Albania is probably one of the most underrated destinations in Europe. With some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, mountain areas with breathtaking scenery and cities full of history, I don’t quite understand how people haven’t started to massively visit Albania yet.

To be totally honest, my urge to visit this amazing country started when I saw some posts on social media of Albanian landscapes. I quickly added the country to the top of the list of countries I’d like to visit 😊.

And the best part is that it didn’t really disappoint in any way. It was one of my favourite trips so far and I’d go back there in a heartbeat. I could be very wrong, but I really think Albania will be the next Croatia (ps: I visited Croatia 3 months before Albania, so my comparative memory was pretty fresh!).

What is the best time of year to visit Albania?

Quite honestly I don’t think you should stop visiting Albania just because it’s colder or warmer. I think the country is magnificent any time of the year! However, the truth is that it would also be a shame not to enjoy the extensive Albanian coastline with beautiful beaches (especially the Albanian Riviera area).


So, I would say try to visit the country between May and October to try to assure milder temperatures and also to increase the probability of being able to enjoy the beaches. The country has not been hit by mass tourism yet, so even if you visit in summer it won’t be too crowded (of course the beaches tend to be crowded, but not so much in the rest of the country).

How many days do you need to visit Albania?

Albania may not be a very big country, but there are not many highways which means travelling short distances take a long time. Additionally, the country has very diverse landscapes… from mountainous areas further inland, to the beaches of the south.

Gjipe Beach

So, I believe that the ideal duration of a trip in Albania is 15 days. However, I ended up spending only 9 (almost!) full days in the country and I was able to still visit lots of places. It is also possible to stay only 7 days with some adjustments in the itinerary. Although the itinerary I’m going to tell you about is for 9 days, at the end of the post you can also find a version for 7 days.

How to get to Albania?

At the moment, there is only one international airport in Albania, located in the country’s capital (Tirana). Tirana is a good starting point for those wishing to visit Albania as it is located relatively in the middle of the country.

Here are some European cities with direct flights to Tirana:

  • Italy (Milan, Bari, Verona, Venice, Rome, Pisa)
  • Germany (Memmingen, Berlin, Munich)
  • Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich)
  • Spain (Barcelona, Madrid)
  • Belgium (Brussels)
  • France (Lyon, Nice, Paris)
  • United Kingdom (London)
  • Netherlands (Eindhoven)

What is the best way to travel in Albania?

The bus network does not work marvellously well in Albania (although it does exist and it is possible to travel this way) and trains are practically non-existent. So, without any doubt, the best way to get around Albania is by car.

I chose to rent the car and I really enjoyed the service. I chose to pick up the car in the city center because on the first day I stayed in Tirana and didn’t need a car and returned it at the airport at the end of the trip.

Is driving in Albania easy?

Driving in Albania can be daunting for less experienced drivers, being very honest. Although I really enjoyed it and was comfortable driving, it was the most chaotic country I have ever driven in. Apart from the fact that Albanians are not very respectful of traffic rules (e.g. overtaking in a 3rd lane that doesn’t exist, sneaking in when they’re not supposed to), the roads are not always in the best condition.

But, all that being said, I didn’t feel nervous or anything like that when driving. You end up getting used to their driving (and, I have to confess, I laughed my ass off with some situations I saw on the road 😂). So unless you’re very inexperienced in driving, I’d say it’s moderately easy to drive in Albania.

How to pay in Albania?

The official currency of Albania is LEK and as of today’s (September 2022) this is the exchange rate against the Euro: 1 EUR = 117 LEK. Albanian currency can only be purchased and exchanged in Albania!

Albania is a country that still operates very much on a cash basis. You will often hear “only cash”. So, one of the biggest recommendations is to get cash as soon as you arrive in the country and always carry some cash with you as you never know when you’ll be able to use a card 😜

Sometimes restaurants and shops also accept Euros (and other currencies such as Dollars or Pounds), but always check if the exchange rate they suggest is beneficial for you! In my experience, it rarely is.

Is Albania a safe country?

Before visiting Albania I heard some stories that this might not be a very safe country. Reports of mafia and car robberies, recommendation not to drive at night and so on. However, I’ve always felt safe (both day and night!). Only on 2 or 3 occasions, I felt a slight insecurity, but this is something perfectly normal that also happens often here in Portugal (one of the safest countries in the world).

The truth is that I arrived at my first accommodation in Albania very late at night and when I left the accommodation the next day everything seemed weird. Wires everywhere, houses and buildings that had not been completed! I confess it was a bit of a shock, at least until I realised that this was absolutely normal in the country and didn’t mean that I was in a more dangerous area just because the houses looked poorly.

It is even worth mentioning that I almost always carried a camera around my neck and a mobile phone in my hand to use the GPS and I never felt insecure about possible muggings. Having said that, it is also important to say that I took the normal precautions that I always take in any country (e.g. not leaving my documents, money and cards in the easily accessible area of my backpack to avoid possible cases of pick-pocketing).

However, I’ve also read in some sites and blogs, that there are some areas of the country that are in fact not recommended to visit. The first is the northernmost area near the border with Kosovo due to still active mines and some conflicts still existing in the region. The second is a small land called Lazarat, which is known to be the drug capital of Europe and consequently with very little police control.

What to visit in Albania in 9 days?


What to visit in Albania – Day 8: Sarandë – Gjipe Beach – Dhërmi (75 km; 2h10)

Day 8 of this itinerary to visit Albania will start again towards the north of the country. Leaving Sarandë, there are several stops that can be made along the way to Dhërmi, where I suggest staying overnight.

Borsh Beach

Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time available and so I ended up just stopping here and there for a few photos, but these are the main points of interest until we reach Dhërmi:

Borsh, where you can visit:

  • Borsch Beach – the longest beach in Albania
  • Borsch Castle
  • Bunkers

Porto Palermo and its castle

Qeparo, where you can visit:

  • Qeparo Beach
  • Upper Qeparo – ancient village located on the slopes of Mount Gjivlash
Himarë Beach

Himarë, where you can visit:

  • Castle
  • Historical centre
  • Livadhi beach

Gjipe Beach

After a few photo stops and lunch in Himarë, we finally headed towards Gjipe beach. This was one of the places I most wanted to visit in Albania 😊

The reason this beach is so popular is the landscape in the background! Very impressive if you ask me.

To get to the beach, there are a few options:

  • Boat or kayak from Jale beach
  • Park the car here (200 LEK) and walk a short trail to the beach. The trail is about 2km and takes 25 min (each way). It is more demanding on the way back (steep climb) and the ground is very uneven so I recommend suitable footwear.

The beach has a few sun loungers but it was quite easy to find a place to lay our towel! Like many beaches in Albania, this beach doesn’t have fine sand, so I’d recommend wearing proper shoes when going to the sea.

Apart from a few dips in the sea, I still managed to explore a bit of the canyon that marks so much the landscape of this beach. I read that there may be some poisonous snakes there, so if you want to venture further into the interior of the canyon, I recommend that you do more intensive research beforehand.


Dhërmi is also another excellent stopover option for those following this itinerary, with its cute historic centre or Dhërmi beach.

Accommodation in Dhërmi

The last night in Albania was spent in Dhërmi at Gogo’s Boutique Hotel. It is a very new hotel in the region. Apart from the very friendly service, I particularly liked the exterior decoration of the hotel.

The outside terrace offers us a superb sunset and the flowery stairs are also very lovely. It’s a very welcoming space, no doubt about it 🥰

In addition, the hotel also has a breakfast service every day that is served on the outdoor terrace.