In recent years, tourism in Albania has flourished.
Although it is no longer so safe to travel to some of the favorite holiday destinations on the south-eastern coast of the Mediterranean, people were looking for a good alternative and many have decided to visit Albania.
The Albanian coastline is spectacular and Ksamil beach is already a world renowned gem, but the country has so much more to offer, some of the best highlights in the Balkans!
Beautiful stone cities, spectacular natural wonders, impressive mountains and the fun capital – you can see it all if you decide to visit Albania!
Essential for your Albania trip ✅
- Accommodation : I always book a place to stay at booking.com
- Tours: when I decide to tour, I use Civitatis (free tour available in Tirana)
- To save money on exchange rates, I have been using the Revolut card for years. Ask for your bank card.
- ensures your trip to Albania with Interworld Insurance (with 10% discount).
I have been to the country twice (the first time, when Albanian tourism was still in its infancy) and although it was a bit difficult, I loved my stay there!
I am already thinking of going back as my list of things to see in Albania is getting longer and longer. I hope that next year I will be able to visit Albania again and see more of its beauty.
How to get to Albania?
Traveling to Albania has always been the biggest problem.
Fortunately, it is slowly changing and now you can easily find direct flights to Tirana, too. Wizzair began operating on the Madrid-Tirana and Barcelona-Triana routes (Hopefully this is just the beginning and there will be even more direct flight options to Albania soon!)
We recommend searching and comparing flights on skyscanner, the largest flight comparator with the best prices:
When I visited Albania twice it was more difficult to get there, but not impossible.
Albania is a popular day trip destination among Corfu tourists and there are few boats to choose from - the express takes just half an hour.
You can also reach Albania from North Macedonia and Kosovo: there are bus connections between those countries.
From Ohrid you can use the southern border crossing and you will find yourself in the city of Pogradec, which already offers decent connections to Tirana or other places in Albania.
How to travel around Albania?
The best way to travel is by car, as reaching some of Albania's highlights by public transport is simply impossible (and even if public transport is available, sometimes too difficult and confusing).
Fortunately, you can easily rent a car to enjoy exploring Albania hassle-free. To rent a car go to the page Discover the cars and choose from the many options available. You can pick up the car already at the airport or in any other convenient place.
As Discover Cars compare rental offers from different companies, you can expect to find the best prices and deals on their website, with no hidden charges, free cancellation and 24/7 support.
If you decide to use public transportation, it's doable, but be prepared for a bit of a hassle. In most places there are no bus stations or schedules: you have to go to a certain place from where the minibus leaves to take you to your destination.
Sometimes it sounds scary (like "big tree to the left of the roundabout"), but it's actually not that bad: the locals will guide you and the drivers will find you; that is what happened to me in Elbasan or Tirana.
Just like in the old USSR, the minibuses wait to fill up, so sometimes the bus can take a while to leave.
Between some big cities, like Saranda and Tirana, there are regular connections with a schedule that makes everything much easier.
The state of the roads is not very good., so sometimes the journey takes a lot longer than you might expect from the distance, but things are definitely looking up. Albanian drivers, just like in other Balkan countries, are a bit crazy, but not too scary.
Is traveling to Albania dangerous?
For whatever reason, Albania doesn't have the best reputation (but that too is slowly changing). If you are wondering if it is safe to visit Albania, we can tell 100% that there is nothing to worry about.
It's just a normal country (with a more difficult language than anywhere else), so if you just use your common sense you'll be fine.
During my two trips I always felt safe and there was not a single situation where something went wrong.
The cities are always full of people, especially in the late afternoon and at night, as walking seems to be the favorite activity of Albanians.
The fear of Albania comes from the unknown, but it really is a safe country, like many others in the area.
Solo female travel in Albania
My first trip to Albania (only to Berat) was with a friend, the second time I spent a week there alone.
I felt very safe the entire time, no one bothered or harassed me, people were very friendly, welcoming and helpful when I needed them.
Some of my friends have also traveled solo in Albania and only say good things
What to see in Albania
During my two trips to the country, I was able to see some of the best places that Albania tourism has to offer. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed them all and can highly recommend them.
Both times I went to visit Albania it was in autumn (early October and mid November), and I can definitely recommend this time of the year!
The weather is still very good, but the summer crowds have disappeared and you can easily find cheap accommodation or travel from one place to another.
I have heard many people complain that Albanian beaches are crowded in summer, but what I saw in early autumn at Ksamil beach was amazing: crystal blue water, sand and hardly anyone around!
Autumn is the best time to visit Albania!
And when you finally decide to go there, here is a list of what to see in Albania
The infamous capital, hated by many. On the contrary, I found it great and fun, and I really enjoyed my stay there!
Tirana is not a pretty city, you will not find many (or any) historical monuments. But the atmosphere is one of the best I have come across!
Tirana's main tourist attraction is a large concrete pyramid, a rather intriguing structure that now serves as the broadcast center for the local television station and the main gathering place for young people.
And that's what Tirana is: quirky but fascinating. and very colorful
Even though the paint is slowly peeling off the buildings and the colors are fading, the overall impression is still great!
Tirana, and especially its Blloku neighbourhood, is home to some of the best coffee shop culture I've ever experienced, and that's already a good reason to spend some time there!
Berat was the first place I visited in Albania and I couldn't ask for a better introduction, especially since it is on the UNESCO list.
