Most Beautiful Places In Albania: Albania Travel Guide
This article about the most beautiful places in Albania may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.
The Land of Eagles, Albania, offers a variety of activities and things to do. It has so many beautiful places, and I am sure everybody will find something interesting here. So whether you’re a history and culture lover, or you like gastronomy and food and traditions of the country, you’ll find something for yourself.
This Albania Travel Guide will show you the most beautiful places in Albania and give you further information including transportation, ways to get around, its economy, the budget you’ll need and finally, reveal the best places for gastronomy lovers and dishes you have to try when traveling in Albania.
List Of The Most Beautiful Places In Albania
- Lake Komani
- Mrizi I Zanave Agro Farm
- Cape Of Rhodon
- Zvernec Island
- Dhermi & Himare
- Saranda & Ksamil
- Butrint National Park
- Albanian Canyon
Most Beautiful Places In Albania: Choose An Albanian Destination Based On Your Interests
Below, I’ve divided Albania into 4 different sections so that you can choose a perfect Albanian destination based on your interests. These include Northern Albania, Coastal Albania, Central Albania, and Southeast Albania. Below, I give you insights into each section and the highlights you shouldn’t miss when visiting the region.
Central Albania offers many places to enjoy and explore Albanian history, culture, and agrotourism with their gastronomy. If you love to explore new countries and learn more about their history, explore central parts of Albania.
Below, I am giving you the highlights of central Albania and the most beautiful places you definitely shouldn’t miss during your visit.
The capital of Albania, Tirana, offers you a great insight into the country’s history. It’s the perfect spot to start your Albanian itinerary. You’ll learn about the former communist regime, which affected Albania in various ways inside the Bunk’ Art.
Tirana also has great nightlife. Go to the Blloku district and enjoy Albanian dinner with the first tasting of Raki (Albanian fruit brandy).
Berat is also known as the city of thousands of windows. The legend describes two brothers, Tomorr and Shpirag, who fell in love with a local girl named Osum. However, the brother didn’t know about each other’s love towards Osum. When Tomorr found out that his brother was also meeting her, he asked him to stop it. But Shpirag refused to do so.
Therefore, a fight between the two brothers started, during which both of them died. When Osum heard the news, she cried so long that her tears were turned into a river. The two mountains between which Berat is built are named after the two brothers, and the River Osum flows through the city. Stroll through its tiny streets, enjoy its peaceful atmosphere, and chat with locals.
Kruje is the former capital of Albania, which already says a lot about its importance. It’s also the place where Skanderbeg, Albanian national hero, fought against the Ottomans and managed to stop them from spreading further to central and western Europe.
Explore more about this fight inside the museum in Kruje Castle. Walk through Kruje’s Old Bazaar with traditional things. It’s a great place to buy some souvenirs. Stay in one of the traditional hotels and enjoy Albanian culture.
Elbasan is one of the biggest cities in Albania. But I want to draw your attention to spots around it. You can visit the Funari Lake (Liqenet e Funarit) with its beautiful nature, or make it to the Holta’s Canyon. This place is especially fitted for adventurous souls who want to experience adrenaline in its gorge, small waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters.
Northern Albania offers a completely different scenery from the rest of the country. If you are a nature lover, like I am, you’ll love the north of Albania. It’s the place of the spectacular Albanian Alps, crystal clear lakes and rivers, waterfalls, and natural phenomenons such as the Blye Eye.
If you want to disconnect for a while, connect with nature, and also experience Albanian traditions, northern Albania will be your perfect choice. See all the highlights of northern Albania below.
Theth is one of the most popular places in the Albanian Alps. If you want to disconnect and spend some time in nature, getting to know traditional Albanian villages, and experience the peaceful lifestyle of locals, visit Theth.
You can stay in one of the traditional huts and enjoy delicious local food. Have a traditional Albanian breakfast with local bread, homemade fig marmalade, and butter in the morning. From Theth, you can visit the Grunas Waterfall or the Blue Eye. Learn more about things you can do in Theth in my article about Albanian Alps.
Valbona is another beloved spot in the Albanian Alps with its famous Valbona hike. You can start this hike in Shkodra, and it’ll take you around 2 to 3 days to complete it.
On the first day, you’ll cross the spectacular Lake Komani on a ferry before reaching Valbona. On the next day, you’ll cross the Valbona Pass before making your way down to Theth.
My article about the Albanian Alps and the top 4 things to do describes the entire journey in detail, with prices for the buses and the ferry and duration of all hikes, so check it out if you’re interested in visiting Valbona and Valbona Pass.
