Albania is filled with hidden gems like rugged mountains, beautiful beaches, and ancient relics surrounded by lush greenery. Despite its growing popularity among tourists, it remains one of Europe’s most surprising destinations. Its diverse landscapes, hospitable locals, delectable cuisine, and rich history combine to make it a destination that beckons exploration. Discover the best things to do in Albania on your trip to this lovely country.
Albania’s Ionian Sea coastline hides an undiscovered paradise. The Albanian Riviera reveals untouched beaches, crystal-clear waters, and charming coastal villages, which are a must-visit on your Albania tour. Here are some must-see places along this beautiful coast:
Exploring the Albanian Riviera invites you to relax, soak up the sun, and embrace the Mediterranean way of life.
Standing on Berat’s footbridge is an unparalleled experience in Albania. Surrounded by Ottoman-style houses, their dark windows staring from whitewashed walls like watchful eyes, it’s a charming sight.
On the southern bank lies the serene Gorica district, often shadowed by imposing rock formations. To the north, you’ll find the sun-soaked Mangalemi district, with steep cobblestone paths leading to the hilltop Kalasa, an ancient citadel rivaling the finest old towns in the Balkans.
Don’t miss the Cobo winery, near Berat in Roshnik village. A visit here is a top-notch Albanian experience, immersing you in the country’s vibrant wine culture.
Located in the southern part of Albania, Gjirokaster is an Ottoman-era city often referred to as the “Stone City” for its remarkable architecture. The old town of Gjirokaster is renowned for its captivating atmosphere and is one of the top things to do in Albania.
There are several distinctive activities to indulge in while exploring Albania’s “Stone Town.” Tourists can do various activities in this place. They can walk around the old town’s UNESCO World Heritage streets.
They can also shop at the bazaar’s artisan shops. Additionally, they can admire the stunning views from Gjirokaster Castle. Lastly, they can explore the many interesting museums.
Gjirokaster stands out as a must-visit destination in Albania, primarily due to its exceptionally well-preserved historical sites, laid-back way of life, and the warm hospitality extended by its locals.
Tucked away in a breathtaking natural environment, the Benja Thermal pools are tucked away from the main roadways, offering a tranquil escape. Accessible by car, a road leads to a series of artificial pools, where the geothermal water maintains a constant temperature of approximately 30 degrees Celsius year-round.
This peaceful spot also serves as a favored camping destination, drawing in many nature enthusiasts seeking a serene getaway. Identified by its iconic Ottoman-era bridge, visitors can embark on a hike along the gorge and uncover stunning sights, including cascading waterfalls.
Skadar Lake, the largest in the Balkans, stretches into Albania and remains exceptionally pristine. It’s easily accessible as it’s located along the train line, making it a great stop on your way to or from the coast. Your starting point is Virpazar, a charming fishing village at the lake’s northern tip, about 1km back from Podgorica station along the train line.
From Virpazar, you can enjoy a pleasant walk along the lake’s western shore. If you have a bicycle with you, even better, although there are no bike rental options. A one-hour bike ride will take you to a group of offshore monasteries, but to get closer, you’ll need to find a boat. Visiting this beautiful lake is one of the things to do in Albania which you shouldn’t miss.
Bunk Art in Tirana, Albania, is a unique museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Albanian communist regime that ruled from 1944 to 1991. Housed in an underground bunker built during that era, the museum features over 100 rooms and tunnels spread across five levels. It offers exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays chronicling Albania’s political history, from the early days of communism to its collapse in the early 1990s.
Besides its historical exhibits, Bunk Art hosts cultural events, concerts, and film screenings. It has become a top tourist attraction in Tirana, drawing visitors worldwide interested in Albania’s complex political past.
Albania’s cuisine, primarily centered around meat, blends influences from Slavic, Turkish, and Italian culinary traditions. While spit-roasted lamb has historical significance, today, kebabs and grilled lamb rissoles (qoftë) take center stage on menus, often accompanied by a bowl of yogurt known as “kos.” Another intriguing dish is “fergesë,” a mixture of eggs, onions, tomatoes, and in some regions, meat, all cooked in a clay pot.
For vegetarians, there’s an abundance of hearty salads, and along the coast, seafood is readily available. However, it’s worth noting that much modern Albanian youth, as well as tourists, frequently rely on snack foods like “burek,” a pastry filled with cheese, meat, or spinach, and “sufllaqë,” which consists of sliced kebab meat and french fries stuffed inside a flatbread roll.
Although small, Albania offers a wealth of attractions and activities that will exceed your expectations. From the stunning beaches of the Albanian Riviera to fascinating archaeological sites, there’s much to explore. If you are planning a trip to Albania, reach out to us and our experts will be happy to help.
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