Apollonia archeological park

All roads lead to Albania: What you need to know before traveling to Albania

All roads lead to Albania: What you need to know before traveling to Albania

From its stunning beaches and Mediterranean climate to its rich history and culture, there is something for everyone in Albania. Why all roads lead to Albania? More than 2000 years ago, the Romans built great roads to connect with Rome. Via Appia which was Rome’s first road, linked both sides of the Adriatic Sea through Via Egnatia. Starting in Dyrrahium (modern-day Durres, Albania), Via Egnatia stretched through valleys and mountains in the southern Balkan to end in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Traveling in Albania connects you with the ancient history of the Illyrians, Greeks and Romans. Moreover, you will follow the footsteps of Julius Caesar on the eastern part of the Adriatic Sea.

Today tourism in Albania is turning into a very important industry. Considering it a unique experience, many famous travel magazines like New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller, etc recommend it as a travel destination for 2023. Travelers choose Albania because it’s out of an ordinary destination. Within a small area, one can experience a diversity of activities. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best things to do in Albania, the best time to visit, how to get around, where to stay, and whether is it safe to travel in Albania.

Apollonia archeological park
Apollonia archeological site, a key town along Via Egnatia

The best things to do in Albania

Visit the Albanian Riviera: The Albanian Riviera is one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in the country. With its charming beaches and Mediterranean climate, it’s no wonder why. Dhermi Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the Riviera and is perfect for soaking up the sun. Qeparo’s old town standing on the edge of rocky hills is in symphony with southern Italy. And hiking in Llogara National Park will offer the best panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and its islands. Whereas, Gjipe beach makes you feel in a remote and tropical paradise. Down south facing Corfu Island, Ksamil has the best sandy beaches in Albania.

Explore the archeological sites: Albania has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Butrint archaeological site, and the medieval city of Gjirokaster and Berat. The ancient city of Apollonia was a key town along the Via Egnatia, where famous Roman people like Julius Caesar and Augustus hang around. Bylis, Amantia, and Oriku created a koinon (political community) along the Vjosa river. History buffs can enjoy traveling between 10-12 days around Albania to adore archeological remains.

Ksamil beach and Corfu Island on the horizon

Hiking in the mountains: Albania has one of the highest average altitudes in Europe, approximately 700 meters above sea level. Options to hike are numerous, from the Albanian Alps to the Sharr mountains in the north, to Tomorr and Nemercka in the south. Most of the trails are open and clean from snow from June until November. 

Spend a weekend in Tirana: The Albanian capital is one of the growing capitals in the Western Balkans in terms of population and economy. It offers a buzzy nightlife, impressive museums, and many outdoor activities.

Go for birdwatching: In Albania are annually observed over 315 bird species, many of them nesting here. Along the coastline, you can go to see water birds such as flamingos, pelicans, or herons in the lagoons of Karavasta, Narta, and Kune-Vain. Additionally, Drinos and Vjosa valley are frequented by different raptors.

A Little Egret resting in Karavasta Lagoon

The best time to visit Albania

The best time to visit Albania is between March and October when the weather is warm and sunny. However, the country’s charming coastline and Mediterranean climate make it a popular destination for visitors all year round. Spring and autumn seasons are best for exploring city life, while July and August are good to spend relaxing on the beach. The most popular winter destination is the city of Korce. It offers a cozy Christmas atmosphere, delicious cuisine, and ski slopes in the village of Dardhe.

How to get around Albania

There are several ways to get around Albania, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The best way to see the country is by car, as this gives you the most flexibility in terms of where you go and what you see. Alternatively, you can take the bus between big cities. Besides being slow, you may not be able to get to all of the places you want to go.

Practical information for visitors to Albania includes knowing that most people speak Albanian, although English is also widely spoken. The country uses the Albanian Lek as its currency, and visitors need to have cash when traveling around the country. Paying by card is not that common in Albania.

