Albania Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Albania: holidays, national customs

Public holidays

There are a number of public holidays that do not have a fixed date but are based on the location of Easter. Easter takes place on the first Sunday that follows the first full moon after the beginning of spring. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which ends on Holy Saturday, is 46 days before Holy Saturday. The date for Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. Corpus Christi is celebrated on the second Thursday after Pentecost. All Saints’ Day is celebrated for Orthodox Christians on the first Sunday after Pentecost, but for Catholic Christians the date is fixed on November 1st. On October 31, Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. The Halloween festival also takes place on this day.

Date Holiday
01/01/02/01 New Years Holidays
01/10/2006 Islamic Festival of Sacrifice
02/09/2006 Ashoura (the Shiites commemorate the Prophet’s grandson Hussein.)
March April Easter Monday
March April Orthodox Easter Monday
May 1 Labor Day
July 5 Independence day
09/24/2006 (changes annually) Beginning of the Islamic month of fasting (Ramadan)
October 24 – 16, 2006 (changes annually) End of Ramadan
November 29 Liberation Day
25 December Christmas

Source: Countryaah – Albania Holidays


Since the Islamic holidays are determined according to the lunar cycle and the Orthodox according to the Julian calendar, they fall on a different date each year. The dates listed here are for 2006.

Cultural events

The Gjirokastra Castle hosts the national folk music festival every four to five years.

Albania: climate

Travel times

The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. Pure cultural travelers certainly see the climate differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. In principle, it can be said that the climate in Albania is similar to that of central Italy and that there is a typical Mediterranean climate.

For sun seekers

For people who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures do not cause any problems, the following seasons are particularly suitable for a stay in the country:

Central European summer, from June to September, which can be very hot at times.

For people who prefer

a temperate climate People who prefer a temperate climate and lower temperatures should better use the following seasons for a stay in Albania:

early summer, i.e. April to June and autumn: September and October.

Climate table

The following table shows a range of climate data for Albania. It should be noted, however, that such monthly temperature averages say little about the current temperatures. It is not uncommon for average temperatures of around 25 ° C to reach maximum values of 35 °C or even more on a number of days. The table therefore only provides a general overview of the climatic conditions in the country.

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 11-12 11-12 at 01
February 08-10 12-13 02-03
March 09-11 14-15 04-05
April 09-11 19-20 08-09
May 08-10 23-24 12-13
June 05-06 28-29 15-16
July 03-04 31-32 17-18
August 03-04 31-32 17-18
September 05-06 27-28 14-15
October 10-1 22-23 10-12
November 12-13 16-17 06-08
December 11-12 12-13 02-04

Albania: national customs

In Albania people greet each other with a handshake. Men traditionally touch each other with their temples. When starting a conversation, including on the phone, it is customary to inquire about the relatives. Small guest gifts are welcome for invitations, but they should not be given openly and with loud comments, but rather casually. Flowers are not common as souvenirs. Since the gesture language in Albania is different from ours, signs should not be used. Trying to speak a little Albanian is always very welcome.

There is no dress code. In Albania, people tend to be more casual. And shorts are quite common in the cities too. It is common in restaurants and cafes, and due to the low salaries, it is also expected to tip.

Albania: Sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Ruined city of Butrint (1992) Butrint, or Bothrotum, as the city was once called, has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1992, and in an expanded form since 1999.

Hellenes, Romans, Byzantines and Venetians have left many traces here over the centuries.

The stone legacy includes a Hellenistic amphitheater, Roman baths and a former baptistery. This ancient festival venue includes sacrificial sites, temples, bathhouses and villas with water features and fountains.

The ancient city is one of Albania’s major tourist attractions. Around 20 kilometers south of Saranda, on the border with Greece, Butrint was only accessible to selected visitors during the decades-long Hodja dictatorship.

A British foundation now ensures that the complex is archaeologically researched and carefully prepared.

Historical centers of Berat and Gjirokastra (2005, 2008)

  • BeratThe only 6.3 km² city with approx. 64,500 residents is located on the Osum River.

    The city was officially named a museum city in 1961 and, with its three old town parts Mangalem, Gorica and Kalaja with many mosques and churches, is one of the most important sights in the country.

    The appearance of the city is particularly characterized by the typical Balkan architecture, as can also be found in Gjirokastra or Ohrid

  • GjirokastraThe listed historical old town of Gjirokastra is of Byzantine origin and goes back to the year 1200.

    The quarter not only inspires with its lovingly and authentically restored narrow streets, but also with the 13th century fortress, which was expanded by Ali Pascha Tepelena in 1811 and offers a picturesque view of the city.

The historical centers of Berat and Gjirokastra have been on the list of UESCO World Heritage Sites since 2005 and in an expanded form since 2008.

