There are plenty of untouched European destinations, but one country in the east has proven to be one of the hottest of the year: Albania
A country that used to be largely neglected by travelers, but has recently become one of the most promising destinations and real hidden gems of Europe.
Demand for travel to Europe increased between 2022 and 2023, especially after all health-related entry requirements were removed and normalcy was fully restored. But while tourism goliaths such as France, Italy and Spain have taken steps to reduce tourist numbers, other lesser-known countries are eager to welcome more visitors.
Albania is a small country in southeastern Europe, bordering Greece to the south, northern Macedonia and Kosovo to the east, and beautiful Montenegro to the north. But unlike many of its contemporaries, it was introduced to the public only 30 years ago.
According to INSTAT, 377,211 foreigners arrived in Albania in January of this year, a rise of 94.2% year on year. These rates are nothing short of amazing, given that Europe is still in its ‘off-season,’ when arrivals often decline considerably.
In addition, all European countries have relaxed border controls and allowed the resumption of tourist traffic. The fact that Albania continues to expand so rapidly in the face of the return to normalcy of its fiercest competitors is further evidence that it has maintained the momentum it gained at the beginning of the pandemic.
While most of Europe was closed because of COVID, Albania remained accessible without restrictions, which probably contributed to its unexpected popularity.
Last year, 7.5 million tourists visited Albania, a 32% increase over 2021. If the current trend continues, the country’s previous high could easily be surpassed by December.
Many tourists are unaware that Albania is a summer paradise.
Albania, like Croatia and Montenegro, is located on the Adriatic Sea, one of the arms of the great Mediterranean, but the cost of living is much lower in comparison. You will find the same turquoise waters, white sandy or pebble beaches, and medieval towns with stone houses, but without expensive hotels and typical tourist traps.
Large parts of the southernmost coast of Albania, known as the Albanian Riviera, have remained undeveloped so that nature is intact, the beaches are undisturbed, and the traditional cobblestone towns, where generations of families have lived for centuries, untainted by outside influences.
Prices in Albania
Albania has become an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers in recent years, offering a wide range of attractions and activities at affordable prices compared to other European destinations. The cost of a holiday in Albania will depend on several factors, including the time of year, type of accommodation, and the activities you plan to do.
Accommodation in Albania ranges from budget hostels and guesthouses to luxurious hotels and resorts. Prices can vary depending on the location and season, but generally, budget accommodation can be found for as low as €10-€20 per night, while more upscale options can range from €50-€200 per night.
Food and drink in Albania are also reasonably priced, with traditional Albanian dishes costing around €5-€10 in local restaurants. International cuisine options are available in larger cities, and prices may vary accordingly.
Transportation costs in Albania are relatively low. Taxis are widely available, and the fares are reasonable, with an average cost of €5-€10 for a short ride. Buses are also a popular and cheap way to travel around the country, with tickets ranging from €1-€5 depending on the distance.