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10 best cities for weekend vacations in Albania [Jun 2024]

You only get so many weekends a year, make them all count!

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There’s a theory that one should take a vacation every 3 months. It is necessary for emotional well-being and totally anti-stress to go to a new place once in a while, to meet new people, to spend time under another sky. I know most of us do not have the privilege of time to relax just so often but there is always a golden mean: Weekends!

I have listed below the 10 most interesting cities to spend a different weekend for those who live in Tirana and do not know where to direct their boats this time. And guess what, all of them are daily getaways too. They are so near the capital, that you can enjoy a lot of them within a day.

From north to south, here is where you can go for a spiritual rest but also for many adventures.

You only get so many weekends a year, make them all count!

 

1.Shkodra

About 1 hour and a half away from Tirana, Shkodra is the city of all seasons. Begin your visit to the centuries-old Rozafa Castle. The castle with ancient and medieval ruins, as well as the magnificent views of Lake Shkodra and the three rivers that meet each other, undoubtedly deserve your attention. Visit the National Museum of Photography Marubi, one of the newest and most visited museums in the country, which holds in its archive about 400 thousand negatives on glass plates. The museum displays some of the symbolic photographs of the 19th and 20th century Albanians, so you should not miss it. For more destinations to visit click here.

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2. Lezha

An hour north of Tirana, Lezha welcomes you full of agritourism destinations, beaches, castles and lagoons. Travel to “Rana e Hedhun” to see a different experience of one of the most beautiful Albanian beaches. You will be amazed by the peculiarity of this Adriatic coast, and you can feel as if the whole beach belongs to you. Visit an important asset of the country, the burial place of the national hero Gjergj Kastriot Skënderbeu. to be enabled by a stunning landscape that penetrates deep into the sea, but overlooking the river, lagoons, plains, mountains and the whole city. For more destinations to visit click here.

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3. Durres

Durres is the blue destination closest to Tirana, but do not just enjoy the beach. Visit the City Amphitheater. It is the most important ancient ruin of Durrës. It is located in the center of the oldest neighborhood of Durrës, surrounded by residents’ houses. The castle is as old as the city of Durrës itself. Over the centuries it has been demolished and rebuilt several times. The surrounding walls of Durrës in their main part belong to the period of Emperor Anastas (491-518) originating from this city and consist of two main parts: the Acropolis or the Upper Castle and the Lower Castle. For more destinations to visit click here.

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4. Vlora

The place where the Adriatic Sea kisses the Ionian Sea is a must for a more diverse weekend. as a coastal place there are several islands that you can visit like that of Sazan and Zvërnec, positioned only 12 km away from Vlora, Covered by tall pines and can be reached by walking through a 270 meter long bridge, which enables a stunning encounter with nature. A new attraction is the Jewish Road, which has undergone reconstruction and has created a very cozy environment to drink coffee with friends and family. For more destinations to visit click here.

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5. Elbasan

The city of Elbasan is small and invites you for a historic visit but the real magic is in its surroundings, between the canyons and lakes among the greenery where you can go hiking and a fantastic picnic. Positioned in the center of the city, the plain castle of Elbasan is always the most beloved place for visitors in every season. Inside the castle are so many historical and cultural monuments, which are living evidence of our ancient roots. Gjinari village is considered as one of the most touristic areas that hosts the largest number of tourists. In addition to enjoying the fresh air and organizing a picnic, there are also old churches worth visiting. Click here for more about Gjinari.

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6. Belsh

Until recently, Belshi could never be called a city. However, it is now an enjoyable one, especially after the hotels, restaurants, and bars were built.Want to take a short boat ride on Lake Belsh? Yes, it is possible. For a very small fee. Have you taken your bike with you or will you rent one to explore the hills and lakes your way? Yes, that’s possible. Are you a professional explorer and prefer to walk and slowly enjoy the sunset in the evening? Everything is possible in Belsh. The terrain is easy for anyone who wants a weekend close to nature. For more things to do click here.

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7. Divjake

Divjaka is only 50 minutes away from Durres, so even if you want to explore it within a day, you can do it quite easily. One of the main destinations in Albania for bird watching. Divjaka and its park are more and more populated by migratory birds, so in every season you will find flying friends there, even beautiful flamingos. Apparently, the peace of this park attracts the best. If you do not want to go swimming, or you ain’t a fan of it, you can always explore the Karavasta Lagoon by boat. Don’t forget to look for the beach too. For more things to do click here.

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8. Berat

The city is part of the UNESCO world heritage list since 2008, remains one of the most valuable shreds in historical values and tourism magnets in Albania. Walk up to The Castle of Berat. It is a fortress from which the whole city can be seen. There are 14 churches inside for which this castle is famous for. One of them is the Church of the Holy Trinity, which dates to the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Have a look at the “Purple Codex of Berat”, a very important manuscript for the beginnings of Biblical writings. Judging by the writing technique it is thought that it was written in the 6th century. For more things to do click here.

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9. Pogradec

Just in the border with North Macedonia, visit Pogradec and its panoramic landscape. You can visit the park of Drilon, about 3 miles (4 km) from the city, with its pristine springs and stunning scenery. Alleys, wooden bridges, swans, ducks, and pigeons complete this fabulous scene. Don’t miss the castle of the city up in the hill. The view that the highest part of the castle offers is extraordinary.  Obviously, nature and history merge there. For more things to do, click here.

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10. Korça

The peace of a quiet and hospitable city. A heart-shaped city as its poets say, but also a hearth of knowledge. Korca is remembered for the opening of the first Albanian school in 1887 and is still a cradle that raises important Albanian figures.Visit The Cathedral, The first school Museum, the bazaar in the centre of the town but don’t forget to travel to Voskopoja, Dardha or Boboshtica for a good day in nature and good traditional food. for more things to do, click here.

 

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What is your favourite weekend destination in Albania so far?

Let us know in the comments below!