Albania has come late to the party of former Eastern countries now attracting Western visitors, but things are quickly moving in the right direction. After decades of corruption and neglect, Albania is now on track to join its European neighbors in becoming a hotspot for international tourists ready to take advantage of the relatively low prices in a scenic new frontier. Right now Albania is mainly for the more adventurous, but it’s not likely to stay that way for long.

What To Do

Tirana is the capital city and the first place most visitors will enter. The city has a compact center and is easy to explore on foot. The architecture reminds newcomers of European influences as well as those left over from the Ottoman Empire days. The clock tower in the city center is a great place to start your exploration of Tarina.

Gjirokaster is a small and scenic town that travelers are finding. With an easily manageable size and layout you can see the old center and the Ottoman-era architecture in a pleasant setting, but the main draw is the castle on top of the hill.

There is a large archeological site called Butrint on the southern coast near the border with Greece. Transportation is available from the nearby southern town of Saranda.

Getting There

You’ll want to book a flight into the Tirana International Airport (code: TIA), which is now served by many major European carriers such as British Airways, Alitalia as well as low-cost carrier Germanwings.

Where To Stay

There are hostels in Tirana as well as in Gjirokaster and Saranda. Of course, there are hotels in all these cities as well, but as with anywhere the better and cheaper places fill up well in advance so plan ahead.