24 Best Places to Visit in Albania – 2023 edition!
Last Updated on January 8, 2023
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Some of the main questions for anyone travelling to Albania is “Where should I visit?”, “What are the best holiday destinations in Albania?” or “What to visit in Albania during my holiday?”.
Albania has many great cities, towns and villages that you shouldn’t miss out on when you come to visit. Therefore, I have named some of the best places to visit in Albania that you should visit during your time here.
From quaint villages to happening Albanian cities and beach towns – there’s something for everyone coming to Albania.
There are so many reasons why you should visit Albania. It’s a country that is truly unique and authentic. Around every twist and turn, you will find another beautiful landscape or beach.
The people are extremely friendly and very hospitable.
📚 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!)
Over the last several years, it has fast become my favourite country in the world due to its uniqueness and strong traditional ways that no other country in Europe can offer.
So whether you’re wondering what to do in Albania in summer, planning a hiking, or looking for a cultural city visit, this guide of the best places to visit in Albania has you covered!
Here are the most incredible places to visit in Albania
Berat is also known as the town of one thousand windows due to the Ottoman-style houses that Berat is famous for. It is now a UNESCO site as there are over 2000 years of history to explore.
If you walk to the top of the castle you get amazing views of the city of Berat. Within the castle walls, you will also see everyday homes that people still occupy today.
There are also four wineries (Çobo, Nurellari, Malinati, Luani), where you can taste some great local wines! You can read my full Berat guide on the best things to do here.
Berat is one of the most beautiful cities in Albania so you’ll want to make sure you take a visit here!
Where to stay in Berat
There is a 300-year-old guest house called Nonaj House which comes highly recommended if you would like a look into and stay in one of the oldest houses in Berat.
Not only will you get to stay in a traditional home, you’ll get all the best of Albania hospitality-wise, making your stay extra special
Its set in one of the old Berat houses and is one of the most beautiful and fun hostels within Albania.
The breakfast is delicious, and they also offer different tours which you can join. In the summer you also have the option to camp in the backyard.
One of the top places to visit albania has to offer those wanted to get off the beaten path is Himare. This is a less busy beach town located a few hours’ drive north of Saranda.
The views in Himare are incredibly pretty and it’s the perfect place if you want to chill out by the beach for a few days.
There’s a promenade with some really good restaurants to check out. Himare has a more relaxed, chilled vibe than the likes of Saranda.
This is one of the best places in Albania to relax but still have options for restaurants and nightlife.
I highly recommend making a trip to the old part of Himare which is in the hills, next to the castle. From there you get incredible views of the Riveria and you also get to see a traditional village, it’s so pretty!
Located in the north of Albania, this city is very quaint and a great doorstep to some fantastic hiking in the area. You will notice that Shkodër is the city of bikes, everyone’s biking!
It’s also an incredibly affordable place. The architecture is unlike anywhere else in Albania. In fact, I think Shkodër is one of the best Albanian cities.
You may notice that you have stepped back in time into an old-fashioned film, that’s the charm of Shkodër.
🌍 Interesting fact! The southern Albanians speak a different dialect to the Albanians in the northern places like Shkodër and in Kosovo.
A lot of people either go to Berat or Gjirokastёr because they think because they are both UNESCO cities they will be the same – WRONG! Make sure you visit Gijrokastёr too.
Cobbled streets and a castle perched at the top, Gijrokastёr is worth the stop.
Make sure you save a few hours for the castle where you can see and climb if you wish on the old army tanks, plus you get amazing views.
There is so much to see here including underground tunnels, a weapon museum (you can actually pick up the weapons!) and abandoned rooms of the castle.
Spend an afternoon wandering the streets and people-watching from a café. Gijrokastёr has a lot of character and is one of the best places to see in Albania.
Where to stay in Gjirokastra
Kerculla Resort – Luxury Accommodation Option
This hotel in Gjirokastra came highly recommended by one of my readers and upon research, it’s the top-rated hotel in the town. It’s a beautiful hotel equipped with a swimming pool and stunning views.
Guesthouse Mele – Mid-range accommodation *My personal favourite!
This guesthouse is a perfect base for exploring the city of Gjirokastra. It’s only a 5-10 minute walk to the old bazaar but far away enough that it’s peaceful & quiet.
The breakfast is fantastic and quite a spread of delicious Albanian food. The hosts of the guesthouse are the real highlight of this guesthouse though!
If you come to Gjirokastra I highly recommend booking this guesthouse. It’s also only a 1-minute walk from the Ethnographic Museum.
