Albania, on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula, is a small country with Adriatic and Ionian coastlines and an interior crossed by the Albanian Alps. The country has many castles and archaeological sites. Capital Tirana centers on sprawling Skanderbeg Square, site of the National History Museum, with exhibits spanning antiquity to post-communism, and frescoed
Albania has been on the radar for intrepid backpackers for some time, but this year tour operators are predicting the south-eastern Balkan country will become a mainstream holiday destination for UK travellers after a surge in bookings this January.
Interest in the country has been gradually building over the past decade as it has slowly opened up after a 44-year dictatorship that ended in 1985. Tour operators have seen a notable increase in bookings for 2022 as Albania extends its appeal to people seeking beautiful beaches and landscapes as well as interesting culture and history at a lower price than neighbouring destinations.
“Albania is one of those small and diverse destinations that can offer a bit of everything to everyone, similar to Montenegro or Slovenia,” said Tine Murn, a co-founder of New Deal Europe, a marketing agency for Balkan tourism.
He said Albania appealed because it was a “Mediterranean undiscovered gem” and “still holds a sense of the exotic, even though it is geographically very close
The country is also becoming much easier to travel around as the standard of its accommodation has improved and spending on infrastructure has increased, with a new road connecting the eastern mountains with the western coastline due to open this year.
The UK’s large Albanian diaspora and vocal celebrity champions such as the Southampton footballer Armando Broja and the pop stars Dua Lipa and Rita Ora have further helped raise the country’s profile