50 Photos to Tempt to You to Visit Albania

Since my first visit to Albania in 2000 I’ve seen the country develop from what was often cited as “the poorest country in Europe” to an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Most visitors head to the beaches in the south but there’s much more to see including the incredible Llogara Pass, UNESCO sites Berat, Gjirokastra and Butrint, quirky abandoned bunkers, disused Cold War submarine bases, Ottoman bazaars and some pretty spectacular scenery.

 

To celebrate the latest update to my Albania travel guide for 2015, I want to tempt you to visit with 50 of my favourite photos of Albania.

Butrint National Park

Gjirokastra Captured US Plane

Mushroom Bunker in Himara

Kruja Old Town Mosque

Sunset Over the City of Saranda

Llogara Pass on the Albanian Coast

Southern Saranda with Ksamil and Greece in the Distance

Ksamil Beach in September

Butrint with the Greek Border in the Distance

Tirana's Main Square

Looking Down on Borsh Beach from the Llogara Pass

Butrint at Sunset and Corfu Island (Greece)

Borsh Beach and the Olive Groves

Llogara Pass Near Vlora

Ksamil Island at the End of the Tourist Season

Kruja's Ottoman Bazaar

Typical Albanian Sunset

Fishing Village Near Himara

Berat's Thousand Windows

Foggy Llogara Pass in the Mountains

Albanian Car Ferry in Butrint

Earthquakes Are Common in Albania

Bunker on the Beach in Himara

Ksamil Albania

Local Wildlife Near Himara

Gjirokastra Tourist Shops and Castle

Albanian Submarine Base

Sunset from Saranda's Castle

Lukova Beach in Southern Albania

Dead Trees Along the Llogara Pass

Sunset After a Storm in Himara

Almost Abandoned Village Near Himara

Moon Rise Above Albanian Villages

Restaurant Hanging Over the Beach in Himara

Ottoman Era Houses in Gjirokastra

Dhermi - Albania's Most Famous Beach

Berat Castle Walls with Poppies

Abandoned Beach Cafe in Borsh

Butrint Amphitheatre

Blue Eye Near Saranda and Gjirokastra

Tirana's Infamous Pyramid

ENVER was changed to NEVER on the mountainside in Berat

Bay Near Himara

Kruja Fortress Near Tirana

Winding Road on the Llogara Pass

Stormy Sunset in Himara

Gjirokastra Mountains

Himara Beach Umbrellas

Another Amazing Sunset in Saranda

Watching the Sunset on Top of a Bunker

Pin It

Ksamil Beach in Southern Albania Mountain Village Kruja

 Sunset in Himara on the Albanian Riviera Himara Beach in Southern Albania

Painted Bunker in Albania Sunset in Saranda

Hanging on the edge on the Llogara Pass Sunset in Berat

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


Comments

  1. Some great photos Andrea. We spent 3 months in Prague this summer and it’s made us curious about Eastern Europe. Albania a country I haven’t heard much about but a few other people have mentioned it in passing…
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • There are some amazing destinations in Central Europe and the Balkans. Albania is a lot of fun and very affordable plus there aren’t many tourists outside of July and August. I’d definitely recommend it. Slovenia, Romania, Poland and Estonia are some of my other favourites. 🙂

      • dod gjokaj says:

        thank you very much for visiting my country and for your recommendation to others …..you are welcome

