Most Beautiful Places in Albania

Most Beautiful Places in Albania

Albania is finally having its moment in the spotlight. Joining the ranks of nearby Greece and Croatia as the hottest ticket for a summer getaway, Albania’s natural beauty easily rivals that of its European neighbours. The Balkan nation is not short on culture and history, too, with impressive architecture ranging from Byzantine to Ottoman. From breathtaking alpine scenery in the north to the glittering Albanian Riviera in the south, you’re spoilt for choice in this hidden gem of a country. Not sure where to go? Read on for our roundup of the most beautiful places in Albania…


1. Valbona Valley National Park
2. Theth National Park
3. Berat
4. Lake Ohrid
5. Ksamil Beach
6. Gjirokaster


Valbona Valley National Park

First up on our list of the most beautiful places in Albania is Valbona Valley National Park. Nestled in the Accursed Mountains (although they’re anything but), Valbona offers a rich variety of flora and fauna to impress even the most seasoned naturalists. Spend your days trekking past wildflower meadows, verdant valleys, thick forests and trickling alpine steams. Enjoy everything from short, gentle trails to trekking up peaks exceeding 6,500ft high. The most popular hike is a ten-and-a-half-mile trail between Valbona and Theth, boasting jaw-dropping views across the rolling mountainous landscape. Other attractions nearby include the serene Xhema Lake and the historic Old Mill. On route to Valbona, why not make a detour to see the crystal-clear waters and lushly vegetated banks of the Shala River?

Image by Mazur Travel/


Theth National Park

Another jewel in the Accursed Mountains’ crown is the spectacular Theth National Park. The park is home to the traditional mountain village of Theth, where local life prevails in a fairytale setting, with the soothing rush of the Theth River as the soundtrack. An unmissable spot in Theth is the Blue Eye, a deep, tranquil pool set within limestone rocks. Follow a three-hour trail before taking a dip in the inky blue waters (if you can brave the cold – the pool is fed with melted snow). Located just a 45-minute walk from Theth village is also the spectacular 82ft-high Grunas Waterfall, where thundering waters cascade towards a tranquil pool below.



Otherwise known as the ‘city of a thousand windows,’ Berat is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Albania. Located around two hours from the capital, Tirana, Berat sits on the Osum River, where Ottoman-era architecture populates the city's sloping valleys. Explore the picturesque Mangalem Quarter for the best examples, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site-listed historic centre. Visit the 13th-century Berat Castle, a sprawling complex of stone streets, Byzantine churches and ruins, for an insight into Albania’s history. Nestled on top of Gorica Hill, it's known as the ‘castle quarter’ since many still dwell within the citadel’s walls. Spend time seeking out original frescoes inside the ancient churches, including St Mary of Blachernae Church. Got a taste for Byzantine art? Head to Onufri National Iconographic Museum for more treasures.

Image by Florian Stern/Gallery Stock


Lake Ohrid

Next up on our roundup of the most beautiful places in Albania is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe: Lake Ohrid. Nestled on the border between Albania and North Macedonia, Ohrid boasts a UNESCO World Heritage site status thanks to its ancient monasteries, Byzantine buildings and archaeological wonders. Take a boat trip out onto the lake to best experience the tranquil setting, or settle on one of the secluded pebble beaches along the banks, where crystal-clear water laps the lakeshore. Seeking something more adventurous? Opt for kayaking or try your hand at fishing - endemic brown trout or koran is always on the menu. On land, head to the charming village of Lin to discover ancient mosaics or take a leisurely stroll along the promenade in the city of Progadec. History buffs, hop over the border into North Macedonia to explore the ancient Monastery Sveti Naum (you won’t regret it).


Ksamil Beach

No list of the most beautiful places in Albania could forgo mention of the nation’s coastline. Its location bordering the Adriatic and Ionian Seas means you’re guaranteed turquoise waters and powdery white sand. Ksamil Beach is the go-to destination for relaxation; not far from the border with Greece on Albania’s southern Riviera, this sparkling section of the Ionian Sea is enough to tempt any traveller to while away the hours in the Mediterranean sun. Relax in a rooftop bar or terrace and sample sensational seafood in one of the excellent restaurants lining the shore. Swim, kayak or paddleboard your way over to the uninhabited Ksamil Islands for even more peace and quiet.

Visit our blog on the best beaches in Albania to discover more coastal gems.



Another UNESCO-listed site to make our list is Gjirokaster, southern Albania's ‘city of stone’. A dreamlike destination with winding cobbled streets, slate-roofed buildings and a historic bazaar, Gjirokaster boasts a blend of Greek, Ottoman and Albanian influences. Browse the labyrinthine streets of the bazaar and purchase a plethora of artisan goods, from local honey and olive oil to handcrafted textiles and raki (traditional fruit brandy). Visit the incredibly preserved Ottoman-era houses of Zekate and Skenduli for a glimpse into the nation’s intriguing past before heading up to the castle for sweeping vistas of the city’s ancient architecture. Oh, and when it comes to food, make sure to try the city’s speciality, qifki, baked rice balls. Delicious.

Image by augustinflorian/

Written by Hannah Whitehall