blue water. Outside peak season, it’s very quiet, and while the summer months now get very busy, the beach is long enough to find a quiet spot away from the crowds even in mid-August. For explorers, there are lots of coves and smaller bays further along the beach, including the famous Drymades beach, where excellent budget accommodation can be had and a number of smart hotels are found on the beach itself.

Pebbly Palasa beach with green hills behind it and mountains in the distance

This is the first accessible beach on the Riviera after negotiating the incredible descent through the zigzagging Llogaraja Pass . A relatively new access road takes you from the main road to the beach itself, a glorious stretch of white sand sprinkled with a handful of low-key local eateries. Sadly the serenity of this overlooked spot could soon be tarnished somewhat, as building work begins on a sprawling, ugly apartment complex that will change the landscape of the beach and bring an increased number of bathers. But, for now at least, Palasa remains the perfect spot for beach bums wanting to avoid crowds, camp alone on the beach and swim in pristine waters.

A wooden pier with a bench at the end stretches into shallow blue waters off the coast of Ksamil beach, with a small island, covered in trees, in the distance

South of Saranda , the unofficial capital of the Albanian Riviera, and within striking distance of the Greek border, Ksamil has an excellent location. The three small islands in its turquoise bay are an easy swim or boat ride away, and there are always fewer people here than on the busier town beach. This is a big tourism centre for locals, and it can get very crowded in summer, but even then the islands offer some respite. Corfu looms across the channel in the distance (this is Albania’s closest point to the Greek island), and the ancient city of Butrint , a Unesco World Heritage Site, is just beyond Saranda, which makes it very easy to combine beach time with some cultural pursuits.

A drone shot of Bunec beach from above with a white strip of sand and wooden pier jutting out into the sea

This little charmer of a cove is often overlooked by travellers hurrying towards the bright lights of Saranda, a short distance beyond it. Bunec is quiet and somewhat unusual, with a pebbly white beach divided by a river which runs down from the mountains above. The sunset here is gorgeous, and the beach is a good option for those looking for a bit more comfort while remaining in a pleasingly unspoilt place: both the Bunec Bed and Breakfast and Naza Hotel have smart double rooms right next to the water, and there are a couple of budget campsites and simple cafes here as well. Apart from that, there’s nothing but the silence and the waves – and that’s the whole point.

High-angle view of Llamani Beach near Himare with rows of sun loungers lining the sand

The sleepy town of Himara is a well-established stop on the tourist trail. Despite its growth in the past decade it hasn’t lost its charm, although the town beach is now crowded in summer. Instead, head 4km south of the town to Llamani beach, a wide, white stone beach backed by rolling hills and with inviting, clear water for swimming.  In Himara itself, Potami beach is a good alternative to the main one; you’ll find it just south of the centre, beyond the large rock that cuts the town in two.

Sunset on Borsh beach with the sun setting behind mountains in the background with the tide gently lapping the shore

The largest unbroken stretch of beach in Albania, 7km-long Borsh  is quite a sight as you approach it along the dramatic coastal road leading to the wide plain with the eponymous town spread out before you. Even more remarkable is that tourism has barely touched Borsh, despite its significant community and busy olive-oil production industry – the beach is backed by little more than a few makeshift restaurants and bars. This is inevitably going to change soon, as developers train their sights on the empty lots backing the beach, so come now to enjoy this magical place.

This article was originally published in May 2015 and updated in June 2019.

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18 Stunning Places To See In Albania That You Absolutely Must Not Miss

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Albania may not yet be a go-to travel destination, but it is full of unmatched natural beauty. From its rugged coastlines to its soaring mountains, there are plenty of amazing places to see in Albania. This unspoiled destination also has some of the best examples of Ottoman architecture in the world.

The clear Mediterranean air and stunning beaches of Albania are surrounded by villages where time seems to have stood still. With a vast array of unique attractions, here are some places to see in Albania:

Central Square Tirana places to see in Albania

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is the vibrant heart of the country. It is also the entry point for most visitors. Its welcoming, relaxed vibe, busy restaurants and bars, and excellent museums make it a compelling place to visit. Don’t miss the Et’hem Bey Mosque, the Old Bazaar, the National Historic Museum, and the revolving Sky Tower.

2 Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid places to see in Albania

Straddling the border between Macedonia and Albania, Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest in Europe. The massive Galičica Mountain looms over the lake and the Albanian town of Pogradec. The lake’s unique wildlife and blue waters are surrounded by countless stunning medieval churches and Roman ruins. You can also visit Lake Skadar, the largest lake in Southern Europe. Lying on the border between Albania and Montenegro, it is famous for its bird reserve.

Berat Albania places to see in albania

Located in the middle of the country, the town of Berat is famous for its mix of Ottoman and Albanian architecture. It old streets are full of historical sites, though perhaps the most well-known are the 13th-century Berat Castle and the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae making it one of the best places to see in Albania . The houses in Berat climb up the steep hill overlooking the Osumi River. This has led to the town earning the name the “City of a Thousand Windows”.

4 Albanian Riviera

Main city promenade in Saranda, Albania.

The Albanian Riviera is one of the country’s most popular destinations. This line of seaside villages, from Palasa to Lukove, is also known to locals as “Bregu.” The Riviera offers a unique mix of quaint villages, lush natural beauty, and vibrant nightlife. Many international music festivals also take place here. Don’t miss the seaside town of Himara, as well as Porto Palermo Beach, Drymades Beach, Llamani Beach and Filikuri Beach.

5 Apollonia

Saint Mary church in Apollonia in Albania

Apollonia was once an important Greek city, though all that is left today are magnificent ruins. Founded around 588 BC, it is located near the city of Fier. The ruins include a fascinating 12th-century Byzantine monastery and a theatre. You can also visit the excellent museum nearby to learn more about the museums.

ALbania

Located near Muzinë in Vlorë County, the Blue Eye (or Syri i Kaltër) is a naturally occurring water spring. It is a popular attraction, known for the clear blue waters that for a pool over 50 meters deep. The pool is surrounded by oak and sycamore trees. While it is unknown exactly how deep this mesmerising pool goes, its natural beauty makes it a must-visit of the places to see in Albania.

7 Gjirokastra

Gjirokastra Castle

The beautiful hillside town of Gjirokastra is one of the best places to see in Albania. There has been a settlement here for 2500 years. Overlooking the Drina Valley, the imposing Ottoman-era houses and the majestic castle attract visitors throughout the year. The town has also been the birthplace of world-renowned author Ismail Kadare and Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha.

Vlore Albania

Vlore is one of the most popular coastal towns in Albania. Located in the south-west of the country it is known for its sunny beaches that stretch for several kilometres along the coast. The area is also famous for its olive production, seafood, and hip bars. Vlore is also full of historic sites, such as Kanina Castle, the Monastery of Saint Mary and Orikum Ancient Theatre. However, perhaps the most famous is the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building.

9 Kruj ë Castle

Kruja Castle Albania

Located near Tirana, Krujë (or Kruja) was once the capital of the Kingdom of Albania and the site of a rebellion against the encroaching Ottoman Empire in 1443. The magnificent Krujë Castle was the centre of this movement led by George Kastrioti Skanderbeg. While the town was eventually conquered by the Ottomans after his death in 1478 and held until 1912, Skanderbeg is remembered as a hero. Today, you can visit the National Ethnographic Museum and the Skanderbeg Museum around the castle, as well as a stroll through the historical city

10 Theth National Park

Shkoder County ALbania

Away from the towns and cities, in the north of Albania lies the stunning Theth National Park. Set amidst the Albanian Alps, this area includes various rugged peaks, such as Thethi, Boga, Ramza and Vermoshi, and is a favourite among hikers. The beautiful park is also home to the Grunas Waterfall and the Lock-in Tower.

Butrint Albania

The ancient ruins of Butrint (also called Buthrotum ) are one of Albania’s hidden gems. Located near the city of Saranda on the Albanian Riviera this UNESCO World Heritage Site this site has been inhabited from prehistoric times by various peoples, including both the Greeks and the Romans. It is considered to be one of the greatest classical cities of the Mediterranean and is also part of a large national park. Don’t miss the Greek theatre, public baths and the 6th-century basilica

Korça Albania

The town of Korça (or Korçë) is one with a proud cultural heritage. Korça recently saw a major urban renewal, especially at the town’s Old Bazaar. Its cobblestoned streets are filled with villas from the 20s and 30s, as well as both traditional and modern restaurants, shops, bakeries and cafés. You can also visit the excellent Museum of Medieval Art.

13 Llogara National Park

Llogara-National-Park

Llogara National Park is one of the most diverse areas in the country. Stretching from the Ceraunian Mountains to the Albanian Riviera, it includes everything from large alpine meadows to vertical rock faces, dense forests, and the sunny coast of the Ionian Sea. The park is also home to various important species of plants and birds, such as the griffon vulture and the golden eagle. The park is an excellent place to go hiking and paragliding.

Shkodër Albania

Shkodër is the northern Albanian capital and the cultural heart of the country. Said to be among the oldest cities in Europe, its narrow streets are filled with buildings from the Ottoman era, including spectacular bridges across the river Kir. Shkoder was also once home to famous missionary Mother Teresa.

15 Accursed Mountains

Accursed Mountains, Valbona, Albania

Also known as Prokletije, the Accursed Mountains (Bjeshkët e Namuna) are an area of the Albanian Alps. They offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. a popular destination for hikers, the area takes you right back in time to an era deeply rooted in traditions, blood feuds, and local pride. Fortunately (or unfortunately), however “cursed” these forested mountains are, Harry Potter fans are unlikely to run into any Dark-Lords-in-hiding here.

