Destinations / Travel

Is Albania Europe’s undercover summer destination of choice?

albania travel

Puncturing the thirst traps, sunbed selfies and plates of Mediterranean fare that appear on my feed this time of year, is a new European destination: Albania. In the last couple of years the country, neighbouring Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo, has emerged as something of a secret summer hideout; one where the flights though infrequent are cheap, the beaches untouched, the local hospitality generous and warm.

Like many of its fellow Balkan nations, Albania was once written off as a place to be explored at one's own risk. Until the late 1980s, before which it was under communist rule, the country was closed off to tourists. It was only in the 90s that backpackers began to trickle in, through word-of-mouth recommendations and the promise of roaring nightlife, cheap beer and the potential for unplanned adventures and spontaneity.

@msgarnagain How much I spent in Albania in two days 🇦🇱 ##BudgetTravel##CheapTravel##VisitAlbania##AlbaniaTravel##EuropeTravel#blacktravel #b#blacktravelfeedb#blacktravelerb#blacktravelblogger ♬ original sound - Ms Garn Again

In the present day, most of us have encountered, if not bookmarked, video guides to Albania on TikTok. As friends and influencers flock to Ischia, Sifnos, Dubrovnik and Formentera, the Land of Eagles serves as a refreshing point of difference, that undercover and uncrowded sundrenched dreamscape we yearn for.

With a coastline that spans the Adriatic and Ionian seas, turquoise horizons are guaranteed and if you're the intrepid type, the mountainous terrain will attract avid hikers. Since tourism has picked up the infrastructure and hotels in the southern parts of the country has grown to accommodate an influx of travellers. Festivals have cropped up too, serving as a mecca for lovers of EDM, meanwhile the food marries Greek, Turkish and Italian influences with dishes like burek, baklava, kofta, seafood and lamb as staples.

It helps that Dua Lipa (officially an Albanian citizen as of November 2022), Rita Ora and Bebe Rexha ride hard for their homeland, all three of which have become linked to Albania in pop culture. And who doesn't want to be lounging Lipa-style with a book, bikini, raki and little else?

So what does the ultimate summer in Albania look like? Below, our tips on where to stay, the best beaches, cities and more.



Arameras Hotel


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Arameras (@aramerasksamil)

Where: Ksamil

Known for: Footsteps from Ksamil beach, Arameras hotel is laid out as a series of stone-walled villas, with views of the cyan horizon and mountainous terrain. With design cues taken from nature, the resort blends in rather than juts out of the landscape and for days when you're too lazy to make the the short trip down to the beach, a lush infinity pool equipped with bar beckons you forward.




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Meliá Durres (@meliadurres)

Where: Durrës

Known for: Around a forty minute drive west of Tirana, if you plan to stop in the glittering seaside town Durrës then you might want to lock in a night at the Meliá Hotel. Between its pool, which juts out like a runway to the beach, the nearby ancient Roman amphitheatre, Byzantine Forum and ambient atmosphere, you'll be kept booked and busy.


Prado Luxury Hotel

Where: Himarë

Known for: Halfway between Vlorë and Sarandë sits the equally staggering Himarë. Ensconced by mountains and olive groves and in close proximity to Greece, the location and hotel offers everything with crave from a summer abroad in Europe – the only twist is it's flecked with Albanian hospitality.


Tirana Marriott

Where: Tirana

Known for: If your holiday takes you to Albania's capital city, Marriott is a name you can trust. Situated in the centre of the city, directly above the National Arena, you're a short walk to Skanderbeg Square, bunker-turned-art centre BUNK'ART and a whole host of other local landmarks.







View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Visit Albania (




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tomi Luzati (@tomiluzati)






Gjipe Beach


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Oleksandr Garichkin (@o_garichkin)




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BALKAN (@visit.balkan)


The Blue Eye


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Esther Cano (@esthercanof)





View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kala Festival (@kalafestival)

When: 5-12th June 2024

Where: Dhërmi

Known for: Fusing wellness, music and dance with a seaside locale, Kala Festival is a boutique experience with DJ sets that play well into dawn. Get a message, share a communal meal, catch a yacht to nearby Gjipe Island for a secluded party. Brian Not Brian, Lauren Hansom and Nick The Record are set to appear on the 2024 lineup and a ticket to the seven-day festival and accommodation starts at only £299 per person. 




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ION Festival (@ionfestival)

When: 6-13th September 2023

Where: Dhërmi

Known for: Another week-long festival taking place on the sun-soaked strip of Dhërmi beach, ION Festival is garnering an international reputation for its cutting-edge dance music of all shapes and sizes. Set to play this year is Perth-born DJ HAAi, Yung Singh, Dan Shake, Distant Rhythm and more.

Further your travels through Eastern Europe and hit up another Balkan favourite: Croatia. Here's our guide to its best islands.

Stay inspired, follow us.

Images: @dualipa @sunny_rungalbania