Albania Road Trip: The Best 7-Day Albania Itinerary

January 18, 2024

Albania, a hidden gem in the Balkans, is a land of natural wonders, stunning mountains and beautiful beaches waiting to be explored.

For many people, Albania has never been on their bucket list, and is unfortunately one of the most underrated countries in Europe.

In this article, we aim to dispel any misconceptions, because Albania is definitely a country well worth visiting.

The best way to discover Albania’s diverse beauty is through a road trip.

Firstly, let’s take a look at some aspects and features of driving in Albania that you should know before embarking on an Albania road trip. We’ll also address some of the most frequently asked questions about road trips in Albania.

And below, you’ll find our 7-day Albania road trip itinerary to help you explore the stunning scenery, immerse yourself in the country’s rich history, and enjoy the vibrant Albanian culture in just seven days.

So first, let’s see what you need to know before you set off on a tour of Albania.

Is Albania worth visiting?

Absolutely yes! If you love Mediterranean countries, the Adriatic Sea, vibrant streets and places full of adventure, Albania is a great destination for you.

In fact, despite its small size, Albania has basically everything a tourist could wish for: stunning mountains, lakes and rivers with crystal-clear water, beautiful beaches, a diverse culture, friendly people, and even affordable prices!

Downsides of Albania

Albania is a relatively underdeveloped country in Europe, and this has its drawbacks.

The road network is underdeveloped, there are few highways, and even paved roads are not always provided.

Another issue is the amount of trash. Unfortunately, we have seen Albanians throwing garbage in the streets, leading to a lot of litter throughout the city. This is not as common in developed Western countries.

Also, there are many stray animals, like dogs and cats, without a home. They often don’t have enough food. If you want to be kind, you can give them some food.

However, these downsides only slightly affect the overall travel experience. The positives more than make up for it, and knowing that you’re exploring a genuinely unique country, not just a hyped-up tourist destination, is truly special.

Getting to Albania

There are two main ways to reach Albania.

If you plan to travel from one of the nearby countries, you should consider traveling by own car. That’s what we did on our own tour of Albania.

If you’re coming from further afield, you’ll most likely travel by plane. In this case, you’ll arrive at Tirana airport.

There’s a third, special case: if you take a ferry from Italy to Albania. However, in this case, you’ll face the same situation as when traveling around the country in your own car.

To get to Albania, the best way to compare prices is through Omio.

Best time to visit Albania

The best time to travel to Albania depends on what you want to do during your trip.

If you only want to explore cities, spring or autumn is recommended.

If you want to go on a beach holiday, you should definitely choose the summer months.

If you want to see everything and don’t want too much heat, we recommend June or September. In these months you’ll probably be able to swim in the sea, you won’t have to worry about snow in the mountains, and it’s not too hot to visit the cities.

Driving in Albania

How are the Albanian roads?

The road network in Albania is quite diverse. There are some new roads that are in good condition and others full of potholes, which you should always be aware of. There are also many gravel roads, where driving is a real challenge.

In principle, it is true for all road sections that it is not possible to proceed at the same pace as in more developed countries. You need to plan a lot more time for each journey, wherever you go in the country, than you would if you traveled the same distance in more developed countries.

Traffic manners in Albania

The Albanian driving style is perhaps most comparable to the Turkish or Italian styles. If you’ve been to these countries, the only surprise will be the quality of the roads.

If you’re not familiar with this southern, fast driving style, let us introduce you to it in a few sentences. However, we would like to point out that these are merely practical observations, as most of these actions in Albania are considered as rule violations as well.

For one, the speed limits are hardly observed almost anywhere. They drive as fast as the road conditions allow, or even a little faster.

The solid line or the obligation to give way is less important. Whoever gets there first, or whoever is in a better hurry, goes first.

They are not afraid to overtake, whatever the conditions: bends, darkness, etc.

The horn is often used, even if it’s just to signal something or to say thank you.

While these sound tough, we would underline that it is survivable to drive in Albania. But only experienced drivers are recommended to drive.

Car rental in Albania

Of course, you can rent all kinds of cars in Albania. However, we definitely recommend SUVs as they can be an advantage when driving in the countryside and on gravel roads. It’s especially good if you rent an all-wheel drive vehicle and, if possible, one with a not-too-weak engine.