Guesthouse in Shkoder
Tradita in Shkoder

Where to stay in Albania

When it comes to finding accommodation in Albania, there are a few different options to choose from. The capital, Tirana, is a good place to start your search for hotels and hostels. There are also many apartments for rent in Tirana if you’re looking for something more long-term. Guesthouses (Albanian: Bujtinat) are another option for accommodation and are typically family-run businesses that provide a more traditional Albanian experience. Recently, the Albanian government is supporting local farmers to invest in their land, and spending time with these friendly people is an exceptional event.

Is it safe to travel in Albania

Albania is open for travel from all countries, and most domestic restrictions have been lifted. To illustrate, Albania is ranked 41 on the 2022 Global Peace Index. Considering safety categories such as physical harm, theft, daytime/nighttime safety, or women’s safety, tourists in Albania are pretty safe. In general, there is a welcoming atmosphere for foreigners. Regarding health and medical, it’s advised to tourists to bring international travel insurance. Public hospitals have increased their service, and many private hospitals offer good assistance. In terms of terrorism, there has never been any attack in Albania.

Conclusion

No matter where you decide to stay in Albania, you’re sure to have a memorable experience. The locals are friendly and welcoming, making Albania the perfect place to relax and enjoy a vacation. And with so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored in this lovely country.

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Lin village

Top 10 places to visit in Albania – off the beaten path

Top 10 places to visit in Albania - off the beaten path

Are you planning to visit Albania and you like to explore hidden gems?! Albania is a small country to visit, yet it is filled with many unique places to see. Covered by mountains from north to south, you will find many things to do in Albania. Besides the natural beauty of Albania, you will see different traditions and lifestyles on these hidden destinations in Albania.

If you are a traveler that wants to go off the beaten path, you will find these destinations attractive and exceptional. Many of you can easily reach these villages in Albania, but to enjoy the best you might need to hike a little. Remember to travel slowly in Albania and experience first-hand with locals.

Voskopoje

Table of Contents

Voskopoje is a village 15km away from the city of Korce. It stands between mountains and wild forests. Voskopoje used to be a cultural center during the Ottoman Empire. Communities of Albanian, Greeks, and Vlachs were co-living peacefully here until the 19th century. Today, Voskopoje has a different vibe from the rest of Albania and is considered “Paris of the Balkans”. Many of the old ancestors have returned and have opened new guesthouses. Travelers decide to visit Voskopoje because of the many Orthodox churches. You can hike to St. John the Baptist’s Monastery and nearby Shipske village, in a beautiful trail matching up churches and pine forests. Others visit Voskopoje to enjoy the local food and chilly weather.

Lin village
Lin village by the Lake Ohrid

Lin

Lin is a tiny village by Lake Ohrid and is an ancient settlement of humanity. A peninsula covered by archeological sites and crystal emerald waters. Most locals are fishermen that go out in the lake to catch Koran (an endemic trout fish of Lake Ohrid). The socialists built many bunkers here, and used them to patrol the lake. You can take a short hike around the peninsula to adore the natural beauties and history.

Permet

The town of Permet is on the bank of river Vjosa and at the foot of Mount Nemercka. A quiet city with friendly people and beautiful valleys bursting with roses. Generally, Permet is famous for the Bektashi community, a Sufi Islam sect widely practiced in Albania. Independent travelers choose to visit Permet for the purpose of connecting with nature. Traditional Guesthouse Permet and Ferma Albanik are run by friendly locals who love nature. Try to spend an overnight here to support the local community and get closer to Mother Earth. Additionally, you can drive the Fir of Hotova national park in a 4×4 car.

Nivica

Nivica is in the center of Laberia province, alongside high mountains. Uniquely the region has a medieval water aqueduct, high waterfalls of Peshtura, and deep canyons of Nivice. Equally important is the historical fact that the people of Laberia played a significant role in the independence of Albania. You can easily reach Nivica from SH4 road, just at the entrance of the city of Tepelene. Camp Nivica and Camping Lekdushi – Shehu are two sustainable accommodations where one can fully embrace nature.