16 Ardenica Monastery

Ardenica Monastery Albania

This beautiful little monastery is not frequented by visitors. It is located on a hill between the towns of Lushjë and Fier. Its 18th century Church of St Mary is filled with fantastic interiors. A golden pulpit is covered with adornments, while frescoes are displayed on the walls and the iconostasis dominates the nave.

17 Zekate House

Gjirokastër – Zekate House Albania

Located in the town of Gjirokastra, this fascinating building deserves its own entry on this list. Dating back to 1811, the three-storey house features a beautiful double-arched facade and twin towers. But, what makes it unique, is the fact that it has been left virtually unchanged since the Ottoman-era. Make sure to get permission from the owners who live next door.

18 Amphitheatre of Durrës

Amphitheatre of Durrës Albania

The town of Durrës is home to the recently rediscovered amphitheatre (it was found in 1966). Dating back to the early 2nd century AD, it could once seat up to 20,000 spectators. While it now lies in ruins, it is still a majestic site, as is the on-site Byzantine chapel filled with mosaics. Don’t forget to visit the Durrës Archeological Museum nearby. It is filled with a rich collection of local historical artefacts.

How to get around:

Dublin is quite well-connected. The Dublin Airport has flights from a large number of European cities. It is also connected to the city proper by both local buses and an express Aircoach service. Dubin has two main train stations. Heuston Station to the west of the city centre serves the west and south of the country. Connolly Station in the north-east serves the south-east and the east coast.

You can also take a passenger ferry from Wales and England via Liverpool and Holyhead. Dublin itself also has an extensive bus network and two train services. The Luas runs through the city centre, while the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is a suburban rail service. It is also possible to hire a bike to get around the city.

There are lots of other places to visit in Albania, and if we’ve missed any, be sure to share them in the comments below.

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Awesome Things To Do in Albania: Places To Visit & Top Experiences

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Updated: 4th April 2017

If there was one destination that surprised me the most last year, it was Albania. From the stunning boat cruises through Lake Komani right down to the crystal clear blue waters of the south, it certainly has a lot more to offer than most would think.

I’ve pulled together 25 of my favourite photos of this incredible country, which, if Albania isn’t on your list, are sure to change your mind. From  bartering with cigarettes for directions  to hidden waterfalls, sleeping in castles and getting a car stuck 2 minutes after picking up hitchhikers, the stories from this east-meets-west land are just as good as the images.

Albania Photos Komani

Shkodër, North Albania

These are the views you will be spoilt with just from the roads in the rugged north of Albania. On route from Shkodër and the beautiful Lake Skadar after a Montenegro road trip, you don’t even need to leave the driving seat for these vistas. However, when some goats on the road stop you from driving, it’s a pretty awesome excuse to jump out.

The nearest big city in the north is Shkodër and likely your starting point if you have crossed the border from Montenegro. There is not a whole heap here, but it’s a good escape into Albanian city life. It has a cute street of colourful houses, restaurants, and shops to grab a beer or a bite to eat.

Skadar Lake sits next to Shkoder and is a great spot to relax. Grab a Kayak or just chill on the outskirts and enjoy the wildlife. The Lake actually spans the border of Montenegro and Albania, and if I am honest, the more impressive parts are on its neighbour’s side.

In the Albanian Alps, you’ll find some epic mountains, crystal clear waters and plenty of trekking and hiking opportunities – sadly, I didn’t stay long enough to explore this region fully, but it is certainly on the list for my next trip back.

albania tourist photos

Lake Komani

Taking a boat tour through Lake Komani provides a million excuses to capture some Albania photos, though don’t do a Dan and crash/kill your drone into a mountain here. These eco-tours offer you the chance to sleep in a house on the lake, there is no electricity but the home made honey and  Rakia , a kick-ass local liquor, will make sleeping in the dark, with just lapping water and clear star filled skies the best reason to have a digital detox.

There are a couple of different ways to see Lake Komani. Even the drive there is breathtaking, but we jumped on a boat with Komani lake tours, and I’m so glad we did. Taking a good four hours to explore the lake, the guest house and the caves was a much better experience than the ferry ride many people take to cross the lake.

Komani Tours also offers transport options from nearby towns, so if you don’t have a car, you can still make it happen without trying to suss out impossible public transport, which is pretty handy. They also have a huge focus on Eco Tourism and keeping the lake clean with various litter collections and projects throughout the year – find out about the different Komani tours they offer.

In the middle of Lake Komani sits the most picturesque and relaxing guest house I have yet to stumble upon. Although I wasn’t stopping the night, we swung by to enjoy some homemade cheese, honey and pancakes as well as the typical Albanian liquor, Rakia, which they were brewing fresh in front of us.

With no other habitation in sight, vines hanging on the patio outside and the perfect hammock views I decided instantly next time I wanted a writing retreat and to switch off (electric is not available here) Lake Komani would be my first point of call.

The alternative to taking a tour is the  Komani lake public ferry , which takes both people and cars across the Lake to Fierza, a popular starting point for the hikes through the more rugged north of the country and the Albanian Alps. There are also a few campsites, homestays and a guesthouse at Lake Komani itself, which means you can crash the night instead of taking the kinda dodgy drive back in the dark.

Lake Komani Ferry

The rolling green hills of Albania

I can’t even remember where I took this shot, one of many moments I screamed at  Lili  in the driver seat to slam on the breaks. The landscapes in Albania are so varied, and the countryside of this country is often overlooked for the beaches but drive inland, and you’ll find a more local way of life, with all its unique and awesome Balkan oddities.

Albania Photos

The city of Berat

The UNESCO city of Berat, dubbed as the city of a thousand windows, was perhaps my favourite place in the whole country. Here, you can sleep inside a castle, explore Ottoman and Byzantine ruins and have an  ‘I don’t have a clue what you are saying’   debate with a policeman  over traffic regulations.

Be sure to check into Guesthouse Kris in the castle itself, hunt down the lady selling some damn tasty plums and try all the local delicacies, whatever the hell they were I’m still not sure, whilst taking in the impressive nighttime views of the old city.

Berat Albania

Gjirokastra

If you do, you’ll miss out on mini adventures to find the waterfalls of Bogove or take in  Gjirokastra , a true rival to Berat for the cutest city in Albania. UNESCO listed, it’s sitting damn pretty in the Drina Valley, and the scenic drive just to get here is worth making the side trip for.

Gjirokaster Albania

The Ottoman houses here, stacked up against the side of the mountain with their whitewashed walls and slate roofs make for a killer Albania photo moment on Instagram but stick around for a while and wander the small streets hunting out the best Cevapi (small sausage dish) in town.

Gijirokastra castle, with its stunning views over the valley, cannons in cobbled hallways and plane wrecks, is a great vantage point and was surprisingly free of tourists, even in August. Get a beer in a bar, watch the sunset, and feel like you are a million miles away from the modern world whilst snapping another for the Albania photos album your mates will all be jealous of!

albania tourist photos

The Albanian Blue Eye

Seriously beautiful, but a bitch to photograph. I sent  Jones  into the freezing water with my GoPro/Dome camera and he got some incredible videos of this bubbling, unique natural spot then managed to corrupt the files  (I think I’ve forgiven him now).

Blue Eye Albania

This water spring in the Vlore region brings in a lot of tourists who want the famous Albania photo opportunity, or if you are Lili, to fall down a mud hill and nearly drown in with your camera… But trips and springs aside, the park where the Blue Eye sits has some of the clearest waters and relaxing vibes of anywhere I have been in Europe.

The Albanian Riviera

“Where in Asia is that?”  is by far the most common question I get from people when they see my Albania photos of the riviera. These stunning beaches with their crystal blue waters are what draws some serious crowds during the summer months, but it’s still possible to hunt out your own hidden gem in the Ksamil region.

albania tourist photos

The Albania coastline isn’t just beaches

Whilst the Albanian Riviera is a serious sun-tanning hotspot and a contender for the best beach holiday destination in Europe , the coastline is littered with historic architecture. This unique country, with its diverse and welcoming culture, has been in many hands over the years, so there is a mishmash of styles here to keep any history buff entertained.

Albania photos

Albania photos from above

If I had the balls, I would have been first in line for this to take some aerial shots of the stunning coastline as my drone died a sad death earlier in the trip. If you aren’t the kind of person who can take a good book and kill days on the beach, from skydiving to kayaking, you have plenty of choice in Albania.

albania tourist photos

Ksamil and the Islands

A quick boat ride from the mainland, and you will find yourself on some beautiful but crowded islands. With waters like that, you can see why both locals and tourists alike can kill their sunny days in these waters. Legit, that water is paradise.

Albania Roads

The insane mountain roads running along the coastline are well worthy of a mention too. If you have a fear of heights and do not have much faith left in Albanian roads or driving skills, then yeah – you’ll likely be as shit scared as I was but well worth it for those Albania photo opportunities!

Albania Riviera

And then grab another beach beer…

Whilst there are plenty more hidden gems in Albania, I’m saving a few for my road trip guide. Plus, who doesn’t want more beach shots? If you really want to avoid the crowds then take dirt tracks to small beaches or pay to hit up one of the small enclaves with a beach bar on, I kid you not that water actually looks this blue in most Albania photos!

The Albanian Coastline

Albania is seriously underrated, and I’m amazed so few of my friends have been there, but the news is spreading. If you want epic landscapes, great value, stunning beaches, history, awesome banter with the locals, and to spend most of your trip eating small sausages, get Albania on your agenda!

albania tourist photos

Getting To Albania

You have a few options when it comes to arriving into Albania, I came in from Montenegro and then left from the south which is a great way to do the top to bottom and get all those Albania photo opportunities!

Fly into Tirana  – The capital of Albania is well connected, but this will mean doing some backtracking if you want to see the whole country.

