What to see in Albania – my favorite places and more!

Last Updated on 04/01/2024 by kami

In recent few years, Albania tourism has been blooming.

While it’s not so safe anymore to travel to some of the favorite holiday destinations on the south-east shore of Mediterranean Sea people were looking for a good alternative and many have decided to visit Albania. I’m definitely a big supporter of that idea!

Albanian coast is spectacular and Ksamil beach is already a world famous gem but the country has so much more to offer, some of the best Balkan highlights!

Beautiful stone towns, spectacular wonders of nature, breathtaking mountains and the funky capital – you can see it all if you decide to visit Albania!

I’ve been twice to the country (the first time when the Albania tourism was still just crawling) and even if slightly challenging I loved my time there!

I’m already thinking of the return as my list of what to see in Albania is getting longer and longer! I really hope the next year will see my visiting Albania again and seeing more of its beauty!

Albania essentials

Planning a trip to Albania? Here are the services I always use and personally recommend:

  • Accommodation: I always book a place to stay on
  • Tours: when I decide to go on a tour I either use Viator
  • Get insured for your trip to Albania with SafetyWing

How to get to Albania?

Traveling to Albania has always been the biggest issue.

Fortunately, it is changing slowly and now you can easily find charter flights to Tirana, also Wizzair started to operate on Budapest-Tirana route (hopefully it’s just the beginning and there will be even more options of direct flights to Albania soon!).

When I visited Albania twice it was more challenging to get there but not impossible.

Both times I flew to Thessaloniki, Greece and then I took the bus.

When I was going to Berat it was supposed to be a direct bus but we had to change somewhere at 5 am – overall it was a crazy and absurd journey that took me 50 hours from Poland but eventually I got exactly where I wanted to.

When I was going to Gijokastra I first took the bus from Thessaloniki to Ioannina (which was surprisingly beautiful and made a perfect stop along the way) and from there it’s only 2 hours by bus to Gijokastra (including crossing the border).

Since there’s a huge Albanian population living in Greece there are daily connections from Athens to Thessaloniki to probably every city in Albania.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Berat

Another option (that my friend did recently) is flying to Corfu island in Greece and then taking the ferry to nearby Saranda.

Albania makes a popular day trip destination among tourists from Corfu and there are few boats to choose from – the fast one takes only half an hour.

You can also reach Albania from North Macedonia and Kosovo – there are bus connections between those countries.

From Ohrid you might use the southern border crossing and you will find yourself in the town of Pogradec that already offers decent connections to Tirana or other places in Albania.

From Montenegro 360Monte agency offers direct transfers between Kotor, Budva, Shkoder and Tirana.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Pogradec

How to travel around Albania?

The best way to travel around is by car as getting to some of Albania highlights by public transport is simply impossible (and even if the public transport is available, sometimes it’s simply too challenging and confusing).

Fortunately, you can easily rent a car to enjoy exploring Albania hassle-free. To rent a car go to the Discover Cars website and choose from many available options. You can pick up the car already at the airport or in any other convenient location. Since Discover Cars compares rental deals from different companies you can expect to find the best prices and offer on their website, with no hidden fees, free cancellation and 24/7 support.

If you decide to use public transport it’s doable but prepare for a bit of a hassle. In most of the places, there are no bus stations and no schedules – you need to go to a certain place from where the minibus to your destination goes.

Sometimes it sounds scary (like “big tree on the left side of the roundabout”) but in reality, it’s not so bad – local people will direct you and the drivers will find you – that’s what happened to me in Elbasan or Tirana.

Just like in former USSR minibusses wait to fill up so sometimes it might take a while for the bus to depart.

Between some big cities like Saranda and Tirana, there are regular connections with a schedule which makes everything so much easier.

The road condition isn’t very good so sometimes the journey takes much longer than you’d expect from the distance but things are definitely improving. The Albanian drivers, just like in other Balkan countries, are a little bit crazy but it’s nothing too scary.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

Is Albania safe?

For some reason, Albania doesn’t have the best reputation (but that’s also changing slowly). If you are wondering is Albania safe I can assure you there is nothing to worry about.

This is just a normal country (with more difficult language than anywhere else) so if only you use your common sense you will be fine.

During my both trips I always felt safe and there wasn’t even one situation when something was wrong.

Cities are always full of people, especially in the late afternoons and evening as walking around seems to be the favorite pastime activity of Albanians.

The fear of Albania comes from the unknown but it really is a safe country, like many others in the area.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

Solo female travel in Albania

My first trip to Albania (to Berat only) was with a friend, the second time I’ve spent a week there traveling solo.

I felt really safe for all the time, no one bothered me or harassed me, people were really friendly, welcoming and helpful when needed.

Some of my friends have been traveling solo around Albania too and they say only good things about it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana

Albania tourism – what to see in Albania

During my two trips to the country, I could see some of the best places Albania tourism has to offer. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed them all and can recommend them!

