41 Best places to visit in Albania by a Tour Guide

If you are planning to visit Albania, this blog post will give you an overview of the 41 best places to visit in Albania. The list of the best places to visit in Albania will include natural wonders, mountain destinations, boat trips, UNESCO sites, communist history sights and off-the-beaten-track places in Albania. 

FYI – This list gives you an overview of the best places to visit in Albania from North to South.

  • North of Albania, incl. Albanian Alps
  • Centre of Albania around the capital city Tirana
  • South of Albania, incl. Albanian Riviera
  • East of Albania, incl. Lake Ohrid

1. Shala River boat trip

The Shala River is one of the most rugged and remote places in Albania. In the North of Albania, there is the beautiful Lake Koman. You probably read about the Lake Koman Ferry in your travel guide. However, instead of taking the Lake Koman Ferry, I recommend you take one of the smaller boats to the Shala River.

From the Koman ferry terminal, you board a small boat to the Shala River. At the beginning of your boat trip, you sail across Lake Koman, but then you bend off into the Shala River. The Shala River is surrounded by rugged rocks and untouched nature. Therefore, the Shala River is also known as the “Thailand of Albania”.

In the middle of the day, the small boat makes a stop at Shala Beach for swimming, relaxation, lunch and expresso. There are also some guesthouses at this remote beach so you can stay overnight in this remote spot too. 

Of course, it is not very easy to get to Lake Koman and the Shala River, but it is an absolutely unforgettable experience. So it is worth planning your itinerary around the Shala River boat trip!

2. Lake Koman Ferry

Search any list of the best places to visit in Albania, and the Lake Koman Ferry will be in the top 5 attractions. 

The Lake Koman Ferry is a boat journey that you can take in the North of Albania. You must stay overnight in Shkoder city. From Shkoder, you leave around 7 AM in the morning to drive to Lake Koman. The ferry boat departs at 9 AM from Koman and it makes a 3-hour journey to Fierze on the other side of the Lake.

The journey on Lake Koman is absolutely stunning. The ferry boat turns and twists through the mountain landscape. Every time, you believe to see the “end of the lake”, there is another twist around the next corner and it reveals another beautiful view. The nature around Lake Koman is beautiful, untouched, rugged and very calming. 

Many travellers take the Lake Koman ferry to Fierze and from there take a bus or a taxi to Valbone in the mountains. Then the next day, they go for a hike across the Valbone Pass to Theth. And from Theth, you can take another bus back to Shkoder. This is a classic 3 or 4 day tour through the Albanian Alps, that includes the Lake Koman Ferry as a highlight.

3. Theth Mountain Village

Theth is a small village in the mountains in the North of Albania. The mountain range on the border of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo is known as the Albanian Alps or the Accursed Mountains. 

The Albanian Alps are a destination for adventurous travellers, hikers and nature lovers. Theth is one of the little mountain villages that you can visit in the Albanian Alps.

You can stay overnight in a traditional guest house in Theth. Many of the guest houses are old farmhouses and beautiful stone buildings. Staying in a guest house is so different from a hotel because you really get to see how the locals in the mountains live. The guest houses also cook your breakfast and dinner, so you get a true taste of Albanian cuisine. 

Being in Theth is an experience away from your daily life. Theth is remote and therefore more old-fashioned than the modern world. In Theth, you get to disconnect, relax, take in the beauty of nature and slow down for a couple of days. Theth is a beautiful mountain destination for adventurous and active tourists.

4. Blue Eye of Theth

Whilst you are staying in Theth, you can go on a hike to the Blue Eye of Theth.

The Blue Eye of Theth is a natural mountain pool that is filled by a little rushing waterfall. From your guest house in Theth, you hike 3 hours to the trailhead. Or you can skip the 3-hour hike to the trailhead by hiring a 4-wheel drive taxi. Then from the trailhead, there is an additional 1-hour hike through the hills to the Blue Eye of Theth, which cars cannot reach. 

The Blue Eye of Theth is really breathtaking. The pool is filled with crystal clear and ice-cold mountain water. You can see every little stone and plant on the bottom of the natural pool. There is a beautiful cliff with lush nature to the back of the pool. And a rushing waterfall that fills the pool from the top. 

