14 Most Beautiful Places in Albania to Visit this Summer

Albania is truly one of Europe's best kept secrets. The country has amazing beaches, lakes and mountain towns that are worth visiting, especially for those looking to escape the crowds during peak summers. If you're looking to visit some of the most beautiful places in Albania, here is a list of the best places to visit, including some special hidden gems as recommended by travel bloggers:


By Ann of The Road Is Life

Located on the Albanian Riviera, Himare is a small seaside town that was once a traditional fishing village. Nowadays, the pretty town of Himare is a must-see stop on any Albanian road trip itinerary, attracting tourists from all over the world every year. 

Himare is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches on the Albanian Riviera. It is also home to fascinating history and rich cultural heritage. Aside from spending a relaxed day at the beach, you can explore the town and visit the Castle of Himare which dates back to the Byzantine era. From there you can explore the castle ruins and get an amazing panoramic view of the coastline.

Himare is surrounded by lush green hills and rugged mountains which is great for those who love hiking and outdoor adventures. Don't miss out on a drive along the Llogara Pass which is an impressive mountain pass about 45 minutes from Himare offering unbeatable views of the Albanian Riviera. It's best reached with a rental car so you can have the flexibility to stop and take in the scenery throughout the drive. 

I have personally visited Himare on two separate trips and can highly recommend adding it to your Albania itinerary. The overall vibe is more laidback compared to Ksamil and Saranda so it's a great place to experience the beauty of southern Albania in a more peaceful setting. To get there, you can follow the main road that runs along the coast from Saranda for around 1.5 hours. There is also a public bus available daily for 800 lek per person. 


By Annelies of Travelers & Dreamers

Theth is a cute little village in northern Albania tucked away in the Albanian Alps. It was my favorite destination in Albania when I visited a few years ago and the memories I made there still provide me with great joy until this day. Theth is a remote mountain area and is still untouched by modern development, however, I have heard they have started to build a big hotel complex near the village. If you want to visit Theth before it might get ruined by package tourism, the time is now!

The best thing to do in Theth is enjoy its wonderful natural surroundings. Theth is located in the Theth National Park and offers mountains, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, and stunning fauna and flora. It's a great destination for hikers, nature lovers, and travelers who like to stray off the beaten path. The most famous sights are the Blue Eye of Theth, the Grunas Waterfall, and the Theth to Valbona Pass.

There are no hotels in Theth but there are small guesthouses scattered across the landscape where you can stay with Albanian families that prepare the best food you will have in Albania at incredibly cheap prices. A place that I can recommend warmly is Guesthouse Gjin Thana.

The best way to reach Theth is by making your way to the city of Skhöder first from which you can take a minibus to Theath. Alternatively, you can also reach Theth by taking a boat over the Komani Lake to Valbona from which you can reach Theth doing a 7-hour hike.


By Mal & Robin of Renting A Car In Europe 101

Situated on the southern coast of the Albanian Riviera, Ksamil is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Republika e Shqipërisë. We visited Ksamil two times, and we love it for its amazing beaches.

Ksamil is often referred to as the “Maldives of Albania,” and when you visit its beaches, you will immediately know why. The Ionian Sea, which washes its shores, is famous for its crystal-clear water, which is a perfect shade of turquoise. 

The beaches of Ksamil have a variety of white sand and small pebbles. Make sure you visit the Monastery Beach, situated just outside of town. The beach takes its name after the nearby monastery and is incredibly picturesque. 

Ksamil is also famous for its fresh seafood and Italian cuisine. I know it sounds weird, but here, you can gorge on the delicious Italian cuisine for a fraction of the price. 

Also, make sure to visit the nearby archaeological site of Butrint, dating back to the 3rd century BC and offering a glimpse into the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Venetian civilisation. 

Since public transport is a little unreliable here, the best way to get to Ksamil is by renting a car in Tirana airport and making your own way down the coast. 


By Alex of adventuretoeverycountry.com 

Photo by Linda Gerbec on Unsplash

Having personally visited Shkoder, I would recommend it as one of the best cities to visit in Albania. 

Shkoder is a city with a lot of history. It is home to Rozafa Castle, a fortification overlooking Lake Shkoder which was built around 2,300 years ago. For such an old building, the castle is in great condition. Aside from checking out the ramparts, the short hike up to Rozafa offers an interesting view of local life, with goat herders walking their flocks along the trails. 

The city centre is small but very scenic with a lot of small restaurants, cafes and bars. Most of these are centred around Kole Idromeno Street, named after a famous Albanian renaissance painter of the same name. 

Also on Kole Idromeno Street, you can find Ebu Bekr Mosque, a modern building that was built in the 1990s to replace a previous mosque, destroyed in the communist era. It’s pretty cool to observe from the outside. 