Fly into Corfu  – Yep, Greece. Then, take a ferry over to Ksamil and start your adventure in the south.

Fly into Podgorica  – Kick off your trip in Montenegro, see some of the amazing sights there, and then hop the border, picking up a car in Shkoder.

Getting Around Albania

Get a car. Whilst there are day trips, and buses are an option, there have been some seriously worrying and fatal reports of buses in Albania. While the situation is improving, I will stick by my original statement. Road-tripping the Balkans was amazing, and to see so many places that are lesser discovered, I highly recommend it. There was also a surprising amount of Hitchhikers here, so *blah blah warning on the dangers of it* that could be an option. Still, there are plenty of other options for getting around Albania if you’d prefer to use public transport.

Albania Sunsets

Where To Stay in Albania

I stayed in plenty of small local guesthouses and Air BnB which seems a good call I’d highly recommend having a night in  Guesthouse Kris in Berat  so you can sleep in the castle and also stay in the  lodge on Lake Komani  (even if it’s just for the homemade goodies!).

Albania Sunset Photos

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Your photos are incredible! I visited Albania a few years ago, but I only had the chance to explore Tirana and the northern region. Your images have inspired me to consider revisiting and exploring the rest of the country soon.

Ahh love your photos they are really well done. Gjirokaster is one of my favorites in all of Albania. The food doesn’t disappoint. Did you get to go to Rana e Hedhun in the north?

Wow, these photos of Albania are absolutely stunning! It’s so refreshing to see a beautiful and underrated destination like Albania showcased in such a breathtaking way. The country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture truly shine through in these postcards

Superb pictures, Dan! Beautiful Albania, with excellent beaches and a great view of mountains.

Awesome read! Im definitely going to visit some Balkans countries, but you make it hard to narrow down which ones to visit! Did you do these road trips solo? Im a solo female traveler and wonder the ease and safety of roadtripping solo..? Great post!

Hey Meghan,

I didn’t do these road trips solo, I was with friends. For the most part I would say that solo driving wouldn’t be a problem but with some language barriers and remote places if you did have a car issue it could become one :)

Very inspiring report! I´m curious about the old plane photo. Can you remember where it was taken? Thanks a lot in advance!

It’s in Gjirokaster, at the castle :)

Berat in Albanian “Qyteti i një mbi një dritarevë” which translates in “The City of a one Window over another” and not as wrongly done by all the travellers

I confirm Olti’s correction about Berat. There’s no reason why Berat should have been called as “the city of a thousand windows”. It certainly has more windows than that, as do all other cities. The name comes from the fact that the houses in the old part of the town are built close to each other on the face of a hill, and look like one on top of another. The miss translation is due to the similarity of both expressions in Albanian: qyteti i nje mbi nje dritareve – the city of one over one windows. qyteti i nje mije e nje dritareve – the city of one thousand and one windows.

I’ve just found your blog, love the photos – I’ve visited many of these places and Albania really is one big hidden gem. I’m now following your blog and on social – look forward to reading about your next adventure.

Thank you so much Michelle. Albania was one of my biggest, and most favourite, suprises too :) Safe travels!

Amazing pictures Dan! Will be going on a road trip soon and your photos of Albania convinced me this country is a must-visit!

Thanks lovely :) Hope you are well! Yes, Albania is AWESOME and even with the sometimes sketchy roads it’s an epic road trip. You’ll have the best time!

Loving this ;)

Albania is surprisingly impressive. Such a beautiful paradise. Thanks for sharing. Awesome photos.

Thanks! It really is so underestimated :)

Pictures are awesome in the blog and by looking at these pics anyone would love to visit Albania.

Thanks :) it’s a beautiful place!

Amazing photos! I went to Albania a few years ago but only saw Tirana and the north, I think I’m going to have to go back soon and see the rest of the country…

You should, it’s seriously got so much to offer. Can’t wait to get back! Safe travels :)

I love the waterfall picture with that random old guy who wouldnt leave that spot, lol. Cmon dude. Get out of our shots.

Haha, cold AF!

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What to see in Albania – my favorite places and more!

In recent few years, Albania tourism has been blooming.

While it’s not so safe anymore to travel to some of the favorite holiday destinations on the south-east shore of Mediterranean Sea people were looking for a good alternative and many have decided to visit Albania. I’m definitely a big supporter of that idea!

Albanian coast is spectacular and Ksamil beach is already a world famous gem but the country has so much more to offer, some of the best Balkan highlights !

Beautiful stone towns, spectacular wonders of nature, breathtaking mountains and the funky capital – you can see it all if you decide to visit Albania !

I’ve been twice to the country (the first time when the Albania tourism was still just crawling) and even if slightly challenging I loved my time there!

I’m already thinking of the return as my list of what to see in Albania is getting longer and longer! I really hope the next year will see my visiting Albania again and seeing more of its beauty!

Albania essentials

Planning a trip to Albania? Here are the services I always use and personally recommend:

  • Accommodation : I always book a place to stay on Booking.com
  • Tours: when I decide to go on a tour I either use Viator
  • Get insured for your trip to Albania with SafetyWing

Table of Contents

How to get to Albania?

Traveling to Albania has always been the biggest issue.

Fortunately, it is changing slowly and now you can easily find charter flights to Tirana , also Wizzair started to operate on Budapest -Tirana route (hopefully it’s just the beginning and there will be even more options of direct flights to Albania soon!).

When I visited Albania twice it was more challenging to get there but not impossible.

Both times I flew to Thessaloniki, Greece and then I took the bus.

When I was going to Berat it was supposed to be a direct bus but we had to change somewhere at 5 am – overall it was a crazy and absurd journey that took me 50 hours from Poland but eventually I got exactly where I wanted to.

When I was going to Gijokastra I first took the bus from Thessaloniki to Ioannina (which was surprisingly beautiful and made a perfect stop along the way) and from there it’s only 2 hours by bus to Gijokastra (including crossing the border).

Since there’s a huge Albanian population living in Greece there are daily connections from Athens to Thessaloniki to probably every city in Albania.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Berat

Another option (that my friend did recently) is flying to Corfu island in Greece and then taking the ferry to nearby Saranda .

Albania makes a popular day trip destination among tourists from Corfu and there are few boats to choose from – the fast one takes only half an hour.

You can also reach Albania from North Macedonia and Kosovo – there are bus connections between those countries.

From Ohrid you might use the southern border crossing and you will find yourself in the town of Pogradec that already offers decent connections to Tirana or other places in Albania.

From Montenegro 360Monte agency offers direct transfers between Kotor , Budva, Shkoder and Tirana.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Pogradec

How to travel around Albania?

The best way to travel around is by car as getting to some of Albania highlights by public transport is simply impossible (and even if the public transport is available, sometimes it’s simply too challenging and confusing).

Fortunately, you can easily rent a car to enjoy exploring Albania hassle-free. To rent a car go to the Discover Cars website and choose from many available options. You can pick up the car already at the airport or in any other convenient location. Since Discover Cars compares rental deals from different companies you can expect to find the best prices and offer on their website, with no hidden fees, free cancellation and 24/7 support.

If you decide to use public transport it’s doable but prepare for a bit of a hassle. In most of the places, there are no bus stations and no schedules – you need to go to a certain place from where the minibus to your destination goes.

Sometimes it sounds scary (like “big tree on the left side of the roundabout”) but in reality, it’s not so bad – local people will direct you and the drivers will find you – that’s what happened to me in Elbasan or Tirana.

Just like in former USSR minibusses wait to fill up so sometimes it might take a while for the bus to depart.

Between some big cities like Saranda and Tirana, there are regular connections with a schedule which makes everything so much easier.

The road condition isn’t very good so sometimes the journey takes much longer than you’d expect from the distance but things are definitely improving. The Albanian drivers, just like in other Balkan countries, are a little bit crazy but it’s nothing too scary.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

Is Albania safe?

For some reason, Albania doesn’t have the best reputation (but that’s also changing slowly). If you are wondering is Albania safe I can assure you there is nothing to worry about.

This is just a normal country (with more difficult language than anywhere else) so if only you use your common sense you will be fine.

During my both trips I always felt safe and there wasn’t even one situation when something was wrong.

Cities are always full of people, especially in the late afternoons and evening as walking around seems to be the favorite pastime activity of Albanians.

The fear of Albania comes from the unknown but it really is a safe country, like many others in the area.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

Solo female travel in Albania

My first trip to Albania (to Berat only) was with a friend, the second time I’ve spent a week there traveling solo.

I felt really safe for all the time, no one bothered me or harassed me, people were really friendly, welcoming and helpful when needed.

Some of my friends have been traveling solo around Albania too and they say only good things about it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana

Albania tourism – what to see in Albania

During my two trips to the country, I could see some of the best places Albania tourism has to offer. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed them all and can recommend them!

Both times I went to visit Albania in autumn (beginning of October and mid-November) and I can definitely recommend this time of the year!

The weather is still really good but the summer crowds are gone and you can easily find cheap accommodation or travel between places.

I’ve heard so many people complaining about Albanian beaches being overcrowded in the summer but what I saw in early autumn at Ksamil beach was amazing – crystal clear blue waters, sand and hardly anyone around!

Autumn is the time to visit Albania!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Ksamil

And when you finally decide to go there here is a list of what to see in Albania

The infamous capital city, hated by many. On the contrary, I found it super cool and funky and really enjoyed my time there!

Tirana is not a beautiful city, you will not find many (or any at all) historical monuments there. But the vibe is one of the best I’ve ever encountered!

The main tourist attraction of Tirana is a big concrete pyramid – a rather intriguing structure that now serves as the broadcast center of the local TV station and the major hangout spot for youngsters.

And that’s how Tirana is – quirky yet fascinating. And super colorful!

