Are you planning an Albania vacation and wondering if it is worth visiting?
Albania, a small country on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination.
With a rich history and culture, stunning natural landscapes, and beautiful beaches along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania offers a unique travel experience for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
In this post, you’ll learn about some of the best things to do in Albania and whether or not you should plan a visit.
Is Albania Worth Visiting In 2024?
Although less visited than other southern European countries, Albania is home to some of the most beautiful views in the Balkans and is highly worth the visit.
Along with experiencing some of the most stunning views of rolling hills, jagged mountain peaks, and white sand beaches, you won’t have to deal with as many crowds.
It’s a less expensive country than others, such as Greece and Italy, but still has some of the same great activities and views to see.
Albania is more than worthwhile, from the capital city of Tirana to the towering Albanian Alps and the Albania Riviera lining the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. This country should be added to everyone’s bucket list!
Best Things To Do In Albania
There are so many great things to do during your vacation in Albania. If you’re looking for some of the best activities, the following suggestions should help you.
1. Visit Gorgeous Beaches along the Albanian Riviera
Albania has a large border along the Adriatic Sea before jutting into the Ionian Sea between Greece and Montenegro.
The beautiful Albanian Riviera extends along the country’s southern coast and is a haven for beach lovers. In return, this is one of the biggest reasons Albania is worth visiting.
From adorable coastal villages to ancient ruins and sandy beaches, the Albania Riviera shouldn’t be missed on your visit.
Ksamil Beach is one of the most popular, with white sand, clear water perfect for swimming, and plenty of activities. This will be one of the highlights of your Albania vacation.
2. Walk Around Berat, the City of a Thousand Windows
Berat is a small town in central Albania nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Windows.”
The main attraction here is the Ottoman houses that line Berat’s hills, each with multiple windows towards the city, hence the nickname.
Aside from these beautiful houses, there are many other things to see in Berat, including the Berat Castle. This fascinating fortress overlooks the city and the Lumi i Osumit River.
Also worth seeing in Berat are the Holy Trinity Church and the two UNESCO heritage sites in town. Gorica and Mangalem are two historical areas filled with cobblestone paths and architecture separated by the river.
It is easy to reach Berat as a day trip from Tirana or an overnight stay!
➡️This is the Tirana to Berat Tour I recommend!
3. Explore the Blue Eye
Found within the Blue Eye Nature Monument, this natural spring has a fascinating bright blue color that almost feels pretend.
It has become known as the “Blue Eye” because of its color and how you can see where the underwater cave that feeds the pool sits underneath the water, looking like the pupil of a human eye.
In the Albanian language, the pool is called “Syri I Kalter.”
The Blue Eye is surrounded by lush green forests and mountains, creating a truly breathtaking and serene atmosphere.
This location has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, thus making for one of the best spots to take a dip to cool off on those warm Albania summer days. Making this excursion a day trip from Saranda is very easy.
Although the water is very cold, if you decide to jump in, it will be very refreshing! You likely won’t be able to stay in for long!
➡️Experience this water spring on a Blue Eye Tour from Saranda.
4. Bunk’Art Museums
Located in the capital city of Albania, Tirana, are the Bunk’Art Museums. These unique museums are housed in an old war bunker, where you can learn about Albania’s history. Bunk’Art 1 is on the edge of Tirana, while Bunk’Art 2 is in the center.
The bunkers were built by the communist ruler Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania for about 50 years in the mid-1900s. He built them to protect himself and his associates in the event of an attack. As a result of the nuclear attacks never happening, the bunkers were never used as intended.
You’ll walk through the dark tunnels during your visit and experience what it would have been like. In several rooms, you’ll find information about the bunkers, tough parts of Albanian history, and Hoxha’s life. Along with this info, contemporary art lines the walls, which brings more light to the dark place.
5. Lake Bovilla
If you’re wondering if Albania is worth visiting, looking at Lake Bovilla will tell you the answer quickly! It’s hard to believe it’s so close to Tirana, but Lake Bovilla is about 20 kilometers away.
Lush green rolling hills and towering rock formations surround the beautiful teal lake. While it is a man-made lake, it still provides beautiful views of nature and makes you feel like you’re much further outside Tirana than you are! The lake also provides about 50% of the drinking water to Tirana.
To get the best views of Lake Bovilla, hike to the top of Gamti Mountain. The hike will only take about 2 hours and provides some of the most beautiful views in the area of Bovilla Reservoir.