Both times I went to visit Albania in autumn (beginning of October and mid-November) and I can definitely recommend this time of the year!

The weather is still really good but the summer crowds are gone and you can easily find cheap accommodation or travel between places.

I’ve heard so many people complaining about Albanian beaches being overcrowded in the summer but what I saw in early autumn at Ksamil beach was amazing – crystal clear blue waters, sand and hardly anyone around!

Autumn is the time to visit Albania!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Ksamil

And when you finally decide to go there here is a list of what to see in Albania


The infamous capital city, hated by many. On the contrary, I found it super cool and funky and really enjoyed my time there!

Tirana is not a beautiful city, you will not find many (or any at all) historical monuments there. But the vibe is one of the best I’ve ever encountered!

The main tourist attraction of Tirana is a big concrete pyramid – a rather intriguing structure that now serves as the broadcast center of the local TV station and the major hangout spot for youngsters.

And that’s how Tirana is – quirky yet fascinating. And super colorful!

Even if the paint slowly comes off the buildings and colors are fading the overall impression is still great!

Tirana, and especially its neighborhood Blloku, is home to one of the best cafe cultures I’ve ever encountered and that’s already a good reason to spend some time there!

Read more about Tirana in my articles:

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Tirana


Berat was the first place I’ve visited in Albania and I couldn’t ask for a better introduction, especially since it’s on the UNESCO list.

The city is often called “the town of thousand windows” and it has this title for a reason – numerous beautiful houses with big windows pile on top of each other making one of a kind view.

It’s especially beautiful from the promenade (where locals hang out) or from across the river.

It’s also worth climbing all the way to the castle as the views of Berat and the surroundings are really spectacular and this area itself is pretty charming too!

Read more about Berat in my article: Berat, the highlight of Albania, in pictures

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Berat

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Berat


While Berat is called the city of thousand windows Gjirokastra has a title of the town of thousand stairs.

Walking around might be a little exhausting as the streets can get pretty steep but then the views from the castle (and the abandoned plane that looks so random there) are the great reward for the effort.

Gjirokastra itself is a beautiful stone town that kind of looks like the time has stopped there. I really enjoyed wandering around as the place definitely lives up to its hype.

Together with Berat Gjirokastra is part of UNESCO World Heritage List.

Read more about Gjirokaster in my article: Gjirokaster, Albania – the stone gem of the Balkans

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Gjirokastra


A real gem of Albanian seaside – Ksamil is considered to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania and I can see why everyone thinks so good of it.

Turquoise water, sandy beach, and nearby islands make Ksamil look like a paradise.

I was there at the very beginning of October and it was blissfully empty but I’ve heard many horror stories about visiting Ksamil beach in the summertime.

My advice – go there in the offseason and you will love it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Ksamil

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Ksamil


Only 5kms away from Ksamil you will find Butrint – another UNESCO listed place in Albania.

This ancient site, dating back to 8th century BC, is a truly fascinating place with so many remnants of the past that it will keep you occupied for few hours.

It can get busy with day trips from Corfu but it’s not too difficult to escape crowds here.

If you’re a fan of the history you will love it!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Butrint

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Butrint


At first, it looks like an unattractive seaside resort with nothing but concrete but Saranda might be much more interesting than it seems.

If you’re looking for the lively holiday destination this is your Albanian answer.

But the town is more than just the place to have a good time in. You can find some monuments too in Saranda, including ancient ruins right in the middle of the city.

Saranda also makes a perfect base to explore the area (that includes Ksamil, Butrint, Gjirokaster or the Blue Eye).

Read more about Saranda in the article: Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Saranda, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Saranda

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Saranda


Lake Ohrid is one of the most beautiful place I’ve seen in the Balkans.

But while everyone goes to the town of Ohrid in Macedonia (that I just adore!) Pogradec on the Albanian side of the border is also a great place to visit.

The lake looks just beautiful in here, with magnificent mountains in the background. The numerous restaurants’ jetties are a great opportunity for the lunch with the stunning view.

If you go for a walk along the beach (which is one of the main activities in Pogradec) you will for sure stumble across some bunkers around.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Pogradec

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Pogradec

And now comes my bucket list part of what to see in Albania. But I will make it there soon, no doubts about that:

Lake Koman

The journey across Lake Koman is on top of my Albanian bucket list.

Some call it the most beautiful in the world and while I’m usually a little bit skeptical about such titles this place really looks amazing on the pictures!

With all the twists, cliffs and waterfalls it must have looked similar to Norwegian fjords!

Read more about Lake Koman in my article: A Complete Guide to Visiting Lake Koman, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Lake Koman picture taken by my friend Osmól

Valbona and Theth

These are two of the most important and most beautiful mountain villages in Albania, located on both sides of Albanian Alps.

