Road trip itinerary in Albania

Road trip itinerary in Albania

On a road trip to Albania there is so much to discover: priceless historical heritage, breathtaking landscapes and delicious and varied cuisine. If you too are looking for an unusual trip, far from the most common tourist destinations, even wild at times, a road trip in Albania is the one for you.

From here our journey continues towards laguna Of Karavasta, known for its unique biodiversity, a suitable place for birdwatching. Passing through Fier and Ardenices, we then explore the Byzantine ruins before reaching the archaeological site of Apollonia enchanting like a mini Athens.

We continue our journey towards Valona’s weightadmiring incredible landscapes along the way, such as small villages of Himare and Dhermi with their deserted beaches. In Berat, we are fascinated by the Byzantine churches and mosques that make this city a true open-air museum. From here, we continue our journey through Elbasan and Ohrid, where we can immerse ourselves in the natural and historical beauty of these regions before returning to Tirana.

But let’s see in detail the road trip itinerary in Albania with the stages to follow (and a part dedicated to the history of Albania in the final part of the post).

houses near body of water during daytime

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

Plan your trip yourself

Read also: Top 15 Tourist Attractions in France

From Tirana to Apollonia

Durres

From Tirana, by car precisely, we head towards the sea Durres Greek colony of the 7th century. BC in Roman times it became the most important port in the eastern Adriatic, with the name of Dyrrachium. In Durres, I recommend a relaxing walk along the seafront with its colorful fishing boats that give a picturesque touch to the panorama. The walk also offers the opportunity for a break in one of the many cafes, restaurants and ice cream parlors along the route, where you can stop to enjoy local delicacies and admire the daily life of the residents. I also recommend a visit to Durres Castle a fortress dating back to the 4th century AD, which offers spectacular views of the city and the Adriatic Sea.

Laguna di Karavasta

Continuing along the road, we make a stop in the suggestive one Laguna di Karavasta, admiring the rich biodiversity and enjoying the tranquility of the surrounding nature. In the lagoon you can take kayak or boat excursions to explore its calm waters and closely observe the varied avian fauna that populates the area.

To best enjoy the Karavasta lagoon, I advise you to leave early in the morning to avoid the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of the place. Don’t forget to bring binoculars to closely observe the rich avian fauna, including the famous Dalmatian pelicans. Also be sure to wear comfortable shoes to explore the nature trails and bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Finally, take the opportunity to taste local dishes in the small restaurants near the lagoon, where you can enjoy fresh fish and other regional specialties.

Ardenices

Ardenices, an ancient village located along our route towards Apollonia, we immerse ourselves in an atmosphere full of history and charm. This charming village is best known for its Byzantine monastery, which testifies to the rich religious tradition of the region. Exploring the narrow cobbled streets of Ardenices, you find yourself surrounded by ancient stone houses and an evocative calm, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. The view of the majestic surrounding mountains offers a breathtaking spectacle, while the sound of the church bells creates an atmosphere of serenity and contemplation. Here, we can stop for a moment of reflection and to admire the timeless beauty of this historic place, before continuing our journey towards Apollonia.

Apollonia

Finally, we reach Apollonia, which is located on a hill a few kilometers from the sea; Apollonia looks like a miniature Athens. Around Large porchwhich recalls the façade of the Parthenon, stand on Bouleuterion or Council Assembly, the temples of Artemis and Diana, the Acropolis and the gymnasium.

When you visit Apollonia, you can expect to immerse yourself in a fascinating combination of history, art and natural beauty. Here’s what awaits you in Apollonia:

  1. Thousand-year history: Apollonia is one of the oldest cities in the region, founded in the 6th century BC by Greek colonists. During your visit, you will be able to explore the ruins of ancient structures and monuments that bear witness to the city’s rich history, from its foundation to Roman times.
  2. Monuments and archaeological sites: Inside the site of Apollonia, you will be able to admire several monuments and archaeological sites, including the Great Portico, the temples of Artemis and Diana, the Acropolis and the ancient theatre. Each monument offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and architecture of the ancient city.
  3. Breathtaking landscapes: Located on a hill a few kilometers from the sea, Apollonia offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the Adriatic Sea. You will be able to enjoy pleasant walks among the olive and citrus trees, enjoying the tranquility and beauty of nature.
  4. Serene atmosphere: Despite its historical importance, Apollonia retains a quiet and serene atmosphere, which invites contemplation and reflection. You will be able to enjoy a relaxing visiting experience, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
  5. Cultural experience: During your visit to Apollonia, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in Albanian culture and traditions, discovering the country’s rich historical and artistic heritage.

