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21 Ideas For Where To Go In Albania Including Some Off The Radar Ideas
Albania is a country that has yet to hit the map of most European tourists. Though there is starting to build a buzz about this beautiful country around the Balkans, a majority of Europe – and the world – are still vastly knowledgeable about this place.
With soaring mountains, fascinating valley towns with thousands of years of history, national heroes followed by passionate, prideful people, and a riviera which is up and coming as one of the best in Europe, there is no time to wait – you must visit Albania before the majority catch wind of the buzz.
For those who are looking for a bit more information and wanting to be inspired by the place, we are glad you have landed here. Without further ado, here is a list of some of the most impressive cities and small towns throughout the country.
In no particular order of likeness, here are the 21 top cities in Albania, covering regions spread evenly throughout the country:
Gjirokastra is known for its beautiful Ottoman architecture and excellent location among the snow-capped peaks of South Albanian Drino Valley. Charming cobbled streets lead to the castle, the most important part of the city, which is often called the “City of Stone.”
While visiting Gjirokastra, you will also want to visit the Zekate House, an early 19th-century tower that is considered the best example of Ottoman architecture in the city.
The Albanian Riviera is probably the most popular tourist destination in the country. The Riviera has a growing reputation as an important music center with numerous international music festivals, including Turtle Fest and Soundwave Albania.
Nightclubs such as Havana Beach Club near Dermis and Jale Beach’s Follie Marine attract young people from all over Europe to the Albanian Riviera.
The seaside town of Himara is one of the coolest up-and-coming places on the Riviera, and the beaches of Llamani, Porto Palermo, and Filikuri are some of the most beautiful in the region, and the beach of Drymades is one of the busiest and most fun in the Balkans.
Berat is known as the city with thousands of windows thanks to the typical Ottoman-style houses that Berat is famous for. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with more than 2,000 years of packed history.
If you climb to the top of the castle, you will be treated to a fantastic view of the city of Berat. Inside the fortress walls, you will see houses where people still live their everyday lives.
One of the best things to do – especially for vino-lovers, is to go wine tasting. Albania is home to a surprisingly good vineyard scene. You can visit the four best vineyards (Cabo, Nurellari, Malinati, Malinati, and Luani) in a day and taste the best of local Albanian wine.
If you are a budget traveler and love to make connections with other travelers while backpacking, you should stay at Berat Backpackers, it is an excellent hostel in one of the most beautiful places in Albania.
Okay – confession – Upper Queparo is magical and maybe my favorite place in Albania. It is an ideal place to see a traditional Albanian village, but with a quirk, and that is that the village was left half abandoned.
After the fall of communism, many people went abroad, and the village was completely deserted. Today, about half of the village is renovated, but many old stone houses are still in ruins. The streets are touched with age, with beautiful views and a rich history surrounding.
You might lack things to do, but that is the beauty of this quiet authentic village.
With turquoise waters and beautiful secluded beaches, the beautiful landscape of Dhermi in summer attracts young Albanians from all over the country. Not only the beaches, but Dhermi is also the epicenter of a lively nightlife – which is another reason the young people flock here when school’s out.
The city is situated on a hill overlooking the sea and offers spectacular sunsets. Take a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants at sunset; it is always an excellent way to spend the neon evening in Dhermi.
Although this place offers a cheerful and festive atmosphere, with lively beach bars scattered throughout, there are more than enough beaches for a quiet place to sit and enjoy the landscape of the Albanian Riviera, as well.
If you like to spend time outdoors, Theth is undoubtedly one of the best places in Albania and makes for a great Albania weekend getaway.
Nature lovers will enjoy the serene landscapes and charming villages that are still filled with authentic traditions, cuisine, and unique cultures.
Far away from the largest Albanian cities, tucked in the north of the country at the top of the Albanian Alps, Theth remains quiet and quaint most of the year.
The National Park in Theth is probably the most beautiful place in Albania, with Grunas Falls and the Lock-in tower, both very well-liked by tourists.
Mount Theti, Razma, Boga, and Vermoshi offer an unforgettable experience of Albania in its most natural state, experiences you certainly cannot miss. If you love the outdoors, Albania is one of the best places in Europe you can travel.
If you don’t have much time to explore Albania, Tirana is the best place to visit. Tirana, the capital of Albania, encapsulates all the culture and history of Albania.
There are many interesting activities in Tirana. You can see the influence of the Ottoman Empire and communist culture that adorn the city. The city has much to offer, from museums to historic buildings and national parks. Basically, anything a tourist would want – Tirana has.
The Et’hem Bay Mosque demonstrates the beauty and friendliness of Islam. It is not a large mosque, but the Et’hem Bay mosque has a beautiful architectural structure. The interior of the dome consists of a complex image that will make your jaw drop. This mosque is not only a religious but also a historical symbol for Albania.
Apart from the mosque, Tirana is home to Bunk’Art, Dajti Mountains National Park, the National History Museum, the National Art Gallery, and Sheshi Skenderbej among a plethora of other attractions.
The picturesque village of Lin is located on a small peninsula on the western shore of Lake Ohrid, a beautiful lake that separates Albania from neighboring Macedonia and is an important region of study for the southeastern part of the country.
Lin is a beautiful place on the shores of the lake, which is, obviously, its main attraction. In addition, it’s a beautiful village with many sandy and pebbly beaches, ideal for a picnic on a sunny afternoon or paddleboarding on the calm, beautiful waters of Ohrid.
Saranda is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Albania, and the city has grown significantly over the past 20 years.
Lekursi Castle is one of the best places in Saranda where people go to enjoy the breathtaking sunsets. Saranda is a short trip across the Ionian Sea and just an arm’s length away from the popular Greek island of Corfu.
