The 2 weeks we spent traveling in Albania were one of the biggest surprises of our entire Europe trip! This country was completely off our radar before we started looking deeper into the Balkans. It wasn’t until almost a year later that we boarded a ferry from Greece, and headed to our first stop on the Albanian Riviera. Follow along with our Albania itinerary and travel guide along the gorgeous coastline and to our favorite mountain towns. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on!
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Albania Travel Inspiration
- 19 Facts About Albania to Know Before You Go: History, Tips, & More
- Understanding the Albanian Bus System: How Difficult is it?
- Best Food in Albania: 25 Incredible Dishes & Drinks to Try on Your Trip
2 Weeks in Albania Itinerary
Here is a sample route we made from our own Albania itinerary! We’ve also included some of our favorite things to do in each town. Use this as a guide when planning your own 2 weeks in Albania while also discovering your own fun places to go.
If there is one part of the country we wish we would’ve seen more of it’s the North! We just couldn’t get enough of the beach towns and stunning Albanian Riviera. Keep this in mind when reading our Albania travel guide.
Saranda ⸰ 1 Night
Ksamil ⸰ 2 Nights
Gjirokaster ⸰ 2 Nights
Himare ⸰ 3 Nights
Dhermi ⸰ 2 Nights
Berat ⸰ 2 Nights
Tirana or Ohrid Macedonia ⸰ 2 Nights
Seaside in Saranda • 1 Night
We started our Albania travel adventure by hopping on a boat from Corfu Greece and making the quick 30 minute trip across the ocean. Saranda was an interesting place and we felt it was the perfect introduction to the Albanian Riviera.
When first arriving you’ll be blown away by the funky colors of the buildings, and how they delicately gleam off the Ionian Sea. The traditional food in the south is also very tasty, and you can certainly find some great meals in Saranda!
With all that being said, after a day or two, we were ready to head off and see more of what this country had to offer. Here were some of our favorite things to do in Saranda.
- Walk along the ocean promenade and stop at one of the many seaside restaurants for a coffee or breakfast.
- Jump into the chilled water on the public beach set right in the town center.
- Eat your heart out at one of the many bakeries and make sure to visit Haxhi restaurant for dinner. The mussels here were one of our favorite meals in Albania!
→ Saranda Albania Tips: 8 Fun Things to Know Before Visiting the Seaside City
Saranda Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – White Residence Luxury Apartments – Large luxury apartments with gorgeous sea views. Modern decor and amenities just steps from the beach.
Fun Vacation – Sun N Blue Hotel – Beautiful hotel where each room has its own balcony with sea views! Just steps from the harbor and in the center of Saranda.
Budget Travel – Alfred’s Apartments – Our home during our stay! Quality apartments of all sizes at a great price. Our apartment had a balcony and even a washing machine.
Hostel Stay – Hostel Filipi – Nice views over the city, barbecue, terrace, shared kitchen and lounge. This is a great place if you’re on a budget offering cheap dorm beds and a way to meet other travelers.
For more places to stay in Saranda Albania you can explore the latest prices here!
Next Albania Itinerary Stop: Ksamil
How To Get There: Public Bus leaving on the half-hour. Example: 10:30, 11:30, etc….
Kickin’ it in Ksamil • 2 Nights
When we were told that Ksamil is known as Albania’s best beach town how could we not go and see for ourselves? This place blew us away and completely changed our idea of what the beaches in Albania look like.
Many people only visit Ksamil as a day trip from Saranda, but that isn’t nearly enough time. Especially considering there’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Butrint National Park right down the street!
- Head right to the beach, grab an overwater chair, and relax the day away.
- Rent a paddleboard or kayak to see the small islands in the harbor.
- Take a break from the water and spend a few hours strolling around Butrint National Park. Many people get an Albania travel guide to show them around Butrint as there’s so much history to take in!
→ Best Beaches of Ksamil and Why it’s Albania’s Most Popular Summer Town
Ksamil Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Hotel Luxury – While there aren’t a ton of resort options yet in Ksamil, you can’t go wrong with a stay at Hotel Luxury! Located just 150 m from Paradise beach, this will be a great option at any time of year.
Fun Vacation – Hotel Mira Mare – Small but beautiful boutique hotel with amazing views of the Ksamil islands. Easy walk from the beach, the town, and all the great seafood restaurants.
Travel Couple – VISI Apartments – Our home in Ksamil beach! VISI is right in the main town and just a 5-minute walk to the Ksamil beaches. Nice and affordable place to stay when visiting Albania.
