It’s not always the first country on everyone’s travel bucket list but Albania’s beauty spots are becoming more and more on people’s radar. Located on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, is a small but mysterious country filled with many areas of unspoilt wilderness and some truly stunning coastline both on the Adriatic and Ionian coasts.
Its lively capital and rich and interesting history are also another big draw. From castles and pretty towns to stunning beaches, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Albania…
1. Pasqyra Beach – a gorgeous and popular place known as the beach of the mirrors
Located just outside the peaceful village of Ksamil, Mirror Beach casts a spellbinding aura, and unveils a haven of tranquillity amidst a backdrop of picturesque landscapes.
The beach’s name derives from its pristine waters, which reflect the celestial hues of the sky. It is enclosed within dramatic rock formations and verdant greenery, and is sprinkled with sun loungers where you can recline and soak up the balmy climate.
Many of the neighbouring islands can be visited via an enchanting boat excursion, and plenty of seaside tavernas await afterwards with a relaxed vibe and an abundance of flavours and aromas.
2. Valbona Valley – a stunning natural beauty spot with gorgeous waterfalls, towering mountains and thick forests
Set within the rugged splendour of the Albanian Alps, Valbona Valley is a resplendent tapestry of untouched natural beauty.
Here, emerald-green meadows and soaring peaks create a picturesque backdrop, while the crystalline waters of the Valbona River glisten under the gentle caress of the sun.
Intrepid souls can embark on awe-inspiring hikes, traversing untamed trails that reveal hidden waterfalls and vistas of unparalleled grandeur.
Amidst this captivating scenery, you can also immerse yourself in the genuine warmth of the local community, savouring the richness of traditional Albanian cuisine and finding solace in the cosy alpine guesthouses.
3. Butrint National Park – a stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous places in the country
Set in the southernmost region of Albania, Butrint National Park beckons with its timeless allure and captivating beauty. It’s a harmonious blend of archaeological wonders and pristine wilderness.
You can embark on a voyage through ages as you wander amidst the ancient ruins of the Butrint UNESCO World Heritage Site, where remnants of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations whisper their tales.
You can also take scenic boat rides, immerse yourself in captivating birdwatching expeditions, or let the diverse ecosystems of the park, from lush forests to vibrant wetlands, enchant your senses with their rich array of flora and fauna.
4. Gjipe Beach – a beautiful hidden gem
Nestled gracefully along the scenic Albanian Riviera, Gjipe Beach is a holidaymakers paradise, tucked away in a pristine cove where azure waters meet towering cliffs.
Situated near the village of Iljas, this golden sand beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs, creating a jaw-dropping natural spectacle.
Adventurous spirits find solace in the enchanting surroundings, embarking on exhilarating hikes through verdant landscapes to reach this coastal sanctuary or take a kayak or a paddleboard through the dazzling Gjipe Canyon.
As twilight descends, the sky is painted with hues of fiery orange and soft pink, casting a mesmerizing aura over the beach.
5. Ksamil Beaches – great food and fine sands and turquoise waters
Ksamil Beaches are located along the mesmerizing Ionian coast of Albania, and beckon as a true paradise for sunseekers and nature enthusiasts alike.
Situated in close proximity to the captivating town of Saranda, this coastal gem enchants with its translucent turquoise waters and powdery white sands, reminiscent of a tropical utopia.
Visitors can partake in a multitude of activities, from diving into the depths of the sea to witness a kaleidoscope of marine life, to taking a memorable boat journey to the neighbouring islands.
For those yearning for a spot of serenity, there are many secluded coves which are ideal for sunbathing.
6. Dhermi Beach – known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Albania
Nestled along the breathtaking Albanian Riviera, Dhermi Beach lies gracefully between rugged cliffs and the azure expanse of the Ionian Sea, offering an unrivalled glimpse into an idyllic paradise.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the ethereal beauty of the endless white sands that stretch as far as the eye can see, while the crystal-clear waters unveil a vibrant underwater tapestry of marine life. Just beyond, an ancient village brims with historical treasures, beckoning the curious explorer.
For the adventurous souls, the captivating trails of Llogara National Park present an exhilarating invitation to embark on a scenic day hike, revealing jaw-dropping vistas at every turn.
7. Filikuri Beach – a small, clean beach sheltered by a rocky bay
Filikuri Beach is a secluded haven in Himara, and an eloquent fusion of tranquillity and majesty. It is surrounded by steep, soaring cliffs which make it a one-of-a-kind beach hide-out.
The beach’s unblemished expanse of golden sands harmoniously melds with the azure waters, offering a scenic setting for barefoot strolls or sun-drenched relaxation.
Through immersive activities like snorkelling and diving, visitors can delve into the depths of the underwater realm and capture a glimpse of the colourful marine life.
The surrounding coastal trails offer a great opportunity to soak up the panoramic ocean vistas, which are dotted with charming tavernas serving up delectable gastronomic delights.
8. Jali Beach – a place known for its intensely blue and beautiful sea waters
Nestled in a secluded alcove near Himara, the crescent-shaped Jali Beach gracefully embraces the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, and weaves together a tapestry of indulgence and tranquillity.
