More and more often, when planning vacation trips, we are looking for attractions, but outside the so-called main tourist destinations. Albania, one of the least known countries in the Balkans, fits perfectly into this trend – holidays in this picturesque region are still a rarity when it comes to choosing European tourists.

Meanwhile, it is undoubtedly a place worthy of attention, and extraordinary, with a unique atmosphere, fascinating culture, and monuments. Albania is also a country that is different from the places we usually visit during our vacation trips. At the same time, it is a real tourist gem, thanks to the magnificent views, landscapes, fauna, flora, climate, and the famous hospitality and history that we encounter at almost every step.

Some interesting facts about Albania

  • It is located on the Balkan Peninsula. It borders Montenegro to the north, Kosovo, and Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south. It is washed by two seas – the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. The total length of the coastline is 430 km.
  • Albania is a sunny country, with about 300 days of sunshine a year. 
  • In Albanian, the name of the country is Shqipëri.
  • The population is 3 million people. There are more Albanians living outside Albania than in the country itself. The largest diasporas are in Greece, Turkey, Canada, and the United States.
  • Albania has the best “quality of life index for the elderly” compared to Bulgaria, Montenegro, Serbia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Russia.
  • Since the end of World War II, Albania has not been involved in any armed conflict.
  • The Albanian president and later King Ahmet Zogu (1895-1961) was assassinated in over 50 attempts on his life. In 1932, when attacked near the Vienna opera, he shot back the bandits, the only time when a European leader personally defended himself.
  • Under Enver Hoxha, over 700,000 bunkers (one for each family) were built all over the country in case Albania was attacked. No one was planning to attack, of course.
  • Albania is one of six countries in the world where GMOs are banned. Many tourists are fascinated by the local food markets.
  • Mother Teresa was born in Albania. The airport in Tirana is named after her. 
  • Albania has never won an Olympic medal.
  • Tirana has the largest shopping and entertainment center in the Balkans, TEG.

Visa to Albania

You do not need a visa to travel to Albania.

At least, almost all passport holders from South America, and Mexico, as well as citizens of European countries belonging to the Schengen zone, do not need a visa to travel to Albania.

Citizens of Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Bolivia, as well as most Central American countries, must obtain a visa to travel to Albania.

People can stay in Albania as tourists for 90 days. But if they want to stay longer, they can leave the country before that period expires, for example, they can go to Montenegro or Macedonia or Greece or Italy for a couple of days and enter Albania again, and they will automatically have another 90 days.

A requirement for entry into Albania is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months before it expires.

Fact. The Albanians are pro-American. U.S. flags can be seen everywhere, especially in hotels and some restaurants. U.S. citizens are allowed to stay in the country as tourists for one year. Read more tips for travelers to Albania here.

How to get to Albania: options

Albania has 5 airports, but only one of them is international, it located 11 km northwest of Tirana, the most popular flights are:

  • Rome – Tirana, 
  • London – Tirana, 
  • Milan – Tirana, 
  • Bologna – Tirana, 
  • Athens – Tirana, 
  • Bari – Tirana, 
  • Pisa – Tirana, 
  • Turin – Tirana 
  • Istanbul – Tirana.

You can also fly to neighboring Montenegro, rent a car at the airport and travel around Albania by it.

It will be necessary to warn the rental company about your plans to cross the border. At registration of the contract for car rental, you will be given a green card, which allows leaving the car in the neighboring countries. It will be checked when you cross the border of Montenegro and Albania. Read more information about traveling through Albania by car.

How to get around Albania

The best way to visit Albania is by car. It will give you freedom of movement that you would never have otherwise. Of course, don’t forget to bring your international driving license.

Itineraries for exploring Albania by car:

Of course, you can also move around the country by public transportation, and in fact, many people do it without any problems. Of course, it will be much cheaper, but you will lose the ability to stop on the road as you see fit, and you will be dependent on schedules, punctuality of transportation, etc. It’s a matter of taste and budget.

When is better go to Albania

Albania is an extremely attractive country at any time of year, but you are most likely interested in the months of good weather – June, July, August, and September are most suitable for traveling around the country. You can have a good time at the beach and travel through the mountains already available after the thaw.

Tip: Avoid August. This is the month when all Albanians enjoy their vacation and, like in Spain, locals flock to enjoy the beaches. 

July is a month of high demand, but mostly because of the increase in international visitors, so you could say it’s the best option.

