Must do Things in Albania

Albania may not be on most people's radar but those who have traveled there will be in agreement that once you visit Albania you will simply have to come back again and again!

Albania isn't only a very affordable place to travel but its pristine landscapes, fantastic natural attractions and very welcoming people will certainly enchant you! I leave you now with a list of things worth doing while on vacation in Albania:

Hop on a train and experience Albania’s amazing countryside

Train travel is superbly cheap in Albania so when traveling to Albania for the first time, you definitely have to hop on a train to experience the Albanian countryside. The Albanian Railways (HSH) services several routes across the country, though the most popular train journey rides are between Tirana, Pogradec and Durres.
Must do Things in Albania

At 25 mph (40kph), Albanian trains are painfully slow (around 7 hours to Pogradec), badly maintained and noisy but that’s the beauty about traveling by train in Albania…being able to get a glimpse of the remote areas of Albania where time hasn't moved!

Ferry ride across the Adriatic Sea

A trip to Albania wouldn’t be quite complete without taking a ferry ride across the Adriatic Sea. Albania isn’t too far from the east coast of Italy, which means you can be there in 4 or 24 hours depending on the ferry service and part of Italy you intend to visit.

The port city of Durres (Albania) is where ferries depart from either Ancona or Trieste, though Bari Italy is the most popular destination since it’s closest. You can expect to pay around €50 per passenger ticket and around €100 if you bring a car onboard. Ferry operators servicing Durres-Bari include Ventouris, European Seaways, Adriatica Traghetti, Adria Ferries, Venetian Lines and Tirrenia (note. Ventouris Ferries is one of the cheapest).

Visit Albania’s historic sites

Albania boasts Roman, Greek and Ottoman influences that translate today into a fair amount of ancient ruins, castles, fortresses, monasteries, mosques, and cathedrals. There are indeed plenty of historic sites to be seen and exploring them is without a doubt, one of the must do things in Albania.

There are plenty to see across Albania in terms of archeological parks, historical sites, museums and religious monuments. However, the must sees are as follows:

1) Lezhe Castle and the Skanderbeg Memorial in Lezhe District
2) Skanderbeg Monument and Skanderbeg Museum in Kruje
3) The Resurrection Cathedral and the National Museum of Medieval Art in Korce
4) Rozafa Castle and Lead Mosque in Shkoder
5) Ancient Greek amphitheater and ruins of Ali Pasha fortress in Butrint national park
6) Apollonia Archaeological Park in Apollonia
7) Pojan Monastery in the village of Pojan (near Korce)
8) Kavaja Rock in the town of Kavaja (southwest of Tirana)
9) Roman Amphitheatre in Durres
10) National Historic Museum and the National Arts Gallery in Tirana

Spend the day at the beach

Albania may not strike a lot of people as a beach destination, which means they're really missing out on one of the best destinations in Europe for a beach vacation! The coastline of Albania is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches. The most popular beaches in Albania are the ones located in the southern part of the country in villages and towns such as Dhermi, Himare, Ksamil, Vlora and Sarande.

The beach town of Sarande is definitely worth visiting to take a pleasant walk along the town’s beautiful promenade, which is dotted with bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Saying this, one of the nicest and most popular beaches in Albania have to be Shengjin Beach (Lezhe District) in northern Albania. Shengjin Beach is a truly stunning beach with golden sands and crystal clear waters (definitely one of the most underrated beaches in Europe).

Take a dive in the Blue Eye

The Blue Eye (Syri i kaltert) is a beautiful natural water spring located in the town of Delvina (just a short drive from the seaside town of Saranda) that you simply have to see with your own eyes!

The Blue Eye is truly the most amazing natural wonder in Albania because the water bubbles up from underneath creating the river-like spring (very surreal!). The water is crystal clear blue and turquoise and the lush forest trees surrounding the spring make this place so idyllic!

Hike through the Albanian Alps

Albanians love to hike and while in the country you should definitely join a trekking expedition of some kind with your friends or local hikers. The Albanian Alps span the northernmost part of Albania and the southwest and eastern parts of Serbia and Montenegro respectively.

A good place to start a trekking adventure would be the village of Thethi. This village is a popular starting point for hiking trips to the village of Vermosh (via Lepushe village), which is another charming mountain village located in the heart of the Albanian Alps.

The Thethi-Lepushe-Vermosh trek passes through summer huts, mountain peaks, and a very strenuous mountain pass which means the trek can take between 3 to 4 days to complete depending on your fitness level. Saying this, you don’t necessarily have to complete the entire route since you can always do day hikes from either village. For instance, you could take treks from Thethi village to Mt. Arapit (3 hours), Vermosh to Lepushe (8 hours), or Vermosh to Mt. Marules (4 hours).

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