We’re gearing up for an active, healthy and spiritually fulfilling year ahead and, with that in mind, we’ve gathered the best activities you can do in Albania this year to get the most of the country in 2021 as well as to make up for time lost during last year’s lockdown.
1. Hiking in Theth and Valbona
The hiking trails in Valbona and Theth always top any list! The locations of these two destinations in the midst of the Albanian Alps and the connection of the valleys through a hiking trail, enable thousands of tourists to discover Valbona and Theth’s natural wonders in a unique way.
Theth Church. Photo by Matthew Storer.
2. UNESCO TOUR
The three equally magnificent and fascinating sites of Butrint, Gjirokastër, and Berat have made the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, precisely because of their unquestionable contribution to the continuation of the world’s culture. The natural beauty that surrounds them only adds to their already significant appeal!
Archeological Park of Butrint, Saranda, photo by IntoAlbania.
3. Boat Trip around the Riviera
If you’re up for a short Odyssey, countless boat tours take you to some of the most untouched and spectacular bays along the Ionian coast. Here’s only one example of a recent boat trip but you can find countless options, leaving from any of the beaches of the Riviera. Note that the largest cities and villages, like Saranda and Himara, see the most boats leaving their ports. This is perhaps the most affordable and smartest idyllic experience you can have within the span of a day in the Rivera.
Kakome, Sarandë, photo by IntoAlbania.
4. Explore Albanian Agrotourism
From Shkodra to Gjirokastra, there are many Albanian farms, wineries, and guesthouses well-known for their food, nature and hospitality. All of the guesthouses have truly adopted a “learn by doing” model, which truly engages the tourists with village life and its various processes. Activities in these places involve anything from farm tours and horse-riding to fruit and vegetable harvesting.
Marku Farm-Guesthouse in the Village of Ganjollë (Shkodra). Photo by IntoAlbania.
5. Take the Boat across Koman Lake
This one-day trip will be one of the most memorable you will ever take! Koman Lake is undoubtedly the most beautiful in Albania. You can either take the tour that takes you around the lake or visit the spectacular Valbona Valley, a popular destination up north, via this boat ride. No one comes back the same after seeing this!
Shala River at Koman Lake, photo by IntoAlbania.
6. A visit to the Ancient Cities
The Butrint Archaeological Park tops all lists of Albanian must-see destinations. However, there are so many more beautiful formerly glorious cities worth visiting while you are in Albania, such as Apollonia, Amantia, Bylis, Antigonea and many more. From the Adriatic Coast of Durrës to the Ionian Riviera of Vlora and Saranda, you can capture the glory of antiquity and the eternal beauty of the sea in one fell swoop.
Archaeological Park of Apollonia, Fier, photo by IntoAlbania.
7. Paraglide off Llogara Pass
It seems that the beautiful Llogara Mountain was created for paragliding. You can either stay at the Llogara National Park or below, in one of the beaches along the Ionian Coast. Either way, you must make a stop at the peak to glide off peacefully into the serene skies of the Albanian south.
8. Take a Tour into Albania’s Communist Past
As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Though recent developments have tried to do away with some of the country’s past, you will still feel Albania’s history in every step you take. If you’re a history buff, a simple walk around any city will reveal traces of captivating and very distinctive history. For those who prefer more compressed information, make sure to visit at least Bunk’Art 1, Bunk’Art 2, House of Leaves Museum, and Enver Hoxha’s Villa in Tirana, and if time permits, take this entire tour.
The statue of the dictator Enver Hoxha in the basket, Bunk’Art 1. Photo by IntoAlbania.
9. Visit healthy retreats
With its wonderful alpine landscapes, Përmet is considered Albania’s own Switzerland. The town is worth visiting for its delicious foods and sweets but, most of all, for its wonderful natural thermal pools. The Bënja baths cure various physical ailments but are ideal spots for pure pleasure, as well. Bonus: Located in the same national park, Fir of Hotova, you will find the gorgeous Lengarica Canyon.
Bënja Thermal Pools in Përmet, Photo Credits: Fation Plaku.
10. Kayak and Raft in Rivers and Lakes
With countless rivers, lakes, canyons, and waterfalls, Albania is an adventurer’s paradise. The rivers of Shala, Osum, and Vjosa are only three of the most popular rafting and kayaking destinations. But, there are several rugged bays around the southern Riviera and countless lakes where you can get your adventure fix surrounded by wild natural beauty.
Osumi Canyons, Berat, Photo Credits: Fation Plaku