If you're planning a trip to Albania, there are plenty of spots to visit. However, there are a few that are absolutely must-sees.
In the southern city of Kruja, you'll find a castle that played an important role in Albania's history. You can also explore the Skanderbeg museum here and enjoy stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from the fortress's walls.
Pogradec is a town on the shore of Lake Ohrid, and has an ancient history. Excavations have revealed an Illyrian settlement dating back to the 5th century BC, belonging to the Desaret and Enkelejd clans.
There is a museum in the city centre with three pavilions dedicated to archeology, ethnography and history. It has a variety of rare items including two Illyrian helmets, the last type developed.
Another interesting site is the Cave of St. Marena, which is located close to the monastery. This karst cave has an interesting section of 180 metres, featuring micro-forms.
The town also has plenty of beaches, and is home to a large number of boats that you can rent across the lake. There are also a few sport places, where you can play football - Kalceto "Bruklin", beach-volley, basketball and more!
2. Gjipe beach
Gjipe Beach is a hidden gem on the Albanian Riviera. Nestled in a stunning canyon between the towns of Himara and Dhermi, this paradise is a dream come true for anyone who loves crystal clear waters, white sands, and a dramatic cliff backdrop.
This secluded beach is rarely crowded, which makes it an ideal spot to unwind with friends or family. It’s easy to get here by boat from Jale, but it can also be accessed by a 40-minute walk or by 4x4 vehicle.
There are no facilities at Gjipe beach, so bring snacks and water, or a picnic lunch. The hike can be a bit rocky, so be sure to wear good hiking shoes. If you want to stay overnight, a camp site is available for rent.
3. Rozafa castle
Located near the city of Shkoder in northwestern Albania, Rozafa castle is built atop a 130 m-high hill. It's surrounded by the Buna and Drin rivers and has a stunning view over the city.
The castle has a rich history and is the main tourist attraction of the town. The ruins of the castle are spread over a large area and there is even a museum dedicated to the site!
The castle is a must-see when visiting Albania. It is a great place to explore the country's incredible history and culture.
4. The ferry boat journey across the lake of Koman
If you’re traveling to Albania, it’s worth taking a day trip across the lake of Koman. It’s known as one of the world’s most beautiful boat trips and rivals Norway fjords in terms of scenery.
The journey is a three-hour ferry ride that starts at the hydroelectric dam in Koman and finishes in Fierza. It’s the perfect way to experience Albania’s breathtaking mountains and stunning valleys.
There are several ferries that operate on the lake. There are the Rozafa and Berisha ferries that take vehicles in addition to passengers, and there is also the Dragobia which only operates as a passenger boat.
Gjirokastra is one of two historical cities in Albania that UNESCO has recognized as a World Heritage Site. Layers of Greek, Byzantine, Ottoman and Sufi heritage cling to its cobbled streets and facades like moss.
- It’s a lovely city to wander around and has incredible Ottoman architecture. You can learn more about its history by visiting the museum and taking a look at the castle, which provides stunning views of the valley below.
- There are plenty of things to do in Gjirokastra, but one of my favorite places to visit is the Zekate House museum. It’s one of the oldest traditional tower-houses in the country and offers a great insight into how Albanians lived during the Ottoman rule.