Himare and Dhermi

We set off again along the coast, stopping in picturesque places villages of Himare and Dhermi where we are enchanted by their beautiful beaches and the sea with crystal clear water.

A Himare be sure to stroll along the seafront and explore the local castle for stunning sea views. For food lovers, don’t miss the small restaurants offering fresh fish and traditional Albanian dishes with sea views.

The skin it is known for its turquoise waters and lively nightlife. During the day, take time to explore the many hidden coves and pristine beaches. And don’t forget to visit the Church of San Teodoro for a dive into local history.

Remember to bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the Mediterranean sun. And finally, immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with the locals; I realize that it’s not an easy thing to do, but try having a chat with the customers of a bar for example, to appreciate their hospitality.

From Vlora to Berart

Valona

The road trip in Albania returning to Tirana continues with a stop in Valona where I recommend a boat trip to Sazan Island starting from the small port of Uje Ftdit. Rich in history and natural charm, the island has witnessed crucial events over the centuries, having been used as a military base during the Second World War and the communist period. Today, Sazan Island is open to the public and offers the opportunity to explore its pristine landscapes, with secluded beaches and crystal clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Visitors can also visit the remains of old bunkers and military fortificationswhich tell the turbulent history of the island.

Heavy

Our road trip to Albania takes us to Heavy, also known as the “City of a Thousand Windows” for the distinctive architecture of its homes, there are many activities to do to immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. You can start your visit by exploring the Berat Castle neighborhooda UNESCO World Heritage Site, which offers stunning views of the city and is home to the Church of St. Mary, a fine example of Byzantine architecture.

Continue your visit walking along the Osum Riverwhere you can admire the stone bridges and picturesque Ottoman houses. Taste the local cuisine visiting traditional restaurants, where you can enjoy typical dishes such as byrek (savoury pie), qifqi (rice balls) and baklava.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Lower City of Berat, with its cobbled streets and brightly colored houses. Finally, visit the Onufri Museum, which houses a precious collection of Orthodox icons dating back to the Renaissance period. In short, in Berat you will have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in Albanian history, architecture and culture.

boat on sea near rocky mountain during daytime

Da Berat a Tirana

From Berat we reach Elbasan e Ohrid with its lake that acts as a border with Macedonia. We will eventually also visit the Macedonian side, in particular the natural and historical natural area of Orhid also declared a World Heritage Site.

All we have to do is conclude the road trip in Albania with the return to the capital Tiranafounded by the Turks, where I recommend visiting the incredible pyramidal mausoleum di Hoxhaperennial offense to the miseries of the country, Scanderberg Square heart of the city, the National History Museum then we leave our cars at the airport and fly back to Italy.

History of Albania

Albania can tell a long history of continuous invasions, many foreign occupiers have taken turns in the country: from the Greeks to the Romans, from the Goths to the Byzantines, the Bulgarians, the Serbs, the Normans, the Venetians, the Swabians, the Angevins and finally to the Turks, it is a whole succession of people, very different in ethnic origin and civilization.

Giorgio Castriota, known as Skanberg, prince of Kruja, led a league of Albanian nobles in a heroic and fierce fight against the Turks but failed to reawaken a compact nationalism. After the brief Italian domination at the beginning of World War II, the Albanians fought their resistance which led the country, after the war, to embrace Marxism and fall under the absolute control of Moscow.

In 1961 there was an abrupt break with Moscow and the rapprochement with Mao’s China who brought teams of Chinese technicians to the country. The dictator Hoxha closed the country in absolute isolation for decades. Until 1990, five years after Hoxha’s death, Albania was an extremely isolationist communist state, with little contact even with other communist states. A multi-party democracy is emerging, but the nation suffers from economic problems, and from the large number of Albanian refugees from Kosovo.

This is the brief history of this country forgotten by Europe which preserves extraordinary traces of its past with three sites recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO: Butrint which contains and bears witness to centuries of history; Gjirokastrathe “city of a thousand steps” or “the city of stones”, Heavy, known as the city of a thousand windows and declared a “Museum city”. So let’s set off to rediscover this country that is geographically very close but really very far away.

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

Plan your trip yourself

Read also: Aegean Adventures, Uncovering the Treasures of Greece

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *