Best Time to Visit Albania

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Best Time to Visit Albania

Albania is not generally the first country one plans to visit on a vacation to Europe, or even on a trip to the Balkans. Through decades of dark times and brutal communism, Albania became a place of travel myths and untouchable secrets. 

Whispers of its aggressive mountains, ancient fortress towns and valley villages, and pristine beaches made their way around travel circles and by the time communism’s reign on the country came to an end in 1991, tourists around Europe were chomping at the bit to see what the hype was all about.

Now, nearly thirty years after the first modern travelers were able to truly explore the country without dealing with communist’s grip on the country, its remote villages and nearly forgotten but well-preserved ancient Roman ruins are still intriguing pulls to this gem in the Balkans. 

Not to mention, the thriving capital of Tirana is one of the up-and-coming centers of the region; teeming with young and vibrant attitude. Yet, despite all of this, the way of life in Albania has hardly changed as ancient cultures and traditions along with regional dishes are still found throughout the country.

Especially in the past decade, there has been a wave of new and exciting tourism to pour into the country. Several areas in the country, like the buzzing capital or the ritzy and continually developing Albanian Riviera, are making a name for the country among all kinds of holiday makers. 

People are coming all throughout the year, but when is the best time to visit? The question begs to be asked, so we will take a closer look at what you can expect at each point in the year in Albania.

Where Is Albania?

Albanian Alps_National Parks in Albania

In the deep south of the Balkans region, along the southern quarters of the Adriatic Sea is the country of Albania. It shares a border with four other Balkans countries; Montenegro to the north, Kosovo and North Macedonia in the east, and Greece along its southern border. 

What Are The Best Places To Visit In Albania?

Whether it is the rejuvenating capital, Tirana, or any number of the great mountain towns offering a winter paradise such as the Korca region, there are great places to visit year-round depending on your interests and the time you have. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Albania?

Albania is best visited at any point in the year. Sorry — we know that does not help you narrow your research. However, we would be conflicted to tell you to visit this lovely country at one period over another. The truth is, there are better times to visit depending on what your plan is and where your itinerary will take you. Below, we have broken down what there is to do each month and what you can expect at every time of the year.

January

THINGS TO DO IN TIRANA - Skanderberg statue in the center, Tirana, Albania

January is a relaxing time to visit Albania and its capital, Tirana, which is where we will focus our attention for travelers to Albania in the first month of the year. 

The first week of the month is a holiday and there are few tourists; if you don’t like crowds, it’s a good reason to consider visiting even in low season. 

In addition, the most important events for the new year are celebrated in Tirana. So, if you like fireworks, music, and concerts, Tirana is the place to be in Albania to celebrate the right way. A unique way to celebrate this special holiday is to celebrate the New Year on Mother Teresa Square among thousands of Albanians. It is a real local crowd pleaser and a good time to be had. 

Though, most people who visit Albania in the winter go for skiing (more on that later), a visit to Tirana makes for a fun, festive time, too. 

Track down the best eats in the capital city with this guide.

February

To enjoy the beautiful winter landscape, hop in a car and ditch Tirana for a visit to Korca; one of the most important cities of the country and the most popular ski resort in Albania. 

This region of southeastern Albania has become the locals go-to winter holiday spot, where the skiing is one of the best anywhere in the Balkans. Though, in February, there won’t be much hiking to be had, it is a versatile small town to visit at any point in the year.

The historical center of Korca is also worth your time — especially for digital nomads who need to sit in a cafe with their laptop and knock out a few hours of work. After a cold day outside, warming up to a cup of hot coffee is one of the more enjoyable pleasures to be had.

 

Albania Travel Blog_Best Time Of Year To Travel In Albania

 

Spring In Albania

Late March, April, May, and early June are some of the best months to travel to Albania, with good weather for hiking and cycling, you can still make the most of the Mediterranean beaches. Prices will be lower (if not traveling during Easter), the main attractions will be quieter, and the hotels will be more empty than ever.  

