Whether you want to photograph unique architecture or go into nature, Albania is the place to do it.
With Balkan Tales, you can explore Albania on a private tour, or include it in your multi-country tour – we will adjust the itinerary so that you get see the best of Albania!
What we deliver with each tour is:
- Charm and positivity as our tour 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.
- 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 of Albania that we consider a must.
Local Currency: Albanian lek
Population: 2.863 million
Religion: Muslim 56.7%, Roman Catholic 10%, Orthodox 6.8%,
Who needs Visa: check if you need a visa here
If you already have a special wish, write to Balkan Tales and you can be certain it will be part of the itinerary.
Cities to stay
Tiranas monuments are numerous, among them are the Orthodox Cathedral, the Ethem 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 of pines and oaks.
Recommended by Balkan Tales
Must see – Mother Albania Monument, BUNK’ART, Walking city tour with a local guide
Berat – the town of a thousand windows
Berat is the best preserved Ottoman-era city in Eastern Europe. It is a fascinating museum city in Albania.
- In 2008 its old town was included among UNESCO’s Heritage Sites.
Second largest city in Albania, Durres is the largest port in Albania and serves as the center of commerce for Tirana.
- 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.
The fortress city and the birth place of the national Albanian hero Skënderbeg.
- 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.
The capital of the Albanian Riviera, located on the border with Greece.
- 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 because it is among UNESCO Heritage Sites. 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.
Vlorë – the old capital of Albania
- Vlorë, the second most important Albanian 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.
Places to visit
Places to visit in Albania
Make sure you include these attractions in your Albania tour itinerary.
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.
Vlora and Orikum
- 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. Тhe Declaration of Independence of Albania was signed in 1912 was signed here.
Orikum, at 15 km from Vlora, was also founded in the 6th century. The beach is long, covered with fine pebbles. From Orikum, the road leads to the Llogara National Park, with fascinating wildlife.
- The Skanderbeg museum will tell the story of battles against Ottomans.
- The National Ethnographic Museum’s collection is mainly dedicated to artisanal products.
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.
- Three rivers feed the lake: Drin, Shala, and Valbona
- 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 1988 is 400 meters wide.
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.
- 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.
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.
The local landmarks are the castle’s ruins, located over the lake, and the historical center.
- This mountain is a natural landmark, high 1613 meters.
Dajt, a national park since 1966, has lots to fascinate with. Animals like wild boars, brown bears, red foxes inhabit the park. You can reach it by a gondola lift from the east.
- The Albanian Riviera spans the Ionian sea coastal section in the Vlorë county.
- 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.
- Skadar is a lake famed as the largest on the Balkan Peninsula; one third belongs to Albania.
- The lake is connected with the Adriatic via the Bojana river, and with the Ohrid lake via the Drin river.
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.
- This is a former fortress, dominating the Gjirokastër town.
- It stands at a height of 336 meters and overlooks the route crossing the valley.
The fortress existed before the 12th century, but it was extensively renovated in the 19th century. Now five towers rise over it. A national folk festival is held in the fortress. The numerous small shops sell hand made souvenirs. The views on the town are magnificent. The town itself is a Heritage Site under UNESCO.
- The 750,000 bunkers, built by a former Albanian leader Enver Hoxha can be found in the villages, fields, and even on 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.
Their destruction would cost about 800 euros per bunker. Instead of destroying them, enterprising citizens have built some stores 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 temperature inside does not change so much.
UNESCO sites in Albania
- Historic Berat and Gjirokaster
- Durres Amphitheater
- Royal Tombs of Seleca
- Ohrid Region Heritage Sites
Albanian Intangible Cultural Heritage
Albania in Balkan Tour Itineraries
Take a look at our suggested balkan tour Itineraries, already containing Albania.
It’s Easy to Include Albania in Your Tour!
All you have to do to add Albania to your guided Balkan tour is to describe what you expect of your tour by email.
Do not hesitate to contact us with all your requirements, and we will put together a private tour of Albania according to your interests, pace and arrivals dates.
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