Discover Albania, a sweet little nation in the Balkans, with its beautiful European delights, ranging from sky-touching hills to turquoise water streams and hidden quaint villages to great beaches. As the country has been flourishing for thousands of years and has witnessed the periods of the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Thracians, and more, it houses an incredible array of ancient places. Take a tour of ancient Europe here. Let us unravel the top things to do when in Albania, Balkans.
Top Things To Do In Albania, Balkans
1. Explore the Capital city of Tirana
The capital city of Albania, Tirana is a must-visit place in the country as this colourful city exudes a beautiful blend of archaism and modernism. With pastel buildings covering its neighborhoods and a vibrant crowd filling up streets and squares, Tirana is a significant part of the Albanian tour. The soviet-era architecture and great structures from the times of the Ottomans are the major highlights of the city. However, it also has some of the most wonderful museums and art galleries. The Bunk’Art in Tirana is a perfect place to satiate the artist in you. So, visit it, roam around, explore places and get the opportunity to see Albania reflecting the heritage and culture of Europe.
Entry fee: $20 – $25 per day (Including entrance to major tourist places)
Ideal Timings: 10:00 am to 06:00 pm
Pro Tip: Visit the Blloku district in Tirana to explore the vibrant nightlife of the country. It is here you would find the best restaurants, pubs and cafes!
2. Take a Tour of Butrint National Park
A trip deep into the nerves of nature is always full of excitement and experience and that’s what you are going to encounter while touring the large expanse of Butrint National Park in Albania. Spread across thousands of acres south of Sarande, the national park boasts of a diverse topographical landscape that includes rugged terrains, hilly areas, dazzling lakes, beautiful islands, reed beds, wetlands and of course, a sparkling plain region. It is one place where Albania showcases its richness and diverse ecosystems. But the national park is equally popular for its remarkable archaeological sites. And a large number of visitors come here only to see those remains of ancient city walls, a roman theatre and castles.
Entry fee: $7 per person
Timings: 08:00 am to 08:00 pm
Pro Tip: If you are planning to explore the park for a long time, then do take along lots of waters and lunch.
3. Photograph the Culturally-important Skanderbeg Square
Releasing warmth from every corner, Skanderbeg Square is one of the greatest places to visit in Albania. The Skanderbeg Monument dedicated to the national hero of the country is one of the major attractions here. The square is surrounded by a number of heritage and culturally-significant buildings such as National Opera, National Library, the Palace of Culture and the Clock Tower. All these places could be enjoyed from this wonderful square where people often crash during mornings and afternoons to soak up the ambience of Tirana. Lounge and explore its open-air plaza. Watch colourful crowd passing by and capture great moments on camera.
Entry fee: No entrance fee to the square
Pro Tip: Must try the great coffee served at shops here.
4. Witness Heaven at Mount Dajti National Park
There are a number of ways to travel up the beautiful Mount Dajti. You can make use of the cable car or drive up the winding road or even choose to hike it. Irrespective of the route you take, the tour to Mount Dajti would bring you to the charming world of Mount Dajti National Park. This is one of the most accessible national parks in the Balkans. Spend a day wandering into the mountain range that lies just beyond the eastern edge of Tirana. Various hiking trails lead into the forests and along the ridges offering phenomenal vistas. Indulge in wildlife watching and escape from the busy city life.
Entry fee: $6.50 per person
Timings: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm (including the Adventure Park and cable car)
Pro Tip: Do try the gaming activities such as shooting with your family here as it is the ultimate fun.
5. Explore the Beautiful Settlement of Gjirokaster
Another settlement in Albania that proves to be a great weekend destination is the valley town of Gijrokaster. This charming place is all about relishing the past of the country while enjoying its lush greenery. Set up in between the Gjere Mountains and the Drino River, Gijrokaster boasts of its cobblestone streets and exceptional Ottoman-era architecture that dot the entire town. As per records, Gijrokaster has a history of more than seven decades and hence, one gets to understand how Albania evolved over years after visiting its old town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a tour in its beautiful streets, explore the massive castle, visit the age-old market or simply enjoy the mountains and its lushness spread all around.
Entry fee: No entrance fee
($15 – $20 per person for entrance to other tourist attractions)
Ideal Timings: 07:00 am to 05:00 pm
Pro Tip: Visit the place between the months of April and October to witness it in full glory.
6. Head towards the City of Thousand Windows
Albania is filled with a number of pretty towns where one can explore impeccable architecture from the times of the Ottoman Empire and also nature in its green and pure form. Berat, surrounded by hills and mountains and harbouring a realm of utmost tranquility, is one of these pretty towns. It also known as “the City of Thousand Windows” because of windows that dominate the hillside of the city. The Byzantine churches, Ottoman-style mosques and other ancient structures are the most loved and admired beauties here. So, how about a weekend tour of this idyllic destination that takes you through a time capsule? No doubt, it is one of the best places to visit in Albania.
Entry fee: No entrance fee
Pro Tip: Visit the place for at least two days to explore its charm and cultural beauty.
7. Go on a Cycling Tour of Shkodra Lake
Swimming, walking, cycling, and simply enjoying nature – everything is possible when you in the beautiful region of Shkodra Lake. So, what are you waiting for? Rent a bicycle and paddle down the exemplary expanse of Shkoder Lake Area. Stop for great photos by the lake and enjoy the greenery and peace it nurtures all around. Appreciate the passing landscape as you pedal down. You can also consult local guides for organized bicycle tours in the region. It is definitely one of the best ways to explore the natural beauty of Albania.
Entry fee: $10 – $12 per day
($30 – $45 for organised tours with lunch)
Timings: 06:00 am to 05:00 pm
Pro Tip: The place is extremely safe for solo female travellers too.
8. Visit the Great Rozafa Castle
Rozafa Castle is one of the most popular and loved places in Albania. This ancient castle lying in its ruins is located on the outskirts of Shkoder and is frequently visited by those who love walking through the pages of history. The castle is made of limestone brick and is located above a small hill, due to which its top offers great panoramic views of surroundings. As it has been controlled by several empires including the Romans, it serves as a great weekend getaway for all the history lovers visiting Shkoder and the nearby region.
Entry fee: $2 per person
Timings: 09:00 am to 07:00 pm
Pro Tip: Visit it with a local guide to learn in detail about its structure and every other corner.
9. Absorb the Charm of Cute Ksamil Village
Soak up the peaceful and quiet atmosphere at Ksamil Village and revitalise your nerves. Located on the Ionian Sea coastline, this tranquil village offers a number of attractions. With a small and uncrowded beach, plenty of cafes and family-run restaurants, Ksamil showcases the richness of Albania. This could be your weekend destination if you are really into exploring hidden places where you get to find yourself amid a serene soothing settlement. Visit it and watch the true Albanian way of life here. Ksamil Village is surely going to surprise you with its great beauty.
Entry fee: No entrance fee
Pro Tip: Do not forget to visit the beautiful natural spring of Blue Eye on the outskirts of Ksamil.
10. Visit the Port City of Durres
Quite a popular beach getaway, Durres is a port city and a must-visit place in Albania to witness the coastal beauty of the country. Located at a distance of about 35 km from the capital city of Tirana, this place has a history dating back to thousands of years. From incredible hiking spots to an ancient Amphitheatre, there are a number of attractions in the city which would allure you. These wonderful places reflect the rich heritage of Albania. There are also pristine beaches for all sea lovers.
Entry fee: No entrance fee
Pro Tip: Avoid visiting the place during summer if you wish to avoid a huge tourist crowd.
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