Albania might be a small country but it’s a great place to travel to. If you are planning a family trip this 10 day Albania itinerary with kids is the perfect way to see the best of the country and still ensure that everyone has a great time.
Still relatively unknown to tourists, Albania is a friendly and welcoming place, with stunning mountain scenery, idyllic beaches and fantastic food. People are friendly and welcoming and there is lots of things for kids to do.
We spent ten days in Albania, but easily could have spent much longer.
If you have two weeks or more, you can easily follow our Albania itinerary with kids and add a few extra places in (I’ll be envious, as there were places we wish we’d been able to see!).
Suggestions for extending your itinerary can be found at the end of the post.
Before you go…
Albania is great to visit all year round. Being on the Mediterranean, it is warm in the summer and mild in the winter. We visited in November and it was still mild – maybe not beach weather, but mild enough to wear light sweaters and pants (even shorts on some days).
Albanian currency is the lekë. ATM’s are widely available in most towns and cash is preferred by most places. VISA is accepted in a few places, including grocery stores but not all restaurants, so best to have some cash on hand.
Before we arrived in Albania, we had been warned that driving there was a little crazy. In fact, almost everyone told us that. But after doing a road trip in Romania, through some crazy roads, and renting a car in Bulgaria, where the signs are in Cyrillic, we figured we could manage in Albania.
I didn’t attempt to drive in Tirana itself, although it didn’t seem that bad, just A LOT of traffic. After a few days in Tirana, we took the bus to the airport and picked up our rental car there, which we had for the rest of our time in Albania.
Transport is different in Albania. Instead of a reliable bus or train service, the main mode of transport is furgons, or small mini vans. Most of the time, they wait until the van is full, and then will depart. We did see some inter-city buses, but to be honest, I had a hard time finding the schedules. Everything operates a bit differently in Albania.
But let’s get on to our itinerary!
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10 Day Albania Itinerary with Kids
Day 1-3: Tirana
Most people start their visit to Albania in Tirana. It’s the capital city, home to the international airport and the destination for most international buses, so chances are if you don’t start here, you’ll pass through it at some point on your travels.
You can easily spend a few days exploring the capital. Check out our post on exploring Tirana with kids for some ideas. If you only have a week in Albania, I’d suggest spending only a day in Tirana.
Tirana’s main square is Skanderberg Square, and a great place to spend some time in Tirana.
Along the edges of the square, you’ll also find the National History Museum, the National Art Gallery, the Palace of Culture, Ethem Bey Mosque, a large monument of Skanderberg and of course, the Clock tower, which you can climb for a fantastic view of the square.
Stop for a coffee, snack or drink at any of the cafes surrounding the square.
Albania only emerged from communism in the early 90’s. The Blloku area, just south of the square, Postbllok monument, Bunker Art 1 and the House of Leaves museum are some great monuments and museums reflecting on the communist times.
If you have more than one day in Tirana, head up to Mount Dajti on the Dajti Express cable car.
Along with a great view of the city, Mount Dajti National Park is a great place to hike and walk.
Bunker Art II is also located close to the base of the cable car.
Before we left Tirana, we picked up a rental car to use for the remainder of our trip.
You can still get around Albania using public transportation, but transport isn’t as reliable or as frequent as it is in other countries.
As we only had a short amount of time in Albania, we wanted to be able to make the most of our time and thought a rental car was the best decision for us.
Day 4-5: Berat
From Tirana, we headed south to Berat. It’s about a 2 hour drive and not too busy on the highways. Honestly, I thought it was a lovely drive!
Berat is a UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the City of 1000 Windows.
We stayed at a hostel up on a hill overlooking the city. It was definitely an experience trying to find the hostel, but once we were there, the view was fantastic.
Berat’s river divides the town, with the Mangalem quarter on one side and the Gorica quarter on the other. One was traditionally Muslim and the other was Christian; it’s interesting to walk around and explore both sides of the city, as they may look similar but feel very different.
Berat Castle is perched high above the town. Climbing up to it is a steep hike, but it’s all along a paved road which makes it easier for the kids.
You can also drive up and park at the top – but we didn’t realize this until after!