It’s a completely different experience to drive up the Albanian mountains in a comfortable, all-wheel-drive, powerful SUV than in a city car that you have to push up the hill.

To rent a car in Albania, we recommend you use or to compare car rental prices in Albania.

Fuel Stations in Albania

That’s something you certainly don’t have to worry about. Albania is full of fuel stations. Really, Albania is a country of fuel stations.

Along every main road you will find countless gas/petrol stations with staff to greet and serve you. For smaller roads, however, it’s worth thinking ahead, but sometimes there are also filling stations in the countryside in places you wouldn’t expect.

The only drawback is that fuel is quite expensive compared to other European countries.

Costs of a trip to Albania

Albania is a fairly cheap destination in Europe. On average, we were able to travel to Albania 30-50% cheaper than to Western Europe.

With a few exceptions, everything is cheaper: hotels, rental cars, services, entrance tickets, parking, restaurants. There are also no road tolls (with one exception, which is not included in our itinerary).

In terms of prices, the exceptions are fuel, which is quite expensive, and we found the foreign hypermarkets expensive. The latter can be avoided by buying from local vendors who are cheaper.

In 2023, you can find good accommodation for 2 people for under €90 per night, eat out for around €10 per person and easily manage a week-long trip (excluding flights) for up to €1000.

Currency usage in Albania

Although we write prices in euros and the euro is accepted almost everywhere, the official Albanian currency is the Albanian lek.

It doesn’t hurt to have some cash in lek on you, but basically we were able to pay everywhere in euros, for example, and credit card payment options were surprisingly common.

Please note that for credit or debit cards, in most cases MasterCard and Visa are accepted.

Is it safe to travel in Albania?

We did not feel that we were in danger and we had not read of any atrocities from others.

Basic advice is also worth following in Albania: keep your bag in front of you, don’t wear flashy clothes or jewelry, and don’t look too touristy.

If you follow these and pay attention, everything will be fine.

We had read the joke earlier that most Albanian thieves are already in Italy and steal there. Well, there may be a basis for the joke. Albania feels like a safer destination than some of the more western Mediterranean countries.

Solo travel in Albania

Traveling alone is perfectly feasible in Albania and, as the country is relatively safe, there is nothing to stop you.

As a man, there is nothing in particular to look out for in Albania.

For solo female travelers, it is worth mentioning that the majority of the country is Muslim, but less strictly religious than Arabs. Therefore, there is no need to wear a headscarf, in fact there are no dress restrictions for women and many women walk alone in the streets.

Is tap water drinkable in Albania?

In theory, yes, but in practice it is not recommended, and reportedly not even drunk by locals.

In short, always have bottled water with you.

After addressing the frequently asked questions, here’s the itinerary for our one-week road trip in Albania.

7-day road trip itinerary in Albania

We start our one-week Albania itinerary from Tirana, where those arriving by plane usually land.

However, as this itinerary describes a circular trip, you can of course start and end on any day of your choice.

Our itinerary also covers sightseeing, beaches, hikes in the mountains and visits to ancient ruins. And the trip can easily be extended with a few extra days, whether you want to visit the Albanian countryside or neighboring destinations such as Kotor in Montenegro or Corfu in Greece.

If you feel the pace of our itinerary is too fast, feel free to add a few extra days. You’ll be able to travel around the country in 10 or 14 days in much more comfort.

Map of the 7-day Albanian trip

We show the main destinations and routes on Google Maps.

So here’s our 7-day Albania itinerary to discover the best places to visit in Albania.

Day 1: Tirana

Tirana, Albania’s capital and largest city, is a vibrant and exciting city to explore on your first day.

Start by immersing yourself in the Albanian lifestyle as you wander the bustling streets of Tirana.

Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other in the city center.

The most popular tourist attractions to visit are:

Skanderbeg Square

Named after Skanderbeg, Albania’s national hero, the central square is the heart of Tirana and the hub of activity.

National History Museum

Learn about Albania’s rich history, including stories of the Ottoman Empire and the communist regime at this outstanding museum.

Et’hem Bey Mosque

Marvel at the stunning Ottoman architecture of this historic mosque, located right next to Skanderbeg Square.

Clock Tower of Tirana

Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city center.

Pyramid of Tirana

Recently renovated pyramid-shaped building close to the city center.

Originally a communist building, it is now used for educational purposes and as a lookout after its renovation.

