Albania Road Trip Itinerary For 10 Days
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Table of Contents
Overview Of Albania Road Trip Itinerary For 10 Days
Europe Travel Checklist
Traveling Solo? Do This Itinerary By Bus
Play Bunker Game During Your Albania Road Trip
0. DAY: ARRIVE IN TIRANA
Where To Stay In Tirana: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
1. DAY: TIRANA
2. DAY: TIRANA ⇒ BERAT ⇒ ZVERNEC ISLAND ⇒ DHERMI
Where To Stay In Dhermi: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
3. DAY: DHERMI ⇒ SARANDA ⇒ KSAMIL
Where To Stay In Ksamil: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
4. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BUTRINT ⇒ KSAMIL
5. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BLUE EYE ⇒ GJIROKASTER
Where To Stay In Gjirokaster: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
6. DAY: GJIROKASTER ⇒ PERMET ⇒ KORCE
Where To Stay In Korce: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
7. DAY: KORCE
8. DAY: KORCE ⇒ KRUJA ⇒ SHKODRA
Where To Stay In Shkodra: My TOP TIP for Accommodation
9. DAY: SHKODRA
10. DAY: SHKODRA ⇒ THETH (Albanian Alps)
Where To Stay In Theth: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
From Theth & Shkodra Back To Tirana
More Tips For Albania Travel
Welcome to the Land of the Eagles. With this Albania road trip itinerary, you’ll discover rich Albanian history, influences of the Ottoman Empire, Christians, Muslims, Greeks, Italians, crystal-clear water, sandy beaches, natural baths, traditional villages, and experience the authentic Albanian food culture.
I also have the best spots where you should try the local Albanian fruit brandy, raki.
This Albania road trip itinerary will answer your question about what to see in Albania.
I have designed this itinerary through Albania as a road trip. My suggestion is to rent a car in Tirana to get around. Driving through is the most convenient and the best way to see most of Albania and its highlights.
Unfortunately, the country doesn’t have the best infrastructure. It doesn’t have trains at all. Buses are running between the cities and most places, but they don’t have an existant timetable. So, a car is the best option here.
Overview Of Albania Road Trip Itinerary For 10 Days
- DAY: Tirana
- DAY: Tirana ⇒ Berat ⇒ Zvernec Island ⇒ Dhermi
- DAY: Dhermi ⇒ Saranda ⇒ Ksamil
- DAY: Ksamil ⇒ Day Trip To Butrint
- DAY: Ksamil ⇒ Blue Eye ⇒ Gjirokaster
- DAY: Gjirokaster ⇒ Permet ⇒ Korce
- DAY: Korce
- DAY: Korce ⇒ Kruja ⇒ Shkodra
- DAY: Skhodra
- DAY: Shkodra ⇒ Theth & Albanian Alps
Europe Travel Checklist
Before you set off for your Albanian adventure, there are a couple of things you’ll need to manage. Here are the top essentials for you to think of before traveling to Europe/Albania:
- travel insurance
- car rental/train pass/tickets
- book a flight
Travel Insurance For Europe
Choosing travel insurance can be doubting. So I’ve done extensive research for you on the best travel insurance for Europe. Check out my article for a comparison of the best 3 travel insurance companies, so you can choose for yourself.
Car Rental/Train Pass/Buses
If you want to rent a car for this Albanian road trip, check out Rental Cars company for the best deals.
For private transfers, check out Get Transfers. They offer reliable transfer services within Europe. Especially if you travel in a small group, it can be a good deal to book with them. In Albania it might be sometimes doubting to travel with a local taxi (without a taxi sign on it), so Get Transfers will give you a bit more confidence.
Note that it’s not possible to travel by train in Albania. There is no developed railway system. You can only travel using local buses. Learn how the Albanian buses work in my separate article.
Book A Flight
Another thing you’ll need to do is to book a flight ticket.
Use flight aggregators to check the top flight deals. They gather information and all flight tickets from airlines around the world and select the best deals for you. Among the best are Skyscanner, Hopper, Kayak, and Priceline.
After you see the results in their search engines, I recommend going to the website of the particular airline they showed you. Check on the airline site for how much they offer for the same flight ticket.
If the price is more or less the same, book directly with the airline (simply because it’s easier to communicate with them if issues happen during your journey). If a flight aggregator has a much cheaper ticket, book with them.