Stone city – Budget accommodation for Backpackers
The best hostel in Gjirokastra and my favourite one in Albania is Stone City Hostel. This hostel has had some incredible renovations and is possibly the most beautiful hostel I have stayed in, ever!
I highly recommend staying here if you’re a backpacker in Gjirokaster.
Tirana is one of the best cities to visit in Albania and one of the coolest cities in Europe in my opinion. It has an edge, there are lots of things to see and most importantly for any traveller, the alcohol is cheap.
In the summer as most people have migrated to the beach of Saranda or Durres the city isn’t as busy but in the winter the city is thriving again. There are some wonderful places to party in Tirana as well.
Don’t forget to visit the raki bar, Komiteti. You can try all the different flavours of raki here and it’s set in a sort of museum! It’s a cool place to hang out.
You can also look at the old communist leader’s house, Enver Hoxha. I highly recommend visiting the house of leaves, which is where you can find out a bit more about what Albania was like in communist times.
There are lots of things to do in Tirana, including some of the top tourist spots in Albania, so I highly recommend spending a few days here.
Whilst in Tirana make sure you visit one of the best tourist attractions in Albania – Bunkart 1 & 2.
Tirana is definitely the best city to visit in Albania if you love history and art and culture, but aren’t that keen on the beach.
Where to stay in Tirana
The Plaza Hotel Tirana – Luxury hotel
This Tirana luxury hotel (5 stars) is not to be missed on your trip to Tirana. It’s got everything you would ever need including spa, gym, breakfast and 3 restaurants on-site.
Trip’n Hostel – Best hostel in Tirana
If you’re looking for a good hostel to stay in there is no other option than Trip’n Hostel! I absolutely loved my stay here. The owners are super lovely.
If you want a fun and chilled hostel then make sure you choose this one, trust me, you won’t be disappointed!
The breakfast here is amazing, and they have their own bar where they also make their own beer.
This fantastic hostel is also close to some of the top Albania tourist spots.
➡ Read more: Full guide to the most incredible hotels in Tirana
Saranda is where I am based in Albania and I think it’s one of the best cities in Albania to visit.
It is one of the most popular Albania summer destinations, but I personally think it’s worth visiting all year round.
In the summer this is one of the thriving beach cities in Albania and one of the top places to visit in Albania during summer.
Saranda is a great mix of beach life, good restaurants and the main location in Albania for nightlife.
In the summer a substantial number of Albanians come here to live and work for the tourist season so the nightlife here is very prominent.
When the winter starts it turns into a sleepy beach city but still boasts great weather. In fact, Saranda itself gets over 300 days of sunshine a year so if you have to spend winter anywhere in Europe I would spend it here!
Make sure you read my full guide on Saranda which includes the best things to do, best places to eat and where to stay! If you’re wondering where to go in Albania, Saranda can be a great start!
📸 PRO TIP: My go-to camera for all my travels is the Sony A7iii – I highly recommend it!
Where to stay in Saranda
Demi hotel – Luxury Hotel
is an amazing beach hotel that is found in Sarandë. The hotel faces the Ionian Sea in an area surrounded by high-end bars and restaurants.
The hotel is 2 km from Saranda Ferry Terminal, and thus it is easily accessible. The four-star hotel is elegant with affordable nightly rates, high-end room service and it is kid-friendly.
Hotel Apollon is an incredible four-star hotel found 5 km from the centre. Also, the hotel has private beaches with sun loungers and umbrellas.
Hotel Apollon is kid-friendly, has a bar and restaurant, offers free Wi-Fi and high-quality room service.
➡ Read more: The best hotels in Saranda, Albania
One of the top places in Albania that will leave you speechless is Ksamil. Only a 20-minute bus ride from Saranda is this beautiful paradise.
The only advice I would give is to visit in any other months except for July and August. During those two months, the place is absolutely packed.
It’s much nicer to visit in the of the season when most of the summer tourists have left and there are only a few sunbeds left.
The sand is white, the sea is crystal clear, what more could you want? There are also a few islands which you can swim out to as well as you can rent a jet ski or paddle boat and spend the day relaxing in the Albanian sun!
Ksamil is often referred to as the most beautiful place in Albania and for good reason, it’s stunning!
It’s easy to see why Ksamil is one of the top Albania holiday destinations – especially in the summers due to its amazing beaches.
When you come to Albania you will no doubt try one of the local beers Korça. Well, you can visit the city where Korça is made and produced.
The best thing about it is that you will get beer for the wholesale price. That means you will pay a pittance for a bottle of beer, that’s insane!
