Albania- a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and an interior crossed by the Albanian Alps. The country has many castles and archaeological sites. Capital Tirana centers on sprawling Skanderbeg Square, site of the National History Museum, with exhibits spanning antiquity to post-communism, and frescoed Et’hem Bey Mosque.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the
Albania consulate website: https://www.ambasadat.gov.al/united-arab-emirates/en
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options. Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette, and how shoppers can take advantage of VAT refunds.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things do & see:
Tirana- the capital of Albania, is known for its colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. Pastel buildings surround the city's focal point, Skanderbeg Square, which is named for its equestrian statue of a national hero. On the square's north end is the modernist National History Museum, covering prehistoric times through Communist rule and the anti-Communist uprisings of the 1990s.
Berat- is a city on the Osum River, in central Albania. It's known for its white Ottoman houses. On a hilltop, Berat Castle is a huge compound now inhabited by townspeople. Within its walls are Byzantine churches, the Red Mosque and the Onufri National Museum, with Christian icons. East is the Ethnographic Museum, in an 18th-century house, displaying traditional crafts and part of a reconstructed medieval bazaar. Berat is in the middle of Albania and it is believed to be one of the country’s oldest towns. Berat is often known by its nickname – the City of a Thousand Windows – due to its mix of Ottoman and Albanian architecture. Berat’s main tourist site is the 140th century castle, Kalaja, which is still home to hundreds of people. Formerly among the most important Albanian cities of the Ottoman Empire, Berat was added to the list of Unesco World Heritage sites in 2008. The Church of St. Mary of Blachernae is a must-see sight for anyone visiting Berat, as is the Mangalem Quarter.
Durres-An Albanian coastal city on the Adriatic Sea with a popular beach. Durrës is a port city on the Adriatic Sea in western Albania, west of the capital, Tirana. It’s known for its huge Roman amphitheater. Nearby is a 9th-century church with mosaic-covered walls. The Archaeological Museum displays pieces from the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Broad Durrësi Beach has shallow waters. Nearby is the former summer villa of 20th-century King Zog. Durres is mostly known to be the main port of the country, but it is also one of Albania’s oldest towns. Durres is home to the largest amphitheatre in the Balkans, located behind the port. The town also hosts an interesting archaeological museum with artefacts found in the theatre surroundings.
Elbasan- is a city and a municipality in Elbasan County, central Albania. The fourth largest city in Albania, it is located on the Shkumbin River in the District of Elbasan and the County of Elbasan.
Fushë-Krujë- is a town in Durrës County, Albania. At the 2015 local government reform it became a subdivision of the municipality Krujë. The city has gained wider fame due to President George W. Bush's visit on Sunday, 10 June 2007.
Fier- is a city and a municipality in Fier County in southwest Albania. Geographically, it is located in the centre of the country surrounded by hills.
Gjirokastër- is a city in southern Albania, in a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, at 300 metres above sea level. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, described as "a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, built by farmers of large estate".
Gezim Hidri- Local artist Gezim Hidri works with mosaics, motifs, oil paintings, sculpture, stone carving, etc. He is working on a mosaic of the Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.
Lezhë- is a town and municipality in northwest Albania, in the county with the same name. One of the main strongholds of the Labeatai, the earliest of the fortification walls of the city are of typical Illyrian construction and are dated to the late 4th century BC.
Korçë- is a city and municipality in southeastern Albania, and the seat of Korçë County. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Drenovë, Korçë, Lekas, Mollaj, Qendër Bulgarec, Vithkuq, Voskop and Voskopojë, that became municipal units.
Krujë- is a town and a municipality in north central Albania. Located between Mount Krujë and the Ishëm River, the city is only 20 km north from the capital of Albania, Tirana. Krujë was inhabited by the ancient Illyrian tribe of the Albani.
Located 40 minutes by bus from the capital Tirana, Kruja is home to the National Ethnographic Museum, located inside a castle, one of the most popular tourist attractions of Albania, that offers stunning vistas over the Adriatic Sea. From the fortress, the Albanian hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg defended the country from the Ottoman invasion for almost three decades. Once in town, don’t miss a stroll through the old bazaar and buy a local souvenir.