You can get a wonderful panoramic view of Tirana’s city center by climbing to the top.

Dajti Ekspres

If you still have time left, you can take the Dajti Ekspres cable car up to the Dajti Mountain, from where you can enjoy a great view of the city and the surrounding mountains.

Where to stay in Tirana

It’s worth spending this night and the next in Tirana.

We recommend the following accommodation:

mk hotel tirana: a five-star hotel at a great price. It is located near Tirana airport. Not so much for luxury, but few of the rooms we have stayed in have been as clean and comfortable as there.

Rogner Hotel Tirana: also a five-star hotel, located in the city center, closer to Tirana’s attractions. It can be booked at a slightly higher price, but it is still affordable.

Hotel Bonsai: a very affordable four-star hotel located in the southern part of Tirana in the suburbs. If a low price is important to you, this can be a good choice.

Hilton Garden Inn Tirana: A modern, four-star hotel by the Hilton chain located in the western part of Tirana, a few kilometers from the city center.

Mulaj Hotel: also a four-star hotel in the center of Tirana, close to the main attractions.

Rooftop Tirana: apartments with great views of Tirana at excellent prices.

Gluten-free meals in Tirana

There are several restaurants in Tirana that serve gluten-free food. One of the best, however, is Tony’s American Restaurant & Coffee Shop, where you can eat gluten-free pizza and burgers.

Day 2: Lake Bovilla

Tirana – Lake Bovilla: 19 km (12 miles), about 1 hour

On the second day, visit Lake Bovilla, a charming natural gem just a short drive from Tirana.

Lake Bovilla is a picturesque reservoir nestled in the mountains of Dajti Mountain National Park.

Spend the day exploring the Lake Bovilla and Gamti Mountain, where you can hike, take photos, sample local food or simply enjoy the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

Lake Bovilla is a peaceful oasis in stark contrast to the bustling city of Tirana. It is an ideal destination for nature lovers and those looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Day 3: Theth National Park

Tirana – Theth National Park: 175 km (109 miles), about 4 hours

On the third day of your trip, head to Theth National Park, a gem of natural beauty and adventure in Albania.

Located in the Albanian Alps, Theth National Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering breathtaking landscapes and outdoor activities.

The drive to Theth is an adventure in itself, with a scenic drive through winding mountain roads offering stunning views of the Albanian Alps.

Arrive in Theth and immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty – towering peaks, scenic valleys and crystal clear rivers await.

Hike on well-marked trails, such as the path to the iconic Grunas Waterfall, passing through charming old stone bridges and traditional Albanian houses.

Visit the beautiful Kisha e Thethit temple, one of the most popular attractions in the area.

If you have more time, explore the stunning Blue Eye, a mesmerizing natural spring that showcases the park’s incredible aquamarine hue.

The Theth National Park offers a range of adventurous activities including hiking, rock climbing and canyoning for those looking for excitement.

Where to stay in Theth

Experience Albanian hospitality by staying in a guest house where you can sample traditional Albanian cuisine and interact with the local community.

We recommend the following accommodation in Theth:

If you have more time, in addition to hiking in the Albanian Alps, you can also visit other interesting attractions in northern Albania, such as the town of Shkodër with the popular Rozafa Castle and Lake Shkodra.

Furthermore, if you’d like to extend your trip by visiting a neighboring country, now is the perfect time to drive to Montenegro, where the beautiful Bay of Kotor awaits.

If you’re looking for a longer itinerary that includes Montenegro and Albania, we recommend this 10-day Balkan itinerary.

Day 4: Durrës

Theth – Durrës: 180 km (112 miles), about 4 hours

On the fourth day of your adventure, visit the historic coastal city of Durrës.

Durrës is a lively city on the Adriatic coast, known for its beautiful beaches and rich historical heritage.

Start exploring the city by visiting the Durrës Amphitheater, one of the largest Roman amphitheaters in the Balkans, which offers a glimpse into the city’s ancient past.

Explore the Durrës Archaeological Museum, home to a fascinating collection of artifacts from different historical periods.

Visit the Venetian Tower of Durrës, an outstanding landmark and reminder of the city’s Venetian influence.

Enjoy the afternoon on one of Durrës’ best beaches, where you can sunbathe and take a refreshing dip in the Adriatic Sea.