Even if the paint slowly comes off the buildings and colors are fading the overall impression is still great!

Tirana, and especially its neighborhood Blloku, is home to one of the best cafe cultures I’ve ever encountered and that’s already a good reason to spend some time there!

Read more about Tirana in my articles:

  • 27 Great Things to Do in Tirana, Albania
  • Visit Tirana – the funkiest capital in Europe

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana

Berat was the first place I’ve visited in Albania and I couldn’t ask for a better introduction, especially since it’s on the UNESCO list.

The city is often called “the town of thousand windows” and it has this title for a reason – numerous beautiful houses with big windows pile on top of each other making one of a kind view.

It’s especially beautiful from the promenade (where locals hang out) or from across the river.

It’s also worth climbing all the way to the castle as the views of Berat and the surroundings are really spectacular and this area itself is pretty charming too!

Read more about Berat in my article: Berat, the highlight of Albania, in pictures

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Berat

Gjirokastra

While Berat is called the city of thousand windows Gjirokastra has a title of the town of thousand stairs.

Walking around might be a little exhausting as the streets can get pretty steep but then the views from the castle (and the abandoned plane that looks so random there) are the great reward for the effort.

Gjirokastra itself is a beautiful stone town that kind of looks like the time has stopped there. I really enjoyed wandering around as the place definitely lives up to its hype.

Together with Berat Gjirokastra is part of UNESCO World Heritage List.

Read more about Gjirokaster in my article: Gjirokaster, Albania – the stone gem of the Balkans

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

A real gem of Albanian seaside – Ksamil is considered to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania and I can see why everyone thinks so good of it.

Turquoise water, sandy beach, and nearby islands make Ksamil look like a paradise.

I was there at the very beginning of October and it was blissfully empty but I’ve heard many horror stories about visiting Ksamil beach in the summertime.

My advice – go there in the offseason and you will love it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Ksamil

Only 5kms away from Ksamil you will find Butrint – another UNESCO listed place in Albania.

This ancient site, dating back to 8th century BC, is a truly fascinating place with so many remnants of the past that it will keep you occupied for few hours.

It can get busy with day trips from Corfu but it’s not too difficult to escape crowds here.

If you’re a fan of the history you will love it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Butrint

At first, it looks like an unattractive seaside resort with nothing but concrete but Saranda might be much more interesting than it seems.

If you’re looking for the lively holiday destination this is your Albanian answer.

But the town is more than just the place to have a good time in. You can find some monuments too in Saranda, including ancient ruins right in the middle of the city.

Saranda also makes a perfect base to explore the area (that includes Ksamil, Butrint, Gjirokaster or the Blue Eye).

Read more about Saranda in the article: Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Saranda, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Saranda

Lake Ohrid is one of the most beautiful place I’ve seen in the Balkans .

But while everyone goes to the town of Ohrid in Macedonia (that I just adore!) Pogradec on the Albanian side of the border is also a great place to visit.

The lake looks just beautiful in here, with magnificent mountains in the background. The numerous restaurants’ jetties are a great opportunity for the lunch with the stunning view.

If you go for a walk along the beach (which is one of the main activities in Pogradec) you will for sure stumble across some bunkers around.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Pogradec

And now comes my bucket list part of what to see in Albania. But I will make it there soon, no doubts about that:

The journey across Lake Koman is on top of my Albanian bucket list.

Some call it the most beautiful in the world and while I’m usually a little bit skeptical about such titles this place really looks amazing on the pictures!

With all the twists, cliffs and waterfalls it must have looked similar to Norwegian fjords!

Read more about Lake Koman in my article: A Complete Guide to Visiting Lake Koman, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Lake Koman

Valbona and Theth

These are two of the most important and most beautiful mountain villages in Albania, located on both sides of Albanian Alps.

I’m just dreaming of visiting them as they look so untouched, so pure and so pretty!

Once I almost made it to Valbona but the weather turned out for worse and there was no point in going all the way there! Next time, Albanian Alps!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Albanian Alps

I’ve been to Lake Skadar only on the Montenegrin side b ut this biggest lake in the Balkans has stolen my heart. It was so peaceful and pristine I could have stayed there for weeks!

Now I’m more than tempted to see the Albanian side of the lake and Shkoder would be a perfect base for that. But the town itself is really interesting too, with Rozafa Castle (offering great views around the lake) and the revitalized center.

Read more about Shkoder in my article: 7 Perfect Things to Do in Shkoder, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Shkoder

The Blue Eye

Hidden a few minutes away off the Saranda – Gjirokastra road, this pristine spring is a true paradise with clear blue waters and oak trees giving the shadow.

It must be especially pleasant in the hot, summer day – a perfect nature getaway.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Blue Eye

Kruja makes a perfect day trip from Tirana (that I had in my plans but didn’t do because I enjoyed the capital way too much).

There’s the castle with a really impressive location, surrounded by mountains but the main reason why you might want to visit Kruja is the bazaar – it is considered to be the best one in Albania for souvenir shopping.

Kruja is also a birthplace of the national hero – Skandenberg.

Read more about Kruja in my article: Kruja, Albania – a Perfect Day Trip from Tirana

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Kruja

Further reading

I wrote many articles about Albania and the Balkans that you might find interesting and useful when planning your trip to the region:

  • Berat, the highlight of Albania, in pictures
  • Gjirokaster, Albania – the stone gem of the Balkans
  • Your ultimate Balkan travel guide
  • Balkan highlights – your ultimate list of what to see in the Balkans
  • Solo female travel in the Balkans

Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking . They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Albania

Never travel without travel insurance , you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Albania here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here .

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Albania tourism - what to see in Albania

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38 Comments

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Iza Zawadzka

Ja jestem zakochana w Tiranie! Choć Albania jako taka dała nam nieźle w kość, głównie zdrowotnie, więc mój mąż póki co nie chce słyszeć o powrocie.

Kami and the rest of the world

oj, szkoda bo tam tak fajnie! A Tirana najlepsza!!! I tak bardzo niedoceniona!

Może kiedyś się przełamie, póki co namówiłaś mnie na Krusevo, jadę w przyszłym roku!

ooo!!! super!! Tam tak pięknie!! i ten hotel gdzie byłam Wam polecam, widoki na całe miasto rewelacyjne są!

Szkoda, że wcześniej nie powiedziałaś, w czasie wakacji wcale nie ma takiego dużego wyboru miejsc do spania. Znaleźliśmy prywatne mieszkanko, ale nie wiem, jak z widokami będzie, choć chyba też jest gdzieś pod górkę.

no to jednak małe maisteczko i tak naprawdę tylko ten hotel (Montana czy jakoś tak) jest z dużych obiektów, a i dobrze tam karmią :)

O, to będę miała na uwadze jak będziemy szukać, gdzie coś zjeść. Już się nie moge doczekać!

Na pewno Ci się tam spodoba! i to Makedonium jakiś odlot!

No przecie dla niego tam jadę!

Stephanie Pelser

No doubt, the people, who are so helpful, even if they don’t speak any foreign language, and excited to welcome visitors!

Tiffany Crystal Bowens

Great article with lots of places to see! As you know, I was there this summer, and hated everything about Albania! May have to check out some of those other places, Pogradec seems amazing, especially since I fell in love with Ohrid!

architecture-wise Pogradec is nothing like Ohrid but the views of the lake are incredible! I can see why you didn’t like Albania but maybe it’s worth giving it a second chance :) ?

You’ve really made me want to visit Albania there seems to be so many beautiful places there to visit!

thank you, that was the plan :)

I visited Albania this summer for the first time. I went to Tirana and Berat. I loved it and I really want to return and explore more! For Greek travellers it’s a really easy destination, because of the various bus companies that travel there and also because of the huge part of the population who speaks Greek! I felt like home! :)

both times I went to Albania I took the bus from Greece and it was super easy! You picked great places for your first visit, I loved both!

Mel Mewburn

Great article, thanks! Makes me want to go back. I absolutely adored the country. I got terribly ill on my trip and was exhausted a lot, so I missed out on a lot of these things. But I will definitely make plans to return, it was such an amazing place. I would love to spend more time in Tirana, what a fascinating city!

Thank you! I’m so sorry you had all those issues during your trip, hopefully everything will be much better next time! Tirana is so incredible, isn’t it? I loved the vibe!

Abdullah Asank

Did u get to lake ohrid?

yes, it’s so beautiful!

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I’m planning a trip to the Balkans and your blog is very helpfull. Thank you!

Rui Quinta, Rui de Viagem

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Thank you! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

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Soo nice! I also visited Albania recently and loved it

I’m glad you enjoyed Albania! It’s such a great country, isn’t it?

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Thanks! very usefull article that will help us for our trip this summer. On practical question about the more remote montainous regions: would you say hitchhiking is an option, or are buses the better option (we’re not afraid of unconfortable travel ;))?

I honestly don’t know what to recommend as I haven’t been there myself yet. But why don’t you ask on my FB group about traveling in the Balkans? I’m sure someone will be able to help you :) you can find the link in the sidebar on the right side

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Witam w przyszlym roku mam zarezerwowane przez booking.Theth w Alpach Albanskich .Gdzie najlepiej bukowac lotnisko ? I czy wogole lataja w te rejony samoloty.prosze I podpowiedz .Z gory.dziekuje Lidia

Tak, latają samoloty do Tirany, stolicy Albanii. Pozdrawiam!

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I have been to most of those places, but what stroke me really was the Albanian riviera. You should include on your list Borsh, Dhermi, Drymades, Palase, Gjipe, Llogara national park, etc. Amazing beaches with sparkling water surrounded by natural beauty and mysterious mountains.

