Albania is a country that’s off-the-beaten path but I have a feeling it won’t be kept a secret for long. There are many reasons to visit this Balkan country and I’m here to spill the beans on all its treasures with this Albania itinerary travel guide.
Situated in South Eastern Europe with a coastline along the Adriatic Sea, the Albanian Riviera, with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and sandy beaches, is a slice of paradise.
In contrast, the rugged mountains in the north offer remote destinations, stunning views and epic adventures. Not to mention the blend of history and modernity you’ll get in the vibrant capital city of Tirana.
Albania is a natural mix of wonders, historical sites and welcoming people. From secluded beaches to dramatic snow-capped mountains, this Albania itinerary showcases the best of what Albania has to offer.
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Is Albania worth visiting? In this article, I’ll go over the ultimate one week itinerary, go into detail the best ways to spend your time in Albania and offer any tips that will aid you in your travel planning.
The average person will spend a week traveling Albania, so that’s the time frame I’m going to use for this Albania itinerary post. I spent 1 month traveling around Albania and 4 months traveling through the Balkans, therefore I feel confident about this itinerary for Albania.
Below is a quick view at what this Albania itinerary 7 days looks like. If you have more time to spend traveling around Albania, I highly suggest you go on an adventure in the Accursed Mountains. After I’ve laid out the Albania 1 week itinerary, I’ll add an extra 3-6 Day Hiking Itinerary through the Albanian Alps.
This Albania travel itinerary can easily be an Albanian road trip itinerary. You won’t be driving for more than 4 hours a day, roads are mostly well paved and two lanes.
This makes it easier to take on Albania by car. For more information about a specific location or activity, click on the blue links below.
- Arrive in Tirana.
- Book Accommodations in Tirana for 2 nights.
- Pick your Home Base to Explore the Albanian Riviera – Saranda, Ksamil or Himara.
- Stay 2 Nights.
- Return to Tirana and fly home.
- Or continue North to go Hiking in the Albanian Alps for 3-6 Days.
🇦🇱 Read Next: The Ultimate Guide to Albania
Albania Itinerary Day 1-2: Tirana
More than likely you will begin your travels through Albania in the capital of Tirana. Tirana is a happening city known for its lively atmosphere and coffee culture.
The city is home to a variety of architectural styles and Skanderbeg Square, the city’s main plaza, which features the Skanderbeg Monument and the National History Museum.
Day one on your Albania Itinerary will be the day you fly in and jet lag may be in effect. Take it easy, check into your hotel and grab dinner at Era. An Albanian Italian restaurant in the heart of Blloku neighborhood. Book 2 nights accommodation in Tirana.
Where to Stay in Tirana
Tirana has a pleather al of places to stay for every type of traveler and on any type of budget. Below I’ll list the best places to stay in Tirana for all budgets.
🛖 Read Full Post: Best Places to Stay in Tirana
Albania Itinerary Day 3: Berat
Day 3. Today you’ll leave the capital and make your way 2 hours south to Berat. This is one of Albanias 2 UNESCO cities nicknamed a “Town of a Thousand Windows”.
If you’re renting a car, have your rental car arrange for pickup in the morning. I recommend renting through localrent. Localrent is sort of like Turo in the United States, you are able to rent local vehicles for a good price and the best part is, they’ll drop and pick up the vehicle anywhere in the city.
This will save you an extra trip back to the airport, the stress and anxiety of having to find a parking space in the city and save you some money. I rented a car in Albania for 3 weeks and had a wonderful Albania road trip. For more tips and information about what it’s like to rent a car and drive in Albania, read the full post below .
🚙 All you Need to know About Renting a Car in Albania
If you plan on taking public transportation, Tirana is well connected to Berat and buses are frequent, leaving every hour or so.
Berat is known for its well preserved white Ottoman-era buildings and cobblestone streets. Check into your hotel, explore the old town and don’t miss out on eating at Antigoni for dinner (pictured above).
This Berat restaurant is located directly across the pedestrian bridge in the Gorica neighborhood. It serves up tasting traditional Albanian dishes, local wine, epic views and for a very good price. I highly recommend it.
Albania Itinerary Day 4:
Today is your full day to explore all the best things to do in Berat. Start your morning with a traditional Albanian breakfast on your terrace – eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, homemade jam and bread. Most hotels include breakfast in the price of the accommodation.
Next begin the steep climb up to the castle that watches over the city. The castle is also a little village filled with shops, restaurants and homes. Spend a few hours wandering around the castle, checking out the shops and find Holy Trinity Church. If you’re hungry for lunch try – Lili’s Home Made Food.
Albania Itineray Day 5: Gjirokaster
Continue south to Albania’s second UNESCO World Heritage site, Gjirokaster. Drop your bags and get to exploring as this is your only day in the city. If you are driving, it’s an easy two and a half hours. Buses from Berat to Gjirokaster take about 3 hours.
