ALBANIA What to See and Do

ALBANIA What to See and Do

Things to see and do in Albania offer incredible places to visit in one of the most popular emerging countries for Italian holidays in recent years. The reasons are many: competitive prices, proximity to our beautiful country but, above all, incredible naturalistic, historical and cultural beauties . Therefore, a trip to Albania has become among the most requested in all seasons, thanks also to its climate. In this article, we will discover what to see in Albania, what to do in Albania and in how many days, to find the perfect trip for us!

Albania, Why Visit It

Visiting Albania also means taking a journey through its history and uncontaminated landscapes. Albania has a lot of variety. In fact, despite its small size, this country is able to offer attractions and experiences for every type of need and desire. Therefore, you will find yourself at high altitude among the incredible Albanian Alps . Or, on the beautiful beaches of the long coastal strip. Furthermore, you can discover Albanian history by visiting ancient archaeological sites , monasteries and mosques .

Among the things to see during your trip, start from Tirana, the capital of Albania. Discover incredible historical and artistic testimonies in Berat and visit Gjirokaster Castle. Don’t miss the wonderful sea of ​​Saranda for a moment of relaxation and sports lovers can’t miss an adventure in the Albanian Alps! In short, a trip to Albania, thanks to the numerous things to see and do that the country offers, will satisfy the tastes of all travellers!

Between culture, landscapes and history let’s find out what to see and do in this fantastic country!

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Read also:  Road trip itinerary in Albania

What to see in Albania – 10 things not to miss

So, let’s now see together what to visit in Albania. Whether you prefer a quieter holiday or a more lively experience, you will discover that Albania is right for you!

1. Tirana

We can’t start our list without talking about Tirana . In fact, the Albanian capital is a city experiencing great artistic and cultural expansion. The heart of Tirana is Skanderbeg Square , dedicated to the national hero who defeated the Ottomans. The main institutional buildings of Albania overlook the square and it is the favorite meeting point for the city’s inhabitants.

But near the square, there are also some city symbols, such as the famous Clock Tower from which you can enjoy a beautiful panorama, and the Bey Mosque . The latter was built in 1789 and is considered the most beautiful mosque in all of Albania. Finally, still on Skanderbeg Square, overlooks the National History Museum which houses finds that help us understand the thousand-year history of Albania .

Tirana
Skanderbeg Square, the hub of Tirana

2. Heavy

A place that certainly cannot be missing from your list is Berat . It is a real pearl, where it is still possible to experience authentic Albania in a rural context. Berat stands on the right bank of the Osum River and is perched on the slopes of Mount Tomorr . Due to its enchanting location, the glance upon your arrival in the city will be unforgettable. But beyond its scenic aspect, Berat is home to incredible historical and artistic testimonies . The symbol of the city is Berat Castle , which dominates the entire town centre.

You can reach it by means of transport, but the best way is certainly by taking the walk that leads to the top. Surrounded by thousand-year-old vineyards , you will walk along paths among ancient Roman remains , rock churches and mosques . But Berat is also a symbol of coexistence. In fact, in the historic districts of Gorica and Mangalemi , there are Orthodox churches and very ancient mosques, almost all facing each other. In fact, Christians and Muslims have always coexisted in peace in Berat, even in the darkest periods of Albanian history.

Berat
The picturesque village of Berat on the slopes of Mount Tomorr

3. Argirocastro

This magnificent village nestled in the mountains of Southern Albania cannot be missed on your trip. Gjirokastra is located a few kilometers from the border with Greece, and this has allowed this lovely medieval center to also grow on a tourist level. The main monument of the town is the Gjirokastra Castle , one of the best preserved in the whole of Albania. This imposing defensive fortress dominates the historic center and dates back to the 12th century .

Among the things to visit in Albania, its interiors which house artillery pieces, armor and vintage cannons, are an obligatory stop. But in addition to the castle, Gjirokastra is home to a large number of historic buildings of great value. Therefore, the advice we give you is to get lost in its alleys and go in search of the artisan bazaar , the ancient Mosque and the Skenduli House , the oldest house in the city.

4. Scutari

One of the main attractions that could not be missing from the Albania What to see guide is Shkoder . This picturesque town is located on the shores of Lake Skadar of the same name , on the border with Montenegro. It is yet another historic city in the region, considered one of the most important in the entire Balkan area. Scutari was, in fact, the ancient capital of Illyria during the classical era and has maintained its great strategic importance to this day.

