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The perfect Albania travel itinerary with all the highlights and must-see destinations.

As a lesser-known destination in Europe, Albania is a perfect place to visit for people who want to stray off the beaten path. With pristine beaches, impressive landscapes, amazing culture, and cheap prices, Albania has to be on your travel bucket list! Keep reading to find the best travel itinerary for Albania.

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albania travel itinerary

About Albania

Albania, located in Southeastern Europe, is a lesser-known but fascinating travel destination. It offers a mix of beautiful landscapes, rich history, and welcoming culture. The country features stunning coastlines along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, impressive mountains, and charming villages.

Traveling in Albania is affordable, making it a great choice for budget travelers. With its friendly people, unspoiled nature, and rich history, Albania is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

The currency in Albania is the Albanian Lek (ALL):

1 ALL = €0,01 Euro

€1,- = 100 ALL

The official language is Albanian and in the cities, most people speak English too.

Albania is a safe country to visit and I’ll tell you more about the safety in Albania later in this post.

things to do in albania

How to get around in Albania

When visiting Albania, I highly recommend renting a car, and here’s why:

  • Flexibility: Having your own car gives you the freedom to explore Albania at your own pace.
  • Accessibility: Some of Albania’s most beautiful natural landscapes and historical sites are tucked away in rural areas that may not be easily accessible by public transportation. Renting a car enables you to reach these places with ease.
  • Scenic Drives: Albania boasts stunning coastal roads, mountain passes, and picturesque countryside. Renting a car allows you to enjoy these scenic drives at your leisure, stopping whenever and wherever you please to take in the views or snap some photos.
  • Adventure: Renting a car adds an element of adventure to your trip. Navigating Albania’s roads and discovering hidden gems along the way can be an exciting and rewarding experience.
  • Comfort: Having your own vehicle provides comfort and privacy, allowing you to travel in style and store your belongings securely.
car rental albania

Best car rental service in Albania: RentX

Many people often don’t want to go through the hassle of renting a car. But what if I told you it can be a piece of cake?

Renting a car at RentX in Albania offers convenience, quality, and affordability. With a wide selection of vehicles, including compact cars, SUVs, and vans, RentX ensures you find the perfect ride for your adventure.

RentX also offers:

  • Hassle-free booking: Easy website and app, where you can book your car in under 2 minutes.
  • Flexible rental options: From compact cars to vans, RentX has it all!
  • Convenient pick-up and drop-off locations: Tirana, Shkodër or Sarandë? It doesn’t matter! You can choose the most convenient pick-up and drop-off locations.
  • Friendly customer service: RentX’s great customer service guarantees a smooth journey.
  • Competitive rates: Because RentX works with local dealers, they can offer local, competitive prices. There is also no (or small) deposit required, no credit card blockage, and there are no hidden fees, making the booking process super simple! You only have to pay when picking up the car.
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage: You can choose which insurance policy suits you best and if something were to happen, you’ll be helped quickly! Check out the insurance policies here.

My experience with RentX was incredibly easy. I highly recommend renting a car there!

Find your perfect rental car here!

Still hesitant? The 4-star score on Trustpilot should ease your mind 😉

Albania travel itinerary for 10 days

Now let’s get to the good part! Here you’ll find a complete travel itinerary for Albania, with recommendations of the best places to stay, things to do, and much more!

Note: All the accommodation recommendations have free parking, so no need to worry about parking your rental car (and no parking fees).

Get yourself a well-earned cup of coffee and dive in!

tirana travel guide

10-day travel itinerary for Albania

Day 1: Arrival – Car pick up – Tirana

As Albania is in a corner of Europe, you’ll probably be flying into the airport of Tirana. I highly recommend taking a morning flight if you can, so you’ll have plenty of time to pick up the car, check into your accommodation, and explore a bit of the city.

On the first day, you’ll just stay in Tirana.

Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a dynamic city bursting with cultural diversity. Its streets are filled with bustling markets, colorful buildings, and lively cafes. From its rich history to its modern urban flair, Tirana offers a captivating glimpse into Albanian life and culture.

