Albania is located between Montenegro and Macedonia, Kosovo and Greece. It sometimes feels like an overlooked corner of Europe.
Albania is as old as Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome. The region has been inhabited since at least the fourth century BC. It’s a modern country with many wonderful attractions but still far from the main roads. Albania is an excellent place to visit if you are looking for a destination that has been left untouched by mass tourism and still offers plenty of history and nature. Albania is a mixture of Croatia, Greece and Italy without the crowds.
You might be curious about Albania if you are thinking of visiting Albania. You might consider building your itinerary around one (or all) of these places.
Theth national park is located in the Albanian Alps, in the north of Albania. It is considered one of Albania’s most beautiful places by outdoor enthusiasts. This park contains attractions like the Lock-in Tower, an operating watermill, as well as the Grunnas Waterfall.
Its namesake village Theth can be found within the park. Access is only possible via a 25-kilometer, unpaved road that is impassable during winter. You might need a 4WD vehicle even in summer. You will receive solitude and tranquility in beautiful nature as a reward.
Kruja, located just north of Tirana is the home of the famous Kruja Castle. This castle is a national treasure in Albania. The Skanderberg Museum is located in this castle. It is a must-see attraction for first-time visitors to Albania.
Kruja Castle is noteworthy because it was where George Kastrioti Skanderberg (an Albanian national hero) defended the nation from an Ottoman invasion. The castle offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, in addition to its fascinating history.
Albanian National Park Llogara: What to See Photo credit
The country’s southwest is home to Llogara National Park, which is also the location of one of the most spectacular drives in southeastern Europe. The Llogara Pass is the park’s main attraction. It reaches 1,000m above sea level. This impressive feat of engineering comes close to the Adriatic Coast.
There are a number of restaurants and other services located at the top of the pass. This is a great spot to take in the stunning views.
If you are a history enthusiast you will love visiting Gjirokaster in the south-west of Albania. The city’s historic centre, which dates back to the Ottoman period in its architectural style, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gjirokaster is home to a military museum, and the Gjirokaster Fortress is where the Gjirokaster International Folklore Festival is held every five years.
Shkoder is located in the northwest part of Albania. It has many interesting features close to the border. Shkoder, a strategically placed town, has seen more than its fair share of battles, and wars from the Romans to the recent aristocratic feuds. The main attraction of Shkoder is unsurprisingly the Rozafa Castle ruins. Both the castle and the museum that explains the history of the city are open to visitors.
Shkoder is home to another important attraction, Lake Shkoder. Lake Skadar is a Montenegrin name for the lake. It is located in both Montenegro and Serbia.
Lake Ohrid is another lake that should be on every Albanian itinerary. This lake is also located in Albania and Macedonia and has a similar historical, touristic and natural importance.
Lake Ohrid, one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, is home to many species of animal and plant life, many of them endemic to the area. Because of its vital aquatic ecosystem, UNESCO has designated the lake a World Heritage Site along with a Biosphere Reserve.
Tirana is Albania’s capital and the most popular starting point for visitors. It is recommended to spend time exploring this unknown city. It is the country’s political and economic centre. The city also houses many historical and cultural institutions. It is the ideal place for getting to know the country.
The Et’hem Bey Mosque and Skanderberg Square are two of the most iconic attractions you must see.
Berat is the most beautiful place in Albania. It’s located in the middle of the country and is also one of its oldest cities. Berat, also known as “the City of a Thousand Windows”, should be a key point in your itinerary.
The Kalaja Castle is a significant landmark. It contains many mosques and churches and is still inhabited. The Mangalam Quarter is a must-see as well as the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae. Berat has such historical and cultural importance, that it is now UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Albanian Riviera is the most visited tourist spot in Albania. It’s known for its great restaurants, music festivals, bustling nightlife and beautiful beaches.
This area is still relatively new and attracts fewer tourists than other destinations with similar looks in the Adriatic. In relative peace and quiet, you can enjoy beautiful beaches and great weather. You will also find rugged mountains and authentic countryside just behind the beaches. You can also easily escape if you find this too hectic.
It is located along the Western Balkan coast from Montenegro to the south to Greece, and just across the Adriatic Sea to the “heel” of Italy.
Flying to holiday destinations remains the most preferred mode of transport. Getting to Albania by plane is becoming more and more popular.
The country’s only major airport is located outside Tirana. It’s named after Mother Teresa, Albania’s most well-known citizen. Many European low-cost airlines offer connections to Tirana via all continents. Several major airlines also offer flights from and to Albania. British Airways, Turkish Airlines and Alitalia are some examples.
After arriving at Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza you will be able to get to the city centre with private shuttles (480 Albanian Lek), express busses (250 Albanian Lek) and taxis (about 2,525 Albanian Lek).
You can also travel to Albania by bus. The simplest bus connections to Albania are between Tirana, Thessaloniki in Greece and Athens. A direct service runs from Skopje ( Macedonia) to the capital. There are also bus connections within Albania between many other cities. It is more difficult to travel by bus from Montenegro to Albania. Although you may be able to take a bus from Budva or Tirana, they don’t run more often than once a week.
Your third option might just be the most interesting–ferries. Albania, which is located on the Adriatic Sea coast, has many ferry routes that connect it to its neighbouring countries. Nearly all Italian ferries depart from Durres and leave from the most popular coastal cities like Brindisi, Ancona, Bari, and Ancona. A ferry connects Brindisi to Vlora. An Ionian Seaways ferry departs from Corfu, Greece to Saranda approximately once per day.