Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

A complete list of all the most awesome places to see in Albania – the must-see’s as well as those more off the beaten path.

So you are coming to Albania? Great choice! Although still less popular and slightly more off the beaten path compared to other Balkan countries such as Croatia or Montenegro, it is quickly becoming a go-to country for both awesome and affordable beach vacations as well as for the travellers and backpackers among us!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Albania is an incredible travel destination and really, it has it all! Beautiful beaches and turquoise seas, magnificent mountains, lakes that are more reminiscent of Thailand than a European landscape, uber interesting Unesco sites and historical towns, and to top it all off, a fascinating culture, rich history and hospitable people! What more could you need?

But choosing where to go and what to see in Albania can be overwhelming, especially as it’s still a little less discovered European destination.

Whether you are coming to Albania for just a few days, for a week or two, or planning a longer trip, I have put together this complete list of all the most incredible places to see in Albania.

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To make it easy for you, I have divided this post into 2 parts.

The first part contains the so-called “must-see” 8 places to visit in Albania if you are short on time. If you are only in Albania for a week or two and want to see more than just one place -this list is for you!

If you are planning a longer stay in Albania, anything over 2 weeks, then continue to the second part of this post where I will list all the remaining, but no less spectacular, places you should see!

Want to learn more about travelling in Albania? Check out these additional posts:

If you are planning on getting a local SIM card in Albania head over to this post, and here you will find everything you need to know about travelling in Albania as a solo traveller or a backpacker!

Here you will find a list of the most spectacular hostels in Albania

Heading to the beach? Here is my honest opinion about the Albanian Riviera. And here you will find out if Albania is really that cheap in 2024

How Many Days Do You Need To Explore Albania?

If you only can spare 3 or 4 days for visiting Albania I recommend staying in just one town, and enjoying it! If you are after the beach, just head to Himare or Sarande and have a great time! From there you can take a day trip or two.

Suppose you want to see a few places in Albania and get a good feel of the country which means exploring the coast but also the Albanian Alps and a UNESCO city or two. In that case, I recommend a minimum of two weeks’ stay in Albania.

In two weeks, you can cover the most important and iconic places to see in Albania and have enough time to stay on the beach for a day or two.

If you want to venture into more off-path Albania and maybe visit places like Korce, Pogradec or Permet, or see more than one coastal town, then I recommend 3 to 4 weeks to see most of Albania.

Are you considering renting a car in Albania? If you are travelling in high season, book early! Prices increase significantly, the later you book a car. You can also rent a car at the Tirana airport. There are several car rental agencies outside the arrival terminal and you can also negotiate the price. You can also search for the best prices and pre-book online on Expedia or Discover Cars website

Top 8 Must-See Places in Albania


Tirana is one of my favourite capitals in Europe and although many travellers visit just for a day or two before seeing the rest of Albania, I think Tirana deserve more attention.

I loved Tirana’s quirky look, compact size and relaxed vibe. I was also fascinated by the crazy architectural mishmash, and what others found strange, I found enduring. The colours, the strange buildings, the greenery, the cafes, and the cool vibe of Tirana stole my heart from day one.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Tirana is a great weekend city break destination at any time of the year but also a great introduction to Albania. This is where you can learn loads about Albania’s history, culture and cuisine and take a few great day trips too.

Tirana is a relatively young capital of Albania as it was not officially declared the capital until 1925. During the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, many historical buildings and monuments were destroyed. 

Today Tirana is a curious architectural concoction that some find disturbing, but I love it! Nothing seems to fit together, and yet somehow everything does. 

Tirana is a super-safe city, as is the rest of Albania. It is a city that almost never sleeps and is always packed full of travellers. Even in the darker streets of Tirana, walking back to my hostel outside the centre in the evening, I never felt unsafe.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)


I spent a month in Shkoder volunteering in a hostel, and you can trust me when I say that Shkoder is one of the best places to see in Albania. This town has so many layers and so many surprising things to do that you should definitely give it at least a couple of days!

Most travellers visit Shkoder for one night and consider it to be more of a gateway to the Albanian Alps, thinking that there are not many things to do in Shkoder. Mistake! There are many incredible attractions in Shkoder, plenty of outdoor activities and a nightlife that will catch you off guard.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in Albania and lies at the southeastern end of Lake Scutari (also called Lake Skadar or Lake Shkodër), which is shared with Montenegro forming a natural border between the two countries. The lake is truly beautiful and taking a bike trip to nearby Shiroke is one of the best things to do in Shkoder.