Don’t miss these awesome things to do in Tirana:

  • Admire the Skanderberg Square and climb the clock tower
  • Visit the Et’hem Bej Mosque
  • Check out the National History Museum
  • Drop by the Pyramid of Tirana
  • Eat your way through Tirana’s New Bazaar
  • Have a drink at Panorama Bar
things to do in tirana

Tirana is a great city to visit, but remember that in the next few days, you’ll see so many more beautiful places. So make everything out of your time in Tirana, but don’t linger too long 😉

Where to stay in Tirana

You should only book accommodation for 1 night, inside the city center.

Best hotel: Tirana Central Rooms

Why stay here: Luxurious rooms – exceptional cleanliness – free parking – great location – free wifi

Best apartment: Frequency 286 Tiranë

Why stay here: Cozy complete apartment – air conditioning – free parking – amazing location – great price – free wifi

Day 2: Tirana – Berat

On the second day, you should get some breakfast in the city, check out, and get on the road!

It’s time to drive to Berat; a beautiful gem, only about 2 hours from Tirana by car.

things to do in berat

Nestled in the heart of Albania, Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “City of a Thousand Windows” for its distinctive Ottoman architecture. Perched on a hillside overlooking the Osum River, Berat’s ancient stone houses and castle evoke a sense of timeless charm.

There are many activities in Berat, like:

  • Explore Berat Castle
  • Visit one of Berat’s Byzantine churches, like St Mary of Blachernae, Church of St Nicholas, or Church of Saint Constantine and Helen.
  • Admire the relics at the National Iconographic Museum
  • Explore the historic Mangalem Quarter
  • Climb up to the cliffside St Michael’s Church

On day 3 you’ll have the whole day in Berat to explore some more, or take a day trip.

albania travel itinerary

Where to stay in Berat

You should book accommodation in Berat for 2 nights.

Best stay in Berat: Guesthouse Arben Elezi

Why stay here: Comfortable rooms – exceptional breakfast included – good prices – free parking – beautiful terrace with a view – bar – free wifi

Day 3: Berat

On day 3, it’s time to relax a bit in Berat. You could explore more of the town, relax at the accommodation or go beyond Berat. This day is perfect for a day trip!

There are many day trip options, like:

Fill in the day exactly how you want and enjoy!

Day 4: Berat – Gjirokaster

Starting day 4, you should enjoy your breakfast in the sun. After checking out, slowly make your way to Gjirokaster, which is a 2,5-hour drive from Berat.

visit gjirokaster

When arriving in Gjirokaster, first, check into your accommodation and start exploring!

Gjirokaster, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a captivating city in southern Albania known for its well-preserved architecture. Nestled in the Gjirokaster Mountains, this historic gem boasts a stunning skyline dominated by characteristic stone houses with distinctive slate roofs.

Make sure to:

  • Explore the Gjirokaster Castle
  • Admire the view from the Gjirokaster Obelisk
  • Visit the Gjirokaster Museum
  • Get lost in the charming Gjirokaster Bazaar
  • Hike to Ali Pasha’s Bridge
  • Take a look inside Zekate House or Skenduli House

Gjirokaster is one of the most beautiful towns I’ve visited in Albania, make sure to make the most of your time there!

things to do in gjirokaster

Where to stay in Gjirokaster?

You should book only 1 night here, as you’ll move to the next place (on the beach!) the next day.

Best stay in Gjirokaster: Bed and Breakfast Kotoni

Why stay here: Cozy comfortable rooms – restaurant – excellent breakfast included – fair prices – free parking – great location – free wifi – bar

Day 5: Gjirokaster – Blue Eye – Sarande

The next morning, it’s time to pack your stuff again and be on your way, as there’s a special stop today!

From Gjirokaster you’ll hop onto the road to the Blue Eye; one of Albania’s most beautiful natural wonders. The drive will take you around 45 minutes.