Passport & Visa
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. Make sure your passport won’t expire in the next 8 months. Think about how long you’ll travel as you still have to come back home with the passport.
Lastly, check if you need visa to Albania. One of the best site for visa pre-check is iVisa. They also inform you about other necessary documents you might need to travel to Albania.
When you go through this Albania road trip itinerary, you’ll get accommodation tips from me in each place/city. So just scroll down and find the best hotel deals and beautiful accommodation spots in each day.
Travelling Solo? You Can Do This Itinerary By Bus
If you’re a solo traveler and don’t want to rent a car, I’ll still provide all the information about bus travel during this itinerary for you. I traveled Albania solo and took buses between these destinations, and you can do so as well.
In case you’re asking yourself if is Albania safe for solo female? Check out my article.
It’s possible to travel by bus, but you have to be slightly more flexible. So if you have the option to share the costs of a car rental with somebody, do it. If not, you can also take buses.
Play Bunker Game On Your Albania Road Trip
Like a small game I recommended you in Skopje, on my North Macedonia tour, I have one for your entire Albania road trip.
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.
Before we jump into our Albania road trip itinerary and actual traveling through the country, we need to make 1 thing clear. In Albania, yes mean no, and no means yes. What? Well, if Albanians shake their head, it means they agree with you. However, if they nod, they disagree. It isn’t like it in other European countries and in your probably neither. So be aware of it to avoid misunderstandings
Let’s start our Albania road trip itinerary right in the capital of Albania, Tirana. From there, we’ll explore the entire country to the south, relaxing on beautiful beaches up to the north, hiking in the National Park and Albanian Alps.
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 0. DAY: ARRIVE IN TIRANA
We’ll take one day to explore Tirana. I suggest you arrive in the capital, get to your accommodation and go out in the evening to 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 together. It’s a very lively city. Try your first Albanian food and drinks. Tomorrow, we’ll head on the walking tour and exploring.
Where to stay in Tirana: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 1. DAY: TIRANA
Good morning to Tirana. Today, we are going to do a self-guided walking tour here in Tirana. Follow my suggestions in this itinerary and explore the city on your own.
If you are a history fanatic and like more explanations and an organized walking tour. I recommend the one below:
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). But the city gained its importance only in 1920 when it became the capital of Albania (before, it was Kruja city).
Later on, Italian architects also contributed to the city’s beauty and constructed 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).
In the past, Tirana was famous for trading olive oil as it had 140,000 oil trees and 400 oil mills in its area.
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 were repainted and have a more colourful style than back 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 economic, cultural, and political centre of the country.
Interesting Fact: Tirana has one thing different from other European capitals: it doesn’t have McDonald’s (similarly to 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
- Tanner’s Bridge
- Central Park
- Blloku District
- Dajti Mountain
Skanderbeg Square hosts many buildings, including the National History Museum, Clock 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 back in the 1400s.
Get the best views of Tirana climbing up the Clock Tower free of charge.
This 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 thing to experience. You’ll learn a lot about the harsh communist regime, how it looked like, how they tortured people and kept them within Albanian borders. It was one of the best experiences for me in Tirana.
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 monument was built to honor the national dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. It was supposed to be a museum, but there have been several disputes about it. Some wanted to tear it down. Others wanted it to stay.
Lately, the government has finally decided to reconstruct it. It’s currently under construction, so you can’t visit it, unfortunately. But you can still pass by and see its new design on banners.
If you’d like to have a rest from the city, go to Central Park in the afternoon and take some rest. It’s located near the Blloku district, where you can have a great dinner and enjoy some nightlife.
In the evening, spend some time in the Blloku district with great bars and street food options. Have a nice dinner and try to chat with locals.
If you have more time in Tirana, you can take the longest cable car in the Balkan region from the city to the Dajti mountain. It has many restaurants and hotels, you can go trekking, hiking, horseriding, or even skiing in wintertime.
This marks the end of our time here in Tirana. Tomorrow, we’ll set off to explore the rest of this exciting country. If you still haven’t rented a car, do so now or tomorrow early in the morning.
If you don’t have time to make the entire Albania road trip, get some inspiration from my article about the top 6 day trips from Tirana.
