Are you planning a trip to Albania? Here are some of the most incredible and unique things to do in Albania. Get ready to explore this hidden gem of a country!
Do you ever find yourself daydreaming about your next adventure and craving something a little different? Set your sights on Albania. This vibrant, culturally rich, and breathtakingly beautiful country is tucked away in the heart of the Balkans, and it’s a gold mine of unique experiences waiting to be discovered.
Albania is a playground of diverse landscapes. Picture sun-kissed beaches along the Albanian Riviera and the majestic peaks of the Dajti Mountains. The country’s rich history, dating back to the Illyrians and Romans, is beautifully etched into its architecture, traditions, and the captivating stories of its people.
What sets Albania apart is its cultural blend. It’s a place where East meets West, creating a fusion that’s evident in everything from its cuisine to its architecture. Imagine exploring the trendy neighborhood of Blloku in Tirana, strolling through the “City of 1,000 Windows” in Berat, or savoring the flavors of a local zgara. Albania offers a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
In this article, we’ll journey through the top 12 things to do in Albania. Each one offers a unique glimpse into this fascinating country. From the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Eye to the ancient ruins of Butrint National Park, Albania has something to captivate every traveler. Get ready for an unforgettable journey through the land of eagles.
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the best things to do in Albania.
Are you ready to discover the coolest things to do in Albania? As mentioned earlier, there’s a plethora of exciting sights and activities in Albania that will please everyone. Keep reading to find out all the best places in Albania.
Are you looking to discover the phenomenal scenery of the Albanian Alps? Or would you prefer a city break in the vibrant capital of Tirana? Whatever you’re planning, Albania can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best things to do in Albania that you should know about.
Tirana, the vibrant capital of Albania, is a city that never fails to captivate its visitors. Bursting with color, energy, and a rich history, it’s a place that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Albania. A guided walking tour of Tirana is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the city’s unique atmosphere and learn about its fascinating past.
As you stroll through the city streets, you’ll encounter a mix of architectural styles, from Ottoman-era buildings to Italian and communist-era structures. Don’t miss the chance to explore the trendy neighborhood of Blloku, once a restricted area during the communist era, now a bustling hub of cafes, bars, and shops.
Tirana’s history is also deeply intertwined with its recent communist past. The National History Museum and the Bunk’Art installations provide a profound insight into this period of Albania’s history.
A walking tour of Tirana is hands-down one of the coolest activities in Albania. It’s more than just sightseeing – it’s a celebration of Albania’s resilience and vibrant culture. Undoubtedly, Tirana is one of the best places to go in Albania if you want to understand the heart and soul of this country and a perfect starting point on any Albania itinerary.
One of the most unique places in Albania, The Blue Eye (or “Syri i Kaltër” as it’s known locally), is a natural phenomenon that will leave you spellbound. Situated in the heart of southern Albania, this underwater spring is famous for its stunningly clear, blue water that seems to sparkle under the sunlight.
The Blue Eye is a sight to behold. As you approach, you’ll notice the water’s color shift from a light, translucent blue at the edges to a deep, mesmerizing azure at the center. This color change is due to the spring’s depth, which remains a mystery as no one has been able to determine how deep it truly goes.
The Blue Eye is a hidden gem in the Balkans where you can tune into nature’s rhythm, soak up the soothing sounds of the water, and feel the cool, fresh air tickling your skin. It’s a slice of Albania’s natural beauty served up on a silver platter.
Take it from me – visiting The Blue Eye is one of the best things to do in Albania. It’s a place that sparks the imagination and dishes out a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t stumble upon just anywhere.
If you’re the kind of traveler who loves a good hike, then the Dajti Mountains are calling your name. Just a stone’s throw away from Tirana, these mountains are one of the best places in Albania for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Dajti Ekspres, a cable car ride, will whisk you up to the top in no time. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Tirana and the surrounding landscapes. It’s a sight that will have you reaching for your camera in no time.
Once you reach the top, there’s plenty to do. You can explore the Dajti National Park, have a picnic with a view, or even try your hand at paragliding. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the local wildlife, including deer, wild boars, and various bird species.
Hiking in the Dajti Mountains is one of the coolest Albania activities you can do. It’s a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the beauty of Albania’s nature.