You can take a dip in the Blue Eye pool or have a picnic on the wooden plateau on the river, whilst being surrounded by the peaks of the Alps. There is also a wooden ladder that takes you up to the mountain plateau, from where you can look down into the Blue Eye of Theth from above, well worth the climb!

5. The Grunas Waterfall in Theth

Apart from the Blue Eye of Theth, you can also hike to the Grunas Waterfall of Theth. 

The Grunas Waterfall is a 25-meter-high waterfall near Theth. The Grunas Waterfall is closer to the Theth village and only a 45-minute hike. This refreshing waterfall fills a blue-green pool on the bottom and is absolutely stunning.

6. Shkoder city 

Shkoder city is often overlooked by travellers who make an itinerary for Albania. Shkoder is a large city in the North of Albania. For many travellers, the North of Albania is a hiking destination. So they only use Shkoder city as a starting point and ending point for their hiking trip. But Shkoder city itself is such a beautiful city to visit. 

In Albania, Shkoder city is known as an artistic and cultural city. Because many artists used to live and still live in Shkoder city. 

The most beautiful part is the Venetian-style boulevard in the centre of Shkoder. This street is called “Rruga Kole Idromeno”. Basically, Kole Idromeno was a painter from Shkoder, but he spend several years of his life in Venice. And he fell in love with the Venetian lights, romance and atmosphere. So upon his return to Albania, he painted Shkoder city in a Venetian Style. The boulevard in the city centre has recently been renovated to match the Venetian atmosphere in his paintings. 

The boulevard has beautiful terraces, cafes and ice cream spots, so it is the perfect place to lazily relax and hang out in the evening. 

7. Rozafa Castle in Shkoder

The most interesting sightseeing spot in Shkoder is Rozafa Castle. This is a very large hilltop castle near Shkoder city that offers views of Shkoder Lake, the city and the surrounding rivers. 

Rozafa Castle is famous in Albania, because of the legend of Rozafa. Rozafa was the lady who was sacrificed by the three brothers who build the castle to make the walls stand. 

Rozafa Castle is a gigantic castle. Inside the castle, you can see pieces of the castle that were built by the Venetians, who had colonies in Albania and Montenegro. And later additions were built by the Ottoman Turks, who ruled Albania for 500 years in the Middle Ages. 

But the most impressive about the castle is the amazing views in all directions. You can see Lake Shkoder and Montenegro on the other side of the Lake. You have a panoramic view of Shkoder city with the Albanian Alps in the distance. And down in the valley, three large rivers come together and stream into the Lake of Shkoder, so there are stunning sights all around.

8. Mesi Bridge in Shkoder

Another historic spot to visit in Shkoder is the Mesi Bridge. This historical bridge dates back to the Ottoman Period, is a typical Turkish-style footbridge made of cobblestones. It is a little hard to walk on the bridge but the view from the bridge over the river up towards the Albanian Alps is beautiful.

9. Shiroke village near Shkoder

One of the best spots to visit around the city of Shkoder is the Lake of Shkoder. This lake is located on the border of Albania and Montenegro. 

The best spot to see the lake is the little Shiroke village near Shkoder. Shiroke has a beautiful boulevard with restaurants and terraces right next to the lake. Shiroke has many little restaurants and terraces on the boulevard alongside the lake, so it is the perfect spot for a relaxing lunch or dinner with views over Lake Shkoder.

10. Explore Tirana’s city centre on foot

Tirana’s city centre is relatively small so best explored on foot. Book a hotel in the city centre, near central Skanderbeg Square and you are good to go. You only need about 2 hours to explore the main sights in the centre of the city.

Start your walking tour on the central Skanderbeg Square. The square is surrounded by some of the main highlights, including the National History Museum, the Palace of Culture and the small Et’hem Bey Mosque and the Clock Tower. 

Skanderbeg Square connects to the main government boulevard. You will be able to see all the beautiful and colourful buildings of the Albanian government ministries, the office of the prime minister, the office of the president, the ministry of justice etcetera. 

One of the most impressive landmarks in Tirana is the Pyramid of Tirana. The Pyramid was designed as a museum about the communist dictator after his death. But when communism ended nobody was interested in such a museum. Currently, the Pyramid is being turned into an IT centre for youth. 

You can have some great food, coffee and ice cream in Tirana’s city centre. The best places to relax are in the Murat Toptani Street foodcourt, the Grand Park by the lake and the Blloku Area.

