Skip to main content

Albania travel ideas: beaches, history, cities

beaches, culture and capital, Tirana, make it one of Europe’s new travel hotspots.

Until recently, Albania was one of the world’s most closed-off and strictly controlled countries. With the fall of a communist dictatorship, Westerners are now welcomed with open arms and the tourism industry is starting to swing.

1) Deserted beaches

Albania boasts some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean.

Known as the Albanian Riviera, there’s a reason why it’s touted the ‘Mediterranean as it once was’.

Protected by the mountains, the peninsula’s rocky bays and sandy, deserted beaches are just waiting for the diving school, beach huts and large-scale tourist development to catch on.

Albania’s best beaches:

Vlora: Tourist town where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. Swimming here provides majestic mountain views.

Saranda: A shale and pebble beach with clear azure waters.

A beautiful sandy beach that could rival the Caribbean.

Dhermi: The city is nothing special but the nearby deserted beaches are the only place that trendy locals will go.

2) Unique culture

Hidden within Albania’s snow-capped mountain interior you’ll find elegant Ottoman mansions, historical fortress towns and ancient Greek ruins.

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, Albania offers a glimpse into a culture that is uniquely its own.

In rural villages, sun-aged women with long skirts and headscarves usher along their goat or cow for milking. Local men wear suits, albeit oversized and crumpled, as they barter at the local market.

3) Eat dinner in a war bunker

Although the last couple of years have seen dramatic improvements in the capital city of Tirana, Albania is still recovering from the 40-year rule of communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

You cannot go far in the Albanian countryside without seeing a bunker - concrete domes with ominous black spy holes.
Ironically, Albanians today are using the bunkers in novel ways to attract tourists. On the road to Vlora, artists have converted the otherwise depressing domes into psychedelic art installations, while on the seafront at Durrës, you can have a seafood supper under one concrete mushroom now named Restaurant Bunker.

4) Tirana’s nightlife

In the 20 years since communism ended, Tirana has grown from a sleepy town of a few hundred thousand to a lively, colourful metropolis of one million. With a huge student population, the capital’s outlook is fresh and forward-looking.

The brightly coloured Blloku (Block), the former – strictly off-limits – party leader’s residences, are today home to the city’s best open-air cafes and nightlife, while the grand tree-lined boulevards, built by Italian fascists for parading, are these days better used for romantic evening strolls.

5) Colourful Tirana

Mayor Edi Rama has had a huge hand in Tirana’s transformation. A former painter and sculptor, his love of art has transformed hundreds of ugly communist tower blocks into bright, garish splashes of colour throughout the city.

The capital has changed beyond belief in the last decade from the dull, grey city it once was. From one building covered with horizontal orange and red stripes to another with concentric pink and purple circles, it’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a city and its psyche.

Albania: Essential information

WHEN TO GO: Summer is peak tourist season when coastal Albania will have a pleasant Mediterranean climate; the mountains often experience heavy snow between November and March.
GETTING THERE: BA flies to Nene Tereza Airport in under three hours from £200. From the airport, take an official taxi to Tirana’s centre for 2,500 lekë.
GETTING AROUND: Buses depart daily from Tirana to towns throughout Albania. You can hire a car, but driving conditions are some of the worst in Europe.
VISAS: South Africans will need to apply for a visa from the Albanian embassy in London, which costs ¤25.
CURRENCY: Lekë (ALL). 1 GBP = 159 ALL.
LANGUAGE: Albanian.
GOING OUT: A beer costs less than £1.


Popular posts from this blog


Himara è una città di antiche origini.
Himara, era una delle città più importanti di Haonise, da sud a raggiungere il fiume Kallamas. Altre città di Hoanise erano  Oriko, Palesti, Meandria, Finiqi, Butrint, ecc ..Il nome Himare deriva da un animale mitologico che è stato ucciso da Velerefonti. In seguito il nome fu cambiato da Himera in Himare. Nel tardo bizantino suo nome era scritto in greco, dopo essere stato erroneamente considerata che l'etimologia del nome derivava dalla parola greca del "fiume".

L'espressione antica di Himara viene espressa nel suo antico castello dove si trovano elementi che dimostrano la sua antichità di 3000 anni . Himara faceva sivuramente parte delle Tribu illire. In alcune parti il muro è costruito da sassi giganti , questa parte del muro del castello è la piu antica.Questi muri di pietre giganti realizzati ed elaborati con particolare cura nella forma quadrangolare, appartengono al secondo millennio a C.
Himara è una villaggio bilingue , o…

Useful informations about albania

Useful info for your stay in Albania • International telephone prefix: +355
• Capital: Tirana
• Language: Albanian-Shqip
• Currency: Albanian Lekë Emergency numbersRoad police: 126
Police: 129
Emergency: 112
Ambulance: 127
Fire Brigade: 128 Visa regulations: What you need to knowThe visa policy of Albania grants 90-day visa-free entry to all Schengen Annex II nationalities, except for Dominica, East Timor, Georgia, Grenada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.Other countries which are not part of the Schengen Annex II nationalities but can travel in Albania without Visa are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Turkey.All European Union citizens, or citizens coming from Australia, Canada, Iceland, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Vatican City, USA,  may enter using a national ID card, …

Durrës becoming more and more attractive for tourists from Northern Europe

The coastal town of Durres may not be the favourite destination of many Albanians who have grown tired of it, but it is becoming a magnet for tourists from Northern Europe who have booked some of the best hotels and resorts for the next four months. Closed to tourists for almost five decades during a communist dictatorship, Albania has a rather late tradition with tourism compared to its regional competitors, but quality investment and services over the past decade and a mix of natural and cultural heritage present since ancient times have qualified Albania as "the last secret of Europe" and a destination to visit. "This is the first group of tourists from Scandinavia and we expect more from Sweden and Norway. People from Scandinavian countries are very interested in seeing Albania and we wish them a wonderful experience," said Rolf Castro-Vasquez, director of Tirana International Airport, the only airport in the country. Charter flights will regularly connect Copenha…