Include Bulgaria in Your Balkan Tour

Whether you want to photograph unique architecture or go off into nature, Albania is the place to do it. Balkan Tours has taken individuals and groups there many times and we can incorporate this location in your guided tour easily. What we deliver with each tour is:

  • Charm, positivity and humor as our local guide takes you through rarely seen spots!
  • Excellent time management so you’re always on schedule and still have the time to see it all at your own pace.
  • Language assistance in every situation so you get more out of your interactions with locals.

Read further to acquaint yourself with the cities and natural landmarks that we consider a must. If you already have a special wish, write to Balkan Tales and you can be certain it will be part of the itinerary.


  • Butrint
  • Historic Berat and Gjirokaster
  • Durres Amphitheater
  • Royal Tombs of Seleca
  • Ohrid Region Heritage Sites

Albanian Intangible Cultural Heritage

What cities to visit in Albania

[accordion-item title=”Tirana”]

  • Tirana, Albania’s capital, boasts a history of over 10,000 years.
  • In the centre, the buildings were designed by eminent architects from Italy, from the Mussolini period.
  • It is in the western part, surrounded by hills. The valley opens to show the Adriatic Sea in the distance.

Tirana’s monuments are numerous, among them are the Orthodox Cathedral, the Et’hem Bey Mosque from the 18th century, the Mother Albania statue, etc.

The Dajti Mountain National Park nearby is a must visit place. Its highest peak rises to 1,613 metres. The mountain is covered with forests comprising pines, as well as beach and oaks. The features are diverse, with canyons and caves, and even an ancient castle.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Berat”]

  • Berat is a fascinating museum city in Albania.
  • In 2008, its old town was appreciated for being included among UNESCO’s Heritage Sites.
  • The multitude of historical buildings will contribute to Berat’s charm and will leave interesting impressions.

The old town is comprised of three parts: one on a castle hill, another at the hill foot, and the third on the Osum river’s left bank. It passes through Berat. Above, the Tomorr mountain rises, its slopes covered with pine forests, and at its foot, the gorge of the Osum forms a natural fortress. The town invites with its original location in the gorge, on the river terraces, in a very picturesque way.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Durrës”]

  • Durrës is on the Adriatic sea coast, and is one of Albania’s most ancient cities.
  • It was founded by colonists from Ancient Greece.
  • Located at a very narrow point of the sea, it combines marine charm with a diversity of architectural styles.

Durrës offers a raft of monuments to see and marvel at. The Durrës Amphitheatre, built in the 2nd century, is among the largest on the Balkan Peninsula, it had a capacity for 20,000 people. Another ancient site is the Durrës castle, built by the Byzantine Empire’s Emperor Anastasius I. There are also mosques, like the Great Mosque and the Fatih Mosque.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Krujë”]

  • Krujë is very near the capital Tirana, spectacularly located between the mount of the same name and the Ishëm river.
  • It was important in the country’s history, and was even the capital of the Kingdom of Albania for a certain period.

The castle, located at an altitude of 557 metres, stood firm and withstood four sieges by the Ottoman army. Now it is a busy and popular touristy site, and is even shown on some Albanian banknotes. You can visit the Skanderbeg Museum in the castle. The ethnographic museum is another highlight. It is in an old villa, built in 1764.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Saranda”]

  • Saranda, or Sarandë, is famed as a great touristy spot on the country’s Riviera.
  • It lies between hills, in a valley reaching an Ionian Sea gulf, in the Mediterranean’s central area.
  • Three rivers cross the city and flow into the Ionian Sea.

The town used to be the ground of the ancient Butrint city. Its fame was brought by its captivating seaside location, and, too, because it is among UNESCO Heritage Sites, with the remains of the ancient Butrint. The surroundings feature diversity, not just beaches, but also bays, hills covered with vegetation: olives, citruses trees, vineyards, and mountain hills rising in the distance.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Vlorë”]

  • Vlorë, the second most important port, is on the Adriatic Sea.
  • Sea and vegetation lend appeal, with numerous gardens and with olive groves.
  • The city was founded by Ancient Greeks as their colony and now boasts over 26 centuries of history.

