Albania is one of the least developed countries in Europe.
Albania is a Muslim country.
The Albanian language is like nothing you’ve ever heard.
The Albanian flag is everywhere, and not just on government buildings.
It’s dirt cheap.
Public transportation can be maddening.
Food can be hit or miss.
The evening stroll is the place to see and be seen.
You see children with their grandparents most of the time.
Albanians will question why you’re actually there.
Tirana is one wacky and vibrant city.
Berat is one of the most unusual-looking old cities I’ve ever seen.
The beaches on the Riviera are glorious.
Yes, I recommend Albania for solo female travelers!
Albania is mostly undiscovered, but it won’t stay that way.
Essential Info: Tirana is home to Albania’s only commercial airport. I traveled overland and arrived in Saranda via ferry from Corfu, Greece. Ionian Cruises has one ferry in each direction each day costing 19 euros ($22) and it takes an hour and 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the Ionian Cruises ticket office is not at the dock but down the street! Get your tickets in advance or you’ll have to hail a taxi in a panic like I did!
I departed Tirana via Montenegro Hostel’s direct shuttle to Podgorica, Budva, and Kotor. It costs 40 euros ($46) and should take five hours. While we had some nightmarish logistical issues due to a Norwegian tour group on the bus before our pickup, it was a very comfortable journey. I highly recommend it, as the alternative is taking several public buses of dubious quality. They also stop for a photo op at beautiful Sveti Stefan.
In Saranda I stayed at this modern Airbnb rental with a stunning balcony view for an absurd $35 per night. It can sleep up to seven. Keep in mind there is no kitchen whatsoever besides a small fridge.
In Berat I stayed in this incredibly comfortable hotel room via Airbnbwith air conditioning for an even more absurd $18 per night.
In Tirana I stayed in a private ensuite room at Propaganda Hostel, which is in an ideal location in the chic Blloku neighborhood, for 27 euros ($31) per night.
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Overall, I think visiting Tirana, Berat, and Saranda (plus a day trip from Saranda to Ksamil and Butrint) makes a good weeklong trip. I spread mine out over ten days. If you want to visit other countries at the same time, you could easily expand your trip to Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, and/or Montenegro.
Would you want to visit Albania? Share away!