10 Incredible Cities in Albania to Explore

Last Updated on August 15, 2022

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There are so many great cities in Albania that many have never heard of.

From port cities and UNESCO sites to beach paradises and architectural marvels, Albanian cities have so much to offer. And yet, Albania is still a relatively undiscovered country.

There’s a lot for visitors to enjoy when you visit Albania, from sandy beaches to a fascinating and dark communist past as well as a thriving slow food movement.

10 Incredible Cities in Albania to Explore, aerial shot of historic fortifications with stone clock tower overlooking city with many modern buildings next to a river with green fields in the distance

Here are the best 10 cities in Albania you should think about visiting.

What I love about Albania is that all these cities are vastly different from one another and each offers its own unique experience.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. I recommend either SafetyWing or World Nomads.

10 Incredible Cities in Albania to Explore

Discover your new favourite Albania city, view of main public square in Tirana with people dotted about like ants and Albania national flag prominently in the foreground

1. Tirana

When discussing the best cities to visit in Albania, we must begin with Tirana.

The beating heart of Albania and the capital of the country has evolved so beautifully over the past few years. It’s full of beautiful cafes, colour, art installations, murals and some great restaurants too.

Tirana is an interactive city and it’s so unique compared to other cities within Europe.

If you want to learn more about the dark communist past of Albania then you have to check out Bunk Art 1 & Bunk Art 2.

Both are set in underground bunkers and lets you see what communism was really like in Albania.

Another notable museum is House of Leaves which lets you dive even deeper into Albania’s communist times.

If museums are not your thing, how about a cooking class to learn about Albania’s food scene?

Learning more about the country through food is a great way to learn more about the Albanian way of life.

Read more: Amazing things to do in Tirana, Albania.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Tirana

Find the best cities to visit in Albania for beach trips, grassy area leading down to small beach area with sunloungers and clear water with hills in the distance

2. Saranda

The seaside city of Saranda is a favourite of mine (I have lived here for over 2 years!). During the summer, this is by far the most popular hangout for tourists because of its beautiful beaches nearby.

Saranda is the gateway to the Albanian Riviera which holds some of the most beautiful beaches in Albania.

💡 PACKING TIP: Make sure you bring a good snorkel, water shoes and a fast-drying towel for all of the beach-going you’re about to do!

While visiting Saranda you must visit Lekuresi castle to catch the most fantastic sunset. Also, don’t forget to visit the ‘Maldives of Albania’ Ksamil and the nearby UNESCO site of Butrint.

There’s also a couple of beautiful beaches just outside the city called Mirror beach and Monastery beach. These are some of the best places in Albanian riviera!

Read more: Best things to do in Saranda.

🛌🏼 Find the best Saranda accommodation

3. Durres

Only 30km away from the capital and situated on the coast is the Port city of Durres. This Albania city is known for its history, which dates back almost 3000 years ago.

There’s also the second biggest amphitheatre in the Balkans which holds over 15,000 people.

Durres is a port city so it’s not exactly the most beautiful city in Albania but its history, beaches and chilled urban vibe makes it a popular stopover for tourists.

🛌🏼 Find the best Durres accommodation

Explore the best cities to visit in Albania, city of terracotta rooftop buildings arranged in tiers around hillside with high wall next to surrounding river

4. Berat

The city of a thousand windows, Berat is a UNESCO protected city which is not far from Tirana also. It’s definitely one of the most striking south Albania cities.

This beautiful destination is one of the most notable cities in Albania because of its Ottoman architecture and charm.

When visiting Berat make sure you walk (or drive) up to the castle for some incredible views.

Make some time to wander through the cobbled streets of the old town and maybe take a trip out to one of the local wineries for a tasting and a platter. Çabo is my favourite!

Read more: Best things to do in Berat, Albania.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Berat

Explore beautiful Albanian cities, aerial view of large hillside area with rocks and trees leading out towards seafront under a blue sky

5. Vlora

Vlora is another beachside city like Saranda and is the other ‘gate’ to the Albanian Riviera.

The city is much bigger than Saranda and has some great nearby beaches to check out. Radhime Beach is a nice pick – it’s one of the best places in Albanian coast!

Vlora is an important city for Albania because it hosted the first assembly which then declared Albania independent from the Ottoman Empire on November 28th, 1912.

Another great thing to do nearby is to take a visit to Sazan island. This island was a secret military base and home for military and their families but after communism fell the island was left abandoned.

Now, they have opened a part of it for tourists to see during the summer.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Vlora

6. Korce

Korce is a quaint city famous for its brewery Korce, one of the best Albanian beers on the market. But, not only that, Korce holds the largest festival which is held just before the Orthodox Easter.