11. Kruja Castle

Kruja Castle is a hilltop castle near the capital city Tirana. Kruja is one of the most famous towns in Albania because it was the home of Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg. 

Basically, Skanderbeg was a military commander, who fought against the Ottoman army. In the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire ruled the Balkans. And Albania was one of the areas that were being invaded by the Ottoman Turkish Empire. 

But Skanderbeg was a strategic and well-trained military commander. He united the different Albanian tribes and was able to defend the North of Albania successfully for about 25 years until his death in 1468. 

Kruja Castle is a lovely place to visit. You drive only 1 hour from Tirana’s city centre and you explore the beautiful hilltop castle of Kruja. The castle has a beautiful view over Tirana’s city centre and towards the Adriatic Sea. 

Inside the castle’s walls, you can visit the Skanderbeg Museum and get to know the story of Albania’s national hero. You can also visit the Ethnographic Museum for a unique insight into what life was like for the Albanians once the Ottomans started ruling the entire country. And there is a beautiful Old Bazaar Market on the slope of the hill towards the castle, where you can buy souvenirs, antiques and handicrafts. 

12. Mount Sarisalltik

When you visit Kruja Castle, it is worth driving another 20 minutes onwards to Mount Sarisalltik. From the Castle of Kruja, you can take a winding road that leads up to the top of the mountain. The journey is beautiful as it leads by impressive cliffs, nature and hilltops. 

Mount Sarisalltik is a viewpoint on the top of the mountain. You look down on Kruja, Tirana and towards Durres and the Adriatic Sea from a height of 1176 meters above sea level. Sometimes, you literally stand with your head in the clouds surrounding the top of the mountain. Very pretty and well worth a visit if you are in Kruja.

13. Petrela village

Many travellers are interested in seeing a bit of the authentic Albanian lifestyle, and if that is you, then Petrela is a lovely place to visit.

Petrela is a small village to the South of Tirana. It is only a 20-minute drive from the capital city’s centre, so very convenient for a 1-day trip.

Although Petrela is very close to Tirana, it has a completely different ambience. Petrela is a small village surrounded by mountains and olive groves. You drive on a winding road that passes by little farmhouses and mom-and-pop-owned hotels. 

The main sightseeing spot is Petrela Castle on the top of the mountain. The castle was built on a huge rock. You walk up the cobblestone steps and get to a viewing bridge which offers beautiful panoramic views. 

14. Zipline Albania

If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone, you can take a zipline in Albania! Zipline Albania is located in the Petrele village. Petrele is a small and historic village about 15 kilometres to the South of Albania. So you can easily go for your zipline adventure as a 1-day trip from the capital city Tirana!

The zipline is 1250 meters long and that makes it the longest zipline in the Balkans. Because your speed is so high, it will only take you 1 minute and 30 seconds to zipline down from beginning to end.

Petrele is a beautiful village with a rushing river, surrounded by olive trees and there is a lovely castle on the top of the hill. So after your ziplining adventure, you can relax and enjoy the authentic village!

15. Equos Aqua Park

Of course, Albania has many beautiful beaches, but if you are travelling with a family you might be looking for a waterpark or swimming pool. If that is the case, I highly recommend the Equos Aqua Park in the Petrela village.

Equos has a variety of wild water slides, water adventures, a small children’s pool with many slides, a wave pool and two quieter pools for swimming. 

16. Bunk’Art 1 – the Bunker Museum

If you have read anything about Albania’s history, you did undoubtedly come across Albania’s communist history. 

From the end of the Second World War until 1992, Albania was a communist country ruled by dictator Enver Hoxha. Enver Hoxha isolated Albania from the rest of the world, similar to North Korea today. 

In the communist period, Enver Hoxha was constantly preparing Albania for a war. Hoxha was convinced that a foreign attack on Albania was imminent. And in preparation for this war, he armed the population, made gymnastics mandatory during every school day and built 173.000 bunkers all over Albania. 

Only, the war never happened. No foreign country ever attacked Albania. So Albania has thousands of bunkers that were never necessary or used.

Enver Hoxha died in 1985, and after his death, the Albanians discovered the secret bunker complex that he constructed for himself and his government. 

