This Mediterranean destination, within the Balkans, is not well known. Yet what a gem! In northern Greece, facing the heel of the Italian boot, between the West and the East, Albania was marked by the wealth of great riverside civilizations: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and, of course, by the Illyrians, direct ancestors of the Albanians. The destination is therefore distinguished by its archaeological treasures. Albania, recently opened to Western tourism, has in recent years attracted a new clientele fond of sunny coasts, mountains (70% of the country), lakes and wild forests. Turquoise water creeks or mountain hikes, you have the choice.
Facing Corfu, there is the seaside resort of Saranda, you can also visit Tirana, the capital, a bustling city, a university town and the symbol of an overthrown dictatorship. To the south-east, Korça stretches over the slopes of Moravia, a small town with a rich heritage, mosques and churches with Byzantine influences. Here is brewed a beer that is appreciated throughout the country. The coastline extends over 362 km, along the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. From natural and archaeological sites to historic villages, from museums to historic monuments, Albania's tourist guide will help you discover all these attractions. The most popular sites are Lake Ohrid, the village of Berat and its castle or the National Historical Museum of Tirana. In summer, tourism is concentrated on the shores of the Adriatic Sea where the southern coast offers huge sandy beaches. Your Albanian tour guide will help you make the right choices.
When to go to Albania?
When to go to Albania? This destination remains affordable even at the height of the tourist season. However, some restaurants in seaside resorts close in winter. If it is the sea and high temperatures that attract you, the climate is favourable from early June to late September. In the off-seasons, it remains pleasant. At high altitudes, in winter, snow can handicap you. To travel in a different way and discover the local cultural life, plan your visit during the Easter religious holidays, Catholic or Orthodox, the Muslim holidays of Eid el-Kebir or Eid el-Fitr, or Mother Teresa's Day (October 19). Since several religions coexist in Albania, even during Ramadan, you will find bars, restaurants and shops open during the day. The vast majority of tourists are local people or neighbours of Albania, the number of foreigners coming from the West is still anecdotal. So all year round, you will never be in these crowd baths related to mass tourism.
In winter, snowfall is quite frequent at high altitudes, winters are milder and rainier on the coastal plains. In summer, average temperatures are lower in mountainous regions than in coastal areas, but with greater daily variations. For example, central and western Albania experience high temperatures (40°C) caused by warm winds from the sea. Inland basins and river valleys have the highest temperatures, but nights are almost always cool. Average precipitation is high, especially in the central highlands. Vertical warm currents from the Mediterranean cause frequent storms in summer with strong winds. Finally, in the west of the country, the Boga Valley is one of the wettest areas in Europe