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Die Grama-Bucht in Albanien, Bild: Arton / shutterstock

Albania – An exciting holiday destination in Europe

Between Montenegro and Greece lies the small mountainous country of Albania. For a long time only an insider tip, Albania is developing into one of the most exciting holiday destinations in Europe. Tourist magnets are the romantic Mediterranean appearance of the Riviera coast, the magnificent landscapes to the left and right of the rivers and the natural beauty of the magnificent mountains.

Butrint National Park
Butrint National Park, Image: A Daily Odyssey / shutterstock

Albania could become a true paradise for active vacationers, as there are different natural areas almost everywhere that are accessible without restrictions. But also tourists who are interested in the history and culture of Europe and especially Albania will find beautiful ethnographic museums, Ottoman houses, castles from the Middle Ages, Orthodox churches built in the early Christian era, cave settlements of the Illyrians, remnants of Roman and Greek settlements and fantastic cave paintings dating back to the Stone Age.

The capital Tirana is the economic and cultural center of Albania

Tirana, Albania
View of Tirana and the largest mosque in Albania, Image: RussieseO / shutterstock

Most tourists will probably start their journey through Albania in the capital Tirana , one of the most exciting metropolises in Europe at the moment. It is the economic and cultural center of Albania. Skanderbeg Square forms the center of Tirana. It is characterized by the clock tower Kulla e Sahatit, the mosque Et’hem Bey and other charming buildings. Highlights include a trip to the Mail i Dajtit.

The mountain, which is around 1,600 metres high, is located in the immediate vicinity of the capital. The view down to the sea of lights of the capital is an unforgettable experience, especially in the evening. The mountainous region with its extensive beech and holm oak forests was declared a national park as early as 1966. Tourists come to Durrës, the second largest city in Albania, mainly because they want to visit the remains of the Roman amphitheater. It dates back to the 2nd century and was designed for around 15,000 visitors. The city is one of the oldest in the Mediterranean.

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The fantastic mountain world of the Albanian Alps is still considered an insider tip

Bridge of Mes, Albania
Bridge of Mes, Image: Adonis Villanueva / shutterstock

Northern Albania is characterized by impressive natural landscapes. These include the Bojana Buna Delta Nature Reserve, the mighty Lake Shkodra, the Mat Gorge in the north of Lac, the cliffs of Kepi i Rodonit and the lagoon landscape of Patok. One of the tourist highlights of a trip through Albania is a visit to the town of Kruja, which is located at the foot of the Skanderbeg Mountains. Kruja Castle is considered a national shrine by many Albanians. The so-called clock tower is its landmark.

It is also worth taking a detour to the city of Shkodra, whose old centre has been lovingly restored. More and more mountaineers, hikers and lovers of untouched nature are discovering the fantastic mountain world of the Albanian Alps in the north of the country. For hiking and trekking, the valleys of Valbona, Theth and Vermosh are the most suitable. The region is also a true Eldorado for anglers and mountain bikers.

Berat has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005

Butrint, Albania
Butrint, the ruined city. Image: Jess Kraft / shutterstock

In the mountainous region of central Albania, outdoor tourism is on the rise. The cultural highlight of the region is the city of Berat, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005. The place is famous for its three Ottoman old quarters, which have not changed their appearance for centuries. The castle of Berat dates back to the 13th century. Southern Albania, on the other hand, is characterized by beautiful coastal landscapes and clear turquoise sea water.

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Great river valleys, mountain villages where traditions are maintained and excellent Mediterranean cuisine complete the great impression. The Riviera coast is particularly attractive with its mild climate. Hardly any rain falls here – mountain ranges shield the coasts from the interior. Also since 2005, the historic old town of Gjirokastra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking through the narrow, cobbled streets of the historic center makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time to the Ottoman era.

Korça is famous throughout Albania for its various festivals

Skanderbeg Museum in Kruja
Skanderbeg Museum in Kruja, Image: Mitzo / shutterstock

If you take a round trip through Eastern Albania, you will find untouched mountain landscapes, beautiful lakes and the cultural center of the region, the city of Korça, which is famous for its festivals. The annual beer festival, which takes place in mid-August, attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Korça is characterized by a distinctly middle-class and urban lifestyle. The locals affectionately refer to the city as the “Little Paris of Albania”.

This is thanks to the magnificent villas that have been preserved from the time of the protectorate of the French. The ethnic diversity that prevails in the city creates a picturesque mixture of different cultural influences. This is what makes Korça so special. An exceptionally beautiful area is the Prespa-Ohrid region, which is located in the border triangle of Albania, Greece and Macedonia. This lake district, located at an altitude of over 850 meters, is unique in the whole Balkans.

More impressions from Albania