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Awesome Things To Do in Albania: Places To Visit & Top Experiences

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Updated: 4th April 2017

If there was one destination that surprised me the most last year, it was Albania. From the stunning boat cruises through Lake Komani right down to the crystal clear blue waters of the south, it certainly has a lot more to offer than most would think.

I’ve pulled together 25 of my favourite photos of this incredible country, which, if Albania isn’t on your list, are sure to change your mind. From bartering with cigarettes for directions to hidden waterfalls, sleeping in castles and getting a car stuck 2 minutes after picking up hitchhikers, the stories from this east-meets-west land are just as good as the images.

Albania Photos Komani
The road to Lake Komani

Shkodër, North Albania

These are the views you will be spoilt with just from the roads in the rugged north of Albania. On route from Shkodër and the beautiful Lake Skadar after a Montenegro road trip, you don’t even need to leave the driving seat for these vistas. However, when some goats on the road stop you from driving, it’s a pretty awesome excuse to jump out.

The nearest big city in the north is Shkodër and likely your starting point if you have crossed the border from Montenegro. There is not a whole heap here, but it’s a good escape into Albanian city life. It has a cute street of colourful houses, restaurants, and shops to grab a beer or a bite to eat.

Skadar Lake sits next to Shkoder and is a great spot to relax. Grab a Kayak or just chill on the outskirts and enjoy the wildlife. The Lake actually spans the border of Montenegro and Albania, and if I am honest, the more impressive parts are on its neighbour’s side.

In the Albanian Alps, you’ll find some epic mountains, crystal clear waters and plenty of trekking and hiking opportunities – sadly, I didn’t stay long enough to explore this region fully, but it is certainly on the list for my next trip back.

Sun lights up Lake Komani

Lake Komani

Taking a boat tour through Lake Komani provides a million excuses to capture some Albania photos, though don’t do a Dan and crash/kill your drone into a mountain here. These eco-tours offer you the chance to sleep in a house on the lake, there is no electricity but the home made honey and Rakia, a kick-ass local liquor, will make sleeping in the dark, with just lapping water and clear star filled skies the best reason to have a digital detox.

There are a couple of different ways to see Lake Komani. Even the drive there is breathtaking, but we jumped on a boat with Komani lake tours, and I’m so glad we did. Taking a good four hours to explore the lake, the guest house and the caves was a much better experience than the ferry ride many people take to cross the lake.

Komani Tours also offers transport options from nearby towns, so if you don’t have a car, you can still make it happen without trying to suss out impossible public transport, which is pretty handy. They also have a huge focus on Eco Tourism and keeping the lake clean with various litter collections and projects throughout the year – find out about the different Komani tours they offer.

In the middle of Lake Komani sits the most picturesque and relaxing guest house I have yet to stumble upon. Although I wasn’t stopping the night, we swung by to enjoy some homemade cheese, honey and pancakes as well as the typical Albanian liquor, Rakia, which they were brewing fresh in front of us.

With no other habitation in sight, vines hanging on the patio outside and the perfect hammock views I decided instantly next time I wanted a writing retreat and to switch off (electric is not available here) Lake Komani would be my first point of call.

The alternative to taking a tour is the Komani lake public ferry, which takes both people and cars across the Lake to Fierza, a popular starting point for the hikes through the more rugged north of the country and the Albanian Alps. There are also a few campsites, homestays and a guesthouse at Lake Komani itself, which means you can crash the night instead of taking the kinda dodgy drive back in the dark.

The rolling green hills of Albania

I can’t even remember where I took this shot, one of many moments I screamed at Lili in the driver seat to slam on the breaks. The landscapes in Albania are so varied, and the countryside of this country is often overlooked for the beaches but drive inland, and you’ll find a more local way of life, with all its unique and awesome Balkan oddities.