Kavajë- is a municipality centrally located in the Western Lowlands region of Albania. It borders Durrës to the north 17 km, Tiranë to the east 27 km and Rrogozhinë to the south 15 km. To the west lies the Adriatic Sea.
Kamëz- is a municipality in Tirana County, Albania. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Kamëz and Paskuqan, that became municipal units. The seat of the municipality is the town Kamëz.
Pogradec- is the eleventh most populous city of the Republic of Albania and the capital of the eponymous municipality. It is located on a narrow plain between two mountain chains along the southwestern banks of the Lake of Ohrid. Its climate is profoundly influenced by a seasonal Mediterranean and Continental climate. One of the most up-and-coming places to visit in Albania is Pogradec, which can be found on the shores of Lake Ohrid in the east of the nation. Lake Ohrid is the deepest lake in the Balkan region and while the Macedonian side of the lake is more popular, Albania’s shore is definitely on the up. Pogradec is famous for its rich folklore, while its Puppet Theater Festival is one of the most interesting events on Albania’s tourism calendar. The stunning Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park is around 30-45 minutes away from Pogradec as well, while the springs of Drilon are also close.
Sarandë- is a resort on the Albanian Riviera, in southern Albania. Sandwiched between the Ionian Sea and hills of olive groves, the town is on a horseshoe-shaped bay, edged by beaches and a promenade. In the center are the archaeological remains of a 5th-century synagogue, later an early Christian basilica. Intricate floor mosaics are still evident. The 16th-century Lëkurësi Castle is on a hilltop above the town.
Shkodër or Shkodra- is a city in northern Albania. It is written as Scodra in Latin, Scutari in Italian, İşkodra in Turkish, in Serbian and Skoutari in Greek. Locals often consider Shkodra the cultural capital of the country because of its several events, photography museum, theatre, historic castle, and lifestyle. It is the largest town in the north of Albania and usually is used as a base to visit the surrounding mountains. The largest town in the north of Albania, Shkodra is often considered the cultural capital of the country. This is because it hosts events such as Carnival, Lake Day, the Children’s Festival and Shkodra Jazz Fest, while it is also home to a famous historic castle notable for its important role during the First Balkan War. Shkodra has a simply gorgeous lake, while the medieval citadel of Drisht is only a few miles away. The famous Migjeni theatre is in Shkodra as well, along with an ace market that is well worth visiting. Shkodra’s Malazeze cuisine is perhaps Albania’s best too.
Tepelenë- is a city and a municipality in Gjirokastër County, in the south of Albania. The town is located on the left bank of the Vjosa River, about three kilometres downstream from its union with the Drino. Until the abolition of Districts in 2000.
Theth: rugged beauty- In the north of the country, hidden among the Albanian Alps, there is Theth, one of the most beautiful natural areas of Albania. Theth is the perfect place for hikers and nature lovers because it is located in a dramatic mountainous scenery surrounded by nature and offers a lot of activities to do. Away from Albania’s biggest cities, in the north of the country, is Theth. Located high in the Albanian Alps, Theth is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and it is easy to see why. Theth National Park is perhaps the most beautiful place in all of Albania, with its Grunas Waterfall and the Lock-in Tower both extremely popular with visitors. The mountain peaks of Thethi, Boga, Razma and Vermoshi provide an unforgettable experience of Albania in its most natural state. Hikers and nature lovers will find Theth to be one of the best places to visit during a trip to Albania.
Vlorë- is the third most populous city of the Republic of Albania and the capital of the eponymous county and municipality. Geographically, the city is located on the Bay of Vlorë and the foothills of the Ceraunian Mountains at the Strait of Otranto along the Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea. In the south-west of Albania is the popular coastal resort of Vlore, which has long been best known for its olive production – it is believed to house some 280,000 olive trees. Vlore has many important historic sights, but perhaps the most famous of them is the Albanian Independence Proclamation Building, which is where Albania declared independence a little over 100 years ago. Today, there is a monument dedicated to this defining moment in Albania’s history. The area of Cold Water in Vlore is popular with younger tourists due to its choice of hip bars and restaurants.