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 2. DAY: TIRANA ⇒ BERAT ⇒ ZVERNEC ISLAND ⇒ DHERMI
Good morning. I hope you slept well because today, we are setting off on an Albania road trip adventure. First of all, we will be stopping in the city of thousands of windows before slowly making our way down to Albanian Riviera with white sand beaches and beautiful landmarks.
Distance Tirana –} Berat by car: 1 hour & 44 minutes drive
Traveling With This Itinerary By Bus
Note that there are 2 bus terminals in Tirana. One is international for connections to other countries. The other one is regional with buses to entire Albania.
Taking A Taxi To The Regional Bus Terminal
So you’ll have to get to the regional one. You can take a taxi, but it costs quite a lot of money. Traffic in Tirana is terrible, and taxi drivers blame the high price on the traffic. They’ll tell you anything between 700 to 1000 Lek per taxi ride (7-8 Euro) to the bus station from the city centre (which is a lot in Albania). So what I suggest is to walk or take a bus.
Regional Bus Terminal Adress: Rruga Nëntori 29 , Tiranë
International Bus Terminal Adress: Rruga Ali Kolonja , 1000 Tiranë (near the Zogu I Zi Roundabout)
Walking To The Regional Bus Terminal
If you walk from the international bus terminal to the regional one, it takes about 30 minutes. So it isn’t that bad. Start near the Zogu I Zi Roundabout and just follow the Street Rruga Dritan Hoxha until you reach a huge roundabout.
After, you’ll have to cross this roundabout somehow. There are so many cars so be careful. I did it twice, when there is too much traffic, usually around lunchtime, it’s safe to cross as the cars stop.
In the evening, the traffic situation is not that bad, so please be careful when crossing. I managed it, and you can do so as well. Once you cross it, just follow the road straight away, and you’ll see the regional bus terminal on the right.
Taking A Bus To The Regional Bus Terminal
You can also take a local bus from the International bus terminal to the regional one. Just get on the street Rruga Dritan Hoxha and from there, take a bus direction the regional bus station.
You’ll then see it on your right hand side, so get off and walk to the station.
For more information about getting around Albania by bus and exact prices between destinations, read my article about how to get around Albania.
With its 2500 years of history, Berat attracts visitors thanks to its archaeological area, UNESCO World Heritage site, local monuments, and the mountains around, creating fantastic scenery.
It’s known as the city of thousands of windows. Experience the reason behind that visiting Berat. It became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. Still, it has been an attractive place for Christians and Muslims, who all managed to live on one spot together relatively peacefully.
Sightseeing In Berat
- Enter the Citadel and admire the thousand years of rich history.
- Pay attention to the local churches as they are truly exceptional. One of them is the Orthodox Church of St. Mary of Vllaherna, and you have to see its floor mosaics.
- Visit the Lead Mosque in the middle of the city, which had the status as one of the most important places for trade and religion back in Ottoman times.
- National Ethnographic Museum
- Iconography Museum
- Bulevardi Republika
Berat is worth walking around and seeing some of the highlights I listed for you above. Also, don’t forget to try some local delicacies and food such as Birek, Nocino, and traditional baklava.
Berat is also a perfect day trip from Tirana, if you don’t have too much time in Albania.
Before swimming in the Adriatic Sea, let’s visit some of the Albanian highlights on the way. We’ll continue our Albania itinerary 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 by car: 1 hour & 40 minutes drive
Bus Terminal in Berat: PWCV+X84, Berat, Albania
One of the reasons you should visit the place, apart from its natural beauty, is the local monastery. It holds a lot of religious history and reflects the suffering of Albania during the communist era.
It was even abandoned, defrauded, and destroyed back then.
Walk through the 100 metres wooden bridge from the mainland towards the monastery on the island. Enjoy the breathtaking views of nature around. The monastery was closed for over 33 years since when communist dictator announced all religious services and places illegal in 1967.
By this act, Albania 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 pilgrim site. The Zvernec island attracts many visitors thanks to its rich history and natural beauty.
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 will be driving through the incredible stunning Llogara Pass with spectacular mountains and scenery before descending down to Albania Riviera.
It’s one of the highlights of our Albania road trip itinerary.
Distance Zvernec Island –} Dhermi by car: 1 hour & 40 minutes drive
Bus Station in Vlorë: Rruga Enver Jaho, Vlorë
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.
Stay Overnight in Dhermi
I highly recommend you stop in Dhermi for swimming and to 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. Tomorrow, we’ll be heading down to Saranda and to the real Albanian Riviera.