        • Albania is an amazing country with some breathtaking scenarios and a population strong in the spirit that survived oppression, corruption and the fast changes of the post cold war with a smile and a plate of rice.
          There are many nice (and deserved) developing tourist destinations and the new generations are the fuel of the country and have nothing to do with the wrong image that our older generations of expats have brought ashore (im talking of this general and wrong aknowledgement that albanians are a crime based community, one of the biggest bullshit urban legends of all ages, due to the fact that the criminal expats are the result of the falling of the communism and the successive opening of the prisons, where many freed criminals decided to get away from the country knowing that their criminal behaviors would had lead them again to the hard jail and is widely non tollerate and repressed from the community…).
          This fact (the highly motivated new generations), in addition to the development of the country, in addition to the general cleaning UE is doing about the corruption, with the joint operations between interpol and albanian/kosovarian police (ranked in the top ten most effective joint units of the world for number of arrests) to disturb, reduce and hopefully stop human trafficking (for prostituion, slavery and organ trafficking), drug traficcking and drug holding and manifactury (Albania and Kosovo have been since 91 till last year key points in the european cocaine distribution, storages for the heroin coming from the warfields of Afghanistan and well known for the clandestine laboratories behold from powerful crime families) and in the end but for this not less important is the weapons (from small firearms to fully equipped tanks) smuggling and holding for other organizations such Italian Mafia and Camorra, African warlords etc.
          Those key factors are deeply changing the country and opening a mostly accepted optimistic point of view in the general opinion of his citizens and oncoming tourists and Im quite sure that by 2020 the country will be in the mouth of everyone making a list of top vacation destinations for cultural trips, nature/wellness trips and summer vacations and also (have to mention this cuz is my field of interest as a party promoter in Berlin dreaming to organize a nigthlife and party culture with nothing less from Mykonos or Ibiza there too and starting this from this summer after 24 years away from my country and 10 years of hard work, sacrifice, money saving, contacts and networks creation and last but not least: patience waiting the situation to be finally as it is becoming now) an amazing summer party and beach location for young tourists from all over the world!
          Book your flight and find your accommodation, Albania has a lot to offer and incredibly cheap prices , think about it before you plan your 2015 summer trip to the other, far more expensive than my land, mediterranean summer vacation destinations…
          Thanks for reading my comment, and if you want to contact me or ask me anything about my country you can find me on facebook as Avni Leka living in Berlin (Germany) and born in Durres (to avoid contacting someone else with same name make sure im the right one), feel free to text me any question about my country or my people, I will be sincerely happy and will help you out finding the answers to your questions about this amazing piece of land!

  2. Yay for Poland too! 😉

    Love your photos…such clear blue waters! Albania reminds me a lot of what we saw in Turkey as well. The colors, the mosques, the markets…

    • The Ottoman Empire definitely left its mark on Albania. The culture, religion and especially the food has a strong Turkish influence. It’s definitely worth checking out (although I think I prefer Poland tbh! 😉 ).

      • It is not true that likewise Albania is influenced by Turkey because Albania is the ancient nation in the Balkans and a millennial culture and history . Albanian identity is unique and does not resemble any other nation in the world . We have our identity and our culture where religious beliefs live peacefully among themselves .

      • Arbor Suli says:

        Thank You for taking these beautiful photos of Albania, Andrea. They are magnificent. Absolutely beautiful.

        But you are missing out on the northern part of Albania which plays a strong dynamic part in the Albanian identity; its very different from the south… but extremely crucial. Adding on to that, you would have noticed a difference in experience that you have never seen elsewhere. Albanian culture is very unique and very modest. Hospitality and loyalty is extremely important. I feel that since you have visited a lot of the hot spot tourist attraction, you might have not had the full experience nor the satisfaction to enjoy the rare heritage and traditions that we inter-community share ( All over Albania, and also around the albanian lived areas outside of Albania). Even though I am Orthodox from the south, the Catholics in the north are known for these “besa-bes” traditions. And the Albanian Alps are absolutely majestic.

