5 of the best things to do in Albania

5 of the best things to do in Albania

Alice Barnes-Brown plots a travel itinerary in the up-and-coming Balkan destination

1. See Butrint National Park
Close to Albania’s border with Greece lies Butrint, an ancient Greek city dating from the eighth century BC, complete with an impressive theatre, market, school and temple. The Romans arrived in AD44 and doubled the size of Butrint, building a bath and aqueduct. Today, the site is a Unesco Word Heritage Site, resides in its own National Park and makes for a fascinating excursion from nearby Sarandë.

ButrintButrint National Park

2. Take a ride in Tirana 
Albania’s cool capital Tirana is filled with communist-era architecture and has a budding street-art scene. The Dajti Ekspres, the longest cable car in the Balkans, takes guests up Dajti Mountain, a forest-draped National Park in Tirana’s suburbs. At the summit, expect sweeping views over the city, a revolving restaurant, mini-golf and plenty of hiking routes among junipers and strawberry trees.

 Albania Cable carDajti Ekspres

3. Hike to the Blue Eye
Deep in the rocky valleys of the Albanian Alps is the Blue Eye, an ice-cold (yet tantalisingly turquoise) pool fed by a gushing waterfall. It’s easy to reach, involving just one hour’s walk up a single gravel track from the car park at Nderlysaj village. If clients work up a sweat from the walk, they can dive into the pool – or sip a cold drink at the cafe that overlooks it.

 Albania WaterfallBlue Eye

4. Explore Krüje Castle
Overlooking its namesake city, Krüje Castle has stood tall since the fifth century. Wander its grassy grounds and around the old clock tower, discover the story of Krüje’s national hero Skanderbeg – a 15th-century rebel who fought the occupying Ottoman forces – in an impressive museum. Take the steps down into town to browse an incredibly colourful array of handicrafts in one of Albania’s oldest bazaars

5. Stay at the Meliá Dürres
The Meliá Dürres, which opened last summer, is Albania’s newest major hotel. Close to both the beach town of Dürres and capital Tirana, the five-star property combines international-grade facilities – including a 138 metre-long pool, a two-floor spa and expansive outdoor sports facilities – with regional flare. The Italian-influenced Casa Nostra restaurant uses locally sourced produce to concoct delectable basil-sprinkled dishes.

Melia DurresMeliá Dürres



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