For more places to stay in Ksamil you can explore the latest prices here!
Next Albania Itinerary Stop: Gjirokaster
How To Get There: Bus back to Saranda and transfer to a bus for Gjirokaster
Gjirokaster Village and Castle • 2 Nights
Tucked high into the mountains, this is the first of two non-seaside towns that we saw during our 2 weeks in Albania. Gjirokaster is known for its lively Bazaar and stonework which is everywhere from the streets to rooftops.
At once you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time and experiencing an authentic Albanian town! Not to mention, this is where you’ll find some of the most delicious local food in the entire country.
- Hike up to the Gjirokaster Castle where you can take in the views, learn about Albanian history, and visit the arms museum.
- Take a guided tour with the owner of a traditional 19th-century Albanian home.
- Shop your way through the Old Bazaar which is right in the old city center. Here you can buy everything from rugs to old pots, and souvenirs.
- Enjoy local specialties like rice balls, stuffed eggplant, and fried cheese at the Odaja Restaurant.
→ Gjirokaster Albania: Top 6 Tips For the Famous Castle Village
Gjirokaster Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Kerculla Resort – Stunning views of the city from above. This Gjirokaster hotel has a swimming pool, lounge, and restaurant on the property.
Fun Vacation – Old Bazaar 1790 – Beautiful historic house in a great location. Traditional Gjirokaster designs with modern amenities.
Travel Couple – Stone City Hostel – Our home in Gjirokaster and one of the best hostels on our Albania travel guide! This hostel has a warm and cozy vibe just steps from the Old Bazaar. Great view from the deck outside, and a fun atmosphere with other travelers in the common areas.
For more awesome Gjirokaster hotels you can explore the latest prices here!
Next Albania Itinerary Stop: Himare
How To Get There: Bus back to Saranda and transfer to a bus heading to Vlore.
Himare Beach Vibes • 2 Nights
Time to head back to the beach! What was once described as a small fishing town has completely changed into the seaside vacation village you’ll see today.
Touristy bars and restaurants line the ocean. Yet just behind them, the backstreets give off more of a local feel. Your time here will begin the beach hopping, hiking, and seeing all the beauty of the Albanian Riviera!
- Check out the Himare, Marachi, and Potami Beaches which are dotted with small coves.
- Jump in a car or rent a motorbike for a trip to Porto Palermo Castle.
- Hike around the old town and take in the views above Himare.
- Take the afternoon and make the beautiful hike from Himare to Livadhi Beach.
→ How to Get to Livadhi Beach Albania: Fun Coastal Hike from Himare
Himare Hotel Picks
Fun Vacation – Geo & Art Boutique Hotel Himara – Locally run small boutique hotel with nice terraces that overlook Himare town and beach. One minute walk from the beach and shops with clean and modern beach decor.
Travel Couple – Sunset Guesthouse – Our home in Himare! Set back from the main street this property is run by two kind owners who go out of their way to welcome you. Clean rooms, large balcony common area, and very economical price for the Albanian Riviera.
Hostel Life – Himara Hostel – Set in a traditional house, Himara Hostel is a quick 8-minute walk from the beach and offers free breakfast. Large outdoor space with hammocks and lounge areas. The hostel has bikes and kayaks for rent as well.
For more great Himare Albania hotels you can explore the latest prices here!
Next Albania Itinerary Stop: Dhermi Beach
How To Get There: Quick 30 Minute Bus Ride
Relax in Dhermi • 2 Nights
No 2 weeks in Albania would be complete without Dhermi and we saved one of the best beaches for last! As you make your way up the Albanian Riviera you’ll arrive in this small, but charming beach town.
In all honesty, tiny Dhermi being a “town” is even a little bit of a stretch! However, what it lacks in size it makes up for with its stunning blue water. Almost all your time will be spent at the beach, so pull up a chair and relax.
- Some beach spots play loud music while others have a relaxed feel. Grab a lounge chair of choice and jump in the ocean.
- Have lunch at Luciano and overlook the entire beach. Meals cost half or a fourth of what they would in other parts of Europe with this view. The great prices are one of the things that made our 2 weeks in Albania so enjoyable!
- After a long day at the beach hike up or drive to the old town for sweeping views of the coastline and mountains.
→ Dhermi Beach Albania: How to Find Paradise on the Albanian Riviera
Dhermi Hotel Picks
Ultra Luxury – Elysium Hotel – Perched up above Dhermi beach, this luxury hotel has rooms with both mountain and sea views. Gorgeous swimming pool, shuttle service to the beach, and everything you need for a relaxing stay.
