Top Places to Visit in Albania

Top Places to Visit in Albania

One of the main questions for anyone travelling to Albania is ‘Where should I visit?’.  Albania has many great cities, towns and villages that you shouldn’t miss out on when you come to visit.  Therefore, I have named some of the main ones you should visit during your time in Albania.

There are so many reasons why you should visit Albania.  It’s a country that is truly unique and authentic.  Around every twist and turn, you will find another beautiful landscape or beach.  The people are extremely friendly and very hospitable.  In the last year, it has fast become my favourite country in the world due to its uniqueness and strong traditional ways that no other country in Europe can offer.

Without further ado, here are the top places to visit in Albania…

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Berat

Berat is also known as the town of one thousand windows due to the Ottoman style houses that Berat is famous for.  It is now a UNESCO site as there are over 2000 years of history to explore.  If you walk to the top of the castle you get amazing views of the city of Berat.  Within the castle walls, you will also see everyday homes that people still occupy today.  If you are a backpacker then make sure you stay at Berat backpackers, it’s a great hostel located in a beautiful place!

There are also four wineries (Cabo, Nurellari, Malinati, Luani), where you can taste some great local wines!

book berat backpackers

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Himarё

Himare is a less busy beach town located a few hours’ drive north of Saranda. It’s a much less busy beach getaway than the likes of Saranda.  The views are incredibly pretty and it’s the perfect place if you want to chill out by the beach for a few days.  I highly recommend making a trip to the old part of Himare which is in the hills, next to the castle.  From there you get incredible views of the Riveria and you also get to see a traditional village, it’s so pretty!

accommodation in himare

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Shkodër

Located in the north of Albania, this city is very quaint and a great doorstep to some fantastic hiking in the area.  You will notice that Shkodër is the city of bikes, everyone’s biking!  It’s also incredibly affordable place.  The architecture is unlike anywhere else in Albania.  You may notice that you have stepped back in time into an old-fashioned film, that’s the charm of Shkodër.

Interesting fact!  The southern Albanians speak a different dialect to the Albanians in the northern places like Shkodër and in Kosovo.

book accommodation in shkoder

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Gijrokastёr

A lot of people either go to Berat or Gijrokastёr because they think because they are both UNESCO cities they will be the same – WRONG!  Make sure you visit Gijrokastёr too.  Cobbled streets and a castle perched at the top, Gijrokastёr is worth the stop.

Make sure you save a few hours for the castle where you can see and climb if you wish on the old army tanks, plus you get amazing views.  There is so much to see here including underground tunnels, a weapon museum (you can actually pick up the weapons!) and abandoned rooms of the castle.  Spend an afternoon wandering the streets and people watching from a café.  Gijrokastёr has a lot of character!

If you’re a backpacker I highly recommend you stay at Stone City Hostel.  It’s an awesome hostel!

BOOK STONE CITY HOSTEL

 

Tiranё

Tirana is one of the coolest cities in Europe in my opinion.  It has an edge, there are lots of things to see and most importantly for any traveller, the alcohol is cheap.  In the summer as most people have migrated to the beach of Saranda or Durres the city isn’t as busy but in the winter the city is thriving again.  There are some wonderful places to party in Tirana as well.  Don’t forget to visit the raki bar, Komiteti.  You can try all the different flavours of raki here and its set in a sort of museum! It’s a cool place to hang out.

You can also look at the old communist leader’s house, Enver Hoxha.  I highly recommend visiting the house of leaves, which is where you can find out a bit more about what Albania was like in the communist times.  There are lots of things to do here so I highly recommend spending a few days here.  If you’re a backpacker make sure you stay at Trip’n Hostel, you won’t regret it!

 

BOOK TRIP’N HOSTEL

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Sarandё

Saranda is where I am based in Albania.  In the summer it’s a thriving beach city being one of the most popular places to visit.  Saranda is a great mix of beach life, good restaurants and the main location in Albania for nightlife.  In the summer a substantial number of Albanians come here to live and work for the tourist season so the nightlife here is very prominent.

