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Albania road trip itinerary 10 days

Welcome to the Land of the Eagles. I traveled to Albania alone to explore the country, which was closed for many years due to its regime. That always fascinates me as a traveler – going to less-known places and making up my mind about them. People told me, don’t go there; it’s dangerous – which triggered me even more to explore it.

I saw the entire Albania within 2 weeks of my travels and quickly fell in love with everything it offers. Then, I’ve designed this Albanian road trip itinerary from my experience, so you can now also explore its beauties.

Are you ready to experience Albania’s highlights? Let’s travel together!

Travel Resources For Your Trip

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Overview Of 10-Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary

I’ve designed this itinerary as a basic 10-day road trip in Albania. You can either skip some places or stay more time in each place (particularly in the Albanian Alps in the end), depending on how many days you have.

Scroll down to see a road trip for 7 days and 14 days in Albania.

Here is an overview of the basic 10-day Albanian itinerary:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Tirana
2.Tirana ⇒ Berat ⇒ Zvernec Island ⇒ Dhermi
3.Dhermi ⇒ Saranda ⇒ Ksamil
4.Ksamil & Butrint National Park
5.Ksamil ⇒ Blue Eye ⇒ Gjirokaster
6.Gjirokaster ⇒ Permet ⇒ Korce
7.Korce ⇒ Kruja ⇒ Shkodra
8.Shkodra
9.Shkodra ⇒ Theth & Albanian Alps 
10.Theth & Albanian Alps 

Albania Road Trip Map

Here is a map of this Albanian road trip itinerary to help you navigate the country. Save it and use it when you travel:

How To Get To Albania

You can get to Albania by plane, bus, or by car. Note that there are no trains to Albania or within Albania.

Flying To Albania

Flying to Albania is the best option as it’s fast and convenient. Reaching Albania by land can be exhausting (whether by bus or car) because the border controls take an insane amount of time.

Albania has 2 international airports, in Tirana (the capital city) and Vlore.

The best way is to fly to the capital city of Tirana, where we’ll also start this itinerary.

Check out flights to Tirana (Albania) with the best deals via Skyscanner here.

Getting To Albania By Bus

If you’re traveling to Albania from nearby countries such as North Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, or Greece, you can also take a bus. The main bus connections to Tirana (Albania) are from Belgrade (Serbia), Ohrid and Skopje (North Macedonia), or Podgorica (Montenegro).

Flixbus and local Balkan bus companies cover most of the journeys to Albania.

The main disadvantage of taking a bus to Albania is the border controls. The Balkan countries, including Albania, aren’t in the Schengen Zone, so the border controls still exist.

Normally, you have to spend many hours waiting (usually takes 2 hours). You’re crossing 2 borders (the exiting country and Albania), so overall, be prepared to spend almost 4 hours at the border crossings.

When taking a bus, the police force you to exit the bus and take all your belongings and luggage. Then you have to go through a scan; they check your passport, and the entire bus goes through a scan in some cases, too.

It’s nothing scary, but it takes ages.

Check all the bus connections to Tirana (Albania) via Busbud here.

Getting To Albania By Car

Driving to Albania is great but has the same disadvantages as the border crossing and waiting time.

While it might take a bit less than on the bus, be prepared to wait for a long time at the border controls. But it’s manageable. If you have a van or car, it’s worth driving around Albania.

How To Get Around Albania & Make This Itinerary

The best way to get around Albania is by car. The roads are well-developed, and you can easily reach everything in this itinerary by car. That’s why I’ve designed this trip as a road trip.

So rent a car in Tirana (the capital city), and drive around. You’ll be flexible and can get to all the places.

👉 You’ll need the car for 9 days, starting on day 2. of this itinerary in Tirana and returning the car on day 10 or 11 in Tirana.

RENT A CAR FOR YOUR ITINERARY

Rent A Car Via Discover Carsbest prices and big selection of car rentals.
PRO TIP: Check ratings of the company you choose before booking (ratings can be off). Go on Google, see ratings of the car rental company, then book on Discover Cars.

Taking Local Buses In Albania

You can also use local buses to travel around Albania, but I don’t recommend it. I did it, and even though it was an exciting experience, you’d have to plan a lot and depend on the buses.

Moreover, the buses don’t have a fixed timetable, making planning your trip even more difficult.

Yet, if you want to take local buses anyway (because you’re traveling solo or whatever the reason is), it’s manageable. Check out my article about Albanian buses to learn how to navigate and plan.

👉 READ ALSO: Is Albania Safe For Solo Female Travelers? My Exerience

Albania Rozafa Castle Shkodra
Me exploring Albania

Play Bunker Game While Road Tripping Albania

I have a little fun game for you when you decide to go on a road trip through Albania.

Albania hosts over 750,000 bunkers all over the country. So you can play a game about who spots the most of them during your road trip. Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha built these bunkers to protect the land from invaders. 

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days albania bunkers
Albanian bunkers
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0. DAY: ARRIVE IN TIRANA, ALBANIA

Once you arrive in Tirana, take your time and get to your accommodation. In the evening, get your first impressions of this city and its culture.

