This article is intended for those who want to learn more about the cities and towns in Albania. It’s for those who are planning their travel itinerary and need to understand which cities are worth visiting and which ones can be skipped. Below, you will find not only a brief description but also a comparative table that is visually informative and convenient.
Cities and Towns in Albania: General Facts
Below are some general points that apply to most cities or things you should pay attention to.
- Traffic. In the largest cities of Albania, there’s quite dense automobile traffic. However, this is only the case for about 2-3 cities. While the situation in Durres and Vlora is somewhat manageable, Tirana is a different story. The city experiences heavy traffic jams during rush hours.
- Travel tip: If you’re considering renting a car, plan to pick it up upon arrival and leave Tirana immediately, returning the car at the end and spending an additional 2 days in Tirana without it.
- If a car is essential for your journey across Albania, the opposite is true for Tirana. A car will only be a hindrance there.
- The most important advice: always try to book accommodations along your route with parking facilities. Accommodation search services are provided at the end of this article, and there’s a filter for that.
- Parking situation is particularly dreadful in Tirana. In 3-4 other cities, it’s tolerable. Parking in the city center is paid, while outside the center, it’s generally free.
- Beyond the cities, you can park wherever you like; it’s considered normal.
- For everything about parking in Albania, including costs and payment methods, read the article linked.
- Castles and Fortresses. Know that almost every city in Albania has the ruins of a medieval fortress perched on a hill. While the condition varies, this is an integral part of every city’s character.
- All cities in Albania are perfectly safe for tourists. Details on this are covered in the article: Safety in Albania.
- I also recommend reading the article on peculiarities of Albanian accommodations. You’ll find many interesting insights there, preparing you for what to expect.
Rating and Comparison Table
Below is a comparison table for nearly all cities in Albania; they are not numerous as the country is small. For your convenience, it includes indicators relevant to tourists.
Rating: a score from 1 to 10, where 1 means there’s nothing for a tourist to do and it’s not worth spending time, while 10 means the city is a must-visit.
Comprehensive city reviews from the rating can be found through the links below.
|Tirana||450 000||1614||No||9||95% of tourists in Albania visit Tirana, even if only for a day. It’s worth it.|
|Durres||117 000||627 BC||Adriatic / sandy||3||A gritty, port city, yet the country’s largest resort. All Tirana residents come here; it’s only 40km from the capital. If passing by, spend a couple of hours for sightseeing before moving on.|
|Vlora||80 000||6th century BC||Adriatic / sandy||6||Similar to Durres but cleaner, more modern, and fewer tourists. A major coastal city with good infrastructure. Loved by expats or tourists staying in Albania for a month.|
|Elbasan||75 000||1430||No||1||Industrial satellite city of Tirana, just 30km away. Nothing for a tourist here.|
|Shkoder||75 000||4th century BC||No||4||A neat, clean city with a beautiful pedestrian zone in northern Albania. Near the Montenegro border. Worth visiting if you’re going to the Accursed Mountains or traveling to Albania from Montenegro.|
|Fier||55 000||1729||No||3||A city where you can stop in transit for lunch and a stroll around the beautiful center. You can also pass it by without missing much.|
|Korce||52 000||1389||No||2||An industrial city. Its most famous fact: it houses a brewery. They produce the most popular Albanian beer: Korca.|
|Berat||38 000||6th century BC||No||8||On the UNESCO Heritage List. The city of a thousand windows. A must-visit.|
|Pogradec||21 000||6th century AD||Lake Ohrid||4||On one side, a neat town with beautiful views. On the other, not much to do here except admire the beauty. The city is at an altitude of over 800m; it’s 5-10 degrees cooler than the coast.|
|Gjirokaster||20 000||1st century BC||No||9||On the UNESCO Heritage List. A must-visit. Plenty of attractions in the area.|
|Kruje||18 000||10th century AD||No||3||A small town, not much to do. A plus: very close to Tirana. If short on time, it can be skipped.|
|Lezhe||15 000||385 BC||No||1||A transit city with no sea and only two attractions: the castle and Skanderbeg’s tomb.|
|Saranda||14 000||8th century AD||Ionian / pebble||10||The best city in Albania for tourists in all aspects.|
|Himare||6 000||7th century AD||Ionian / pebble||8||A great, cozy small town on the coast. Offers a variety of beaches and historical sites.|
|Dhermi||6 000||–||Ionian / pebble||6||A town near Himara. Quite similar yet simultaneously different. Choose Himara if you must, but if you have time, spend a day or two in both.|
|Ksamil||5 000||–||Ionian / pebble and sandy||9||Ksamil is only 7km away from Saranda. While Saranda is a city, Ksamil is a village, but with splendid beaches for peaceful relaxation. The views from Ksamil’s beach of the Albanian islands are breathtaking.|
|Permet||5 000||–||No||8||A small town in the mountainous region of Albania. Its main features: the Benje hot springs, Langarika canyon, and the SH75 road. Worth coming here just for these.|
Useful Information:All the cities mentioned in the article are marked on the Travel Map. It includes all the places from this Albania travel guide.
- As this article serves as a general introduction, it doesn’t specifically highlight Albania’s resorts, their benefits, and unique features. If you’re particularly interested in a beach vacation, detailed information can be found in the article: All About Albania’s Resorts. There, the focus is on helping you choose a resort for your beach getaway.
- The perfect journey across Albania involves:
- Duration of 10-14 days.
- And definitely having a car.
- Plus, a desire not only to lounge on the beach but also to explore different corners of the country.
- During this time, you will visit the finest and most captivating cities in Albania, complete with all the “must-see” attractions.
- For an road trip ideas through Albania, including timing, advice, and recommendations, consult the article linked.
In conclusion: the cities of Albania are an integral part of your journey. Here, everyone will find a place to their liking. Whether you adore architecture, the sea, mountains, or hiking trails – the key is to select the right place, and you won’t be disappointed.
Travel through Albania and unveil its most remote corners!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Albania
- Flights at the best prices with juicy discounts
- Car rental in Albania (cheaper – only by bus):
- Hotels and apartments throughout the country: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card in Albania
- Taxi and transfers: Intui.Travel