In 2014, this secret bunker complex was opened as a museum. You can actually walk through the gigantic bunker complex and experience what life was like during the communist rule of Albania. You see the fencing that surrounded the country, visit the room of the dictator and his minister of defence, see the equipment and room of an officer and learn how Albania become a communist country at the end of the Second World War.

If you can choose only 1 x historic sight to visit in Albania, it should be Bunk’Art 1. Because Bunk’Art 1 is the place that truly tells you Albania’s dark and yet recent history. Bunk’Art 1 is a creepy and dark place but it definitely leaves an impression.

17. The Dajti Express Cable Car

If you are staying in Tirana city, then the Dajti Express Cable Car should be on the top of your list of places to visit. 

The Dajti Express is a cable car located on the outskirts of Tirana. From the city centre, you will need to take a taxi for approximately 20 minutes to the lower station. 

You board the cable car and from there you fly for 15 minutes to a height of 1613 meters above sea level. The journey with the cable car is so beautiful and quiet. You slowly pass over the big treetops and mountain cliffs. From your cabin, you look down onto little farmhouses, mountain lakes and farmyard gardens. 

Although the Dajti Express Cable Car is close to the capital city Tirana, it is a much more natural environment. Dajti is essentially a National Park or you could say a protected forest and mountain area. 

When you get to the upper station, you can explore a variety of entertainment. The Dajti Mountain balcony offers a clifftop restaurant, a rotating bar, a minigolf track, buggy racing, horseback riding and target shooting on balloons. This is a place where families and couples from Tirana come to relax and get away from the busy city life.

The Dajti Express Cable Car and Bunk’Art 1 museum are located right next to each other. So it makes sense to visit Bunk’Art 1 in the morning and the Dajti Express Cable Car in the afternoon. 

18. Shengjergi Waterfall

The Shengjergi Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall near Tirana. This waterfall is located in the little Shengjergi village behind Dajti Mountain. From Tirana’s city centre, it takes approximately 1 hour to drive to Shengjergi and 15-20 minutes to hike to the waterfall. 

The Shengjergi Waterfall is impressive. The water falls down from a height of 30 meters and there is a calming and rushing river that leads away from the waterfall into the valley. 

Shengjergi is a quiet spot, not many tourists know that this hidden waterfall exists. Instead many people travel to Theth to see the Blue Eye of Theth and the Grunas Waterfall. However, Theth is a 5-hour drive from Tirana, so Shengjergi is a great alternative if you are looking for a shorter day trip.

19. Hike to the Black Cave of Pellumbas

The Black Cave is another off-the-beaten-path spot near Tirana. You drive for approximately 1 hour from Tirana to the little Pellumbas village. From the village, there is a beautiful hiking trail to the Black Cave. 

The trail is in a good condition with a few steps and handrails added for safety. And the trail offers beautiful views of the Erzen River in the valley. 

Most tourists travel to the Albanian Alps in the North of Albania for a hiking adventure. However, if you are looking for a shorter hiking adventure near Tirana, then the hike from Pellumbas to the Black Cave is a great option. 

20. The Cape of Rodon

Many travellers coming to Albania are looking for more authentic, off-the-beaten-path and untouched places to visit. So if you are up for an adventure, the Cape of Rodon is a great spot to visit. 

The Cape of Rodon is a rugged coastal location near Tirana city and Durres beach. Although the Cape of Rodon is not very far from Tirana, it will take you approximately 2 hours to drive there. Initially, you will drive along the highway from Tirana to Durres. But you get off the highway at Maminas and drive along the winding road to the end of the road, where the Cape of Rodon is located. 

The Cape of Rodon is a natural pier that leads into the Adriatic Sea. It is a stretch of mountains that points into the Adriatic Sea like a finder pointing at Italy. 

Upon arrival, you will need to hike through the rough mountains for about 45 minutes. There is a trail, but it is quite unkept and rough. At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded though. There is a beautiful viewing point from where you look down unto the Cape of Rodon. 

You see the beautiful rugged natural pier and the rough waves of the Adriatic Sea that crash into the pier. This spot is best at sunset, with a beautiful pink and red sky and the sun disappearing into the sea in the distance. 

If you are really adventurous and fit, you can climb down from the walking trail to the pier and explore the ruins of Rodoni Castle. This castle was built by Albania’s national hero Skanderbeg. Who was a military commander and built the castle at this strategic spot to get access to the sea. 

