Albania might not be somewhere that has been on your radar (or compass), but there are so many reasons that it is a fantastic destination that you would be remiss not to consider it for your bucket list… Here are just a few!
Albania might not be the first place you think of when you want to relax on a beach, but it has some fantastic offerings along the Riviera, where the water is stunning – bright and glittering turquoise! The best time to head to the coves is around September or October, as this is the offseason so that you will have the beach almost entirely to your selves like a little slice of personal paradise. The sunsets in Albania are known for being particularly stunning, and there is nowhere better to watch them than from a lovely patch of golden sand.
World Heritage Sites
There is so much history and architecture to explore in Albania, especially the UNESCO towns of Berat and Gjirokastra, where you can see pretty rare examples of Ottoman-era architecture. The castle in Berat dates back to the 4th Century BC and is a must-visit for tourists. Butrint is another fantastic place to visit if you are in Albania, as it is the site of an old Greek colony, as well as a Roman city and even a bishopric – a lot of history for one city!
Whether you are a seasoned climber or someone who can appreciate the beauty of a fantastic mountain from the safety of a restaurant, you will love the peaks of the Albanian Alps (otherwise known as The Accursed Mountains or Prokletije). There are several different hiking paths up the mountains which are well marked, so it really is a fantastic place to explore. Be sure to check out the Valbona River Valley in the East of the Alps – a stunning 8,000-hectare national park, with the spring of Shoshan by the entrance.
Albania has a lot to offer when it comes to culture. The big cities are growing rapidly, especially Tirana, the capital city, which has only just begun to expand after many years of being closed during the era of communism. The city is currently alive and buzzing as foreign investment is booming, and many young Albanians are returning from other countries, bringing with them fresh ideas and excitement. It’s the perfect time to check out Tirana. At the other end of the spectrum, the rural villages are worth a visit too to check out local families raising livestock for a real contrast. A lot of these rural villages have not changed much across the years, and many of the locals are happy to open their homes to tourists so you can really immerse yourselves in the Albanian culture.
One of the best aspects of Albania are the friendly locals. They are welcoming of tourists, especially those who want to know more about their culture and history, and are always willing to help out a lost visitor! They are also very enthusiastic about their food (especially as they make and grow so much of it themselves), so be sure to sample the delicious cuisine!
So, if that has convinced you – and it really should have done – grab your passport, pack your bags and head to one of the stunning beaches while you enjoy some delicious seafood. You are welcome!