March

In March, the weather is beautiful, sunshine is abundant, tourists have yet to arrive, and March 14th is Dita e Veres, one of the most important pagan festivals in the country.

The best place to participate in this wonderful festival is Elbasan, a city an hour away from Tirana. During the day, people of all ages celebrate the coming of spring with dances, parades, and balloons

However, other places in the region are also nice for its nature in the early spring. Many people can’t wait to get to the mountain trails after the snow has started to melt, although it often means hiking in sloppy conditions. You may be better waiting until later in the spring for the best hiking.  

April

Things to do in Saranda - Ruins Butrint Albania
Ruins of Butrint, Albania

April is the absolute best time to visit when the weather is good, tourists are still at home, and the natural environment is at its best.

There is, also, no better place for history lovers in Albania than the impressive Butrint Archaeological Park. This is the most important historical place in the country and deserves a visit not only for its incomparable beauty and importance, but also for its location right on the doorstep of the stunning city of Ksamil.

May

Photo Credit

May is a particularly good time and opportunity to visit Berat, one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Most construction in the town was done when the city was founded nearly 2,500 years ago — imagine the history!

It is not only located near Tirana (perhaps within a day trip), but it is also the finest example of prideful Albanian architecture in the whole country. 

Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Albanians are proud of its history. You have to visit the castle which is the focal point of the entire town. 

Summer In Albania

From late June to late August, the coast and inland Albania can get pretty warm. It is around this time of the year you will see locals start fleeing to the popular coastal resort city of Saranda, where Albanians escape the Tirana tourist rush and drabness. You may also experience tourists who make the short trip from Greece’s Corfu island for a day.  

June

Backpacking The Balkans - Albania

Unlike surrounding countries such as Croatia and Montenegro, Albania doesn’t receive a huge rush of tourists during the summer, making it one of the best destinations in the Mediterranean. And that is no exaggeration. 

In June, the beaches are beautiful, the water sparkles, the prices are low. Plus, the view is (still) breathtaking, and you will never be caught up in long queues or crowds of people at some of the best attractions and destinations.

Plus, it is the best time to visit the Albanian Riviera (perhaps the most spectacular part of the country and certainly our favorite). Don’t take our word for it, though. Book yourself a room and see for yourself!  

July

Things To Do In The Albanian Riviera - Ksamil Beach

It seems, more than in other months, Albanians come out from hiding in July and it is easy to see why. First of all, the weather is great. Rarely is there a rainy day, especially on the beach, and although sometimes it tends on the warm side, the temperature dips and warms back up often which means you will never have to deal with long heat waves in the dead of summer. 

Not only is the town beautiful, but it was also the birthplace of former dictator Enver Hodge, so, there is a lot of history to nerd out on. Every year, the festival takes place in mid-July and is the perfect event to plan your holiday around if you are planning a trip to Albania.  

August

Valbona National Park Albania_8265 (1)
Photo Credit

In August, we suggest skipping the beaches of the Albanian Riviera as they are going to be full of tourists, and instead go to the mountains. The climate in the mountains is pleasant, nature is impressive, and entertainment is abundantly diverse. 

You will so thoroughly enjoy this region of Albania; we know we did. And don’t forget to visit the mountain villages — they are saturated in authentic culture and you will have the opportunity to speak to some of the friendliest locals you have ever encountered. You can also explore the natural waterfalls, admire the beautiful views, and attend a number of summer festivals.  

Fall In Albania

The weather from late September to mid-October is good. The fall season is short in Albania, however, and some years even shorter than others. The beaches are one of our favorite things in the fall because the crowds rush out when the weather cools down, yet, the water is still warming up. Swimming in September and early October is not only enjoyable, but it is potentially the best time to swim in the open sea.   