NOTE: I’ve reserved 1 day of this itinerary (see day 4.) for you to just chill out on a beach and enjoy the Albanian Riviera. I’ve planned this relax day in Ksamil, the Turkoise Pearl of Albania.
However, seeing it personally, I was slightly disappointed. Ksmail is very crowded in summer, and its beaches are packed. If you don’t mind too many people, you’ll still love it as it has stunning beaches. But if you want to avoid too many people, I suggest you stay on day 3. here in Dhermi or Himarë and have a beach day in these places.
They have larger beaches, and you can enjoy them more. After, you can continue your itinerary.
Where to stay in Dhermi: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 3. DAY: DHERMI ⇒ SARANDA ⇒ KSAMIL
Today, we are going to enjoy the beautiful Albanian Riviera. It has many beautiful spots and famous places to visit. I am giving you some suggestions here, and it’s your choice what you’ll be doing today.
Saranda can be your next stop, which is on the way. However, it’s a very tourist spot. Those who plan a vacation to Albania, will most probably end here in Saranda.
Therefore, I recommend you drive directly south to Ksamil and enjoy the most beautiful beaches in Albania. In the afternoon, you can visit the National Park of Butrint and learn about its history.
Nevertheless, here is some information about Saranda for you:
Distance Dhermi –} Saranda by car: 1 hour & 40 minutes drive
Saranda enjoys around 300 sunny days in a year. Therefore, it’s one of the most popular spots for Albanian vacation, chilling next to the sea and enjoying some water sports. In addition, Saranda has a port from which you can get to the Greek Island Corfu.
If you are interested, you can check the ferries and visit Corfu during your Albania road trip.
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
- Enjoy the beautiful pedestrian seaside walk on the Hasan Tahsini Boulevard with many bars and coffee shops.
- Ancient Synagogue Complex dates back to the 5th century when serving as a school, community, and religious centre.
- Lekursi Castle – walk up to the castle and enjoy 360° views of the Albanian Riviera, Sarande, and its surroundings.
Personally, I would make a short stop in Saranda, experience the city, have a coffee, and drive directly to Ksamil to enjoy the Albanian beaches. We will also sleep in Ksamil tonight.
Distance Saranda –} Ksamil by car: 24 minutes drive
Bus station in Saranda: Rruga Flamurit 4, Sarandë, Albania
Check-in to your accommodation and enjoy Ksamil for today.
Ksamil – Turkoise Pearl Of Albania
White sand beaches, crystal clear water, and a beautiful seaside paradise… you probably wouldn’t think that you could find this place in Albania, right?
But yes, I have brought you right here with this Albania road trip itinerary. Welcome to the Caribbean of Europe – Ksamil, the place also called the Turkoise Pearl of Albania.
Ksamil has the most beautiful beaches in all of Albania. Saranda is a very popular spot, but Ksamil has it all. However, that also brings us to the fact that it’s very crowded in summer.
As I mentioned on day 2 of our itinerary, you can also have your beach day in Dhermi or Himarë if you don’t like crowded places. But, in case you don’t mind, you can stay in Ksmail and enjoy the day here.
If you are traveling on a budget, I suggest you stay in Saranda as it offers more options for accommodation and also cheaper ones. Saranda is more for young people, whereas Ksmail is more for families.
Where to stay in Ksamil: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 4. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BUTRINT ⇒ KSAMIL
Good morning to a beautiful Ksamil. Today, we’ll have a more chilled day, relax on a beach, and eat some great seafood. In the afternoon, you can visit the Butrint National Park full of history.
Spend this day enjoying the beaches of Ksamil.
In the afternoon, you can make an optional trip to the Butrint National Park.
Distance Ksamil –} Butrint by car: 10 minutes drive
Bus station in Ksamil: in the centre next to the Blue Line/Western Union Exchange (opposite the Pastry and Bakery Memaj and My Pizza)
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 make your way back to Ksamil, where you will stay overnight, before driving again north.
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 5. DAY: KSAMIL ⇒ BLUE EYE ⇒ GJIROKASTER
Let’s head back north, visiting some of the most beautiful historical towns of Albania. Before we get to the highlight of this day, Gjirokaster, we’ll stop at the Blue Eye. In Albanian called Syri I Kalter.
