Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!

February 28, 2024

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  best beach in europe beautiful budget  ksamil Europes maldive carribean
Is Albania the new Croatia? Albania travel was at the top of my "15 Cheapest Beautiful Countries in Europe to Visit! We slow traveled to Albania last fall for 2 months & loved it! We're returning for more Albania travel this summer and fall. Even Fodor's Travel says Albania is "Europe's next big beach destination", is "more affordable than Croatia" and "less touristy than Greece". Albania travel has already gone viral on TikTok which brought an avalanche of travelers. It's a beloved budget Europe destination for digital nomads, backpackers and beach loving vanlifers! We've been traveling Europe for decades with 18 years of travel blogging & sharing our best budget travel secrets. We think Albania will become the next European hot spot, so go now while it is low cost!

 Albania travel is very big in tourism news and named as the Maldives of Europe,  the new Croatia, the next Greece, and the Caribbean of Europe and more! Our love for this Balkan region has grown exponentially with each visit.

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Albania is the last European vacation spot that hasn’t become a seaside resort icon, thus ruined by mass tourism crowds. As I wrote about Croatia and Greece recently, they can be visited on a budget. Yet, I do highly recommend avoiding places like Dubrovnik, Split, Santorini and Mykonos in high season. Be warned that July and August can be a tourist nightmare there.

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We love Croatia and Greece, but our Schengen Shuffle and digital nomad slow travel, has us exploring new beautiful budget places in Europe. Our hearts have been drawn to the captivating enchantment of the Balkans since 2006. Greece and Croatia are part of the Balkans, but the most expensive & popular ones. Albania is only a half hour ferry ride away from Corfu, Greece. Plus Albania is also very close to Croatia and Italy. Thus, Albania has similar charms to it's top tourism Mediterranean neighbors Croatia, Greece & Italy, but without the crowds and with low budget prices.


Is Albania travel Europe's best kept secret? Or no longer a secret? Vacationers are always on the endless search for hidden, inexpensive, getaway spots. Albania is very beautiful so it has recently gotten explosive popularity on TikTok, Instagram and Youtube. That spreads the word about Albania travel, but it is still a country few Americans know. Even most Europeans are still waking up to the perks of Albania travel. Most of the Balkans are beautiful bargain travel options, but still mostly unknown. Albania saw a 26% increase in foreign visitors during last July! Albania is truly a comparable beach paradise, offering many of the same alluring attributes of its more famous Balkan neighbors like Croatia and Greece. Flights to Albania have already increased significantly and that will expand markedly when the seaside Vlore airport is done soon. 

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  saranda albania riviera cheap beautiful budget beaches
Travel statistics show this super fast tourism increase. So shocking because few have even heard about Albania until recently as it had a very harsh and isolated past. One traveler last summer stayed at 5 hotels in Albania's riviera and each was built within the last year. Albanian Institute of Statistics shows 45% more international tourists arrived last September & 94% more visitors last January. 

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One of the biggest advantage of travel to Albania is that travelers do not swarm here yet, like they do in nearby Croatia or Greece. So prices are much better and there is just more space on beaches and in affordable and attractive accommodations. The weather was summer like and perfect last September and October in Saranda and yet we had the seaside all to ourselves. We hear that May and June are also wonderful times to be in Albania. 

Sadly, Albania has one of the harshest histories on our planet. Unlike it's close neighbors Croatia and Montenegro, who mastered the coastal Balkans tourism game quickly, Albania's history made it a much bigger struggle.The Croatian coast has been a beach tourism spot since the late 1800's. Albania was occupied by Italy and Germany, then communist at vicious North Korea-levels of complete isolation from the rest of the world and only broke free from communism in the 1990's. 

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 Now, almost 4 decades after the death of one of the cruelest world dictators who isolated & impoverished Albania, tourism is finally growing. Of course, compared to Croatia, Italy or Spain, Albania is still a relatively "alternative" destination. Right now, Albania tourism is mostly off the radar ( despite the increases), thus this makes it the perfect time to go. Tourism will only increase from this point on. 

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  beautiful beaches best budget prices

Albania is the next "it" spot in Europe. Mass tourism seems to always follow backpackers and digital nomads. Why? Because they love beautiful, cheap destinations and the word spreads. The backpacker scene has long been established in  Albania as there are lots of hostels. Interestingly, covid had an affect on Albania travel increase. Because Albania had a short lockdown, good internet and a year long visa for Americans, many young remote workers lived in Albania during the pandemic. There is also free wild camping all over Albania, so van lifers and campers like that. Cheap prices, fun night life and Albania music festivals are big for the younger crowd. 

 Online, one hears lots of raves about Albania cheap travel & beauty from digital nomads and backpackers. We adored Ksamil and Saranda in September and October, but you will not find us there in July and August. When and where you go ALWAYS matters, even in budget countries. 

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  Beautiful nature blue eye forests hot springs hiking

 The nature in Albania is very pristine. Close to the beaches of Sarande, we hiked in the dazzling woods and mountains at the famous, enchanting "Blue Eye".  Besides it's spectacular Mediterranean coast, Albania's natural world  is among some of the most diverse in Europe with Alpine peaks like Theth, crystal clear lakes like Ohrid, waterfalls, hot springs and forests. We hope Albania does sustainable tourism as it grows to protect this beauty. 