Himare is a quieter coastal town, a few hours north of Saranda. The views are incredibly beautiful and ideal for resting on the beach for a few days.
The popular promenade has several good restaurants to try, and, if you are looking for a calmer and cooler atmosphere than Saranda, it is one of the best places in Albania where you can relax. But for party animals, there is still plenty of restaurants and nightlife to keep the thirst for excitement alive.
Durres, once the capital of Albania, is located near Tirana, on the coast of the country. This is a very popular destination, which means that in the summer months, there can be gobs of people here spilling over from Tirana.
With one of the largest ports of the Adriatic, the city is somewhat suffocated with development. Although there is a good stretch of beach where tourists and locals can enjoy many lovely beaches. And, along the promenade, there are many restaurants offering delicious fresh seafood near the sand.
War over the course of thousands of years between Bulgarians, Greeks, Venetians, and Turks has made the history of this city as rich as its beaches. The impressive Roman amphitheater and the fantastic archaeological museum are among the biggest pulls to the city.
South of Saranda, near the Greek border, is the beautiful seaside resort town of Ksamil, located in Butrint National Park, with an impressive coastal location that have many flocking to it.
Ksamil is one of the best beach towns in Europe and will make you feel as though you have just touched down at the beaches of the Caribbean. It is an escape in Europe like none other.
The village itself has bars and restaurants on the beach and four small coastal islands surrounded by crystal clear waters nearby, ideal for swimming and diving.
This is undoubtedly one of the last unknown treasures on the continent. Today, however, more and more tourists are finding Ksamil, and it is rapidly growing into one of the most popular destinations in Albania.
Vlore holds a special place in the hearts of all Albanians. In 1912, the independence of Albania was declared in Vlore. That is why the Museum of Independence is located in this small town.
If you are a huge history buff and looking to engulf yourself in Albanian history, you can go to the ancient Kanina Castle. According to local projections, the castle dates back to the 3rd Century B.C.
If you are interested in nature and the beautiful Albanian environment, you can visit the Bay of Vlora. There are many species of animals in the area, some of which you may not be familiar with or ever imagined seeing in Europe. You can enjoy the gentle sea breeze and at the same time, observe the fauna of the bay.
Located in the north of Albania, this city is a very picturesque place and a good starting point for fantastic road trips through the region. You will learn that Shkoder is a city of bicycles. Most locals you find, especially around the center, all ride bicycles as transport around town.
It is also an incredibly cheap place. If you are looking for a place where you get the best value for your money in Albania, look no further than Shkoder.
The architecture is different from any other city in Albania. Travel back in time with the charm of Shkoder. You might even feel as if you are in an old school film nearly a century back in time.
If you were learning some simple phrases in Albanian, you may have difficulties conveying them in Shkoder. Southern Albanians speak a different dialect than northern Albanians like in Shkoder.
This beautiful city was founded in 1280 under the name of Episkopi. It is one of the oldest in Albania.
Korca is famous for its architecture and well-preserved buildings. During the 17th Century, it was also an important trading center, and signs of this are still visible from inside the town. Today, it is the sixth-largest city in Albania.
Vuno’s not on the tourist radar anymore, much less on the local radar. It is a tiny town along the route to the Albanian Riviera.
Vuno has the same charm as Upper Queparo, which I love so much. However, Vuno was abandoned decades ago and is only slowly (very slowly) rebuilding. Traditional stone houses and cobblestoned roads pass through the village and lead to a beautiful view of the olive groves and beaches of the Albanian Riviera.
Gjipe Beach is not far away, and it is nice to chill at if you are staying in Vuno for a few nights.
Apollonia is an ancient city that flourished during the Roman Empire. The biggest draw to the town today for visitors are all the well-preserved ancient buildings and remains inside the Apollonian Archaeological Park. It is a must-see for those who are into Roman architecture and the time period.
One of the best places in Albania is Borscht. Borscht has the longest beach in Albania, making it one of the most noteworthy in the country. Situated among olive groves, it is a beautiful place to hide from the madness of Saranda in summer.
We highly suggest visiting Borscht Castle, located on the mountain overlooking the beach. The castle is in ruins but is still often completely forgotten by tourists. The view is breathtaking, and there is still reason to visit it.
The castle also has an old mosque, which was added by the Turks. The mosque does not hold services because it is almost completely destroyed, but its beautiful interior is still pretty much intact, and you can see some of the awe-inspiring paintings on the ceiling.
Butrint is a UNESCO protected area near Saranda and Ksamil. The Greeks lived in Butrint in the 6th Century B.C., and later the Romans seized power. Butrint is one of the longest inhabited cities in Europe. The first remains of life date back to 50,000 years ago! You can’t imagine the history this city holds.
Located on the shore of Lake Ohrid in eastern Albania, Pogradec is one of the most promising places in the country.
Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkans, and although the Macedonian part of the lake is more popular, the Albanian coast is undoubtedly growing.
Pogradec is known for its rich folklore, and the Puppet Theater Festival is one of the most interesting events to take place in the country.
Shenk-Jablanica National Park is located about 30-45 minutes drive from Pogradec, near the fountains of Drilon.
As you can see by now, there are plenty of reasons to vacation to Albania. Its nature and beautiful culture are well worth every bit of time you spend there.
And, it is best to do it now while its main attractions are still left untouched by tourism, prices are low, and locals remain willing to share their culture and traditions with outsiders.
If you have any questions regarding your itinerary for your holiday in Albania, feel free to reach us about any of the places on this list or any other inquiries you may have, and we will do our best to assist you.
More Albania Travel Blogs For Your Trip
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- Check out Albania’s National Parks in this guide
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- Find our top picks for Albania accommodation here.
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