Albania is a small country located northwest of Greece and shares land borders Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo and Greece. The country’s location means you can expect warm weather from May into October with highs of over 30 Celsius. Albania’s currency is the Lek which is typically a weak currency compared to Euros, Sterling or Dollars which can result in cheaper meals and entry prices to attractions. We’ve done the hard work and put together a list of great stuff you can get up to in Albania, and if you’re looking to start your Albanian adventure now, we’d recommend checking out our Travel and Tours, Albania.
1. The Accursed Mountains
Far from the hustle and bustle of Albania’s cities, the Accursed Mountains stand sentinel at the top of the country; crossing over into Kosovo and Montenegro. More than 2,500m above sea level, the mountains have exploded in popularity in recent years as a must-visit back-packer destination. Only accessible by the Koman ferry, this area encapsulates the true beauty of Northern Albania.
2. The Beaches of the Albanian Riviera
The beaches of Albania are a huge topic themselves and we can by no means begin to get into the details of them all in this article! That said, we want to make you aware that the country is home to some wonderous coastal locations, not surprisingly, as most of the western side of the country is coastline. Some of our favourites are: Himara, Dhërmi, Saranda and Ksamil, however, this is just the beginning. If you are heading to Albania, the beaches are a MUST!
3. UNESCO Towns
The UNESCO towns of Berat and Gjirokastra are both located in southern Albania’s picturesque hills. The beautiful authentic, crumbling old towns illustrate influences from the Illyrians, Greeks, Romans and Ottomans spanning the old towns’ existence. If you enjoy exploring local culture and history then Berat and Gjirokastra are must-see locations.
4. Lake Koman Ferry
Located in Northern Albania, the passenger ferry operates on the Koman Reservoir (also known as the Koman Lake). The boat trip offers passengers first-hand views of the magical mountain gorges and has occasionally been known to make unscheduled stops for the locals. If you’re heading to the north, then this definitely should be on your list.
Tirana is the nation’s capital and naturally is jam-packed with attractions and things that should be on your to-do list. Lively, colourful full of unfettered fun, Albania’s capital offers a vibrant bustling scene packed full of unpretentious, trendy bars and an emerging restaurant scene. Add to this the abundance of culture in the form of historical sights, museums and even a game of chess with one of the many locals found playing in the cities open spaces and you have a pretty awesome place to visit.
6. The Blue Eye
Something that should be on every Albania visitor’s checklist is the famous Blue Eye. This is a natural phenomenon where the clear blue water of the river bubbles forth into a perfect blue natural spring. The blue eye is framed by the dense and enchanting surrounding forest which itself is a wonder. As you can imagine, swimming in the pool has been prohibited, but just witnessing the pool’s tranquil beauty is enough to provide a holiday highlight! If instead, you’re heading to the north of the country, you can visit the Blue Eye in Theth, which can be combined with a visit to the magical Lake Koman.
7. Visit Shkodër
Although Shkoder is modest in size, there are plenty of things to do and places to see in the charming and welcoming northwestern city. We’d recommend checking out Rozafa castle which is about a half-hour walk from the city centre. The castle is a beautiful 14th-century structure surrounded by myth and legend. Sunset is undoubtedly the best time to visit as the views from the top of the hill can be breathtaking. The city is also host to a wide variety of museums including the Marubi National Museum of Photography, The Site of Witness and Memory and the Shkoder Historical Museum.
8. Benja Thermal Baths
Perfect year-round, these natural baths are certainly off the beaten track! Located more than 200km from Tirana, the baths reward their determined and adventurous visitors with year-round warm water, perfect for bathing in. Parking near the baths is cheap and gives you the opportunity to explore the local area on foot as there are hiking paths nearby. We’d recommend bringing some water shoes to wear in the baths as they can get muddy!
We hope that this article has provided some inspiration for your next holiday adventure. If you have visited this Balkan gem, then get in touch on Facebook and Twitter and let us know your favourite attractions and sights to see!