Beautiful aerial view of islands and sea in Ksamil, Albanian Riviera
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When to visit Albania: season by season

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

Albania offers a wide range of cultural and nature-related experiences that span the seasons. With rugged mountain landscapes, a sweeping coastline and reasonable temperatures throughout, it’s easy to find something enlightening and/or simply entertaining to fuel your wanderlust, regardless of when you visit Albania.

From medieval villages with refurbished castles, to fortress ruins on lofty peaks, it would definitely take more than one season to experience it all. And once you hear about the caves, waterfalls and dramatic vistas, you’ll probably be planning a return trip.

Albania in Summer

The inviting waters of the Albanian Riviera, which range from clear, mesmerizing turquoise to rich cobalt blue, rival some of the more expensive and more crowded European beaches.

While Albanian beaches are teeming in summer, you can always find a spot on the umbrella-lined beaches. Or, with a little detective work, you’ll discover “secret” private beaches to enjoy on your own. 

Cruising to Albania in summer is another option, as enormous cruise ships dock along the coast each week, adding their hundreds of happy vacationers into the mix.

A drive through the Riviera takes just under 6 hours by car, from Velipoje (with its healing magnetic sands) in the north, to Ksamil, famous for its sparkling aquamarine waters, in the south. Meander the winding cliffside coastal road, and pass through the large cities of Vlore, Durres and Sarande, and the smaller jewels of Himare, Dhermi and Bosch.

Summer is also a time for local music festivals, for visiting Tirana’s Botanical Gardens in full bloom, or for soaking in the healing, sulphur-rich thermal springs of Benja, just outside of Permet, in Albania’s inland south.

And if sunbathing isn’t your thing, June-September is perfect for taking a hiking tour in the northern part of the country, through the Albanian Alps, also known as the Accursed Mountains.

Solo hike or join guided tours through Valbona and Theth. Take a 3-hour ferry ride through the rugged limestone canyons of Lake Koman, (Albania’s Switzerland) and trek over the breathtaking Valbona Peak for a truly wondrous experience.

Albania in Autumn

For many travellers, Albania equals a beach vacation, and they thrive on the energy of the crowds and the heat of summer. But, if you want to avoid the multitudes and the sweltering temperatures of Albania’s “high season” from late June through August (up to 41C, at times!), try a beach trip in Albania’s “shoulder season.”

As the temps and prices come down and the masses disperse, September offers a prime opportunity to enjoy the warm water beaches without the throngs.

Albania’s autumn season is brief, often punctuated with cold fronts and rains. But for a magical limited time, you can drive, hike or ride horses through the many national parks and forests of Albania, taking in panoramic views of fall foliage - a chance to see nature at her most brilliant, colorful best, encapsulated by brisk mornings and cool evenings.

Or, in the refreshing temperatures, you can visit wineries, and relive history while touring ancient remains of amphitheatres and fortress castles.

Albania in Winter

Albania’s winter climate varies widely, from cool and wet to cold and snowy, depending on where you go in the country.

Once summertime visitors depart, beach cities like Ksamil, Sarande, Vlore and Velipoje all but shut down, so you can enjoy dreamy solitary walks along seaside promenades under cloud cover or misty skies. Throughout the off-season, a few restaurants stay open, plus many cafes and shops.

If you’re looking for winter action, though, there’s plenty to be found elsewhere in the country! For adventure sports lovers, there’s skiing in the mountains in Dardhe, Korçe. Or you could try heliskiing, or take a steep cable car ride from the center of Tirana, up Mount Dajtii (open all year, but busiest when snow arrives!).

And for those who love winter wonderlands, Albanian cities, like Tirana, Korce, Vlore, and Berat, go all-out to create a fairytale atmosphere during December. Podgradec on Lake Ohrid is also stunning at this time of year. Christmas markets, brilliant lighting displays, and decorated shops and markets abound, with plenty of mulled cider on offer, and an upbeat holiday spirit.

You can stay at mountain village guesthouses that host Christmas/New Years authentic Albanian dinners and traditional folk singing, while the snow drifts outside. 

Albania in Spring

Springtime (April-May) in Albania comes after a long, cold season, but when it arrives, it’s time to get outdoors and watch the world come to life after winter’s slumber.

Plan a nature hike, go fishing or sailing on one of Albania’s two large lakes, or explore handicraft workshops in mountain villages and wander through the winding cobblestone streets of Albania’s historic cities.

Temperatures and weather in Albania

No matter where you are in Albania, prepare for intensely hot summers. On the coasts, winters are mild, yet rainy, with colder, often snowy weather at higher elevations inland and in the mountains.

Although spring officially begins in April, temperatures may still be winter-like and cold through May, when summer can come bursting in… unless, as over the last few years, winter has extended into June in some areas!

The coastal regions have bright, sunny summers with temps topping at 42 C.  In winter, the coasts rarely see a patch of snow, but the days are short (maximum 6 hours full sunlight per day), cloudy (around 48% of the time) or rainy. If you visit these areas in winter, bring an umbrella and plan to cozy up with a warm cup of coffee or cocoa and enjoy the silence.

The central regions are higher in elevation, so expect colder winter temps from highs around 14.°C and an average low temperature of 2°C.  June brings hot weather in the central area of Albania, where temps can reach into the high 30s.

In mountain areas, you’ll find freezing temperatures, along with snow in winter, before springtime brings in perfect weather. Summer and springtime in the mountains are refreshing, and cooler than the lowlands. Prepare with clothing layers to accommodate the changes, including rain in the shoulder season.

Festivals and events in Albania

  • South Outdoor Festival - Himara Municipality, outdoor activities:  hiking, paragliding, diving, traditional Albanian polyphony vocal music, bio food, celebration of nature

  • Dita e Veres – Elbasen, March 14, Albania’s largest springtime festival, a family-friendly celebration of winter’s end, parades, local festivities, bonfires, music, food.

  • Unum Festival - Rana e Hedhun Beach in Shëngjin, Lehze, techno music festival, local  & international artists, celebrating elements of life: music, sand, pines, sea and mountains.

  • Korce Beer Festival – Korce, 5 days (August) of beer tasting and music, largest festival in Albania.

  • Tomato Festival - Shëngjergj Village - outside of Tirana, celebrating the joy of organic tomatoes, traditional home-made foods, local folk dancing, music.

  • The Olive Festival - Brar, near Tirana, 3 November. Celebrates ancient, centuries-old olive trees, showcases local foods from around Albania, olive oil and products.

  • Fergese Festival – July, Tirana Castle, celebrating fergese, Albania’s signature traditional side dish. Games, music, food and drinks, fergese cooking contest.

Planning a trip to Albania? Read our other Albania travel guides

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 22 January 2024

Ksamil Beach, Albania on a summer's day


With rugged mountains, clear waters and an extensive archaeological heritage, a trip to Albania can encompass the outdoor adventures, impressive landmarks or a beachside break.