Albanian Road Trip: Top 10 Itineraries to Drive Through in Albania
Taking an Albanian road trip is an authentic way to explore Albania. The road infrastructure of the country lacks proper standards but you can still discover some amazing itineraries and interesting places along the way. Here are the best itineraries you can drive in Albania.
1. Coastal Road of Albanian Riviera (73 km/ 45 mi)
The coastal road along the Albanian Riviera runs from the Llogara mountains in the north all the way into the Tongo island south. This area has some of the best beaches and the most stunning sceneries in Albania. The seaside drive runs through the coastal and idyllic villages of Dhërmi, Palasa, Vuno, Himara, Qeparo, Borsh, Lukova, Saranda, Ksamil, and Butrint, one more beautiful than the other.
Countless of natural wonders, bays, caves, secret beaches, and hiking trails spread throughout the entire length of the road. Best time to drive or cycle along this road includes the whole period from April to October.
2. Shkodër – Vermosh (97 km/ 60 mi)
The road from Shkoder to Vermosh offers some of the most spectacular views of Alpine Albania. This segment begins at the stunning waterscape of Shkodra and concludes at the majestic village of Vermosh near the border with Montenegro.
The main highlight of this road is where it crosses the Leqet e Hotit Mountain Pass as it winds up the Alpine terrain reaching an altitude of seven hundred thirty meters above sea level. At its peak, road side balconies offer a stellar and rewarding views of the Albanian Alps.
3. Road in Cape of Rodon (13 km/ 8 mi)
The easiest road into the cape of Rodon begins from the Lalzit Bay. The cape that stretches far out into the Adriatic sea is the perfect summer escape from the buzz and heat of the city or the beaches packed with tourists. The road allows for a nice journey into small villages and lonely nature thriving into the local lowland and refreshing sea breeze.
Eventually, the journey brings travelers into a small bay that marks the extreme of the fertile cape. There, you can choose to park your camper, swim into the small nearby beach, or explore some historic and cultural monuments such as a very old church and a hidden ruined castle even further into the cape’s tip.
4. Llogara (45 km/ 28 mi)
Llogara Pass winds through the mountains region of Llogara and links Vlora, Orikum, and Dukat in the north, with the Albanian Riviera in the south. The northern part of the road is part of the Llogara National Park, going uphill through dense forests and bizarre but precious bent pine trees. The forest then opens up as the road reaches over a thousand meters of altitude to offer some unmatched views of the Ionian coast and its northern islands.
A short break in one of the roadside balconies is a must to get immersed into the far stretching blue and brightening Ionian mantel and the contrasting, diverse, and dramatic topography of the coastal hinterland. Once refilled with this natural and powerful energy, you can continue your joyride into the beaches and adventurous areas lying downhill.
5. Kruja – Qafështama National Park (24 km/ 15 mi)
The road from Kruja to Qafshtama is one of the most beautiful leaf-peeping roads with picture-perfect scenery especially during autumn. The road goes into the Qafshtama National Park, a forested and mountainous area not far from the capital where oak and pine trees dominate the landscape.
Some of the black pines, known for their curative contribution in lung-related problems, are up to sixty years old and 20 meters (65 feet) high. The road from Kruja to Qafshtama is narrow and uphill with lots of turns, so lay back on your four wheeler and enjoy the ride.
6. Arbëri Road (70 km/ 43 mi)
The road known as “Arbëri Road” follows a very old path once used by merchants and caravans for the trade between the coast and mountainous area. Currently, a newly built segment offers convenient communication along central-eastern Albania. The road passes along unknown natural and historic wonders of the Dibra highlands. Some of them include 5,000 old paintings in Bovilla, castle of Xibri, the fantastic canyons of Brar, Tujan’s castle, and “Ura e Vashës” (Maiden’s Bridge).
Even the locals have yet to explore these and many other treasures along the Arbëri road. Thus, this road is ideal for those who seek to explore for the first time virtually untouched landmarks and areas.
7. Shkodër – Valbonë through Koman Lake (95 km/ 60 mi)
If you want to get the full feel of Albania north, then go on a trip from Shkodra to Valbona through the Koman lake. The Koman lake, along with its network of other water bodies such as lake Fierza and Vau i Dejes were created in the 1970s as a result of building hydroelectric power plants along the Drin River basin.
The itinerary includes a passage by a small ferry over the Koman Lake which can carry your vehicles as well. Because of the overall high altitude and mountain peaks rising up the lake, you will feel like floating over high mountain tops.
8. Muzina Pass (20 km/ 12 mi)
The Muzina Pass links the southern cities of Gjirokastra and Saranda. The road follows the valley of the Bistrica River reaching a maximum altitude of five hundred meters above sea level. The road offers a pleasant trip with many attractions in the way such as the Saint Nicholas church in Mesopotam, ancient site at Finiq, the natural fantastic Blue Eye spring, the old and mostly abandoned village of Muzina famous for its chestnuts and cherries.
The road through the Muzina Pass is also ideal for cyclers. The best periods to travel along this road is during spring and summer where the blue shades of springs, rivers, and sea mix with the green shades of lush and shady vegetation.
9. Milot-Shkopet-Ulëza (23 km/ 14 mi)
The small town of Ulëza has recently turned into a convenient attraction for water sport enthusiasts. The town is part of a large national ecological park where natural beauty blends perfectly with the cultural and anthropological heritage.
Ulza is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital of Tirana and the road there offers some stunning sceneries fit for your travelling photo albums and journals. The route offers a sensational and authentic vibe especially during autumn. Throw your camping or sports gear on the truck and go on a journey into a small aquatic world hidden among highlands and megalithic rocks.
10. Elbasan-Gramsh (43 km/ 27 mi)
Gramsh is a small city located in the valley of the Devoll River, some 84 kilometers (52 miles) from Tirana. It’s center can be reached from the capital in less than two hours drive. Gramsh is the perfect example of what a well-managed human intervention can yield. A careful foreign direct investment constructed two large hydro-power plants that protected the environment.
New road infrastructure also benefited the local community by providing opportunities in the on-site tourism sector. Some exciting natural sites nearby include Sotira Waterfall, Holta Canyon, Sineci Canyon, and Valamarë Lakes.