If your idea of a perfect vacation involves sun, sand, and crystal-clear waters, then you’ll fall head over heels for Ksamil and the Albanian Riviera. Known for some of the best beaches in Europe, Ksamil is a must-visit spot in Albania.
The Albanian Riviera stretches along the southwestern coast of the country, boasting a string of beautiful beaches, charming coastal towns, and stunning natural scenery. Ksamil, located at the heart of the Riviera, is particularly famous for its four small, dreamy islands just a short boat ride away.
The beaches in Ksamil are a slice of paradise. Think soft, white sand and turquoise waters that are as clear as glass. It’s the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun, and forget about your worries. And when you get hungry, you can enjoy some of the freshest seafood in one of the local restaurants.
When it comes to unique Albania places to visit, Ksamil and the Albanian Riviera are right up there with the best. It’s the perfect destination to relax, unwind, and enjoy the best beaches that Albania has to offer.
For the food lovers out there, a visit to a local Zgara is a non-negotiable part of any Albania itinerary. These traditional grills, found in Tirana and across Albania, serve up some seriously tasty dishes that will have your taste buds singing praises.
At a Zgara, you’ll get a real taste of Albania. The menu typically offers a selection of grilled meats, fresh salads, and warm bread. Make sure to try the qofte, an Albanian meatball that’s seasoned just right and grilled to perfection.
Eating at a Zgara isn’t just about filling your belly. It’s a cultural experience. You’ll get to soak up the local vibes, watch the world go by, and who knows, you might even strike up a conversation with a friendly local.
When you’re thinking about what to do in Albania, make sure to add a meal at a local Zgara to your list. It’s a foodie adventure that’s as delicious as it is authentic.
Want to see where the trendsetters of Tirana spend their time? Make sure to swing by Blloku. Once a restricted area during the communist era, Blloku has blossomed into Tirana’s coolest neighborhood. It’s one of the top places in Albania to soak in the local atmosphere.
Throughout the day, Blloku is a hub of activity. It’s brimming with cafes, lively bars, and fantastic restaurants. Coffee aficionado, foodie, or night owl, there’s something here for everyone. The vibrant, colorful buildings provide a perfect backdrop for your travel memories.
Blloku also serves as a testament to Albania’s past and its journey toward the future. As you wander around, you’ll spot traces of its history combined with signs of its ongoing transformation.
As such, for those wondering where to go in Albania, don’t forget to put Blloku on your itinerary. It’s a neighborhood where you can kick back, soak up the culture, and see a different side of Tirana.
Next up on our list of the best places to visit in Albania is Berat, also known as the “City of 1,000 Windows”. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a living museum, with beautifully preserved Ottoman-style houses that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Berat’s charm lies in its white stone houses, stacked up the hillside and adorned with windows that seem to gaze out over the city. As you wander through the narrow, cobbled streets, you’ll be captivated by the city’s unique architecture and the stunning views of the Osum River.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Berat Castle, a fortress sitting atop a rocky hill, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Inside the castle walls, you’ll find a neighborhood still inhabited today, along with several Byzantine churches and the Onufri Iconography Museum.
Without a doubt, visiting Berat is one of the coolest things to do in Albania. I had an absolutely amazing experience there last year and I highly recommend it for history lovers. It’s a journey into the past, a chance to experience the country’s rich history, and a unique opportunity to explore one of the most picturesque cities in the Balkans.
For those with a keen interest in history, Durrës serves as a time capsule. As one of the oldest cities in Albania, Durrës brims with archaeological treasures that narrate tales of bygone eras. This city ranks among the top places to go in Albania for a deep dive into the country’s history.
Durrës proudly hosts the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans. This awe-inspiring structure, once capable of accommodating up to 20,000 spectators, demands a visit. Wandering through the amphitheater, one can almost sense the echoes of past gladiatorial battles and theatrical performances.
The amphitheater represents just one historical gem in Durrës. This city also shelters the Byzantine Walls, the Archaeological Museum, and the Royal Villa of Durrës. Each site offers a unique window into different periods of Albania’s history.
When planning activities in Albania, a visit to Durrës deserves a spot on your list. Here, history comes alive, and every corner unveils a new discovery. With so much charm and history, it’s easy to see why Durrës is one of the most popular places to visit in Albania.
Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful Albania places to visit is Butrint National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a treasure trove of ancient ruins that span various periods, from the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines and Venetians.
