Albania is a small, underrated gem with a rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and welcoming locals.
This Southeast European nation, nestled between Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro, offers an array of attractions from ancient ruins, Ottoman-era architecture, to the awe-inspiring Albanian Riviera.
Despite its natural beauty and intriguing history, Albania remains relatively unspoiled and undiscovered by mass tourism.
This article will take you on a virtual tour of the ten best places to visit in Albania.
1. The Enchanting Albanian Riviera
Starting our list is the mesmerizing Albanian Riviera, a popular destination known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and vibrant nightlife.
This stunning stretch of coastline stands as a testament to Albania’s natural beauty.
The Riviera has also earned a reputation as a budding music scene, hosting several international music festivals.
Whether you’re looking to relax on sun-kissed beaches, dive into vibrant turquoise waters, or dance the night away at a music festival, the Albanian Riviera promises an unforgettable experience.
Himare: A Secluded Coastal Beauty
A jewel of the Riviera, the quaint beach town of Himare offers a perfect blend of sun, sea, and sand. .
Its mesmerizing hilly coastline and crystal-clear turquoise waters draw beach lovers from around the world.
The old town, brimming with Mediterranean charm and delectable local seafood, adds to Himare’s allure.
Dhermi: An Idyllic Beach Escape
Dhermi, a vibrant beach town, is another must-visit destination on the Albanian Riviera.
Known for its stunning sunsets and pulsating nightlife, Dhermi is a hit among the younger crowd.
The town’s beautiful beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, offering ample space to soak in the sun or find a tranquil spot to unwind.
2. Tirana: The Colorful Capital
Next on our list is Tirana, Albania’s vibrant capital.
This city has transformed from a city of grey, communist-era buildings to a lively, colorful metropolis.
Tirana’s charming pedestrian streets, adorned with Ottoman-era buildings and Italian architecture, encapsulate the country’s rich past.
Tirana offers a variety of cultural attractions, including fascinating museums and art galleries.
One standout is BUNK’ART, a former government bunker turned art installation. Despite the city’s bustling center, a tranquil retreat awaits at the nearby Mount Dajti.
With impressive views of the city and surrounding nature, it’s a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon.
3. Llogara Pass: A Scenic Journey
The Llogara Pass, nestled in the heart of the Llogara National Park, offers one of the most scenic drives in the world.
The road winds through the national park, reaching over 1,000 meters above sea level, presenting breathtaking views at every turn.
At the peak of the pass, several restaurants offer a place to rest and take in the stunning panorama.
The park itself is home to diverse fauna, including the golden eagle, European wildcat, and fallow deer.
A drive through the Llogara Pass promises an unforgettable experience of Albania’s unspoiled beauty.
4. Berat: The City of A Thousand Windows
Berat, one of Albania’s oldest towns, is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.
Known as the “City of a Thousand Windows”, Berat’s hillside is dotted with stone houses featuring countless windows peeping out.
This city offers a unique blend of Ottoman and Albanian architecture, earning it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Berat’s key attractions include the 14th-century castle, Kalaja, and the National Ethnographic Museum.
The castle offers impressive views of the cityscape, making it a favorite spot among visitors.
5. Saranda: A Blend of Modernity and History
Saranda, located on the stunning Ionian Sea, is another must-visit destination in Albania.
This modern coastal city offers a mix of serene beaches, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife, making it a popular spot for tourists.
One of Saranda’s highlights is the UNESCO World Heritage site at Butrint, located just outside the city.
Another must-see is Lekursi Castle, offering the best sunset views in Saranda.
6. Gjirokaster: The City of Stone
Gjirokaster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in southern Albania, is a city like no other.
Known as the “City of Stone”, Gjirokaster features unique Ottoman-style houses designed like miniature castles.
These stone houses, coupled with the city’s narrow cobblestone streets, create an enchanting atmosphere that transports visitors back in time.
The city’s main attraction, Gjirokaster Castle, offers a panoramic view of the city and houses a fascinating museum.
Exploring this historic city is akin to stepping into a living, breathing museum.
7. Kruja: A Historic Treasure
Located just north of Tirana, Kruja is a historic gem that played a crucial role in Albania’s fight against the Ottomans.
Known as the home city of Albania’s national hero, Gjergj Skanderbeg, Kruja’s key attractions include the Skanderbeg museum and the 15th-century Kruja Castle.
The castle offers spectacular panoramic views, making it a must-visit site in Kruja.
The Old Bazaar in the town center is another highlight, offering a range of shops selling everything from souvenirs to artisan goods.
8. Theth: Nature’s Masterpiece
For nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, Theth, located high in the Albanian Alps, is a paradise.
Theth National Park, often hailed as the most beautiful place in the Balkans, offers a wealth of natural attractions, from the Grunas Waterfall to the Lock-in Tower.
Surrounded by stunning mountain peaks, Theth offers an immersive experience of Albania’s untouched natural beauty.
9. Ksamil Islands: A Slice of Paradise
The Ksamil Islands, part of the larger Butrint National Park, are a remote group of three small islands accessible only by boat.
These islands, with their unspoiled beauty and crystal-clear waters, are reminiscent of a tropical paradise.
Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on sandy beaches or explore the vibrant underwater world, the Ksamil Islands are a perfect getaway.
10. Shkodra: The Cultural Capital
Known as the cultural capital of Albania, Shkodra is a city rich in folklore and tradition.
This city hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including the popular Shkodra Jazz Fest.
Shkodra also boasts historic sites such as the Rozafa Castle and the Lead Mosque, making it an ideal destination for history buffs.
11. Vlore: A Blend of History and Beaches
Vlore, a coastal city known for its rich history and beautiful beaches, offers a unique blend of relaxation and exploration.
Historical sites like the Independence Proclamation Building are juxtaposed with serene beaches, making Vlore a must-visit destination.
12. Durres: A Port City with a Rich History
Durres, Albania’s main port and one of its oldest cities, boasts the largest amphitheater in the Balkans and a beautiful northern coastal stretch known as Lalzit Bay.
With its cultural events and rich history, Durres is a must-visit destination in Albania.
Albania, with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, offers a unique travel experience.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a beach enthusiast, Albania has something to offer everyone.
So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure to explore the hidden gems of this fascinating country.