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Ultimate Albania Travel Guide

I spent two months exploring Albania, experiencing the stunning beauty of the Albanian Riviera, and immersing myself in the rich culture of the country while visiting its historically significant cities. So on this page, I have gathered all the necessary information you need for your perfect Albania Trip! 

  • My personal favorite, the capital - Tirana

  • "City of a Thousand Windows" - Berat 

  • Albania nature phenomenon - The Blue Eye

  • The stunning old town and an impressive hilltop castle in Gjirokastër

  • Beautiful beaches on the Albanian Riviera & Llogara Pass

  • Ideal holiday destination - Ksamil

  • Highly recommended by travelers with a deep interest in history - Butrint National Park

  • Hike from Theth to Valbona, and on your way Shkodër

  • For some fun activities Osumi Canyons

What to pack for an Albania Trip? 

Albania boasts a fantastic climate, characterized by lengthy, warm summers and relatively mild winters.

In my travels, which spanned October and November, I experienced this first-hand. October, spent in the South, was warm enough for swimming even at the month's end. When I moved to Tirana in November, the weather shifted slightly, bringing a few rainy days and cooler nights. However, with the right clothing, even autumn in Albania can be thoroughly enjoyable, offering a comfortable and pleasant experience.

So if you are visiting Albania in summer, definitely pack light as the summers are warm and lovely and this continues even until the end of September and if you are lucky extends into October. 

For the autumn and winter months from November until April, be prepared for more rainy days. But as long as you have an umbrella and a warm jacket you will be completely fine. It does not get extremely cold during winter in Albania. The temperature rarely drops under a 0 during the day. Some nights can get a bit chilly. 

Is Albania a good digital nomad spot? 

I personally think YES! It is a great value-for-money location, with amazing weather, and good wifi throughout the country and there is so much to see and do! I spent a month in the South and a month in the capital Tirana and let me tell you - they are two different worlds. I personally think Tirana is an excellent digital nomad spot. So many amazing food and co-working places. Culture. entertainment and social life. If you prefer more quiet beach town vibes then one of the Albanian Riviera towns will be more suited for you! 

I go into detail about all the differences in my 'Saranda VS Tirana' Guide! 

I will give you a quick summary but if you want to know more about each point, check out Everything you need to know when traveling to Albania!

  • Albania has it's own currency - Leks

  • They also have their own language that is not similar to any other language in the world 

  • No one stops before the pedestrian crosswalk - so be careful before crossing the street

  • Albanians are aggressive drivers so if you decide to rent a car, you will need some time to get used to their driving style

  • South and the Capital are two different worlds

  • A European SIM will not work in Albania so you will need to get a local SIM to have data

  • Entry is fairly easy for most nationalities and you can stay up to 90 days

And you probably wonder, is Albania safe to travel? YES! I won't even go into detail about this because once I visited myself I realized how pointless this conversation is. It is absolutely safe to travel, probably safer than some European capitals! 

A must-visit and see is the Capital Tirana! Some of the main things to add to your Tirana Travel Itinerary are: 

Skanderbeg Square, situated in the heart of Tirana, Albania, serves as a pivotal landmark and a representation of the country's capital, reflecting its historical significance through various events. Following its pedestrian-only renovation in 2017, the square features a unique design with tiles from different parts of Albania, enhancing its ambiance. Spanning approximately 40,000 square meters, it ranks among the largest squares in the Balkans, catering to daily leisure and significant public gatherings. Encircled by notable structures that exhibit a mix of architectural styles, including Italian Fascist, Soviet-era, and modern Western, the square is home to the Palace of Culture, Et'hem Bej Mosque, and the National History Museum. Additionally, several charming cafes near the Palace of Culture offer spots to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the square.

Important Note! Most information in the National History Museum is in Albanian, with no English translation! As I already had researched a lot about the history of Albania I still found it interesting but I definitely did not learn anything new. I am warning you about this because if you are planning to visit the National History Museum for learning purposes it will be pointless. 