Tirana has a great nightlife culture. Many bars are open, where locals sit, drink, and chat. It’s a very lively city. So try your first Albanian food and drinks. Tomorrow, we’ll head on the walking tour and explore.

How To Get To Tirana Center From The Airport

If you’re flying to Albania and arriving at the airport. In that case, I recommend taking a taxi to the city center of Tirana or booking this airport shuttle.

A taxi ride from the airport to the city center in Tirana costs approx. 15 to 20 EUR. The drivers can ask for a lot more because they take advantage of tourists, not knowing how much it costs. So say you know and negotiate the price.

If you want to take the hassle out of dealing with taxi drivers, book this airport transfer and get directly to your hotel with a reliable company.

Book an airport shuttle to your hotel in Tirana here.

Tirana, the capital of Albania – Skanderbeg Square

Where To Stay In Tirana: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

RETREAT APARTMENTSbudget-friendly accommodation
CAPITAL SUITES CENTERmid-range apartments
MARITIM HOTEL PLAZAluxury hotel

1. DAY: TIRANA

Good morning to Tirana. Today, we’ll do a self-guided walking tour here in Tirana. Follow my suggestions below and explore the city on your own.

If you are a history fanatic and would like more explanations, join this guided walking tour.

Book A Guided Tour Of Tirana Here. / Book a food tour of Tirana with a local guide here.

Brief History Of Tirana

The modern city of Tirana was founded in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini Pasha. He built a mosque, bakery, and hammam (Turkish bath). However, the city gained its importance only in 1920 when it became the capital of Albania (before, it was Kruja city).

Later, Italian architects also contributed to the city’s beauty by constructing the main square, ministry buildings, the national bank, town hall, and Brigades Palace. The main square is named after the Albanian hero National Hero Skanderbeg (more about him later in this itinerary).

Tirana Bunk'Art bunkers and underground tunnels
Me exploring the Bunk’Art tunnels in Tirana

Tirana was famous for trading olive oil in the past, as it had 140,000 oil trees and 400 oil mills.

Between 1944 and 1991, the Communist regime was ruling Albania. Communists built many factories and destroyed several buildings, which led to a decline in architectural quality.

Nowadays, many buildings are repainted and have a more colorful style than in the Communist era. You’ll learn more about the Communist regime in the Bunk’ Art.

Tirana now remains the capital of Albania, the largest city, and the country’s economic, cultural, and political center.

💡 FUN FACT: Tirana is the only European capital that doesn’t have McDonald’s (except also for the Vatican City).

Sightseeing In Tirana

Tirana has a long history, with influences from various styles and Empires, which results in each monument having its own exciting story. Let’s explore them.

🔅 Skanderbeg Square
🔅 Clock Tower
🔅 Bunk’Art
🔅 Tanner’s Bridge
🔅 Piramida
🔅 Central Park
🔅 Blloku District
🔅 Dajti Mountain

🔅 Skanderbeg Square

Skanderbeg Square hosts many buildings, including the National History MuseumClock Tower, and Et’hem Bey Mosque.

The square is named after the national hero, George Castriot (nicknamed Skanderbeg), who prevented the Ottomans from spreading their empire further to Central Europe and Western Europe in the 1400s.

Get the best views of Tirana by climbing up the Clock Tower free of charge.

🔅 Bunk’Art

Bunk’Art is one of the most unique attractions in the entire Balkan peninsula. These bunkers were constructed for Tirana’s communist politicians and military forces to hide and hold meetings in case of a nuclear war.

It has more than 200 rooms inside and is a great experience. You’ll learn a lot about the harsh communist regime, what it looked like, and how they tortured people and kept them within Albanian borders.

It was one of the best experiences for me in Tirana, yet also very emotional.

Bunkers in Albania
Me exploring the Bunkers in Tirana

🔅 Tanner’s Bridge

This bridge reflects the Ottoman times in Tirana. It was built as the main route for farmers who were taking their livestock to the district.

🔅 Piramida

Piramida monument was built to honor the national dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. It was supposed to be a museum. Yet, some people wanted to tear it down. Others wanted it to stay.

The government has decided to reconstruct it and make this beautiful pyramid that you can visit today.

🔅 Central Park

If you’d like to get some rest from the city, go to Central Park in the afternoon and rest. It’s located near the Blloku district, where you can enjoy a great dinner and nightlife.

In the evening, spend some time in the Blloku district, which has great bars and street food options. Have a nice dinner and try to chat with the locals.

🔅 Dajti Mountain

If you have more time in Tirana, you can take the longest cable car from the city to the Dajti mountain in the Balkan region. It has many restaurants and hotels; you can trek, hike, ride a horse, or even ski in wintertime.

Tirana Albania
Tirana – Albania

This marks the end of our time here in Tirana. Tomorrow, we’ll start exploring the rest of this exciting country. You can rent a car for this road trip today in the evening or tomorrow morning.