Flamingos in Narta Lagoon
Flamingos in Narta Lagoon

Narta Lagoon

Narta is the second-largest lagoon in Albania on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. A part of the lagoon is a salt marsh, which creates perfect conditions for birds to rest here. It is an incredible place for birdwatching of flamingos, dalmatian pelicans, or little terns. Surprisingly on the west are sand dunes that separate the sea from the lagoon. They have a height of 5-6 meters and offer beautiful views of Sazan Island. In addition, on the south is Zvernec village and its small island, where is the Monastery of Saint Mary. It’s open to the public all year round. Remember to bring a pair of binoculars when visiting Narta Lagoon.

Peshkopi

Generally, the east of Albania is remote due to the high mountains. Peshkopi is one of the few small towns settled in this part of the country. It’s next to the border with North Macedonia, and you reach it from Tirana following the Road of Arberi. The town is famous for its thermal waters. Following this, Albanians visit hotels with Sulphur baths to cure rheumatism issues. Mountain tourism is increasing in Peshkopi as you can hike various trails in Korab – Koritnik nature park.

Trail of colors, Shishtavec
Trail of Colors in Shishtavec. Photo by Ermal Hallaci

Shishtavec

Shishtavec is a village in the northeast of Albania and is the center of the Gorani people. As a result, locals speak the Albanian language and Goranski dialect. Obviously, it’s a multicultural place and appealing to ethnographers. The mountain pastures in this region are famous for the diversity of flora. Consider going hiking during summertime when trails are full of colors. You will be walking right on the border between Albania and Kosovo.

Lepushe

Lepushe is on the north edge of Albania, on the foot of the Albanian Alps. It’s less known than Theth or Valbone, yet the valley has many things to offer. During winter the area has a high snow density and is great for skiing. In summer travelers visit the valley to hike Vajusha peak. Additionally, hikers can reach several peaks such as Berizhdoli or Grebeni. The asphalted road to Lepushe has some of the most panoramic views in Albania. 10 km from the village is the border with Montenegro, which takes you to the rest of the Prokletije Alps.

Lepushe, Albania
The trail to Vajusha peak from Lepushe village

Qeparo

Qeparo is a seaside village in Albanian Riviera. By comparison, it’s less frequented than other villages like Dhermi or Jali. Qeparo is more frequented by families and is quite peaceful to enjoy the beach. Besides the bay, Qeparo has an upper old village. It offers amazing views of the Ionian Sea and olive grove hills. Locals of Qeparo produce some of the best olive oil in Albania. Seek to spend a night in the upper town to catch beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Sotira Waterfalls

Sotira waterfall is a tourist attraction on the foot of Mount Tomorr. You reach it by driving from the city of Gramsh. Then it takes approximately 1-hour hiking from the village of Sotire. The water flowing from Mount Tomorr creates some waterfalls of 20-100 meters in height. Remember to be careful when reaching the waterfall as the terrain is slippery.

Sotira waterfalls
Sotira waterfalls

I am a national tourist guide in Albania, and I get to travel a lot around the country, so I can guarantee you that these destinations have a different feeling. To avoid the big crows during high tourist season, head to these villages, and you won’t be disappointed. Overall, one can spend 10 days on average traveling around Albania.

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Cycling in Tirana

13 Things To Do in Tirana

13 Things to do in Tirana

Tirana is a growing capital that offers many things to do for travelers like you. It blends in a nutshell history, tradition, and nature. Tirana has the largest airport in Albania that acts as the starting point of tours around the country. The city is famous for its active lifestyle and modern approach. Tirana has a population of approximately 1 million and is the center of attention in Albania. Indeed, there used to be a proverb in Albania during the communist days: All the country works hard for Tirana. You can easily spend 3 days alternating many choices of places to go.