While Korça is definitely one of the best cities in Albania if you want to enjoy the nightlife, it’s also has so much more to offer.
Korça is set in a valley so the city is surrounded by mountains. It’s one of the best places to visit in Albania during winter. From Korçë you can also do some amazing hikes in the surrounding area.
I want to name this the best city in Albania because it has everything you need and some of the most beautiful architecture in the country.
Where to stay in Korce
Villa Ester – Hotel recommendation
One of the most recommended places to stay in Korce is Villa Ester. It’s one of the most beautiful accommodation options with the best reviews!
Hani i Pazarit – Boutique Hotel
Hani i Pazarit boutique hotel is a popular pick for many travellers coming to Korca because of its history. It’s located in the old bazaar which means it’s the perfect place to explore nearby sites.
It’s also set in a 350-year-old building and they have done a great job at preserving the history of Albania.
💡Top tip: I would highly recommend booking in advance if you do come to Korca, especially at the weekends. Things can get booked up very quickly as Korca is one of the main Albania destinations for locals.
Kruja is a must see in Albania. It’s a small town positioned on the top of a mountain. It’s referred to as the city of Skanderbeg.
Skanderbeg is a national hero who saved the Albanians from being taken over by the Ottoman Empire at one point.
He tricked the Ottomans and told them that he wanted to go back to Albania to help them take over the country. But in fact, he went back to Albania and rallied the troops against the Ottomans.
Kruja is so underrated but it is one of the most amazing places in Albania.
In Kruja there is a castle and a big museum which is amazing to learn more about Albanian history. There are also the most incredible markets which are hundreds of years old.
Here you will find the most beautiful antiques and unique Albanian souvenirs. The antique shops are filled with little treasures!
It’s only a 45-minute bus ride from Tirana and costs 100lek. Kruja is one of the best towns in Albania and it’s well worth staying here if you have the time.
Where to stay in Kruja
Emiliano Rooms – My favourite place to stay!
I highly recommend staying at Emiliano rooms if you do stay. The property is in one of the original houses within the castle walls. The staff are incredibly friendly, and the price is incredible!
Make sure you have the traditional dinner here even if you don’t end up staying here.
There are two parts to Qeparo – old/new or up/down. Upper Qeparo is magical and possibly my favourite place I have been to in Albania.
It’s the perfect place to see a traditional Albanian village, but there’s a twist. This one is half abandoned.
After communism fell many of the villagers left from here to other countries and therefore the village was completely abandoned.
These days about half of the village has been renovated but many of the old stone houses stay derelict.
The streets are cobbled, the views are magnificent, and history is rich here. There’s not much to do apart from awe at this beautiful village.
One of the best villages in Albania, Lower Qeparo is situated right on the beach and is a chilled out little beach town.
I highly recommend a visit to these unique villages as they’re some of the top things to see in Albania!
One of the best places to go in Albania is Borsh. Borsh is also very chilled and holds the longest stretch of beach in Albania, making it one of the best beaches in Albania!
It’s situated in between olive groves and is a nice place to get away from the craziness of Saranda in the summer.
I highly recommend making a trip to Borsh castle which sits on the mountain overlooking the beach. The castle is in ruins, but it’s often missed by tourists and is completely forgotten.
The views are simply stunning, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the top Albania attractions.
There’s also an old mosque on the castle walls. This was added by the Ottomans!
It’s not a working mosque as it’s nearly completely ruined but it’s beautiful inside and you can still see some of the paintings on the ceiling.
Dhermi is becoming one of the most popular places to visit along the Albanian Riviera. There are some great beaches and the town is made for tourists, lots of accommodation and restaurant options here.
You can choose to stay right on the beach or in the village above.
Dhermi is a great place to base yourself as it’s the middle of some great places to visit in Albania. Make sure if you stay in Dhermi to make a trip to Gjipe beach, one of the best Albania vacation spots.
It’s one of the best beaches in Albania which is hidden in between a canyon and hosts some of the top festivals in Albania during the summer.
Where to stay in Dhermi
Elysium Hotel – luxury Accommodation Option
This hotel is a luxury accommodation option that has a swimming pool, shuttle service right down to the beach and friendly staff.
It’s located just above Dhermi Beach, so you get a view of the beach as well as the mountains above.
Drymades bungalow – Mid-cost accommodation
This is the place to be during the summer. With fantastic accommodation options including bungalows, wooden rooms and stone rooms, friendly staff and a fun vibe throughout.
Nino’s Guesthouse – Budget accommodation
This place has a great view and only a 3-minute walk to the beach. It’s affordable and the staff are incredibly friendly.