👉 READ ALSO: 12 Best Day Trips From Tirana Albania

2. DAY: TIRANA ⇒ BERAT ⇒ ZVERNEC ISLAND ⇒ DHERMI

I hope you slept well because we are setting off on our Albanian adventure today.

First, we’ll stop in the city of thousands of windows before slowly going down to the Albanian Riviera with white sand beaches and beautiful landmarks.

Distance Tirana Berat: 1 hour & 45 minutes by car (98 km/61 miles)

Berat

With its 2500 years of history, Berat attracts visitors thanks to its archaeological area, UNESCO World Heritage site, local monuments, and the mountains around.

It’s known as the city of thousands of windows, you’ll see why when you arrive.

It became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. Still, it’s been an attractive place for Christians and Muslims, who all managed to live in one spot together relatively peacefully.

Berat
Berat: Albania

Sightseeing In Berat

🔅 Citadel
🔅 Orthodox Church of St. Mary of Vllaherna
🔅 Lead Mosque
🔅 National Ethnographic Museum
🔅 Iconography Museum
🔅 Bulevardi Republika

Berat is worth walking around and seeing some of the highlights I listed above. Also, don’t forget to try some local delicacies and food, such as BirekNocino, and traditional baklava.

When you’ve seen Berat, we’ll continue driving to Dhermi, a picturesque town on the seaside with many cafes and restaurants, and see a stunning Zvernec Island on the way.

Distance Berat Zvernec Island: 1 hour & 35 minutes by car (111 km/69 miles)

Zvernec Island

Zvernec is one of the most beautiful places in Albania, and my favorite. Walk through the 100-meter-long wooden bridge from the mainland towards the monastery on the island. Enjoy the breathtaking views of nature around you. 

Apart from its natural beauty, one of the reasons you should visit Zvernec Island is the local monastery. It holds a lot of religious history and reflects the suffering of Albania during the communist era.

The monastery was closed for over 33 years since the communist dictator announced all religious services and places were illegal in 1967. Albania then became the first country atheist in the world.

The monastery was reconstructed and reopened after the fall of communism in the country. Nowadays, it’s a pilgrimage site.

Zvernec Island most beautiful places in Albania to visit
Zvernec Island

💡 PRO TIP: Zvernec Island is located near Vlorë city. Once you drive from Vlorë to the island, you might see some flamingos on the way. When you drive out from the pine forest from Vlorë, pull off the road on the right and see the lake behind a small hill to spot some flamingos.

Drive Through The Llogara Pass

After Zvernec, you’ll drive through the incredible stunning Llogara Pass with spectacular mountains and scenery before descending to Albanian Riviera.

It’s one of the highlights of this road trip.

Distance Zvernec Island Dhermi: 1 hour & 35 minutes by car (65 km/40 miles)

You now have some of the most beautiful towns on the shores of the Adriatic Sea in front of you, which are part of the Albanian Riviera: Dhermi, Himarë, Borsh, and Sarandë.

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Llogara Pass
Llogara Pass

Stay Overnight In Dhermi

I highly recommend you stop in Dhermi to swim and stay overnight. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the Riviera and a must-visit place in the country.

Enjoy small cafes and a relaxed atmosphere. The advantage of Dhermi is that it’s often less crowded than Sarande and Ksamil in the south, so enjoy the beaches here, too.

PRO TIP: If you don’t like crowds like me, I recommend staying two nights in Dhermi (instead of staying overnight in Ksamil). You can enjoy a beach day tomorrow, and on the next day, visit Sarande with Ksamil & Butrint National Park. Then, continue the itinerary.

Dhermi Albania
Dhermi Beach – Albania

Where To Stay In Dhermi: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

WHITE ROCKS APARTMENTS
LA BRISA BOUTIQUE HOTEL
ESSOS VILLAS

3. DAY: DHERMI ⇒ SARANDA ⇒ KSAMIL

Today, we’ll enjoy the beautiful Albanian Riviera. It has many beautiful spots and famous places to visit.

You can first explore Saranda and then enjoy the beaches of Ksamil.

Distance Dhermi Saranda: 1 hour & 45 minutes by car (69 km/43 miles)

Saranda

Saranda enjoys around 300 sunny days a year. Therefore, it’s one of the most popular spots for Albanian vacation, chilling beside the sea and enjoying water sports. In addition, Saranda has a port from which you can get to the Greek Island of Corfu.

The city has beautiful beaches, great nightlife, many historical sites, and restaurants.

Saranda used to be part of Greece, then fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire and was also ruled by the Ottomans.

Later on, it was occupied by Greece and Italy. Nowadays, a Greek minority is still living here.

Sightseeing In Saranda

🔅 Hasan Tahsini Boulevard
🔅 Ancient Synagogue Complex
🔅 Lekursi Castle

Saranda albania road trip itinerary
Me exploring Saranda with a Greek iced cappuccino

Experience the city, have a coffee, walk alongside the seaside boulevard, and then drive to Ksamil to enjoy the Albanian beaches. Get a Greek iced cappuccino – it’s delicious :).

