When most people think of gorgeous travel destinations, they often envision places like the white sand beaches of Fiji, the majestic peaks of the Swiss Alps, and the ethereal and magical-looking forests of New Zealand. Most people rarely spare a thought for Albania, a tiny, often overlooked country in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Although I’ve traveled the Balkans extensively since 2008, I had no idea what was in store for me when I first traveled to Albania in August of 2020. These 50 photos that will make you want to visit Albania were taken during that trip. Others were taken during my subsequent trip to Albania in October of that year.
That two-week-long road trip changed my life. As I criss-crossed the country, I came across spectacular mountain vistas in the north that took my breath away; enchanting, sun-drenched beaches in the far south; mesmerizing archaeological ruins; and some of the cutest, most charming villages and towns I’ve ever visited. Still don’t believe how beautiful Albania is? Then let me show you. These are 50 breathtaking photos that will make you want to visit Albania now!
The view of the Ionian Sea from Porto Palermo Castle along the Albanian Riviera.
The deep blue waters of Llaman Beach in Himarë on the Albanian Riviera.
The charming mountain city of Kukës in northern Albania.
The ruins of the ancient city of Butrint in Vlore County along the Albanian Riviera.
The spectacular amphitheater at the ancient city of Butrint in Butrint National Park.
The Monument of Agonothetes in the ancient city of Apollonia near the village of Pojani.
The majestic northern mountain scenery from the Lake Koman Ferry between Koman and Fierzë.
The UNESCO-protected Ottoman homes in the city of Berat.
Yours truly shooting my friend Molly from Dabble and Travel at Turtle Farm Albania in the village of Daias.
The beautiful ruins inside Berat Castle in the city of Berat.
The stunningly clear natural spring known as the Blue Eye near the village of Muzinë in southern Albania.
The wonderful seaside city of Durrës in central Albania.
An aerial shot of the amazing beach at Durrës along the Adriatic Sea.
The unbelievably fresh seafood pasta at Bar Restorant Ferra Shijak in Durrës, Albania.
The imposing Durrës Tower in Durrës, Albania.
The vibrant green vineyards at Kantina Skenderbeu Winery’s Vinea Resort & SPA in Durrës, Albania.
The floating cabanas at Vinea Resort & SPA in Durrës, Albania.
The crispy, golden fried dough known as petulla at Farma Sotira in Leskovic, Albania.
The colorful buildings of Rruga Justin Godard, a brand-new pedestrian street in Vlorë, Albania.
St. Mary’s Church in the ancient city of Apollonia in southern Albania.
Ardenica Monastery, the wedding place of the national hero Skanderbeg, between Lushjë and Fier in southern Albania.
The fantastic Gjirokastër Bazaar in the historical city of Gjirokastër, Albania.
Admiring the view of the city of Gjirokastër from the walls of Gjirokastër Castle.
The incredible stone craftsmanship on display at a shop in Gjirokastër Bazaar.
The magnificent Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Cathedral in the city of Korçë, Albania.
The drool-worthy sirloin steak, beer-marinated pork ribs, beans, eggplant, okra, and peppers at Taverna Vasili Restaurant in Korçë, Albania.
The colorful orange-and-brown rooftops of Korçë, Albania.
The traditional bazaar in the mountain city of Krujë in central Albania.
The tiniest member of our family at Turtle Farm Albania in Daias, Albania.
The mouthwatering coffee ice cream at Mrizi i Zanave Agroturizëm in the village of Fishtë, Albania.
The stunning vine-covered outdoor dining hall at Mrizi i Zanave Agroturizëm in the village of Fishtë, Albania.
Crowds enjoying the therapeutic Benja Thermal Baths just outside of the town of Përmet in southern Albania.
The sweet, syrupy whole-fruit preserve known as gliko at Shtëpia me Mozaik Guesthouse in Përmet, Albania.
Yours truly standing atop Katiu Bridge, a beautiful Ottoman-era stone bridge just outside of Përmet, Albania.
The spectacular mountain scenery on the way to Valbona in northern Albania.
The lovely Pogradec Beach along the shores of Lake Ohrid in Pogradec, Albania.
The summer resort city of Pogradec on the shores of Lake Ohrid in eastern Albania.
The succulent koran tartare at Restaurant The Change, the best seafood restaurant in Pogradec, Albania.
The homes of Pogradec, Albania along the shores of Lake Ohrid.
The spectacular beach in Sarandë, Albania along the Albanian Riviera.
The view of the Ionian Sea and the island of Corfu from the infinity pool at the Bougainville Bay Resort in Sarandë, Albania.
The incredible Mesi Bridge, an 18th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Shkodër in northern Albania.
The expansive Rozafa Castle, an ancient Illyrian stronghold that overlooks the city of Shkodër, Albania.
The pristine mountain peaks between Shkodër and the village of Theth in northern Albania.
Explore the vibrant attractions and activities with our guide on Things to Do in Shkoder, Albania.
The majestic Waterfall Theth in Theth National Park in northern Albania.
Getting ready to try a delicious flight of fruit brandy called rakija at Komiteti Kafe – Muzeum in the capital city, Tirana.
The outstanding lamb at Ceren Ismet Shehu Restaurant in the village of Surrel in central Albania.
The sunny beach along the Ionian Sea coast in the city of Vlorë along the Albanian Riviera.
The stunning mountain road leading to the village of Valbona in northern Albania.
And those are 50 breathtaking photos that will make you want to visit Albania now! As you can see, Albania is a remarkable and incredibly diverse country, especially for it only be 11,100 square miles in size. From the chilly alpine forests of the north to the spectacular, ancient ruins in the central and southern areas to the heavenly, crystal-clear waters of the Riviera, Albania is a traveler’s dream. As you travel through the country, you’ll see some of the most beautiful locations in all of Europe, meet tons of friendly people, and dine on hearty and fresh farm-to-table food.
It’s one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited and I hope this article has inspired you to visit this amazing Balkan nation. If it has, please leave me a comment below. And if you’ve been to Albania or live there, tell me your favorite location in the country!