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Berat, Albania (Shutterstock)

Albania is the secret Mediterranean. Closed off for decades following its Communist years, it has escaped the mass development of other chunks of the Med, so Albania’s beaches remain largely resort-free. Times are a-changing, however.

You will now find decent accommodation in most towns. You’ll also find some fascinating sites: castles dot the countryside, old bunkers lay on the beaches, old towns are hidden away in the mountains, and lakes beckon to watersports’ lovers (try Lake Shkodër, in the country’s north-west, or Lake Ohrid, shared with Macedonia). Also, some pretty untramelled paths wind across the country, 70% of which is mountainous, so hikers will be spoiled for choice. Capital Tirana is a fun find too: visit the interesting museums then head to a cafe in the buzzing Blloku district for a strong dark coffee and a chance to people-watch in this resurging nation.

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Albania’s capital is a Balkan gem, undiscovered by the masses. From the Pyramid of Tirana and Skanderbeg Square, to ornate mosques to museums built inside atomic bunkers, there’s plenty here to uncover…
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2.8 million
Int. dial code
UK citizens can stay in Albania for up to 90 days without a Visa
Time zone
Plug Type
Type C and Type F
Albanian Lek. However euros are widely accepted.

International airports

Tirana International Airport (TIA) is currently the only international airport in Albania. The city is 17 km away from the airport, with an airport shuttlebus transporting people into the centre. The flight time from London to Tirana is approximately 3 hours.

When to go to Albania

Albania has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers, mild winters in coastal regions, but cold winters including snow in the mountains. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and walking. As ever, we encourage you to avoid travelling during peak season (July-August).

Getting around Albania

Although infrastructure is improving, Albania’s roads are in poor condition. Buses and minibuses (furgons) are cheap and plentiful. Minibuses will only usually run once they are full.

There are three train lines, but the trains are so slow that most people don’t use them. There are plenty of taxis in the towns.

Where to stay in Albania

There are a growing number of hotels of all standards throughout Albania, although only a handful of deluxe ones (these can mostly be found along the Albanian Riviera) . The price is not necessarily an indicator of standard.

What to eat in Albania

Albanian cuisine is generally very good, with a mix of Balkan, Turkish and Mediterranean influences. Everything is seasonal and organic, so is full of flavour. Lamb and fish are very good, and seafood is excellent along the coast. Vegetarians will fare well, especially in the autumn when there is a huge range of produce.

Albanian wine is very good and excellent value. Raki is widely drunk (throughout the day), as well as other local liqueurs and brandies. Italian and Greek beers are more widely available than local brands.

There is a huge coffee culture, with Turkish coffee drunk at home (and always offered to visitors) and Italian coffees in restaurants.

Health and safety in Albania

Albania is a very safe country for visitors; the biggest hazard is probably the driving. However, it remains a poor nation, so don’t flaunt your possessions and take the usual common sense precautions against petty theft and muggings. For more information on health and safety, read the government’s foreign travel advice for Albania.