This is appropriate, because Korce is quite big. In fact, it would come third in an “Albania biggest cities” competition!

The city is steeped in tradition and is a new must-see city in Albania that many tourists are only just starting to discover.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Korce

Enjoy the prettiest places in Albania, front of old building with wooden boarded window covers and park bench and bicycle in front on grey tiled street

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7. Shkoder

Shkoder is unlike any other city in Albania. The architecture is completely different from anything you’ll see in the country.

The city is situated right to the north of Albania and is a popular base for people to explore the Albanian alps.

If you do stay in Shkoder, make sure to visit Rozafa Castle and listen to the legend of the woman in the wall. If you love the outdoors, then take a trip to Theth and do the Theth-Valbona hike.

It’s one of the most incredible things to do if you want to truly see the vast nature of Albania.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Shkoder

Visit Albania biggest cities, old stone building with tower and fortified walls sitting atop large rock hill with more modern buildings nearby with hills and valleys in the distance under a setting sun

8. Kruja

The historic city of Kruja or the city of Skanderbeg is what it’s also called, is one of my personal favourite stopovers in Albania.

Skanderbeg is an Albanian hero who helped the country fight the Ottomans and take back control.

Within the castle walls is a museum dedicated to him where you can learn more about the history of this mountain town.

Kruja also holds the best Bazaar I have ever seen in Albania. They are the oldest, dating back to the 14th century. You can find so many beautiful treasures, new and old.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Kruja I 1000% recommend you stay at Emiliano Rooms. It’s a homestay which has a mixture of rooms and little bungalows which overlook the mountains.

This place is situated within the castle walls and the homestay itself is over 400 years old. They make you feel at home here. You can also opt for one of their dinners

Read more: Things to do in Kruja, Albania: The City of Skanderbeg!

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Kruja

Best cities in Albania to visit this summer, old stone clock tower with tall stone walls looking out from atop a hill onto modern sity below with lush green rolling hills and mountains in the distance under a cloudy sky

9. Gjirokaster

Gjiorkaster is one of the smaller cities in Albania but the old part of the city is a must-see!

This city is UNESCO protected because of its history and beauty, and it’s truly one of the prettiest places in Albania!

The fortress is a must and possibly the best fortress to see in Albania. I highly recommend paying a little extra to visit the arms museum and the old prison.

You can also get a deeper look into history by doing this as there are lots more information in that part of the fortress.

Gjirokaster is only an hour away from Saranda so it makes for a great day-trip or an overnight stay.

If you want to stay the night check out Kerculla Resort which has fantastic views of the city as well as a pool.

Read more: Incredible Things to do in Gjirokastra, Albania

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Gjirokaster

10. Lezha

Lezhe is not an obvious choice for tourists but it should be. As one of the largest cities in Albania, Lezhe is slowly becoming a tourist destination and one of the best cities in Albania.

One of the greatest things to see that can’t be found in other north Albania cities is Lezhe Castle, which is perched on top of a hill overlooking the city.

Within the city, you can go visit the tomb of Skanderbeg along with his helmet and sword.

If you want to relax in the sun then take a look at Shengjin Beach, a sandy beach only 8km from the centre. Nearby there’s also sand-dunes if you feeling like a bit of adventure.

If you love food then you should learn more about Albania’s slow food movement.

Albanian food is becoming increasingly popular because the ingredients are usually grown organically and the flavours and fresh, simple but delicious.

Mrizi i Zanave Agroturizëm is a must-see place. It is notably one of the best restaurants in the country and has been featured on many TV programs, one featuring the famous British chef Rick Stein.

🛌🏼 Find the best accommodation in Lezha

📚 P.S. Grab access to my Travelling Albania Guide to get a comprehensive insight into more places to visit in Albania (including secret spots that are not recommended in the usual guides!)

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How many cities are there in Albania?

In total there are 74 cities in Albania – not bad for such a small country!

✅ What languages are spoken in Albania?

Albanian is the main language of Albania. There are two main dialects (northern Gheg and southern Tosk) and they are both incredibly hard to learn!

I hope you enjoyed learning about these 10 unique and beautiful cities in Albania. Tell me below which one caught your eye the most!

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10 Incredible Cities in Albania to Explore

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The Comments

  • Manuel Mendoza
    September 19, 2019

    I didn’t have an idea that there where so many beautiful places in Albania to go and know! I fall in love with the beach in Saranda and with the majestic landscapes that you can witness in Kruja! I would want to go and visit all of these places! Great article!