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Albania – An Outdoor Paradise in The Balkans

Albania is a small, young country at the coast of the Adriatic and the Ionic Sea, still struggling to find its place on the tourist map following the fall of communism in the early 90s . Most of Albania is covered by rough nature, rugged mountain ranges and deep valleys that only give way to the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea and with that it has the potential to be one of the top destinations for outdoor activities in Europe. We can guarantee, that our short overview about outdoor adventures in Albania will whet your appetite for a trip to this outdoor paradise on the Balkans!

Photo by fabulousfabs.


Off-Road Adventures in The Backcountry

outdoor adventures in albania

Osumi Canyon. (Photo by Trip & Travel Blog.

Much of Albania’s backcountry is untouched by highways and asphalt roads and covered by a net of old, unpaved and barely maintained streets and paths instead, with breathtaking views on the towering mountains, hidden valleys and the shimmering ocean in the distance– the perfect place for a 4×4 off-road adventure!

Admire the marvelous canyon of the river Osumi in the South of Albania, as you drive along, or even drive in the riverbed. Discover the narrow canyons of Langarica and Progonat, cross riverbeds and follow deep valleys, or maybe switch the car for a kayak for a little while.

On your way across the country, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore authentic, rural villages and experience true Albanian hospitality, culture and cuisine.


Diving Adventures along The Coast

outdoor adventures in albania

Beach in Albania. Photo by Godo Godai.


With about 450 km of coastline, Albania has plenty of spots, where you can dive into the clear, blue Adriatic and Ionic Sea and discover what lies on their ground.

Looking back on thousands of years of history and sea travel in the region, you might very well dive through a field of antique amphorae, lost by a ship traveling along the coast long time ago. There are also several places, where you can explore how the ocean takes possession of ship wrecks, like the Italian hospital ship “Po” in the Bay of Vlora, which was sunk by a British tornado during the Second World War.

A special highlight is Sazan Island. During the communist era, it was a restricted military zone and since 2002 it is a natural marine park, so the area has been protected for a very long time and the water as well as the marine wildlife are in a remarkable good condition. You need a special permission to dive along corals and turtles and the experienced ones can even go down to 35 m to explore what is left of several military ships. 


Ski Touring Adventures in Untouched Nature

outdoor adventure in albania

Ski touring. Photo by Heinrich Plum.


Luckily ski tourism hasn’t tightened its grip yet on Albania, so big parts of the mountains have not yet been customized and shine in their natural beauty. This makes Albania the perfect place to experience untouched nature while looking for a slope for the next downhill run.

There are no maps and no signposted routes, so you need to be experienced in ski touring, if you want to go on this adventure in Albania. But with a little know how you can enjoy peaks like Top of Ros, in the middle of the Albanian mountains with a breathtaking view on all of the Albanian Dinaric Alps. Or are you brave enough to meet the challenge of ski touring Mount Korab in the north, with 2751 m Albania’s highest peak?


Trekking Adventures along The Highest Peaks

outdoor adventures in albanai

Walk from Valbona. Photo by NH53.


Hiking near the Albanian coast along the clear, blue waters of the Ionian Sea, wandering through olive groves and rest under lemon trees, climb up towering mountains, pass by pine forests and antique sites, and then admire the panoramic view along the coast – or discover the rural villages and valleys in the backcountry after enjoying marvelous views all across the Albanian Alps? Trekking and hiking enthusiasts have some tough decisions to make in Albania.

Climb Mount Cika, which offers some of the best panoramas across the sea, or walk up to the summit of Mount Tomorr, sacred to different religions since antiquity. But be careful, some of the ascents in Albania are not easy and the paths not well maintained, so experience in mountaineering and being in good physical shape are an advantage.  


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About the author


Barbara is a German-born Austrian with unresolved identity issues and a degree in Ecology and Nature Conservation. Three years ago, she moved to Budapest, Hungary. She travels the world whenever she can, equally chasing interesting stories and fluffy cats. She is a travel writer who loves adventure and never says no to any challenge.

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