Distance Saranda Ksamil: 30 minutes by car (14 km/8 miles)

Ksamil – Turkoise Pearl Of Albania

White sand beaches, crystal clear water, and a beautiful seaside paradise… you probably wouldn’t think you could find this place in Albania, right?

Welcome to the Caribbean of Europe – Ksamil, also called the Turkoise Pearl of Albania.    

Ksamil has the most beautiful beaches in all of Albania. But be prepared for crowds in the summertime, especially in July and August, as it’s become trendy over the past years.

As I mentioned, you can also have your beach day in Dhermi if you don’t like crowded places. But, in case you don’t mind, you can stay in Ksmail and enjoy the day here.

Ksamil Albania beaches
Ksamil beaches – Albania

Where To Stay In Ksamil: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

COLOSSEUM HOTEL200 away from the beach
DUKA’S HOTEL300 away from the beach
HOTEL SUNWAY500 away from the beach
SEAS VILLAapartments 500 away from the beach

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Ksamil
Ksamil – Albania

4. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BUTRINT ⇒ KSAMIL

Good morning to beautiful Ksamil. Today, we’ll have a chilled day, relax on the beach, and eat great seafood. In the afternoon, you can visit the Butrint National Park, which is full of history. 

Spend this day enjoying the beaches of Ksamil. As I mentioned on day 2. of this itinerary, you can also make a beach day in Dhermi to avoid crowds in Ksamil.

When you’re in Ksamil, I also recommend visiting the Butrint National Park.

Butrint National Park

Butrint hosts some of the most impressive Ottoman fortifications from the 4th century BC. It used to be an ancient Greek and later on a Roman city.

The fortifications are part of the Butrint National Park. Visit it in the afternoon and return to Ksamil, where you will stay overnight before we start driving north of Albania again.

Albania travel guide most beautiful places in Albania Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park

5. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BLUE EYE ⇒ GJIROKASTER

Let’s head back north, visiting some of Albania’s most beautiful historical towns. Before we get to the highlight of this day, Gjirokaster, we’ll stop at the Blue Eye. In the Albanian language, it’s called Syri I Kalter.

Distance Ksamil Blue Eye: 50 minutes drive by car (34 km/21 miles)

Blue Eye – Syri I Kalter

Blue Eye is a natural phenomenon in Albania, which has natural springs every traveler should witness. Even though swimming is prohibited with the signs around, people jump into its refreshing water anyway.

You can admire the beauty of the oak trees and the nature around.

After a small excursion of the Blue Eye, let’s head further to explore Gjirokaster, where we’ll sleep tonight.

Distance Blue Eye Gjirokaster: 55 minutes drive by car (35 km/22 miles)

Gjirokaster

The next stop on our road trip is Gjirokaster, the birthplace of former Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha.

He knew why he chose this place to be his hometown – it’s truly beautiful, perhaps my favorite city in Albania. It’s also known as the city of stones and thousands of stairs and hosts the largest castle in Albania.

The city is spectacular, made of stone, and full of history. The town itself has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just walk through and enjoy its unique atmosphere.

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Gjirokaster
Gjirokaster – Albania

Sightseeing In Gjirokaster

🔅 Gjirokaster Castle
🔅 Cold War Tunnel
🔅 Ottoman House
🔅 Zekate House

Explore the castle, which is the largest one in Albania. It offers stunning views of the Albanian mountains and countryside. Pay attention to the Cold War Tunnel, which was used for transporting goods during the Cold War.

After, stroll through the town and admire its Ottoman houses. Zekate House is one of the most beautiful buildings, so check it out. This city is also a great place to buy souvenirs.

Otherwise, enjoy the vibe and have some delicious food and drinks.

Gjirokaster Castle
Me exploring Gjirokaster Castle

Where To Stay In Gjirokaster: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

KERCULLA RESORT
THE STONE SKY HOTEL
ARGYROPOLIS BOUTIQUE HOTEL
AHMETAJ GUEST HOUSE

6. DAY: GJIROKASTER ⇒ PERMET ⇒ KORCE

Good morning to Gjirokaster. I hope you had the chance to soak up the special atmosphere of this town yesterday. You can still explore it today if you want to.

Then, we’ll continue visiting other beautiful sites in Albania. You’ll experience some of the most breathtaking scenery on the way today.

Albania road trip Gjirokaster and Albanian mountains countryside
Views of Albanian countryside from Gjirokaster Castle

The first stop will be the city of roses, where you can buy traditional raki, local fruit brandy, and baths in natural Roman baths.

Afterward, you’ll drive through other spectacular scenery of the Albanian Canyon before reaching our destination: Korce, the cultural capital of Albania.

Distance Gjirokaster Permet: 1 hour & 10 minutes by car (62 km/38 miles)

Permet

Permet got its name after the Albanian hero Premt. The legend says that he chose to take his life rather than lose it in a fight against an enemy. As with other Albanian towns and cities, Permet belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and later on, Greeks took over.

During the Communist period, it was named ‘The Hero City.’

Nowadays, many locals know it as the city of roses, thanks to the thousands of roses making the town even more charming.