Albanian Riviera-with the capital city Tirana, the most popular place in the country. The reason is that it is just amazing: long sandy and pebble beaches lapped by turquoise water, and lovely coastal hamlets with small Orthodox churches, cobblestoned streets and flowers everywhere. The best places to visit are Dhërmi, Drymades beach, Vuno, Qeparo and the seaside town of Himara.
Ancient pyramid - Tirana’s concrete pyramid, Piramida, a short walk from Skanderbeg Square. Built in 1987 by the daughter of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha (who tyrannically ruled Albania from 1944–85) as a museum to her father, it now sits derelict, stripped of the tiles that once covered it and splattered with graffiti. There is talk of demolishing it, but some argue that it should be kept intact as an apt monument to Stalinism's ugly spirit.
Apollo City-Apollonia-Near the industrial town of Fier, a city located between Tirana and Vlora, there is Apollonia, once one of the most important cities in Europe and a must-visit for every traveller to Albania. Apollonia is also the place where Octavian Augustus studied before he became Roman emperor.
Benja Thermal Baths - This thermal bath (actually there are one or two smaller ones quite close to it) is in a lovely spot, pretty much at the entrance (8 km) of the Fir of Hotova National Park.
Bee Rock Cave- Located northwest of the village of Monte Pear Librazhdit district, on the eastern slope of Mount Polis and rocky ravine Bee Rock with height 1409 m.
BunkArt in Tirana-Tirana is one of the liveliest capitals of the Balkan Peninsula, with plenty of museums and art galleries that are worth a visit. Once in town, don’t miss the BunkArt, a majestic coveted bunker built in the outskirts of the town in the 70s by the former dictator Enver Hoxha. It is the perfect place to visit if you want to learn more about the Communist history of Albania.
Bitola-Sometimes considered the most "European" city in the Balkans due to its neoclassical architecture. The people are always dressed chic and trendy. Must see - Wide Alley.
Butrint-18km south of Saranda, are famed for their size, beauty and tranquillity. They're in a fantastic natural setting and are part of a 29-sq-km national park. The remains – Albania's finest – are from a variety of periods, spanning 2500 years. Butrint was an ancient Greek and later Roman city and bishopric in Epirus. Perhaps inhabited since prehistoric times, Buthrotum was a city of the Epirote tribe of the Chaonians, later a Roman colony and a bishopric.
Butrint Archaeological Park- Inhabited since the prehistoric times, Butrint was once a Greek colony, a Roman colony, and a bishopric. It is the largest and most famous archaeological park in Albania and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlights here are the theatre, baptistery and basilica. In the uptown, there is also a museum with artefacts found in the ancient area.
Bulqizë- is the name of both a town and a municipality in Dibër County, eastern Albania. It was formed during the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipality of Bulqizë with the adjacent municipalities of Fushë-Bulqizë, Gjoricë, Martanesh, Ostren, Shupenzë, Trebisht and Zerqan.
Cave of the Old lady- In Gizavesh Village there is a cave known with the name “Cave of the Old lady”. Because it is thought and said that before there has lived an old lady. Many years ago, it was thought that this cave connected two villages, Gizavesh and Librazhd Katund, but now this road is blocked. In the entrance there is a water spring and in the cave there are special stones that sparkle. To visit the cave, you must have lighting.
Cold War Tunnel-Gjirokastra's most interesting sight in no way relates to its traditional architecture, but instead to its far more modern kind: this is a giant bunker built deep under the castle for use by the local authorities during the full-scale invasion Hoxha was so paranoid about.
Çorovodë- is a town and a former municipality in Berat County, Albania. Local government reform it became a subdivision and the seat of the municipality Skrapar. The name of the town derives from the Bulgarian word for "black water".