  1. Take a walking tour of the main boulevard
  2. Discover Albanian history in the National History Museum 
  3. Learn about communism through BunkArt 1 & 2, and House of Leaves
  4.  Get on a cable car to Mount Dajt
  5. Drive to Bovilla Lake
  6. Hike to Pellumbas cave
  7. Enjoy sunny days by the Grand Park of Tirana
  8.  Eat local food
  9. Experience Tirana nightlife
  10. Cycle in Tirana
  11. Hike to Shengjergj waterfall
  12. Watch a football match at Air Albania Stadium
  13. See local Art & Culture
Main boulevard in Tirana
Main boulevard in Tirana

1. Take a walking tour of the main boulevard

The main boulevard of Tirana “Deshmoret e Kombit” includes the most important government buildings of Albania. The history dates back to the 1930s when Italian architects built the capital. You can spot the Italian architecture at the ministry buildings, the Prime Minister’s office, or the University of Tirana at Mother Theresa square. Take a slow walk, and you will find many more impressive landmarks like the Pyramid of Tirana.

National History Museum
National History Museum in Skanderbeg square

2. Discover Albanian history in the National History Museum

The Skanderbeg square features the center of the capital. The history of Tirana starts here with its sights from different eras as Et’hem Bey mosque and the Clock Tower. These symbolic buildings are the only remaining from the Ottoman period. In the center of the square is the monument of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg. If you want to learn closely about Albanian history, is highly suggested the National History Museum. The building was inaugurated in 1981 and covers vivid facts from antiquity to the last century.

BunkArt 1
The office of Interior Minister in BunkArt 2

3. Learn about communism through BunkArt 1 & 2, and House of Leaves

Albania experienced communism from 1945-1991. The history of the most isolated country in Europe during the 20th century is displayed well at the museums of BunkArt and House of Leaves. BunkArt 1 is the largest underground bunker in Albania with 130 rooms that can take up to 1.5 hours to visit. It is at the foot of Mount Dajt, and you can reach it by a city bus departing behind the National Opera. BunkArt 2 is the former Cold War bunker of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and sets between the City Hall and the ministry. House of Leaves formerly was the headquarters of the Albanian secret service “Sigurimi”.

Views of Tirana from upper station of Dajti Express

4. Get on a cable car to Mount Dajt

Dajti Express is the longest cable car in the Balkans. It takes you to beautiful nature, where locals love to relax on their days off. The views of Tirana from the top are amazing. Additionally, you can find many activities like Adventure Park (open during summer) or hiking to the top of Tujani peak. It takes about 3 hours to reach the top in an easy trail. You can hike with a guide and visit BunkArt 1 here: Rural Tirana – Hike mount Dajt and Bunkart 1

Bovilla Lake
Bovilla Lake

5. Drive to Bovilla Lake

Bovilla Lake has the best landscapes in Tirana. It is 20km from the capital, and you can drive or cycle there. This area has some beautiful views of mountains and canyons. Next to the dam are many climbing routes. You can take a short hike up to a viewpoint and enjoy a picnic. For more details, check out: 13 Best Hiking in Albania

Hiking in Pellumbas
Trail to Pellumbas Cave over Erzeni river

6. Hike to Pellumbas cave

Pellumbas cave is a tourist attraction in Tirana for people who like nature. From the village of Pellumbas, you hike about 2km to reach the entrance. The cave is one of the biggest in Albania and is full of stalactites and stalagmites. Bring a flashlight because there isn’t enough light inside.

Artificial Lake

7. Enjoy sunny days by the Grand Park of Tirana

Albania has around 300 sunny days a year, and Tirana is known to be a warm city. If you are in Tirana during hot summer days, you can go to chill at the Grand Park. The area has an artificial lake, a bike and run circuit, and many cafes. It is the most popular place to go for locals. Families with kids can have fun at various outdoor playgrounds inside the park.

Jufka with chicken

8. Eat local food

Albanian cuisine is a blend of Turkish and Italian influences. In the capital, you can find hundreds of restaurants to try local food. Areas like the “Pazari i Ri” and “Kalaja e Tiranes” are known for traditional food. Blloku has many modern restaurants with Italian influence as Spaghetti Western, Salt Rest, Ejona, Artigiano, and King’s House. Alongside the road to Mount Dajt are some fantastic restaurants too.