It’s the place to buy traditional raki (local fruit brandy), as Permet is where they make it according to the traditional recipe.

I also recommend trying another Albanian specialty, ‘Gliko’ (sugary stuff).

Gliko
Gliko

Thermal Baths In Permet

Permet is also popular thanks to its thermal baths and Katiu Stone Bridge.

The Katiu Stone Bridge is located 8 km/5 miles from the city, together with the thermal baths. Walk up to the bridge and get stunning views of the surroundings and the gorge.

Afterward, get into the warm thermal baths and see if you can benefit from their therapeutic benefits. Locals say that each of the pots has different benefits for your body, so try it out.

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Permet
Permet & its thermal baths

Albanian Canyon

Once you have enough thermal baths, let’s continue to the cultural capital of Albania- Korce.

This ride is one of the most spectacular on the road trip. I called this phase Albanian Canyon. It’s not an official name; I just named it Canyon, lol. The views are stunning, so enjoy it.

Distance Permet Korce: 3 hours & 10 minutes by car (133 km/83 miles)

Albanian Canyon countryside road trip
Albania road tripping countryside

Korce

Korce is the cultural capital of Albania, dating back to the 13th century.

Many people skip the place, and I was considering whether to include it in this itinerary. But then I thought you must really experience the culture here.

I recommend making your way to Korce and enjoying eating on the main square in the old bazaar. It has a special vibe, and the people are super friendly and hospitable. Some people even say it’s the most beautiful city in Albania.

Enjoy the multiple city barsold bazaarsbeer gardens, and the culture of this city.

PRO TIP: It’s enough when you just make an overnight stop in Korce. You can spend the morning in Gjirokaster and Permet, arrive in Korce later in the afternoon, and enjoy dinner there.

Korce
Korce

Sightseeing In Korce

🔅 Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
🔅 Old Bazaar
🔅 Bulevard Shen Gjergji
🔅 Red Towerobservation deck
🔅 Korce Brewery

If you still haven’t tried Raki, Korce is also the place. Go to the Café-Musem Komiteti, where you can taste different types of this traditional fruit brandy.

Between the shots, they’ll serve you passion fruit or rose water, which apparently helps you not getting too drunk.

Korce cultural capital of Albania
Main Square in the Old Bazaar – Korce

Where To Stay In Korce: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

BOCCA HOTEL KORCE
CHRISTI’S HOTEL BOROVA
PARADISE POINT
VILLA ESTER & APARTMENTS

7. DAY: KORCE ⇒ KRUJA ⇒ SHKODRA

Today, we’ll drive from Korce to Shkodra, the gateway to the Albanian Alps. The drive from Korce to Shkodra is the longest on this road trip. So take your time and make some stops on the way.

What I suggest is to stop in the historic town of Kruja. You can have lunch there and then continue driving up to Shkodra.

In Shkodra, I recommend staying in one of the best and most unique hotels in Albania.

Distance Korce Kruja: 3 hours & 35 minutes by car (200 km/124 miles)

Kruja

Kruja used to be the old capital of Albania. It’s a significant city, a place of the national hero Skanderbeg. Exactly here, Skanderbeg fought against the Ottomans, prevented them from spreading further through Albania, and even saved the rest of Central and Western Europe from their influence. 

So give honor to this guy next to his monument here in Kruja. Thanks to him, Europe looks as it does nowadays, with its rich history and diverse architectural sites.

Sightseeing In Kruja

🔅 Pazari I Kruje
🔅 Skanderbeg Museum
🔅 Kruja’s Castle

In Kruja, I suggest visiting Pazari I Kruje, one of the most beautiful markets in the Balkans. It has many great souvenirs, carpets, Turkish coffee cups, and more.

Then, you can learn more about the Albanian national hero in the Skanderbeg Museum. And explore the Kruja Castle.

Have lunch before you drive north to Shkodra, where we’ll stay overnight.

Distance Kruja Shkodra: 1 hour & 30 minutes by car (84 km/52 miles)

Where To Stay In Shkodra: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

In the afternoon, check in to Tradita Hotel and enjoy a traditional Albanian dinner at the local restaurant with live music. Rest well and enjoy this amazing hotel.

Tomorrow, you can explore Shkodra and rest.

HOTEL TRADITA – my favorite hotel in all of Albania

Albania Hotel Tradita Shkodra
Me enjoying dinner at the Hotel Tradita
Albania Hotel Tradita Shkodra
Hotel Tradita in Shkodra

8. DAY: SHKODRA

Good morning to Shkodra.

Today, you can enjoy the city and, most importantly, the traditional hotel you’re staying in. Walk up to the castle and have some rest.

You’ll need it because afterward, we’ll spend the rest of our trip in the spectacular Albanian Alps.

Shkodra

Welcome to one of the oldest cities in Europe and a doorstep to a fantastic hiking area in Albania. You’ll notice one strange fact when driving/walking through the city.

Shkodra doesn’t have any traffic lights.

That’s because, in 1995, the government introduced a law that imposed taxes on citizens to pay for traffic lights in their hometowns. Locals didn’t like it, so they eliminated all traffic lights from the city.

