top 16 places to visit in albania

Top 16 Places to Visit in Albania

July 31, 2021
City highlights

Albania is a small country that each year is attracting more and more tourists. Despite the size, you will be surprised to find a diversity of places to visit throughout the country. So, if you decide to come and explore, here are the top 16 places to visit in Albania.

1. Theth

To begin our list of the top 16 places to visit in Albania, we will start from the north. Theth is one of the most breathtaking places in the Albanian Alps. It is a great destination to spend time in nature and explore its tradition, culture, and fresh food.

2. Koman Lake

Continuing with another attraction in the north, Koman is one of the most beautiful lakes in Albania. Boat and ferry rides are very popular in this lake, and the scenery is unbelievable. Nestled between the mountains and surrounded by amazing greenery, Koman will stay in your memory for a long time. Adventure seekers can also hike to nearby villages.

3. Valbona Valley
valbona valley, albania

Speaking of hiking, one of the most incredible hikes in Europe is the hike from Theth to Valbona Valley. However, even if hiking is not for you, it is still worth visiting the beautiful Valbona Valley and enjoying the untouched nature.

4. Shkoder
Shkodra Norther Albania

You cannot skip visiting the so-called capital of the north of Albania. Shkodra is one of the most beautiful cities in Albania and also has a very rich cultural heritage. The most important attraction is the Rozafa Castle, built on the top of a hill offering amazing views and amazing history. Next, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll along the old city promenade, where you can stop by numerous cafes and also find the National Museum of Photography Marubi. A very interesting fact is that in Shkodra, you will also find one of the main factories in the world that produces Venetian masks. So, head over to Shkodra and explore this city of beauty and culture.

5. Kruja
view from the bazaar of Kruja

The city of Kruja is home to the national ethnographic museum, but it is best known for being the hometown of Albania’s national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. There is a museum dedicated to him, and it is one of Albania’s most important and popular tourist attractions. In this city, you will also find the fortress from which Skanderbeg defended the country from Ottoman invasion.
The castle also offers staggering views of the Adriatic Sea. Other attractions close to Kruja are the mesmerizing national park of Qafe Shtama and the tomb of Sari Saltik.

6. Tirana
Tirana Scanderbeg square

While visiting Albania, you cannot skip the capital city as it will probably be your starting point for your trip around the country. There are plenty of attractions throughout Tirana, such as museums, mosques, cathedrals, and- last but not least- an impressive selection of bars, pubs, and restaurants. So, be prepared to explore during the day and enjoy the nightlife during the night in this vibrant city.

7. Durres
Durres beach

Close to Tirana, you will find the country’s biggest port city, Durres. It is located on the shore of the Adriatic sea and is probably the most ancient city in Albania. Its foundation dates back to 627 B.C., and there you will find many ancient archaeological sites. The most famous is the Roman Amphitheatre. In addition, it is a nice destination to explore the Adriatic shore.

8. Korca

Korça is one of the largest and most important cultural and economic centers located in the southeastern part of Albania. It offers a range of museums and monuments. The most well-known are the Education Museum, located in the building where the first Albanian school opened in 1887, and the renewed National Museum of Medieval Art. Korça is also famous for the largest carnival organized in Albania and for the typical serenades. In addition, you cannot skip the delicious traditional food. The most famous are Lakror (pie cooked in a traditional way) and Kernacka, the iconic meatballs of Korca. As for drinks, Korca has its own beer brand with the same name, as well as produces raki with a variety of flavors.
When visiting this city, you might as well explore other tourist spots nearby such as Voskopoja, Dardha, Boboshtica, and Erseka. These villages are well known for offering the possibility to practice many outdoor sports and activities. Korca is also a great base to visit Prespa Lake as well.

9. Pogradec

Found on the shores of Ohrid Lake, Pogradec is one of those places that is gaining lots of tourist attention. Its popularity has increased due to the lake which is the deepest in the Balkan and the oldest in Europe. Pogradec is also known for its delicious cuisine, fresh climate, and beautiful scenery. While being there, you can visit the stunning Drilon Springs nearby or the Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park.

10. Permet

The small town of Permet, also known as the “city of flowers” is famous for its green surroundings, folk music, great food, and astonishing nature. This town is well known for its thermal spa called Banjat e Benjes, where you can find different baths corresponding to different health purposes. The scenery is marvelous as well and makes this destination worth a visit. For those who have a sweet tooth, Permet is the perfect place to try a traditional type of dessert called Gliko. And for raki lovers, they will find some of the best raki in Albania. Enjoy!

11. Berat
berat, albania, unesco

Berat is one of Albania’s oldest towns. Otherwise, it is known as the City of a Thousand Windows due to its unique architecture. The main attraction is the castle, where people still live up to this day.
In 2008, UNESCO World Heritage added Berat to its list of sites, and if you visit it will be a trip through Albanian history and tradition.

12. Gjirokastra
gjirokastra bazaar

Gjirokastra or the City of Stones is one of the most unique places you will come across in Albania. It is nicknamed the City of Stones due to the houses designed like small stone castles. The Ottoman-influenced architecture will grab your attention throughout the city, especially in the Old Bazaar. There you can shop for souvenirs or handmade products. Another reason why Gjirokastra is famous is that it is the birthplace of world-renowned author Ismail Kadare and Albania’s former dictator Enver Hoxha. Nowadays, their old homes are museums, and they are quite interesting to visit.

13. Vlora
vlora albania

Moving further south of Albania, you will find one of the most popular coastal cities. Vlora is well known for its beaches but also for some historical sights. The most famous of them is the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building, which is where Albania declared independence 109 years ago. So, you will find a nice combination of beach and cultural holidays. Nearby, there are plenty of sights to visit as well such as the Kanina Castle, Uji i Ftohte (Cold Water), and amazing beaches.

14. Llogara Pass

Driving further from Vlora, you will shortly reach the Llogara Pass. It is one of Albania’s most famous places, with the road providing one of the most spectacular drives in the world. As you drive through the Llogara National Park, the road travels to over 1,000 meters above sea level and the scenery is unbelievable. At the top of the pass, you will find plenty of restaurants and for adrenaline-seekers, you can also paraglide. An incredible experience that will stick to your memory for a long time.

15. Albanian Riviera
albanian riviera

The Riviera is probably what you have heard about mostly in Albania. It consists of an amazing collection of beaches, small towns, and villages that will turn your summer vacation into a dream. During the high season, you can find different music festivals, as well as a thriving nightlife. If you are not sure which beaches to visit, here is a list of the top 10 beaches in Albania.

16. Saranda
Ksamil saranda albania

The last destination on our list of top 16 places to visit in Albania is Saranda. This coastal city is one of the hottest tourism locations in Albania. It is home to some of the best beaches in Albania. The Unesco World Heritage site, Butrint, is also located nearby. In the evenings, the best place to visit is the Lekursi Castle offering, beautiful views and during the high season, you can also enjoy different shows. If you would like to explore further across the border, you can easily reach Corfu island in Greece.

So, here you have the complete list of the top 16 places to visit in Albania. All you have to do is pack your bags and choose your trip.

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