Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
Albania
Temple ruins (Monument of Agonothetes) in Apollonia
Temple ruins (Monument of Agonothetes) in Apollonia
Photo © Arben Alliaj
Characteristic house in Thethi, North Albania
Characteristic house in Thethi, North Albania
Photo © Rajmonda Nelku
Wild mountains around the Valbona valley
Wild mountains around the Valbona valley
Photo © Roland Tasho
Coffee in Shkoder traditional restaurant
Coffee in Shkoder traditional restaurant
Photo © Roland Tasho
View of the Mangalem quarter of the “White City”
View of the Mangalem quarter of the “White City”
Photo © Andi Nallbani

Located at the crossroads of the eastern Adriatic, Albania is home to many unique natural and cultural wonders. One of the last undiscovered countries Europe has to explore.

Inspired by his 1809 equestrian tour of southern Albania, Lord Byron wrote in his epic poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “Land of Albania! Let me bend mine eyes on thee.” Potential tourists echoed Byron’s sentiments until the country emerged in 1990 from an isolating communist rule.

Small, mountainous, with pristine wilderness and several rivers, Albania showcases many natural attractions. Syri i Kaltër (Blue Eye), a deep, dark blue forest spring surrounded by light blue water, hosts emerald-green turtles, water-lilies, blue dragonflies and kingfishers. Rafting in the many canyons, cycling, hiking, and rural tourism attract tourists. With 362 kilometers (225 miles) of coastline along the Adriatic and Ionian seas and still-pristine beaches, Albania is a popular destination.

Cultural sites abound. The UNESCO World Heritage site features: in Berat, fourth-century archaeological remains, a 13th-century castle, Byzantine churches and Ottoman-era mosques; and, in Gjirokaster (Gjirokastër), in the Drinos (Drin) river valley, a rare, surviving Ottoman town with two-story houses and cobbled streets. Butrint, a port from Hellenistic to Ottoman times on the Straits of Corfu, is another UNESCO World Heritage site, where the Greco-Roman theater stages ancient dramas.    

Memorable sounds include sheep bells, calls to Muslim and Christian prayers, and the ancient chant unique to Albania, still heard in cafes, which UNESCO proclaimed a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity". Varied handicrafts and delicious traditional cuisine complete Albania’s attractions.

Autumn Festival in Cobo Winery
 Regional Routes

Cobo Winery, Albania

Cobo winery is located near Berat, Albania, an area which has been inhabited for over 2400...

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Bazaar Pass
 Historic or Pre-historic...

Old Town of Gjirokastra (Gjirokastër), Albania

Gjirokastra (Gjirokastër) is a city located in southern Albania with a population of...

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Gifts from Berat
 Community

Silk Guide to the World, Albania

Natasha has been living in Tirana Albania for over 8 years. She relocated to Tirana with her...

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of the National Geographic Society.

AREA:  28,748 sq km (11,100 sq mi)

POPULATION:  2,995,000

ETHNIC GROUPS:  Albanian, Greek, Vlach, Serb, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Other

RELIGION:  Muslim, Albanian Orthodox, Roman Catholic

LANGUAGE:  Albanian, Greek, Vlach, Romani, Slavic dialects

CURRENCY:  lek (ALL)