Thank you for your tips! I’m hoping to visit Albania next year ago and would love to explore more of the seaside then. I will make sure to visit the places you’ve mentioned here!

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Thank you for the very informative article it has given me some ideas. Do you have any tips or advice about bus routes going the other direction like from Gjirokaster or Sarande to Thessaloniki? I will be flying out from there.

Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, I don’t know about the transportation in the other direction, but you should ask on my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans, I’m sure someone will have the answer. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/121053081614593/

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I am not sure why so many people complain about traveling inside Albania with so cheap car hire.

Maybe because of crazy drivers? But yeah, I can’t understand it either, traveling around is definitely doable!

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Thank you four the beautiful words you set about my country Albania is really beautiful and where you no more you going to love the holidays there .Thanks again Elida

I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I hope to return to Albania soon, this is such a beautiful country! All the best!

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Mazhar Valjee

Thank you Kami, as always your write ups are a great source of information and motivation to visit.

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Wander-Lush

22 Travel Tips for Albania: Useful Things to Know Before You Go

My top travel tips for Albania to save you money, time and stress. Read this before you go travelling in Albania.

When I embarked on my 6-month overland journey through the Balkan countries, Albania was definitely the country I was most nervous about visiting.

I had read all about the rugged beaches , high mountains and historic towns and castles – so I had no trouble deciding where to go and what to do . But the people, the culture, the food and all the practical details such as transportation, WIFI and accommodation – well, I had absolutely no clue what to expect.

On the ground, I discovered that most negative stereotypes about the country are untrue. In my experience Albania is safe, affordable, friendly, diverse, tolerant and above all else, incredibly beautiful .

At the same time, I learned that Albania does present some particular challenges , even for those well-practiced at travelling in the region.

Without spoiling any of the country’s special secrets or revealing too many of the quirky things about Albania that are fun to figure out as you go, I want to share a couple of things that will make your travel experience smoother and more fulfilling.

Here are 22 practical travel tips for Albania that I think every traveller should know.

Travel tips for Albania graphic.

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What is travelling in Albania really like? 22 useful travel tips for Albania

Albania is quite unlike any of its neighbours.

It’s tempting to think of the Balkans (particularly the western Balkans) as a monolith. But I don’t need to tell you that every country is its own entity. Within this tapestry, Albania is perhaps the most distinct nation in terms of both its culture and history.

An obvious example: The Albanian language, Shqip , is unlike anything else spoken in the region (or anywhere else in the world for that matter). It’s thought to be descended from an extinct Illyrian tongue, but its exact origins are still a mystery to linguists.

After months of being able to follow the rough contours of a shared speech in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina , hearing the curious chatter of Albanian on the streets of Tirana was quite a contrast.

Albania’s cultural and religious traditions are also very distinct. And although you can find local variations of cevapi and burek, the cuisine is totally different too!

With the exception of Kosovo where almost 93% of the population are ethnically Albanian, it’s hard to draw a comparison between Albania and any of its neighbours. In many ways Albania feels more like Georgia – slightly chaotic but imminently beautiful, with the furgon the local equivalent of the marshrutka.

Learn a bit about the history before you go

Of course this runs much deeper than just food and minivans. Albania wasn’t part of Yugoslavia and doesn’t have the same ‘baggage’ as its northern neighbours. That’s not to say the nation wasn’t impacted by the Balkan Wars and genocide – it certainly was – but in a different way. No fighting took place on Albanian soil.

Instead, Albania was subjected to its own private horrors, namely 45 years under an oppressive political regime including 30 years with despotic communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, at the helm. Hoxha’s ideology was so hardline, he viewed Yugoslavia and the USSR as too lax. It’s very difficult for an outsider to try and comprehend how this period of history impacted Albania and its people. But I felt compelled to at least try.

One of the most interesting things I found is that Albanians embrace their whole history – the good and the bad. The communist regime only fell in the 1990s so for the majority of the population, it’s not a distant memory but something that’s still very fresh. But it’s never glossed over. Most people we met were happy to chat politics and share their experiences.

For example: There are 173,000 disused nuclear bunkers sprinkled around Albania, each a monument to Hoxha’s paranoia. Instead of destroying them, people decided to either leave them be or repurpose them as museums or galleries. (Now there’s even a Cold War military base that’s being rebranded as an island destination .) Tirana’s collection of Communist-era statues and busts are displayed in a courtyard behind the National Art Gallery. And Blloku, once an exclusive neighbourhood where the party members lived, has been reclaimed as a vibrant cafe and street art district. Even Hoxha’s old house is still standing.

Some might think of Albania as a dark tourism destination. To me, this is a nation of light and colour. While visitors have an obligation to familiarise themselves with the nation’s recent history, it’s important to do so in a respectful, thoughtful way. The Bunk’Art museums in Tirana are a great place to start and will enrich your experience immensely. 

Communist-era statues behind the National Art Gallery in Tirana.

The man atop the horse is General Skanderbeg

On a lighter note, here’s a bit of trivia for you. If Hoxha is Albania’s villain, then the nation’s hero is definitely Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu, AKA General Skanderbeg. 

It took me far too long to learn who Skanderbeg is and why he’s so beloved in this part of the world. As I travelled around the Balkans, I kept seeing the same statue of a warrior – including in squares in Skopje and Prishtina – and started referring to him simply as ‘the man atop the horse’. It wasn’t until I got to Albania that I was finally able to put a name to the face.

Skanderbeg was an Albanian military commander who lived during the early 15th century. He’s famous for leading a campaign against the Ottomans which freed Albania and several neighbouring countries from being vassal states. His penultimate battle was launched from the town of Kruja north of Tirana, now the location of Skanderbeg’s castle-museum. It’s a popular day trip and the place to go if you want to learn more about this chapter of history.

The only other person held in similar esteem is Albania’s heroine, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, AKA Mother Teresa. Born to Albanian Kosovar parents in Skopje – then part of the Ottoman Empire and now the capital of North Macedonia – she’s beloved in all three countries (though each claims her as their own!).

Albania is overwhelmingly a safe country for tourists

One of the biggest misconceptions about Albania is that it’s unsafe for tourists. In reality, foreigners are very rarely the target of violent crime, and although pickpocketing and scams do happen, they’re not as widespread as in other countries in Europe.

Generally speaking, Albania is overwhelmingly safe for travellers of all types (including solo females) provided you exercise common sense and caution.

My one negative experience in Albania was being fleeced by a taxi driver in Gjirokaster . It was my mistake for not doing my research – I was unfamiliar with the location and agreed to a price without understanding just how short the distance to my hotel was. To avoid misunderstandings within the cities, it’s best to download a taxi app .

The biggest thing to watch out for in Albania is road safety. (Here we find another similarity to Georgia: The driving style.) More on that later.

As a side note: It’s not advisable to drink the tap water in Tirana or other cities/towns.

Avoid visiting in July or August

The best time to visit Albania in my opinion is any time except summer. I travelled during June. As the month went on and my trip was coming to an end, I found most places were getting a little too warm and dry – and much too crowded – for my liking.

Albania has a Mediterranean climate, thus winters are mild but wet. The best time to visit Albania is shoulder season (late March to early June or September through October) when the weather is pleasant both on the coast and in the mountains.

July and August are hot and busy, especially on the riviera, and should be avoided. That’s unless you plan to stick to the mountains, in which case summer is the best time for trekking.

A blue rock pool in Albania.

Consider flying into a neighbouring country

Most people arrive in Albania via the country’s main international airport, Tirana Airport Nënë Tereza. This makes sense if your itinerary starts in the capital or in the northern part of the country.

A second international airport opened in July 2021 in Kukës (KFZ), 150km north-east of Tirana (and just 45-minutes from Prizren in Kosovo ). It’s a suitable starting point for the Albanian Alps, but international arrivals are so far limited to flights from Zurich and Istanbul.

If you’re travelling around the south of Albania, it might be more convenient (and more affordable) to fly into a neighbouring country instead. Corfu International Airport in Greece is a short ferry ride from Saranda, for example, and a logical place to arrive/depart if you’re mainly focusing on the Albanian Riviera.

Also read: My top tips for visiting Montenegro .

Lek is the official currency, but Euros are widely accepted

The official currency in Albania is the lek. Although Albania is not part of the EU, the Euro is widely used as well.

Lek is common currency in convenience shops, at restaurants and among taxi drivers – i.e. for small purchases. You’ll find that most hotels and guesthouses list their prices in Euro, and it usually works out far better to pay for big-ticket items such as hotel bills and rental cars in Euro rather than lek. If you try to pay in lek, you risk losing a big chunk of cash due to the conversion rate.

At the time of writing, 1 Euro is equivalent to 121.5 LEK.

Always have cash on you

Albania is very much a cash society so you need to make sure you have plenty of bills on you at all times. You can get by in Tirana using card only, but outside the capital, cash is still king.

Lek is a closed currency so you’ll have to wait until you arrive in-country to get your hands on some. Remember that lek is only good for small purchases and meals, so only withdraw as much as you need.

ATMs are easy to find in Albania (even in rural areas). Most banks charge a 300-700 lek withdrawal fee, but Credins Bank and Alpha Bank are among those that are fee-free (at the time of writing). Remember to check for any extra charges issued by your home bank.

A woman stands in front of a market shop in Gjirokaster, Albania.

Albania is extremely affordable – even by Balkans standards

Accommodation, restaurants and activities in Albania are all extremely good value for money. We easily got by on 40 USD per person per day – and you could spend a lot less by taking advantage of the hostel scene and sticking to free activities. One of our biggest expenses was museum tickets, something we don’t tend to skimp on.

A generous meal in a restaurant in Albania might cost you 500-1000 lek per person, while cheap snacks such as burek are perfect for breakfast and will only set you back around 100 lek.

