A week of vacation! Only seven days before our daily duties will need our attention again. You may think that seven days are not enough to make a trip but I will prove you wrong. How to visit the most beautiful places in Albania in 7 days!
First day - Arrival at the Capital
You will probably arrive in Tirane, the beautiful capital of Albania. When you arrive at the airport you will see different car rental businesses. Check them out and convince them to give you a better price than the previous stand. If you like to bargain, Albania is your country! We discussed the price for 5 minutes and got a good deal. We paid 100 euro’s to rent a 4x4 car for 7 days, if you travel with some friends or family you can easily split the costs. I would recommend renting a 4x4 because of the bad condition of the roads in Albania. There is one highway connecting all of Albania but all the other paths are gravel roads.
Why by car and not by public transportation?
For this trip, it is interesting to be very flexible, to stop at beautiful places along the road. You can stop where and when you want and if you would take the bus every day you would pay the same price as for the car. But if you would prefer public transport you shouldn’t worry. There’re a few busses a day that will take you to the big cities like e.g. Vlore to Durres or Durres to Tirane for a small price.
You do not really need a map to travel through Albania so you can leave your sense of directions at home. Albania has one big highway that connects the north to the south, which makes this country ideal to visit. You should definitely take a walk through Tirane first. It’s stunning with a lot of nature and architecture. The houses are full of art designs, which makes it very colorful compared to other big cities in Europe. Another thing I would recommend to do while you’re in Tirane is to take the cable cart up to Mount Dajti.
The cable car Dajti Ekspres brings you from the center of Tirane to the Dajti tower at 4,7 kilometer. The ride lasts 15 minutes before reaching the top. You will have an amazing view from there and you can hike even further up till the top of the mountain. We backpacked our way up and slept on the mountain. The view over Tirane and the sea is just gorgeous. Important to know is that the cable car closes on Tuesday! Something pretty important if you are waking up on a Monday and want to return down after a camping night, but the cable car is closed. This was our case so we needed to walk all the way back to Tirana. This takes about 5 to 6 hours but it's a nice trail to do.
After you visited Tirane, head down to the highway and start driving southwards! Your first stop should probably be Durres. Because we took our time in Tirane we arrived around 7 pm in Durres but at nightfall, the city is still worth visiting. We walked on the dike and enjoyed a late-night restaurant, it just couldn’t be better.
In Durres you can go visit the amphitheater and the Durres castle. Both great architectural buildings that date way back till the 400s. I would also recommend the dike which is really nice to go take a drink with a view on the beach.
For accommodation, I can’t really give you some tips because I always travel with my tent in my backpack. We walk towards a very nice spot, set up our tent, and enjoy nature. It’s simple and it’s free. A way a living that suits me really well and where I can feel totally at ease.
Third day - Vlore
We head down to Vlore to enjoy this beautiful city. We stayed here for 2 days on the trip because we really enjoyed this city, it has amazing architecture, and the beach is lovely. You can see the sunset disappearing behind the mountains while enjoying one of the best cocktails ever! If you love cocktails or even shisha you can go to “ Mazana” on “Murat Tërbaçi Road”. Because we had a few drinks we decided to stay with a nice family who rented an extra room in their house.
Although their English wasn’t that good we still had the most warming welcome ever! Everyone in the family came to say hello and the grandpa brought us some fresh mandarins from his garden. When we left in the morning we got some “portokall” which is the translation for oranges. They all looked so happy that we enjoyed our stay, so I can only encourage you to stay with them. You can always find them on Booking.com under the name Sea View Apartments in Vlore.
If you are looking for something cheap and fast to eat you can never find something better than Pizzeria Sufllaqe. You can find a sufflaqe in this shop for 0.70 cents. It’s way better than any Kebab I have ever eaten! Sufflage is a fresh bread filled with roasted meat, vegetables and some fries in between. Just delicious!
We drove from Vlore to the south of Albania, it may seem like a long drive but in less than 3 hours we arrived at the llogara pass.
This is a part of the highway that leads you to the top of the mountains where you have the most splendid view. After the mountains, the highway circles down until you arrive at the beach. The road takes you up to 1027 meters overlooking the Albanian Riviera.
When we arrived at the beach we enjoyed a Greek salad at one of the restaurants and went for a little swim. We traveled to Albania in November but it was still 24 degrees! Because it was still very hot we decided to stay at the campsite on Gjipe beach. I can tell you this is the most wonderful place in Albania.
Gjipe beach has 300 days of sun a year and has the clearest seawater in all of Europe. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful beach I’ve seen so far. Even the beaches in Thailand can’t measure up to this one. The beach is situated between a canyon and in the canyon, there is a small campsite. Because it was November we were the only ones there and it was like our own private beach. We made a fire and got company from the camping cat, I called him Lion!
If you want to stay there for a day or two I suggest you take a walk down the canyon. We hiked back with our backpack to the top of the hill were we parked our car. TIP: if you let your car on top of the hill make sure you leave nothing valuable behind. When we arrived at our car the next morning there were three women asking for “parking money” which was absurd because it wasn’t even a parking lot. So with some arguing, we finally left without paying the incredibly high price they were asking. That being said you should know that this was the only time during our trip that we came in contact with scammers.
Albanian people are extremely nice and they will always try to make you feel at home. This country is safe, clean, friendly and has a lot to offer so you don’t have to be afraid to travel to this magnificent place.
To continue our road trip through Albania we decided to leave the highway and take the small gravel roads to the Blue Eye or also called “Syri I Kaltër”.
The Blue Eye
This is a spring that is so unrealistically blue that you wouldn’t believe your eyes. How deep this spring is, is not yet determined. Divers can’t go further than 50 meters because the water pressure is too heavy. When you arrive at the National Parc you have to pay an entrance fee. You will arrive at a very quiet place surrounded by very large lakes. We were looking for a place to camp but there was no flat terrain on which we could set up our tent. The Blue Eye itself was nice to see but if you make a detour especially for the Blue Eye then I would say it is not that spectacular.
We drove back up through the Llogra Pass to Vlore. Because you only have one main road it’s necessary to take the same road up. Which is not that disturbing because like I said it offers you extraordinary views. Because we still had one day left we decided to head back to Vlore to visit Berrat which is not that far from the big city. Because we loved that little family we rented our same room at Sea View Apartments in Vlore that night and spend the day in Berrat.
Berrat is a 2,413-year-oldcity and it is the pride of Albanian architecture. It's under the protection of UNESCO and is located 120 km from Tiranë. I would recommend the amazing castle on top of the hill which is definitely worth a climb!
The next day we traveled back to Tirane to end our holiday with a fancy restaurant and then we took the plane home. We spent a lot of time in the south but you could also check out the north of Albania. On the northern side of Albania, you have a lot of magnificent mountains, perfect if you want to extend your trip to do some hiking.
I hope you enjoyed this 7-day itinerary! If you went to Albania and followed this journey make sure to share your photos and I will gladly repost them on the social media accounts of Fly Along!
Keep on dreaming and Fly Along!