The city of Berat

The UNESCO city of Berat, dubbed as the city of a thousand windows, was perhaps my favourite place in the whole country. Here, you can sleep inside a castle, explore Ottoman and Byzantine ruins and have an ‘I don’t have a clue what you are saying’ debate with a policeman over traffic regulations.

Be sure to check into Guesthouse Kris in the castle itself, hunt down the lady selling some damn tasty plums and try all the local delicacies, whatever the hell they were I’m still not sure, whilst taking in the impressive nighttime views of the old city.

Berat Albania
The city of a thousand windows, Berat


If you do, you’ll miss out on mini adventures to find the waterfalls of Bogove or take in Gjirokastra, a true rival to Berat for the cutest city in Albania. UNESCO listed, it’s sitting damn pretty in the Drina Valley, and the scenic drive just to get here is worth making the side trip for.

Gjirokaster Albania
Gijirokastra sitting pretty in the valley

The Ottoman houses here, stacked up against the side of the mountain with their whitewashed walls and slate roofs make for a killer Albania photo moment on Instagram but stick around for a while and wander the small streets hunting out the best Cevapi (small sausage dish) in town.

Gijirokastra castle, with its stunning views over the valley, cannons in cobbled hallways and plane wrecks, is a great vantage point and was surprisingly free of tourists, even in August. Get a beer in a bar, watch the sunset, and feel like you are a million miles away from the modern world whilst snapping another for the Albania photos album your mates will all be jealous of!

The remains of a plane on the hills

The Albanian Blue Eye

Seriously beautiful, but a bitch to photograph. I sent Jones into the freezing water with my GoPro/Dome camera and he got some incredible videos of this bubbling, unique natural spot then managed to corrupt the files (I think I’ve forgiven him now).

Blue Eye Albania
The popular Blue Eye of Albania

This water spring in the Vlore region brings in a lot of tourists who want the famous Albania photo opportunity, or if you are Lili, to fall down a mud hill and nearly drown in with your camera… But trips and springs aside, the park where the Blue Eye sits has some of the clearest waters and relaxing vibes of anywhere I have been in Europe.

The Albanian Riviera

“Where in Asia is that?” is by far the most common question I get from people when they see my Albania photos of the riviera. These stunning beaches with their crystal blue waters are what draws some serious crowds during the summer months, but it’s still possible to hunt out your own hidden gem in the Ksamil region.

Stunning coastal views

The Albania coastline isn’t just beaches

Whilst the Albanian Riviera is a serious sun-tanning hotspot and a contender for the best beach holiday destination in Europe, the coastline is littered with historic architecture. This unique country, with its diverse and welcoming culture, has been in many hands over the years, so there is a mishmash of styles here to keep any history buff entertained.

Albania photos
Adventure activities in Albania

Albania photos from above

If I had the balls, I would have been first in line for this to take some aerial shots of the stunning coastline as my drone died a sad death earlier in the trip. If you aren’t the kind of person who can take a good book and kill days on the beach, from skydiving to kayaking, you have plenty of choice in Albania.

Ksamil nearby islands

Ksamil and the Islands

A quick boat ride from the mainland, and you will find yourself on some beautiful but crowded islands. With waters like that, you can see why both locals and tourists alike can kill their sunny days in these waters. Legit, that water is paradise.

Albania Roads
Cliffside driving down the Albanian coastline

The insane mountain roads running along the coastline are well worthy of a mention too. If you have a fear of heights and do not have much faith left in Albanian roads or driving skills, then yeah – you’ll likely be as shit scared as I was but well worth it for those Albania photo opportunities!

And then grab another beach beer…

Whilst there are plenty more hidden gems in Albania, I’m saving a few for my road trip guide. Plus, who doesn’t want more beach shots? If you really want to avoid the crowds then take dirt tracks to small beaches or pay to hit up one of the small enclaves with a beach bar on, I kid you not that water actually looks this blue in most Albania photos!