The way back to your car is by wading through the sea along the shoreline with your bare feet. As I said, this is a natural and rugged spot. But really it is worth the adventure!

21. Durres Beach 

Durres is a large coastal town near the capital city Tirana. Basically, if you are staying in Tirana, then Durres is the easiest and most convenient beach to get to. 

Durres is a big coastal town with all the facilities, like apartments, hotels, restaurants, cafes and shops. The city is split into three parts. The city centre is above the Port of Durres, where you can visit the Roman Amphitheatre, which is a UNESCO site. The main beach of Durres is to the South of the Port of Durres. And finally, Golem beach is further to the South. 

Many of the locals prefer to drive a bit further to get to Golem beach, which is prettier and more beautiful than the main beach of Durres.

22. The Bay of Lalzi

If you are looking for a quieter and more natural beach near Tirana, then the Bay of Lalzi is a better choice for you. 

The Bay of Lalzi is a smaller beach near the Maminas village. Take the main highway from Tirana to Durres, but get off the highway at Maminas. The winding road will bring you to the Bay of Lalzi. 

The Bay of Lalzi is surrounded by pine trees. Of course, there are some restaurants along the coast, but these are more mom-and-pop owned places. So the Bay of Lazli is kind of the opposite of Durres beach. As it is much smaller, quieter and more natural.

23. Berat UNESCO city

This list of the best places to visit in Albania, would not be complete without Berat. Berat is a beautiful UNESCO city in the centre of Albania.

For many tourists, Berat is either a 1-day trip from Tirana or a 1-night stay. Berat city is a 2.5-hour drive to the South of Tirana. And therefore, a great option for a 1-day tour. 

Berat is a beautiful historical city in Albania. I personally find it the prettiest and most romantic town that Albania has to offer. 

Berat has an impressive hilltop castle, that dates back to the 13th century. But the true attraction are the two Ottoman neighbourhoods in the valley. 

In the Middle Ages, Albania was a part of the Ottoman Empire. This was a Turkish empire, that stretches all across the Balkans and was ruled by the Sultan. 

Berat was a flourishing town and the merchants and craftsmen from Berat built little white houses on the slope of the hill. When you stand in the valley, you look up towards the hill and see all the little white houses stacked on the slope of the hill. And all the little white houses have little windows looking down into the valley. Therefore, Albania is called “the city of a thousand windows”. 

Berat is a very pretty, beautiful and romantic town. With the romantic feel of a little hilltop village in southern Italy. No wonder this UNESCO town is such a popular place to visit!

24. Road trip along the Albanian Riviera coastline

Albania is famous for the Albanian Riviera. The Albanian Riviera is a 120-kilometre long stretch of coastline in the South of Albania. 

The Albanian Riviera starts at Vlore beach. From Vlore, you take the coastal road that leads to the South in the direction of Saranda. Vlore and Saranda are the big coastal towns, but the true beauty lies in between. 

There are many beautiful little beaches, untouched and rugged beaches between Vlore and Saranda. Therefore, I highly recommend going on a road trip (or tour or taxi trip) along the Albanian Riviera. 

You start your road trip from Tirana or Durres and you plan a full day of exploring the Albanian Riviera. In essence, the quickest route from Tirana to Saranda is direct via the inland road and takes approximately 5-6 hours by car. But instead, choose the coastal road for its beautiful views. 

Plan a full day, so that you can make stops along the coastal road at beautiful spots, like the Llogara Pass, Dhermi Beach, Jale Beach, Himare, Borsh beach, the Castle of Ali Pasha in the Bay of Porto Palermo, Saranda and finish at Ksamil beach.

I don’t know about you, but I feel that taking the time to enjoy a beautiful road trip is absolutely worth it. The point of a holiday is not to get from A to B via the quickest route. But instead during a holiday, you are meant to stop for a coffee, stop for food, stop for a picture and stop to relax and take in the beautiful views. 

25. Apollonia park

Apollonia is an archaeological park in the centre of Albania. The site is located near the town of Fier. So if you drive from Tirana to Vlore or the Albanian Riviera, you will pass Fier city on your way to the South. 