Dardha- the top ski destination in Albania. Dardha is a nice small village near Korça, known to be one of the most famous ski areas of Albania. Due to that, Dardha has became the most important winter destination of the country, mostly frequented by skiers and hikers.
Egnatia road route- which is also known as “Via Egnatia”, is one of the major roads with importance of the ancient world. It was built in 149-120 BC by the Roman proconsul of Macedonia. Via Egnatia has known trade, historical battles, church preachers, roman and ottoman religions. This road is still kept untouched, throughout the upstream of Shkumbin river, particularly in mountainous areas of Librazhd from Miraka to Qukës.
Fir of Hotova National Park- Great Natural Park where you get lost in the nature For all nature lovers this is the right place Opportunities for Hiking / Off road adventure / Picnic Perfect for all group ages
Gjirokastra Castle-Gjirokastra's eerie hilltop castle is one of the biggest in the Balkans and is definitely worth the steep walk up from the Old Town. The castle remains somewhat infamous due to its use as a prison under the communists.
Himara or Himarë- is a bilingual region and municipality in southern Albania, part of Vlorë County. It lies between the Ceraunian Mountains and the Ionian Sea and is part of the Albanian Riviera. The region consists of the town of Himarë and the villages of Dhërmi, Pilur, Kudhës, Qeparo, Vuno, Ilias, and Palasë.
Koshorishtit Church- (Church cave) (The Hermit Cave). Koshorisht Hermit's Church, a unique cultural monument, believed to be a creation of the 9th-12th century AD. It is a unique and historical site. This cave church is on a cliff in height about 70 meters from the river of Qarrishta where Mary and the disciples were painted during a ceremony. It retains its original colors despite the padsing of time.
Kamara bridge- The object, which was declared "Cultural monument" is about 20 km northeast of Elbasan, 5 km before reaching the town of Librazhd, directly on the Shkumbin river bed. It was built in 1715 by Ahmad from Elbasan, according to the inscription on the plaque of Turkish stone in the bridge, which is now preserved in the museum of Librazhd.
Konispol- is the southernmost town in Albania. It sits one kilometer away from the Albanian-Greek border. The settlement is inhabited by Muslim Cham Albanians. Konispol is modern centre of the Cham Albanian community in Albania. The main economic interests of Konispol are agriculture and viticulture.
Kalaja-The Kala neighbourhood inside the castle's walls still lives and breathes; if you walk around this busy, ancient neighbourhood for long enough you'll invariably stumble into someone's courtyard thinking it's a church or ruin.
Ksamil Islands- The highlight of the Albanian Riviera is perhaps the Ksamil Islands, a remote group of three small islands located just off the coast, accessible only by boat from the small town of Ksamil. Part of the larger Butrint National Park, the Ksamil Islands are a fantastic example of Albania at its most untouched and unspoiled. Visiting the Blue Eye Spring is also a must for anyone who wants to experience what Ksamil has to offer during their magical Albanian break. July and August are the busiest time of year for the Ksamil Islands, but even then there are few tourists around here.
Llogara Pass- One of the most scenic natural landscapes of Albania is Llogara, a mountain pass located between Vlora and Palase, the first beach of the Albanian Riviera. The road is very dangerous and the spectacular panorama doesn’t help, but pay attention and be sure to bring your camera with you to take amazing pictures.
Librazhd Ethnographic Museum- In the environment of this museum is presented the economic life of the country's population developed on the basis of the living conditions of the climate and the establishment of settlements. An important place is the family setting as a guest house that reflects the good hospitality tradition and the home of bread.
Lake Koman-offers visitors one of the most breathtaking scenery of the Balkan Peninsula. The trip on the ferry is one of Europe’s great boat trips and takes travelers from the hydroelectric dam at Koman directly to the port of Fierza, a small mountainous village.
Mamuras- is a town and a former municipality in Lezhë County, northwestern Albania. The town lies 8 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.
Mount Dajti National Park - If you want a break from the city centre, head to Mount Dajti National Park, popular with Tirana's residents for fresh air and countryside walks. Dajti standing at 1,613 m above sea level, is a mountain and national park on the edge of Tirana, Albania. The Dajti belongs to the Skanderbeg range. In winter, the mountain is often covered with snow, and it is a popular retreat to the local population of Tirana that rarely sees snow falls.
