In hardly any other European country is the contrast between town and country as pronounced as in Albania, a country starting with A listed on Countryaah. Just an hour and a half flight away, the traveler in rural Albania is offered a historical-romantic scene: women sell dark red cherries from huge baskets on the roadside, while farmers leisurely till their fields with the ox cart. The lively capital Tirana offers a contrast program. Here skyscrapers are lined up against colorful house facades. In addition to the well-known landmarks of the bell tower and equestrian monument, architectural sights such as the magnificent Et’hem Bey Mosque are impressive.
Travel through Albania: the perfect mix of orient and occident holidays
After you have fortified yourself with real Turkish coffee in one of the countless coffee shops in Tirana, you can start the almost two-hour drive on the E762 to the historic city of Shkodra on Lake Skadar. When traveling through Albania, the country’s fifth largest city on the border with Montenegro is at the top of the list of most desirable destinations. The largest historical mosque in Albania, the lead mosque with its eponymous lead domes, awaits you here. The colorful market, where you can buy everything from fruit and vegetables to hookahs, offers an even more oriental feeling. A little further on on a hill between the rivers Buna and Drin, the Rozafa castle ruins of pre-Roman origin rise majestically and extremely photogenic. from which you can enjoy a fantastic view over the country and the Buna Bridge. With all this idyll it is hard to believe that this city was a center of the uprising against the communist dictatorship in 1990. The Ottoman bridge Ura e Mesit from the 18th century can also be visited just a few kilometers to the northeast.
The country is diverse and the people there have preserved many of the old traditions, which makes round trips through Albania an attractive proposition. During your hikes through impressive mountain landscapes, you can rest in dreamy villages, swim on the wonderful unspoilt beaches of picturesque fishing villages and also visit cities of great art history and ancient archaeological sites.
10 reasons for your vacation in Albania
- The Albanian Riviera enchants with its dreamlike sand or gravel bays. The pristine beaches have a lot to offer and invite you to spend relaxing days by the sea.
- Albania is an as yet undiscovered pearl of the Balkans and is very good value for money for tourists.
- The Grand Canyon of Albania, the Osum Gorge will impress you. Whether waterfalls, caves or narrow suspension bridges, the canyon has a lot to offer.
- The Albanian Alps in the north of the country offer spectacular paths, breathtaking nature and wonderful panoramas – perfect for wonderful hikes.
- The “blue eye” is a fascinating natural spectacle. Due to the sunlight, the source shimmers in various shades of blue and turquoise.
- The country’s bakeries know their trade. Be sure to try Albanian bread – a real treat.
- In Butrint you can get to the bottom of the traces of Albanian history and marvel at the ancient ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Berat, the “city of 1000 windows”, enchants with its charm and historical cityscape.
- Tirana is one of the liveliest capitals in the Balkans. Try local delicacies in the restaurants, such as Fasul, the traditional bean soup or Bakllava.
- Albania’s coffee culture invites you to linger in one of the cozy cafés.
With its partly untouched nature, abandoned cities and UNESCO World Heritage listed cultural highlights, the smallest country in the Balkans, Albania , is always worth a visit. The capital Tirana fascinates with an exciting mix of architectures: stroll across Skanderbeg Square with the statue of the national hero and the remarkable clock tower, past the minaret of the Et’hem Bej mosque or take a trip to the nearby mountain region of Dajti . Here you can recharge your batteries on walks through fields overgrown with macchia or on tours to the summit with fresh air.
After Tirana was named the capital of Albania in 1920, the country’s metropolis developed from a small town with a few thousand inhabitants. During the tour you keep coming back to the 38,000 m² Skanderbeg Square, as streets from all directions come together here. Today, large parts of the area are pedestrian zones. Since an extensive redesign in 2017, 100 fountains line the square. With the Et’hem Bey Mosque, one of the sights is right there. Right next to it, the 35 m high clock tower rises into the air, which can be climbed via 90 steps. Also nearby is an example of contemporary architecture. The TID Tower, which opened in 2012, is striking with its facade: From bottom to top, it changes from a rectangular to an oval shape.
Anyone interested in the turbulent history of Albania should pay a visit to the National Historical Museum. It was opened in 1981 and has been a cultural monument since 2007. You will discover the first of the more than 4,700 works of art above the entrance portal: it is adorned with an 11 m high and 40 m wide mosaic that shows 13 defining figures from the country’s history. Illyrian fighters, the mother of Albania in folk costume and the Albanian writer Nam Frashëri are among them.
Anyone interested in going to the theater can book a ticket in the opera and ballet theater. It is located in the Kulturpalast on Skanderbeg Square, which is visible from afar with its 18 columns. The building also houses the National Library of Albania with more than 1 million works.
Only 15.5 km from the center of Tirana, the Dajti National Park attracts with a fantastic view: When the visibility is good, you can see the sea in the distance. The Dajti Express cable car takes you comfortably close to the summit. During the journey you will first float over maquis, heather fields and wild strawberry bushes. The oak forest begins at an altitude of around 1,000 m and is replaced by beech trees that are more than 200 years old near the summit. For nature fans, the 45-minute drive to the Pellumbas Cave in the Berzhita community is also worthwhile. A well-developed hiking trail runs from the town center to the natural jewel at 350 m. Anyone entering the cave, where bears lived 400,000 years ago, will discover colorful stalactites. The Great Park of Tirana south of the center offers the opportunity to get some fresh air.