Tirana nightlife
Tirana nightlife

9. Experience Tirana nightlife

The nightlife in Tirana is busy during the whole week. The locals here love to go out. Blloku is the most popular for young people. There are many bars where you can enjoy a cocktail as Tribeca, Radio, Checkpoint Charlie, or Whisky. Rruga Mustafa Matohiti is another area with cool lounge bars such as Meduza, City Art, and Sense Resto. If you like to dance, you can go to Tunel, Arte, or The Underground.

Cycling in Tirana
A group of cyclists in Tirana boulevard

10. Cycle in Tirana

Tirana has many renovated bike lines that have increased the number of cyclists. You can easily take a bike tour around the ring of Tirana, all through a bike line. Remember to be careful because pedestrians walk carelessly in the bike line. If you feel fit and like farther tours, you can go to the hills of the artificial lake or Mount Dajt. Additionally, there are some mountain bike trails for adventurer spirits. For road bikers, the Krraba pass is a beautiful challenge. Road bikers can also choose to cycle to the village of Baldushk or Petrele.

Hiking to Shengjergj waterfall
Hiking to Shengjergj waterfall

11. Hike to Shengjergj waterfall

Shengjergj valley is 30 km from Tirana, behind Mount Dajt. It is a remote village that has many hiking trails. The valley is a place of interest for locals during winter because everything turns white from the snow. Easy hiking trails are Shengjergj waterfall or “Liqeni i Lepurit” (Rabbit lake). More demanding hikes are Mali me Gropa or Maja e Fagut. It is advisable to have a guide for the latest. If you are an off-road enthusiast, drive towards the Bize-Martanesh reserve for splendid nature. The gravel road starts just at the end of Shengjergj village.

Air Albania Stadium
Air Albania Stadium during a match

12. Watch a football match at Air Albania Stadium

The new football stadium in Tirana is unique in Europe. It has a tower attached to it which serves as Marriot Hotel. The stadium has a capacity of 22.000 seats, which makes it the largest in Albania. Besides Albania’s national team, local clubs like FK Partizani and KF Tirana use it for Superliga matches. Football is the most popular game in Albania, and the derby match between Partizani and Tirana is an experience. Check out the schedule at fshf.org and see if there is a match during your stay in Tirana.

Event at Art University of Tirana
Event at Art University of Tirana

13. See local Art & Culture

Tirana has hundreds of cultural activities all year round. The best way to learn about them is to download the free application Tirana Ime 2.0. Everything happening in Tirana is listed here. Try to see some Art exhibitions at the National Art Gallery, National Museum, or at the house of painter Sali Shijaku.

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13 Best Hiking in Albania

13 Best Hiking in Albania

Albania is a paradise for hikers of all levels. Hiking in Albania is an entirely unique experience because you meet super friendly locals, enjoy traditional food, and get introduced to unknown cultures. The mountains in Albania consist of Dinaric Alp, Sar mountains, Pindus mountains, and Ceraunian mountains. The flora of Albania’s nature is rich thanks to the typical Mediterranean climate. From the Albanian Alps down to south Albania, the legends of mountains are exceptional.

Albania’s hiking trails are slightly different from the Western world. They are marked and maintained in the last years but you need to know that the Albanian Alps are pretty wild and harsh. It is highly recommended to hire a private guide while hiking in the Albanian Alps so that you embrace all the beauty of nature and do not miss a thing.

If you prefer to explore the mountains alone, ensure to prepare in advance. Consider assembling all the required equipment for safe and sound walking in Albania. Prior to departure search online about the trail, you plan to hike and download an offline map. Pack good hiking shoes as most of the trails are rocky. Take insulated water bottles and water purification tablets. Also, make a list of local contacts in case of emergency. And most important reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

  1. Theth – Valbone

This is perhaps the most famous route in the country. The trail is 16km long and reaches the highest altitude in Valbone ridge at 1800m asl (above sea level). It is open from June – the end of November (depending on the snowfalls). During the winter and spring, the trail is closed due to heavy snow and it becomes dangerous at some point. Even on the warm days of May, the trail has snow and it is not recommended to do it without a local guide. During winter you need to follow the winter trail, which is not well-marked and requires the knowledge of the locals. Along both valleys, the trail stretches through dense beech and pine tree. There are two bars open during summer, where you can enjoy a drink with a view. Level: Moderate

