The beautiful Balkan country of Albania is an underrated gem in Europe. If you’re thinking of taking the leap and discovering Albania’s splendours, the question of what time of year to visit the country is an important one to consider. In our opinion, visiting Albania in May is a splendid time of year in which a balance can be experienced between avoiding its high season and experiencing its warmer, blissful weather.
Albania has remained largely untouched by travellers from around the globe for decades, but now, people are beginning to recognise the country for all of its glory. From its unrivalled beaches to medieval castles, and a history that leaves no corner of its landscapes untouched, if travellers haven’t done so already, visiting Albania is undoubtedly an experience to add to the bucket list.
If you’re enticed by the prospect of visiting Albania in May, we’ve delved into all you need to consider, can expect, and what you need to be prepared for when planning a trip at this time of year.
The Weather in Albania in May
In May, the weather in Albania is typical of late springtime offering pleasant days that, unlike the winter months, aren’t as mild or wet and, much like summer, are largely warm and dry.
The temperature in Albania in May varies depending on where you may be staying in the country. Typically, Albania’s inland regions are always a few degrees cooler than the country’s coastal areas and settlements, which range between 18 and 23°C throughout the month.
There are typically 9 days of rainfall in Albania in May, meaning it is largely dry so is perfect to explore the country’s coastal settings, mountainous regions, and breathtaking settlements.
Where to Go in Albania in May
Girokaster has developed a reputation for its distinct, stone architecture grounded in traditions that are perched on its verdant hillside. As a UNESCO-listed site, this charming citadel offers ample opportunity to experience the typical culture and heritage of Albania, such as in its old bazaar and castle sitting atop its hill.
For travellers looking to discover an authentic inland settlement which is quintessential of Albania, Girokaster is not one to miss.
The thriving city of Shkoder has been written in Albania’s history books since the very beginning. It’s one of the oldest cities in the Balkans and was once the Illyrian state’s capital. Now, many remnants of this once-thriving stronghold remain, with Shkoder Castle being one of the most prominent and impressive.
Shkoder is the portal to the Albanian Alps, with its towering mountains and lush vistas stretching beyond its city walls, for those looking to discover the extent of Albania’s natural landscapes.
Apollonia is a gateway to discovering the rich timeline of Albania. This ancient Greek city, situated in southern Illyria, is home to the ruins of the ancient Greek civilisation, amongst other empires.
Set beside rows of olive groves, Apollonia offers spectacular views of the countryside below from its vantage point atop a hill. Visitors will particularly appreciate its archaeological park, which is said to be one of the most fascinating sites in the country and has a range of artefacts and ruins from the Roman Empire.
Our small group ‘Albania Explorer’ tour visits all of these lesser-explored locations in Albania, offering you the opportunity to have a real and authentic glimpse into what the culture, history, and heritage of Albania are truly like.
What to Do in Albania in May
Visit the Coast
Albania’s coastline is home to breathtaking beaches and imposing clifftop scenes, which are so impressive that they have gained a reputation across the world. And with May being neither off-season nor high-season in Albania, visitors can make the most of warmer weather whilst avoiding larger crowds of tourists.
At the start of the beautiful Albanian Riviera, the coastal city of Vlorë is a popular location to experience a selection of Albanian beaches that won’t disappoint. Plazhi i Vjeter lies just beside the city’s port and offers the quintessential sun, sea, and sand experience which makes for a particularly convenient and accessible day at the beach.
Discover Archaeological Sites
Albania is home to a wealth of impressive archaeological ruins that stand proudly amidst its landscapes, representing the thriving ancient settlements, social, and religious sites of empires that once were.
The UNESCO Heritage Site of Butrint is arguably one of Albania’s most important sites. Dating back to the 7th Century BC, its ruins have witnessed the rise and fall of great empires, including the likes of the Romans, Venetians, and Turks.
Here, visitors can be transported back in time and visualise what once was. Venture along the walkways of the site to discover the ruins and remnants of a palace, basilica, and an acropolis, amongst other buildings, to better understand Albania’s rich historic timeline.
Explore National Parks
Albania is home to stretches of open landscapes and wilderness that remain untouched and unexplored, holding the secrets of its natural beauty. For visitors looking to uncover the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Albania’s breadth of wide and wild landscapes, the country’s national parks are a great place to do this.
A lesser-explored Albanian national park is the Blue Eye National Park. It’s a landscape unlike any other, where crystal clear, bright turquoise waters in its natural springs are bordered by lush forestry and a spectacular mountainous backdrop, creating a magical setting that’s truly hypnotic.
Albania’s lesser-explored status makes it a haven for travellers who love to dive head first into discovering the secrets of a destination, of which Albania has many. Our ‘Albania Explorer’ tour offers an adventure through the rugged natural landscapes, beautiful coastlines, and historic settlements, such as the thriving capital of Tirana, spread throughout the country’s lands. This way, guests can uncover the sheer beauty of Albania for themselves, with the help of our local and expert guides so you know exactly where to look.