Stroll along the seafront promenade lined with cafés and restaurants, the perfect place to sample delicious seafood and enjoy the sea breeze.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the stunning sunset over the Adriatic Sea, casting a golden glow over the city and its waterfront.

In the evening, discover Durrës’ vibrant nightlife, with bars, clubs and beachside nightclubs.

Durrës is a city with a rich tapestry of history, a beautiful coastline and a vibrant atmosphere, making it an unmissable destination for history lovers and beach lovers alike.

Where to stay in Durres

We recommend the following hotels in Durres:

Day 5: Berat, Albanian Riviera, Vlorë

Durrës – Berat: 95 km (59 miles), 1.5 hours

On the fifth day of your journey, head to southern Albania to explore the historic city of Berat and enjoy the stunning Albanian Riviera.


Begin the day with a visit to Berat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its architecture and unique beauty.

There are lots of great things to do in Berat, but due to the limited time available, we’ll just focus on the main attractions:

  • Visit Berat Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the city and its surroundings.
  • Explore the Onufri Museum in the castle and admire the impressive collection of Albanian religious art.

After exploring Berat, head to the Albanian Riviera, a breathtaking stretch of coastline known for its crystal clear waters and picturesque beaches.

Berat – Vlorë: 82 km (51 miles), 1.5 hours

The first major town on the way is Vlorë, where you can spend the afternoon and the evening.

Vlois a charming seaside town with beautiful waterfront. So it’s worth taking a leisurely stroll along the city’s long seaside promenade and enjoy the sea views.

Visit also the Independence Monument in the heart of Vlorë, an iconic symbol of Albania’s struggle for independence.

End the day with a delicious dinner at a seaside restaurant.

Where to stay in Vlorë

We recommend the following hotels in Vlorë:

Day 6: Gjirokastër, Blue Eye, Sarandë

On the sixth day of your Albania road trip, you can explore the historic town of Gjirokastër, visit one of Albania’s most famous natural attractions, the Blue Eye, and end the day in the beautiful coastal town of Sarandë.


Vlorë – Gjirokastër: 130 km (81 miles), about 2 hours

Start the day with an excursion to Gjirokastër, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture.

Explore the Castle of Gjirokastër for incredible views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Take a stroll through the historic old town, characterized by its narrow cobbled streets and charming stone houses.

Blue Eye

Gjirokastër – Blue Eye: 34 km (21 miles), 45 minutes

After Gjirokastër, head to the Blue Eye, a natural spring that forms a stunning blue pool surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Experience the enchanting shades of blue and marvel at the natural beauty of this unique spring.

If you have time, take a break at the Blue Eye and immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings.


Blue Eye – Sarandë: 22 km (14 miles), 40 minutes

Continue your journey to Sarandë, a bustling seaside town known for its wonderful beaches and vibrant nightlife.

Explore the beach promenade and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Ionian Sea, breathing in the fresh sea air.

Visit the Lekuresi Castle, with its hilltop panoramic views of Sarandë and the nearby island of Corfu.

In the evening, enjoy a delicious Albanian dinner at a local restaurant on the beach, where you can sample local specialities.

Where to stay in Sarandë

We recommend the following hotels in Sarandë:

Day 7: Tirana

If you’re interested in exploring the beautiful island of Corfu in Greece during your trip, Day 7 provides a perfect opportunity for a day trip or a longer visit.

If you prefer not to travel to Corfu or if your circumstances don’t allow it, Day 7 serves as the last day of your Albanian adventure, culminating in your return to Tirana.

Sarandë – Tirana: 263 km (163 miles), about 4 hours

If you missed something on your trip, you can make up for it on the last day. You can also enjoy all that Albania has to offer, from the best beaches to historical sites and natural wonders.

Other destinations you can include in a longer and more comprehensive trip

  • Butrint National Archaeological Park
  • Langarica Canyon near Permet
  • Peshtura Waterfall near Tepelena
  • Valbona Valley in northern Albania

In this exciting country, a 7-day road trip allows you to discover exciting cities, beautiful beaches, and stunning mountain regions. We hope that our itinerary and tips have inspired you and provided you with ideas for an unforgettable Albanian road trip. Don’t hesitate to explore this amazing country where new adventures await you around every corner. Go ahead and create your own memorable Albanian stories!

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