Beaches of Albania

The beaches in the northern part of Albania and the south differ from each other. In the resort of Golem, you will find a sandy beach with a fairly gentle and long entrance to the sea – about 30 meters. If the waves rise, the sand makes the water cloudy. Near Vlore, you can find both sandy and pebbly beaches. And in the south, near the town of Sarande, on the shores of the Ionian Sea, you will find pebbly beaches with absolutely clear water. But everywhere the most beautiful places for recreation are outside the city.

Almost all beaches in Albania are free, renting sunbeds and umbrellas will cost about 300 lek/day. If you do not need sun beds, you can sunbathe for free on your mattress or towel. When choosing a resort you should also consider the distance from the capital’s airport of Tirana. The closest is Durres, which can be reached in 40 minutes. The road to Sarande can take up to 5 hours along the serpentine mountains. Therefore if you’re going on vacation with children, it would be more comfortable to choose a resort, which can be reached quickly on a flat road, and if you are interested in visiting the south of the country, it is advisable to rent a car. Learn more about beach holidays in Albania…


Albanian Internet is good and mostly 4G. It is possible to use the Vodafone network, we also recommend testing the Internet from ONE (former Telenor).


Albania is a safe country. No one walks around with a Kalashnikov on the street and you don’t have to worry about leaving your hotel. You also don’t have to worry about walking around after dark, especially in tourist towns. However, you should keep in mind common sense and the fact that you are not at home.

About prices in Albania

Albania is considered by many to be the cheapest country to vacation in Europe.  Housing prices start at 10 euros for a room for two, but it will be a dump, ruins, or construction site. But having already paid 25 euros you get breakfast and a good room in the hotel and for 15-20 euros a room in a host-house. At this price range and be guided, for 25-35 euros you can find either a good hotel or a nice apartment.

To eat at a restaurant by the sea – 20-25 euros for three people. At lunch and dinner, you can eat one course – portions are big, usually, they bring water and bread for free, sometimes they can even treat you with a decanter of homemade wine. In simpler places without a view and the sea – twice cheaper. The local fast food is called burek – a bun with meat filling costs less than euros. Learn more about traditional Albanian food…

Olives – 1 euro per 200 grams, olive oil – 4-5 euros per half liter, pomegranates – 1 to 1.5 euros per kilo, other fruits – less than one euro.  In tourist places it is more expensive, but not by much. Cigarettes cost one and a half euros. A large package of food in the supermarket will cost you 15 Euros, this cheese, prosciutto cookies, vegetables, and fruits – are good quality products, the Albanians have no money for the “chemicals” so far, so all local products can be considered organic, and GMO is officially banned.

In general, everything is about 1.7 times cheaper than in Montenegro and 2.5 times cheaper than in Croatia.

Gasoline – 1.20 euros (170 leks), there are many gas stations on the coast.

Money in Albania. The best way to pay

The Albanian currency is Lek (Albanian: lek, pl. lekë). One euro can be exchanged for about 120 Albanian Lek (2022). Despite the passage of time, cash is still mostly used in Albania. Fortunately, there are more and more ATMs where you can withdraw it year after year. There are also many exchangers, and most of them don’t overcharge. When it comes to card payments, it’s a lottery. 

Tip: It is better to have a stock of cash, it is still the main means of payment in Albania. And it is better to use local currency than Euros.

Even if a gas station or restaurant has a stamp Visa/MasterCard, it is better to immediately ask whether cashless payments are made, in 50% of cases – no. 

Is it worth going on holiday to Albania?

Albania is worth a trip before it becomes like other European resorts with a huge number of tourists. There are organic fruits and vegetables without GMOs, magnificent mountains, beautiful sea, and nature in general.  

Albania is a country in which the terrible is half a step away from the beautiful. Next to a beautiful beach or a cliff, there might be trash, abandonment, or construction sites. Many strange buildings painted with monstrous graffiti, band bunkers everywhere that were built to save you from nuclear war. The beautiful pedestrian zone with summer cafes in Shkoder borders the barracks of a gypsy tabor on the shore of a mountain lake. In historic towns there are often construction sites and restorations – and this is completely normal and understandable.

Conclusion – to go exclusively and only on a beach vacation in Albania is wrong. Because the country is designed to combine the sea vacation with active travel by car or excursions, check out the most interesting attractions in the country here. The number of unbeaten and truly interesting places is off the charts. In addition to the beach locations such as Ksamil, Saranda, or Durres, there is the Logara Pass, Gjirokastra, Lake Koman, and the city of Kruje. In the north of Albania are Vermosh, Kelmendi, Tamare, Boge, Valbona, and Theth.

It’s a very, very fascinating country. Especially if you don’t expect more from Albania than it has to offer.