Whether its adventure touring, exploring historical monuments, visiting fascinating medieval towns or beautiful countryside, Albania has something for every type of tourist...
The country has a dramatic coastline on the Ionian and Adriatic coasts with views across to the Greek islands and Italy. The coastal areas have a temperate Mediterranean climate and it is cooler at the sea than inland, especially in July.
The best time to visit Albania is in spring or autumn, although skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing tours are run from November to April in areas such as Mount Jezerca, Mount Korab and the Valbona Valley. Make sure to make reservations in advance, as most hotels will be fully booked in the busy season. Independence Day on 28 November and Liberation Day on 29 November are celebrated with great enthusiasm; as is March 14, Summer Day, with traditional games and food and live music festivals in the evening.
Adventure touring is an exciting aspect of Albania. Get out of the city with white water rafting on the River Osumi, hiking and walking in the Tomorri Massif. Go mountain biking in the unspoilt countryside along village and mountain roads. Although most hotels are in the cities, the countryside offers small guest houses and accommodation on farms if you relish peace and quiet.
Albania was one of the last communist states and has lots of monuments to Enver Hoxha the former Stalinist leader, such as The Pyramid. This imposing former museum in Tirana has fallen into disrepair and Albanians are divided as to whether it should be torn down or repaired. There are many other museums in Tirana worth visiting. The capital city is rapidly developing into a commercial city and base for exploring the country, with many good hotels in the central district for tourists arriving on Albania flights.
The town of Berat situated on the Osumi River is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its famous Citadel, beautiful Ottoman houses and elegant mosques. It is known as The Town of a Thousand Windows because of the many large windows of the ancient houses overlooking the town. The medieval town of Kruja has an imposing fifth century castle with nine watch towers on the outside wall.
The ruined city of Saranda has the ruins of a large third century BC amphitheatre. Gjirokastra, birth place of Enver Hoxha, is a beautiful example of an Ottoman town, with its Gjirokastra Castle. The ancient city of Byllis dates back to the fourth century BC and was at one stage an important Greek city. The Llogaraja Pass rises over 1000 metres high and affords you with dramatic scenery across the plains and down to the sea. The locals call this Thunder Mountains.
The whole country is still in love with the late British comedic actor Norman Wisdom, one of the few actors whose films were allowed in Communist Albania.
Flights to Albania are straight forward and will get you to your destination in no time. Find out the best way for you to get there...
You can fly from many airports in the UK and Ireland to Tirana Airport TIR.
Once you land in the capital Tirana, your Albanian adventure will be able to get underway. But how do you get from the airport to your accommodation?
A taxi from the airport to Tirana takes around 20-25 minutes, or if you are going further afield, taxis run to most urban areas.
There is also an hourly bus service that runs between the airport and National Museum in the centre of Tirana. A single fare costs 250 Albanian Lek.
Whether you are looking for historical cities or relaxing coastal resorts, you’ll find it in Albania. But where should you stay?
The two main coastal resorts in Albania are Durres and Golem. Head to Durres if you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling destination with plenty of amenities. Here you will find numerous hotels, bars and restaurants located along the seafront affording you fantastic ocean views. But if you’re a culture hunter, you can also get your fix of history with visits to the Archaeological Museum, Ancient Amphitheatre and Medieval Tower.
Golem, while still having plenty of accommodation available, is the more laidback of the two resorts, and if you really want to get off the beaten track, Dhermi and Qeparo are quiet coastal villages that you could consider.
If you would prefer to visit some of Albania’s cities then you could opt for the capital, Tirana, or Berat – a UNESCO World Heritage City and known as the ‘town of a thousand windows’. Popular with tourists, you’ll be able to visit the old quarters and admire the setting of the city among olive and cherry trees.