2. Peak of Balkans

The 192km trail extends through Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro in the Dinaric Alps. A journey that takes you to some of the most rural villages in these three countries. The Accursed Mountains are wrapped with enormous legends about warriors, kanun, and “zana e maleve” (an Albanian mythological figure associated with mountains). Only in the last 15 years, has the region been accessible to tourists which boosts more the level of adventure. Level: Difficult. For more details about the trail, check out Peak of Balkans

3. Korab mountain

Korab peak is the highest in Albania and North Macedonia standing at 2764m asl. It is located on the border between these two countries and you can reach it from both sides. Korab is the fourth highest peak in the Balkans. The trail in Albania starts from the village of Radomire, and first passes through a pine forest. Then it ascends on a green meadow. The last part is rocky all the way to the summit. It is well-marked in summer (May – November) and in winter is covered with lots of snow. Additionally, it is a great place for ski lovers to slide as the terrain is of easy steepness. Level: Moderate

4. High Scardus Trail

A new trail is built and marked lately which extends along Sar Mountains in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. The total length is 495km passing between borders of three countries. Whether you can choose to walk the whole trail or divide it into different parts. The region is quite rich in endemic flora and fauna to mention Balkan Lynx, Sar shepherd’s dog, and endemic Macedonian pines. The trail is full of meadows with flowers and glacial lakes. Level: Difficult For more details about the trail, check out High Scardus Trail

Bovilla Lake

5. Gamti peak

This is a beautiful hike nearby the capital Tirana. The peak stands at 1256m asl and it offers amazing views above Lake Bovilla, Mali me Gropa, and Dajti mountain. The trail starts near the lake in the village of Ranze. At first, the route follows through dense bushes and continues up to the rocky part. It is not well marked but it is visible if you have some hiking experience. The views at the top are worth having a picnic. Level: Moderate

6. Mali me gropa

The mountain with holes (that’s the real name) has a rare karstic formation making it a unique hiking experience in Albania. The hiking trail starts from the village of Shen Meri (St. Mary), only a 1-hour drive from Tirana. The first part stretches through an old dirt route, the trail has no signs so you will need to have an offline map or better a local guide. Taking several stops for photos and snacks at the top is worthwhile. Level: Easy

7. Mali i Thate

The summit of “Dry Mountain” is approachable following the trail that starts in the village of Alarup in southeast Albania. The route is easy to stick to when having an offline map. It is located between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, where at the top you can admire both of them. There are no trees or water sources on the way, so it is recommended to bring enough water with you. Bear in mind that due to its location, the weather is quite unpredictable and it changes often. Hence strong winds are common on cloudy days. The summit stands at 2288m asl and takes around 7-8 both ways. Level: Easy

8. Tomorr mountain

Tomorr is the most well-known mountain in south Albania and the locals have been hiking around it for centuries. There are two peaks on this mountain, Cuka e Partizanit (2416m) and Baba Tomorri (2400m). Thetrail to “Cuka e Partizanit” starts at “Cezma e Tarikos” south of Berat. The hiking level is moderate and takes around 4-5 hours up to the summit. Baba Tomorri is part of the Bektashism religion and on the top is the shrine of Abbas Ali. This peak is reachable by driving a 4×4 car from Polican and Corovode. From 19-21 of August, there is a big pilgrimage celebration and it’s quite busy with locals.