Expect to pay 1,600 lek for a local sim card with data, around 200 lek for a cup of coffee, and anywhere from 400-1,000 lek on average for an intercity bus fare.

Buy a sim card when you arrive

Majority of hotels, bars and restaurants in Albania have WIFI, while many beaches and archaeological sites are now serviced by a free public network. Still, if you want unfettered access to the internet for things like booking taxis and navigation, you will need a sim card.

ALBtelecom is the preferred mobile provider in Albania. It’s very easy to buy and register a sim card at one of their shops in Tirana using your passport/ID card. A sim card and internet package (20 GB with 30 days validity) will set you back 1,600 lek.

While coverage in Tirana is good enough to support a burgeoning digital nomad community, reception is still fairly limited in remote areas and non-existent in the mountains.

Don’t put your faith in Google Maps

If you’re getting around Albania with public transport and only using Google Maps for general navigation within the cities, then you have nothing to worry about. But if you’re driving in Albania and using Google Maps to plan your road trip route , you need to watch out for a couple of things.

It seems Google Maps hasn’t quite been able to keep pace with Albania’s rapid infrastructure developments. Missing roads and non-existent turn offs are common encounters, and you’ll find you’re constantly being forced to re-route. Take directions with a grain of salt and always budget extra time to account for detours.

The same goes for finding addresses – street names and house numbers often don’t correspond to what’s on the map. Even major landmarks are sometimes pinned in the wrong spot.

Aerial view of Tirana, Albania.

Furgons are your friends

Albania has a limited railway network connecting Tirana with Shkoder in the north, Durres and Vlore on the coast, and Pogradec on Lake Ohrid in the east. Domestic flights are now available from Tirana to Kukës, and flying can certainly save you time getting from the capital to the far-north.

Travelling around the centre and south of Albania, you’ll be relying on road transport. Renting a car is a great option if you’re a confident driver. Otherwise, furgons are your friends.

Furgons are intercity minivans similar to marshrutka vans used throughout the former Soviet countries . They run on a flexible schedule, stop on demand, and are extremely budget-friendly. The downsides: Road safety is not exactly a priority, luggage space (and legroom) is very limited, and you can forget about AC. Furgons depart when full so it’s important to always arrive at the bus station well ahead of schedule.

An upgrade on the furgon is the coach bus. You’ll find large air conditioned coaches running on most popular routes during the warmer months, including between Tirana and Berat , Kruje, Gjirokaster, Korca , Durres, etc.

Gjirafa Travel is a terrific website for checking bus schedules and timetables online in English. Whenever possible, I recommend cross-checking times locally at the station.

Speaking of bus stations – there are multiple bus terminals in Tirana and trying to figure out which one you need can be extremely confusing! Pogradec and Shkoder have their own stations, while other buses depart from the Regional Bus Terminal – North and South Albania.

Take extra care on the roads

Albanians have a reputation for their maniacal driving style and for flouting the rules of the road. Combined with poor road conditions in many parts of the country (although the major highways are in good nick) and the proliferation of old and worn-down cars on the road, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Be careful when crossing the road, especially in the city. Take precautions whenever you travel by road, and only hire a car if you’re very confident. Try to avoid being out on the road after dark, and never get into a car with someone who’s been drinking. I also recommend capping your road journeys to a couple of hours per leg.

Albanian cuisine is a revelation

Albania is not exactly known as a foodie destination , but it should be. Regional cuisine, traditional Albanian dishes and the country’s super-popular farm-to-table fresh food movement all combine to create a fascinating culinary scene.

Albanian food is so diverse, you can find something new to try every day. I was quite satisfied eating only Albanian food for the entire duration of my stay. I found Albanian food fresher and less meat-oriented than in some other countries in the region. Most restaurants have plenty of vegetarian options.

Northern, central and southern Albania all have their separate culinary traditions , and within that towns and villages have their own specialties. Balkan, Italian, Turkish, Greek and even ancient Roman influences can all be identified, while you’ll find many similarities to other Mediterranean cuisines (especially Greek and Italian).

Seafood reigns supreme on the coast, while in the south, food choices reflect the pastoral landscape: Dairy, citrus and olive oil are all prominent. Garlic and onions are ubiquitous.

Some of my favourite Albanian dishes include: Tavë Kosi , a meal of lamb, eggs and yogurt traditional to Elbasan; Gjirokaster qifqi (arancini-like rice balls flavoured with mint and black pepper); ‘Berati schnitzel’ (pork stuffed with hard cheese) and pispili (spinach pie with a cornbread base), both traditional to Berat; and Korca’s famous savory lakror pie.

Fresh Albanian food on a restaurant table in Berat.

Watch out for raki

One thing Albania does have in common with its Balkan compatriots is the proclivity for alcohol. Sipping spirits in particular is a huge part of the culture.

The drink of choice in Albania is raki or rakia , a potent clear spirit distilled from grapes. Commercial versions are up to 45% proof, but homemade raki is much, much stronger. If you’re at a small restaurant or guesthouse and a recycled plastic soft drink bottle comes out, brace yourself.

It can be difficult to get out of these drinking sessions. I found it much easier to decline as a woman. Remember you can always step away if you feel uncomfortable. Otherwise, take small sips and make sure there’s always something left in your glass to avoid unwanted top ups!

Raki isn’t all bad. In Northern Albania in particular you’ll find lovely varieties of fruit raki made from cherries.

Every day ends with a xhiro

The xhiro is an Albanian tradition and the perfect way to put a full-stop on your day. Essentially a xhiro is a sunset stroll: It involves heading to the nearest pedestrian street and walking laps.

For locals, it’s a way to catch up with friends and neighbours, learn the latest goss and socialise. Ice cream stalls and popcorn vendors set up to cater to walkers, and sometimes entire streets close to traffic for a couple of hours to accommodate people.

This is the ultimate people-watching activity and a terrific opportunity to mix and mingle. But don’t be surprised if people let their glance linger a little bit too long – staring is not considered impolite in Albania, neither whilst out on a xhiro or in everyday life (at restaurants, at the supermarket – I’ve experienced it all). It can be awkward but try not to take it personally – in most cases, people are just curious.

An old man with a cane walks down a path in the city of Korca, Albania.

Albanian people are incredibly hospitable

Hospitality is serious business in Albania (yet another point of similarity to Georgia). In Albania, people are bound by Besa , a code of honour that dictates how others – especially strangers – should be treated. According to Besa, if someone approaches you for help, you accommodate them. If someone comes to you hungry, you feed them. This creed has shaped Albania into an immensely tolerant and welcoming nation.

After WWII, Albania was one of the few nations to emerge with a larger Jewish community – the nation protected its own and offered sanctuary to families fleeing from elsewhere in Europe. In the 1990s, Albania sheltered refugees from Kosovo displaced by conflict.

Today that same kind of generosity is extended to tourists. Kanun , the customary law of Albania, says that the master of a house should always have a spare bed ready for unexpected guests. While I wouldn’t recommend showing up on someone’s doorstep unannounced (Albania has Booking.com for a reason!), the takeaway is that Albanians will extend you a helping hand if and when you need it.

English is widely spoken, but not ubiquitous

Albanian is the official language in Albania but many people – especially those born after the fall of communism – speak a second language. As one person described it to me, Albanians are ‘thirsty to know the world’, and learning a foreign language is seen as a pathway to knowledge, experience and more opportunities.

English is the most popular second language and is taught in schools. At last count, around 40% of Albanians speak English. In my experience, anyone working in tourism or hospitality has at least a basic understanding of English. We got by in all the major cities and tourist destinations without any issues.

Albania is one of those countries where the language is so much more than a means of communication, it’s part of the culture and identity and a massive source of national pride. Learning a few words of Albanian will earn you big props.

Here are a few basic words:

  • Hello – Përshëndetje (per-shen-det-ye)
  • Bye – Mirupafshim (mi-ru-paf-shim)
  • Yes – Po (po)
  • No – Jo (yo)
  • Thanks – Faleminderit (fal-e-min-der-it)
  • Cheers – Gëzuar (ge-zu-ar)

There is a strong Italian and Greek influence

Albania is just across the pond from Italy and very close to Greece (especially Corfu). There were Italian colonists in Albania from 1926 onwards, and the country was actually invaded by Italy in 1939. Italy especially has a big influence in Albania – to such an extent that I noticed it right away.

You’ll see Italian cars, Italian coffee culture – and yes, pizza on almost every restaurant menu! Pizza is so popular in Albania, if you ever tire of local fare there’s always a Napoletana to fall back on.

Almost a third of Albanian people speak Italian and a quarter of the population speaks Greek. Many areas are officially bilingual Albanian-Italian, with road signs in both languages. If you know either of these languages, communication will come even easier to you.

Three men sip coffee at a cafe in Gjirokaster Bazaar.

Tirana is one of the coolest cities in Europe – so don’t rush it!

Unlike a few other capital cities in the Balkans that are all cold concrete, Tirana is a warm, green, welcoming city that’s bristling with creative energy. I’ve said before that it’s probably the most liveable capital in the region in my opinion. There’s a park, dining precinct, cool museum or street art district around almost every corner.

One day in Tirana is enough for the must-sees, but I really recommend slowing down and spending a couple of nights here, getting into the rhythm of the city with morning markets and nightly xhiros.

We stayed in Tirana for a full week and still didn’t see everything.

Hiking in Albania is a must

I fell in love with Albania’s cities and towns, but even I agree that the country’s natural beauty is its biggest asset.

Albania has 15 national parks, each offering incredible scenery and hiking opportunities. As I recently discovered, Albania has more than 3,200 species of plants, accounting for a whopping 30% of the flora in Europe. One of the best places to appreciate this ecology is Llogara National Park, known for its wildflowers. Others, notably Butrint National Park, combine surreal landscapes with valuable archaeological sites.