You will also find a wonderful castle worth exploring and a very vibrant backpackers and travellers vibe! There are plenty of cool cafes, great restaurants and bars to explore each evening and of course, then they are – the Albanian Alps!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Albanian Alps

The Albanian Alps are spectacular. This dramatic mountain range, popularly known as the “Accursed Mountains”, connects Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo. They are among the most beautiful mountains in Europe.

The most popular way to see the Albanian Alps is to hike the famous Valbona to Theth hike. Or Theth to Valbone – as the hike can be done in both directions. The hike is a bit challenging but definitely doable and takes between 4 and 8 hours, depending on your ability and the number of breaks you take. It is one of the best ways to explore the Albanian Alps and one of the most spectacular places to see in Albania!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Both Theth and Valbona are worth spending at least a day in. If you don’t fancy a long trek, you can base yourself in either of the villages and go on shorter hikes, visit waterfalls and simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Lake Koman

Lake Koman (or Komani) is often called the Thailand of Europe. I have been dreaming about visiting and seeing the lake from the moment I decided to visit Albania. And it didn’t disappoint. This lake is truly beautiful!

It is best to see Lake Komani in combination with other Northern Albania attractions like visiting the Shala River or a trip from or to Valbone. But if you wanted just to spend the time on a lake you can. There are quite a few lakeside hotels and homestays you could choose from!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)


Berat is my favourite town and a must-see place in Albania. It is a truly charming town, packed full of great things to do and sights to see.

Berat, known as the “city of a thousand windows”, impresses with its fascinating architecture and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. With not one, but two distinctive historic old towns, stunning castle grounds that are still inhabited to this day and incredible natural surroundings, Berat is a must-visit place and you simply have to put it on your Albania itinerary.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Berat is also a great town to hang around for a little longer. It has great facilities, many shops, supermarkets, restaurants and cafés and is surrounded by stunning scenery. The Osumi Canyon is a great day trip you can take from Berat, but if you are only coming for the day, be sure to join a free walking tour!


Gjirocaster is another Albanian town that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must-see in Albania! Gjirocaster, also known as Stone City, is absolutely magical and unlike any other place you have ever seen. The architecture and atmosphere of the city will capture your heart and the view from the hill on which the town is located, will take your breath away. And I am not exaggerating!

Gjirocaster was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and described as “a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town”, but the true highlight of the town is the Old Bazaar – full of colours, interesting architecture, numerous souvenir shops and awesome restaurants and bars.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Gjirocaster can be visited for a day, and you can easily see all its attractions on a day trip, but it’s worth spending at least one night in this town. Watching the sunset from the castle and then wandering the streets of the bazaar until the late hours is something you don’t want to miss!

If you are really short on time, you might be considering choosing just one of the UNESCO towns. So if you are wondering which should you visit Berat or Gjirocater, or maybe why you should visit both, I got you covered in this post.

The Blue Eye of Sarande

The Blue Eye is a must-see attraction in Albania!

There are actually two different Blue Eyes in Albania, one near Theth and one halfway between Gjirocaster and Sarande. The latter is the one that everyone is raving about!

The Blue Eye, also known as “Syri i Kaltër” is a natural phenomenon and it is said that no one really knows how deep it is. However, we know that it is at least 50m deep. It is a natural underwater spring which is pumped up to the surface by the underwater cave currents, forming a turquoise-blue pool.

The water is freezing cold, at around 10 degrees Celsius no matter the time of the year, yet you will see many brave ones jumping into the pool!

It is a super popular day trip from either Gjirocaster or Sarande and definitely one of the most magical places to see in Albania! You can’t miss it!


If you want to head to the beach and explore the Albania Riviera but have time only for one beach town, I recommend Himare. It is in my opinion, the best town on the Albanian Riviera offering a charming small-town vibe and incredible surroundings. Himare also lies very close to some of the best beaches in Albania, so you can see more Albanian beaches while visiting just one town.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Himare used to be this sleepy fishing village, but there are not many places like this left on the Albanian coast. With growing popularity, more and more beaches become crowded tourist spots. But while I was in Himare, I kind of didn’t mind it. The town is still super charming, beaches are plenty to choose from and prices are still affordable.

If I were to recommend just one coastal town for someone with little time, I would say Himare is the best choice!