9. Gramos mountain

“Cuka e Pecit” peak in the Pindus mountain range between Albania and Greece, stands as the highest peak (2520m). It is situated in a remote habited area, covered by green pastures and the main source of four different rivers. The trail starts from the village of Starje in Erseke and lasts for 7 km to the summit. It is a visible track through easy steep hills which takes 3.5-4 hours one way. Level: Moderate

10. Cika peak

In southwest Albania, around Llogara national park you can find many hiking trails. The highest are Qorra (2018) and Cika peak (2044m) on Ceraunian mountain. The trail starts in Llogara pass near Hotel Panorama and continues through a dense pine forest. To reach Qorra peak takes 4km one way and it is of an easy level during the summer period. The trail to Cika peak is 8.6km one way and is considered difficult. It is a rocky terrain and the weather can be quite unpredictable. It is an ultra-prominent track from Qorra to Cika peak, so consider taking a local guide with you. Level: Difficult

11. Nemercka 

It is located in South Albania and shares the valleys of Vjosa river and Drinos river. The highest peak is “Maja e Papingut” (2485m), which you can reach from both sides. From Vjosa valley it’s quite difficult to climb and you must have great physical conditions and a local guide. For more information, check out: Nemercka from Vjosa valley On the other side of Drinos valley, the route to the summit starts from the village of Skore, near Polican. The trail is approximately 13km long in both ways. For little experienced hikers, it’s recommended to do it during summer or autumn. The trail is covered with snow during winter until late May and requires mountaineering equipment. This is one of the ultra-prominent mountains in Albania, which means that you will gain an elevation of over 1500m. Thus think of oversleeping at the village of the starting point, or camping overnight.

12. Guri i Kamjes

This geological rock stands at 1461 meters above sea level and is created by land erosion and winds. The locals describe it as a large boat sailing in the sea. It is located in the southeast of Albania, between Pogradec and Korce. From Qafe Plloce, turn in the direction of the village of Prenisht. You will need an offroad car as it’s a gravel route. The hiking trail is 4.5 km long and it is easy. It is accessible all year long, even though during winters there is some snow. Please don’t hike up to the rock in order to sustain nature. Level: Easy. Check out this tour: Explore Southeast Albania

13. Vajusha Peak

It is located in the very north of Albania, right on the border with Montenegro. You can hike to the summit (2050m asl) from the village of Lepushe in Albania. In Montenegro, it is known as Taljanka peak and starts from Grebaj. The trail on the Albanian side is an easy level. It takes around 5 hours to do the whole trail of 10km. The track stretches through a beech forest and mostly in meadows. The route is well marked and you can also find water sources on the way.

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Top 22 Best Beaches in Albania

Top 22 Best Beaches in Albania

Summer is behind the corner and you are thinking about the next vacation adventure. You are thinking to explore new destinations after a crazy lockdown without traveling. Where can you find the best beaches in Albania?

Albania is a small country with Mediterranean vibes, which has lots to offer. Its geography is blended between high mountains, large lakes, and long sea coasts. Albania has a 530 km coastline including the Adriatic Sea in the north, and the Ionian Sea in the south. If you are a family and you are looking for a peaceful beach to relax, then Golem and Lalzi bay are the destinations. If you are young and looking to party and explore, then head down south to the Ionian bays. In this article, I will list the best beaches based on my experience in the tourism industry.

  1. Cape of Rodon

This beach is located in the Adriatic Sea, 50 km far from Tirana International Airport. It is a quiet place surrounded by a church, a castle, bunkers, and green nature.

2. Kallm beach, Durres

Kallm beach is located in the north of Durres. You can reach there driving through a gravel road without signs. It has clear waters, covered with stones. This is the perfect destination if you are staying in Durres and want to explore a lesser populated area.

3. Rana e Hedhun (Thrown Sand)

It is a rare formation of sand from Mount Renci, which creates beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea. Next to the beach are located many hotels and restaurants. In June is organized Unum Festival, 5 days of electronic music. You can reach there driving through Shengjin village in Lezha district.

4. Plazhi i Gjeneralit

This is another hidden spot in the Adriatic Sea. You will need to drive through a bumpy and dirt road, which is totally worth the panoramic views.

5. Grama bay 

It is a gem in the Karaburun peninsula. In ancient times, pirates used to stop and hide here. There are two ways to get here: an 8-hour long hike from Llogara National park or by boat leaving from the port of Vlora. If you choose to hike, make sure to get a guide who knows the area. It is worth camping overnight here and watching the stars.