And be sure to grab yourself some traditional Albanian food. Fisi Restaurant on Bulevardi Skenderbeu was a personal favourite. Here you can tuck into a good selection of both Albanian and international dishes. 

For football fans, I would recommend checking out a game at Shkoder’s local team Vllaznia. They don’t attract big crowds, but a small group of hardcore “ultras” create an electrifying atmosphere. 

Getting to Shkoder is relatively easy. There are buses every half hour from the capital Tirana. These take just under 2 hours. You can also reach Shkoder from neighbouring Montenegro. Buses from capital Podgorica only take around 1.5 hours. In fact Podgorica is the nearest airport. So you will most likely be arriving either from there or Tirana. 


By Diana of travelsinpoland.com

Photo by Abenteuer Albanien on Unsplash

Located in a valley, Gjirokastra is a historical city in the southeastern part of Albania. The city has cobblestone streets and stone slabbed, silver-roofed houses and is a beautiful city to visit. I visited this city as part of an eastern european UNESCO site historical trip that included, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Budapest and Mostar, and I was impressed to say the least. Its geographic placement in a valley, which has stunning views, and the history dating back to the Ottoman empire, made this a favorite.

You can get to Gjirokastra by flying into Tirana and taking a scenic drive down to Gjirokastra.  Alternatively, fly to Corfu Island, ferry to Saranda and drive from there. 

Here are my  top 5 must-sees in Gjirokastra:

  • Gjirokaster Fortress: This is my top recommendation. The history, and the combined views are stunning.  The castle's corridors have relics of World War II, and alongside one of the towers is an American fighter plane, brought down during WWII.
  • Ethnographic Museum: Set in a traditional Ottoman house, it’s like walking into someone’s home from centuries ago. 
  • Old Bazaar: The bazaar is well known and it’s a mix of items including crafts and regional goods.
  • Skenduli House: One of the best preserved houses in the city, it offers a glimpse into the city's past architecture.
  • Cold War Tunnel: This massive underground bunker with almost 60 rooms offers guided tours.

Why should you visit Gjirokastra? The city represents the richness of Albanian culture. It also has stark reminders of the Ottoman Empire, WWII and the Cold War and as a UNESCO heritage site it has credibility.  And, simply put, it is one of the most beautiful places in Albania.


By Suzanne Hooker of Suzanne Wanders Delhi

Saranda is Albania’s loveliest seaside town and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Albania.  Perched on the Adriatic coast, just 20 km north of Greece, this charming destination will captivate you.  I recently spent one month in Saranda and loved it so much, I’m considering returning for another month!

Once a hidden gem, Saranda is quickly gaining popularity as the darling of the Albanian Riviera.  The town is a hive of new building projects, especially down by the waterfront.  But that hardly takes away from the enjoyment of this coastal town. 

While Saranda itself is small, there’s plenty to do.  Stroll along the boardwalk, do a little shopping on the cobblestoned streets, visit Lekuresi Castle, swim at one of the pebble beaches, check out the small Archaeology Museum and the ruins of the Synagogue in the centre of town, or enjoy a Greek style coffee at one of the many, many cafes. 

Foodies will love the variety of Albanian specialties and fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants and tavernas.  Make sure you stop in at one of the roadside shops and try burek, a traditional snack of phyllo filled with cheese, spinach, or meat.  

Saranda is a great base for exploring from.  For beach lovers, the pristine beaches of Ksamil are a quick bus or taxi ride away. Historic Gjirokastra, Butrint National Park and Syri I Kalter (the Blue Eye) are all within a 2 hour drive.  The Greek island of Corfu is half an hour by high speed ferry, and a popular day trip from Saranda.

One of the things I love the most about Saranda is how walkable it is.  You can walk everywhere in Saranda. It’s a bit hilly as you move away from the waterfront, but it’s good exercise! And did I mention the people? Very polite and helpful. Even the street dogs are friendly.

It’s fairly easy to get to Saranda.  There are several daily buses from Tirana (leaving from the Regional bus terminal), but many visitors actually fly into Corfu, Greece and take the ferry to Saranda. 

Komani Lake Ferry

By Sarah of asocialnomad.com

The daily ferry between Komani and Fierze in Albania is sometimes called one of the world’s most beautiful ferry journeys.  This two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride through the Albanian Alps is truly glorious and the ferryboat takes both vehicles and foot passengers.  It wasn’t originally a tourist attraction, simply a cargo boat plying its trade.  Today it’s an important connection in hiking the famous Valbona to Theth hike.   The ferry runs between April and October (the weather outside of these months is either too cold, too wet, or too snowy for traffic) and travels on Lake Komani, through almost Norweigan Fjord-like landscapes.  A foot passenger ticket is just 12 euros, and for a vehicle, you’ll pay 7 euros per meter in length.  In the summer you WILL need to book as this has become a popular route to travel.  