Lake Komani is perhaps one of the most visited places in Northern Albania. If you don’t have time to visit the Albanian Alps, you can at least make it to this lake and cross it on the ferry, which will take you through the Valbona Valley.
For a moment, you might think you came to New Zealand, and its fjords as the limestone mountains fall directly to the crystal-clear lake. The ferry only leaves once a day from each place (Koman and Fierze). For the departure times, please refer to the Komani Lake website.
Shkodra is one of the most important cities in Northern Albania. You can make it your departure point to the Albanian Alps. Stay overnight in Hotel Tradita with its beautiful garden and rooms built in traditional style.
What you can’t miss in this city is the Rozafa Castle with a unique legend about the Rozafa woman, who sacrificed her life for the castle. You can read more about this legend on the Culture Trip site.
In the evening, go to the old town of Shkodra, see the local mosque, and enjoy traditional Albanian dinner in the hotel’s garden with live music.
Mrizi i Zanave Agro Farm
Finally, for all foodies here in Northern Albania, I have something special. Also, for gastronomy lovers and those who like agrotourism.
Mrizi I Zanave is one of the top agro farms in entire Albania. You should spend at least 1 night in its traditional rooms, see the cellars, where they prepare homemade products such as cheese, raki, wine, dried tomatoes, and smoked meat.
They produce almost everything you could imagine, and the food is delicious. If you are in Albania, you can’t miss staying on an agro farm, and Mrizi I Zanave is the best place to do so.
Albania has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. If you are looking for a beach and sea holiday, relaxing and staying in a beach resort, coastal Albania is for you.
Besides, you can also explore the history of Albania, its largest archaeological site, many castles on the Albanian coast. Learn more about the highlight here.
Cape of Rhodon
Only a few kilometres from Tirana stands the famous Cape of Rhodon with its castle and the Church of St. Anthony. This strip of land extending into the Adriatic Sea is truly spectacular.
You can walk through, visit its castle, and enjoy the beautiful virgin beaches in summer. The castle was built in the 1400s for a quick stop to avoid Ottoman invaders. Enjoy its stunning views and make a trip full of history, culture, and beach.
Vlore is a big city on the Albanian coastline. It’s a popular holiday destination for locals thanks to its beautiful beaches. You can spend some time in the city, shop in local markets, and enjoy the beaches in the Vjosë-Nartë Delta Protected Area (near the Nartë village).
Zvernec Island is one of the highlights in Albania. This tiny island is located in the Narta lagoon and is only connected to the mainland with a small bridge. When you cross it, you’ll see the Byzantine Monastery of St. Mary with its cemetery.
Dhermi & Himare
Dhermi and Himare have some of the most popular beaches and beach resorts in Albania. If you’re only looking for a beach holiday and relaxation in an all-inclusive resort, visit one of these places.
But if you wish to stay on less crowded beaches, choose one or two from my list of remote beaches in the article about a memorable trip to Albania.
Saranda is the second most visited city in Albania, mainly thanks to its great international connections. Every day, you can take a ferry travelling between Saranda and Corfu Island in Greece.
It has a beach, but not a big one, and it’s usually very crowded. You can visit the Lekursi Castle standing on the hill behind the city, where you’ll get the city’s best views and the sea. Then just walk on the seaside promenade, enjoy the weather and have a nice Greek Iced Cappucino.
Ksamil is the most popular spot for an Albanian beach holiday, also known as the Turquoise Pearl of Albania. It has crystal-clear beaches, and many people come here for the summer holidays.
Therefore, it’s very crowded. If you don’t like crowds of people, I recommend choosing other beaches for your trip to Albania inside the article. However, if you don’t mind, you’ll love the beaches in Ksamil for sure.
Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park hosts the largest archaeological site in the country. You can get there easily either from Saranda or Ksamil, even with a local bus. Explore the ancient theatre with its castle and the stunning views of the park with the sea. Can you spot Corfu Island from its castle?
Southeast Albania offers a range of activities for history and culture lovers. Gastronomy and food lovers will also find their spots here. I would say it’s the most diverse part of Albania.
You’ll visit the cultural capital of Albania, immerse in its culture and history, and taste local products such as wine and olive oil. If you want to know even more about Albania, this part is for you.
The beautiful stone city with houses from the Ottoman era is a great spot to visit, even as a day trip from Saranda. Gjirokaster makes you feel like you’re in a fairy-tale.