6. Palasa beach

Palasa is a luxury area with private villas. The beach is known by the locals as “Rruget e Bardha”, which means “white paths” because of the white little rocks. If you don’t want to rent an expensive villa, stay in the old village above the main road.

7. Dhermi beach

Dhermi is the most famous beach in Albania. The old village is renovated recently and it is blended with stone houses and churches. The beach is a heaven with crystal blue waters and secret bays. It is highly recommended to young people who like to party hard.

8. Gjipe bay

This charming bay has been explored last 15 years. The way to get there takes 30 minutes walk from the main road parking. The river passing by has created a canyon which can be easily explored by anyone. For the adventurous spirits, there are some rock climbing routes. It is a rural bay without hotels, only a small summer restaurant. Take your camping equipment for an overnight to enjoy it in depth.

9. Aquarium bay

Aquarium bay is secretly hidden on the Ionian coast. When you are in Jal beach, continue walking or driving south along the coast. After 10 min on the gravel road, a small bay with splendid waters will appear. A great way to run away from the crowds.

10. Livadhi beach

When driving south of Albanian Riviera, before Himare is located the bay of Livadh. The beach is filled with small rocks and relaxing for families. You can find many restaurants and hotels in the area. Take some time to discover nearby Himara castle, which offers great views of the whole bay.

11. Filikur beach

Are you in Himara and want to get to a real privy beach? Then Filikur bay is the answer. You can reach there by boat from Himare, or even kayaking. You will hear that there is another way to hike from the mountain, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It is dangerous and requires the use of ropes and climbing skills. Take some food and drinks and enjoy the rest of the day in your own privacy.

12. Llamani beach

Llaman is another enchanting bay 5 minutes far from Himara town.  It is very popular in the summer, where you can find many restaurants and bars. Make sure to get there in the morning as it gets very crowdy during the day.

13. Porto Palermo beach

Porto Palermo is a place where you can find a lot of history, besides nice beach. In the middle is located a great medieval fortress. On the north of the bay is the submarine port built during the communist regime. In the south part of the bay is a beautiful small beach. If you love scuba diving and snorkeling, this is the perfect spot.

14. Qeparo beach

Qeparo is a nice village with relaxing shores, more preferable by families. A couple of good restaurants which serve delicious seafood can be found around. Take a walk to the upper village to experience and meet friendly locals.

15. Borsh beach

This village is very famous for its olive groves and olive oil. The shores are perfect for family time. South Outdoor is a festival with music and outdoor activities happening each year.

16. Lukove beach

If you have chosen to drive the Albanian Riviera, take a stop at Lukove beach. The village is quite friendly and it has a unique tranquil atmosphere. 

17. Krorez beach

Krorez is a lost paradise in the Ionian Sea. It is accessible only by boats living from port of Saranda. You can find many daily trips to this bay and nearby Kakome bay. 

18. Pulebardha beach (Seagulls)

Driving from Sarande down south to Ksamil are located many small beaches. One of the most beautiful is Pulebardha beach. Blue waters and the sounds of waves are the treats of this bay.

19. Kep Merli

Kep Merli is a private luxury beach. You will need to reserve in advance and be lucky to get access. Famous people like Dua Lipa take their vacations here.

20. Ksamil beach

Ksamil Islands are the cream de la cream of the Albanian Riviera. They face Corfu Island, which is 4 km away. The beach has white sand and clear waters. It is a small area with lots of visitors in the summer. You can rest in the many of hotels nearby.

21. Pema e thate (Dry Tree)

“Pema e thate” can be accessed from Ksamil village through a dirt bumpy road. It is within Corfu channel and has some restaurants and bar. Recommended for day trips from Ksamil or Sarande.

22. Pogradec beach

If you think that you can find nice beaches only in Albanian sea, you are wrong! Get to Pogradec in the south east and discover the calm of the Lake Ohrid. This is the oldest lake in Europe, separated between Albania and North Macedonia. There are a couple of beaches like Pogradec city, Tushemisht and Lin village. You can go fishing “koran” or “belushka”, two rare fishes founded only in this lake. Highly recommended to families.