There are lots of dreamy places to visit in Albania, that a visit to this underrated Balkan nation should be considered on your next European itinerary. There is a diverse range of breathtaking landscapes and places in Albania that make this country worth visiting.
One such places is the Albanian Riviera, which stretches along the country’s southwestern coastline. Another must-see destination in Albania is the city of Berat, the “Town of a Thousand Windows”.
Is Albania worth visiting? From dreamy beaches to rugged mountains, Albania is a destination for adventurers, history buffs, beach babes and off-the-beaten path wanderers.
In this article, I’ll go over 16 of the best places to visit in Albania and any necessary tips that will give you a better understanding of what its like to travel in Albania.
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Places to Visit in Albania Quick List
Below I have listed the best places to visit in Albania for easy viewing. If you would like more information about a specific place in Albania, click on the blue links below.
Best Albania Places to Visit
Starting off our list of the best places to visit in Albania is the UNESCO city of Berat. Known as the “City of a Thousand Windows,” Berat is a picturesque place to visit in Albania that will transport you back in time.
The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets lined with stunning Ottoman-era houses, each adorned with distinctive windows. As you meander through the narrow alleys, you’ll stumble upon ancient mosques, Byzantine churches and a magnificent castle that proudly overlooks the town.
Located about 2 hours south from the capital, Berat is one of the most popular destinations in Albania due to its proximity to Tirana, historic past and natural beauty.
Imagine crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and virtually no one around. Nestled between the Ionian Sea and the majestic mountains, this hidden gem offers a unique blend of stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife and authentic local culture. From the trendy town of Saranda to the laid-back and bohemian villages of Himara and Dhermi, the Riviera has something for everyone.
Immerse yourself in the azure waters, relax on pristine white-sand beaches, explore the ancient ruins and quaint villages tucked away in the mountains or simply indulge in the fresh seafood. The Albanian Riviera is an idyllic destination and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania during summer.
Another one of the best places to visit in Albania is Theth. Theth is a remote village nestled in the heart of the Albanian Alps. Thethi Church, located in the center of town, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Albania. Come here to admire its simple yet captivating architecture which stands as a symbol of faith and history.
I’m sure you’ve seen Theth Church in photographs as this church is one of the most photographed landmarks in the country. Surrounding the tranquil church, the unspoiled landscape of Theth unveils breathtaking mountains, stunning waterfalls and verdant meadows, which only add to the beauty.
Valbona Valley National Park
Valbona Valley National Park is an untouched natural gem that boasts awe-inspiring landscapes and an abundance of biodiversity. Found in the Albanian Alps, Valbona National Park is usually explored in combination with Theth National Park and hiking the Valbona to Theth Trek which I will discuss in more detail later on in the post.
As you venture into the park, you’ll be greeted by lush valleys, towering mountains and serene alpine lakes. Valbona offers numerous hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, allowing you to explore its diverse terrain at your own pace.
Joe and I hiked Rosi Peak when we explored Valbona Valley National Park. We intended for it to be a warm-up hike but it was strenuous and took 9 hours. The views of the Montenegro Mountains make it absolutely worth it though.
The Grunas Waterfall in Theth is another awe-inspiring place to visit in Albania. The Grunas Waterfall requires a 45 minute hike from Theth town. As you make your way through the rugged terrain, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of this majestic waterfall cascading down the rocky cliffs.
This waterfall in Albania has several different levels. Keep climbing to the top to reach the picturesque, 100 foot cascading waterfall. It is possible to swim in the pool that forms beneath the falls but prepare for it to be very cold.
Saranda Blue Eye
Albania has two blue eyes, one in the North and one in the South. The Saranda Blue Eye is a natural spring located in southern Albania near the town of Saranda. Known for its breathtaking turquoise waters, this is a great day trip from Saranda or Gjirokaster.
The blue hues of the water, intensified by the sunlight, create a magical atmosphere. Here you can take a leap into the ice cold water or settle for dipping in your toes.
Located in the town of Gjirokaster, Albanians second UNESCO town, Gjirokaster Castle is one of the most well preserved castles in Albania. Perched atop a hill overlooking the picturesque town, the imposing fortress stands as a testament to the country’s rich history.
Most travelers visit Gjirokaster on a day trip from Saranda or Ksamil but if you have time, I recommend spending a night in this charming town in Albania.