Holidays are delightful in this sun kissed spot, with over 300 sunny days a year. The panorama is unique in the bay of Vlorë, which serves as a border between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. Karaburun is the peninsula serving as the border. Like other Albanian cities, its architecture reflects different historical periods. Nearby is the Sazan Island, which belongs with the National Marine park bearing the name Karaburun-Sazan.[/accordion-item]

What to visit in Albania

[accordion-item title=”Shkoder Day Trip from Tirana – EMPTY”][/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”Kruja and Sari Salltik Hiking Tour from Tirana”]

  • The Ethnographic Museum is in a villa built in 1764, and boasts artisanal objects, some of them dating from about 500 years ago.
  • The Skanderbeg Museum was constructed in the vicinity of the Kruja castle.
  • Near Kruja, the Sari Salltik cave was the home of a dervish in the 13th century.

Visit Kruja, just 20 km away from Tirana. You will step into an old town, the former capital of the Albania Kingdom. There at the bazaar, handicraft souvenirs charm tourists. The Ethnographic Museum’s collection is marvellous. Yet another highlight is the museum of Skanderbeg. He was the leader of a league defeating Kruja from the Ottomans, until it was conquered, after the fourth siege. Then, from the slopes of the Kruja mountain, an amazing view will unfold; for that reason the mountain also has the nickname of Adriatic Balcony. Near the town, the cave where Sari Salltik, a Turkish dervish, respected as a saint, dwelt, draws lots of tourists.

[accordion-item title=”Vlora and Orikum Full Day Trip from Durres “]

  • Visit Vlora’s 12th century Marmiroi Church and the Muradie Mosque dating from the 16th century.
  • The Vlora Bay is the border between two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian.
  • The stunning view unfolding from Orikum on the entire bay is picture perfect.

Vlora started as an ancient colony of Greeks, back in the 6th century BC. It was also the country’s capital for a short period. In it, the Declaration of Independence of Albania was signed in 1912. The abundant sunshine, with 300 sunny days a year on average, and auspicious beaches, attract multitudes for sunbathing holidays.

Orikum, at 15 km from Vlora, was also founded in the 6th century. Lying at the Vlora Bay’s south end, it boasts Albania’s only marina. There, the beach is long, covered with fine pebbles. From Orikum, the road leads to the Llogara National Park, with fascinating wildlife.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”Kruje”]

  • The Skanderbeg museum will tell the story of battles against Ottomans.
  • The National Ethnographic Museum’s collection is mainly dedicated to artisanal products.
  • The castle comprises remains of a mosque and a Turkish bath.

In the plain of the Ishëm river, Kruja lies, 20 km away from Tirana, and 37 km from Durres. Founded by the Albani tribe, an Illyrian one, it was later conquered by the Roman Republic. Byzantine, Serbian, and Ottoman rules followed. Skanderbeg, a local leader, whose museum is of special interest, led the locals in the defence against Ottoman sieges. Nowadays, the museum of Skanderbeg, founded in 1982, contains precious artifacts from that period. The Ethnographic Museum, founded in 1989, is housed in a villa from the 18th century. The exhibits in it date from 50 to 500 years ago. The castle is where the Skanderbeg museum is located.[/accordion-item]
[accordion-item title=”Koman Lake”]

  • Three rivers feed the lake: Drin, Shala, and Valbona
  • Admire the slopes and gorges around the lake.
  • The narrowest gorge is surrounded by slopes rising almost vertically.


The setting for the lake combines vertical slopes, verdant forests, and a narrow valley. This reservoir type lake, built near the Koman village, in the period 1979-1988, has a width of 400 metres. It is fed by the rivers Drin, Shala, and Valbona. By it, the narrowest gorge is 50 metres wide, and has the steepest slopes. The terrain and the abundance of water form auspicious conditions for a plethora of animal and bird species.

Take the ferry from Koman to Fierza, which is another reservoir type lake, for two and a half hours of observation of the magnificent landscape.

[accordion-item title=”Pogradec”]

  • Enjoy Ohrid Lake’s beauty by visiting Pogradec.
  • Come on 21 June for the Lake Day, or for the film food festival in September, or for the wine fest in December.
  • The castle ruins fascinate from a height of 205 metres over the lake.

Pogradec lies on the shore of the Ohrid lake, which is among Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes. The beauty of nature has stimulated rich folklore, created for centuries, in songs and in dances. The lake’s beauty is celebrated on Lake Day, held on 21 June, marked by festive events.

The landmarks are the castle’s ruins, located over the lake, and the historical centre. In the vicinity, a host of bridges in nearby villages, castles and fortifications lend interest to the area. In Selcë e Poshtme, there are Illyrian royal tombs which are candidates for sites on the UNESCO list of heritage sites.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Mount Dajt”]

  • This mount, a natural landmark, and a national park, rises to 1,613 metres.
  • Winter covers it with snow, and it invites for snowy holidays.
  • The mount area abounds in deciduous forests, and in features like caves, waterfalls, canyons.