Apollonia is an archaeological park, where you can see the ruins of an ancient Greek and Roman city. The city was a great and important city during the Roman Empire. It was the home to a famous school of philosophy and an important economic and trade centre for the Romans. 

The main street of the Greek city has been excavated. And there are signages that help you piece together what the city centre would have been like. 

Above all, Apollonia is a beautiful natural spot to visit. The site is surrounded by olive trees, beautiful wildflowers and rolling hills. It is almost always quiet and very calming.

26. Zvernec island

Zvernec island is a little island in front of the Albanian coastline. This is only a tiny sightseeing spot, but nonetheless, on of my highlights!

Zvernec is a small island close to the coastal town of Vlore. Vlore is a big coastal city with all the restaurants, apartments, hotels, cafes and shops. Like any big coastal town, Vlore is buzzing in the summer months. Therefore, I like to get away to the small Zvernec island. 

About a 20-minute drive by car from Vlore, you can visit Zvernec island. This is a quiet and peaceful spot surrounded by nature. The island is not actually in the sea, but rather in the Narta Lagoon. So basically, a lake that separated itself from the sea. 

It is such a picturesque location. When you stand on the shore, you look over the water to the small island. Zvernec island is almost entirely covered by pine trees and nature. But only a small spot on the front of the island was built on. There is a little monastery on the island along with a few houses and a graveyard. 

You can walk across the 270-meter-long wooden footbridge that connects the mainland with the island. On the island, you can enter the little St Mary’s monastery, which dates back to the 13th century. 

Look Zvernec island only needs a 20-minute drive, 20 minutes of sightseeing and 20-minute drive back from Vlore. So by no means, Zvernec island is a full-day tour. However, if you are staying in Vlore or driving along Vlore on your way to the South, then Zvernec island is well worth a stop along your journey!

27. Llogara Pass

The Llogara Pass is the highest point on the coastal road from Vlore to Saranda. So if you are driving along the Albanian Riviera from Vlore to Saranda, you will most definitely pass over the Llogara Pass. 

The Albanian Riviera starts in Vlore city. Vlore is the second largest coastal town on the Albanian Riviera. From Vlore, you can get on the coastal road to Saranda. 

The first part of your journey, however, will be through the mountains. You car slowly climbs up towards the Llogara Pass.

The Llogara Pass is a 1043 meter high viewing point. It is the highest point on the coastal road and thus well worth a stop! 

You can park your car at the small parking place and have lunch or a coffee at the restaurant on the cliff. From the restaurant, you will have the most amazing views of the Albanian Riviera down below. You can see the little beach of Palase and the village of Dhermi. And the deep blue of the Ionian Sea until the horizon. 

It is worth planning a full day for your journey from Tirana to Saranda, so that you have the time to take in the views along the trip. Places like Zvernec island and the Llogara Pass are on your journey south, so well worth a 30-60 minute stop. Take a moment to take in the view, take some pictures and enjoy the moment!

28. Dhermi beach

Dhermi is one of the most popular beaches along the Albanian Riviera. Dhermi is known as the hip, cool and happening beach. Concerts are organized on the beach and there is usually a party atmosphere on the beach. 

29. Jale beach & Gjipe beach

Jale beach and Gjipe beach are quieter and smaller beaches in the middle of the Albanian Riviera. Jale has the most beautiful turquoise water you have ever seen! From Jale beach, you can take a boat trip to the remote Gjipe Beach. Because Gjipe beach is completely surrounded by cliffs, it is always private and quiet. So if you are looking for a rugged and untouched beach, then put Gjipe at the top of your list!

30. Castle of Ali Pasha in the Bay of Porto Palermo

If you are on a road trip along the Albanian Riviera, you must absolutely make a stop at the Castle of Ali Pasha in the Bay of Porto Palermo. 

The Castle of Ali Pasha is a small triangular castle set on an island in the Bay of Porto Palermo. You can cross the narrow strip of land that connects the island to the mainland. The inside of the castle is dark, cool and a bit scary. But it is worth climbing up to the rooftop. Because the rooftop terrace has a beautiful view of the Bay. 

The Bay of Porto Palermo is not a swimming location, but rather a natural harbour used for small boats.

31. Ksamil beach & Ksamil islands

Ksamil beach is a paradise! Although Albania has many beautiful beaches, Ksamil beach is without a doubt the highlight! Therefore, the locals in Albania call Ksamil, “the pearl of the Albanian Riviera”. 