        • I spent many months in Albania, much of it with different Albanian families. I was fortunate to experience the Albanian hospitality you mention. I have travelled in the north a number of times plus I’ve been to Prizren, Ulcinj and some Albanian villages in Macedonia. I think I’ve had a great experience with the Albania community in general. 🙂

  3. Andrea i thing we are ( ALBANIA ) more influenced from ITALIANS than ottomans , please put some pictures of big cities like TIRANA, DURRES and so one! Check the STYLE of them and give conclusions! ( TYPICAL ITALIAN ones )

    Best regards

    Andi

  4. Albania is small country but you can find everything you desire. From the sandy beaches of Adriatic to rocky Ionian ones. Castles in almost all the towns. Mosques, Catholic and Orthodox Monasteries and Churches and Bektashi Tekke. The best example of religion tolerance in the World. Canyons,especially of Osumi river. Sotira’s waterfalls. Karavasta and Narta lagoons. Blue Eye water spring in south.High Mountains with snow in north Albania. Sazan and Ksamil small islands. Caves, Lakes, rivers. Historic Old towns like Berat, Gjirokaster and Kruje. Archaeological spots like Butrint and Apollonia. Bunkers from communist era. Blloku area in Tirana with bars and clubs and southern riviera with best beach parties. A rich and tasty traditional cuisine combined with some Rakia and traditional Albanian music. Turkish coffee for the end with interesting conversations, great hospitality of the locals and very cheap prices comparing with rest of Europe.

  5. Amazing pictures amazing country, i just saw my friends boat hahaah and my favorite beach in south,
    it’s been 8 years of traveling and visiting almost every beach and i still think there is much more left for me to visit, there are so many undiscovered places that i want to visit.

  6. great pictures! Even tho you only showed the ancient broken down chairs etc. There’s also modern art and building sights, the food deff has a Turkish rub off, However Abania is a great place to visit and have fun. Just dont think about cming to live here 😛 it can become boring and monotone after you see it all and do it all 😛 again great pictures from the south next time try going in the north mountain scenery just dont do it during winter 😛 as you might get stuck someplace with no way out and 2 meters of snow blocking your way 😀

  7. I’ve been to Albania a couple of times and my conclussion is that it is a beautiful country with horrible people. If you go there as a tourist, try to deal as less as you can with albanians.

    • I disagree.

      • I have lived in Albania for more than 9 years and have found teh Albanian people to be incredibly friendly and hospitable. I have traveled from north to south and east to west and have always been treated well. Thanks for these wonderful photos — it was great to recognize almost all of the spots where they were taken! You should try going to Thethi on your next trip – you’ll love it!

        • I plant to visit Theth for sure!

          • jonathan / england says:

            Andrea , if you want pure breathless nature , Valbona valley is the greatest , i’ve been visiting both , THethi , and Valbona , and both are stunning , but Valbona is extraordinary , try to visit the guest house ” Kol Gjoni ” , it’s even on FB, you’ll absolutely love it 🙂
            and it’s more beautiful in the early spring

          • arjan anno kolgjini says:

            is very beautiful cauntri in Albania very very nice pic in korabi montanin in pic my in fb my name arjan ano kolgjini in fb my photo prof in fbc … thenx u i like u i llook u in com… ?per u .. i like … ???

    • If you see one asshole… fine, two assholes… you’re having bad day mate; if you see them everywhere you go, think about who the asshole is.

    • What a nice way of speaking and classifying a whole population as horrible ! I feel sorry that you had such a horrible experience. As you may see others such as Andrea (whom I thank for sharing with us her impressions, experience and pictures) witness quite a very different picture of the country/population. Please abstain from giving such “horrible” generalised opinions and put some context into your story.

    • I have been to Albania plenty of times and I am planing to go after Christmas and IEH I’ll never seen anyone horrible,people are welcome all the time and friendly but probably you have been horrible and then they gave you what you need it 🙂 buddy I actually recommend this country every season especially summer time and winter.

    • That is frankly untrue, although I have only been to Albania twice, I never met anyone who was horrible, actually the opposite, everyone I spoke to were very pleasant. Albania is a beautiful country, the food is good, the people are good, it’s fantastic all round!

    • I don’t know what country you are from, but, as an American, I found Albanians to be very friendly, extremely gracious, and generous.