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Albania is known for it's beautiful beaches & Ksamil is indeed, the most beautiful beach in Europe. Why? Partly because is has white sand, azure clear water and surrounding mountains that makes it look like Bali or Bora Bora. Such a very different feel and look than most European beaches, but just a short flight from most western European cities. We were shocked and stunned by it's beauty and almost no one was there when we visited in October.  It really felt like we were in Tahiti instead of Europe. 

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 On the other hand, Saranda beaches and area does not have that Bora Bora look, but has it's own perks and benefits. It is also more central to things and very walkable. 

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There are lots of walkable beaches and the mountain views of nearby Corfu adds to the charm. All the boats and restaurants add to the ambiance. Not to mention the ferris wheel!

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia! saranda albania riviera view of corful greece boats promenade

The pedestrian promenade is extraordinary and stretches 1 kilometer around the entire bay. It starts near the ferry terminal and follows all the public beaches to the main road. 

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  beach  boardwalk saranda promenade sea views

We loved walking on this promenade daily and enjoyed the beach views, scenery and bustling restaurants, bars and ice cream places all along the way.

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  saranda beach boardwalk beauty beaches mountains

At sunset in the evenings you will see the typical Albanian custom of doing their social walk called  Xhiro .

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  beautiful nature lakes hiking forests moutains pristine

Don't get me wrong, Albania is growing fast in tourism, but may not be as slick as the top tourist places in Europe. It is still an adventure to visit, like most of the Balkans. Some things need improvement, are in process and likely will come as it grows. It is still a poor country from the years of repression. Albania’s coastline is only about 124 miles shorter than Croatia, but it will still require a considerable investment in the overall infrastructure. There are many tourism places in Albania, but Durrës, Saranda, Vlora, and Ksamil are the coastal cities where tourism is concentrated. We are going to explore other areas this summer and fall.  

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Besides Albania’s Riviera with it's crystal-clear, vivid blue sea and plentiful beaches, this historical Balkan gem has numerous cultural sites, Greco-Roman ruins and medieval castles. Beautiful Berat, also known as the “City of a Thousand Windows”, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Gjirokaster, also known as the ‘Stone City' is a different UNESCO-recognized masterpiece. Shkoder, with it's lovely large lake in Northern Albania near the Montenegro border is the gateway to the most iconic mountain village of Theth and the gorgeous Albanian Alps. Butrint is an ancient Greek & Roman port city that is another UNESCO World Heritage Site just 5k from Ksamil. Lake Ohrid in the south is a natural and cultural marvel.


Is Albanian travel safe? I was a bit hesitant before going as this untrue myth makes one wonder. I think it is the same for every less traveled to country we've visited,  like Bulgaria, Malaysia, Turkey, Cyprus, Morocco and more. I will be writing more on this topic. In my experience, most of Albania, especially the tourist-oriented regions, is no less safe than other vacation resorts in Europe. Albanians have a reputation of being very friendly and welcoming. 

Albania Travel is the Next Croatia!  amazing beaches Ksamil  white sand looks like bali or bora bora or maldives

Many say that Albania travel is supposed to be the next Croatia. Albania is certainly & surprisingly  one of the most beautiful countries with incredible beaches that appeal to European vacation tourists. Budget airlines are expanding their flight networks with more connections to Albania and a coastal airport is opening soon. All of these things point to change. My suggestion, if you are adventurous & want to visit this untarnished Balkan treasure is, visit Albania soon!


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Albania seems like such a slept on location, but I’ve heard so many great things and it looks beautiful!!!

Jennifer Record

water water everywhere! Albania looks so beautiful with so many open spaces and beaches!

jeanne dee

Thanks Bri and so true!! The word is spreading now, probably mostly because of TikTok viral posts, but let's hope they allow it to grow in sustainable ways to care for all this pristine beauty!

jeanne dee

Thanks Jennifer! The beaches are amazing and almost the same long coastal areas as Croatia! But the mountains, lakes and forests are also special!


We went to Albania last Summer and found it a beautiful country, to which we will definitely return. We loved Skhroder, Kruje and Sarande.

jeanne dee

Thanks Cosette, awesome to hear! We loved it too so looking forward to doing more slow travel exploring Albania this summer and fall.


Wow! I had no idea Albania is so beautiful! Beautiful pictures!

jeanne dee

Thanks so much Ipsita!! You are not the only one as I think most do not know how beautiful Albania is. We were quite stunned that it was so beautiful and so will go back this summer and fall for more explorations!


Albania looks great, I really hope to go one day!

jeanne dee

Thanks bunches Jaqueline! Albania is a huge surprise and beautiful.You will love it!


Definitely seems like it's very popular doesn't it? I probably see more from Albania than anywhere else in Europe, haha, though that could be that as a budget traveller, I'm following people going to these cheaper countries! I've only been briefly so would love to go back!

jeanne dee

Yes, Cass, thanks! It is funny isn't it how suddenly Albania has gotten so popular with budget travelers? Especially with Europeans, although I think most Americans don't know about it yet. Many Americans do not even have passports and most do not know Croatia either. lol ( Or only by cruise ship stop). The increase in budget flights from the UK ( lots more now than even just a few years ago) and the viral TikTok certainly increased tourism to Albania. Now let's hope they can handle all the visitors.

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