Butrint is like an open-air museum. As you walk through the park, you’ll come across a range of archaeological sites, including a Greek amphitheater, a Roman forum, and a Byzantine basilica. Each of these sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the civilizations that once thrived here.
Aside from its historical significance, Butrint is also a haven for nature lovers. The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and its tranquil, natural beauty provides a stark contrast to the ancient ruins.
Visiting Butrint National Park is one of the coolest Albania activities you can do. It’s a place where history and nature intertwine, offering a unique experience that you won’t soon forget.
Next on our list of best places in Albania is Gjirokaster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Stone City”. With its well-preserved Ottoman-era houses and cobblestone streets, Gjirokaster is a place that will transport you back in time.
Gjirokaster’s charm lies in its unique architecture. The city is famous for its slate-roofed houses, which give it a distinctive look and feel. As you stroll through the narrow streets, you’ll be captivated by the city’s historic atmosphere and stunning views of the Drino Valley.
Don’t forget to visit Gjirokaster Castle, a fortress that offers panoramic views of the city and houses a museum dedicated to the region’s history. Also worth a visit is the Ethnographic Museum, located in the former home of the Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha.
Exploring Gjirokaster is one of the most unique things to do in Albania, providing visitors with a journey into the past and a chance to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage.
For the adventurous at heart, Valbona Valley National Park and the village of Theth are must-visit destinations. Nestled in the heart of the Albanian Alps, these locations offer some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Albania, making them a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Valbona Valley National Park captivates with its towering mountain peaks, crystal-clear rivers, and lush green forests. The park boasts a variety of hiking trails, each offering its own unique views and opportunities to spot local wildlife.
Theth, a charming village located in the Shala Valley, is equally enchanting. Known for its traditional stone houses, historic church, and the iconic Lock-in Tower, Theth is a place that seems untouched by time.
One of the most popular activities is the Valbona to Theth hike, a challenging trek that takes you across the heart of the Albanian Alps. The journey may be tough, but the stunning views and sense of accomplishment are more than rewarding.
A visit to Valbona Valley National Park and Theth ranks high among the coolest things to do in Albania. These places offer a chance to connect with nature, challenge oneself, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Be sure to add these destinations to your Albania itinerary!
Last but not least on our list of best places to go in Albania is Rozafa Castle. Perched on a hill overlooking the city of Shkodër, this ancient fortress is steeped in legend and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Rozafa Castle is a place where history comes alive. As you wander the castle’s ruins, you’ll discover stories of sacrifice, love, and betrayal that date back centuries. The castle walls hold many secrets, and each corner offers a new piece of the puzzle.
The views from Rozafa Castle are equally impressive. From the castle walls, you can see the city of Shkodër, the Buna and Drin rivers, and the distant mountains. It’s a sight that’s worth the climb.
Visiting Rozafa Castle is one of the most unique things to do in Albania. It’s a place where you can step back in time, learn about Albania’s rich history, and enjoy some of the best views in the country.
Do you have further queries about where to go in Albania? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about what to do in Albania.
Albania is best known for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and warm hospitality. From the ancient ruins of Butrint and the Rozafa Castle to the stunning beaches of the Albanian Riviera and the majestic peaks of the Dajti Mountains, there are incredible things to do in Albania for all types of travelers. The country is also known for its unique cuisine, with traditional dishes like qofte and fresh seafood being must-tries for food lovers.
Albania is a fantastic destination for tourists. It offers a unique blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and adventure. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins, hiking in beautiful national parks, relaxing on pristine beaches, or sampling delicious local cuisine, Albania has something to offer you. Plus, Albanians are known for their warm hospitality, making visitors feel welcome.
Is 4 days enough in Albania?
While 4 days is a relatively short amount of time to explore all that Albania has to offer, it can be enough for a focused and well-planned trip to see some of the highlights. Here’s a suggested 4-day itinerary that you might consider:
Day 1: Tirana
- Morning: Arrive in Tirana, the capital city. Explore Skanderbeg Square, the National Historical Museum, and perhaps take a walk along the main boulevard.
- Afternoon: Visit the Bunk’Art Museum or take a cable car ride up to Dajti Mountain for panoramic views of the city.
- Evening: Enjoy dinner at a traditional Albanian restaurant.