➡️See Lake Bovilla on a Private Bovilla Lake & Gamti Mountain Hiking Tour!
6. Mount Dajti and Cable Car
Mount Dajti National Park makes for a perfect day trip from Tirana and is one of the most accessible places to see the mountains of Albania.
Along the mountain are several trails you can hike to take in the views surrounding Dajti. Or, you can take the easy route and take the 15-minute ride up to the top via the Dajti Express cable car.
You’ll weave through forests, farms, and hilltops until you reach the top of 1,613 meters (5,292 feet) Mount Datji. The views from the top of the cable car are fantastic.
Once you arrive at the top, you can dine at the restaurant, Ballkoni Dajtit, or check out the views from the viewing platform at the hotel. Other fun activities include playing mini golf, bringing the kids to the Dajti Adventure Park, or paragliding back to the bottom of the mountain.
7. Take a Trip to Gjirokaster
Found in the southern part of Albania, the small hillside town of Grjiokaster is well worth visiting. It’s been called “The City of Stone” because of its cobblestone streets and small stone houses. It’s also a UNESCO heritage city.
During your visit, the best place to visit is the Gjirokaster Castle, which offers some of the city’s most beautiful views. Today, you can see the castle’s ruins and wander around the grounds.
Also near the castle is the Cold War Tunnel, a large bunker used for transportation during the Cold War.
Wander through Old Town before departing Gjirokaster, where you’ll find the Gjirokaster Bazaar, cobblestone streets, and small shops to stop into.
➡️For an excellent historical guided tour, book this
Gjirokaster Private Tour.
8. Komani Lake and Ferry Ride
While Komani Lake is a man-made reservoir created in the 1980s, it feels like a natural beauty. The large body of water sweeps through the rolling hills below the Albanian Alps.
It’s very narrow, and towering canyon walls surround the lake. It’s secluded, and the road is rough, but a visit is worthwhile.
You can also ride the Lake Komani Ferry, which makes getting to the lake easier. The ferry ride is incredible, as you’ll admire the views. The ferries can get busy during the peak season, so book in advance!
The pictures don’t do Lake Komani justice, with the beautiful clear, teal water and towering rock formations.
➡️See the beauty of Lake Komani on this Shala River and Lake Komani Tour!
9. Island Hop in Ksamil
Found along the Albanian Riviera, this beautiful coastal town has over 10 beaches perfect for exploring and enjoying colorful views.
One of the main reasons that Albania is worth visiting is the incredible beaches, and Ksamil will show you exactly why.
Tourists love visiting Ksamil, thanks to its white sand and clear waters. With so many incredible beaches, it’s easy to find one, but there are some favorites to check out.
Ksamil Beach is the most popular, where you’ll find most tourists. The Four Islands are just off the shore and nice for island hopping. During Albania summers, relaxing on the white sand and admiring the views will be a paradise.
Bora Bora Beach, Castle Beach, and Paradise Beach are other great options for relaxing by the water during your Albania trip.
10. Relax at Grama Bay
Often known as the best beach in Albania, Grama Bay is a small bay area tucked along the shores of the Ionian Sea.
Unlike other bays and beaches for visiting Albania, Grama Bay has been left untouched, and its natural beauty remains intact.
While no roads lead to Grama Bay, you can either arrive via a hike from Palasë or a boat tour from Vlora.
➡️I recommend this Speed Boat Tour to National Park and Grama Bay
Best value for money – includes caves, beaches, and hidden gems!
If you arrive by boat, there are several other small bays and caves to stop at. Once you’ve arrived at Grama Bay, relax and sunbathe on the pure white sands.
11. Try Raki
Raki is a traditional Albanian alcoholic drink; you should try it out during a visit. It’s made with fermented grapes or plums and has a high alcohol content.
It’s often served with traditional Albanian dishes such as grilled meat or sweet pastries. You can find it at different restaurants and bars around the country.
12. Theth to Valbona Hike
If you’re a hiker, hiking through the Albanian Alps is a must-do during your Albania trip.
This beautiful one-way trail leads you through jagged peaks, forests, and bright alpine lakes. It connects the two mountain villages of Theth and Valbona, which are gateways to two of Albania’s most beautiful national parks.
The trail is about 17 kilometers (10 miles) and will take a day to complete. It’s the perfect opportunity for exploring the Alps and wandering through the two small villages.
Is Albania Famous For Anything?
While Albania may at first feel like a smaller country that doesn’t have much in it, there are many things that the country is known for.