➡ Read more: Where to stay in Dhermi, Albania
Vuno is off the tourist radar and often missed! It’s a very small village along the Albanian Riviera trail. There’s a charm to Vuno just like Upper Qeparo.
Vuno was too abandoned but today it’s slowly being revived. Stone houses and cobbled stone paths lead throughout the village.
You gain magnificent views over the olive groves and the beaches of the Albanian Riviera.
Gjipe beach is not too far away from here and is a great thing to go see if you end up basing yourself in Vuno for a night or two.
If you are looking for fun things to do in Albania in summer, you must include a visit to at least one beach!
And one of the best places to visit Albania has to offer beach lovers is Jale, a beach town that has become popular in recent years.
This is possibly the best place in Albania for holidays on the beach and there are many accommodation options, beach parties and the perfect place to relax.
You can hire a kayak and visit some of the nearby hidden coves and beaches, Gjipe being one of them!
Where to stay in Jale
Folie Marine Beach Hotel & club – Luxury accommodation option
If you’re looking for luxury, then this is it! This is one of the most beautiful places in Albania for a hotel and the Folie Marine Beach hotel also offers 3 restaurants and swimming pool and everything you would need for a real beach getaway.
Hotel Nuanti – Mid-range accommodation
This hotel is closest to that secret beach I talked about on the last page. This accommodation is basic but meets all the needs of a summer getaway.
The staff are incredibly friendly, and they serve delicious fresh seafood too!
Located in the north, Theth national park is one, if not the most beautiful national park in Albania. It’s truly a must visit in Albania.
Theth is a picturesque village hidden in the mountains. From here you can start some great hikes through the Albanian Alps and see some of the best Albania nature attractions.
The area is a haven for lovers of wild animals and beautiful nature. Over 2/3rds of the park is covered in trees. Theth is isolated but slowly tourism is developing.
Theth is the top tourist destination in Albania for outdoor enthusiasts and there’s an abundance of things to see including the park itself, springs, waterfalls, stone carvings and more.
Where to stay in Theth
Bujtina Polia – Mid-range accommodation
This is where we stayed for 2 nights and I highly recommend it. We had a little cabin which was nice and cosy.
It’s located right next to the Theth church and about a 20-minute walk to the centre of Theth (where the mini market is).
The family were friendly, and the food was good. Breakfast was a buffet and was filled with all the right things to prepare for the days hiking.
We also had lunch there (500lek pp) which was a range of dishes like meat, cheese, salad, soup, bread and water.
They have family style dinners which were €10 per person. There was a lot of food and a typical Albanian style of lots of different dishes, so you get a bit of everything.
Perhaps one of the most unique tourist destinations in Albania for history buffs is the coastal city of Vlore.
Vlore is much bigger than the likes of the more popular Saranda. It’s the start (or end) of the Albanian Riviera.
The city has a special place in history because Vlore is where Albania claimed independence in 1912. This old city was founded in the 6th century BC and used to be named Aulona.
There is plenty to do in and around Vlora. I highly recommend going to the castle, you get spectacular views of the city from here. Sazan island is also close and is the largest island in Albania.
It’s a military zone but recently It started opening in the summers for tourists to come see. There are plenty of beaches in Vlore to check out too.
Where to stay in Vlora
Regina Blu – Luxury Accommodation
This is one of the best luxury places to stay within Vlora. It has a beautiful view of the sea with an incredible pool and facilities.
Hotel Liro – Mid range hotel
is also a popular option as it is located right in the cliff-face with a private beach and friendly staff.
I must be honest, Fier is not my favourite place in Albania. BUT it does have one advantage – Apollonia!
Apollonia is a UNESCO world heritage site full of history and one of the best tourist places in Albania! It’s an ancient Illyrian and Greek city.
I heard that less than 5% of Apollonia has been discovered, which is truly incredible because as you walk around the park you will soon understand how much is yet to still be discovered!
Durres is a port city and a popular pick for a beach getaway for Albanians living in Tirana as its only 35km from the capital. It’s the most ancient city in Albania with a history going back as far as 3000 years.
The biggest thing to see in Durres is the ancient Amphitheatre which seats over 15,000 people. The theatre is the second largest in the Balkans and is a great thing to see if you end up in Durres.
From Durres, you can head north for some incredible nature and hiking. Only an hour away is Cape of Rodon which I highly recommend visiting. It’s home to sandy beaches and a 14th-century castle!
Permet is near one of Albania’s natural wonders – hot water springs! The town is known to be the cleanest and the greenest being named the city of flowers.
