Albania - Private Guide Bulgaria

Albania – Balkan Tours by Local Guides

Take an Albanian Tour Through Natural Wonders and Rich Cultural Heritage

Despite its relatively small size, Albania has fascinating places to explore.  Before embarking on your trip, you should get to know some of the basics about Albania. To make it easier for you, we have outlined the main facts which will create a better understanding of where you will be heading.

Population: 2,793,592
Capital: Tirana
Local Currency: Lek (ALL) 1 USD = 93 ALL | 1 EUR = 103 ALL
Visa Requirements: No Visa Needed for EU and US citizens
Language: Albanian
Religion: 59% Islam, 17% Christianity, 9% No Religion
Activities: Outdoor activities, sunbathing, swimming, sightseeing, religious sites, adventure sports, biking tours, caste and fortress exploration
When to visit: Spring, Summer, Autumn

Albania is included in most Balkan tours due to its countless landmarks and fascinating nature. Embark on a trip to Albania, and you will acquaint yourself with the history of the region, including the Ottoman era, the Communist influence and the modern-day touches, which create the perfect mix.

In Albania, you can hike to the numerous natural parks – home to protected animal and plant species. There, you can take up some outdoor activities like hiking and birdwatching. Furthermore, you will be quite fascinated to learn Albania is home to the biggest lake in the Balkans and an array of hidden beaches along the coast of the Ionian Sea.

One of the best ways to explore it entirely is by a guided tour led by local guides. Such guides are usually familiar with everything the region offers regarding history, culture, cuisine, natural wonders and more. Our mission is to organize only tailor-made tours created with the client’s desires and wishes at heart.

Example itineraries including Albania:

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Of course, the basic facts are never enough, and we have therefore prepared a more in-depth overview of the main cities, top places to visit in Albania and the activities worth trying out. Look at what we have outlined, but remember that it is up to you which places and activities you wish to include in your tailor-made Albania tour. We are open to your suggestions and views on how your trip should look like.

Tirana

Tirana
Tirana is Albania's capital and the largest city in the country. Its history dates back to the Paleolithic era when the first evidence of human settlement in the region was discovered. The influences mainly observed in Tirana were Ottoman, Italian and Communist. One thing you will notice about Tirana is the colourful architecture, which is a product of the “Colorful Tirana” campaign initiated by former Mayor Edi Rama. The Blloku area is preferred for shopping and leisure activities, with numerous cafes, restaurants and shops. If you are a tourist who enjoys outdoor activities, be sure to visit the Grand Park. It is a public park situated in the southern part of Tirana.


Berat

Berat
Berat is often called the “City of a Thousand Windows” and is a UNESCO-protected and historically significant Albanian city. Berat’s history dates back over 2,400 years, and it is the oldest inhabited city in the country. The city's architecture is mainly influenced by the Ottoman Empire - the houses are with enormous, wooden-framed windows. Berat is home to religious diversity and harmony. There, mosques, churches and a synagogue coexist peacefully. This city is authentic, picturesque and quite fascinating to visit, so make a stop there on your tour of Albania.


Gjirokastër

Gjirokaster
Gjirokastër is often referred to as the “City of Stone” due to its distinctive Ottoman architecture. This town is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, and much like Berat, it has had rich influences over its 2,500 years of history and gives away a medieval vibe to visitors. The Gjirokastër Castle is among the town's most significant landmarks and a popular tourist stop. You can visit the Museum of Weapons, which fosters collections of Albanian arms from 1912 to the end of World War II. When visiting this area, you must try the national cuisine as the regional specialities, such as Kosi, pite and burek, will leave you entirely satisfied.


Sarandë

Sarande
Sarandë is a fantastic coastal town located in the Albanian Riviera, renowned for its beautiful beaches. Furthermore, there are numerous small islands that can be found nearby. When taking a walk along the waterfront promenade of Sarandë, you will experience the atmosphere of the town. The combination of the sea breeze, the picturesque cafes and all the happy people enjoying the sun will make for unforgettable memories. Whilst in Sarandë, don’t forget to visit the Lukursi Castle, which has incredible panoramic views of the town.


Vlorë

Vlore
As “The City of Independence”, Vlorë is another great tourist destination that will immerse you in Albania's rich culture, history and natural beauty. Visit the Old Town and the Independence Monument to get deeper insights into the struggles and aspirations of the Albanians. Another significant landmark is the Ethnographic Museum, which displays the ethnographic heritage of Vlorë and its surrounding region. The same building also houses the Museum of Independence - the location where the founding fathers of Albania signed the Declaration of Independence. But don’t leave it at that - when in Vlorë, you must take the time to explore their breathtaking beaches with clear water and stunning landscapes.


Shkodër

Shkoder
When in Shkodër, be sure to visit the Rozafa Castle - a monumental landmark situated on a hill overlooking the city and Lake Shkodra - one of the largest lakes in the Balkans. Another popular attraction in Shkodër is the Old Town, where you can encounter old restored buildings, paved streets and numerous fountains. Another famous city attraction is the bridges, which create a picture-like setting and atmosphere.

The Albanian National Parks

Albania castles
When in Albania, we recommend taking a walk in a national park or two. The ones worth visiting are Theth, Valbona and Mount Dajti, which is accessible from Tirana via a cable car. If you are into paragliding and pine forests, we recommend Llogara National Park. Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park is the perfect destination for hiking and exploring glacial lakes located at a high altitude. Albania is popular with its fascinating nature and we highly recommend experiencing it!