I’m just dreaming of visiting them as they look so untouched, so pure and so pretty!

Once I almost made it to Valbona but the weather turned out for worse and there was no point in going all the way there! Next time, Albanian Alps!

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Albanian Alps

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Albanian Alps pictures taken by my friend Osmól


I’ve been to Lake Skadar only on the Montenegrin side but this biggest lake in the Balkans has stolen my heart. It was so peaceful and pristine I could have stayed there for weeks!

Now I’m more than tempted to see the Albanian side of the lake and Shkoder would be a perfect base for that. But the town itself is really interesting too, with Rozafa Castle (offering great views around the lake) and the revitalized center.

Read more about Shkoder in my article: 7 Perfect Things to Do in Shkoder, Albania

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Shkoder Picture taken by my friends Ania and Mateusz from

The Blue Eye

Hidden a few minutes away off the Saranda – Gjirokastra road, this pristine spring is a true paradise with clear blue waters and oak trees giving the shadow.

It must be especially pleasant in the hot, summer day – a perfect nature getaway.

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Blue Eye Picture taken by my friend Osmól


Kruja makes a perfect day trip from Tirana (that I had in my plans but didn’t do because I enjoyed the capital way too much).

There’s the castle with a really impressive location, surrounded by mountains but the main reason why you might want to visit Kruja is the bazaar – it is considered to be the best one in Albania for souvenir shopping.

Kruja is also a birthplace of the national hero – Skandenberg.

Read more about Kruja in my article: Kruja, Albania – a Perfect Day Trip from Tirana

Albania tourism - what to see in Albania - Kruja Picture taken by my friend Osmól

Further reading

I wrote many articles about Albania and the Balkans that you might find interesting and useful when planning your trip to the region:

Travel Resources

You can find the best accommodation options at Booking. They have many discounts and excellent customer service. Click here to look for the place to stay in Albania

Never travel without travel insurance, you never know what might happen and better safe than sorry. You can check the insurance policy for Albania here.

I recommend joining organized tours to get to know the place better and to visit more places during your trip. You can find a great selection of tours at Get Your Guide – click here.

Make sure to have the offline map always installed on your phone, they can save you so many troubles. I always use the free app Maps.Me.

For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

  • If you don’t want to miss new posts and news from me click here to sign to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Bloglovin!
  • Join my Facebook group about Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR and connect with fellow travellers and enthusiasts of these regions – just click here!
  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Albania too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!


Albania tourism - what to see in Albania

love, kami 2

If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 30.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter or follow on Bloglovin!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • Reply
    Iza Zawadzka
    26/11/2017 at 19:08

    Ja jestem zakochana w Tiranie! Choć Albania jako taka dała nam nieźle w kość, głównie zdrowotnie, więc mój mąż póki co nie chce słyszeć o powrocie.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      26/11/2017 at 19:11

      oj, szkoda bo tam tak fajnie! A Tirana najlepsza!!! I tak bardzo niedoceniona!

    • Reply
      Iza Zawadzka
      26/11/2017 at 19:27

      Może kiedyś się przełamie, póki co namówiłaś mnie na Krusevo, jadę w przyszłym roku!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      26/11/2017 at 19:31

      ooo!!! super!! Tam tak pięknie!! i ten hotel gdzie byłam Wam polecam, widoki na całe miasto rewelacyjne są!

    • Reply
      Iza Zawadzka
      26/11/2017 at 19:34

      Szkoda, że wcześniej nie powiedziałaś, w czasie wakacji wcale nie ma takiego dużego wyboru miejsc do spania. Znaleźliśmy prywatne mieszkanko, ale nie wiem, jak z widokami będzie, choć chyba też jest gdzieś pod górkę.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      26/11/2017 at 19:38

      no to jednak małe maisteczko i tak naprawdę tylko ten hotel (Montana czy jakoś tak) jest z dużych obiektów, a i dobrze tam karmią :)

    • Reply
      Iza Zawadzka
      26/11/2017 at 19:39

      O, to będę miała na uwadze jak będziemy szukać, gdzie coś zjeść. Już się nie moge doczekać!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      26/11/2017 at 19:40

      Na pewno Ci się tam spodoba! i to Makedonium jakiś odlot!

    • Reply
      Iza Zawadzka
      26/11/2017 at 19:41

      No przecie dla niego tam jadę!

  • Reply
    Stephanie Pelser
    26/11/2017 at 19:24

    No doubt, the people, who are so helpful, even if they don’t speak any foreign language, and excited to welcome visitors!

  • Reply
    Tiffany Crystal Bowens
    26/11/2017 at 19:42

    Great article with lots of places to see! As you know, I was there this summer, and hated everything about Albania! May have to check out some of those other places, Pogradec seems amazing, especially since I fell in love with Ohrid!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      16/12/2017 at 07:00

      architecture-wise Pogradec is nothing like Ohrid but the views of the lake are incredible! I can see why you didn’t like Albania but maybe it’s worth giving it a second chance :) ?