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Albania in May?
Travel to Albania ranges from relatively inexpensive to a little more pricey. But, once you’re in the country, you can expect more than affordable prices, especially during May when you’re outside of peak tourist season, which typically comes with a rise in cost.
Much like other Balkan countries, Albania is considered to be one of the most inexpensive European holiday destinations. Even if you’re spending more on private, or up-market, accommodations and dining experiences, you’d still struggle to spend a significant amount of money.
For reference, a large 1.5-litre bottle of water will cost you not much more than 50 cents, or 50 pence. Similarly, local beers are cheap costing less than £1, €1, or $1.
Accommodations in hotels typically range from €12.50 to €20 per person per night in a double room, and usually, a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant would cost no more than €15.
Whilst the country is relatively inexpensive, costs can accumulate if you’re not careful. For example, this may be the case for those looking to explore Albania to its full potential, whilst staying in great accommodations and travelling between the plentiful and varied destinations in the country.
Is it Worth it to Take a Tour of Albania?
Tours in Albania can, therefore, be a great way to get value for your money. With all of your transportation accounted for alongside handpicked accommodations, select meals, and select entrance fees to sites, they can not only be a more cost-efficient option but also create a more hassle-free experience.
Our tours here at Undiscovered Destinations offer all of the above, alongside the services of an English-speaking and local guide who is an expert in Albania to give you insider insight into the country. And with our tours being small groups, this makes for a much more intimate, exclusive, and therefore enjoyable experience overall.
We offer a range of our small group tours in destinations across the world for those looking to uncover the raw beauty, culture, and heritage of countries beyond Albania.
How to Get to Albania in May
It’s without a doubt that flying is the best way to reach Albania. There are only four airports spread across the country but these are all situated nearby some of the country’s best settlements and regions.
Direct flights to Albania can be taken from a range of European countries and those travelling from further afield can expect to transfer flights in the continent to then reach Albania as their final destination.
Whilst the flights to the country can be more expensive than other European breaks, the convenience that flying brings makes it more worth it.
Travelling by bus to Albania is possible and is most conveniently done from Greece. From either Athens or Thessaloniki, it is possible to travel to the country inexpensively but, of course, this takes more time than flying.
When in the country, buses can be taken around Albania but even direct services between some of the country’s most developed destinations can be unreliable and different to navigate.
One of the quickest ways to reach Albania is by ferry. Most commonly, these ferries embark in either Greece or Italy with several routes available that travel to some of the country’s largest destinations including Vlorë, Sarandë, and Durrës.
Ferries aren’t known for being particularly expensive but do cost more during the high season and run more frequently at this time of year too.
It is possible to drive to Albania from the rest of Europe, with its neighbouring countries, including Romania, Turkey, and Italy being easy destinations to travel to the country from.
How Best Can I Travel Through Albania in May?
Travelling around Albania has been known to be tricky, by either car or by public transport. For those looking to eliminate any hassle on their next visit, and leave arranging transport to the experts, a tour is a great way to save you stress and allow you to focus your attention on exploring the country to its full potential.
That’s why our experts at Undiscovered Destinations are on hand to help you plan your next getaway to Albania. Offering some of the best small group travel tours to Albania in May, you can expect a more intimate experience that lets you get up close and personal with Albania and its surroundings.
Visiting Other Balkan Countries in May
The Balkan countries neighbour Albania, such as Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, forming their small geographical region in the southeast of Europe. When making a trip to other Balkan countries, you may find the same issues with the public transport system, as well as with renting cars and driving, as you do in Albania.
This is why we’ve handcrafted our Balkan tours to maximise our clients’ time to explore the famed locations, and hidden gems, of this region, with all the complexities of how you get between each location being left in our capable hands so that you don’t have to give it a second thought.
For a country that is often overlooked, Albania is a beautiful location that offers everything from exceptional natural landscapes to a mesmerising historic timeline and charming culture.
The best time to visit Albania, for those looking to balance blissful weather and a quieter tourist season, is undoubtedly May, when visitors have the opportunity to experience the country undisturbed and at the beginning of its prime. But we also recommend considering visiting the country in June or September.
So, for those looking to discover a truly different destination that has remained lost in the sea of Europe’s more touristed countries for far too long, Albania should be at the top of your list.
You can get in touch with a member of our expert team to start planning your Albania adventure now.
FAQs About Travelling to Albania
Can You Swim in Albania in May?
If you’re looking to take a dip in the sea beside some of the best Albania beaches, the sea temperature typically sits at 18°C during May. If you’re used to cooler swimming conditions, or mild temperatures don’t tend to sway you, you’ll find this to be pleasing.
When is the High Season in Albania?
The high season in Albania is from July to August, bringing with it better weather that, in its coastal locations, can be sweltering. This time of year also brings more tourists, which you should be aware of and prepare accordingly for by booking accommodations and transportation in advance of your visit.