    • Like every country we do have some horrible people, but it is quite mean of you to generalize entire population, just because you have met what 2 or 3 people. Maybe you should visit more of Albania 🙂

    • We only horrible to the idiots, must mean your one

  8. the albanians are god peoples
    and I will say you to visit korca becouse is a very beautifoul place with great past. I am an albanian and I disagree with IEH

    • I’ve heard Korca is beautiful!

      • Yes, Korce area is quiet and nice. Worth a visit if you can see the right things. Definitely best to visit in May or early June. Lived here for 5 years and most of the people are very welcoming. Check out Voskopoje, Vithkuq, and some of the nicer Korce area restaurants and beautiful mountains and valleys.

  9. Great pictures and awesome invitation. i may assure the other readers that they will be greeted with no disappointment at all once they are here 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing the great pictures that show us albanians too of the wonderful places you have on there, but it would be great if you could have written the name of the places too, for people who want to visit.
    And in regards to people, Albania like every country has its fair share of annoying people as well as wonderful and delightful people.

  11. Wow, these are absolutely stunning photos. 🙂

  12. Dennis Ellis says:

    I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to Albania 14 times since 1998. I absolutely love the country and the people. I always feel like it is my second home…. Thank you for sharing these photos!

  13. Maybe next time you can include the Canions in Osum, Theth, Valbone, some pictures from Durres, etc. Thank you for the photos they are amazing.

    • I will try. Thanks! 🙂

      • Well! how could anyone say the Albanian people are unfriendly! When we asked a group of young students directions to our accomodation in Ksamil they not only phoned their teacher to come out of school and help us…the teacher then offered us a lift there. When I fainted in Gyrokastra I could not have been treated with more concern and kindness…my blood pressure was taken and an ambulance was called,it arrived within a few minutes and delivered me back to our hotel…no paperwork, no charge and my host at the hotel revived me with home grown camomile tea and pomegranates.

        I only wish I could promise Albanian visitors the same welcome in England.

  14. Wayne Mitchell says:

    man i am ready to go back

  15. Wow, these pictures are truly amazing and just make me want to visit Albania even more. It’s funny because my hometown is in the South of Italy and just a boat away from Albania, but for some reasons I’ve never visited the country, I’m clearly missing out! 🙂

    • I imagine there are loads of Albanians visiting/living in your hometown so you probably have a good idea of the people and culture already. 🙂 But you should head over to Albania for sure if you can. It’s definitely a unique experience.

  16. Magnolia House says:

    Gorgeous photos, I was in Albania in October and what an amazing country. We went to Theth, a gorgeous place. In the evening as the sun went down, the plateau got really dark and the top of the mountains were lit as they were on fire, it was a waw moment, a must see and experience it if you can. We even managed to have our first snow fight there, for this year: )) Shkodra is another city we visited, very charming indeed. In Tirana we had a few drinks in Blloku, what an experience,very polite and friendly people, very cosmopolitan, a nice contrast. Apollonia ruins is another place we went to, had lunch on top of the hill, a spectacular view. The food was fresh and very good and the staff were very accommodating. Albania is a country of such contrast, one can experience a wide divers in architecture, food, nature, religion. Highly recommend it, beautiful country, friendly people. Planing my next trip already.

    • Yes, I agree, so many contrasts. Blloku is fun for people watching! I’m so disappointed I missed Theth and Apollonia even though I’ve been to Fier a couple of times. I’ll be back too. 🙂

  17. Thank you for sharing these amazing photographs, they are among the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. Its great reading all the nice comments about Albania and its people (us). 🙂 I hope you get a chance to visit more of north Albania, because it has some great places. 🙂

  18. Excellent photo album! Thanks for putting this together Andrea! I’ve shared with friends who are not yet convinced to visit me! J