  • Reply
    Jack Cuffe
    26/11/2017 at 20:59

    You’ve really made me want to visit Albania there seems to be so many beautiful places there to visit!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      16/12/2017 at 07:00

      thank you, that was the plan :)

  • Reply
    Vana Nik
    26/11/2017 at 21:52

    I visited Albania this summer for the first time. I went to Tirana and Berat. I loved it and I really want to return and explore more! For Greek travellers it’s a really easy destination, because of the various bus companies that travel there and also because of the huge part of the population who speaks Greek! I felt like home! :)

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      16/12/2017 at 06:56

      both times I went to Albania I took the bus from Greece and it was super easy! You picked great places for your first visit, I loved both!

  • Reply
    Mel Mewburn
    27/11/2017 at 00:53

    Great article, thanks! Makes me want to go back. I absolutely adored the country. I got terribly ill on my trip and was exhausted a lot, so I missed out on a lot of these things. But I will definitely make plans to return, it was such an amazing place. I would love to spend more time in Tirana, what a fascinating city!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      16/12/2017 at 06:59

      Thank you! I’m so sorry you had all those issues during your trip, hopefully everything will be much better next time! Tirana is so incredible, isn’t it? I loved the vibe!

  • Reply
    Abdullah Asank
    27/11/2017 at 17:23

    Did u get to lake ohrid?

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      16/12/2017 at 07:00

      yes, it’s so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Rui Quinta
    19/04/2018 at 18:18

    I’m planning a trip to the Balkans and your blog is very helpfull. Thank you!

    Rui Quinta, Rui de Viagem

    • Reply
      07/05/2018 at 15:19

      Thank you! If you have any questions feel free to ask!

  • Reply
    29/06/2018 at 15:23

    Soo nice! I also visited Albania recently and loved it

    • Reply
      01/07/2018 at 08:48

      I’m glad you enjoyed Albania! It’s such a great country, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    07/04/2019 at 14:45

    Thanks! very usefull article that will help us for our trip this summer.
    On practical question about the more remote montainous regions: would you say hitchhiking is an option, or are buses the better option (we’re not afraid of unconfortable travel ;))?

    • Reply
      27/04/2019 at 09:37

      I honestly don’t know what to recommend as I haven’t been there myself yet. But why don’t you ask on my FB group about traveling in the Balkans? I’m sure someone will be able to help you :) you can find the link in the sidebar on the right side

  • Reply
    01/08/2019 at 17:20

    Witam w przyszlym roku mam zarezerwowane przez booking.Theth w Alpach Albanskich .Gdzie najlepiej bukowac lotnisko ? I czy wogole lataja w te rejony samoloty.prosze I podpowiedz .Z gory.dziekuje Lidia

    • Reply
      11/08/2019 at 10:06

      Tak, latają samoloty do Tirany, stolicy Albanii. Pozdrawiam!

  • Reply
    17/09/2019 at 12:03

    I have been to most of those places, but what stroke me really was the Albanian riviera. You should include on your list Borsh, Dhermi, Drymades, Palase, Gjipe, Llogara national park, etc. Amazing beaches with sparkling water surrounded by natural beauty and mysterious mountains.

    • Reply
      04/10/2019 at 21:32

      Thank you for your tips! I’m hoping to visit Albania next year ago and would love to explore more of the seaside then. I will make sure to visit the places you’ve mentioned here!

  • Reply
    21/10/2019 at 23:10

    Thank you for the very informative article it has given me some ideas. Do you have any tips or advice about bus routes going the other direction like from Gjirokaster or Sarande to Thessaloniki? I will be flying out from there.

    • Reply
      06/11/2019 at 22:43

      Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately, I don’t know about the transportation in the other direction, but you should ask on my Facebook group about traveling in the Balkans, I’m sure someone will have the answer. Here is the link:

  • Reply
    27/08/2020 at 16:41

    I am not sure why so many people complain about traveling inside Albania with so cheap car hire.

    • Reply
      02/09/2020 at 07:45

      Maybe because of crazy drivers? But yeah, I can’t understand it either, traveling around is definitely doable!

  • Reply
    14/05/2021 at 10:14

    Thank you four the beautiful words you set about my country Albania is really beautiful and where you no more you going to love the holidays there .Thanks again Elida

    • Reply
      27/06/2021 at 12:36

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I hope to return to Albania soon, this is such a beautiful country! All the best!

  • Reply
    Mazhar Valjee
    02/10/2021 at 15:01

    Thank you Kami, as always your write ups are a great source of information and motivation to visit.

    • Reply
      25/11/2021 at 17:37

      thank you!

Leave a Reply

Let’s become friends!

Join me on Facebook for even more travel updates!