|With Greece as a neighbour, often Albania is overlooked as a popular southern European tourist destination, though this really shouldn’t be the case! Albania has much to offer visitors in its own right and though it is recovering from the grip of communism, infrastructure and services are improving all the time. In fact you should find that Albania offers a very good, and perhaps quieter, alternative to countries like Greece, Italy and Turkey.
The Albanian Coast and Riviera
Albania has an extensive coastline and resorts are becoming more widespread. The town of Sarande in southern Albania is a popular coastal destination and is well known for its beautiful beaches, its horseshoe bay and its mountain backdrop, and is said to be the one of the prettiest towns on the Albanian Riviera. As well as the beaches, visitors can enjoy sightseeing here too – nearby, for example, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Butrint, an ancient city which features some fantastic archaeological finds.
In central Albania is the capital city, Tirana. You will no doubt enter Albania via Tirana, but rather than heading off somewhere else in the country, spend a little time here as it’s a very attractive city. In the city centre is Skanderbeg Square, a good central location from which to visit the city’s attractions, including the National History Museum, the Opera, the Et’hem Bey Mosque and Clock Tower.
A little way out from Tirana is one of the best preserved castles in Albania, Petrela Castle, and also well worth a visit is Mount Dajti which can be reached by a cable car for fantastic views of the city.
If you like castles, Albania is a great country to visit as there are many here! The city of Shkodra features Rozafa Castle, whilst the city of Gjirokaster also has a castle in the city centre, or there’s the ancient city of Kruje with its castle and pretty mountainside streets.
The Albanian Alps
In northern Albania are the Albanian Alps where you can experience some fantastic scenery and enjoy hiking in relative isolation. When you do come across civilisation you’ll find some great little traditional villages tucked away in the mountains with welcoming locals!