Bound by majestic cliffs and graced by verdant hills adorned with olive groves that cascade in gentle harmony, this sublime natural oasis offers a captivating panorama that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of those who visit.
Within this idyllic expanse, the beach’s glistening golden sands beckon as an irresistible sanctuary for sun-drenched reverie, while an abundance of charming beachside cafes tempts one’s palate with culinary masterpieces, all amid the symphony of undulating waves.
9. Llogara National Park – one of the most beautiful national parks in Albania
Llogara National Park offers discerning adventurers a chance to explore the harmonious interplay of untamed beauty and raw grandeur.
Set within the Ceraunian Mountains in Southwestern Albania, this beautiful stretch of wilderness enchants with its rugged alpine meadows, verdant forests, and panoramic vistas that stretch beyond the horizon.
A delicate balance of rare flora and fauna thrives undisturbed here, and can be admired as you meander through the trails and towards the viewpoints.
For the daring at heart, paragliding from the park’s lofty peaks promises an exhilarating, unforgettable experience, and is a fantastic way to truly revel in the stunning landscapes.
10. Karaburun Sazan Marine Park – a stunning must-see in Albania
Situated in the Vlorë County of Southwestern Albania, this marine sanctuary boasts an enthralling fusion of crystal-clear waters, untouched beaches, and jaw-dropping landscapes.
With its deep cobalt coastline, sunken shipwrecks, and thriving marine life, the park attracts both sunseekers and history buffs alike.
Its main beauty however lies within its unspoiled marine biodiversity, where vibrant coral reefs and elusive aquatic species flourish undisturbed.
Perfect for discerning souls who seek solace in nature’s embrace, around Karaburun Sazan Marine Park you’ll have many chances to embark on a serene boat excursion, tracing the coastlines to discover hidden coves and secluded beaches.
11. Dajti – a stunning mountain, national park which is a popular place with visitors
Dajti, a captivating mountain and national park nestled within the Skanderberg range, offers an exquisite blend of adventure and tranquillity.
Its majestic presence on the outskirts of Albania’s vibrant capital, Tirana, is a sight that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit. T
he resplendent beauty of the mountains is further enhanced by the verdant slopes adorned with dense forests and meandering streams, creating a breathtaking contrast against the urban landscape below.
At the pinnacle of this extraordinary experience lies the exhilarating Dajti Express, a thrilling 15-minute cable car ride that effortlessly transports you to the summit, granting you access to unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
12. Castle of Kruja – one of Albania’s main and best-loved attractions
Perched majestically in the north-central Albanian city of Krujë, the Castle of Kruja is an emblem of resilience and historical significance.
This iconic fortress witnessed the legendary rule of Skanderbeg, the valiant Albanian feudal lord, during his remarkable rebellion against the Ottoman Empire in 1443.
Its breathtaking location atop a rugged hill offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscapes, where history and natural beauty converge. You can explore the castle’s well-preserved walls, towers, and courtyards, immersing yourself in the echoes of the past.
Afterwards, you can delve into the rich tapestry of Kruja’s heritage at the Skanderbeg Museum housed within the castle’s walls, and browse through the vibrant bazaar, where traditional crafts and souvenirs await.
13. Gjirokaster – a pretty town which has world-heritage site status
History and beauty intertwine to create an unforgettable experience in this enchanting city. It rests within a picturesque valley, cradled between the majestic Gjerë mountains and the tranquil Drino River, and stands proudly at an elevation of 300 meters above the sea.
It is famed mostly as the seat of Gjirokastër County and Municipality, which attracts cultural and history enthusiasts.
The city’s architectural marvels, characterized by Ottoman-era stone houses, stand as enduring testaments to the past.
Visitors can stroll through the charming cobblestone streets of the Old Bazaar, indulging in local cuisine and exploring traditional craft shops.
14. Buthrotum – a spectacular archaeological site and one of the best places to see in Albania
Perched gracefully along the exquisite shores of Albania’s Ionian coastline, this enchanting archaeological site, once an ancient Greek polis and a thriving Roman city, whispers tales of history and echoes the splendour of its past.
Located in the heart of Epirus, Buthrotum was once home to the Chaonians and evolved into a Roman Colonia, adorned with temples, forums, and theatres.
Its beauty lies within the harmonious fusion of natural landscapes and ancient ruins, offering a one-of-a-kind experience.
During a day out at Buthrotum, you can wander along its timeworn streets, explore its well-preserved mosaics, and pay a visit to the awe-inspiring amphitheatre.
15. The Blue Eye – a natural water spring and a popular beauty spot
Originating from the Bistricë River, whose course extends for 25 kilometres, the Blue Eye marks the inception of a magnificent aquatic journey that culminates in the embrace of the Ionian Sea.
This mesmerising water spring, nestled in the picturesque Vlorë County of Albania, enchants with its ethereal light turquoise hues, captivating the senses with an otherworldly display.
As you approach the Blue Eye, prepare to be mesmerized by the transparent depths of the 50-meter pool, where bubbles of azure dance gracefully.
The main activity here is hiking, with trails cutting through the verdant forests affording jaw-dropping views of the water.
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Gary Nunn – Videographer, photographer and writer
Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fueled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organizations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specializing in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, travel, starting up new businesses, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find Gary on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or his Website.