Albania Travel Guide: The "Most Underrated" Country To Visit

In this Albania Travel Guide, we're going to make a case as to why Albania is the most underrated country to visit. Insane natural beauty, historical sites, and all for a fraction of the cost of other European nations.

Albania Travel Guide: The "Most Underrated" Country To Visit

Located in the heart of the Balkans north of Greece, Albania is an often-overlooked and rarely mentioned and given credit for the paradise that it offers. With an endless oasis of breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and people that offer a very warm hospitality, Albania one of my favorite places on the planet!

Is Albania The Most Underrated Country To Visit?

Are looking for a Mediterranean vacation soaking up some vitamin D with stunning coastlines with crystal clear waters?

Albania Travel Guide - Beautiful Beaches And Clear Water

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Albania is located where the Mediterranean & Adriatic Seas meet and due to these waters seeing far less traffic than the rest of the Mediterranean, there is no comparison how clean their waters and beaches are kept compared to the rest of Europe.

What about hiking endless trails on rugged mountains?

Albania is the most underrated country in the world you must visit

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The dramatic and jagged peaks of the Albanian Alps are where you can find some of Europe's most scenic hiking, where through out history countless invading armies had to conquer these passes first!

What about swimming, kayaking or camping on endless rivers and lakes?

Why Albania is the most underrated country you need to visit

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Albania Travel Guide

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Albania Rivers & Lakes

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With 151 rivers and 247 natural lakes, some being glacial lakes - if you love the great outdoors, Albania is the perfect destination to immerse yourself in nature and camp along side one of it's beautiful rivers or lakes.

Do you love to explore ancient and charming towns that have preserved it's architectural history and culture?

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As you can see Albania has insane beauty in it's scenery all while packing an insane amount of diversity all in one small country. I mean when we travel to most places we go for either the mountains, the rivers, lakes, or the beaches do we not? Well, this is why I say Albania is the most underrated country to visit, because it has every bit of it and all packed into a country small enough that you can actually explore all of it.

All of this in a country that is only 11,100 sq/mi. That's Albania!

Now let's explore all the top places in Albania there is to see, from the Albanian Riviera, the historical sites, outdoor adventures hiking it's mountains, or floating, kayaking and camping on it's beautiful rivers. The best part besides it's beauty that makes me say it's the most underrated country you must visit is the cost! Yes, the travel budget needed for Albania is a fraction for any country in Europe that would offer a comparable experience.

Explore ancient ruins such as Butrint, Apollonia, and Byllis, and marvel at the architectural wonders of Berat and Gjirokastër, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The vibrant cities of Tirana and Shkodra offer a unique blend of old and new, with bustling markets, lively cafes, and vibrant street art.

Whether you're a history buff, an adventure seeker, or a beach lover, Albania has all of it! So let's get into it.

Albania's Top 10 Places To Visit

  • Tirana: The vibrant capital city of Albania, Tirana, is a perfect blend of history and modernity. Explore the colorful buildings of Blloku, visit the National History Museum, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of Skanderbeg Square.
Tirana - Albania's Capital City
  • Berat: Known as the "Town of a Thousand Windows," Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will transport you back in time. Wander through the narrow streets of the old town, visit the medieval castle, and admire the stunning Ottoman-era houses.
Berat Albania - Known as the city of a thousand windows - Albania Travel Guide
Gjirokastër Albanian Town - Albania Travel Guide
Gjirokastër Castle - Albania Travel Guide
  • Butrint National Park: Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site! Step back to the year AD570 in Butrint, an ancient Greek and later Roman city located on a hill overlooking a lagoon. Explore the well-preserved ruins, including a theater, a basilica, and a Roman bath complex. Albania has some of the best persevered ancient ruins this world has to offer.
Butrint National Park - Albania Travel Guide
  • Albanian Riviera: The Albanian Riviera is the true hidden gem, with its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and charming coastal villages. Visit the picturesque town of Saranda, relax on the beaches of Dhërmi and Ksamil, and witness breathtaking sunsets in Vlorë.
There is NO other beach and seaside paradise in Europe that can compete with the cost to do it in Albania, more on that in a bit.
Most underrated country to visit
  • Theth: Nestled in the heart of the Accursed Mountains, Theth is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Explore the stunning Theth National Park, hike to the Blue Eye waterfall, and experience the warm hospitality of the local guesthouses.
Most underrated country to visit - Albania
  • Valbona Valley National Park: Another must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts, the Valbona Valley National Park offers breathtaking landscapes and incredible hiking opportunities. Trek through the valley, visit the traditional villages, and immerse yourself in the pristine nature.
Valbona Valley National Park - Albania Travel Guide
  • Kruja: Discover the rich history of Albania at Kruja, a medieval town located in the mountains. Visit the impressive Kruja Castle, explore the narrow streets of the old bazaar, and learn about the national hero, Skanderbeg, at the Skanderbeg Museum.
  • Shkodra: Located on the shores of Lake Shkodra, this vibrant city is a cultural and historical hub. Explore the beautifully preserved Rozafa Castle, visit the Marubi National Museum of Photography, and take a boat trip on the lake and just get your zen on. Yes, it's a lake - Don't be fooled by the photo below.
Shkodra Lake Albania - Albania Travel Guide
  • Apollonia: History buffs will be captivated by Apollonia, an ancient Greek city founded in the 6th century BC. Explore the archaeological wonders of the Odeon and the Temple of Artemis, admire the stunning views of the surrounding countryside and immerse yourself into a time when Greeks were the super power in the region, prior to falling to the endless waves of Roman legions over time who then put their own architectural spin on things.

Albanian Riviera

The Albanian Riviera is a coastal paradise that stretches along the southwestern coast of Albania. With its pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and charming coastal villages, it is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and sun seekers. Start your journey in Saranda, a vibrant town known for its lively atmosphere and stunning views.

Albanian Riviera

Take a boat trip to the nearby Ksamil Islands, where you can relax on secluded beaches and swim in turquoise waters.

Ksamil Islands - Albania Travel Guide
Ksamil Islands

Head north to Dhërmi, a small village famous for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife. Spend your days sunbathing on the pristine beaches and your evenings enjoying delicious seafood and live music.

Dhërmi Beach Albania

Further north, you will find the town of Vlorë, where you can witness breathtaking sunsets over the Adriatic Sea. Explore the city's historic center, visit the Independence Monument, and take a stroll along the promenade.

The Albanian Riviera is a true paradise that will leave you mesmerized by its white sand and turquois waters.

Ancient Ruins & UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Albania is a country steeped in history, and there is no shortage of historical treasures to discover. If this is your thing, we barely touched the number of ancient ruins and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites to see in Balkan paradise.

Butrint mentioned earlier is one of the most important archaeological sites in Albania, dating back to the 7th century BC. Explore the well-preserved ruins, including a theater, a basilica, and a Roman bath complex.

Apollonia, founded in the 6th century BC by Greek colonists, is another must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. Wander through the ancient city and admire the Odeon, the Temple of Artemis, and the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Berat and Gjirokastër, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are living museums that showcase the rich history and architecture of Albania. Explore the narrow streets of the old towns, visit the medieval castles, and admire the Ottoman-era houses.

Albania's historical treasures are a testament to its fascinating past and offer a glimpse into the country's rich cultural heritage.

Hiking, Camping, and National Parks

If you are an adventure seeker and nature lover, Albania is the perfect destination for you. The country's diverse landscapes offer a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to exploring national parks.

Theth and the Valbona Valley, located in the Accursed Mountains aka Albanian Alps, are an absolute paradise for hikers. Embark on multi-day treks through breathtaking valleys, visit traditional villages, and experience the warm hospitality of the local guesthouses.

Most underrated country to visit
Theth National Park

The Theth National Park is home to the famous Blue Eye waterfall, a natural wonder that will leave you speechless.

Albania Travel Guide
Lake Koman

For a unique camping experience, head to Lake Koman, where you can camp on the shores of the crystal clear lake and wake up to stunning mountain views.

Osumi Canyon Albania

If you're looking for a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, visit the Osumi Canyon, where you can go canyoning and explore the stunning rock formations. Albania's national parks, such as Butrint National Park and Llogara National Park, offer a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through lush forests, spot rare species of flora and fauna, and marvel at breathtaking views.

Whether you're a seasoned adventurer or a beginner, Albania's outdoor adventures will leave you exhilarated and craving for more.

Albanian Dishes & Local Delicacies

No trip to Albania is complete without sampling its delicious cuisine. Albanian food is a delightful blend of Mediterranean and Balkan flavors, with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Albanian Breakfast Cuisine

A traditional Albania breakfast consisting of byrek (flaky pastry filled with cheese or meat), fërgesë (a dish made with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese), and freshly baked bread is something we highly recommend you grace your taste buds with.

byrek breakfast - Albanian Cuisine - Albania Travel Guide

Albanian Lunch Cuisine

Indulge in a plate of tavë kosi, a mouthwatering dish made with lamb, yogurt, and rice.

Albanian Dinner Cuisine

Seafood lovers will be in heaven with Albania's super fresh, locally harvested seafood that was probably harvested that morning by local fisherman who sell their "Catch Of The Day" to all the local restaurants. Did we mention that it will also be the cheapest seafood you've ever eaten? We will, we promise!

Don't forget to try the national dish, fërgesë tirane, a flavorful stew made with peppers, tomatoes, and various meats.

End your meal with a sweet treat, such as baklava (a rich, sweet pastry) or trilece (a creamy dessert made with three types of milk) and then after dinner why not wash it all down with a glass of raki, a traditional Albanian spirit?

Sampling Albanian cuisine is not just about the food, but also about experiencing the country's rich culinary traditions and warm hospitality.

Albania Travel Tips

The best time to visit Albania is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October), when the weather is mild and the crowds are thinner. The official currency is the Albanian lek, and credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas but we always recommend getting cash in the local currency at an international airport when you depart.

English is spoken in most tourist areas, but it's always helpful to learn a few basic Albanian phrases. Albania is a very safe country to travel to, and so we won't even go into that discussion.

Public transportation in Albania is affordable and reliable, with buses and minibuses connecting major cities and towns, however if you prefer to explore at your own pace, renting a car is also a popular option.

When it comes to dress code, Albania is a conservative country, so it's best to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. With proper planning and preparation, your trip to Albania will be smooth and hassle-free.

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Albania Travel Cost

Albania is very cheap compared to the rest of Europe. What you would spend in 5 days in a Western European vacation destination you would spend in a month in Albania!

Yes, the Balkans are not only beautiful but they are some of the cheapest vacation destinations in the world. You can easily get by on $30 per day! Yes! That's your spending money.

Many of the best activities to do in Albania are as we discussed, beaches, rivers, lakes, hiking, camping, kayaking and visiting ancient sites and charming villages! So most of these activities are your cost to eat, and explore! Most of the UNESCO sites all cost well under $10.

For your cost of food you can easily stay under $2-$4 for breakfast, lunch $5-$7, and dinner $10-$12. Here is a lot more about the cost of Albania to give you the confidence that even a very tight travel budget can go so far in this Eastern European paradise.

Guide Conclusion

As we come to the end of this ultimate Albania travel guide, I think we made a case for why Albania is the most underrated country to visit. I mean, what beautiful country? From its stunning coastline and rugged mountains to its rich history and vibrant culture, this Balkan beauty offers a unique and authentic travel experience.

Whether you're seeking outdoor adventures, historical sites, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, Albania has everything to captivate your heart and leave you wanting more.

So it's time to pack your bags, book your ticket, and go explore this beautiful country! Bookmark this Travel Guide so you can easily access it while you are there!

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