Fun Vacation – Royal Blue Hotel – Cozy rooms with beautiful ocean views. Great location set on the Dhermi beach and close to all the restaurants and beach bars.
Budget Travel – Greccia Hotel – Just a quick walk to the beach this local run hotel is great if you are on a budget. Ask for a room on a high floor for amazing sea views!
For more Dhermi Hotels you can explore the latest prices here!
Next Albania Itinerary Stop: Berat
How To Get There: 5 Hours and 3 Buses, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. We caught the 9am bus and it worked great!
Exploring Berat • 2 Nights
We’re back in the mountains for the last stop on our 2 weeks in Albania Itinerary! Nicknamed the “City of a Thousand Windows,” the houses of Berat are built into the hillside with traditional Ottoman architecture.
The entire town buzzes with local life, and there are many walks and hikes that center around the Osum River. We had some of the best food of our trip here so make sure to come hungry!
- Hike up to the Berat Castle and take in the view over the city.
- Go on your own self-guided Berat UNESCO Architecture tour. Don’t forget your camera!
- Hike the 1.5-hour loop across the river that overlooks the town and Berat Castle.
- Walk along the Osum River at sunset before stopping into Antigoni Restaurant for a craft of wine.
- Eating a traditional meal at the Home Made Food Lili or Wildor Restaurant is a must when visiting Albania.
→ Berat Albania Guide: The Can’t Miss City of a Thousand Windows
Berat Hotel Picks
Fun Vacation – Hotel Onufri – Beautiful hotel set in the heart of the Berat UNESCO grounds and traditional architecture. The rooms have city views and a delicious breakfast included.
Central Stay– HOTEL ANSEL – Built in an old but charming building the hotel has beautiful stone rooms and a unique style. The property overlooks the river and is in the center of the city.
Hostel Life – Maya Hostel Berat – This fun place to stay is located just over the river, but still in the middle of all the action. Featuring a large outdoor area, bar, and free continental breakfast.
For more places to stay in Berat Albania you can explore the latest prices here!
Ending Your Albania Itinerary
If you followed our 2 weeks in Albania travel guide it would leave you with two additional nights. Most travelers head to the capital city of Tirana to finish their trip, but we did ours a bit differently.
We actually hopped on a bus to the lake town of Ohrid Macedonia. Unfortunately, means we don’t have any advice for Tirana. At least we saved something to look forward to next time!
Have any questions about this Albania travel guide or want to share your own Albania itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte and Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Albania Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities around the country. You can book a private hike through the Gamti Mountain, jump on a Tirana Walking Tour, or day trip to the beautiful village of Berat Albania.
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. This way you can plan your trip around the cheapest and most direct routes.
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld can be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
*We receive a commission for purchases made through links in this post. This allows us to continue our travels and keep providing great content to our readers! Also, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
If I came down from Dubrovnik and tried to do this route backwards down to Corfu would the buses run that way just as well? Should I just leave the prior planning until I actually show up in Albania? Also is there a place I could get my passport stamped when I exit the Schengen zone!
Thanks so much! xx
Hi Hailey! Yes, at the time of our visit buses were running both ways! When you leave the Schengen zone you will get a passport exit stamp even if you are traveling by car or bus at the border crossing. If your schedule is flexible you can certainly wait for Albania. We wrote an article about our experience on the buses in Albania as well as traveling from Dubrovnik to Montenegro that you might find helpful. From the capital, there are also shuttle bus companies that you can use to get to the South if you are traveling in high season! Have fun and let us know if you have any other questions. 🙂
I’m a digital nomad living here in Albania and I still haven’t been to Berat, I really need to visit. I’ve heard such good things about the wineries there.
Our favorite place we visited in Albania! That’s amazing you’re working remotely there
you mentioned in your post that you would have liked to spend more time in the northern beaches. where exactly are you referring to? I have been teetering on whether to go or not to Albania, but i think you have just convinced me!
Hi Holly! How great! We loved our visit to Albania and hope to return again soon. We were talking about the beaches surrounding Dhërmi and Himarë. There are lots of small beaches to visit along the coast that we wish we spent more time exploring. Hope you have a nice trip. 🙂
Hi this looks awesome. What month did you travel and was the sea warm enough to swim in? Thanks.
We visited in June and yes the water was the perfect temperature! Albania is such an amazing country and can’t recommend it enough