Sightseeing In Shkodra

🔅 Rozafa Fortress
🔅 Shkodra Historical Museum
🔅 Shkodra Cathedral
🔅 Ebu Bekr Mosque
🔅 Lake Shkodra

The highlight of Shkodra is its 4000-year-old Rozafa castle. Go up, walk around, learn about the history, and enjoy the stunning views of Albania. You’ll also see Lake Shkodra and even Montenegro in the distance.

After, spend some time strolling through the city center. See the mosque and its cathedral, have a coffee, and relax.

Or drive to Lake Shkodra, a natural border between Albania and Montenegro. It’s beautiful for hiking and kayaking.

Albania road trip itinerary 10 days Shkodra Castle
Shkodra & Rozafa Castle

Stay overnight in Shkodra and enjoy the unique atmosphere of Hotel Tradita for one more evening.

Tomorrow, we’ll head to the Albanian mountains for some hiking.

9. DAY: SHKODRA ⇒ THETH & ALBANIAN ALPS

Today, we’ are going to’ll head to the picturesque town of Theth in the Albanian Alps; another highlight of this itinerary.

I suggest you spend 2 full days in the Albanian Alps. So, your itinerary extends to 11 days. On day 12, you’ll drive back to Tirana.

NOTE: Before 2021, the road to Theth was under construction, and travelers had to take minivans. The road is already fully built, and you can now drive to Theth. Yet, it’s narrow in some sections, so you’ll have to give way sometimes.

Distance Shkodra Theth: 3 hours & 30 minutes by car (76 km/47 miles)

Check-in to your accommodation in Theth, and after, get around for a nice walk or hike.

I recommend visiting the following places and enjoy the Albanian Alps at their fullest:

Albanian Alps Theth nature mountains river
Theth – Albanian Alps
Albanian Alps Theth from above
Albanian Alps – Theth from above

Grunas Waterfall & Theth

One of the easiest walks you can do here in Theth is to walk towards the Grunas Waterfall. Depending on where you are staying in Theth, it’s about 50 minutes walking distance (3.8km from the center). It’s a nice and easy hike and a great first activity here.

After you return, spend some time walking around Theth and admiring traditional houses. Have some great food, and experience how locals live here.

Albanian alps hiking
Albanian Alps

Blue Eye – Syri I Kalter

Another great excursion is to visit the Blue Eye. It’s slightly far away from Theth, and many people take a jeep towards a restaurant, ‘Lulash Zelna.’

From the restaurant, it’s only a 45-minute walk to the Blue Eye. You can swim in the water and refresh your body after the hike. Then take a jeep from the restaurant back to Theth.

The jeep drive is an experience on its own, and I’m sure you’ll love it.

Syri I Kalter Blue Eye Albanian Alps Albania
Syri I Kalter Blue Eye: Albanian Alps

Where To Stay In Theth: My TOP TIPS For Accommodation

Stay overnight in one of the traditional houses. Enjoy a traditional Albanian dinner with Raki and the fresh air of the mountains.

ROYAL LAND
VILLA UJEVARA
GURRA FAMILY GUESTHOUSE
BUJTINA TINARI THETH

10. DAY: THETH & ALBANIAN ALPS ⇒ TIRANA

Good morning to Albanian Alps. I hope you had a great sleep. Have some wonderful traditional Albanian breakfast.

Today, you can still enjoy the Alps and in the evening, drive back to Tirana.

If you have more time, you can stay a few more nights in Theth and make more excursions to the Vallbona Valley or Komani Lake.

traditional Albanian houses in Theth
Traditional Albanian houses in Theth
Albanian breakfast
Albanian breakfast

Best Things To Do In Albanian Alps

You can easily spend 5 days exploring the beauties of the Albanian Alps. You can do many other activities and hikes besides the Grunas Waterfall and the Blue Eye.

One of the most popular is the Vallbona Hike across the mountains and crossing the Komani Lake, which is one of the best things to do in Albania.

Or you can simply relax in Theth and enjoy its atmosphere and remoteness.

If you need more inspiration for what to do in those mountains, check out my article about the best things to do in the Albanian Alps by clicking on the image below:

Drive Back To Tirana

This marks the end of our trip. Whenever you want, drive back to Tirana.

Distance Theth Tirana: 3 hours & 30 minutes by car (177 km/110 miles)

I hope you’ll enjoy your time in Albania with this itinerary as much as I did. As I mentioned, you can customize this 10-day trip, shorten it, or prolong it.

It might seem like a lot to cover in 10 days, but I wanted you to see the best of the country. So feel free to extend it and visit all the places I recommend within 14 days.

Below are the versions for road trips if you have 7 days or 14 days in Albania.

7-Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary

If you only have a week to explore Albania, think about the places you want to see from my basic itinerary.

I suggest either driving to the south and enjoying the beaches. Or if you prefer to visit the mountains, spend some time in the Albanian Alps.

