After visiting Kosovo last year, I was told that I needed to visit Albania. I started looking up photos--and I was sold instantly. I visited Albania this summer and it was my favorite trip of 2017 hands down. Why? The beautiful nature, incredible hiking, historic cities, warm weather, delicious byrek, and decent prices... What else could one ask for in a vacation? Keep scrolling for beautiful photos of Albania, including photos of the most beautiful places in Albania that we visited. I truly hope this post inspires you to visit Albania.
The photos of Albania that you'll see here
We didn't get to the beach or the sea (unforgivable, I know!), but I hope to return to Albania in the near future to see more of this beautiful country. If I missed your favorite beautiful place in Albania, tell me where to go on my next trip. (I already have Vlora, the Southern Blue Eye, and Gjirokaster on my bucket list.)
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Photos of Theth, Albania
When we were in Kosovo, everyone told us that we had to visit Theth after going hiking the mountains outside of Prizren. I hadn't really heard of Theth at this point, but when I decided that we were visiting Albania, I became obsessed with hiking Theth. I am not the world's best hiker, but the hiking in Theth is worth the struggle. Anyways, here's some gorgeous photos of Theth to start off with... (You can organize a trip from Shkodra.)
This is the Kulla e ngujimit aka the blood feud tower. Northern Albania has long had its own set of laws referred to as the Kanun, which specifies etiquette to punishments for murders. Historically, this included the ability to have a vengeance killing (although only men can be assassinated; not women, the elderly, children, or sworn virgins). A kulla more generally is a fortified tower, however this one was used to negotiate blood feuds, which can last for generations. Blood feuds were banned during communist times and the tower is now an tourist attraction.
There's two blue eyes (Syri kaltër) in Albania: one in the North and one in the South. We didn't get to the Southern Blue Eye, but the Blue Eye of Theth was absolutely beautiful (although freezing cold).
It's almost impossible to skip Tirana, Albania's lively capital. The city is very modern, but I quite liked the Pyramid of Tirana. It was built in honor of Enver Hoxha and designed by his daughter. The Pyramid is partially used for broadcasting now although it's mostly abandoned at this point. For those who love post-communist architecture, taking photos in Tirana will be a blast.
Theth to Valbona and Valbona
The trail between Theth and Valbona is absolutely stunning and I encourage ANYONE visiting Albania to visit this beautiful region. The hike is moderately difficult. I advise not carrying a large bag if possible and wearing proper footwear as the path is quite steep at times.
Photos of Berat Albania
Berat is a UNESCO recognized city in Southern Albania and it is absolutely STUNNING. The city is estimated to be over 2,000 years old and you can see the city that many call "The City of A Thousand Windows." More comically, if you stay in one of the historic guest houses (we stayed in a guesthouse in the Fortress for 30 euros for the night), you can practically walk on someone else's roof. All the alleyways of Berat are absolutely stunning and Berat Castle (at the top) is the prize for making it there. Be warned that the hill up to Berat Fortress is a steep and long, so don't overpack or bring your rolling suitcase. Berat has lots of adorable cats.
Photos of Shkodra / Shkodër
Shkodër is one of Albania's centres of culture and Shkodër is a beautiful city in its own right once you get into the historic city centre. It's full of adorable cafes, lively bars, and cozy shops. At night, the centre (practically) becomes a catwalk for locals in beautiful outfits going out for dinner/a walk. Those heading to Theth or Montenegro will most likely be passing through Shkodra by bus, so take an extra day or two to explore it properly as it's more charming than I expected with delicious food.
Countryside in Northern Albania
It's almost impossible to take a photo of the Albanian countryside without including a photo of a bunker in Albania. There are estimated to be over 173,000 bunkers in Albania due to Enver Hoxha's paranoia that a war would break out with Yugoslavia or the USSR.
Photos of Kolmani Lake / Lake Kolman
Kolmani Lake is one of the big attractions in Northern Albania. I had assumed the lake had existed naturally a long time and when I looked at beautiful photos of Lake Kolman, I was sold when the organizer of our ride to Theth booked us ferry tickets on the way back. Lake Kolman is actually a reservoir that was artificially formed in the 1980s. I would call the Lane Kolman Ferry more of a tourist boat than a ferry as it goes slowly to allow you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Albania.
Have you been to Albania? Where was the most beautiful place in Albania that you visited?
Karen & Jacob. American expats and cat lovers from New York City and Kentucky who lived in Amsterdam.... Then, Paris. (Confusing, we know!) Now, we're living in The Hague, the Netherlands.
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