The 7 Best Places to Visit in Albania

Albania has seen a surge in popularity from curious travellers recently. The country seems to have exploded out of obscurity and now caters to swathes of tourists every year. 

With sparkling beach ports, bustling historic cities and secluded mountain citadels, there seems to be something for every type of traveller in this undiscovered country. In this article, we explore seven of the best places to visit in Albania and detail the amazing opportunities that can be found in each one.


Tirana is Albania’s thriving capital, steeped in history and providing a colourful cityscape that masks its grey communist roots. This gem of a city remains undiscovered to most, but it’s one of the highlights of any tour of the Balkans

Tirana offers travellers an array of sightseeing and tourist attractions which speak to the complex history of the nation. 

Skanderbeg Square is filled with museums and buildings which inspire wonder. The square itself features a statue of the 15th-century hero Skanderbeg, who fought to remove the Ottoman Empire from Albania despite having been raised by them. The square is also home to the National Historic Museum, as well as the picturesque Et’hem Bey Mosque.  

Within Tirana, you can also find BunkArt. This was a bunker that was built to provide a place for citizens to shelter themselves in the event of war. It has now been turned into an underground museum and art gallery. The twisting corridors feel eerie and are perfectly juxtaposed with the vibrant exhibitions held here.



Shkoder is one of the oldest cities in Albania and is thought to have been established as far back as the 4th century BC. This unique city has been occupied multiple times throughout its history, starting with the Romans, then the Serbians, followed by the Venetians and Ottomans. 

Often called the cultural capital of Albania, Shkoder is the birthplace of many Albanian artists, musicians and other creatives. You’ll find the cultural offering of this city to be all-encompassing. The Migjeni Theatre hosts a variety of shows throughout the season and the recently refurbished Marubi National Museum of Photography contains a vast collection of historical Albanian photos.

Lake Shkoder borders the city; a sweeping natural wonder and one of the largest lakes in the Balkan Peninsula. The lake stretches past the Albanian border into Montenegro and plays host to over 270 different bird species, making it a perfect stop for nature lovers and bird watchers. 

Another highlight of Shkoder is Rozafa Castle. This magnificent castle is situated on a rocky hill to the west of the city. In local legend, the castle was built by 3 brothers, the youngest of which had his wife, Rozafa, entombed in the walls to drive out an evil entity that was preventing the castle’s construction. 

The castle has a unique style which contains features from Ottoman and Venetian architecture. These days, there is a museum on site which details its history. From the castle, you can enjoy scenic views of Shkoder and the surrounding landscape and catch some of the most incredible sunsets. 


Just under an hour from Tirana lies the coastal town of Durres. Many locals gather here in the warmer summer months to enjoy the beach. Durres Beach has all the amenities you need for a perfect beach day, from chair and umbrella rentals to food vendors serving authentic Albanian snacks. 

Within the city of Durres, you will find one of the largest amphitheatres in the Balkans. It was constructed in the 2nd century AD by the Romans and even includes a chapel that was built after the empire’s conversion to Christianity. Inside the chapel, you can find the only surviving Albanian mediaeval mosaic, which is truly a sight to behold. 

The Durres Archaeological Museum will delight history lovers with its vast collection of artefacts from prehistoric and classical times. The museum is the largest in the country and is a short walk from the beachside promenade. Within the museum, there are many statues and sculptures, from Hellenistic gods to important Roman emperors. 

Aside from sculpture, the museum houses an array of finds such as amphorae fragments, jewellery, coins and figurines. The extensive collections detail the long history of Albania and due to the seaside location, many finds have been recovered from the sea floor, which offers a unique look into the ancient trading practices of the city.


Berat is a beautiful Albanian city often called ‘the city of a thousand windows’. This is due to the Ottoman houses that rise up on both sides of the River Osum, with neatly cut windows that look out onto the valley. 

This quaint city goes unnoticed by many travellers. Yet, Berat is perhaps one of the most idyllic Albanian cities and is an incredible place to visit due to its strong sense of heritage and tranquillity. 

Of all the sights in Berat, none is more notable than Berat Castle (Berat Kalaja). The castle sits atop Gorica Hill, providing exquisite views of the city and surrounding valley. 

This 13th-century citadel is one of the best preserved in the Balkans. What is most striking about Berat Kalaja is that many locals still live here. The citadel is often called the castle quarter and is a bustling hub of shops, stalls and houses, giving the ancient citadel a feeling of community and life.   

Inside the castle grounds you’ll find the Red Mosque. All that remains standing today is a minaret and some walls, but the mosque was a vital institution in the 15th century. It was one of the first mosques to be built in Berat. 

Due to its deterioration, the mosque is no longer an active place of worship. However, the individual minaret captures the ancient beauty of times gone by. 

A visit to Berat would not be complete without seeing the Old Town of Mangalem. The city is divided by the river and Mangalem was once the Muslim quarter, while Christians would dwell across the bridge in Gorica. 