Orikum- is a town and a former municipality in the Vlorë County, southwestern Albania. It was named after the ancient city Oricum, which was located 4 km west of modern Orikum.
Polis Mountain- 80 km from Tirana, is between Elbasan and Librazhd in a place called Mirake. There is diverse vegetation which is an attraction for different biologists. 6 months of the year is covered by snow. There can be developed winter tourism, winter sports, horseback riding, skiing, etc.
Porto Palermo Castle- Near the coastal town of Himara there is Porto Palermo, one of the most beautiful fortresses in the country, known by the locals as Ali Pasha Tepelena. It is said that the Albanian administrator of Ioannina, Ali Pasha Tepelena, built the castle to honor his wife. The castle offers dazzling views over the Ionian sea and surrounding mountains.
Parku i Madh (Grand Park) - This large, wooded park is where many of Tirana's citizens head for a bit of time out, whether it’s fishing in the artificial lake, picnicking on the lawns or kicking-back in one of the many café-bars.
Rozafa Fortress-With spectacular views over the city and Lake Shkodra, the Rozafa Fortress is the most impressive sight in town. Founded by the Illyrians in antiquity and rebuilt much later by the Venetians and then the Turks, the fortress takes its name from a woman who was allegedly walled into the ramparts as an offering to the gods so that the construction would stand.
Rrogozhinë- is a town and a municipality in Tirana County, centrally located in the Western Lowlands region of Albania. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Gosë, Kryevidh, Lekaj, Rrogozhinë and Sinaballaj, that became municipal units.
Skanderbeg Square - Tirana’s centre is Skanderbeg Square, named after the national hero who briefly ensured Albania was independent of the Ottoman Empire in the fifteenth century. There is a large bronze statue of Skanderbeg on horseback (imagine Alexander The Great meets Thor) in the middle of the square, and the Et'hem Bey Mosque, one of the nation's most treasured buildings that dates back to the late eighteenth century, sits in the southeast corner.
Shëngjin is in Lezhe- Shengjin is a growing beach town located in Northwest Albania well known for its Adriatic coastline and tourist accommodations
Saint Maria Church of Leuse - Before leaving the city, be sure to stop by the tourism information office and request that the church be unlocked or you'll miss the gorgeous frescoes located inside, which are very well preserved.
Shebenik lake- (Circuses and Shebenik Glacial Lakes). This lake is on the northern slope of Shebenik Peak, at 1800 m altitude, in a large circus glacial complex. Here glacial forms are developed. There are crystal-clear water and cool. During winter freezes on the surface. It stands for rich vibrant world.
St. Paraskevi's Church - Sacred & Religious Sites, Churches & Cathedrals
Syri I Kalter- Nestled between the towns of Saranda and Gjirokastër there is Syri I Kalter, one of the most spectacular natural spots in Albania. It is a natural spring, more than 50 metres deep, where locals swim in the hot summer days.
Tekke of Baba Aliu - The Tekke of Baba Aliu is a Bektashi religious site in Alipostivan, a mountaintop village in Bredhi i Hotoves National Park.
The lake town of Pogradec- One of the favourite destinations in the country for locals is Pogradec, a small town located on the shores of the Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe, situated between Albania and Macedonia. Pogradec is one of the most famous summer destinations of Albania due to its beaches and vibrant nightlife.
Vau i Dejës, English: Deja's Ford- is a town and a municipality in Shkodër County, northwestern Albania. It was formed at the 2015 local government reform by the merger of the former municipalities Bushat, Hajmel, Shllak, Temal, Vau i Dejës, and Vig-Mnelë, that became municipal units.
Valbona Valley National Park- Hidden between the Albanian Alps, Valbona is a national park dotted with amazing views, alpine landscapes, glaciers, rocks, forests, waterfalls, natural reserves, that constitute a unique untouched and pristine ecosystem.