Here is what I recommend you visit on a 7-day trip to Albania to combine the highlights:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Tirana
2.Tirana ⇒ Berat ⇒ Zvernec Island ⇒ Dhermi
3.Dhermi ⇒ Ksamil
4.Ksamil & Butrint National Park
5.Ksamil ⇒ Shkodra
6.Shkodra ⇒ Theth & Albanian Alps
7.Theth & Albanian Alps ⇒ Tirana

14-Day Albania Road Trip Itinerary

If you have 2 weeks to spend in Albania, that’s absolutely perfect. It’s the best time to explore the country. You’ll have enough time to follow the basic itinerary I’ve written above and stay in places you like even more time.

So here is what I recommend doing on a 14-day trip to Albania:

DAY:DESTINATION:
1.Tirana
2.Tirana ⇒ Berat ⇒ Zvernec Island ⇒ Dhermi
3.Dhermi & Beaches
4.Dhermi ⇒ Saranda ⇒ Ksamil
5.Ksamil & Butrint National Park
6.Ksamil ⇒ Blue Eye ⇒ Gjirokaster
7.Gjirokaster ⇒ Permet ⇒ Albanian Canyon Korce
8.Korce
9.Korce ⇒ Kruje Mrizi I Zanave (Fishte Village)
10.Mrizi I Zanave Shkodra
11.Shkodra
12.Shkodra ⇒ Theth & Albanian Alps
13.Theth & Albanian Alps
14.Theth & Albanian Alps ⇒ Tirana

Practical Tips For Visiting Albania

I’ve got some more tips to help you plan your trip to Albania even more. See how many days to spend, the best time to visit, get driving tips, and visa information.

Passport & Visa To Albania

Check the expiration date of your passport. Most airlines don’t even take you on board if your passport expires in 6 months. Avoid issues with boarding and on the road. Ensure your passport won’t expire in the next 8 months.

Check if you need a Visa to Albania. iVisa will give you detailed information on whether you need a Visa and other necessary documents you might need to travel to Albania.

Click here to see what kind of travel documents you need for Albania. iVisa will help you with Visa.

How Many Days Do You Need To See Albania?

I recommend spending 10 to 14 days in Albania.

10 days is the minimum you’ll need to explore its beauties. And 14 days is the perfect time to enjoy it fully. Albania is one of the most diverse countries in Europe, offering stunning beaches and breathtaking mountains.

It also has an exciting culture and delicious food. So you have to combine it all into your itinerary.

Trip to Albania Zvernec Island
Me visiting Zvernec Island

Best Time To Visit Albania

The best time to visit Albania is late May, June, September, and early October. This way, you’ll enjoy more places with fewer crowds, lower prices, and beautiful scenery. The weather is also very pleasant.

The summer months of July and August tend to be the most crowded, especially in the south, where people come for a vacation (Ksamil, Saranda).

I don’t recommend visiting Albania in winter. The landscape is not as pretty, and you can’t go hiking in the Albanian Alps. Winter offers fewer activities and adventures.

Tips For Driving In Albania

I understand that some of you might think Albania’s roads aren’t in good condition, or it’s dangerous to drive around. But let me tell you one thing – driving in Albania is just like in any other Balkan country.

The roads around bigger cities like Tirana, Shkodra, and Sarande can be chaotic. But otherwise, there is nothing to worry about.

Here are my top driving tips for your road trip in the country:

🚔 There is only 1 highway in Albania (A1), a section from Kosovo to Tirana, where you have to pay a toll – you can pay by cash or card at the toll gate directly on the highway

🚔 Some roads in Albania are very narrow, so you must pay attention and give way

🚔 Most roads are well-developed, only a few in remote areas are in worse conditions, but you can drive through

🚔 Have cash handy (mainly for parking fees)

🚔 Locals sometimes drive super crazy, so be careful

traveling Albania as solo female traveler
Me traveling Albania as solo female traveler

Cost Of A Road Trip In Albania

The budget for a 10-day road trip to Albania per person (mid-range traveler) is $895. This is a very realistic budget for mid-range travelers who want to stay in nice hotels, rent a car and travel conveniently, enjoy the mountains and beaches, and each location’s activities.

Here is a breakdown of this Albanian itinerary budget for each travel category:

Accommodation: $35 per night in a nice mid-range hotel = $350 per person
Car Rental: $300 for 9 days = $150 per person
Gas: approx. $1.3 per liter = approx. $350 for the entire trip = $175 per person
Food & Drinks: $17 per day p.p. = $170 per person
Activities & Attractions: approx $5 per person per day = $50 per person

Budget Breakdown For Different Traveler Styles

Here is a quick overview of the budget for every type of traveler:

➡ 10-day itinerary budget for backpackers and travelers on the budget: $350
➡ 10-day itinerary budget for mid-range travelers: $895
➡ 10-day itinerary budget for luxury travelers: up to $1600

NOTE: This is an approximate budget based on my calculations and spending during my 10-day trip to Albania. The budget will vary based on every traveler’s preferences.