The Et'hem Bey Mosque in Tirana stands as a vivid testament to Albania's commitment to religious freedom and cultural endurance, having withstood the communist era's push towards atheism which led to the closure or destruction of many religious landmarks. Admired for its stunning frescoes and artwork that decorate its interior, this mosque serves as both a place of worship and a gateway to exploring Islamic art and Albanian heritage, inviting visitors to explore outside of prayer times. For those seeking a glimpse into the present-day architectural approach to places of worship, the Namazgjah Mosque, often called the 'new mosque,' provides a contemporary alternative to the historic charm of the Et'hem Bey Mosque.

Shëtitorja Murat Toptani Street offers a serene getaway amidst the urban buzz of Tirana, shaded by tall trees that create a verdant oasis ideal for leisurely walks or coffee breaks, particularly in the warmer months.

The Pyramid in Tirana is a notable landmark that initially served as a museum but has since undergone several changes to become an educational hub. It also played a role as a NATO base during the Kosovo War in 1999. Today, it's a popular spot where visitors can climb up to enjoy stunning views of the city, showcasing its unique history and adaptability.

The original bazaar, demolished during the communist era in the 1950s, has been reborn as the 'New Bazaar', capturing its historical spirit while infusing it with contemporary vibrancy. Today, it's a lively hub where visitors can explore artisan shops, cafes, and traditional Albanian eateries, offering everything from handcrafted souvenirs and antiques to local specialties. Located merely a five-minute walk from the main square, the New Bazaar presents a striking contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life, providing a unique, immersive experience that feels worlds apart yet is conveniently close.

The Grand Park of Tirana, a cherished part of the city since its creation in the 1950s, is my favorite spot for anyone spending more than a few days in the city. Though it might not be the top tourist attraction, the park provides a splendid setting for walks or coffee breaks, featuring a 5km walking path for visitors to enjoy. Centered around a large artificial lake built during its early development, the park has evolved into a tranquil haven, offering a peaceful retreat from the urban rush, making it an essential visit for a complete experience of Tirana's diverse urban landscape.

The Dajti Express Cable Car is a must-do in Tirana, providing an opportunity to explore Mount Dajti and its captivating surroundings. Spanning 4.7 kilometers, it ranks among the longest cable car routes in the Balkans and lasts for approximately 15 minutes. At the summit, visitors can enjoy hiking, minigolf, dining at the restaurant, or having a picnic in designated areas. Operating hours vary by season, and it's worth noting that the cable car is closed on Tuesdays, so planning ahead is recommended.

The National Museum of Fine Arts in Tirana is a key destination for art lovers, offering a comprehensive overview of Albanian art history through paintings, sculptures, and visual arts. Located in the city's heart, it highlights the country's artistic evolution from the Renaissance to modern times. This museum is not just a place to admire art but also a window into Albania's cultural and historical context, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in the country's rich heritage.

The Rotating Sky Restaurant & Panoramic Bar offers a unique dining experience in Tirana, slowly spinning to provide guests with 360-degree views of the city over 40 minutes. This distinctive venue combines culinary delights with breathtaking panoramas, allowing diners to enjoy a meal while taking in the entire cityscape from an elevated perspective.

If you are looking for the best restaurants and best local spots to try some local Albanian food, make sure to check out my Tirana Food Blog where I list all the best restaurants I found in Tirana and highly recommend! 

The 2 best areas where to stay in Tirana while visiting are Blloku and around the main Skanderbeg Square. For those visiting only for a day or two I would recommend staying as close to the main Skanderbeg Square as possible as you will have everything within 10 minutes walking distance but for those staying for a longer period, I definitely highly recommend the Blloku area. Also, Blloku district is literally 5 minutes walk away from the main square so you are still fairly close (walking distance) to all the main sites. Blloku is a great area full of amazing restaurants, bars, and co-working spaces. Also at the other end of the Blloku district, you will find the Grand Park of Tirana which is a great place for walks, runs, or simple coffee breaks. 

Once you start to venture outside the capital, make sure to visit some of these amazing places: 

Berat, a beautiful historic city in Albania, is known as the "City of a Thousand Windows" and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture. Highlights in Berat include the Berat Castle, Gorica Bridge in the Gorica Quarter, Holy Trinity Church, and Boulevard Republika. For those interested in wine, Berat is also a great place for wine tasting, with several wineries such as Cobo Winery, Nurellari Winery, and Alpha Winery offering tours and tastings.