The Albanian Castles

Tirana
As we already mentioned several times, castles are quite a common view in Albania. If you are a fan of medieval architecture, be sure to include some of the Albanian castles in your trip itinerary. The most popular ones you could visit are Berat, Rozafa, Gjirokaster and Kruje castles. The historical range of the castles in Albania is wider than most other coutries in the Balkans spanning from Antiquity to Middle Ages. One of the most popular castles in the country is the Krujë Castle, which was nicknamed the “the Dragon of Albania”. This happened after the castle played a crucial role in the rebellion of Skanderbeg against the Ottoman Empire.


 

The Old Towns

Albania old towns
Old towns are something you will experience a lot of on your Albania tour. Due to the rich history of the country and the numerous influences, a lot of tourist cities have kept their old towns as a reminder of their heritage. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Albanian cities marked significant progress with a number of new urban centers appearing around the coasts and river valleys. The most prominent ones worth checking out are the Gjirokaster Old Town, the Berat Old Town and the Shkoder Old Town.


 

The Albanian Riviera and the Hidden Beaches

Albanian Riviera
If you are into swimming, sunbathing and summer outdoor sports and activities, the Albanian Riviere is the perfect destination for you. The Riviera is situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea in the southern part of Albania. It is characterized by pristine beaches and the Llogara Pass mountain - a mesmerizing natural wonder. When on your tour with us, you will explore the hidden beaches of Albania and experience the cultural authenticity of the region. There is definitely a lot to be seen in the area!


 

The Blue Eye

The Blue Eye
The Blue Eye is a mesmerizing spring located near the town of Muzinë in southern Albania. It is a natural spring which forms a pool of clear, vibrant blue water. The water emerges from a depth of over 50 metres, and the entire area is protected due to its natural significance. Visitors can access the Blue Eye via a short walk through a forest. The protected area of Blue Eye has been designated as a natural monument covering 180 ha. This lake is definitely a beautiful, must-see attraction in Albania, and we usually include it in our tour itineraries.


 

Shkodër and Komani Lakes

Komani Lake
The two lakes are interconnected and are among the most fascinating natural wonders in Albania. Lake Shkodër is the largest lake in the Balkans and spans over Montenegro as well. Birdwatching is a popular activity in the region. The journey to Lake Konami involves a boat ride through the Drin River in the heart of the Albanian Alps. The experience you will get from visiting these breathtaking natural spots is unique, and we highly recommend it.

When embarking on your Albania tour, be sure to keep in mind what activities you wish to take up. Of course, if you have no idea, that is also fine since we have a rich experience in touring the Balkans and have learned all the places worth visiting and the activities that will leave long-lasting memories. We are always open to new suggestions from our clients that will better suit their preferences and create their perfect Balkan experience. Here are some of the activities we offer our tourists:

Hike in the National Park
Hike in the Albanian Alps
Take the ferry on the Komani Lake
Take a boat tour of Skadar Lake
Climb the Rozafa Castle
Learn about the Albanian communism
Get inside a real bunker
Visit the Gjirokaster’s Old Bazaar
Take a cabin lift to Mount Dajti
Explore the hidden beaches near Vlore and Himare
Climb the Ljubljana fortress
Walk around the Skocjan Caves
Go kayaking in the Adriatic sea
Explore the nightlife in Ksamil and Tirana
Try traditional Albanian food

Is Albania a cheap country to visit?
Yes, Albania is considered a relatively affordable destination. The accommodation, food and transportation are budget-friendly, especially if compared to the majority of the Western Europe tourist destinations.

How long do you need to visit Albania?
It really depends on how deep you wish to go into exploring the country’s history, heritage and natural treasures. Usually, between 3-5 days is more than enough to get the vibe of the region. For such a period, you will be able to explore 2-3 specific regions fully and also get the time to visit museums and experience the local cuisine.

Do I need a visa for Albania?
For the majority of countries, especially those from the European Union and the Schengen Area, a visa is not required. However, it is good to check the requirements for citizens of your country before planning your Albania tour.

Is it safe to travel to Albania?
Absolutely! Albania is a safe destination for travelers and has a low crime rate and political stability. Something we always encourage in our clients is to familiarise themselves with the local customs and traditions in order to ensure respectful behaviour.

What is the best time to visit Albania?
We recommend visiting Albania during the summer/spring. This way you can explore the coast of the country and its splendid beaches. Autumn is another favourable time for an Albania tour due to the pleasant weather in September-October.

Other Destinations:

Here are some of our example Balkan tour itineraries including Albania:

28 Days “Grand Balkan Tour” – 10 Balkan Countries

21 DAYS “Complete Balkan Tour”

16 DAYS “Countless Memories: The Ultimate Balkan Tour”

14 DAYS “Dream Fortnight Balkan Tour”

10 DAYS “Balkan Adventure”

8 DAYS “Soul of the Balkans”

If you don’t find the Balkan itinerary which suits drop us a mail and share your travel plans. We will do our best to customize a program according to your preferences.

If, however, you are uncertain of what to include, worry not – we got you covered. Thanks to our long history in tourism and our dedication to creating the perfect experience for each of our clients, we are more than capable of creating your entire itinerary while you are busy packing for your trip and learning Albanian words.

Here are some of the reasons why choosing us for your Balkan tour will be a decision you will not regret: 

A 100% unique experience designed for your needs and wishes.
Insights from friendly locals.
Seamless organization of your itinerary. 
Carefully selected accommodations and dining places. 
Licensed expertise in the entire Balkan region, including history, cuisine, traditions and many more.
Hassle-free transportation by car.

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