Ksamil is a small beach village all the way in the South of Albania. When you finish your road trip along the Albanian Riviera, you will arrive in the coastal town of Saranda. From there you take a smaller road to Ksamil beach. Ksamil is super close to the Albanian border with Greece. And from the beach, you can see the Greek Corfu island in front of the coastline. 

Ksamil is a paradise-like beach. It has perfect white sand and incredibly clear turquoise blue water. The beach is set on a little peninsula and there are wooden shutters that lead into the sea. 

But what truly sets Ksamil beach apart are the Ksamil islands. Ksamil has four little islands that lay right in front of the coastline. The islands are not inhabited and are overgrown with lush nature. 

You can visit the Ksamil islands by swimming, kayaking, water bike or on a little boat. The most interesting islands are the twin islands, which are two little islands connected to each other via a narrow strip of land. 

Of course, Ksamil beach does require quite a bit of travel because it is a 6-hour drive from Tirana and Tirana airport. And the other option is flying to Corfu island and then taking a ferry to Saranda and then a taxi to Ksamil.

However, it is worth visiting Ksamil. Ksamil is a paradise beach, like a tropical island, but then in Europe! Visit Ksamil in June or September, just before or after the high season for an even more enjoyable experience.

32. Butrint UNESCO park

Butrint is a UNESCO park in the ultimate South of Albania. 

Butrint is an archaeological site where you can see the ruins of an ancient city. But it is so much more than that, the archaeological ruins are set on a little “almost island”, that is connected to the mainland via a narrow strip of land. 

You go on a 1-2 hour walking tour around the island. It is like a journey of discovery. Because you walk through a beautiful forest and find the ruins along your journey. At some places, you get close to the shore and you look over the stunning blue lake of Butrint. Butrint is a historical sight, but the surrounding nature is what makes it such a beautiful and unique place to visit. 

On the island of Butrint, you will discover the ruins of a Greek colony, a Roman city and it was later ruled by a bishop. There is also a Venetian castle on the island and you can see the Castle of Ali Pasha in the distance. Basically, Butrint lived through all the ancient kingdoms and you can see buildings of each of those phases.

Butrint is located to the South of Saranda. Saranda is a big coastal town in the South of Albania. Drive from Saranda, pass Ksamil beach and even further south to Butrint. Butrint is very close to the Albanian-Greek border and close to the coastline. 

It is worth going to Butrint in the early morning so that you get to the site when it is still cool and quiet. 

33. The Blue Eye of Saranda

In the ultimate South of Albania, you can visit the beautiful Blue Eye of Saranda. The Blue Eye is a freshwater spring, which is incredibly beautiful. 

The Blue Eye spring is located between the coastal town of Saranda and the historical town of Gjirokaster. From Saranda, you drive approximately 20 minutes to get to the Blue Eye Spring. It is well worth going to the spring in the early morning, to avoid any crowds. Because it is a popular attraction and you will enjoy this spot more when it is quiet.

The Blue Eye spring is a natural pool. The pool is being filled by an underwater spring. There is a deep cave, more than 50 meters deep underneath the pool, that pumps water up to the surface with enormous pressure. 

But what truly sets this water spring apart from other water springs around the world, is its mesmerizing beauty. You can climb into a glass plateau and look down into the Blue Eye Spring. And you will see the spring actually resembles a human eye. 

The underwater spring is black, like the pupil of a human eye. And the turquoise blue water is the iris of a human eye. The entire area is surrounded by lush green nature and a rushing river flows away from the water spring. No words will ever describe this beautiful spot, you simply have to see it with your own eyes.

34. Gjirokaster – The stone city

Gjirokaster is a UNESCO city in the South of Albania. Actually, Berat city and Gjirokaster city are one UNESCO site together. Because both of these cities show a typical Ottoman city. In other words, you can see what life was like during the Ottoman Empire and how the people lived in these cities.

Although Berat and Gjirokaster are one UNESCO site together, they look very different from each other. In Berat, you can see the little white houses of the merchants and craftsmen, so the “normal people”. But in Gjirokaster, you see the houses of the rich. 

Because Gjirokaster was a local government town during the Ottoman Empire. Ali Pasha of Tepelena was the local governor, who reported to the Sultan. And he housed his local government in Gjirokaster. 