In the winter it’s a sleepy beach city but still boasts great weather.  In fact, Saranda itself gets over 300 days of sunshine a year so if you have to spend winter anywhere in Europe I would spend it here!  Make sure you read my full guide on Saranda here which includes the best things to do, best places to eat and where to stay!

accommodation in saranda

 

Top Places to Visit in Albania

Ksamil

Only a 20-minute bus ride from Saranda is the beautiful paradise of Ksamil.  The only advice I would give is to visit in any other months except for July and August. During those two months, the place is absolutely packed.  It’s much nicer to visit in the of the season when most of the summer tourists have left and there are only a few sunbeds left.

The sand is white, the sea is crystal clear, what more could you want?  There are also a few islands which you can swim out to as well as you can rent a jet ski or paddle boat and spend the day relaxing in the Albanian sun!

accommodation in ksamil

 

Korçë

When you come to Albania you will no doubt try one of the local beers Korça.  Well, you can visit the city when Korça is made and produced. The best thing about it is that you will get beer for the wholesale price.  That means you will pay a pittance for a bottle of beer, that’s insane!  Korça is set in a valley so the city is surrounding by mountains.  From Korçë you can also do some amazing hikes in the surrounding area.

accommodation in korce

 

There’s a roundup of the best towns and cities to visit whilst you are in Albania.  There are plenty more places to visit while you’re in Albania.  Every town, village and city are unique, and none are the same.  My advice would be to hire a car and drive around the country.  This way you can see a lot more.  If you don’t have access to a hire, make sure you read my guide to transport through Albania!

 

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Top Places to Visit in Albania

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. March 3, 2018 / 11:51 pm

    I had always wanted to check out the smaller European countries and Albania has been on the list for far too long. About time I get geeed up and get this done. Good to know that you can fit in so much on short trips too! Tirana is an absolute must I guess!

  2. March 4, 2018 / 3:48 am

    I must admit that we’ve never thought about visiting Albania, but after reading your post I’m wondering why not.. 🙂 Some of the towns look like those in Greece, so I’m sure we’d like it there. But how’s Albanian food? What are your specialities? The beach Ksamil looks pretty inviting, so we’d certainly consider going there too. And we’ll follow your advice and avoid going there during summer time. Thanks a lot for sharing this! 😉

  3. March 4, 2018 / 4:14 am

    I have never been to Albania, being close to Italy, it’s quite convenient, however there aren’t many flights to Tirana as far as I know. The azure waters of Ksamil look like a great spot for beach lovers. Bookmarked this page!

  4. March 4, 2018 / 4:41 am

    When I see or hear Albania, reminds me of the girl from Switzerland that I met at a homestay, her name is Albana! Rhymes, right? lol and also the famous song nowadays, Havana na na na hahaha! And the names of these places have the special character such as ë. Albania looks very peaceful and beautiful. Interesting facts like regions in the Philippines, we have different dialects, too! Ksamil is a gorgeous white sand crystal beach, no wonder why many tourists flock here so good to know when to avoid the area.

  5. March 4, 2018 / 6:08 am

    I knew absolutely nothing about Albania before reading this, I had no idea it was so beautiful! Those beaches look gorgeous – I will remember to avoid them in the summer peak season though! I like the sound of Saranda too, I could do with some sun!

  6. March 4, 2018 / 6:18 am

    I havent traveled all over Albania yet but I have been to Sarande for a day trip from the island of Corfu and found it to be a nice place to chill out on the beach. I went 10 years ago and the place wasn’t really built up but probably has improved since then with hopefully some good eating places. Great list here. 🙂

  7. March 4, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    We love visiting UNESCO sites and yes both Berat and Gijrokastёr look very interesting. We would like to visit in the Spring or Autumn to avoid the heat and crowds of the summer months.

  8. March 5, 2018 / 3:10 am

    We visited most of these sites last year before spending a week in Saranda. We absolutely loved the country and was blown away by the food, scenery and towns. Thanks for sharing. It brought back great memories

  9. March 6, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    I would love to visit Albania at some stage, and as I’m trying to tick off as many UNESCO sites as possible, I would first start in Berat. Himare and Saranda sounds like fabulous cities for the coast though. I love how authentic Albania still appears – can’t wait to visit!

  10. Lucy
    March 7, 2018 / 9:35 am

    Albania looks beautiful, especially Saranda. I like that there is 300 days of sunshine, my kind of place! Ksamil looks stunning, pure paradise. I think I will be looking into going to Albania in the near future.

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