The castle is still inhabited, with shops, cafes, houses, restaurants and churches. Wander the grounds and walk along the walls, but be cautious as some of the areas are the safest for children (My guys loved climbing and exploring, but you know your kids best!).
Day 6-7: Vlore
***If you have extra time, this is a good spot to add in a few more days and head south to Gjirokaster or Sarande. **
Vlore is a 1 ½ hour drive from Berat. (Along the way is Cobo Winery, a family run offering tours and fantastic wine, but the tours are 4 hours in length and not a great kid-friendly activity).
Vlore is a popular beach town in the summer, with beaches stretching down the coast for a few kilometres.
Along the waterfront, there’s a paved path (with stairs in some spots that go down to the water) that makes for a great place to walk with kids.
And the sunsets from the beach are stunning!
Vlore is also the place where Independence was declared and there’s Flag Square and an independence monument in the center of town.
If you’re there around the end of November, it’s a pretty important celebration!
Day 8-9: Durres
Durres is a former capital of Albania and known for it’s Roman amphitheater. Throughout the town you can see remains of the Durres Castle and parts of the old wall.
Head to the waterfront and climb the Sphinx of Durres, a large set of steps at the seaside. It’s also a great spot to see the sunset.
A short drive from Durres is the Castle of Kruje, also known as Kruja Castle. It was the center of the rebellion against the Ottoman empire and birthplace of the Albanian hero, George Skanderberg. The Skanderberg Museum is located inside the castle and worth seeing.
Unfortunately, we arrived in Durres a day after a fairly major earthquake, which damaged buildings and even parts of the old walls in Durres. A few hotels and buildings collapsed and there were quite a few people fatally injured.
The celebrations for Independence Day had been cancelled, and the mood in the town was somber, with funerals taking place. Most businesses closed, and a state of emergency was declared in several affected towns so we weren’t able to do everything we had planned.
We stayed at a fantastic apartment, Vila Olympia, that was just a short walk from the beach and the amphitheater. The bottom floor of the building was a public gym, which was free for us to use while we stayed at the apartment.
Day 10: Last Day on your Albania Itinerary with Kids
On your last day in Albania, head to the airport if you have a flight booked or continue your adventure from Tirana. Buses travel to Pristina, Kosovo several times a day and are very inexpensive. Train and bus connections also connect to Skopje, North Macedonia.
Buses run from the airport to the centre of Tirana, or alternatively you can take a bus from Durres to Tirana.
If you are returning a rental car at the airport, it’s fairly easy to do, but be aware that some of the gas stations closest to the airport don’t accept VISA. If you’re like me, with very little cash left, you might have to drive back to the turnoff from the highway to find a gas station that takes VISA.
The rental car drop off is at the far end of the parking lot and it’s a bit of a walk from there to the terminal (there’s no shuttle like there is in bigger airports). It’s not too far though, and my kids made it without a problem.
Two Week Albania Itinerary with Kids
If you have more than 10 days, here are some suggestions to extend your Albania itinerary with kids.
If you have two weeks, you could easily stop in Gjirokaster after Berat, then head to the coast and spend a few days in one of the other cities on the coast before continuing with our itinerary and visiting Vlore and Durres.
From Berat, head south to Gjirokaster. Similar to Berat, it’s a UNESCO heritage site and some say is even lovelier than Berat. It’s about a 3 hr drive from Berat.
From Gjirokaster, the Benja Thermal Baths and the Blue Eye are great spots to visit as well.
If you feel like spending more time along the coast, Himare, Dhërmi, and Sarande, are all great places to spend a few days. Butrint National Park, just south of Sarande is a large archaeological site, UNESCO World Heritage Site and said to be absolutely stunning.
Northern Albania was also highly recommended, especially Valbona Valley National Park in the Albanian Alps.
In fact, quite a few national parks kept coming up in Albania travel recommendations. If you have a chance, be sure to visit a few!
We found it hard to try and fit both the south and the north in our trip though, especially with young kids. We try to spend at least a few days in each place, otherwise we all get burned out. But if you like to move faster, or your kids are older, you can probably visit the south and the north in two weeks (or at least a few places in each).
I hope you found this Albania itinerary with kids useful! If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments below!