Old beech forests and primeval beech forests (2007)

The old beech forests of the Carpathian Mountains (Slovakia) and other regions of Europe were included in the list of UNESCO natural heritage sites in 2007.

The Carpathian Mountains extend primarily over Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Romania.

In 2011 the natural heritage was expanded to include five beech forest areas in Germany. The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is only native to Europe and is of particular importance for the European temperate deciduous forests.

In July 2017, at the UNESCO meeting in Krakow in Poland, the world heritage was expanded by 63 areas in 10 countries, namely in Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and the Ukraine.

Ohrid region (2019)

Located in North Macedonia, the UNESCO natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid region including the city of the same name has been on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites since 1979 and 1980. The area was expanded in 2019 and now also includes the Albanian part of Lake Ohrid, the small Lin peninsula, the springs in the Drillon Park and a stretch of shore on the North Macedonian border.

On the Lin peninsula are the remains of a Christian church from the 6th century. In the waters of the banks, three sites are evidence of prehistoric pile dwellings.

The approximately 360 km² large Lake Ohrid is after the maximum 530 km² large Skadar Lake (also Skadar Lake) the second largest lake on the Balkan Peninsula and one of the oldest lakes on earth. The greater part of it belongs to North Macedonia, of which it is the largest lake, and a smaller part to Albania. The lake has a maximum depth of 288 m.

Old buildings

Amphitheater – Durrës

The amphitheater is the greatest attraction in the Albanian city of Durrës. It was not until the 20th century that an underground cavity was accidentally found that marked the entrance to the amphitheater. Over time it was completely uncovered, and the impressive mosaics in a chapel under the audience were a fantastic find.

Korça Bazaar – Korça

The former Ottoman bazaar district in Korça, which was separated from the surrounding area, impresses not only with its cobbled streets, but also with two preserved hanocks, which not only served as accommodation for caravans, but also as marketplaces. While the one Han was converted into a shopping arcade and is hardly recognizable, the Han i Elbasanit can be visited with its pentagonal courtyard and the fountain located there. The bazaar, where there is a market every day in the morning, is unfortunately in a very bad condition despite the tourist potential.

Kruja Castle (Fortress)

The castle of the medieval town of Kruja known as the “Balcony of the Adriatic” has been extensively restored. It can be visited today. It also offers the Skanderbeg Museum, which shows all kinds of exhibits about the Albanian national saint Skanderberg. The town house with a coffee shop also belongs to the castle grounds. The city with around 16,000 residents is located around 20 km northeast of Tirana. The castle or fortress was conquered in 1443 by Skanderberg, Albania’s national hero. It was only conquered by the Ottomans in 1478 – ten years after Skanderberg’s death. It was also the end of Albania by 1912.

Dors Fortress – Tirana

This fortress is one of the most popular and important sights of Tirana. The Dors Fortress is located in the vicinity of Peza and represents a significant part of the early Illyrian culture.

Kalaja – Berati

Kalaja, the castle of Berati, is one of the most important sights of the city. It can be reached via the Mangalem castle district, which is still made up of various small houses that are still inhabited and are arranged along winding streets.

Kanina – near Vlora

This castle is five kilometers from Vlora. It was built on a hill on the ancient road between Aulon and Amantia. The remains of the wall go back to the Illyrian period (4th century BC), but also have Justinian (6th century), Byzantine (11th century) and Ottoman elements from the 16th century.

Petrela – Petrela

A wonderful excursion leads from Tirana to the Petrela castle ruins, which are located south of Tirana in the midst of beautiful rural surroundings. The mountain village of Petrela can also be visited. It has remained very original and has not changed much in the last few centuries.

Roman ruins – Butrint

In Butrint the ruins of a former Roman city can be visited. Ruins of houses, churches, baths and the theater are well preserved. These are located on a peninsula in the Butrint Lake and are under nature protection due to the nature that has spread there. This gives the facility a special charm. From the Acropolis you have a nice view of the complex. On the opposite bank is the fortress of Ali Pasha Tepelena, which dates from the early 19th century.

Roman cistern – Berati

The Roman cistern of the old city of Berati is very worth seeing. It was in use until the 19th century.

Rozafa (Kalaja e Rozafës) – near Shkodra

This ruined castle, located near Shkodra, was built on a small 130 meter high mountain for strategic reasons. A spacious area can be visited, which is accessed from the east. The castle once consisted of several buildings, including a mosque. Nowadays, unfortunately, only the fortification wall with its towers and some courtyards can be seen. You can climb the masonry and enjoy the wonderful view from up there.

City wall of Elbasan – Elbasan

The former city wall of Elbasan is 11 meters high and is connected by 26 towers. Unfortunately only the southern part of it and the former side gate that belonged to it remained.

Special buildings

Han i Elbasanit – Korça

This is an old Ottoman inn located in the middle of the bazaar. It is still used today to accommodate guests.