But what to see in Scutari? There are many places to visit in Albania! To start, you cannot miss the famous Mes Bridge , of Ottoman origin, which leads to the entrance to the city. You also can’t miss Rozafa Castle , just outside the city. From here, you can enjoy a 360° view of Shkodra, the lake and the Boiana River .

5. Saranda

In the far south of the country, Saranda is probably the best-known seaside resort in Albania. In fact, you will immediately notice the proximity to Greece. The beaches of Saranda have nothing to envy of other, much more famous locations in the Mediterranean. The city beaches, which bear the names of Mango Beach , Bistrica and Santa Quaranta , are all well equipped and offer every type of comfort and service. But if you prefer wild and uncontaminated beaches, just travel along the nearby Ksamil Peninsula to reach authentic paradises, such as the splendid Pulëbardha .

But Saranda is not only synonymous with the sea. About 20 km from the city, towards the interior, is the famous Syri Kalter spring , also known as the Blue Eye . This incredible Unesco Heritage site at the foot of the Mali i Gjerë Mountains presents waters with wonderful shades of blue, surrounded by lush vegetation.

Saranda
The splendid sea of ​​Saranda

6. The Albanian Alps

Mountain lovers will find what they are looking for in Albania! In fact, in the northern regions of the country rise the majestic Albanian Alps . If you love trekking, uncontaminated nature and alpine landscapes, the beautiful Valbona Valley is what’s right for you. In Albania, among the things to see you cannot miss the Bajram Curri National Park , 8000 hectares which make it one of the most beautiful natural areas in the Balkans.

Along the paths of this beautiful valley you will find numerous rural villages, such as Dragobia , Rrogam and Vermosh . Here you will have the opportunity to experience the most authentic Albania, surrounded by mountain lakes and rivers, as well as vegetation with extraordinary colours.

7. Apollonia

If you are a lover of archaeology, near Vlora you will find one of the most important archaeological sites in the entire Balkan area. The Archaeological Park of Pojan , known above all as Apollonia , was in fact the most important Greek and Roman city in Albania. The reason why Apollonia is included in the list of Albania things to see is therefore very simple!

Among the places to visit in Albania, the agora , the best preserved area of ​​the entire archaeological site, the odeon , the ancient amphitheater and the city acropolis will be very suggestive. Finally, the Apollonia Park hosts a museum where the artefacts found on the site are exhibited and a splendid Byzantine monastery dating back to the 12th century.

Archaeological Site of Apollonia
The incredible Archaeological Site of Apollonia

8. Butrinto

Among the things to see in Albania we have included another impressive archaeological site, considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is the extraordinary Butrint National Park . In a panoramic position, it allows you to admire splendid views of the plain, the lake of the same name and the nearby island of Corfu, right in front of the ancient city of Butrint.

The archaeological area includes ruins from different eras, from the Greek to the Byzantine, from the period of Bulgarian domination to the Venetian one. You will therefore admire the imposing defensive walls , the ancient Roman theatre , the extraordinary mosaics from the imperial era and majestic Christian buildings from the Byzantine era. To learn about the history of Albania all you have to do is go to Butrint, where you can mix sea, mountains and archaeology!

9. Account

Lovers of wild nature should note the Llogara National Park . This wonderful natural area extends from Vlora to Himara and is the gateway to the Albanian coast. Driving along the wonderful panoramic road of the Llogara Pass will leave you breathless.

In fact, there are many places to stop along the way, where you can admire breathtaking views of the internal mountains and the Ionian coast. Once you have traveled this extraordinary panoramic stretch, you can stop at some of the most beautiful Albanian beaches, in places such as Himara and Porto Palermo . In short, Llogara is a place to visit calmly, to enjoy the authenticity of its landscapes in complete tranquility.

Llogara National Park
Glimpses of the Llogara National Park, between sea and mountains

10. Durres

Finally, we can’t forget about Durres . Albania’s second city represents the first approach to the country for those arriving by ferry from Ancona and Bari . At first glance it may seem like a modern city, a classic sea port with very little to offer. In reality, Durazzo is one of the main historical testimonies of the country. It is in fact an ancient city of Roman origin which still hosts an amphitheatre , with the extraordinary early Christian frescoed chapel inside . Also from the Roman era, you will find the ancient baths and the old Roman forum, which later became a Byzantine forum .

But the things to see in Durres do not end here. In fact, the old city is still perfectly surrounded by the ancient Byzantine walls and is home to the Fatih Mosque , one of the most beautiful Ottoman mosques in the entire Balkan area. Finally, if we also add beaches and crystal clear sea to the incredible historical heritage, you will soon realize that Durres is a city not to be missed!