Albanian Official Currency – LEK

Albania uses LEK as its national currency. Check the current exchange rate for yourself when you visit the country. I always recommend having some LEK cash with you, as many places don’t accept card payments.

Be careful when exchanging money in Albania – only in official places in bigger cities.

💡 PRO TIP: Before exchanging, check the current rate and how much LEK you should get for the amount you want to exchange. Then, exchange the money and count if you were given the right change.

How Much Does A Week In Albania Cost?

A week in Albania costs about $620, including all travel costs, accommodation, rental car, gas, food and drinks, and activities in the country. It’s a realistic budget for a mid-range traveler who wants to enjoy it all in Albania.

Is It Safe To Visit Albania?

Yes, Albania is a safe country to visit. It’s ranked n. 54 in the Safety Index by Global Residence, which is higher than other popular countries like Italy, Germany, Canada, or the Netherlands.

I traveled to Albania as a solo female and felt safe. You’ll be fine if you use your common sense and stay in the touristy areas at night.

People in Albania are friendly and very hospitable. They’re willing to help you if anything goes wrong. So don’t worry; head off to explore this new and exciting culture.

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Quick Albanian Food Guide

Albanian agriculture mainly produces corn, vegetables, potatoes, fruits, olives, and grapes and has high cattle breeding. That’s why their traditional food uses mainly meat and lots of dairy products such as cheesebutter, and yogurt.

They have quite a heavy cuisine but use a lot of fruit, vegetables, and fresh products, which I loved.

Albanians are famous for making their fruit brandy called ‘Raki.’ They have different types, such as grape, plumb, apple, apricot, etc. You must experience wine and raki tasting and try different types of cheese and meat. The best place to do so is Korce.

When you make it to the Albanian Alps, they’ll serve you homemade bread with butter and homemade marmalades (the most popular are fig or apricot marmalade) for breakfast.

Dishes & Drinks You Must Try

Here are a couple of dishes and drinks you have to try when traveling to Albania:

🥧 Byrek – typical Balkan food – pastry with spinach and cheese
🥧 Fergese – made from pepper, tomatoes, and cottage cheese
🥧 Tave Kosi – most beloved dish by locals – quiche-like made from lamb, eggs, and yogurt
🥧 Fried Kackavall – yellow salty cheese
🥧 Trilece the name comes from Spanish – cake from three kinds of milk
🥧 Qofte – grilled meatballs with spices, served with raw onion

Also, don’t forget to try the following local drinks and liquors:

🥂 Raki – traditional alcoholic drink produced from any fruit, most famous is from berries or plumbs – they drink it after or before meals, even in the morning
🥂 Boze – made from corn, wheat flour, sugar, and water
🥂 Dhalle – salty, liquid yogurt, mainly consumed during summer
🥂 Amaro – sweet liquor made from fruits such as blueberry, or cherry
🥂 Beer – try Blonde Beer with a sweet taste in Tirana

FAQs: Road Tripping Albania

I’ve also answered some of the frequently asked questions. Check my answers below:

Is Albania A Cheap Country To Visit?

Yes, Albania is a very cheap country to visit, one of the cheapest in Europe. As a mid-range traveler, you can spend approx. $80 per day in Albania, including all costs (accommodation, rental car, gas, food and drinks, and activities).

How Long Does It Take To Drive Around Albania?

It takes approx. 20 hours to drive around the entire Albania without stopping. If you want to make a road trip and enjoy the places along the way, it takes approx. 2 weeks to complete.

Is It Easy To Drive In Albania?

Yes, it’s fairly easy to drive in Albania. Some roads are very narrow and curvy, which can be more difficult to navigate. Also, locals drive a bit crazy, so be careful. Yet, most of the roads are well-developed and driving in Albania is easy and beautiful.

Is It Safe For US Citizens To Travel To Albania?

Yes, it’s safe for US citizens to travel to Albania. Despite many people commenting Albania is a dangerous country, I disagree. I spent 10 days traveling around Albania as a solo female traveler and always felt safe. Locals are friendly and you’ll love the experience.

Is Croatia Or Albania Cheaper?

Albania is cheaper than Croatia by almost 50%. Albania is one of the cheapest countries in Europe and the Balkans. So, if you’re looking for a cheap vacation or travel adventure, go to Albania, not Croatia.

WRAP-UP: Albania Itinerary

This is my Albanian itinerary and road trip for you. I hope you’ll get the most out of this stunning country. I must admit – after visiting, I’ve put it on my list of the top 3 most beautiful countries in Europe. And I’m sure you’ll love it, too. Take your time, immerse yourself in the culture and natural beauties, and have fun.

If you have any questions or need help planning your trip, contact me at info(at)voicesoftravel.com. I’ll gladly help you. Or check out my favorite travel resources and plan by yourself.

Happy Travels!

voices of travel about me photo

About the author: Nicoletta is a travel enthusiast and passionate language learner. While traveling, she loves to connect with locals using her language skills to learn about new cultures. Look for her skiing, hiking in the mountains, or exploring new destinations as she designs travel itineraries for her clients.

ALBANIA: Interested in more articles for Albania?
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