Even if you’re an anti-hiker like me, there is one day trek in Albania you at least have to consider: Valbona to Theth . Walking between two alpine villages across two jaw-dropping national parks in the country’s far north, the trail takes you through the heart of the picturesque Albanian Alps or Accursed Mountains as they’re also known. The hike is tough going in spots, but it’s absolutely the best way to experience this side of Albania.

Craggy mountain peaks in the Albanian Alps.

The lakes are just as impressive as the beaches

Albania might be famous for its beautiful beaches, but the unsung heroes of the landscape are the country’s lakes. Komani Lake, Lake Ohrid (shared with North Macedonia) and Skadar Lake in the north (shared with Montenegro ) are all beautiful and worth visiting.

Skadar is the largest lake in the Balkans. Boat trips on the marshy wetlands are popular on the Montenegrin side; on the Albanian side, you can cycle around the periphery from the lakeside city of Shkoder, visiting Rozafa Castle at the same time.

Albania’s share of Ohrid Lake is similarly smaller and with fewer points of interest to the North Macedonian side, yet charming villages such as Lin – a little red-roofed settlement on a natural peninsula – make it worth a visit. Lake Koman is my favourite. The ferry ride through the dramatic river gorge to reach Valbona and the starting point for the aforementioned hike was one of the highlights of my time in Albania.

There are more stunning water features around the country, including cascades and river canyons in the centre (Osumi and Begove near Berat are great), hot springs, and of course the famous Blue Eyes. All offer some much-needed reprieve in the hot summer months.

Have you been to Albania? Are there any extra travel tips for Albania you’d like to add? Leave your best advice in the comments below!

Stone buildings in Gjirokaster Old Bazaar, Albania.

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  • Guide to the Valbona Theth hike
  • Things to do in Gjirokaster
  • Things to do in Berat
  • Things to do in Korca
  • Best beaches in Albania
  • How to visit the Albania Blue Eyes
  • 21 best things to do in Albania
  • 22 useful travel tips for Albania
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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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A view through a red grill to the Osumi canyon in Albania which has a body of light blue water running through it.

Take a journey through Albania's wild, blue heart — a triumphant symbol of habitat protection

A new generation of passionate locals is putting the bucolic southern regions of Albania on the map, offering opportunities to dine with shepherds, dip into hot springs and raft in Europe’s first wild river national park.

At the end of a long, dry summer, presided over by cloudless skies, the rapids of the mighty Vjosa have calmed and quietened. Which suits me just fine, sitting as I am in a kayak navigating the ancient sweep of Këlcyrë Gorge.

The corridor of gushing waterfalls that earned it the moniker ‘Paradise of a Thousand Springs’ is equally languorous: rivulets rake the stone walls, trickling down to the water basin through gravity-defying profusions of vegetation and resolute, twisted trees. This is one of Europe’s last wild rivers — practically the only major waterway on the continent unsullied by dams — and a long battle to preserve its natural rhythm and important ecosystems from developers has finally been won. I dip my paddle into the Vjosa’s turquoise meltwaters, part of an unbroken rush from Greece’s Pindus Mountains to the Albanian coastal city of Vlorë. And as I steer the nose of my kayak through picturesque channels, I start to understand why this virgin river, eulogised in poetry and songs over centuries, matters so much to locals, and why a multi-year campaign to preserve it resonated with the likes of clothing brand Patagonia and even actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The 168-mile Vjosa was declared Europe’s first wild river national park in March 2023. Today, the forward-looking travel guides who rallied to help save the country’s ‘blue heart’ wear this victory like a badge of honour. “A politician once challenged me: ‘Who do you think you are, the father of the river?’” rafting guide Zamo Spathara says earnestly the next day, recounting his part in the fight. “I replied truthfully: ‘No, rivers aren’t mine or yours. They’re for everyone.’” I’m back on the Vjosa, part of a five-night active adventure itinerary in southern Albania organised by Much Better Adventures, and this time the fierce campaigner — and the father of Albanian white-water rafting — is at the rear of an inflatable craft.

Suntanned and stocky, he’s throwing his weight into steering, and shouting directions as our crew of eight clumsily attempt to paddle in-sync. One of hundreds of thousands to leave Albania after the fall of the communist regime in 1991, Zamo found he couldn’t stay away. In the late 1990s, he returned from running rafting tours in Italy to introduce the sport to his home country. He established routes through unexplored waterways, founded an adventure company, opened a hotel and eventually created the Albanian Rafting Federation. “People thought I was mad, but I didn’t listen,” Zamo admits. “I knew my country was beautiful; I wanted to build something here. I wanted to convince foreigners we were more than the dark things people talked about.” As our raft ricochets down a grade three rapid and scuttles into a shaft of glorious sunshine, we all whoop and raise our oars to the middle in a clunky high-five. His work seems to be paying off.

It may be the tail end of a busy high season, but Zamo and his team of young rafting experts exude energy on our small-group tour of Albania’s mountainous backcountry, which kicked off and will end in the capital, Tirana. The guides have a lot to be happy about, too: visitor arrivals to Albania are soaring. Figures for the first half of 2023 show a 30% increase in travellers from the same period a year before. Outdated stereotypes of criminality and blood feuds are being replaced with viral social media posts showing pristine Adriatic beaches, gorgeous Ottoman relics and fresh Mediterranean food. If Albania was once Europe’s best-kept travel secret, word is now spreading.

A group of rafters row upstream. The hills on either sides are coverage in plant matter, and a bare mountain can be seen in the far distance.

Travelling between little-known beauty spots in the country’s south is one of the joys of the itinerary. While Albania has invested heavily in new infrastructure over recent years, my guides prefer tackling the old back roads in hardy, open-sided Land Rovers. Ali Spathara, a relative of Zamo’s in his early 20s — and a member of Albania’s national rafting team — is at the wheel later that day as we careen north along a dirt road, one of many built by Italian occupiers during the Second World War. “I’ve been rafting since I was four, and driving since I was 12. I sometimes don’t know which I’m better at,” he says with trademark swagger as he expertly brings us round a sharp, precipitous bend, sending a spray of dust and gravel into the warm, pine-scented air.  

The valleys out here are lush, vast and unspoiled, with rows of serrated peaks misty on the horizon. Small, flowering villages punctuate the hours spent bumping through the mountains. It’s only when we pass the ruins of a communist-era labour camp that I understand the isolation I’m currently enjoying would once have sealed in prisoners, prohibiting any thought of escape. The reign of dictator Enver Hoxha — who ruled the country from 1944 until his death in 1985 — still casts a long shadow over modern Albania. The guides are happy to explain his paranoia-induced construction of up to 750,000 military bunkers, which still litter the landscape, and his bizarre criminalisation of men’s beards. But the human cost is skirted around more gingerly: the execution of over 25,000 people, the confiscation of all property, the banning of religious worship, the mass surveillance, the torture.  

As dusk falls, we pile out of the 4WD convoy, stretch, and take in our surroundings. Ali’s forded a low tributary of the Vjosa to park in the shadow of the high-arched Ottoman-era Kadiut Bridge. We’re in the town of Bënja, close to the sleepy holiday resort of Përmet where we’ll stay the night — it’s known as the ‘City of Roses’ for being Albania’s cleanest and greenest community. There’s a faint smell of sulphur on the breeze.

We use the glow of the headlights to shuffle into our swimwear and grab local Korça beers from the car before sinking into the silky waters of a geothermal pool, backed by forest. Steam rises into the night, bats swoop overhead and a group of a dozen disparate travellers, who just a few days ago were strangers, together watch the moon rise from the dark tree line, moving through twinkling constellations towards the banner of the Milky Way.

City of a thousand windows

It’s in the UNESCO-inscribed city of Berat, where a spectacularly preserved Ottoman old town tumbles down two steep banks to meet the curve of the River Osum, that I learn about Albanian hospitality. The tradition of besa holds strong , affable historical guide Bona Xhafa explains as we ascend through higgledy-piggledy lanes towards the lofty crenellations of Berat Castle. It’s an oath of tolerance and generosity, baked into the culture over millennia of occupation and assimilation. “We were the only [occupied] European country to have a larger Jewish population after the Second World War,” she says. “In Berat, many families and officials risked their lives to hide refugees.” Nowhere can the layers of Albanian history be seen more clearly than in this hilltop citadel. Remnants of important churches and mosques are testament to the co-mingling of Illyrian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman cultures over 2,400 years. Today, a community of 300 people make this one of Europe’s last inhabited fortresses; cobbled alleys reveal ancient stone houses, guesthouses and cafes wrapped in flowering vines. “There’s so much history, we could spend days here and it would still be a whistlestop tour,” Bona says apologetically. Early 14th-century frescoes are among the many treasures housed here, and from the highest rampart, over 600 feet up, the view stretches for miles. It’s here I linger longest, taking in the old town below and the hulking massifs framing it — which local legend says were once warring twin giants, now immortalised in mountain form.

The next morning, our group drives out for a day of hiking in the foothills of the highest peak, Mount Tomorr, whose saw-tooth crown threatens to pierce the blue sky at over 7,900 feet. “This has always been a holy mountain. A place to ask for what you need,” Zamo tells me, as the group scrambles downhill towards a grassy saddle, some hours into the trek. The sight that meets us elicits murmurs of joy: sheepskins and woven blankets have been laid out for a picnic amid the heather, and sizzling cuts of lamb are cooking on a campfire. For a moment, tired as I am from the hike, I wonder if I’ve wished it into being.