Stroll through its tiny streets with shops selling traditional and hand-made things such as carpets, pillows, mugs, and others. After, walk up to the castle and enjoy stunning views of the valley and the city from above.
Permet is mainly famous for its natural thermal baths, which are situated 8km off the town. Locals say that each pot has different benefits for the human body. Come and experience it yourself.
You can walk on the Katiu Bridge and take great photos of the baths from it. The Permet town is a traditional Albanian place, where the time stops for you. See how locals live, chat with them, and enjoy the slow-paced lifestyle.
Korce is also named the cultural capital of Albania. No wonder it has this special vibe to meet and see locals enjoying evenings in the Old Bazaar with live music.
Visit the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral, walk through the Old Bazaar, and get traditional products such as Raki, Morava Honey, or Gliko. To learn more about Korce, get my Albania road trip itinerary. Inside, I described the exact places you should visit to taste raki and other delicious things.
I am not sure this place is officially named this way. Still, I refer to the valley as Albanian Canyon after seeing it. It’s one of the most spectacular places in Albania for me. You’ll see it when you’re driving from Permet to Korce.
There are only a few villages on the way, and other than that, you’ll only enjoy the stunning views of the river passing through the valley and the mountains arising from it. So stop on the way and take photos. It’s truly incredible.
Sotira Farm is an eco-village worth visiting. You can experience the local farm and traditional way of living in Albania, taste local products and stay in traditional huts and bungalows. It’s a great place to disconnect. If you are interested, you can read more inside my article about the trip to Albania.
I highly recommend you visit the Nurrelari winery if you love wine tasting. Albania has some quality wines, and this winery is the place to be, especially for some sommeliers out here.
Most Beautiful Places In Albania In A Nutshell
Albania offers many beautiful spots that it might be difficult for you to choose the perfect fit for. That’s why I’ve decided to shortly conclude all Albanian spots based on each one’s interests.
Korce, Kruje, Gjirokaster, & Permet – for culture and history lovers
Tirana, Kruje, Gjirokaster, Shkodra & Berat – for history lovers
Albanian Alps & Elbasan surroundings – for nature lovers
Dhermi, Himare, Saranda, & Ksamil, entire Albanian Riviera – for beach lovers
Permet, Theth, Valbona, Sotira Farm – for those seeking after quietness and relaxation
Transportation In Albania
Transportation in Albania is one of the most challenging things you might face during your visit. However, you don’t have to be scared. It’s actually a lot of fun. As I mentioned in one of my articles about Albania buses and taxis, you have to be very flexible, which is rule number one when traveling in Albania.
If you can rent a car to travel in Albania, it’s the best thing you can do here. Your Albanian travel itinerary will be easier to complete, you’ll be more flexible and perhaps less stressed. Therefore, I highly recommend you rent a car for your Albania travel. However, if you don’t have the chance or you’re traveling solo and renting a car is not worth it for you, it’s completely possible to travel by bus.
Traveling by bus is slightly more challenging but also a lot of fun. However, bear in mind that you have to be flexible and planning is kind of a waste of time.
How To Get Around Albania
As I mentioned above, renting a car to travel Albania is the best option. You can get a car in Tirana and travel wherever you want to. Tirana has terrible traffic, though, especially during lunchtime. From what I experienced, the traffic is much better in the evening, so you can set off from Tirana around 6pm to your next destination and avoid the crazy traffic.
Traveling with Albanian buses is an experience on its own. Albania doesn’t have any railway system with trains, so getting a bus is the only option here. However, buses don’t have a fixed timetable, and barely people know what time a bus departs.
The best thing is to ask at the bus terminal/station once you arrive at your destination. Ask some bus drivers when a bus to your other destination leaves. If you don’t do it, the other option is to come to the bus station when you want to leave. Bear in mind there might not be any bus, or there is only one bus departing at 6am, so rather ask in advance.
To learn more about Albanian buses, read my article about Albania buses and getting around. It includes information about distances, prices for each journey, how to get tickets, and where to pay for your tickets. This article has very useful information if you want to travel by bus in Albania, so check it out.
If you don’t have a car and happen to miss a bus or there is no bus, another option is to take a taxi. If you picture a professional taxi with the sign on the top of the car, you might want to change your mind in Albania. Here, the taxis sometimes don’t have a sign, nor any description with the word ‘taxi’ on it.
But the person tells you he’ll drive you to your destination. Don’t worry; it’s not a scam; he’ll drive you. It’s just the way people also make money in Albania. Believe me, I was traveling as a solo woman in Albania, and nothing ever happened to me.