Even More Incredible Places to See in Albania

Shala River

Shala River is a side branch of the Komani Lake and is famous for its crystal clear water and stunning surroundings. It is an absolutely wonderful place and can make for a fantastic day trip from Shkoder. Although the water in Shala River is pretty cold (it’s a mountain stream after all), swimming in Shala on a hot day is a true joy!

The great thing is that the way to Shala River is equally spectacular as you will have to take a boat across Komani Lake which I have already mentioned. So Visiting Shala can be a great way to see both Komani Lake and the river itself.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)


Kruje (Krujë) is the best day trip you can take from Tirane and a really interesting and charming historical town. It is small and walkable enough so you can visit it on a day trip yet packed full of attractions to make your detour truly worthwhile.

Kruje has incredible importance in Albania from a historical point of view. is an ancient town and in the 12th century became the capital of the first Albanian state. But most importantly it was a centre of resistance led by legendary Skanderbeg against the Ottoman Empire. The Kruje castle is the most visited and most famous castle in Albania and so is the Skanderberg museum located inside.

Apart from the castle, The highlight of the town is definitely its old bazaar which dates back to the 17th century and is a must-visit!

I have exciting news to share with you, my travel friends!

I have just launched my own Backpacking and Budget Solo Travellers FB Group and I would love you to join me there! Travellers of all budgets and ages are welcome! I would like to create a community where we share tips and experiences and where you could ask me all travel and budget backpacking related questions!

I hope to see you there! Pati

Lake Bovilla

Bovilla Lake is one place in Albanina I really wanted to sii but didn’t manage because there is no way you can get there by public transport. It is a beautiful remote lake surrounded by great trails and offering spectacular views, yet the only way to get there is by car.

If you are planning to drive while in Albania, then you should visit Lake Bovilla. Alternatively, you can take an organised tour. Be careful when choosing a tour as some will drive you up to the viewpoint and take you back. It’s worth spending more time in the area so I suggest taking a highly-rated hiking tour like this one.

This is what I am planning on doing on my next visit.


Durres, once the capital of Albania, is the most popular beach getaway among those living in Tirana but also a very popular beach resort among vacationers. It offers a 10-kilometre stretch of sand, lined up with numerous hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes – just your typical beach resort.

But Durres is also an ancient city boasting great Archaeological Museums, archaeological sights like the largest amphitheatre in the Balkan, and the remnants of Durres Castle. Durres is also a great town to visit if you are planning to head towards the Cape of Rodon…

Cape of Rodon

Cape of Rodon is a truly off-the-beaten-path destination in Albania and one worth visiting if you are staying in Durres. It is a stunning peninsula offering spectacular views and crystal-clear water!

As you arrive at Cape Rodon you can explore nearby bunkers and then take a scenic hike down to the beach where you will find ruins of  Rodoni Castle which was by Skanderberg in the 15th century. It’s a great day trip from Durres!

Dunes of Rana e Hedhun

Another awesome place to see if you are in this part of Albania is Shëngjin and the Dunes of Rana e Hedhun, also called a Thrown Sand. This is actually a great day trip from Shkoder but can be also visited from Durres.

Rana e Hedhun beach is a fascinating place to see in Albania as it is a large sand dune going all the way to the beach where many travellers or locals choose to enjoy sandboarding! Pretty cool place!

Osumi Canyon

Osumi Canyon is a spectacular day trip from Berat and one that you should definitely take if you are staying in Berat for more than a day. I hardly ever take organised trips but this was one that I did not regret taking!

The drive to the canyon is very adventurous and there are many interesting stops on the way like Polican town and many viewpoints. The canyon itself is beautiful but depending on the time of the year and amount of rainfall, water might be a bit murky. But it’s super clean nevertheless and you can swim in the river! There are so many different activities you can do in this area, starting from just enjoying the canyon to white water rafting and canyoning!

Dont miss this trip if you are in Berat!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)


Vlore is a kind of town that grows on you. At first, it seems like a typical holiday resort but as you keep discovering you will find some awesome things to do in the town. But the best things to do in Vlore are located slightly outside of town, so if you decide to visit, give it at least a couple of days.

