Albania! What to see, the best sea and beaches.
Albania has been rediscovered as a European tourist destination in recent years, find out what to see and the unmissable stops.
One of the most popular destinations in Europe is Albania, increasingly popular in recent years, a land to be discovered where you can organize a trip to seaside resorts, archaeological sites, historic villages and natural landscapes of rare beauty. A holiday in Albania is an experience for everyone, thanks to the rather low rates, with an extremely favorable monetary exchange. Here is everything you need to know to visit Albania, from places to see to the best times to travel.
What to visit in Albania, the places to see absolutely.
Albania is a relatively small country, however it is a territory full of places to discover, from the splendid seaside resorts to the fascinating historic towns and the natural and free spas. The discovery of Albania represents a complete immersion in the Albanian culture, to visit unique destinations such as the ancient city of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bustling capital Tirana, the modern city of Durres, without forgetting the splendid landscapes of Saranda and Scutari.
What to see in Tirana, the capital of Albania.
One of the main destinations is the capital of Albania Tirana, a cosmopolitan city with many tourist attractions. The tour can start from the Clock Tower, a real local symbol, built in 1820 and 35 meters high, continuing to the vault of the futuristic Hoxha Pyramid, today an important youth cultural center. Also worth visiting in Tirana are the Museum of Secret Services, Sigurimi, the Central Market, the beating heart of the Albanian city, the imposing National Museum of History and the Et’hem Bey Mosque, making a stop to eat in the bustling Blloku district.
Lake Shkodra, on the border with Montenegro
Scutari is a historic town in Albania, located in the north of the country, a short distance from Montenegro. The main attraction is the beautiful Lake Scutari, overlooked by the houses of the city, whose rivers run through the entire center creating a rather suggestive landscape. Do not miss a visit to Rozafa Castle, the great Abu Bakr Mosque, the 19th century English Clock Tower, the Migjeni Theater and the small but interesting Oso Kuka Historical Museum
The town of Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town of Berat, located in the central part of the country, is one of the oldest areas of Albania, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the strong historical legacy of the Ottoman influence. Here Muslims and Christians live in perfect harmony, as can be seen from the historic center divided into two areas. One of the places to see is the Castle of Berat, located at the top of a long climb, without forgetting the districts of Mangalemi and Gorica, the Ethnographic Museum, as well as the numerous churches and mosques present throughout the area.
The modern city of Durres.
Although Durres is a contemporary city, the periods of Byzantine and Roman influence have left several archaeological sites, creating a strong mix between the past and modernity. The list of places to visit in Durres is really long, however the Castle and the Venetian Tower, the Amphitheater considered one of the oldest in the Balkans, the Archaeological Museum, the Roman baths, the Orthodox Monastery of Shen Vlash, the Grand Mosque and the nearby Muslim prayer center of Fatih.
Holidays in Albania by the sea: where to go?
Albania does not only mean historic cities, churches, mosques and archaeological sites, in fact the country today represents one of the most popular destinations for summer holidays, thanks to the numerous Albanian seaside resorts and its beautiful beaches. Among the places to go to the beach in Albania there is certainly Saranda, renowned for its nightlife, excellent restaurants and some of the most suggestive beaches in the Mediterranean, including the paradisiacal Pulebardha Beach, Ksamil and the Three Islands area, near of which is also Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another wonderful place for sea lovers is Vlora, located on the stretch of Adriatic coast within the Llogaraja Pass National Park, ideal for snorkelling and hiking. Near Lake Scutari is Velipoje, a very long beach with equipped establishments and services, while in the area of Vlora on the south-west coast of Albania is Himare, with postcard beaches such as Livadhi, Potami and the splendid Prinos. Those wishing to book a beach holiday in Albania can also choose Lukove, located less than 20 km from Saranda, famous for its lively nightlife and crystal clear water, otherwise you can move to Qeparo, an increasingly appreciated by European summer tourism. Not least are also Borsh, where the 18th century Castle stands on a wonderful stretch of coast about 7 km long and Gjipe, with exclusive accommodation facilities and excellent services. Another seaside resort is Dhermi, on the Adriatic coast, which is home to the exceptional beaches of Palase and Drimadhes.
Road trip in Albania: best itineraries by car
One of the ways to discover this country is to visit Albania by car, organizing a real road trip, to admire all the most fascinating places without compromise. The adventure can start from the Port of Durres for those arriving by ship, or from Tirana airport by renting a car. After that you can continue north or south, depending on your preferences, as in every direction there are places that are worth visiting. Among the best itineraries in the central part of the country is the mountain area of Dajti, suitable for short excursions and a trip on the cable car, while towards the south you can reach the towns of Vlora, the splendid beach of Orikum, continuing up to Porto Palermo , Ksamil, Siri Y Kalter, Pogradec and Gjirokaster, nicknamed the silver city. In the north, however, there are destinations such as Scutari and Teth, where you can meet waterfalls, lakes and extremely suggestive naturalistic landscapes.