Vehicles are driven onto the ferry by the staff, as it’s a VERY tight drive, and you can’t stay in the car, but there’s seating on the outside and inside of the ferry.  There are toilets and a small café / shop on the ferry. You’ll want to go outside to see the views, but make sure you have sunscreen and a jacket there’s no shade and the wind can be fierce too! 


By Tamara of myeletedodessy.com

Undoubtedly, one of the best places to visit in Albania is Dhermi. As someone who personally visited, I know this is a coastal gem you won’t want to miss.

The best way to get to Dhermi will be by bus or rental car from Tirana. Alternatively, if you’re coming from Corfu, you can take the ferry to Saranda and then a bus to Dhermi.

Dhermi is the perfect Albanian beach getaway destination. You will easily be impressed by the crystal-clear blue waters at Dhermi Beach and the surrounding mountainous views. This beach offers many activity options, including water sports, restaurants, and nightlife. If you’re worried about a language barrier, there are plenty of English speakers in Dhermi.

You can also visit nearby Gjipe Beach. This is one of the area's most popular beaches, with sweeping views and impressive blue waters.

Many may initially only think of Dhermi’s beaches, but the village is also home to a charming Old Town. Visiting Dhermi’s Old Town offers a historic, quaint town with panoramic landscape views.

One of the best parts about Dhermi is the amount of activity it has over the summer. Between music events like the Kala Festival, Dhermi becomes an epicenter for a fun vacation. The village also has several beach clubs and nightlife offerings to enjoy.


By Tom of tomhentystravel.co.uk

The capital of Albania has a very unique vibe as the city of Tirana offers some modernity, which mixes with the memories of a turbulent history, mainly through bunkers, and museums. As I walked through the city, I got Barcelona vibes as I watched the locals sit outside the quirky coffee shops on an evening and take in the Albanian sunsets.

Colourful street art, thriving businesses and beautiful parks reaffirmed my impressions that the locals want to move into more of a modern world, and move away from the ‘bunker communist’ days of yesteryear.

You don’t have to go far to witness the proud history of Tirana though, as the famous Skanderbeg square is home to a monument of the military commander, along with the Bunk’art 2 museum. The International hotels which stand tall in the square are another sign that Albania is catching up with other European capital cities.

I headed out of the city and visited the Bunk'Art 1 Museum, which is inside an original bunker. The museum has done an awesome job of giving visitors a feeling of communist Albania.

After learning some important history, I took the Mount Dajti cable car up to the top of the mountain and enjoyed magnificent views of the whole of Tirana.

Albania is still behind neighbouring Balkans countries on prices, so I grabbed some bargains in the restaurants and cafes throughout my stay in the city. The younger generation are turning Tirana into a great spot for digital nomads and entrepreneurs.


By Adri of Traveltipzone

If you want to see the best places in Albania, don't miss Durres. It's the second largest city in Albania, but that's not the only reason to visit. It's not just a lively beach destination, it also has interesting historical sights.

Durres is close to the capital city of Albania, Tirana, so you can explore it in a day trip. You can drive from Tirana to Durres in less than 40 minutes using the SH2 highway.

As I mentioned, Durres has an interesting history and some sights you shouldn't miss when visiting. These include the ancient Venetian Tower of Durres, which offers excellent views of part of the city from the top, and the recently built The Convex Dome. Additionally, it's worth visiting the Amphitheater of Durres, which dates back to Roman times and is open for visitors.

But what really makes Durres one of the most popular cities in Albania isn't just its size or history, but its fantastic beaches. The beaches of Durres stretch along the Adriatic coast, offering plenty of hotels, restaurants, and sports facilities. You can relax on long, well-equipped sandy beaches and take leisurely walks along kilometers of promenades, enjoying the Mediterranean vibe.

So, whether you're looking for an exciting Albanian city for sightseeing or a summer beach vacation, Durres is one of the best places to go.


By Maria of Map And Camera

Berat is one of the most charming towns you'll ever visit. Often referred to as the "City of a Thousand Windows", it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique architecture. The typical Ottoman-style houses seem to climb up the hills, creating the effect of an endless row of windows.

On a hill overlooking the town is a 13th-century fortress, still inhabited, which houses Orthodox churches from the Byzantine Empire, mosques from the Ottoman period, a museum, and, of course, houses.