For starters, Albania is well known for its bunkers. There are over 700,000 bunkers in the country, many of which were built during the Cold War by communist ruler Enver Hoxha.
Additionally, the country is known for the Albanian Alps, also known as the Accursed Mountains. These towering snow-capped mountains are one of the most beautiful parts of the country and make for great places to hike and explore. Other natural beauty in Albania includes the beautiful beaches, especially those along the Albanian Riviera. These white sand beaches and colorful waters are great for relaxing and enjoying the warm weather.
Albania is also home to two UNESCO cities, Berat and Gjirokaster. These two historical cities feature beautiful stone buildings, castles, and gorgeous architecture.
These things that Albania is known for are some of the main reasons that the answer to the question, is Albania worth visiting, is an easy yes.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Albania?
Visiting Albania is great year-round, but if you’re planning a visit, you’ll want to plan it for certain times of the year.
Overall, the best time to visit is between May and September, when the temperatures are warm, beaches are busy, and businesses are open for tourists.
July and August are the peak seasons when most visitors plan their vacation in Albania. The average high temperature during this time is around 30°C (86°F), with lows around 18°C (65°F).
If you plan your visit in either May, June, or September, you’ll have slightly cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. But you’ll still get to experience some great Albania!
Does Albania Get a Lot of Tourists?
Yes, this Balkan country sees a lot of tourism, especially during the peak months of July and August. In fact, in 2019, before the pandemic, Albania had over 6 million tourists visit the country. While it has lower tourism numbers than some neighboring countries, they are steadily increasing!
Because of its proximity to other popular tourist destinations like Greece and Italy, Albania sees a lot of tourist traffic! Although, you can expect to see fewer travelers than in many of these other countries.
Is Albania Safe?
One thing that many travelers worry about when visiting Europe is whether some countries are safe for visitors. If you’re wondering, “What is Albania like regarding safety?” I’ve got you covered.
While some countries may be less than ideal, Albania is safe. I can say this from personal experience as a solo female traveler to the country. However, like any country, you should remain vigilant and cautious in remote areas.
Of course, as with any other place, there will be crime, although this has declined recently and rarely targets tourists. The most common crimes that tourists are faced with are pickpocketing and bag snatching.
Some neighborhoods should be avoided. However, you’ll find that there isn’t as much to worry about in the more touristy locations.
Is Albania A Cheap Place To Visit?
Compared to other European countries, Albania is an affordable place to visit. The capital, Tirana, is the most expensive place.
You can find affordable places to stay, eat, and things to do. On average, travelers typically spend around 4,500 LEK (Albanian currency) daily. This is around $41 (USD) or €39 (Euros).
Is Albania Good For Couples?
Albania is definitely worth visiting for traveling couples. This is the perfect destination with beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea, hikes to embark on, and romantic places to dine at.
Some of the most beautiful scenery in the Balkans is found in Albania, making it perfect for a romantic destination for couples.
Getting Around Albania
The most popular way to get around Albania through public transportation is by furgon. These are small, privately owned buses. They can typically stop at any spot that you need.
You can also find taxis; however, depending on your destination, that can be pricey.
Another option is to rent a car, allowing travelers to explore Albania’s many hidden gems at their own pace. Discover Cars is an amazing resource for finding a rental car that will suit your needs.
Here is where I book rental cars
However, the narrow roads and mountainous terrain can be challenging to drive in Albania.
👉TRAVEL TIP: if you are not used to driving in Albania, it should be noted that the drivers tend to be more aggressive. Be very vigilant!
Albania has no railroad systems, so you’ll need to rely on your car or these other options for getting around the country.
How Many Days In Albania Is Enough?
To really experience all that Albania has to offer, you should plan to have at least one week. This time allows you to explore the country, see the best attractions, and not rush through it all.
If you’re running short on time, you can definitely get through the top attractions in three to four days, but the more time, the better.
To Sum Up: Is Albania Worth Visiting In 2024?
Despite being a lesser-known destination, Albania has a lot to offer and makes for a great place to visit for travelers to southwestern Europe.
When looking at all of the activities, the cost of visiting, and the beautiful views you’ll experience, the answer to the question, is Albania worth visiting, is easy.
In addition, Albania’s proximity to neighboring countries makes it easy to do a day trip to places such as Corfu, Montenegro, and North Macedonia!
It is definitely worth visiting Albania. If you’re debating it, add this country to your bucket list!