The Blue Eye

The Blue Eye is a stunning natural spring located near the village of Muzinë in southern Albania. This mesmerizing spring is named for its incredibly clear blue water, which appears like a giant blue eye amidst the surrounding lush greenery.

The Blue Eye is formed by an underground river that surfaces from a depth of over 50 meters, creating a pool with depths reaching around 10 meters.

There are some relaxing nature activities here, like hiking, swimming or having a picnic, so you should spend a few hours here.

Sarandë

visit albania

After having enjoyed the Blue Eye for a while, it’s time for another small drive, down to the Albanian Riviera. In only 30 minutes you’ll reach Sarandë, where you should check into your accommodation straight away.

You probably won’t have much daylight left to explore the city, so make sure to sit down at one of the tastiest restaurants in town.

I always love roaming a historic city in the dark, which is exactly what you should do! Have a little relaxing evening walk, sit down for a glass of wine, and enjoy! 

albania travel itinerary

Where to stay in Sarandë?

Make sure to book 2 nights in Sarandë.

Best hotel in Sarandë: Illyrian Boutique Hotel

Why stay here: Beautiful rooms – restaurant – free parking – amazing rooftop terrace – free wifi – great breakfast included – located by the beach

Best apartment in Sarandë: Aquamarine Apartments

Why stay here: Complete apartment by the sea – private parking – airconditioning – balcony with sea view – free wifi

Day 6: Sarandë – Ksamil – Butrint National Park

On day 6, make sure to start your morning with some amazing breakfast in town (if not in your hotel), at Sophra Restaurant.

things to do in sarande

You can choose to stay in the town for a bit longer or go to Ksamil, which is also a town very much worth visiting.

In my opinion, Sarandë is not that spectacular, so you should definitely spend the day in Ksamil!

Ksamil (the ‘K’ is silent)

This beautiful town is only 14 kilometers south of Sarandë and has become quite popular with tourists (still not crowded though!), because of its great location by the beach.

ksamil activities

There are some amazing things to do in Ksamil, like:

Although Ksamil isn’t packed with activities, the beaches here are out-of-this-world beautiful, so make sure to check them out!

things to do in ksamil
Butrint National Prak

Day 7: Sarandë – Himarë – Castle Palermo

Waking up in beautiful Sarandë, it’s time to check out again. After a relaxing breakfast in the sun, it’s time to say goodbye to Sarandë and get onto the road to Himarë.

It’s only a bit more than an hour’s drive, with an exciting stop on the way. I recommend shopping for a picnic before starting the drive.

Castle Palermo

This exciting stop is called Castle Palermo.

travel itinerary albania

Castle Palermo, also known as Kalaja e Palermos, is a historical fortress near the coastal town of Himarë. Constructed during the 13th century under Norman rule, the castle served as a strategic military outpost due to its advantageous position overlooking the Ionian Sea.

I highly recommend stopping at this castle on your way to Himarë, for a little picnic. The views of rugged mountains against a crystal clear sea will definitely blow your mind. As one of the most romantic spots in Albania, Castle Palermo is truly a must-see!

Himarë

From the castle, it’s only a small drive to Himarë. Upon arrival, you should have quite some time left to explore the city!

albania travel guide

Make sure to:

  • Get lost in Himarë Castle
  • Wander through Himarë old town
  • Relax on one of the pristine beaches, like Himarë Beach, Gjipe Beach, or Palasa Beach
  • Go on a boat tour
  • Visit the picturesque town of Dhermi (highly recommended!)

Himarë is a town you don’t want to miss out on, so make sure to make the most out of your time there!

visit the balkans

Where to stay in Himarë?

You only have to book 1 night in Himarë, as you’ll move on to the next town on day 8.

Best stay in Himarë: Vila Kosteli

Why stay here: Comfortable rooms – sea view – free parking – exceptional breakfast – free wifi

Day 8: Himarë – Vlorë

On the 8th day, you’ll move again, to the last destination of this itinerary. After enjoying your breakfast in the sun, you can take some more time in Himarë if there’s more you want to see, before hopping onto the road to Vlorë.