Berat is well connected to the capital Tirana by intercity buses. Travel time from Tirana is 2-2.5 hours, depending on traffic. At the time of my visit in 2021, the ticket cost as little as 5 USD. Alternatively, you can rent a car, take a taxi, or book a tour. The only means of transportation to avoid in Albania are trains: they are unreliable.

In Berat, you will find plenty of accommodation in traditional houses. Food in Albania is a real treat, as almost everything is a local product. So book your ticket to Albania and enjoy the delicious food and the hospitality of the Albanian people.


By Manon of visitingthedutchcountryside.com


One of the most beautiful places in Albania is Valbona or Valbonë. Located in a valley in the Albanian Alps, Valbona is home to Valbona Valley National Park. This National Park in the North of Albania is named after the Valbona River that flows through the 8000-hectare park. Endless mountain peaks make Valbona the perfect destination for hikers. And with lynxes, brown bears, wolves, wild boars and roe deer as some of its inhabitants, the Albanian wilderness has never been closer. 

There are plenty of incredible hiking trails that start just outside Valbona, most of which are marked very good and a few, well, not so much. When hiking you should also stop at one of the local mountain cafes for friendly conversations, drinks and stunning views. Or perhaps you will be invited in by one of the locals of the region, whom are very hospitable. 

It’s pretty easy to get to Valbona, both with public transportation and by car. When I visited, the best way to travel to Valbonë from Tirana was with a minivan to Bajram Curri and from there another local minibus to Valbonë (this is a route that takes you through Kosovo- check your visa requirements!). Nowadays, there are more options besides the Bajram Curri route including direct buses from Tirana to Valbona. 

Bënjë Thermal Baths

By Jill of jillonjourney.com

Around 1.5 hours by car from Gjirokaster, you can find the Bënjë Thermal Baths ("Llixhat e Bënjës"), a wonderful highlight in the perfect natural surroundings. It's a great day trip from Gjirokaster, but you need a rental car to reach the thermal baths.

They are right next to Albania's spectacular Langarica Canyon, and both places share the same parking lot. So you can combine a hike through the canyon with relaxing in the natural thermal baths afterward. You can even park for free and there's no entrance fee either.

The warm sulfurous water is collected in several pools, so you can walk along the river from one pool to the other and try them all. I loved hanging around in the warm, bubbly water while enjoying the scenery. It was so clean and the pools shone in turquoise shades. With the surrounding canyon, the landscape here is fantastic. Many locals love to come here on weekends as well.

No matter if you spend a short holiday in the country or explore more of it during an Albania itinerary., don't miss these spectacular thermal baths.

I can highly recommend the small guest house TeArra in Gjirokaster where you can enjoy a wonderful, homemade breakfast on the lovely little terrace.


By Dzangir of drjamtravels.blog


Krujë was the first capital of Albania in the Middle Ages and is surely one of the most beautiful places in Albania. It is located 30 km north of Tirana on the slopes of a mountain with the same name. One can get here by bus from the regional bus station on a ride that lasts less than an hour and costs a bit over 1 € for one way. With a car, you will need half an hour.

In the history of Albania this town is important because it was the center of resistance against Turks in the 15th century led by Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg before Ottomans conquered them for almost 500 years. The main attraction here is Skanderbeg Castle on a hillside. Now it hosts a museum dedicated to national hero Skanderbeg where you can find artefacts from his life and other relics about resistance. Here you can also visit the Ethnographic Museum, where you can learn about Albanian culture and traditional way of life.

Çarshia e Vjetër is an old bazaar where you can find many handmade crafts like rugs, textiles, wooden objects, and other souvenirs. This place is worth a day trip from Tirana to explore the history and culture of the country in beautiful surroundings.


What are the most efficient travel options between these destinations within Albania?

Traveling within Albania can vary based on the destination. Buses and minibuses (furgons) are common for inter-city travel, offering an affordable way to get around. For more flexibility and access to remote areas, renting a car might be preferable.

Are there any culinary specialties or local dishes unique to each of these regions in Albania?

Yes, Albania's regions offer unique culinary experiences. Coastal areas like Saranda are known for seafood dishes, while the northern region, such as Kukës, offers traditional mountain cuisine including lamb and dairy products. Central regions like Tirana and Berat highlight a mix of influences with dishes like byrek (a savory pie) and qofte (meatballs).

What are the best ways to immerse in the local culture and interact with residents in these less-visited areas

Participating in local festivals, visiting traditional markets, and dining in family-owned taverns are great ways to immerse yourself in Albanian culture. Engaging with locals through community-based tourism experiences, such as agritourism farms in the countryside, can also provide meaningful interactions and insights into local life. You can reach out to boutique travel agencies like Original Travel to help you plan your trip to Albania and book some truly unique experiences organised by locals.

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