Frequently Asked Questions... about Albania
Find out everything you need to know about holidaying in Albania here. Whether you don’t know what there is to see and do or what their climate and cuisine is like, our frequently asked questions will guide you through the basics.
What are the main reasons to visit Albania?As an emerging Balkan destination, Albania is a really exciting place to visit. It has an inspiring combination of historical sights as well as some truly stunning natural scenery, from dramatic mountains to picturesque coastlines. Another facet of interest is the fact that it is a rather mixed country in terms of its influences; numerous places, such as Turkey and Italy, have helped shape it over the years, creating a unique and fascinating culture. These influences can certainly be discerned in its cuisine, which you can find out more about below.
What are the country's top destinations?Albania's top destinations are Tirana and Gjirokaster. The former is the nation's capital and, being home to an array of excellent museums, is a good place to delve into the country's culture. The National Museum is particularly celebrated, as is the National Art Gallery. Gjirokaster is an extremely well preserved Ottoman town, and is home to an array of sights. Here, you can admire one of the largest castles in the Balkans, which comes in the form of the city's fortress, as well as one of the region's largest burial mounds.
Sarandë, Albanian riviera
What is the climate like?Being a European country, the seasons of Albania mirror those in the UK. However, the two climates are still rather different. Albania has a Mediterranean climate, so you can expect hotter summers than those in the UK.
When's the best time to visit?The warmer months are definitely the best time to visit Albania as the winters, while quite mild, tend to be rather wet. However, it is wise to avoid July and August, as during these months the weather can get uncomfortably hot for sightseeing. On the whole, May, June and September are the optimum months to travel.
Do I need a visa ?If you are a UK citizen, no.
Do I need any vaccinations?There are no required vaccinations for Albania, but we would always recommend you visit your doctor before your trip to check, as requirements can change and your medical history might mean you require an inoculation, such as a top-up of a standard vaccination.
Krujë, northern Albania
What's the national cuisine like?Albania possesses a Mediterranean cuisine, which has been heavily influenced by Italian and Turkish traditions. This means you can look forward to dishes that feature plenty of fresh vegetables, while meat – particularly lamb and veal – also features heavily. In the coastal cities, you will come across more seafood dishes. It also well worth trying some local bread; the country has a long tradition of producing delicious breads, and freshly baked loaves are still a staple part of the diet. As in much of Europe, bread tends to be placed on the table as an appetiser before a meal.
What are the country's top tourist attractions?Two wonderful historical ruins top the list of things to see in Albania. The first of these are the Greco-Roman ruins of Butrint, which are a Unesco world heritage site. Particularly fascinating as the remains span thousands of years, this site is home to ruins of an acropolis, public baths and mosaics. Equally fascinating, though offering a little less to see, are the Roman ruins at Apollonia, which was once an important trading route for the Roman Empire. It retained this status until the 3rd century AD, and today houses the remnants of old theatres and other fragments of this once-great Roman city. You can also pay a visit to the Museum of Apollonia, which houses a selection of exhibits from the site. It is worth spending a minimum of a few hours to exploring each of these destinations; however, should you harbour a particular interest in the ancient world, it is certainly worth dedicating longer to visiting them.
And are there any lesser-known attractions worth visiting?Something that is particularly worth doing, and which might not automatically spring to mind, is crossing the border into Macedonia. The reason for doing so is to discover the delights of Lake Ohrid, which straddles the border between Albania and Macedonia. This vast, scenic lake is particularly captivating owing to the clarity of its water – but this isn't its only appeal. In fact, many churches line its banks, which make for enthralling visits. Of particular note are the St Sophia Cathedral and the Church of St Clements, the latter of which is where Europe's very first university was founded.