With its ancient architecture, fascinating history and incredible natural beauty, Albania is a country with a lot to offer. Looking for culture? Check out Berat Castle, or visit Et'hem Bey Mosque. Sport more your thing? Catch a game at the Qemal Stafa Stadium. Sun worshipper? Miles of perfect, sandy beaches await you at the Albanian Riviera. No matter what you're looking for, it’s time to leave the stereotypes behind.
Hilltop fortresses, ancient Ottoman and Greek architecture, unspoiled lakes and pristine beaches; Albania has got the lot. Read on for our pick of the top 5 things to do in Albania.
Marvel at the iconic Sagrada Familla in Barcelona.
Gaudi’s majestic creation has been wowing crowds since it first began construction in 1882. Since then, multiple architects have taken up the reins on the project, some honouring Gaudi’s original designs, other’s redefining the creation completely. The multiple and varied facades of the building, plus its sheer size and majesty, make it a must do for any traveller visiting Barcelona.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Indulge in traditional Andalusian delicacies in Seville.
Seville is renowned for its gastronomic offerings, and whilst the traditional dishes may be simple to prepare, they’re bursting with fresh regional flavours. Gazpacho, Pescaito frito and Huevos a la Flamenca are all famed Andalusian specialities, or for those preferring traditional tapas, Seville has around 4,000 tapas bars to choose from – take your pick!See all trips that visit Seville
Live like a King in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Get a glimpse of life as the other half live with a guided tour of the Royal Palace in Madrid. The largest palace in Europe, the Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, though is only used formally for state ceremonies. Gorge your eyes on the many works of art by famed Spanish painters as you delve a little deeper into Spain’s rich history.See all trips that visit Madrid
Party till dawn in the clubbing mecca of Ibiza.
Nowhere on Earth will you experience clubbing quite like Ibiza. Home to some of the world’s most infamous clubs, come and join the party as night after night revered world class DJ’s play their hearts out to adoring crowds. Get into the mood with sunset cocktails at Café Del Mar then party till sunrise at Space, DC-10 or Ibiza Rocks.See all trips that visit Ibiza
Bask in sunlight on Barceloneta Beach.
Some cities are fortunate enough to have the perfect city/beach balance, and Barcelona is one of them. Whilst Barceloneta Beach may be man-made, the water is clear and refreshing and the beach is alive with travellers and locals alike chatting, swimming and generally loving life. Spend long leisurely lunches in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, hire bikes or rollerblades or just relax in the sunshine.See all trips that visit Barcelona
Explore the Islamic inspired fortress of Alhambra.
Rising from woods of cypress and elm, the Alhambra reigns supreme on the hillside of Gibraltar. Born in the 11th Century and then further developed over the 14th and 15th century’s, the fortress holds an extensive network of lavishly decorated palaces and irrigated gardens and gives those who visit it a glimpse into the rich history of the Spanish empire and the influence both Islam and Catholicism had on the Alhambra’s design.See all trips that visit Gibraltar
1. Korça Beer Festival, Korça – Korça is Albania's oldest and best-loved beer, and this is its biggest and best-loved festival. It's held annually in August in the town of the same name, with plenty of live music and – of course – plenty of the local brew being downed.
For more info on the Korça Beer Festival, click here.
2. National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, Elbasan – This celebration of Albanian folk music takes place nationwide in March. The city of Elbasan is its spiritual home, and attracts the cream of the country's folk music performers.
For more information on National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, click here.
3. Summer Festival – This traditional pagan festival marks the end of winter, and takes place annually on 14th March. It's celebrated throughout the country but the revelry reaches its peak in Tirana, with live music, circus performances and traditional foods aplenty.
For more information on Summer Festival, click here.
4. Gjirokastër Folk Festival – This festival of folk music takes place every four years in the Castle of Gjirokastër, and features performances of traditional folk music and Albanian polyphonic song, a highly unique national art form included on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
For more information on Gjirokastër Folk Festival, click here.
5. Tirana International Film Festival – Albania's sole red carpet event takes place each November. An excellent program of feature films and shorts from Albanian and international directors make it one of the top Tirana attractions for film buffs.
For more information on the Tirana International Film Festival, click here.
1. Victoria and Albert Museum, Tirana – This major Albanian gallery is home to an excellent collection of over 4000 works - largely painting and sculpture - by a range of Albanian and international artists.
For more information on the National Art Gallery of Albania, click here.
2. Skanderbeg Museum, Krujë – Located in the impressive Krujë Castle, this museum is dedicated to 15th century Albanian national hero Skanderbeg, and features a collection of exhibits documenting his life and times.
For more information on the Skanderbeg Museum, click here.
3. National Archaeological Museum, Tirana – Located in Tirana, the National Archaeological Museum is home to a fascinating collection of exhibits covering prehistory up to the Middle Ages.
For more information on the National Archaeological Museum, click here.
4. National Historical Museum, Tirana – Albania's largest museum opened in 1981, and features a collection of exhibits dating back as far as the Late Stone Age. The large mosaic on the building's facade is a particular highlight.
For more information on the National Historical Museum, click here.
5. National Museum of Medieval Art, Korçë – Located in a converted Orthodox church, this museum is home to an excellent collection of icons in stone, wood and metal, including various examples by famed Albanian artist Onufri.
For more information on the National Museum of Medieval Art, click here.
Albanian cuisine is typically Mediterranean, with heavy Turkish and Italian influences. Unsurprisingly for a country with such a good growing climate, vegetables figure heavily in the Albanian diet, with abundant meats like lamb and beef and all those miles of coastline providing the freshest and tastiest of fish.
Fërgesë – Like the sound of green peppers, chicken livers and gjizë (a traditional feta-like cheese) fried up then baked in an earthenware dish? Well, you've come to the right place.
Best eaten at - Restorant Piceri Era, Rruga Papa Gjon Pali II, Tirana
Tavë kosi – This sumptuous dish of lamb and rice baked in yoghurt is one of the country's most popular dishes, and an Albania food must-try.
Best eaten at – Restaurant Mangalemi, Rruga Mihal Komneno, Berat
Tave Krapi – A mouthwatering Albanian dish of stewed carp, tave krapi is found in many Tirana restaurants and comes in many varieties.
Best eaten at – Etnik - Kuzhinë Shqipe, Rruga Vllazën Huta, Tirana
Qofte Te Fërguara – These succulent traditional meatballs can be made with beef or lamb, and are a staple of many restaurants in Albania.
Best eaten at – Taverna Lazaro, Rruga Muzak Topia, Berat
Burek – This Albanian favourite is made from multiple layers of flaky filo pastry, with common fillings including spinach, ground meat and delicious feta-like gjizë cheese.
Best eaten at – ODA, Rruga Luigj Gurakuqi, Tirana
Comfortable walking shoes - Roads and pavements can be rough here, so leave the high heels at home.
Toiletries - You won't find familiar brands in Albania, so if you're particular about your toiletries then be sure to bring your own.
Sun block and sunglasses - Tirana weather is hot and sunny in summer, so rock the shades, and don't forget the sunscreen!
An adapter plug and transformer - Albania uses 220V, so you'll need a step-down transformer to run appliances that take 110V. Also, don’t forget your 2-pin European adapter.
Bug spray - Mosquitoes in Albania? Oh, but of course. The south of the country is a perennially popular stomping ground for this most tedious and bothersome of insects.