The highlight of my time in Vlore was a trip to Narta Lagoon and a half-day bike ride to Radhimë Beach.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Vlore is one of the largest cities in Albania and is quite lively with plenty of bars and restaurants, but also offers numerous shopping opportunities. Along the promenade of Vlore, numerous hotels are lined up and the long stretch of beach is filled with sun loungers and parasols. But it’s not as bad as in Ksamil, and there are quite a few public beaches where you can spread out your own towel.

The beaches in Vlore town centre are not the best, so if you want to visit Vlore for a beach holiday, book a hotel slightly outside of town towards Radhimë Beach or Bora Bora.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Zvernec Monastery and Narta Lagoon

Narta is a stunning saltwater lagoon near Vlore that stretches over 40 square kilometres and lies within the boundaries of the Vjosa Wild River National Park. It is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including pink flamingos! The lagoon is a unique ecosystem with a rich biodiversity that is both rare and fragile.

Within the boundaries of the Narta Lagoon, on a small island, you will find the dreamy and extremely picturesque Zvernec Monastery. The whole area is beautiful and very unique. I recommend you hire a bike, get up early and go on an active day trip.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

On the way there, you can also stop at the beautiful Narta Beach. However, if you want to explore the northern part of the lagoon towards the birdwatching area or Hidrovor Beach, it’s best to hire a car or take part in an organised tour.

If you decide to visit Vlore, a day trip to Narta and Zvernec Monastery is a must!

Llogara Pass

Llogara Pass is one of the most spectacular places to see in Albania! I heard legends about this pass but kept thinking, it’s just going to be a beautiful mountain pass. But I did not expect this!

The road from Vlore to Dhermi starts just like any other coastal route. You will pass the town, see some new developments and enjoy the views of the nearby mountains. Soon the road will start winding up and the views will become more and more breathtaking! Just driving this route will leave you speechless but it’s worth spending a little more time in this area and maybe having a couple of stops.

Llogara is an actual national park which is only small but filled with great hiking trails. Along the road, you will find many viewing points and be sure to stop and admire the views.


Dhermi is a village situated between Vlore and Himare. The village itself is located on a hill and offers incredible views and is very charming. Dhermi Beach is one of the best beaches in Albania and is located at the bottom of the village.

It’s a long, wide beach that offers plenty of space even in the peak summer months. There are numerous bars and restaurants on the beach, but given the size of the beach, you will also find more secluded spots. It’s a truly mesmerising beach with stunning views and a dramatic mountain backdrop.

Dhermi is considered a nightlife hotspot among Albanians and hosts some famous music festivals in the summer, so if you want to avoid it, visit outside of peak season.

Gjipe Beach

Gjipe is the most beautiful beach in Albania. And getting there is an experience of its own! To get there you will have to hike down the hill for around half an hour but the views are to die for.

I dreamed of visiting Gjipe Beach ever since I first read about it, and I was not disappointed. The water is crystal clear, and although the place is gaining in popularity it has retained its remote feeling mostly because it is not easy to get to.

You can easily spend a whole day at this beach. And if you feel like it, you can even camp there overnight. There are a few bars/restaurants on the beach, but most visitors bring their own food, including BBQs and tents!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)
Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Jala Beach

Jale Beach is my second favourite of all the Himare beaches and it is definitely a beach that keeps on giving! It is also a little more than just a remote beach – you will find a few accommodation options and campgrounds here so it’s a great place to stay for a few days!

The beach is beautiful, and the water here was the clearest of all the Himare beaches I visited. The deck chairs were also quite affordable but you can just spread your own towel too.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

There are tonnes of facilities at Jale Beach. From a couple of really good beach bars and restaurants to a small souvenir market, small stores and even an ATM machine. Jale Beach is definitely a destination in itself.

What’s more, you can take a short hike from Jale Beach to another beautiful beach in Himare – Aquarium Bay!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

Upper Qeparo

If you want to experience a traditional Albanian village where tourism hasn’t peaked (if at all) yet Upper Queparo has to land on your Albania Itinerary. Even if just for a few hours day trip. The village is quaint and retains a lot of its authentic charm.

Located on the slopes of the hill and although it was very much abandoned after the fall of communism and many buildings are still in a state of ruin, the village has been partly restored and looks like it might be coming back to life. At the bottom of the hill, you will find a new Queparo village and a small beach.

Borch Beach

Borsh is the largest beach on the Albanian Riviera and is very popular with locals, tourists and camping amateurs. There are a few official campsites on the beach as well as a few small hotels. It’s a large 7km long, beach so everyone can find their own piece of paradise here.


