Only having recently emerging from its communist isolation, Albania is not an obvious tourist destination. However, with beautiful beaches, an amiable climate and a number of cultural attractions, it is easy to see why this often overlooked destination is garnering attention.
The best time to visit Albania is during the summer as this is when the country experiences its best weather. As Albania, unlike many of its neighbours, is not a massive tourist destination, the beaches and cities do not become overcrowded during the summer.
Tirana International Airport (TIA) is the country’s only international airport. The airport is situated 6.9 miles away from Tirana in a village called Rinas. For this reason, the airport is sometimes referred to as Rinas International Airport. On average, a return flight from London to Tirana will cost between £160 and £200. The flight time from London to Tirana is just less than 3 hours.
What to Do in Albania
Many of those who visit Albania head straight to the country’s capital, Tirana. Tirana is a lively city with great night life and plenty of attractions to keep you busy during the day. From sipping espresso in one of the cafes to exploring the National History Museum which is home to a range of curious artefacts from Albania’s history, there is something for everyone.
One of Albania’s principal draws is the Albanian Riviera that runs alongside the Ionian Sea. The Albanian Riviera consists of one city and lots of small towns. Here you will find a number of diverse beaches from the small and unspoiled to those with plenty of amenities and beach clubs. When you are not on the beach, there are plenty of restaurants and sights to visit. Some important sights of interest in the Albanian Riviera include Porto Parlermo’s Castle of Porto-Palermo and the Ruins of Himara Castle in Himare.
The hilltop town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Berat is another popular destination for holidaymakers in Albania. The most striking feature of this town is the white Ottoman houses on the side of the hill, giving Berat the nickname ‘town of a thousand windows’. The town is overlooked by Berat Castle that sits proudly at the top of the hill. Beyond the walls of the castle is the neighbourhood of Kasala.
As is the case with most countries, Albania’s capital city has the best selection of accommodation offerings. Indeed, in Tirana you can find luxury accommodation, such as the Sheraton Tirana Hotel and Hotel L. A. S., as well as a collection of midrange offerings and independent guesthouses.
Outside of the capital city, there is less accommodation variety. Offerings are usually in the form of family-run guesthouses and bed and breakfasts or renovated hotels which date back to the communist era. However, the popular coastal destinations have a number of beach resorts and high-end hotels if you are looking for something with more facilities.