The drive will take you about 1,5 hours. When arriving in Vlorë, it’s a good idea to check into your last accommodation right away, before heading into the city.

albania hidden gems

There are many things to do in Vlorë, like:

  • Explore the old town of Vlorë
  • Visit Zvernec Monastery
  • Take a Boat Trip to Sazan Marine National Park
  • Relax on Narta Beach

Take the last few days of your trip to relax and enjoy Albania’s lovely weather.

albanian riviera

Where to stay in Vlorë?

Best hotel in Vlorë: Veranda Boutique Hotel

Why stay here: Comfortable rooms – great breakfast included – free parking – beachfront – free wifi

Best apartments in Vlorë: Arial Penthouse Suites

Why stay here: Beautiful apartments – tasty breakfast included – sea view balcony – free parking – restaurant – free wifi – ideal location

Day 9: Vlorë

On day 9, you can fill in the entire day yourself! You can relax on the beach for the whole day, go hiking, or explore some more places nearby. It’s all up to you!

Let me give you some activity ideas:

Make sure to enjoy your last full day doing whatever you want!

albania travel itinerary

Day 10: Vlorë –  Tirana – Departure

Sadly, leaving day has arrived. In the morning, pack your stuff and prepare for your flight. It’s over a 2 hour’s drive back to Tirana, so make sure you’re prepared to be at the airport on time.  

A late afternoon/evening flight would be ideal. That way you don’t have to rush.

Make sure to grab a last coffee in Vlorë or Tirana and look back on your amazing trip 😉

Driving in Albania

road trip albania

Have you googled how to drive in Albania yet? Don’t. Some will tell you that when driving in Albania death is inevitable, while others say it was their calmest driving experience ever.

So let me tell you what it’s really like.

Driving in the cities, especially Tirana can get a bit chaotic. Tirana seems to be the only city with traffic lights, whereas the rest of Albania is more like a free-for-all kind of setting.

On highways you shouldn’t worry too much, the roads are good and easy to navigate.

However, going off the highway, you can expect some lesser roads. For me this was like a playground, I always love a bit of adventurous roads!

Only a few roads may be very bad, with potholes that could break down your car. However, chances are that you won’t find these roads on your trip, so no need to worry.

Albanians can drive a bit crazy, but most of them are moderate drivers. Just stay aware of the drivers around you and everything will be okay😉

Is Albania safe?

albania road trip

Yes, Albania is generally considered to be a safe country to visit for tourists, and here’s why:

  • Albania has low rates of violent crime. However, petty crime, like pickpocketing, can always occur (not just in Albania) in crowded places. Keep your stuff close to you always!
  • Albanians are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards visitors. Many tourists report positive interactions with locals and feel welcomed in the country.

Make sure to stick to the local laws too. As Albania is a conservative country, it’s important to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites!

All in all, unlike what many people say about Albania, it’s a safe country to visit where it’s very unlikely that you’ll find yourself in an unsafe situation.

When to visit Albania?

The best overall time to visit Albania is in late spring (May, June) and late summer (September, October). With mild temperatures and sunny weather, you’ll be able to enjoy Albania to the fullest!

July and August are great times to visit if you’re looking for a beach vacation. In the low season, it’s also warm enough to jump into the water, but in summer, you’ll get the hottest temperatures and a lot of sun.

itinerary for albania

Spring and Fall offer the mildest weather conditions for outdoor activities, such as hiking, visiting cities, and exploring historical sites.

This information should be able to help you find the right time to visit Albania!

Final thoughts on this Albania travel itinerary

In conclusion, this 10-day Albania travel itinerary offers a rich blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences, ensuring a memorable adventure through one of Europe’s hidden gems. From the vibrant streets of Tirana to the serene beaches of the Albanian Riviera and the ancient ruins of Butrint, each stop reveals a unique facet of this diverse country.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a deep dive into Albania’s storied past, this itinerary promises an unforgettable journey.

Happy travels!

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