  19. Thank you Andrea for promoting beauties of Albania! Breathtaking album. Your photography is precious 🙂
    I recommend Labova e Kryqit (Gjirokaster)
    Sarisalltik Tekke (Kruje)
    Voskopoja & Dardha in Korca
    Dhermi/Old Qeparo/Himara castle

    and more and more 😀

    • I’ve been to all those places except Korca but I only wanted to share my best photos. Some places had to miss out. 😉 There’s always next time. 🙂

  20. Hello Andrea. Thank you for your beautiful words and pictures about Albania. I am from Shkodra which is north of Albania. Shkodra is a beautiful city with rivers and mountains and also with one of the oldest castle in the country Castle Rozafa. Next time I recommend you visit it. I live in US now but I have a friend that speaks very well english and can help you with anything 🙂
    Thank you and thank to all who had such nice and amazing words about our country. We may not be the best, but we surely try our best. 🙂

  21. #Andrea ! (now after reading the reactions comments )..you do Realize that ‘was a bit of a “mistake” by you saying that “The Ottoman Empire definitely left its mark on Albania. The culture, religion and especially the food has a strong Turkish influence.”…
    It’s a thing we don’t go proud of it here so you don’t have necessarily to underline that added value… :)) (bad tag)
    Nice shots by the way…very appreciated

    • I’m not sure I understand the problem but thanks for your comment. 🙂

      • Bardhyll says:

        Hey , Andrea you made no mistakes saying the ottoman turks left a HUGE influence, evident in food, music, architecture, religion, etc etc even manyt words were added to the Albanian lexicon from turkish! The problem however is with albanians and not you aha, you see we are very nationalistic and very devoted to our Illyrian identity, which we used as rallying points throughout our history to keep our culture alive and not assimilate, so many albanian patriots get offended when they hear turkey left it’s mark even though they did because they feel it is an attack on albanian identity ( they also believe albanians are a pure untouched race with no outside mixing, even though this is foolish as every ethnicity in the world has been intermixed) So that is why aha, the only thing that would have set off our nationailist brothers more would have been if you said Greece and Serbia left their mark on our great country! 😉

        • Thanks Bardhyll! I understand Albanians are often nationalistic and prefer to hear about their Illyrian history but it doesn’t make sense to me to ignore the rest! 🙂 But for my non-Albanian readers I think they like to hear about all influences from my perspective. But I could be wrong. 😉

  22. White City Hotel says:

    Thank you for your contribution, greetings from Berat

  23. There is no friendlier place for Americans like Albania.

  24. Hello Andrea and thank you for this beautiful, beautiful post. I haven’t been home in a while now and things have been moving fast, so this post made me homesick and feel-y so quick. Real nice eye you’ve got for shooting.
    Fellow albanians, stop giving the lady such a hard time and enjoy her work some more.
    I’m glad you enjoyed your stay 🙂
    xo

  25. You had me at the first photo. 🙂

  26. What spectacular scenery! I’m certainly tempted to visit now 🙂

  27. Love these photos! Stunning

  28. Love the pics and thanks for the guide. I’m hoping to spend a few months in Albania this spring and this makes me want to go even more! Happy travels!

    Mandy

  29. Hi Andrea,
    Can you please share your article with the Travelettes.net ???
    The Travelettes are a group of female travelers, writers and photographers sharing their travel stories online. I noticed that they don’t have a story yet on Albania. It would be nice if you share yours.
    Your photos are just amazing.

    • Thanks Monda! I’m surprised to hear they don’t have anything on Albania! I don’t work for them but I’m sure they’ll find a writer to publish something in the future.

  30. Jamella says:

    Andrea,
    What was the plane trip cost, and where are you from originally? How do you think Albanian people respond when they see African American people? I’m thinking of visiting a friend and want to know what it’d be like. Thank you.

    • I drove my own car in Albania so I don’t know much about flights but you could check Skyscanner for prices. I’m originally from Australia. I imagine African Americans would get a few curious stares, at least in the more remote areas, but generally people are friendly and they particularly love American tourists.