You can either take a normal taxi with the sign or just speak to a random ‘taxi driver’ who approaches you aks tell you he can drive you. Maybe you can also find some other people and share the cost with them.
How To Negotiate With Taxi Drivers In Albania
Don’t be scared to negotiate with all the taxi drivers. For example, if he tells you it costs 1200LEK, tell him it’s too much and ask for 800LEK or 900LEK. They usually agree because it is still a great deal for them. So don’t be scared.
I’ve written a separate article about ways to negotiate with taxi drivers, prices for each journey and the actual price you can negotiate, and general information about getting around Albania, so check it out for more information.
Albanian Economy & Budget You’ll Need
Albania had one of the harshest communist regimes in the entire world. After its fall in 1990, the economy drastically changed from the central-planned to a free-market economy.
People lost the security they felt from the state, and production was shut down completely. They needed skilled managers who would boost businesses in the country. The government in Albania is very corrupt, which results in difficulty to invest and property problems.
The country has complex tax codes and poor labour contracts. All these issues make Albania one of the poorest countries in Europe.
Interesting Facts About Albanian Economy
Nowadays, the situation is improving, and the most important industries are the mining and service sector. Tourism is on its rapid rise. My intention here is to encourage you to travel to Albania and support their economy. The land is spectacular, and it’s worth supporting local tourism businesses.
Albania has a great river system with 8 major rivers, which leads us to the fact that the country is dependent on hydropower. During dry periods, the shortage of energy is common.
Agriculture is still a vital sector of the economy in Albania. Even their agrotourism is booming. Locals have created their family-run businesses such as agro farms with restaurants and hotels.
You can taste delicious products, experience Albanian culture, and traditions, and sleep in traditional hotels. Wineries are also very popular, where you can often taste various wines, some homemade raki (Albanian fruit brandy), and olive oil. In the past, communists planted over 400 000 olive trees, and people still benefit from them nowadays. Albania also exports its products abroad, mainly to Greece and Italy.
Local currency in Albania
Albania uses LEK as its national currency. 121LEK is equivalent to 1EUR and 103LEK is 1USD. Please note that the currency rate is always changing, so check out current exchange rate for yourself when you visit the country.
Overall, Albania is a very cheap destination, so if you want to enjoy your holiday without restricting yourself and still doing it all, Albania might be the perfect holiday destination for you.
Budget You’ll Need To Visit Albania
Albania is a very cheap country, so you can do many things and don’t have to restrict yourself too much. I’ve put together a table for you with all the costs and budget you’ll need for a day spent in Albania:
How Much Will You Spend In A Day In Albania
Albania on a budget ⇒ plan to spend between 17 to 25 Euro per day/2070 – 3050 LEK per day. Albania is generally on budget as an entire country, so you don’t have to restrict yourself a lot.
With a higher budget ⇒ 30 – 60 Euro per day/3660 – 7320 LEK.
Check out my article about how to get around Albania for exact prices for buses and taxis for each distance.
Little Albanian Food Guide
Albanian agriculture mainly produces corn, vegetables, potatoes, fruits, olives, grapes and has high cattle breeding. That’s why their traditional food uses mainly meat and lots of dairy products such as cheese, butter, and yogurt. They have light but also quite a heavy cuisine.
Albanians are famous for making their own fruit brandy, called ‘Raki.’ They have different types such as grape, plumb, apple, apricot ones and many more. If you are in Albania, you shouldn’t miss a wine and raki tasting and try different types of cheese and meat.
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.
Albanian Dishes You Have To Try
You have to try the following dishes when visiting 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
More Tips For Albania Travel
This is your Albania travel guide with the most beautiful places in Albania and all the additional information you’ll need during your visit to Albania. So enjoy it to the fullest. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.
I’ve designed a 10-day Albania road trip itinerary, which includes many of the places from this article and all the highlights you have to experience in Albania, so check it out. With this itinerary, you don’t have to plan anything in advance. Just take it and travel according to the planned journey.
Or check out my article about a trip to Albania, where I’ve designed other smaller itineraries you can choose based on your interest.
If you don’t have much time in Albania and will only visit Tirana, get some inspiration for the top day trips from Tirana. My article about Albanian Alps will give you all the information for your stay here.
Alternatively, you can continue your trip to other Balkan countries, such as North Macedonia. For that, take my North Macedonia road trip itinerary for 8 days and explore the highlights of the country.