What to do in Albania, the 5 experiences not to be missed

During your stay in Albania, in addition to visiting the main attractions and places described previously in our guide, we also want to point out the  activities  to do in the country, thus making your trip unique. Between culture, adventure, tradition, history and local food, an experience in Albania will be able to unite the desires of all travellers.

So let’s not waste time and discover together the  5 experiences to have in Albania !

1. Dive into the waters of the Blue Eye

As we have seen, near Saranda there is one of the most extraordinary natural heritage sites protected by UNESCO. In fact, the famous Blue Eye Spring is one of the most visited attractions in the country. Indeed, the beauty of this place is disarming and diving into the waters of this mysterious spring with a thousand colors is one of the main things to do in Albania.

However, keep in mind that the water from the spring has rather low temperatures. However, if you are not intrepid enough, you can also go on a beautiful hike in the Blue Eye National Park and Lekuresi Forest .

Source of the Blue Eye
The Source of the Blue Eye

2. Discover the history of the Albanian people

During your trip to Albania you will undoubtedly notice numerous national museums. In fact, in almost all Albanian cities, you will find exhibitions that tell you about the origins and traditions of the Albanian people. So, if the troubled history of this grandiose people fascinates you, we recommend you visit its museums. In particular, we recommend the interesting Marubi Photographic Museum in Tirana, the beautiful Ethnographic Museum in Gjirokastra and the Independence Museum in Vlora. Furthermore, the history of Albania is also closely connected to its traditions.

As soon as you arrive in the country, you will realize the hospitality of the people, hospitality is in fact a very important characteristic for Albanians. In fact, don’t be surprised if you are invited to drink a coffee by someone. Finally, discover the legend behind the Eagle symbol of Albania. In fact, the two-headed bird on the red flag represents the eagle that was saved from a snake by a young man. He thus became friends with the eagle and the two hunted together. The boy was called Shqipetar , that is, son of the eagle ; name that Albanians give to their land.

3. Trekking in the Albanian Alps

What to do in Albania? If you are a mountain lover the answer is very simple: a trek in the Albanian Alps! In fact, the spectacular Valbona Valley is an authentic paradise for hikers. You will start from the picturesque and authentic village of Theth and, with an excursion of approximately 6 hours, you will reach an altitude of 1800 meters among the breathtaking landscapes of this majestic valley. An experience not to be missed in the magic of the Albanian Alps!

A trekking trip in Albania is ideal for those who want to see nature, experiencing magical silences and truly coming into contact with the surrounding environment. Furthermore, through excursions in the Albanian Alps you will also discover ancient rural cultures and their ancient traditions, getting closer to these people. Starting from Scutari, an ideal starting point, you reach the heart of the mountains and the Vermosh valley . Continuing west, you can reach glacial lakes and Albanian peaks.

Valbona Valley
View of the Valbona Valley

4. Excursions alla Laguna di Divjake

We talked about sea, mountains, villages and cities. But Albania is so varied that you will also find other magnificent settings. Thus, among the things to do in Albania, we recommend an unforgettable excursion to the Divjake Lagoon . Located south of Durres, this magnificent natural park presents a unique ecosystem in the world. You can then go on a beautiful Jeep excursion to explore unexplored paradises, or rent a kayak to enter the heart of the lagoon!

Divijake National Park also overlooks the Adriatic, in the Fier area, near Lushnjës . In a couple of hours by car from Tirana you will reach this ideal location for a trip out of town, visiting the largest lagoon in the country and the largest in the entire Mediterranean . In fact, it covers an area of ​​over 5,000 hectares. The place is also extremely important from a naturalistic point of view, as it contains many biodiversity .

5. Discover the Albanian gastronomic tradition

Finally, gastronomy lovers cannot miss the exquisite Albanian cuisine . And what better way than taking part in a traditional cooking class ? In fact, you can cook typical dishes such as lakror , sheqerpare and tave kosi , the independence dish. But above all you will take part in the best moment of this experience: the tasting!

Furthermore, in this country, history and traditions come together. Also due to the colonization of the Ottoman Empire in 1570, Albanian cuisine was strongly influenced. Furthermore, the influences of Italian cuisine have also reached here, in addition to the Greek ones. In fact, the most common foods are meat, fish, legumes and seasonal vegetables.

Albanian dishes
Preparation of typical Albanian dishes

Conclution

So, after seeing what to visit and do in Albania you are  ready to pack your bags and leave !

Click the button and find all search platforms and book your next trip yourself.

Plan your trip yourself

Read also: 8 top class ski resorts in France

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