🧳 Travel Tip: If you are arriving in Gjirokaster via public transportation don’t book a stay on the hillside in town. Gjirokaster is very hilly and lugging your luggage up steep hills won’t be fun. Read Best Hotels in Gjirokaster for ideas on where to stay.
Gjirokaster is a small town and can be explored in a day. The two main attractions in Gjirokaster are the well preserved castle and the Cold War tunnel located just under the castle.
The only way to view the Cold War tunnel is on a tour so head over to tunnel to see when the next available tour is. You can then plan your visit to Gjirokaster Castle around that.
Since you have only one day to explore Gjirokaster, make sure you eat at Odaja Restaurant for at least one of your meals. This cute family owned establishment serves up tasty dishes and has prime location in the midst of the Old Bazaar or Gjirokaster Old Town.
Albania Itinerary Day 6-7: Albanian Riviera
Finally, you’re headed to the beach. The Albanian Riviera is an easy hours drive from Gjirokaster. Pick a home base – for most it’s a decision between Saranda, Ksamil and Himara. Saranda is the biggest and most built up. Ksamil has a younger hipper vibe. Himare there’s less to do and more seclusion.
This area is known for its stunning natural beauty and pristine beaches. With its crystal-clear waters, secluded coves and long, sandy beaches, the Albanian Riviera offers a picturesque escape.
Don’t miss out on Butrint National Park, forest-draped ruins. Plus it boasts a lively nightlife scene, with beachside bars and clubs throw poppin parties.
Albania Itinerary Day 8 + Bonus Days
If you only have a week to travel Albania, fly home today. If you have more than a week to explore Albania and you love the mountains, you must go on an adventure through the Albanian Alps. Joe and I spent 6 days hiking and exploring through the Albanian Alps. It was our favorite experience in Albania.
Most people only spend 3 days in the Albania Alps trekking the Valbona pass on the second day, with Valbona and Theth National Parks as the bookends to their 3 day adventure.
If you have the gift of time, I recommend spending more than 3 days in the Albania Alps, there are plenty of other hikes and things to do in Theth and Valbona National Park that you won’t be able to experience unless you spend more time in Valbone and in Thethi.
1 Week Albania Itinerary Tips
Albania Travel Vlogs
Would you rather see what it’s like to travel through Albania? Joe and I filmed several travel vlogs while we explored this fascinating country. Check them out after you read this post and please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.
Best Time to Go to Albania
The best time to go to Albania is during dry/hiking season which runs May to October. July and August are the peak months, which mean higher crowds and hotter days.
Shoulder season May – June or September – October means there will be less crowds and the weather won’t be as brutal as peak season. I traveled Albania during the month of June and had amazing weather. Be prepared to be annoyed by a ton of flies if you spend time in the mountains.
What to Pack for 1 Week Albania Itinerary
You’ll want to pack lightweight and breathable clothing if you are traveling to Albania during the summer. Warm layers if you are traveling during shoulder season. Here are a few key items not to forget.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Water Bottle
- Rain Jacket – It poured on us several times while we were in Berat.
- Headphones for bus journeys.
- Biodegradable Wet Wipes
- Purchase Travel insurance before you go
- Pack a Universal Adapter
Here are a few key items you should bring with you when hiking in the Albanian Alps.
Albania Accommodation Guides
A bed in a dorm will cost 10-20 USD’s. You can get comfortable accommodation for $50 a night for 2 people. A higher budget allows you luxury that’s worth the cost. Below are city specific Albania Travel Guides for accommodations to help plan your trip.
How to Get to Albania
Whether traveling by air, land or sea, there are various options to reach this beautiful country. Long distance buses connect Albania with neighboring countries. For example it takes 3 hours to travel by bus from Tirana to Prizren, Kosovo.
If flying, Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza is the main gateway, with numerous international airlines offering direct flights from major cities. Arriving to Albania by ferry is also an option with regular services connecting nearby ports in Italy and Greece.
Rather have someone else plan the logistics for you? Exploring a country on a tour is a great way to see a lot of highlights in a short period of time, great to meet fellow like minded travelers and takes all the planning out of the equation so all you have to do is have a good time. Here are a few great Albania Tours to check out.
📌 Tours in Albania:
Onward Travel from Albania
Albania is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south.
Albania Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip:
🗺 How long to travel Albania?
🛂 Visas: Up to 90 Days on arrival for most countries.
☔️ Best Time to Visit: Peak season = July & August. May, June, September & October = Less crowds & costs.
💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 50 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals at a cafe and entrance fees.
⛺️ Albania accommodation Guides:
- Tirana's Coffee Culture
- Berat - a Town of a Thousand Windows
- Trekking Valbona to Theth N.P.
- Gjirokaster Castle
- The Albanian Riviera
- Shkoder - the Gateway to the Albanian Alps
- Theth National Park
- Lake Komani
- Valbona Valley National Park
- Peak of the Balkans for the experienced Trekker
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Albania
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