Distance Ksamil –} Blue Eye by car: 45 minutes drive
There are no direct buses from Ksamil/Saranda to Blue Eye, you can take a taxi, try to find more people and share the costs.
Blue Eye – Syri I Kalter
Blue Eye is a natural phenomenon and has natural springs every traveler should witness in Albania. Even though swimming is prohibited with the signs around, people jump into its refreshing water anyways.
You can walk around the oak trees and admire the beauty around before going back to your car.
After a small excursion of the Blue Eye, let’s head further to explore Gjirokaster, where we’ll also sleep tonight.
Distance Blue Eye –} Gjirokaster by car: 50 minutes drive
Bus to Gjirokaster leaves only from Saranda, not from Ksamil.
The next stop on our Albania itinerary is Gjirokaster, the birthplace of former Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha. Believe me, he knew why he chose this place to be his hometown. It’s also known as the city of stones and thousands of stairs and hosts the largest castle in Albania.
This was one of the highlights of the Albania road trip for me. The city is spectacular, made out 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.
Sightseeing In Gjirokaster
- Walk up to the Gjirokaster Castle, which is the largest castle in entire Albania. It offers stunning views of the surrounding.
- Here I have to reveal one bunker for you. The Cold War Tunnel is built inside the castle and was used using the Cold War to transport goods.
- You can visit the Ottoman-style house, where the communist leader grew up. It is now part of an ethnographic museum that you can visit.
- Zekate House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the town, reflecting the Ottoman Empire. Gjirokaster also has a museum, where you can learn more about this charming town, its history, and its culture.
Where to stay in Gjirokaster: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 6. DAY: GJIROKASTER ⇒ PERMET ⇒ KORCE
Good morning to Gjirokaster. I hope you had the chance to soak up the special atmosphere of this town, enjoying some delicious dinner with drinks in the evening. Other 2 important and culturally rich places are awaiting us today so let’s set off and explore them.
The first stop will be the city of roses, where you can buy traditional raki, local fruit brandy, and bath in natural roman baths After, you’ll drive through other spectacular sceneries of Albanian Canyon before reaching our destination: the cultural capital of Albania – Korce.
Distance Gjirokaster –} Permet by car: 1 hour & 10 minutes drive
Bus Terminal Gjirokaster: 34PV+C9 Gjirokaster, Albania
Permet got its name after the Albanian hero Premt. The legend says that he chose to take his life rather than losing it in a fight against an enemy. As with other Albanian towns and cities, Permet belonged to the Ottoman Empire and, later on, was taken over by the Greeks.
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 the place where they are making it according to the traditional recipe. It’s also time to try another Albanian specialty, ‘Gliko’ (sugary stuff).
Highlights of Permet
Permet is mainly popular thanks to its thermal baths and Katiu stone bridge.
The Katiu Stone Bridge is located 8 kilometres from the city, together with the thermal baths. Walk up to the bridge and get stunning views of the surroundings and the gorge in front of you.
After, get into the warm thermal baths and see if you can profit from their therapeutical benefits. Locals say that each of the pots has different benefits on your body, so try it out.
Once you have enough of thermal baths, let’s continue to the cultural capital of Albania.
This ride is one of the most spectacular ones on the entire Albanian road trip. I called this phase Albanian Canyon. The views are stunning, you’ll really enjoy it.
Distance Permet –} Korce by car: 3 hours & 12 minutes drive
NOTE for bus travel: There is only 1 bus driving between Saranda and Korce, stopping in Permet. So if you’re traveling by bus and want to visit Permet, you’ll have to stay overnight in Permet and then continue to Korce on the next day.
If you do so, before getting off in Permet and at the bus station, ask somebody when the bus leaves tomorrow to Korce.
Korce is the cultural capital of Albania, dating back to the 13th century.
Enjoy the multiple city bars, old bazaar, beer gardens, and the culture of this city. Some people say that it is the most beautiful city in Albania. To me, it really had some special atmosphere, especially spending evening in the old bazaar with restaurants and life music. So go and experience it yourself.
Sightseeing In Korce
- Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral
- Old Bazaar – with restaurants, bars, traditional food, vendors, small shops, 400 years old area
- Bulevard Shen Gjergji
- Red Tower – observation 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 to get too drunk.
Where to stay in Korce: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 7. DAY: KORCE
Good morning to Korce. I hope you got to enjoy the city yesterday. But more so, that you went to the Café-Musem Komiteti and tried local Raki.