The city is often called "the city of a thousand windows" and it has this title for a reason: many beautiful houses with large windows are stacked on top of each other, forming a unique sight.
It's especially beautiful from the waterfront (where the locals hang out) or from across the river.
It is also worth going up to the castle, as the views of Berat and its surroundings are truly spectacular, and this area itself is quite charming too!
While Berat is called the city of a thousand windows, Gjirokastra has the title of the city of a thousand stairs.
Walking through it can be a bit tiring, as the streets can get quite steep, but then the views from the castle (and the abandoned plane that looks so random up there) are the great reward for the effort.
Gjirokastra is a beautiful stone city where time seems to have stopped. I really enjoyed wandering around there as the place lives up to its fame.
Together with Berat, Gjirokastra is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
An authentic jewel of the Albanian sea – Ksamil is considered one of the most beautiful Albanian beaches and I can understand why everyone thinks so highly of her.
The turquoise water, the sandy beach and the nearby islands make Ksamil seem like a paradise.
I was there at the beginning of October and it was happily empty, but I have heard many horror stories about visiting Ksamil beach in summer.
My advice: go in low season and you will love it
Just 5 km from Ksamil is Butrint, another UNESCO-listed site in Albania.
This ancient site, dating back to the 8th century BC, is a truly fascinating place with so many traces of the past that it will keep you busy for a few hours.
It can get crowded with day trips from Corfu, but it's not too hard to escape the crowds here.
If you like history, you'll love it!
At first it looks like an uninviting seaside resort, with nothing but concrete, but Saranda can be a lot more interesting than it seems.
If you are looking for a lively holiday destination, this is your Albanian answer.
But the city is more than just a place to have a good time. In Saranda you can also find some monuments, including ancient ruins right in the center of the city.
Saranda is also a perfect base for exploring the area (which includes Ksamil, Butrint, Gjirokaster or the Blue Eye).
Lake Ohrid is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in the Balkans.
But although everyone goes to the Macedonian city of Ohrid (which I adore!) Pogradec, on the Albanian side of the border, is also a great place to visit.
The lake here looks beautiful, with magnificent mountains in the background. The many restaurant jetties are a great opportunity to eat with stunning views.
If you take a walk along the beach (which is one of the main activities in Pogradec) you will surely come across some bunkers in the surroundings.
And now comes the part of my list of things to do in Albania. But I'll be there soon, of that there is no doubt:
The trip across Lake Koman is at the top of my list of things to do before you die in Albania.
Some call it the most beautiful in the world and although I'm often skeptical of such titles, this place really does look amazing in the photos!
With all the curves, cliffs and waterfalls, it must have looked like Norwegian fjords!
Valbona and Theth
They are two of the most important and beautiful mountain villages in Albania, located on both sides of the Albanian Alps.
I am dreaming of visiting them, because they look so virgin, so pure and so beautiful!
Once I was about to reach Valbona, but the weather turned bad and there was no point in going there. Next time, the Albanian Alps!
I have been to Skadar lake only on the Montenegrin side, but this lake, the largest in the Balkans, has stolen my heart. It was so peaceful and pristine that I could have stayed there for weeks.
Now I am more than tempted to see the Albanian side of the lake and Shkoder would be a perfect base for that. But the city itself is also very interesting, with the castle of Rozafa (offering magnificent views of the lake) and the revitalized center.
the blue eye
Hidden just a few minutes off the Saranda – Gjirokastra highway, this pristine spring is a true paradise with clear blue waters and shady oak trees.
It must be especially nice on hot summer days - a perfect getaway into nature.
Kruja is a perfect day trip from Tirana (which I had in my plans but didn't do because I enjoyed the capital too much).
There's the castle, with a truly stunning location, surrounded by mountains, but the main reason you'll want to visit Kruja is the bazaar, considered the best in Albania for souvenir shopping.
Kruja is also the birthplace of the national hero Skandenberg.
Is traveling to Albania dangerous?
Albania is generally a safe country for travelers. As in any destination, it is recommended to take basic safety precautions, such as avoiding isolated areas at night and protecting your personal belongings.
What to buy in Albania?
Albania is famous for its handicrafts, such as handmade carpets, pottery, and silver jewelry. You can also consider buying local products such as honey, olive oil and wine.
What is the Albanian Riviera?
The Albanian Riviera is a coastal region in southwestern Albania, known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and picturesque villages. It is a popular destination for summer tourism.
What are the best beaches in Albania?
Some of the best beaches in Albania include Ksamil Beach, Dhermi Beach, and Borsh Beach. Each offers something unique, from turquoise waters to stunning mountain scenery.
Is it expensive to travel to Albania?
Albania is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe. Prices vary depending on the season and location, but in general, you can expect accommodation, food, and activity costs to be quite reasonable.
What is the best route to travel through Albania?
A popular route might start in the capital Tirana, then go to the historic city of Berat, continue to the coast to visit the Albanian Riviera, and finally end in the southern city of Saranda.
How to get around Albania?
In Albania, you can get around by bus, train or rental car. Buses are the most common option, although renting a car can give you more flexibility to explore at your own pace.
Where to stay in Albania?
Depending on your interests, you might consider staying in vibrant Tirana, historic Berat, coastal Saranda, or the quiet and picturesque town of Gjirokastër. There are options for all budgets, from hostels to luxury hotels.
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