Berat: Day 2 Itinerary
- Morning: Travel to Berat, known as the “City of a Thousand Windows.” Explore the Berat Castle and Onufri Museum.
- Afternoon: Walk through the Mangalem and Gorica neighborhoods, enjoying the architecture and ambiance.
- Evening: Stay overnight in Berat to fully experience the city.
Day 3: Gjirokastër
- Morning: Travel to Gjirokastër, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the Gjirokastër Fortress and the Ethnographic Museum.
- Afternoon: Walk through the old bazaar and explore the well-preserved Ottoman architecture.
- Evening: Consider staying overnight in Gjirokastër or head back to Tirana if you prefer.
Day 4: Durres or Krujë
- Option 1 (Durres): Head to Durres, one of Albania’s main coastal cities. Visit the Roman Amphitheatre, the Archaeological Museum, and enjoy some time at the beach.
- Option 2 (Krujë): Visit the historical town of Krujë. Explore the Krujë Castle, Skanderbeg Museum, and the Old Bazaar.
- Evening: Return to Tirana for your final night, or head directly to the airport if departing late at night.
Albania is full of beautiful spots, so it’s hard to pick just one! However, some of the most stunning places include the Blue Eye, a natural spring known for its clear, blue water; the beaches of Ksamil and the Albanian Riviera; the Valbona Valley National Park in the heart of the Albanian Alps; and the historic city of Gjirokaster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Is Albania worth visiting?
Yes, Albania is increasingly being recognized as a destination worth visiting. This is particularly true among travelers looking for unique experiences, natural beauty, and rich history without the crowds of more popular European destinations. Here’s why:
- Stunning Landscapes: Albania’s diverse geography ranges from the majestic Albanian Alps in the north to the beautiful Riviera along the southwestern coast. The country’s national parks, like Llogara Pass and Theth, offer stunning vistas and opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and photography.
- Historic Sites: Albania is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the ancient city of Gjirokastër, the historic center of Berat, and the well-preserved archaeological site of Butrint. These places provide fascinating insights into the region’s history, from ancient Greek and Roman times to the Ottoman period.
- Beaches: The Albanian Riviera boasts some of the most unspoiled beaches in Europe, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and beautiful bays. Popular spots like Ksamil, Dhermi, and Jale Beach offer great opportunities for relaxation, swimming, and water sports.
- Culture and Tradition: Visitors can experience authentic Albanian culture, particularly in rural areas. Traditional music, dance, and crafts are very much alive, and local cuisine reflects the country’s Mediterranean and Balkan influences.
- Affordability: Compared to many other European destinations, Albania often offers more budget-friendly accommodation, dining, and entertainment options.
- Warm Hospitality: Many travelers to Albania note the warmth and hospitality of the local people. Visitors often feel genuinely welcomed.
- Adventure Opportunities: From rafting in the Osumi Canyons to paragliding over the beaches, Albania provides various adventure opportunities for thrill-seekers.
While Albania may not offer all the polished amenities of some more established European tourist destinations, its well worth the visit. The country’s raw beauty, rich history, and unique cultural experiences make it a worthwhile destination for those looking to explore somewhere a bit off the beaten path.
Compared to many European countries, Albania is relatively inexpensive to visit. Accommodation, food, transportation, and attractions are generally quite affordable. However, prices can vary depending on the season, the location (prices in cities may be higher than in rural areas), and the type of accommodation or restaurant. It’s always a good idea to budget for your trip and plan accordingly.
The number of days you need in Albania depends on what you want to see and do. If you’re planning to visit a few major cities and attractions, a week to ten days could be sufficient. However, if you want to explore more of the country, including its national parks, beaches, and smaller towns, you might want to consider a two-week trip. Remember, travel is not just about checking off sights on a list – it’s also about taking the time to experience the culture, meet the people, and soak up the atmosphere.
And there you have it! From the sun-soaked beaches of the Albanian Riviera to the historic streets of Gjirokaster, from the bustling neighborhood of Blloku to the tranquil beauty of Valbona Valley National Park, Albania is a country that’s just waiting to be explored.
Each place offers a unique experience, a chance to immerse yourself in the rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty of this Balkan gem. Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, you’ll find plenty of exciting things to do in Albania.
Get ready to start planning your trip to Albania! A world of discovery awaits you in this fascinating and underrated country. And who knows? You might just find that Albania becomes your new favorite travel destination.