So in Gjirokaster, you see the large and impressive houses of rich government officials. The style of houses in Gjirokaster is called a “tower house”. Very often the ground floor was used for animals, crafts and handwork and the living quarters were upstairs. 

35. Gjirokaster Castle

In Gjirokaster, there are many sights you can visit. But of course, the most important site is the impressive Gjirokaster Castle on the top of the hill. The gigantic castle gives you a beautiful overview of the city down below. There is also a museum of arms in the castle and a collection of Italian and German tanks that were left behind from the Second World War. 

36. Old Bazaar Market of Gjirokaster

In the old town centre of Gjirokaster, you will find the Old Bazaar Market. The Old Bazaar Market in Gjirokaster is a gem. It is a beautiful Turkish-style marketplace with cobblestone streets on the hills and little shops along the road. At the Old Bazaar Market, you can buy handicrafts, souvenirs and antiques. There are also some lovely restaurants and cafes on this street, so it is the perfect spot to relax.

37. Cold War Tunnel in Gjirokaster

Another interesting sight in Gjirokaster is the Cold War Tunnel. From the end of the Second World War until 1992, Albania was a communist country. Albania’s communist dictator was called Enver Hoxha. 

One of the most remarkable things Enver Hoxha did was constructing 173.000 bunkers all across Albania. Enver Hoxha was paranoid that a foreign country would invade Albania. He was basically preparing for the war that never came. So these bunkers were never actually needed or used. 

The Cold War Tunnel is an 80-room bunker complex built deep underneath the Castle of Gijrokaster. When the foreign war would start, the local government would hide in the bunker and rule the country. None of the Albanians knew about this secret bunker complex, of course. 

The Cold War Tunnel is empty, dark and creepy. It is not so much a museum, but rather a bunker that you can enter and walk through. 

38. Skenduli House & Zekate House in Gjirokaster

One of the best activities to do in Gjirokaster is visiting Skenduli House or Zekate House. These are traditional houses from the Ottoman period with all the original decor and decorations inside. You can walk through these houses to get a unique insight into what life was like for a rich Albanian family whilst Albania was a part of the Ottoman Empire.

39. Springs of Drilon

The Springs of Drilon is a beautiful place to visit in the East of Albania on the shore of Lake Ohrid. 

Lake Ohrid is a massive lake on the border of Albania and North Macedonia. If you are travelling from Greece to Albania or North Macedonia to Albania, you might travel along Lake Ohrid. And in that case, I highly recommend you make a stop for 1-2 hours at the Springs of Drilon.

The Springs of Drilon is a beautiful natural place to visit, where you can go for a coffee or a lunch break. The springs run into a beautiful river with crystal clear water. The river is surrounded by beautiful willow trees that hang into the river. There are fishes and swans on the water and little red paddle boats. 

You can cross the Chinese-style bridge and visit the restaurant on the other side. The restaurant has beautiful wooden terraces that hang above the river. Really no words will describe the beauty of this place accurately, you do have to visit it yourself!

40. Lin Village near Lake Ohrid

One of the cutest little places to visit near Lake Ohrid is Lin village. The Lin village is a traditional Albanian village set on a pier that points into Lake Ohrid. You can drive or walk through the village, buy local produce and drink a coffee. The village of Lin is not a place for adventure. But rather, a little village where you can get a taste and feel for the real Albanian lifestyle.

41. Benja Thermal Baths in Permet

In the South of Albania, you can visit the natural hot springs of Benja. Near the village of Permet, you can visit the Benja Thermal Baths. 

Benja is not a place where you visit a luxurious resort, but rather, you visit the hot springs in the middle of nature. The locals have created some stone pools right next to the river, that are filled with the water of the natural hot springs. Some of the locals go to these pools, as they believe there are health benefits from swimming in the hot spring. 

The thermal pools of Benja are definitely off-the-beaten-path. This spot is usually quiet. Above all, it is a beautiful spot surrounded by the rushing river, the high mountains and a beautiful stone bridge from the Ottoman period.


About me

About me

I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon

Welcome to Albania!

I am a Tour Guide in Albania

I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania.

Book your free Albania Planning Session via Skype now, by using my online scheduler to find a time that’s convenient for you.