The small yet stunning country of Albania has so much to offer. This up and coming country has a long coastline, which is regarded as one of the most ruggedly beautiful in the world. The country has some of the best examples of Ottoman architecture and astonishingly beautiful beaches. Albania is slowly becoming popular with tourists yet it still remains mainly undiscovered and unspoilt.
Tirana, capital of Albania, is home to many tourist attractions including the 18th Century Et’hem Bey Mosque and Skanderbeg Square where the National Historical Museum is located. At the heart of Skanderbeg Square is the statue of the historic Albanian national hero Skanderbeg. You will find this city to be extremely friendly with great restaurants and bars.
With a unique Ottoman architecture, the UNESCO City of Gjirokastra is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Albania. Here you will find the houses are designed like small castles, a military museum and an art gallery however, it is the awesome Castle that dominates the skyline. Gjirokastra is also the birthplace of world renowned author Ismail Kadare and the Albanian former dictator Enver Hoxha with both their homes today being museums.
The port city of Durres is famous for being home to the biggest Amphitheatre in the Balkans, while the unspoiled northern coastal stretch of Lalzit Bay. No stay is complete without visiting the Durres Archaeological Museum, the Royal Villa of Durres and the Aleksander Moisiu Theatre.
The popular coastal resort of Vlorë has long been known for its olive production. It also has many important historic sites including the most famous of them, the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building, which is where Albania declared independence a little over 100 years ago. Today, there is a monument dedicated to this defining moment in Albania’s history.
Located in the middle of the Llogara National Park, the Llogara Pass enjoys one of the most spectacular drives you will be hard pressed to find in the world. The road travels to over 1,000 metres above sea level and the scenery is simply breathtaking. The National Park is also home to animals like the European Wildcat, Golden Eagle and Fallow Deer. At the top of the Pass, you have a range of restaurants where you can sit and enjoy some of the most gorgeous sites.
The seaside town of Himarë Beach is known as the Albanian Riviera and a tourist mecca. Some of the best white sand beaches include Llamani Beach, Porto Palermo Beach, Filikuri Beach and Drymades Beach. The Riviera has a growing reputation as an important music location, with many international music festivals and some great nightclubs.
Saranda is definitely on the trendy list for tourism and is located only a short trip across from the Greek island of Corfu. The town has undergone a major development in the last 20 years and is now home to some of the most stunning beaches. Situated nearby is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint and Lekursi Castle another great place to visit while staying in Saranda where tourists flock to experience the stunning sunsets.
The stunning Albanian Riviera is capped off by the Ksamil Islands, three small remote islands situated just off the coastline and only accessible by boat. The area is part of the Butrint National Park and is unspoiled and untouched. A visit to the Blue Eye Spring is a must while seeing the local area.
Considered the cultural capital of Albania, Shkodra hosts many events throughout the year including Lake Day, Carnival, Shkodra Jazz Fest and the Children’s Festival. It is also home to the historic Castle notable for its important role during the First Balkan War. Shkodra has a stunning lake, the medieval Citadel of Drishti, the famous Migjeni Theatre and a local market well worth a visit. The local Malazeze cuisine is perhaps some of Albania’s best.
Located in the centre of Albania you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Berat, believed to be one of the country’s oldest towns. Berat is often known by its nickname ‘The City of a Thousand Windows’ due to its mix of Albanian and Ottoman architecture. The 14th Century Castle of Kalaja is a major tourist site. Home to hundreds of people it was formerly amongst the most important Albanian cities of the Ottoman Empire. The Church of St. Mary of Blachernae is a must see for anyone visiting Berat, as is the Mangalem Quarter.
For some of the most breathtaking scenery a visit to Lake Koman must be on your bucket list. Described as one of the world’s best boat trips, the journey takes visitors from the hydro-electric dam at Koman to the Fierza Port passing by jaw dropping scenery and rugged Albanian Mountains. Another surprising place to visit is Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid. While the Macedonian side of the lake is way more popular, the Albanian side gives it a run for its money. Pogradec is famous for its rich folklore, while its Puppet Theatre Festival is one of the most interesting events on the tourism calendar. Nearby you will find the exquisite Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park and the Drilon Springs.
Check out some great tours below that include Albania