Continent: South East Europe

Capital City: Tirana

Currency: Albanian Lek

Year I Visited: 2018

How this gem of a country hasn’t become a mecca for backpackers, I’ve got no idea. Lovely, warm weather which lasts well beyond summer; an edgy, hip capital with great nightlife; some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe and some of the cheapest prices you’ll find on the continent. This is the jewel in the Balkans’ crown.

My Albania Highlights

Here’s where I got to in Albania. Click the destination name for related blog posts.

Tirana

Albania’s funky capital has a great buzz to it: from cool architecture to spacious parks to a whole host of great bars and restaurants. It’s slightly more expensive than the rest of the country but can more than compete with any great European city.

Valbona Valley National Park

If you go nowhere else in Albania (maybe even in the Balkans) go here. The one day trek between the tiny villages of Valbone and Theth, coupled with a breathtaking boat ride through the mountains, is an unforgettable experience – and very doable on a backpacker budget.

Shkoder

The best place to start your Albanian adventure if you’re coming from the north (it’s also the best place to use as a base to get to Valbona NP), Shkoder is a pleasant city with relatively few tourists and a fort boasting fantastic views.

Berat

A unique UNESCO-listed town towards the south with tiny houses stacked like Lego, cobbled streets and another fort – well worth a stop for a couple of days.

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