Soaring alpine peaks, centuries-old castles, dramatic canyons and shimmering, sun-soaked bays are among the wonders of Albania.
Albania is blissfully off the well-trodden European tourist circuit, and a great option for backpackers thanks to its relatively budget-friendly tours, public transportation and accommodation options. With its Soviet-era architecture, large parks and bustling streets, the city of Tirana is usually the first stop for most people who travel to Albania.
One of the prettiest cities is Shkoder, about two hours north of Tirana en route to the Albanian Alps which boasts a fortified castle overlooking the city (and neighbouring Montenegro) and impressive mosque.
Known as the ‘City of a Thousand Windows’, Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a towering castle, pretty patchwork of window frames and a perch along the banks of the Osum River. One of the best day trips from Berat is the wild, wet adventure through the Osumi Canyon (also known as Osum Canyon) which is a 90 minute drive from the city.
Continue to Gjirokastër, the ‘Stone City’ which is also a UNESCO site beloved for its outdoor bazaar and Ottoman-era homes. With idyllic bays and a rugged coastline, lounging on the sun-soaked beaches of the Albanian Riviera is the perfect way to cap off an Albania trip.