September

Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park - National Parks in Albania
Karaburun. Photo Credit

September is another great month in Albania as far as the weather goes. Up in the mountains, it may start to get a bit chilly. And on the coasts, you can feel the winds start to get cooler, too, but the dip in temperature is beyond manageable when you see the landscape begin to change colors of the fall. Plus, we don’t have any evidence to support this, but the sunsets seem to reach a new level of beautiful in September, as well.

Just a few hours from the capital city and Albania’s third largest city is one of the best places to be in September; the city of Vlora. It isn’t a huge tourist spot but more of a place to soak in all the local culture

One of the most underrated things to do in Albania is to catch a boat out to Karaburun, an untouched old military peninsula that was opened to the general public just several years ago. 

Despite its stunning bays and dramatic cliffs, the nearly abandoned peninsula remains less of a tourist spot and has a stronger reputation for being a hideout for marijuana smugglers. This doesn’t make Karaburun dangerous, it only means it is another unspoiled gem.

The boat departs every morning at nine o’clock in the morning and takes guests to the beautiful peninsula where they can swim, relax, and eat delicious seafood.  

October

Permet, hidden in the southern part of the country with natural hot springs, is the perfect October destination. The springs are tucked away in an impressive area next to the old Ottoman bridge and is surrounded by nature. 

If you want to relax, come here for the weekend and you will see many Albanian weekenders out as well — just trying to escape the grind of the work week.  

Winter In Albania

In December, January, and February, it is very cold in the mountains and heavy rains can cause floods and mudslides. But if you’re looking for fresh snow to shred, now is the time: Specifically speaking, from late January to mid-March, the slopes are primed and ready. But as you will see, there is plenty to do in the winter months in Albania even if you have never skied in your life.

November

Photo Credit

November is not the best month for those who prefer the great outdoors because it gets unpleasantly wet, but you will be able to stay plenty busy, don’t fret. There is a great set of museums and art galleries which are surprisingly fun and educational. Now is the time to really learn about the country on a deeper level. 

The best place to immerse yourself in the art scene of the city is back in the capital city. Here, you will find the most fulfilling museums, such as the National History Museum, the National Art Gallery, and more. 

Albania’s recent history is beyond interesting even if you only have the slightest intrigue in museums. Check out BunkArt, which is nothing like ordinary museums you have been to in the past.

If you are in Albania at the end of November, it is absolutely necessary to make your way to Tirana. November 28th is the day of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Of course, Tirana is the place to be. It has great events, concerts, and entertainment all over the city.

December

Albanians love the end of the year holiday season and they have their own traditions which would make for a fine spot to spend the holidays this year. 

And if you are going to be in Albania for the holidays, you may as well stay in Tirana — or more specifically, near Skanderbeg Square, which is beautifully decorated with holiday lights and if you are lucky a light coat of fresh snow. The big Christmas tree, which isn’t unique to Tirana but is every bit as beautiful, is the centerpiece to an already beautiful center and the winter has fairytale like effects on the city.

What Is Our Favorite Time To Visit Albania?

This is a really difficult question, though, we tend to prefer the south of Albania in the fall or early winter time as the most pleasant time/place to visit Albania.

Why?

The mild Mediterranean climate, the constant breeze just about everywhere you are in the south, and the quietness after the rush of summer tourism is always welcomed. 

The Best Time To Visit Albania

Balkan Cities - Kruja castle in Albania

Flooded with secret treasures like secluded beaches, attractions which remind you of the country’s shackled past, world-class ski resorts, and the kind-hearted compassion of the Albanian locals, you are sure to be blown away when you visit Albania.

There are things to do at every time of the year — whether it is cruising along the Riviera in the spring time, bathing under the sun’s rays in the warm summer heat, or shredding fresh, crisp slopes of white dust in the dead of winter — everyone will find their own joy in this truly magnificent country.

If you plan on visiting Albania or the Balkans and are planning your itinerary, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your trip or stay there. We will do our best to alleviate the stress of planning a trip to Albania.

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