Our host is local shepherd Durim Azizaj, whose pastures lie not far from us in the lower valley. He gives us a toothy grin as we settle down and whips out an unlabelled bottle of the local moonshine, raki — an eye-watering brandy that we’re encouraged to swig in the name of friendship. Plates are piled mountain-high with all manner fresh salads and vegetables baked with spices and stuffed with cheese.

RVs off-roading around the Tomorr Mountain National Park in Albania. A mountain can be seen in the far distance and green hedges line the path.

In truth, I’m still full from breakfast. Earlier that morning at Zamo’s hotel, the stately Castle Park in Berat, his wife Alma had told me about the network of producers they’d fostered. “Everything you’ll eat with us is local and fresh, the opposite of fast food,” she said, plying me with hot bread, jams, eggs and olives. She explained how, even in the early days of tourism to Berat, she and Zamo wanted to include and uplift local villagers. “When I first asked people from the mountains to help feed and entertain our guests, they said we only have simple things — they thought foreigners wanted expensive chocolate and Coca Cola!” She added, “I told them you wanted to hike, to hear their stories and songs. At first, they couldn’t understand. They’d lost pride in what they had.”

Zamo and Alma have been hosting travellers in Berat for two decades and working with Much Better Adventures since 2017 — and in that time Durim has certainly got in the swing of hosting on Mount Tomorr. A speaker is produced and tinny Albanian folk music floods our picnic clearing: it’s time to dance. Following Durim’s lead, we all lock arms in a circle and kick and step to the drumbeat, which gets faster and faster. Highly amused, he breaks away to offer up a toast, translated by guide Endri Hoxha: “He thanks you for coming to his part of the mountain, and he hopes you enjoyed this mountain food. He’s thanking Zamo, too, for bringing so many people to this beautiful place. Gëzuar ! ”

We trek on, through sun-dappled woodlands, to a soundtrack of distant goat bells, until we reach the remote village of Qafë Dardhë and rest on the grassy terrace of a small cafe. After 25 years working in Greece, owner Batjar Koci returned to his childhood home in 2021 to restore the dwindling rural community; stone cottages, abandoned during the post-communist exodus to the cities or abroad, are being turned into smart guest rooms for visiting hikers. “Abroad, you can only work, only be a number,” he tells me as we tour the beehives, vegetable gardens and the small primary school where he learned to read. “But in Albania, you can start something of your own.”

I leave with two giant tomatoes in my backpack, gifts Batjar insists I enjoy; they join the jar of honey Alma pressed into my hands earlier. On the drive back to Berat, bumping through wild orchards, Zamo pulls over to pluck plump pomegranates from a bough, passing them among his passengers. “We just want to share what we have,” he says.

Tides of change

Our final days are packed with more action, more flavour and more fresh air than most months back home. We tour deep into the dark belly of Black Cave in Pëllumbas, our torches lighting up glossy stalagmites and colonies of bats; and explore the town of Tepelenë in the footsteps of Lord Byron, who stayed at the Ottoman court of Ali Pasha near here in the early 19th century. And a memorable evening is spent discovering Albanian wines at Çobo Winery on the outskirts of Berat. “When my father and uncle wanted to focus on reviving native Albanian grapes, on rebuilding what their grandfather lost when the family vineyard was confiscated by the communist cooperatives, people said: ‘Don’t bother, Albania is only good for making raki,’” Ermira Çobo tells us, pouring out the first vintage in her family’s large farmhouse tasting room. A rich red from the Vlosh grape, aged for three years in French and Italian oak barrels, swirls in my glass. There are heady notes of rhubarb and cinnamon. It’s divine.  

A female wine expert opening a bottle of wine in a tasting class.

To round off the evening, she pops the cork on a sparkling white, made from the local Berat grape Puls. “We named this Shëndeverë, the most beautiful Albanian word. It speaks of summer, that feeling when you’re so healthy and happy you’re almost dizzy.” I’ve come to learn there’s poetry woven into so much of Albanian life and lore; it seems apt the country would coin a term to express a joy nurtured by the seasons, felt deep in the soul.

Pouring passion into the business since 1994, Ermira’s family produces 100,000 bottles a year. And although the market remains mostly domestic, she says Albanian wines are finally starting to gain recognition abroad, too. “Winemaking has been here since before the Romans, our terroir is perfect. It’s just been neglected,” she adds as she bids us goodnight.

The itinerary’s headline attraction has been left until last: the three-million-year-old Osumi Canyon, which tears into southern Albania for over 16 miles and plunges to depths of up to 400 feet. It’s a place Zamo had earlier described as looking like “Lord of the Rings, Tarzan and Avatar combined”. Under the leadership of Endri, another protégé of Zamo’s on the national rafting team, we don wetsuits, life jackets and hard hats and descend on rough paths into the rift. At the bottom, I splash into icy, knee-deep water and absorb the sheer scale of the striated limestone walls, before wading towards the nearest island.

During the winter rains and spring thaw, the canyon floods, drawing whitewater rafters until the early summer. But later in the year, when the parched river runs low, this particular three-mile course is perfect for an aquatic hike, with rocky outcrops to dive off and pounding waterfalls to swim beneath. “Zamo went to war to save this place,” Endri says. “Before the Vjosa was threatened and the world got involved, Zamo was here fighting against dam projects that were popping up like mushrooms. He got politicians, broadcasters and journalists involved in any way he could to halt the development plans,” she continues. “He was worried everything beautiful in Albania would be ruined, and that tourism here would be killed.” Knowing this, the timeless beauty of the place takes on new resonance — it conceals the hard struggles of locals to keep it this way.

Part of Zamo’s life’s work has been convincing Albanians of the value of their natural assets, and selling them on his belief that tourism can restore the country’s economic prospects more equitably and sustainably than allowing industry to take over the countryside. “People thought rivers were just a place to throw rubbish. That’s really changing now,” he had told me, back on Mount Timorr. “When communism ended, we felt we had nothing. But tourism has improved our relationship to nature — and brought us pride, too.”

His passion for sharing the wild interior has proved utterly infectious over the past week, and I doubt I’ll ever look at a waterway the same. As I clamber up a ledge and leap into the clean, eddying currents below, it strikes me that Albania may be one of the last places left in Europe where discovery feels truly unscripted — where the charm of the country and the generosity of its people can take your breath away, as sure as diving into a river.

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Tourist shares photo of upsetting scene at secluded waterfall: 'Very embarrassing'

Unfortunately, the display was unsurprising to those familiar with the area.

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Unfortunately, the display was unsurprising to those familiar with the area.

Photo Credit: Reddit

A tourist visiting a popular attraction in Albania was disappointed by the scene left by previous hikers.

Redditor u/mpazzzz posted a pair of photos of the Bogove Waterfall near Berat, Albania, in the r/albania subreddit. While the first photo featured a beautiful shot of the "amazing" waterfall, the second showed an unsightly amount of trash that the user said they saw "everywhere."

Unfortunately, the display was unsurprising to those familiar with the area.

Unfortunately, the display was unsurprising to those familiar with the area. Some even said they've seen similar situations at other popular sites.

"Welcome to Berat especially. Remember seeing the castle [seven] years ago and there was so much garbage all around the main castle walls," one user commented . "Very embarrassing as [I] was trying to show it off to family who are not Albanian."

Another stated , "Yes I'm travelling through and noticed that too. Komani Lake, so beautiful, but the edges have floating plastic islands all the way."

This was yet another example of how tourons (a combination of "tourists" and "morons") have an exploitative relationship with the natural world that hinders the connection that other individuals can have with nature. The Bogove Waterfall is a popular hiking destination , so there should be more respect for the area so it can be enjoyed by all visitors.

Watch now: Alex Honnold shows off his new Rivian

This issue is also prevalent at other tourist attractions. For example, another outdoor enthusiast found a similar scene filled with litter at a waterfall in Northern Virginia. The water even has a sewage stench and was ruled illegal to swim in due to possible contamination.

Even as far as Mount Everest, a combination of discarded oxygen containers, food packaging, abandoned tents, and human waste has earned what should be a majestic destination the unfortunate title of the "world's highest garbage dump."

There are actions we can take to mitigate the impact of these upsetting scenes . It's all about leaving no trace and, where possible, leaving places even better than we found them. This might mean packing out all our garbage, joining or organizing clean-up efforts , and advocating for better waste management practices in tourist spots.

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Hotel Fabio

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Offering city views, Hotel Fabio in Ksamil provides accommodations, a garden, and a bar. This apartment is 1.6 miles from Butrint National Park. The apartment also offers free Wifi and free private parking.

Featuring a balcony, the units offer air conditioning and have a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and a hair dryer. There's also a well-equipped kitchen in some units equipped with a fridge and kitchenware. At the apartment complex, the units have bed linen and towels.

Guests at the apartment can enjoy a continental breakfast.

Popular points of interest near Hotel Fabio include Ksamil Beach 9, Paradise Beach, and Bora Bora Beach. The nearest airport is Corfu International Airport, 57 miles from the accommodation.

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HOTEL FABIO - B&B Reviews (Ksamil, Albania) - Tripadvisor

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  28. ISAMAR APARTHOTEL (Ksamil)

    See all properties. PRICE RANGE. ₹2,826 - ₹6,483 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room) LOCATION. Albania Vlore County Saranda Ksamil. Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking.

  29. ISAMAR APARTHOTEL

    See all properties. PRICE RANGE. $34 - $78 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room) LOCATION. Albania Vlore County Saranda Ksamil. Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Please see our partners for more details.

  30. HOTEL FABIO

    Offering city views, Hotel Fabio in Ksamil provides accommodations, a garden, and a bar. This apartment is 1.6 miles from Butrint National Park. The apartment also offers free Wifi and free private parking. Featuring a balcony, the units offer air conditioning and have a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bath or shower and a hair dryer.