Albania is home to two natural wonders known as the Blue Eyes, one located in the south and the other in the north. The southern Blue Eye, easily accessible from Saranda with a 30-minute drive, is a stunning freshwater pool that looks like a human eye, featuring water emerging from a cave, known for its crystal-clear but very cold water. The northern counterpart is reachable via the Vaskat Nderlysaj hiking trail near Kaprre, a remote village. Both sites are enveloped in lush greenery, offering visitors a delightful day trip option that combines hiking with the chance to cool off in these unique freshwater springs.

Gjirokastër, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site and famously known as the "Stone City," captivates visitors with its ancient old town and a commanding hilltop castle. Highlights of Gjirokastër include the Castle itself, which offers breathtaking panoramic views and houses a historical museum, the Old Bazaar where traditional crafts are sold, and the ethnographic museum located in the birthplace of Enver Hoxha. The city's old stone buildings, distinctive slate roofs, and winding cobblestone streets transport visitors to a bygone era, presenting Gjirokastër as a living museum that richly showcases Albanian history and culture.

The Albanian Riviera, renowned for its stunning beaches and charming beach towns, stands out as a prime destination for those seeking an affordable vacation by the sea. This coastal region is a magnet for tourists worldwide, drawn by the promise of beautiful shorelines and the allure of budget-friendly travel options.

Some of the best beaches you can't miss out on are:

  • Gjipe Beach

  • Dhermi Beach

  • Jali Beach

  • Borsh Beach

I dive into all the best beaches in my Albania Riviera Travel Guide

I personally stayed for a month in Saranda which is a new Digital Nomad hotspot in Europe! I enjoyed my stay there but there are definitely a few things I wasn't aware of so I have put together an Ultimate Saranda Travel Guide that goes into detail of all the pros and  cons and some practical tips so you can decide for yourself if you wish to pick it as your next base! 

There are also several great day trips you can do from Saranda as some of the places I mentioned above are located more to the South, closer to Saranda than Tirana: Best Day Trips from Saranda

  • How would you travel across South America in three months?
    To travel across South America in three months I would start in Colombia, then go to Ecuador, then Peru, followed by Bolivia and from there you can make your way to Brazil or go down to Argentina and Chile.
  • What are some of the 'must do's' in South America?
    Some of the 'must do’s' in South America include a trip to Amazon, Salt Desert in Bolivia, and Iguazu Falls in Brazil. You also need to learn about Inca culture as it is a big part of South America’s heritage.
  • Is it safe to travel South America? Any precautions to take?
    It is safe to travel South America if you are always aware of your belongings. Do not walk alone in lonely streets, avoid wandering around at night and just have the common sense to avoid trouble.
  • What are some safe places to travel in South America?
    The safest place to travel in South America is Peru. Also all the small towns and villages in Ecuador and Colombia.
  • What is it like to visit Iguacu Falls in South America?
    Visiting Iguacu Falls in South America is a must do! It is the biggest waterfall system in the world and it was the most powerful thing I have ever seen. It is truly an incredible place.
  • Where should I go in South America and why?
    In South America, you should go to The Amazon as it is a very unique place around that area. You should visit the salt desert in Bolivia because it is the biggest salt desert in the world. And also, you should visit Iguazu Falls as it is the biggest waterfall system in the world.
  • Where are some great South American countries for a vacation?
    Some great South American countries for a vacation are Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Colombia because of the Caribbean coast, Ecuador because of the coast and Galapagos islands, and Peru because of the mountains and history of Incas around the Cusco area.
  • Where are some of the best places to hike in South America?
    The best places to hike in South America are in Peru. The best trekking is around Colca Canyon and any trail that leads to Machu Picchu.
  • What is the best South American cuisine to you?
    The best South American cuisine for me is from Peru. The food in Peru is absolutely incredible and has different variations for meat lovers and vegetarians.
  • What are the least safe places to travel in South America?
    The least safe places to travel in South America are the downtown areas in big cities of Brazil and favelas in any South American country.
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