Albanian villages still preserve values from the nation’s tradition as well as different cultures that clashed in the area. Some occupy remote hills, others face beautiful coastlines: these are Albania’s top 10 villages.
Lin is a pleasant village located on a small peninsula in the western shore of Lake Ohrid. The houses are erected in simple fashion with distinctive red-roof tiles, intricate alleys, and fruit trees hanging in every corner. This fishing village offers a relaxing, chilling, and laid-back atmosphere that inspires creativity among visitors. The lakeside town hides several small beaches with clear waters and little pebbles. Lin is also home to eight rare mosaics dating from the VI-VII-th century, among the oldest mosaics in the eastern European region.
Lëpushë is a typical Alpine and pastoral village isolated far into the Albanian Alps. It’s closer to the Montenegrin capital Podgorica (79 km/ 49 mi) than it is to the capital of Albania Tirana (189 km/ 117 mi). From Albania, the road goes through Shkodra and Hani i Hotit passing through awe-inspiring mountainous terrain. This village of the Kelmendi region offers traditional and cozy guest houses with guest owners warmly welcoming visitors and serving delicious traditional food. The village of Lëpushë stands on a soft valley surrounded by tens of peaks over 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) high. The community has invested into original accommodating facilities and agricultural economy turning the location into a more rustic version of the Theth village.
Fterra is a village in the Himara municipality, part of the Albanian Riviera. Located in a side valley in the region of Kurvelesh it’s 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) northeast of Borsh beach. Fterra stands at an altitude of 200-250 meters (656-820 miles) above sea level. It’s blessed with the solitude of remoteness and the crude energy of its multiple water streams. Views from this village seem like out of postcards with a sincere simplicity of lush greens contrasted by the mountainous background. Occupying the western slope of mount Lajthi, Fterra is among the oldest villages in the region.
Baks-Rrjoll is a beautiful village in northwestern Albania, near Velipoja, of Shkodra district. This small town hides some unknown alluring landscapes without par in the country. It combines the best of the two worlds, the nearby sea on its west and the steep mount of Rencit rising eastwards. The beach of Rrjoll near the village is a small stretch of coastline different from others in the Adriatic, with sand dunes and shrub forest in the midst. Vacationers can reach Rrjoll via a newly constructed road by turning left when coming from Shkodra rather than continue straight into Velipojë. Adventurers can embark on an alternative route by boat from Velipoja southwards into Rrjoll beach, sailing into Vilun’s lagoon like explorers sailing into new lands.
Theth is the iconic village of the Albanian Alps. It’s part of Theth National Park that covers a surface of 26.3 square kilometers (102 square miles). The most comfortable journey into Theth is by car through Shkodra. Yet, the most exciting but difficult itinerary is a six seven hour journey by foot that involves crossing the Valbona Pass that pierces through the spectacular peaks of Jezerca and Bjeshkët e Nemuna. The most impressive sight of Theth is the waterfall of Grunas with its 30 meters (98 feet) high plunging cascade. Other impressive monuments include old towers that house dramatic stories, an old authentic church, a surreal spring known as Thethi’s Blue Eye
and many more treasures.
The three-hundred year old village of Dardhë is one of the most astonishing tourist villages in Albania. The name “Dardha” translates as “Pear”, a common toponym in Albania. Standing 1344 meters (4,409 feet) above sea level, the village is well-known for its snowy weather during winter. Tourists can reach this destination following the road that leads to Ersekë, 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Korça. Numerous resorts, hotels, or guesthouses warmly host visitors in their characteristic stone constructions where the ideal source of heat remains an old fire-place. Outdoors, numerous snowfalls and natural runways are ideal for winter sports such as skiing. Even though the signature season of Dardha is winter, the location is amazing and beautiful all-year round.
Voskopoja was a medieval settlement first recorded in the year 1333. The location expanded gradually reaching its highest state of development in 1764 when it supported a population of 30,000 inhabitants. Twenty five beautiful churches adorned with coveted frescoes once adorned this civilized town but currently no more than five of them remain well-preserved. At its height, Voskopoja had its own academy, library, and even its own printing house. This intriguing village is 185 kilometers (115 miles) from Tirana and about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Korça in southeast Albania. Tourists can find appropriate hotels and guesthouses and appreciate the splendor of church’ frescoes and special paintings, find authentic tokens in local souvenir stores, and enjoy delicious dishes rich in culinary sophistication and tradition.
Bënja is a peculiar but attractive village in the Përmet region in southern Albania. The village overlooks some stunning landscapes such as the canyon of the Langarica river, the old Ottoman bridge known as “Ura e Katiut” that links the village with the other part of the river, and the natural thermal baths for which this village is most famous for. Each summer, many tourists visit this site to enjoy the curative thermal waters of Bënjë . Six identified natural sources flow into many stone basins to form fantastic natural pools. Visitors can relax in the thermal spring pools, apply thermal mud for skin treatments, or explore the fractured surroundings and mysterious caves in an area thought to have been inhabited since antiquity.
Zvërnec village, once simply a shelter for internees, has turned into a unique tourist attraction. This attractive village is situated 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) from Vlora in southwestern coast of Albania. The charming town stands between two wonderful natural habitats, the forest of Soda and Narta Lagoon. The island in the lagoon, accessible by a long wooden bridge, is another natural accessory of this locality. Visitors that reach this island get fascinated by the old Byzantine monastery standing on a meadow shaded by tall pine trees. The village of Zvërnec offers accommodation for those wishing to discover it in depth but is also worth a visit if your time-limited itinerary passes near it.
Ulza is a small town in the municipality of Mat, north-central Albania. This small community is only an hour and ten min drive from the capital. It crowns the artificial lake of Ulza at an altitude of 400 meters (1,312 feet) above sea level. Ulza is rich in cultural and natural attractions such as picturesque forests, hiking trails, creeks, old towers and churches, and fish-based and local food inns. Thus, this town has much to offer to those who are seeking for the perfect weekend retreat with beauties all-year round.