Narrow alleys and twisting stone streets make up this ancient neighbourhood and speak to its longevity. You will find an abundance of cafes and restaurants here, as well as the iconic Ottoman houses that climb up the hillside.  


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore an ancient, abandoned city? Nestled in Butrint National Park, the ruins of a thriving city with over 2000 years of history awaits curious travellers. 

Butrint was one of the first sites in Albania to be granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1992. The archaeological site features monuments and structures in Greek, Roman, Venetian and Byzantine styles. You can easily spend a whole morning exploring the ruins and taking in the extraordinary visuals of a city reclaimed by nature. 

The city has been occupied many times throughout its history, resulting in a variety of features which will excite fans of history. The site includes a theatre, forum, baptistery and basilica, which all remain in decent condition. An earthquake in the 3rd Century AD destroyed many of the structures and resulted in the city being abandoned for centuries. 

On top of one of the forested hills, you will find a 14th-century Venetian castle that now functions as the Butrint Museum. The museum is rather small, but houses many of the finds and artefacts that have been recovered from Butrint. From the top of the hill, you can look out onto a verdant park and the surrounding countryside for some incredible views. 


Gjirokaster has a similar feeling to Berat, with its Ottoman architecture and hilltop fortress. It also has its own moniker, ‘the city of stone’. Despite these similarities, both cities make excellent places to visit in Albania. 

Gjirokaster was once the home of the famous Albanian writer Ismail Kadare as well as an Ottoman general whose house is now open to the public as a museum. With such cultural significance, it’s no wonder that Gjirokaster is listed as a UNESCO heritage site.

The Old Town of Gjirokaster has a depth of character that is unlike any other Albanian town. The cobbled streets and white buildings are the perfect backdrop for an evening stroll. You can also find the Bazaar in the centre of Old Town, selling colourful carpets, souvenirs and a delectable selection of eateries. 

Once you have explored the town, you should heed the call of the castle. Sitting atop the hill and looking out over the town, Gjirokaster Castle contains an interesting collection of activities and things to do. One of the most interesting sights at the castle is the downed US airforce jet that sits by the cannons and castle tower. 

Another unique feature of the castle is the Cold War tunnel. This tunnel was secretly built during the Cold War and functioned as a bunker. The tunnel is fully accessible via a guided tour that will take you deep beneath the mountain and into the belly of the citadel.


Our final best place to visit in Albania is the beautiful town of Korca. Sitting under the Morava mountain, Korca offers some of the best museums, hiking paths and unparalleled architectural wonders. It is located in southeastern Albania and is a good 4 hours drive from Tirana. 

Within Korca you can find the famous Korca Brewery (Birra Korça). You will find Korça beer all over Albania, but it is best tasted straight from the brewery’s taps. The brewery has an adjacent beer garden which is the perfect place to enjoy a cool draft accompanied by delicious snacks. 

After you’ve enjoyed the brewery, the cultural marvels of Korca await. The National Museum of Medieval Art contains over 7000 pieces from the mediaeval period and earlier. The art is perfectly displayed, allowing you to take in the intimate details of each piece and learn about the cultural significance of art in Albania’s history.

We also recommend a visit to the National Museum of Education. The museum was the first school to teach in Albanian during the Ottoman rule of the 19th Century. If you are interested in linguistics, the museum is a great place to discover the history of Albania and learn more about the language. 

You can’t leave Korca without having hiked up Morava Mountain. You can take a bus to reach the top or walk, but many locals opt to cycle. The mountain is an incredible day trip, as not only will you get a stunning view of the red rooftops of Korca, but you can also find an old church with a giant cross. The church has a few artefacts on display and is open to the public, which makes for a pleasant rest stop after a long hike.


With historic architecture and a vast array of cultural sightseeing opportunities, Albania has so many incredible places to visit. From the natural beauty of Shkodra Lake to the magical ambience of Berat, there is so much to fall in love with when you visit.

At Undiscovered Destinations, our small group tours offer the opportunity to explore some of Albania’s best towns and cities. Our Albania Explorer Tour will take you on a 9-day expedition across the country, where local guides will show you all the highlights of Albania and give you greater insight into the culture and history of each stop. 

Get in touch with a member of our team today to discover the hidden wonders of Albania.

FAQs about visiting Albania

What is the best month to visit Albania?

The best months to visit Albania are May, June and September. The weather is still pleasantly warm around these months without being overwhelming. This is the best time for walks, sightseeing and beach days and what is more, you will avoid the worst of the summer crowds.  

Does Albania have nice beaches?

Albania has some of the most stunning Mediterranean beaches that are perfect for those who want a coastal escape. The best beaches are found in Ksamil and Albanian Riviera, where golden sands and clear turquoise waters draw in tourists from all over the world. 

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