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Books about Albania, essential reads before & after you visit the country

Our top suggestions of historical and travel reads about Albania

Books About Albania
Books About Albania

Albania is not a hidden country anymore. Despite the fact that there are no so many books written about this country, there are enough to create the right idea of it if you are planning to visit it. Books about Albania offer a window into the nation’s past, present, and its people. Here are some suggestions of historical and travel reads about Albania that you should consider before and after visiting the country.

1. “The Albanians: A Modern History” by Miranda Vickers:

If you’re looking for a comprehensive overview of Albania’s history, politics, and society, Miranda Vickers’ “The Albanians: A Modern History” is a must-read. Vickers delves deep into the complex narrative of the country’s past and present, providing valuable context for your visit.

The Albanians: A Modern History
The Albanians: A Modern History

2. “Sworn Virgin” by Elvira Dones:

Elvira Dones explores the intriguing tradition of “sworn virgins” in rural Albanian culture. In this thought-provoking novel, the protagonist, Hana, must navigate the complexities of gender identity and family in a society deeply rooted in tradition. “Sworn Virgin” offers a glimpse into the clash between tradition and modernity in Albania.

"Sworn Virgin" by Elvira Dones:
“Sworn Virgin” by Elvira Dones

3. “Chronicle in Stone” by Ismail Kadare:

Ismail Kadare, Albania’s most renowned author, takes readers on a journey through the city of Gjirokastër during World War II. “Chronicle in Stone” offers a unique perspective on the country’s history and culture through the eyes of a young boy. Kadare’s lyrical prose and vivid storytelling make this novel an excellent starting point for your literary exploration of Albania.

"Chronicle in Stone" by Ismail Kadare:
“Chronicle in Stone” by Ismail Kadare

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4. “Albania’s Mountain Queen” by Marcus Tanner:

“Albania’s Mountain Queen” is a biography of Queen Geraldine, the last queen of Albania. Marcus Tanner’s detailed account explores the life and times of this fascinating royal figure, offering insights into the country’s early 20th-century history.

"Albania's Mountain Queen" by Marcus Tanner:
“Albania’s Mountain Queen” by Marcus Tanner

5.”Free” by Lea Ypi:

A thought-provoking exploration of the evolving concept of freedom in the modern world. Ypi, a prominent philosopher, delves into the experiences of the post-Cold War generation, blending personal narratives with philosophical analysis to examine the challenges and aspirations of young people in a rapidly changing global landscape. The book addresses contemporary issues like migration and global justice, making it a compelling read for those interested in the complex interplay between personal and political freedom in the 21st century. Ypi’s work encourages readers to reevaluate their own notions of freedom and its significance in our interconnected world.

"Free" by Lea Ypi:
“Free” by Lea Ypi

6.High Albania by Edit Durham

“High Albania” by Edith Durham is a captivating travelogue and ethnographic account of her explorations in the rugged and remote regions of northern Albania in the early 20th century. Durham’s vivid descriptions and engaging narrative paint a vivid picture of the customs, traditions, and the people she encountered during her journeys. Her deep appreciation for the Albanian highlands and the unique culture of the region shines through in this book, making it an enduring classic in the literature of Balkan travel and ethnography. “High Albania” provides a fascinating window into a bygone era and a lesser-known corner of Europe, making it a must-read for those interested in the history and culture of Albania.

High Albania by Edit Durham
High Albania by Edit Durham

7. “Albania” by Gillian Gloyer

It is a valuable travel guidebook that offers comprehensive insights into the diverse landscapes, culture, and history of Albania. It provides practical information for travelers, including detailed maps, recommendations for places to visit, and tips on local cuisine. Gloyer’s guidebook is an essential companion for those looking to explore the beauty and hidden treasures of Albania, making it a reliable resource for anyone planning a journey to this enchanting Balkan nation.

Albania by Gillian Gloyer
Albania by Gillian Gloyer

As you prepare for your journey to Albania, don’t underestimate the power of literature to deepen your connection with the country. These books about Albania will not only provide historical and cultural context but also offer a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs of the Albanian people. Whether you’re an avid reader or just looking to enhance your travel experience, these reads are an excellent starting point for your adventure in Albania.

Happy reading and, ultimately, happy travels!