One of the main features of this town is the enormous rock that lies in the centre called the stone of the city. It is one of the most unique Albania tourist attractions.
There’s also a beautiful old bridge called Katiu which is right next to the springs!
Where to stay in Permet
Funky Guesthouse – Mid range accommodation option
This guesthouse has fantastic reviews and provides an excursion that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Permet- horseback riding!
If you want to see the springs and local area via horseback, then you’re going to love this place.
The guest house is cosy, clean and equipped rooms with a great buffet breakfast which is included.
The guest house is right in the centre of Permet so it’s close to all the restaurants and sightseeing in this city.
The rooms are clean and up to date so you can enjoy an excellent quality room at a very affordable price.
📚 Read more: Check out my Permet travel guide here
20. Finiq/ Phoenice
Finiq is an incredibly under-visited site located just out of Saranda! It’s one of the most underrated tourist places in Albania.
The Finiq archaeological park is still mostly yet to be discovered but there’s a Roman theatre, Hellenistic houses, a small prostylos temple, Byzantine church and lots of relics.
The site was formed in the second half of the 5th century BC.
Many tourists don’t even know this site exists which is such a shame. From the park, you gain amazing views of the surrounding landscape. It’s a very peaceful place.
I highly recommend taking a picnic up to the site and enjoying the view and history!
21. Porto Palermo
The Porto Palermo castle and its beach are a great stopover during a holiday to the Albanian Riviera. The castle was built in the 19th century and belonged to Ali Pasha.
The castle is unique because it’s in a star shape instead of the usual 4 corners a castle normally has!
You will also see old army barracks beside the castle and nearby there’s also a submarine bunker!
The beach is small and rocky but lovely, nevertheless. I have also seen people camping right on the beach here!
Right on the border of Macedonia is a popular stopover holiday spot for families. Pogradec offers beautiful views of Lake Ohrid which is over 4 million years old.
The lake is under UNESCO protection as it’s home to as many as 17 aquatic animal species which are majority native to this lake.
The town is one of the must-see places in Albania for nature lovers who are after a peaceful holiday by the lake!
Where to stay in Pogradec
There are many great affordable hotels to stay in the city. The top three hotels are:
As Pogradec is a resort town, there are plentiful hotels here. If you’re looking for a more Vila-type accommodation rather than a large hotel, then try Vila Sigal.
23. Llogara national park
Llogara national park is great for a summer or winter getaway. Within the park, you have many options – hiking, paragliding, camping and you’re also close to the sea!
The Llogara pass is one of the most beautiful drives in Europe. You gain stunning views of the Albanian Riviera, particularly Palase which is the best beach before/after the national park (it’s one of Albania’s best beaches).
If you love hiking, then good news because Llogara is the gateway for the Karaburun Peninsula. There is still not a lot of information about this peninsula as it’s the most untouched part of the Albanian Riviera.
To get to the hidden coves and beaches you must hike for 4-6 hours one way and there are no certain tracks yet.
Where to stay in llogara
The last place but certainly not the least is Butrint – a UNESCO protected area nearby Saranda and next to Ksamil.
The Greeks inhabited Butrint in the 6th century BC and later the Romans took over. But Butrint was inhabited well before that, in prehistoric times. The earliest evidence of life is from 50,000 years ago!
The park is incredibly big, you can easily spend the whole day here exploring all that it has to offer. There’s one restaurant within the park at the top otherwise there’s also another one down the road.
I highly recommend looking at Ali Pasha Fortress which is not too far from the main park at Butrint as both are must visit places in Albania.
You can reach it by catching a ride with a local fisherman or walking down from the viewpoint on the road going towards Butrint.
There’s a roundup of the best places to visit in Albania that you simply cannot miss. There are plenty more places to visit while you’re in Albania. Every town, village and city are unique, and none are the same.
➡ Read more: Unique Things to do in Albania
My advice would be to hire a car and drive around the country. This way you can see a lot more. If you don’t have access to a hire car, make sure you read my guide to transport through Albania!
Frequently Asked Questions
This will really come down to personal preference, but most people will -rightly – tell you that Theth is the most beautiful National Park in the country. For me, Shkodër, Berat, Gjirokastёr and Ksamil are also some of the most beautiful places in Albania.
You really can’t visit Albania without visiting the beach. But which one? If you can only visit one, one of my favourites is Dhermi Beach. I also really love Himare Beach, which is a little less touristy.
Definitely the beach! Head to the Albanian Riviera and have your pick of the best towns and cities in Albania for beach bumming. Some of the best places are Saranda, Vlore and Dhermi.
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