To slow down a bit, I recommend you stay in Korce today. Enjoy the sights, get some sleep in the middle of this itinerary, have coffee and great lunch in the old bazaar, and soak up the unique Albanian atmosphere.
After Korce, we’ll be heading back towards Tirana and seeing Albania’s northern part.
Northern Albania offers a slightly different scenery from what we’ve seen so far on this Albania road trip. We’ll now change from the beaches, cultural and historical towns to the natural beauty of Albania, nature, lakes, and Albanian Alps.
Have a good rest and prepare for the longest drive for tomorrow.
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 8. 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 one 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, you’ll be accommodated in one of the best and most unique hotels. So I also suggest you wake up early in the morning, drive, and get to the hotel in Shkodra as soon as possible. This way, you’ll have more time to enjoy this traditional hotel.
Distance Korce –} Kruja by car: 3 hours & 20 minutes drive
Bus Travel Between Korce & Shkodra
If you’re traveling by bus, you’ll have to get from Korce back to Tirana. Then take a bus from Tirana regional bus station to Shkodra. If you still want to visit Kruja, then drive to Kruja, sleep for the night there, and head to Shkodra on the next day in the morning.
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 and prevented them from spreading further through Albania and even saving 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 – one of the most beautiful markets in the Balkan area. It has many great souvenirs, carpets, Turkish coffee cups, and a lot more.
- Skanderbeg Museum – learn more about the life of the national hero
- Walk up to Kruja’s Castle and enjoy breathtaking views of the region. Get there to watch the sunset if you want.
Kruja is also a perfect day trip from Tirana, including Cape of Rhodon.
After spending lunch time in Kruja, continue driver north to Shkodra.
Distance Kruja –} Shkodra by car: 1 hour & 30 minutes drive
Then check-in to Tradita Hotel and enjoy traditional Albanian dinner with live music.
Where to stay in Shkodra: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 9. DAY: SHKODRA
Good morning to Shkodra.
Today, you’ll also have some time to 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 after, we’ll spend the rest of our Albania road trip in the spectacular Albanian Alps.
Welcome to one of the oldest cities in Europe and a doorstep to a fantastic hiking area in Albania. When driving/walking through the city, you’ll notice one strange fact. 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, of course, 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 – forms a natural border with Albania and Montenegro. Lake Shkodra Resort offers great possibilities for camping. You can rent a tent and sleep next to the lake. Hike a kayak and explore the surroundings.
Stay overnight in Shkodra and enjoy its unique atmosphere of Hotel Tradita for one more evening.
Tomorrow, we’ll head to the Albanian mountains for some hiking. If you want, you can visit Shkodra as a day trip from Tirana if you don’t have more time.
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – 10. DAY: SHKODRA ⇒ THETH
Today, we are going to the picturesque town of Theth in the Albanian Alps. This is another highlight of our road trip.
I suggest you spend 2 full days in the Albanian Alps. So your Albania road trip itinerary extends to 11 days. On day 12, you’ll drive back to Tirana.
NOTE: Theth is located in the middle of nowhere (Albanian Alps). There wasn’t even a proper road leading to the village from Shkodra until now. Recently, they’ve started constructing a road connecting Theth with other villages. There are still trucks on the road, and the road itself is very narrow. That means it is pretty challenging driving a car on it. So I’d book a van instead.
How To Get To Theth – Albanian Alps
It’s common to get to Theth from Shkodra by a van/minibus. Every accommodation in Shkodra can organize a van that will drive you to Theth the following morning. So you can leave your car in Shkodra and get to Theth by van. I would suggest you do so, it’s much easier and enjoyable.
The van leaves from Shkodra every day around 7:00 in the morning. Just tell your accommodation the night before that you want to take it and they’ll reserve a spot for you. The van will then drive you directly to your accommodation in Theth.
For exact prices and information about the ride from Shkodra to Theth, read my article about how to get around Albania.
Distance Shkodra –} Theth by van/minibus: 3 hours & 30 minutes drive (with a stop)
Check-in to your accommodation in Theth, and after, get round to a nice walk or hike. You can visit the following places and enjoy the Albanian Alps at their fullest:
Grunas Water Fall
One of the easiest walks you can do here in Theth is to walk towards the Grunas Water Fall. Depending on where you are staying in Theth, it is about 50 minutes walking distance (3.8km from the centre). Enjoy the spectacular scenery of traditional houses here in Theth, breathe the fresh air from Albanian Alps and its waterfalls, have some great food, and experience how local Albanians live here.
