Reviewed on Jun. 19, 2021
Reviewed on Oct. 16, 2021
Reviewed on Oct. 19, 2021
Bordered by the Ionian and Adriatic seas, this Eastern European country has beautiful beaches, exquisite mountain scenery and fascinating museums. After World War II, Albania was isolated behind the Iron Curtain under the communist leadership of Enver Hoxha. Starting in 1991 as the Cold War ended, visitors have once again been able to see the natural and manmade treasures of this fascinating country. Vacation here to explore Albania’s coastal region, mountain highlands and ancient castles.
The capital and largest city, Tirana, is in central Albania. Understand the region’s past from the ancient days of Illyria to modern times with a visit to the National History Museum. Abandoned bunkers from Hoxha’s regime provide the setting for Bunk’Art, which presents performance and visual arts examining the country’s communist legacy. View the area’s buildings, lakes, farmlands, foothills and distant snow-covered peaks as you ride the Dajti Ekspres cable car.
Near Albania’s southern border with Greece is the city of Saranda. Gaze out over the Ionian Sea at the pebbled Mirror Beach. Travel inland to the Blue Eye, a deep, naturally occurring spring of clear water with brilliant colors. At the ancient ruins of the Butrint UNESCO World Heritage Site, see archaeological evidence of its occupation since 50,000 B.C. including Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian artifacts.
At the very north of the country is Shkodra, where the Rozafa Castle dominates the horizon from the top of a hill. Learn about the legend of the human sacrifice that helped three brothers build it centuries ago. Ferry up Lake Koman to the Valbona Pass and trek in the Albanian Alps.
Find more castles across the country. The Kalaja or Berat Castle originated in the 4th century B.C., with medieval additions creating a wall with 24 towers encircling a town. Gjirokaster Castle was built in the 12th century, served as a prison in the mid-1900s and now houses an arms museum with relics from World War II and Albania’s fight for independence.
Fly to Rinas Airport near Tirana and travel around Albania by train, bus or car. Enjoy warm hospitality as you explore this small country.