What to do in Albania with children
Albania is certainly a suitable destination for a trip with children, both for its proximity to our country and because it is able to offer many attractions for the little ones. Of course, among the favorite destinations for a holiday with children there are the coastal resorts, many of which are equipped to receive families, among which the best are Dhermi near Tirana and the Karaburun area, with spectacular places to visit such as the Grama Bay, the Cave of Slaves and Petrun with the Cave of Duk Gjoni.
Anche Ksamil e le isole vicine forniscono tutto ciò di cui si ha bisogno viaggiando con i bambini, altrimenti è possibile scegliere l’area nei dintorni del Lago di Ohrid, un ambiente più fresco dichiarato Patrimonio dell’Umanità UNESCO. Chi preferisce le escursioni può optare per il Parco Nazionale della Valle del Valbona, dove partecipare a una gita in traghetto sul Lago Koman, oppure visitare il sito archeologico di Apollonia, facilmente raggiungibile da Berat e Durazzo.
What to eat in Albania: typical Albanian dishes.
A holiday in Albania is a unique opportunity to taste traditional Albanian cuisine, experiencing the typical flavors of this land, not far from Mediterranean food and wine. Absolutely try the Koran fish, grilled and served with accompanying vegetables, or the Meze, an appetizer consisting of various courses of cheeses, olives and sauces. Always much appreciated is the Tave Dheu, a meat served with artisan bread and ricotta, to be eaten inside the classic terracotta container. Other dishes of the Albanian culinary tradition are the Byrek, a savory pie of puff pastry with very tasty meat and vegetables, the Bakllava, a typical dessert quite common in all areas of Albania, the Kadaif, another dessert that shows all the Turkish influence in Albanian food and wine and the Dolma, an inevitable dish in Tirana restaurants, made with a meat filling inside a coating of vine leaves. In smaller towns you can find two meat dishes, Kukurec and Qofte, always accompanied with potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Travel to Albania: useful advice before leaving
At the moment Albania is not part of the European Union, in fact an official candidacy still under evaluation was presented some time ago. The country therefore has not adopted the Euro, but on the contrary uses the national currency, the Lek, the value of which is 122 lek for each euro. In various places it is possible to find exchange offices, however they charge quite onerous commissions, so it is better to withdraw cash from ATMs, or if possible pay by card, but it is important to consider that the premises are not always equipped with POS. Even if Albania is not part of the European Union there is an international agreement, so it is possible to travel with the Italian identity card without problems, otherwise you can use the passport. Inside the country it is possible to drive with an Italian driving licence, but an international insurance policy authorized for travel abroad is required. Since it is still a non-EU state, our health card is not accepted, therefore to avoid risks it is advisable to take out travel insurance, activating a policy for medical expenses.
How much does a holiday in Albania cost: prices and indications
One of the advantages of traveling to Albania, which has made this tourist destination so popular, is the possibility of spending little, organizing a low-cost holiday. Prices are quite cheap, despite a progressive increase in rates due to the large number of tourists in recent years, who now flock to the country’s beaches and seaside resorts. Of course, spending depends on your choices, in fact it is possible to book in luxury resorts and eat in renowned restaurants by increasing costs, or stay on less expensive structures. In summer the rates are the highest of the year, so those who want to save money should prefer the low season periods, May, June, September and October, avoiding July and August instead. Some services such as car rental and transport cost the same as in Italy, while others are cheaper, including restaurant meals, evenings in clubs and entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites. The hotels offer costs similar to the Italian structures, at least as regards the high season, otherwise the prices drop significantly.
How to get to Albania: all travel options
The strongly growing tourism has caused a significant increase in transport to this Balkan country, in fact, to get to Albania it is possible to choose from a wide range of different solutions. The fastest and most comfortable way is obviously the plane, reaching the international airport of Tirana from the main Italian cities, alternatively there are two other airports available, one to the north near Kukes and the other to the south near Saranda. Flights are operated by various airlines, including Alitalia, Albawings and Blue Panorama. Another widely used means is the ferry, to avoid renting a car once you arrive on site, while also savoring the pleasure of a cruise in the Mediterranean. The crossing to the Port of Durres lasts from 7 to 9 hours, with connections made by shipowners such as GNV, Adria Ferries and Ventouris Ferries. Finally, you can also go to Albania by car, facing a journey of at least 12 hours through Slovenia, Montenegro and Croatia.
When to go to Albania: the best times to travel
The climate of Albania is similar to the European one, therefore typically Mediterranean, characterized by harsh winters and hot, muggy summers. The best time to travel is certainly the summer, especially if you want to visit the seaside resorts of the coast, finding high temperatures from June to September. If, in addition to the beaches, you want to organize a complete holiday, including mountain areas and historic cities, the most suitable seasons to go to Albania are spring and autumn, when you can encounter mild temperatures and low rainfall.