The Albanian Coastline
Private beach clubs and crystal blues

Albania is seriously underrated, and I’m amazed so few of my friends have been there, but the news is spreading. If you want epic landscapes, great value, stunning beaches, history, awesome banter with the locals, and to spend most of your trip eating small sausages, get Albania on your agenda!

Rocky beaches in the south

Getting To Albania

You have a few options when it comes to arriving into Albania, I came in from Montenegro and then left from the south which is a great way to do the top to bottom and get all those Albania photo opportunities!

Fly into Tirana – The capital of Albania is well connected, but this will mean doing some backtracking if you want to see the whole country.

Fly into Corfu – Yep, Greece. Then, take a ferry over to Ksamil and start your adventure in the south.

Fly into Podgorica – Kick off your trip in Montenegro, see some of the amazing sights there, and then hop the border, picking up a car in Shkoder.

Getting Around Albania

Get a car. Whilst there are day trips, and buses are an option, there have been some seriously worrying and fatal reports of buses in Albania. While the situation is improving, I will stick by my original statement. Road-tripping the Balkans was amazing, and to see so many places that are lesser discovered, I highly recommend it. There was also a surprising amount of Hitchhikers here, so *blah blah warning on the dangers of it* that could be an option. Still, there are plenty of other options for getting around Albania if you’d prefer to use public transport.

Where To Stay in Albania

I stayed in plenty of small local guesthouses and Air BnB which seems a good call I’d highly recommend having a night in Guesthouse Kris in Berat so you can sleep in the castle and also stay in the lodge on Lake Komani (even if it’s just for the homemade goodies!).

Albania Sunset Photos
Driving through the green landscapes of Albania
25 replies
  1. Mim Obaidullah says:

    Your photos are incredible! I visited Albania a few years ago, but I only had the chance to explore Tirana and the northern region. Your images have inspired me to consider revisiting and exploring the rest of the country soon.

  2. Boattrips says:

    Wow, these photos of Albania are absolutely stunning! It’s so refreshing to see a beautiful and underrated destination like Albania showcased in such a breathtaking way. The country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture truly shine through in these postcards

  3. Meghan Anderson says:

    Awesome read! Im definitely going to visit some Balkans countries, but you make it hard to narrow down which ones to visit! Did you do these road trips solo? Im a solo female traveler and wonder the ease and safety of roadtripping solo..?
    Great post!

    • Daniel James (Dan Flying Solo) says:

      Hey Meghan,

      I didn’t do these road trips solo, I was with friends. For the most part I would say that solo driving wouldn’t be a problem but with some language barriers and remote places if you did have a car issue it could become one :)

  4. Olti Buzi says:

    Berat in Albanian “Qyteti i një mbi një dritarevë” which translates in “The City of a one Window over another” and not as wrongly done by all the travellers

    • Gerti says:

      I confirm Olti’s correction about Berat. There’s no reason why Berat should have been called as “the city of a thousand windows”. It certainly has more windows than that, as do all other cities. The name comes from the fact that the houses in the old part of the town are built close to each other on the face of a hill, and look like one on top of another. The miss translation is due to the similarity of both expressions in Albanian:
      qyteti i nje mbi nje dritareve – the city of one over one windows.
      qyteti i nje mije e nje dritareve – the city of one thousand and one windows.

  5. Michelle says:

    I’ve just found your blog, love the photos – I’ve visited many of these places and Albania really is one big hidden gem. I’m now following your blog and on social – look forward to reading about your next adventure.

  6. Eline says:

    Amazing pictures Dan! Will be going on a road trip soon and your photos of Albania convinced me this country is a must-visit!

  7. Tom says:

    Amazing photos! I went to Albania a few years ago but only saw Tirana and the north, I think I’m going to have to go back soon and see the rest of the country…

  8. Dave says:

    I love the waterfall picture with that random old guy who wouldnt leave that spot, lol. Cmon dude. Get out of our shots.

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