Ksamil & Butrint National Park
I know I already mentioned the Albanian Riviera but Ksamil is too awesome not to have its own section. With its postcard perfect scenery, Ksamil has become a go-to destination for sun-seekers and beach babes. Spend your days lounging on beach chairs on the beach. Chairs cost a dollar to rent and there is usually a bar close-by.
Butrint National Park is like stepping back in time to explore the remnants of an ancient civilization. This archaeological site is located about 10 minutes from Ksamil on the banks of the river. Whether you’re a history buff or nature lover, these are two of the best places to visit in Albania.
Another hidden gem in Albania is Lake Koman. Hidden among the breathtaking Albanian Alps, one of the best ways to experience this lake is on a ferry ride.
If you are traveling from Shkoder to Valbona on public transportation, the Lake Komani Ferry is probably apart of the itinerary. The journey itself is an unforgettable experience, as the ferry navigates through the dramatic landscape, surrounded by soaring mountains, offering panoramic views that will leave you in awe.
I couldn’t make a best places to visit in Albania post if Tirana didn’t make the list. Tirana, the vibrant capital city of Albania, is full of culture, history and modern charm.
As you stroll through the bustling city streets, admire the blend of Ottoman-era buildings and communist-era structures. The city’s central Skanderbeg Square is a focal point, surrounded by landmarks and the city center reveals buzzing markets and lively cafes. Tirana’s coffee culture is like no other.
Osumi Canyon is a great day trip from Berat. Formed by the powerful Osum River cutting through the limestone rocks over thousands of years ago, the canyon is a beautiful outcome to the incredible forces of nature.
One of the best ways to explore the depths of the canyon is on a raft. As you float along, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs that seem to stretch toward the sky, while the river gracefully meanders through the narrow valley below. Waterfalls cascade down the steep walls, only adding to the stunning beauty of the landscape.
Visiting Kruja is like stepping into a living museum of history and culture. This ancient city, tucked away in the mountains and just a short drive from Tirana, offers a captivating glimpse into Albania’s rich past.
The highlight of Kruja is undoubtedly the historic Kruja Castle, perched on a hilltop and offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. However, the village is best known as the hometown of national hero Skanderbeg, a national hero who defended Albania against the Ottoman Empire.
Theth Blue Eye
The Theth Blue Eye is another waterfall in Theth that requires you to hike to. Blue Eye gets its name from the vibrant blue water that surrounds the falls. The natural spring is surrounded by lush greenery and a cascading waterfall. It takes about 7 hours to hike to Blue Eye and back to Theth.
Mount Dajti National Park
Mount Dajti National Park is another one of the best day trips from Tirana since a cablecar takes you from the city to the mountain top. The lush greenery and diverse flora and fauna create a vibrant and scenic environment.
The park offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking and a cable car ride to the summit. Once at the top, you are greeted with epic views of the city below and the surrounding mountains.
Shkoder is the gateway town to the Albanian Alps and is one of the best cities to visit in Albania. If you are planning a trip through the mountains in Albania, you will pass through the town.
Explore the Rozafa Castle or explore Kole Idromeno Street, a charming pedestrian-friendly street is lined with lively cafes, boutique shops and charming buildings. From the cobblestone streets to the quaint charm of the Ottoman and Venetian architecture, you’ll love your time in Shkoder.
Ending our list of the best places to visit in Albania is the Valbona Pass. The Valbona Pass can only be reached by foot which many travelers experience on the infamous Valbona to Theth Trek.
The hike up to Valbona Pass is nothing short of scenic with majestic mountains towering all around you. There are even a few cafes along the way which offer a refreshing respite and blended frappe coffees on shaded benches.
At the summit, you’ll be greeted with a panorama of rugged peaks and lush valleys, stretching as far as the eye can see. Hiking the Valbona to Theth Trek via the Valbona Pass is one of the best adventures to have in Albania.
Best Time to Visit 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. Beprepared to be annoyed by a ton of flies if you spend time in the mountains.
What to Pack for Albania
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 Travel Tips
Albania is a hidden gem located in Southeastern Europe, encompassing breathtaking landscapes, rich culture and a fascinating history. Here are a few tips to know before you travel to Albania.
- Lots of walking uphill
- A lot of people speak Italian
- Euro is widely accepted but so is the local currency (Lek).
- Most hotels (budget accommodations) only accept cash when you arrive on property.
- Credit cards are less accepted especially American Express.
- Prices double sometimes triple during peak season of July and August.
- Pack a universal adaptor.
- Don’t leave home without Travel insurance.
☕️ Read More: 15 Things to Know Before Traveling to Albania
Onward Travel from Albania
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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