Dajt, a national park since 1966, has lots to fascinate with. Animals like wild boars, brown bears, red foxes, and other mammals inhabit the park. To reach it, take the asphalted road, and stop at one of the restaurants around. Another way of climbing is by gondola lift from the east. Not just the nature, the flora and fauna, but remains of prehistoric settlements will contribute to a unique experience.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Albanian Riviera”]

  • The Albanian Riviera spans the Ionian sea coastal section in the Vlorë county.
  • The Riviera borders are the Llogara National park, and Lukovë.
  • For elite holidays, with busy nightlife, this is the suitable area.

The Riviera coastal area abounds in features: the beaches, the canyons, the coves, the caves, plus tropical vegetation: oliveand lemon trees. In the distant past, Julius Carsar rested here. Now international music festivals attract tourists as well. The two other natural parks besides Llogara are Butrint and Karaburun-Sazan. Several castles, Ali Pasha, Borsh, Kaninë, Lëkurësi, Porto Palermo, also join the list of landmarks to see and admire.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Skadar lake”]

  • Skadar is a lake famed as the largest on the Balkan Peninsula; one third belongs to Albania.
  • The surface and the level of the water vary with seasons.
  • The lake is connected with the Adriatic via the Bojana, and with the Ohrid lake via the Drin.

In the south and the south west, the lake sides are rocky and steep, with bays. On the north, the area is inundated, and inundation varies with water level fluctuation. The lake has several small islands. On one of them. Beška, two churches stand. On the southwest, there are remains of a fortress and a prison.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Gjirokastër Castle”]

  • This is a former fortress, dominating the Gjirokastër town.
  • It stands at a height of 336 metres and overlooks the route crossing the valley.
  • You can visit a military museum there, with memorabilia from the resistance period.

The fortress existed even before the 12th century, but it was extensively renovated in the 19th century. Now five towers rise over it. There is, too, a church, and there is a cistern. A national folk festival is held on the fortress ground. The numerous small shops sell hand made souvenirs. The views on the town are magnificent. The town itself is a Heritage Site under UNESCO.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Bunker villages”]

  • A host of bunkers, in excess of 750,000, dot neighborhoods, fields, and even beaches.
  • The number of bunkers is such that there is one to four citizens of Albania. Some of them are populated, used as homes or hotels.
  • Built under the communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, they are solid, to withstand even assault by tanks.

Their destruction would cost a lot, about 800 euros per bunker. Instead of destroying them, enterprising citizens have built some storeys over them, and a hotel or a restaurant and bar in a bunker is only to be seen in Albania. The bunkers are great for wine cellars, as the temperatore inside does not chance.[/accordion-item]

What to do in Albania

[accordion-item title=”Visit Bunkart and Cable Car – EMPTY”][/accordion-item]


[accordion-item title=”Hiking”]

  • Hiking in Albania’s mountains is great, as Byron found out during his journey.
  • Mountains comprise 70% of the territory, and are auspicious for trekking.
  • The trails pass the Albanian Alps and the Accursed Mountains, which form the Prokletije range. The range stretches from Albania to Kosovo and Montenegro.

This small country’s gorgeous trails are little known, but you will be amazed by the mountain beauty and the biological diversity. In the summer, the diversity of flowers is stunning. The canyons around mountain ridges are picture perfect. Valleys at high altitude are also picturesques, like the famed Buni Jezerce, with six glacial lakes.[/accordion-item]

[accordion-item title=”Diving and snorkelling”]

  • The Ionian Sea provides conditions for indulging in diving and snorkeling.
  • For scuba diving, the Vlorë Bay will offer a shipwreck from World War Two, at a depth of up to 33 metres, and a freighter shipwreck, too.
  • For snorkeling, the Sarandë Bay is the best spot, with warm and shallow waters, crisp visibility, and abundant sea life.

The Vlorë Bay is steeped in history, even some of Caesar’s battles took place here. In Sarandë Bay, warm periods last for 5 months a year, and the pebbles lined beaches and turquoise waters will invite you to combine snorkeling with pictures snapping and sunbathing. The Butrint, a UNESCO site, is also a great place to visit.[/accordion-item]

It’s Easy to Include Albania in Your Tour!

All you have to do to add Albania to your guided Balkan tour is to answer our questionnaire and describe what you expect of your tour at [email].

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