10 places to see in Albania, the rising star of the Balkans

Albania, which has lived under a repressive regime until the past, away from world blessings and of course tourism, is now becoming a popular tourism center with a rapidly shining star. In addition to the wonderful examples of Greek, Roman and Ottoman architecture, mountain and forest outdoor activities, small picturesque towns, beautiful, clean, turquoise sea beaches that will appeal to all kinds of tourists are waiting for travelers in Albania. Albania do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days from now is the time to bring the citizens of Turkey itinerary. You can start by taking a short note of our short guide, which includes places to see in Albania.

1. Tirana (Tirana, Tiranë)

The capital Tirana, once full of gray and cold buildings and seedy streets, has changed a lot since the early 90s. Now a more fun and friendly capital awaits travelers. Although it may seem a little dingy yet, it is possible to come across examples of well-preserved Italian and Ottoman architecture in the streets that are undergoing rapid renovation.

You can enjoy delicious meals and fun nightlife in bars, cafes and restaurants concentrated in the Blloku district and its surroundings with very economical figures. BUNK’ART, once a big shelter and hosting art exhibitions and installations today, is one of the must-see places. Although traffic is a bit intense in the city center, Dajti Mountain, which can be reached with street breaks and a short cable car ride, can provide you with the silence you are looking for.

2. Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park, which has a rich ecosystem and archaeological sites and offers a magnificent blend of history and nature, attracts a lot of tourists due to the proximity of Greece to Corfu Island. The peninsula, surrounded by the Butari Lake and the Vivari Canal beyond, impresses with its natural beauty. More than 1,200 different types of animals and plants live among natural wetlands, hills and islands. The city walls, the ruins of a Roman theater, a Byzantine basilica and two castles can be visited in the area of ​​2,500 years old ruins. Butrint National Park is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating spots you can find in Albania.

3. Kroya (Akçahisar, Kruja, Krujë)

Falling to the north of Tirana, Kroya is known as the hometown of İskender Bey, the national hero of Albania. İskender Bey led the 25-year resistance against the Ottomans from here. The panoramic view offered by the magnificent Kroya Castle, overlooking the city and known as the “Adriatic Balcony”, is magnificent. Small cafes and restaurants will take the most of your time with hundreds of souvenirs, antiques and leather shops in the old bazaar in the city center. You can still try exploring the surrounding lakes, canyons, countryside, and mountains.

4. Ergiri (Cirokastra)

Built on the slopes of a hill overlooking the valley, the historic city is enchanted by more than 500 houses and buildings registered as Unesco Cultural Heritage in 2005 and its winding cobbled streets. Overlooking the Old Bazaar, Cirokastra Castle is the second largest castle in the Balkans. It is an interesting town where cultural tourists wandering in Albania may want to stop by while passing by.

5. Himarë

The turquoise shores of Himarë, one of the pearls of the Albanian Riviera, are ideal for travelers looking for some sea, sun, sand and calmness. In addition, restaurants and taverns in the town center, where you can experience Mediterranean charm and cuisine with very economical figures. The castle on the hill overlooking the old city should definitely be visited.

6. Berat

Berat, which is considered as one of the most beautiful towns in the Balkans, not only in Albania, is known as the “City with a Bin Window” due to the frequent windowed views of traditional Ottoman architecture houses clustered on the hill slope. While the banks of the Osumi River offer pleasant natural views, you can spend time in the city between the Byzantine and Ottoman buildings and spend time in cafes.

7. Shkodra (Shkodra)

The variety of Shkoder on the Karadag border has to offer. You cannot get enough of the view that can be watched from the magnificent walls of Rozafa Castle. Abu Bekir Mosque and Orthodox Cathedral can be visited, information about the rich history of the region can be obtained in the History Museum. However, the biggest factor that attracts travelers to the city is the magnificent natural richness that dominates the vast area up to the Albanian Alps, which can be viewed remotely with Lake Skadar of the same name.

8. Saranda (Aya Sarandi, Ayasaranda)

Located in the north east of the Ionian Sea, just across Corfu Island, Saranda is one of the fastest tourist development cities in recent years. It can be one of the weekend choices of Greek and Italian tourists with its mild weather, beautiful sea, bars and cafes opened in succession and natural beauties nearby.

9. Durres (Durrës, Durrës)

Durres, one of the most crowded spots of the Albanian Riviera in summer, is very close to the capital, Tirana. The city, which has one of the largest ports in the Adriatic, is not suitable for a typical holiday town, but it is suitable for those who want both sea and city air together. Durres, one of the oldest settlements in Albania, has lived under Greek, Roman, Bulgarian, Greek, Venetian and Ottoman rule for centuries. Therefore, it is possible to come across many ruins and ancient artifacts in the city.

10. Dhërmi

With its turquoise sea, long beaches, magnificent views and vibrant nightlife, Dhërmi is one of the most popular summer destinations of young Albania. The town, which is located at the point where the mountain meets the sea, is ideal for romantics who want to watch the magnificent sunset while eating and drinking something in many bars and restaurants.

Images: Albanian National Tourism Agency