Albania is a land of contrast. The south is dominated by beautiful pristine Mediterranean coastline. While the north is more akin to village life, a place where folklore comes to life and where mountains loom over tiny villages. Huge lakes and waterfalls also dot the interior.
Albania may not be the first place you think of when you want a Mediterranean getaway. But make no mistake the southern coast of Albania, in particularly Sarandë is rapidly growing in popularity and it's easy to see why! Here you can swim in crystal clear water, bathe on golden sand and taste the local beers at one of many beachfront bars. And what's more is you can do it all for a fraction of the price when compared to other European countries.
Sarandë has an increasing number of hostels. Most hostels in Sarandë are located a very short walk outside of the main stretch of town and only a stone's throw from the beach. They are mostly located in new buildings and tend to offer good quality facilities.
Sarandë makes an excellent base for seeing other locations around southern Albania, most notably the Roman ruins at Butrint, the impossibly beautiful Blue Eye Springs in Muzinë and other gorgeous beach locations such as Ksamil. Albania has a cheap and efficient bus system that makes traveling a breeze, just be sure to travel during the day to avoid any trouble.
Tirana, the capital of Albania is somewhat charmless in comparison to the rest of the country. Old stereotypes of mobsters and shady dealings seem to come to life here. Tirana has a raging nightlife scene as well as some national museums, which make for an interesting day of city exploring. There are a number of well equipped hostels, especially in the centre of town along Rruga e Dibrës and the surrounding streets.
From Tirana, it is possible to make a number of day trips to cute little traditional Albanian towns or to see some of Albanians best beaches such as Durrës. Durrës itself is actually a large modern city with a small historical centre. There are a couple of guesthouses and hostels in Durrës, though these tend to be more expensive than elsewhere is Albania.
Heading north, you will find the real, wild Albania. The north is shrouded in legends and mystery. Small farming villages tell fanciful stories of times past and still to this day practice blood feuds. Theth is just one of many such small villages in the north where it is possible to experience some real Albanian life. Theth is located within a beautiful national park, boasting mountains, waterfalls, and a multitude of hiking trails. The town of Theth is small, really small, and the facilities are basic. The town has only a couple of camping spots and one guest house, all of which are located along the town's main road. Facilities at the camping sites in Theth are basic and without many luxuries such as wifi.
If roughing it in remote villages is not your thing, there is always Lake Shkoder. Authentic experiences are abound in this part of Albania, it is also possible to take a ferry across the lake to Kosovo, for some extra adventure. Hostels in Shkoder are of similar quality to elsewhere in the northern regions of Albania and tend to be located slightly out of town. But not to worry the locals tend to be helpful despite any language barriers and will direct you to accommodation.
Albania really does have something for everyone. Whether that be relaxing on a beach, sampling the local cuisine or getting off the beaten track for a more authentic experience in one of Albanians many small traditional towns. You can find here and what's more hostels in Albania are affordable and for the most part well established.
Hi, I'm Chloe,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Albania hostels. Welcome.