For being one of Europe's least visited countries, picturesque Albania certainly packs it in with things to see and do. Albania touches all the senses and provides for just about any type of experience you could want, depending on the season. We really think this is an amazing destination to consider. There are real opportunities to stretch your tourist dollars and also to help a local economy thrive. One of the very best ways to visit here is to do an epic road trip. Having not yet been completely overrun with tourists, this is us giving you a 'go now nudge' before the rest of the world figures it out. The entire country has a laid-back atmosphere with a café culture and locals who are extremely welcoming.
The Adriatic coast has amazing beaches, there are idyllic villages throughout the country and in the capital city of Tirana, you'll find a vibrant city with an interesting blend of architecture taking you through centuries of history. For lovers of nature, history, and culture, Albania has four UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians.
Whatever your aspirations are for your next European trip, Albania might just be the perfect spot you hadn't thought of.
The Albanian Alps in the north is known as Bjeshkët e Namuna to Albanians, which means ‘The Accursed Mountains.’ Here you can enjoy stunning views of mountain peaks nestling lush green valleys, and charming villages. There are incredible natural environments to explore like Theth National Park and the rugged Valbona National Park. These are both perfect places to stay active, enjoy nature, and feel like you have gotten away from it all.
South of Tirana is the beautiful town of Berat which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A once-fortified city, Berat is situated along the banks of the Osum River. It is best known for its rows of white Ottoman houses, numerous Byzantine churches, and the Red Mosque.
For avid skiers, you'll find great skiing and likely the best deals to be found in Europe. Albania's southern mountains have excellent ski resorts like Voskopoja where you can have both an active and culturally interesting experience.
Gjirokastër, in southern Albania is another UNESCO World Heritage site located in a beautiful valley between the Drino and Gjerë mountains. Here you will find what is considered a rare example of Ottoman architecture. The 12th-century castle that overlooks this extremely picturesque city is alone worth going to see, but the town itself is something right out of a postcard.
The Albanian Riviera along the Ionian coast is a presently unspoiled destination. Known as Bregu to the locals, it has some of the best beaches in Europe and you just might find some to yourself. There are sweeping vistas and stunning mountain backdrops to feast the eyes on and plenty of nature to enjoy. Dhërmi, Jal, Himara, Qeparo, Borsh, Saranda, and Ksamil are all great beaches with distinct differences in scenery.
Tirana is a colorful city and best known for its wealth of Soviet and Fascist-era architecture. The cityscape here is quickly changing with incredible examples of modern architecture including the plans for the country's first vertical forest which is currently under development.
Shkodër is the oldest city in Albania. This ancient Balkan town is known for its artistic community and this is really a great place to slow down and enjoy the laid-back vibes you'll find here. Rozafa Castle is a very interesting excursion and you'll have excellent views from here.
We get really excited about places where you can take a fun, safe and interesting road trip. Albania is one of the best places to do just that. There are so many places to go and take interesting side trips to, we are convinced this is likely the best way to experience this amazing country.
Most people planning to visit Albania will find themselves in Tirana at some point. One of the most interesting things to do here is to visit Bunk’Art, This is a communist-era bunker built to house the government in the event of a nuclear attack. Now a contemporary art gallery and historical museum, this makes for an interesting introduction into Albania's history. There are more bunkers located throughout the country and this might be a fun thing to use as inspiration for your amazing road trip through Albania.
Don't say we told you it was okay to ignore the 'no swimming' sign (we hear many do) but, if you find yourself in the need of a refreshing dip and want to risk it, this is some of the clearest water you'll find in Europe. Head to the village of Muzinë where close-by you will find the Blue Eye or Syri i kaltër, a fresh water spring that bubbles up from a depth of more than 50 meters below to create a magical pool with the most amazing shades of blue to green.
There are many experiences to have in Albania and simply not enough real estate here to cover it. If you are planning to get off the beaten European path, we'd love to help you with a journey here!
When To Go
We'll say it again, the best time to go to Albania is really soon! No matter the season, the country has something to offer but, the best times are when the weather is pleasant enough to enjoy everything.
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit. April through June with the very best time to go being September and October. The fall is ideal because you will have less chance for rain, the coastal waters are still warm and European vacationers are back home. July and August are the high tourism seasons for both locals and others who are in the know about where to go when France or Italy is full. If you do go in the summer, heading to the interior is your best option for avoiding crowds.
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