Sarande is a pleasant seaside resort boasting lovely beaches, great promenades and tonnes of things to do. It’s a great place to visit for a few days just to chill so no wonder that it is a very popular holiday destination. You will find an infinite amount of great restaurants, bars and cafes, you can climb the hill to Kalaja e Lëkurësit castle or take a day trip to Ksamil, Butrint or Blue Eye.

Sarande is definitely a one-stop destination for many visitors in Albania.

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

It is definitely more of a resort, just like Vlore, so if you are looking for some chilled time on a beach and a vacation vibe, Sarande would be a great choice. I didn’t find it particularly charming or very authentic, especially in comparison with places like Himare or Dhermi but I had a great time in Sarande as there are plenty of great beaches to explore and some of the best sunsets in Albania!


Oh Ksamil. The biggest disappointment.

Ksamil was made famous by many bloggers and social media influencers and portrayed as this paradise beach town of white sands, and turquoise waters. And yes, the sea is spectacular and you will not find white sand beaches like this anywhere else in Albania. Some even call Ksamil the ‘Maldives of Europe’. 

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)

But in my humble opinion, Ksamil has been ruined by tourism. The beaches are crowded and totally packed. There are no public beaches left and it costs a small fortune to rent a chair and a parasol. Some private beaches or beach bars will simply refuse you entry if you are not up to their standards. It is just not my type of place.

But. If you are just looking for a few days of relaxation in a nice resort, close to many beach bars with very Instagramable spots and don’t mind paying more for it, go for it. But I personally don’t recommend staying in Ksamil but yu can visit on a day trip from Sarande and make your own opinion.

Butrint National Archaeological Park

Butrint National Archaeological Park is a beautifully located UNESCO World Heritage Site, best visited on a day trip from Sarande or Ksamil.

The park itself is a hilly terrain of freshwater lakes, marshes and open plains. Within the nature park, you will find the archaeological site which is an ancient site, dating back to between the 10th and 8th centuries BC. It boasts Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins. Is a truly mesmerising place with many sights and ruins to discover that most visitors spend anything between 2 and 3 hours there!

Most Awesome Places to See in Albania! (A Complete List)


Korce (Korçë ) is a town that seems to surprise most of the travellers. Known among Albanians as a home to the famous (and tasty) Korca beer and historically dating back to the late 15th century, Korce is a pretty big and interesting town often referred to as Albania’s capital of culture.

It is a very pleasant town and has a very distinctive feel in comparison to the rest of Albania.

Some of the most interesting places in Korce are a random red tower offering spectacular views as well as really cool Ottoman-style Bazaar, Pazar I Vjeter which is filled with souvenir shops but also great cafes and restaurants. Dont miss Korce’s main pedestrian street – St. George Boulevard.

Korce is also home to the largest Orthodox cathedral in Albania – The Resurrection of Christ Cathedral 


The scenic town of Permet is most famous for its Benja Thermal Baths but the town itself is also worth exploring.

Permet is beautifully located, surrounded by mountains and divided by the very picturesque river and it’s an ideal place to visit in Albania if you are looking for a retreat far away from tourists and close to nature.

Benja Thermal Baths are man-made pools which are fed by the nearby geothermal sulfur springs. The water is of a lukewarm temperature (between 22-28°C) and contains lots of minerals and has therapeutic properties. But it also contains sulfur, which means it is a bit stinky.

The surroundings are just incredible and after chilling in the pools you can take a hike along the river towards the river gorge. The place is just magical.


My probably unpopular opinion is that if you want to truly explore the beauty of Lake Ohrid the best place to visit would be the town of Ohrid in North Macedonia. But if you dont have that option Pogradec is the second best choice. Sorry, Pogradec. 

I have almost travelled to Pogradec but cancelled last minute as I had a change of itinerary after an unfortunate visit to Elbasan and instead, I headed directly to Ohrid. But I have heard many positive opinions about the town.

Lake Ohrid itself is one of the most magical lakes in the world and my favourite place in the whole of the Balkans! Pogradec is a pleasant lake-side town offering a very large stretch of the beach, many great bars and restaurants and a very chilled relaxed vibe. If you went, let me know what you thought!

That’s it, my friends! This is my complete list of all the most spectacular places to visit in Albania!

Did I miss something, is there a town or location I have not listed that you think should be there? let us know!

Until then, enjoy Albania and happy travels!

Pati x

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