Blue Eye – Syri I Kalter
Blue Eye is another phenomenon in the Albanian Alps. Swim in its crystal-clear water and have a nice Albanian lunch on the way. It is slightly far away from Theth, and many people take a jeep towards a restaurant, ‘Lulash Zelna.’ From the restaurant, it is only a 45-minute walk to the Blue Eye.
If you are into more serious hiking trails, you can hike up to Maja e Arapit or Maja Jezerce mountains. In these cases, make sure you have proper hiking shoes and necessary equipment. Rather talk about your hiking plans to somebody in Theth in the tourist office and ask them for advice.
Also, be careful with the weather. It’s changing a lot in the Albanian Alps. In this case, I would stay an additional night in Theth and go up early in the morning.
Stay overnight in one of the traditional houses designed to showcase traditional apline architecture. Enjoy some traditional Albanian dinner and the fresh air of the mountains. Have a nice walk in the village and have a good sleep.
For more information about Albanian Alps, check out my article about the top 4 things you can do in the Albanian Alps, and you can stay even longer. I have a suggested itinerary in the article with which you can enjoy these mountains to the fullest. Check it out.
Where to stay in Theth: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
ALBANIA ROAD TRIP – Driving Back To Tirana
Good morning to Albanian Alps. I hope you enjoyed those stunning Albanian mountains. Have some wonderful traditional Albanian breakfast. After, coordinate the departure of the van with your hosts and get back to Shkodra.
How To Get From Theth Back To Shkodra
If you want to get back to Shkodra on the next day, tell your accommodation you need a spot in the van tomorrow. They’ll book it for you.
The van from Theth to Shkodra doesn’t have a fixed time. The hosts usually don’t know it either. They’ll just tell you to wait until it comes around lunchtime the next day. Ask them and coordinate the departure for tomorrow before you go to bed tonight.
This marks the end of our Albania road trip. I hope you enjoyed your stay in this wonderful country. There are always plenty of reasons to come back. You have now traveled through the entire country, and I am sure you have spots you liked the most.
So you can plan your next adventure, revisiting these places and spend more time there.
Distance Theth –} Tirana by car: 4 hours & 50 minutes drive
Bus Travel From Shkodra To Tirana
From Theth take a van arranged by your accommodation back to Shkodra. Then take a bus from Shkodra to Tirana. The buses run every hour. Be aware that their departure point is in front of the NOVARIC building (slightly behind the station where the van will leave you).
More Tips For Albania Travel
To learn more about Albanian buses, check out my article about getting around Albania. Also, don’t miss out on the best day trips from Tirana or more information about the Albania Alps and top things to do. For general information about Albania, the most beautiful places, transportation, economy, budget, and food you have to try, see my Albania travel guide.
If you like more itineraries for Albania, check out my article about trip to Albania and its 5 suggested itineraries in Albania. You’ll get to choose your favourite itinerary based on your interests, whether you’re a history and culture lover, gastronomy and food, or a beach lover.
More Tips For European Travel
After visiting Albania, you can continue visiting Montenegro, as you are so close to the border. You can also check out Kosovo and learn more about other Balkan countries.
Balkan countries are still unexplored tourism destinations in Europe. These are all countries where tourism is emerging. One way we can contribute to their tourism and local villages is to travel here and spread the word about these amazing countries. Let’s support locals and travel to Balkan countries.
If you like to explore more Balkan destinations, use my itineraries for it. Explore Macedonia with my North Macedonia road trip itinerary for 8 days.
When traveling in Albania, you’re so close to Greece that it would be a pity to miss it. You can enjoy more beaches, Greek culture, and delicious food, making some of the best island day trips from Athens. Or get my Greece road trip itinerary and explore its mainland in 10 days.
Get my Europe itinerary for 2 weeks if you want to see the highlights of Europe and have a blast.
Get more travel itineraries I’ve designed for you and get the most out of your time in Europe.
Write in a comment below what other places you are going to visit in the Balkan peninsula. I am curious. Share your experience with this itinerary on your social media. Let’s spread the word about these beautiful places.