Kulturpalast (Pallati I Kulturës) or House of Culture (Dom Kultury) – Tirana

The Kulturpalast, which houses the opera and ballet house as well as the national library of Albania, was built in 1963 on the spot where the Tirana s commercial building had previously stood. The foundation stone for this was laid in 1959 by Nikita Khrushchev, the Russian President.

Ministry building – Tirana

The ministry buildings in Tirana date from 1930. They were built during the time of the kingdom and have valuable architecture.

Adem Jashari Monument – Tirana

On the day of independence, that is on November 28, 2006, the Adem Jashari monument was unveiled in the Albanian capital. It honors the co-founder and leader of the UÇK, an Albanian paramilitary organization who was killed by Serbs in 1998, which fought for the independence of Kosovo and partly for a Greater Albania.

Mes Bridge – Shkodra

Close to one of the oldest cities in Albania is the Mes Bridge, which reaches a length of 108 meters and was built over the Kir.

Mother Albania – Tirana

This 12 meter high monument was erected in 1971 in the Dëshmoret e Kombit cemetery, the National Cemetery of Martyrs. The statue is supposed to represent the country as the mother who guards the eternal slumber of those who gave their lives for Albania.

Piramida (International Center of Culture) – Tirana

The International Cultural Center, formerly the Enver Hoxha Museum, was established in 1988 and is now a major center for many important art events and gatherings. The so-called “pyramid” was designed by a group of architects who were led by Pranvera Hoxha, the dictator’s daughter.

Skanderbeg Monument (Skënderbeu) – Tirana

The symbol of Tirana is the Skanderbeg Monument. It stands on the square of the same name and was built in 1968. It commemorates the 500th anniversary of the death of the national hero.

Clock Tower (Kulla e Sahatit) – Tirana

The clock tower is right next to the Et’hem Bey Mosque. It is an important landmark of the city and is one of its oldest constructions. The tower was built in the 1820s. In 1928 the Albanian state bought a modern German clock and expanded the tower to its current size of 35 meters. The clock was damaged in World War II, but it was repaired again in 1946.

Ura e Tabakëve – Tirana

The stone bridge Ura e Tabakëve in Tirana dates from the 18th century and is located on the eastern edge of the city center. It used to cross the Lana River, but today it stands next to the river. The bridge was recently completely restored.

Universities and colleges

Academy for Physical and Physical Education “Vojo Kushi” in Tirana

The Academy for Physical and Physical Education, founded in 1960, is dedicated to the training of physical education teachers and sports specialists. It is divided into four sections and was named after Vojo Kushi, an Albanian national hero .

Aleksandër Moisiu University in Durrës

The Aleksandër Moisiu University in Durrës was launched in 2006 as the youngest public academy in Albania. In contrast to the rest of the educational institutions in Albania, it uses the US teaching system. There are currently around 1,300 students studying at Aleksandër Moisiu University.

Eqerem Çabej University in Gjirokastër

This university is located in the Albanian city of Gjirokastër. It was founded in 1991 and named after Eqrem Çabej.

Fan Noli University in Korçë

Currently, about 4,000 students attend Fan Noli University in Korçë, which was founded in 1971 and consists of five departments. It was named in 1994 after Fan S. Noli, a former Prime Minister of Albania

Agricultural University of Tirana (alb. Universiteti Bujqësor i Tiranës)

The Agricultural University of Tirana was founded in 1951 as a college of agriculture. The university, which is divided into five faculties, has had its present name since 1991.

Polytechnic University of Tirana (Alb. Universiteti Politeknik i Tiranes)

The Polytechnic Institute of Tirana, established in 1951, was incorporated into the University of Tirana in 1957. Since 1991 it has been independent again as the State Polytechnic University of Tirana.

“Luigj Gurakuqi”

University in Shkodër The “Luigj Gurakuqi” University in Shkodër was founded in 1957 and functions as the highest educational institution in the region, which applies above all to the technical field of study. It is divided into six faculties and currently has around 10,000 students.

University of Tirana (alb. Universiteti i Tiranës)

The State University of Tirana was founded in 1957 as the State University of Tirana. It is located in the Albanian capital and is divided into seven faculties. With currently 14,000 students, it is the largest university in the country. The main building of the University of Tirana is on Mother Teresa Square in the south of downtown Tirana.

University of New York in Tirana Albania’s

first private university was established in 2002. It is currently training 510 students in various academic programs.

University of Vlora

The State University of Vlora was founded in 1994 as the Technological University “Ismail Qemali”. It was supposed to be one of the first post-communist universities in Albania and initially only had a few hundred students. Today, the University of Vlorë is the second largest higher education institution in the country with nearly 15,000 students.

Churches and mosques

Lead Mosque – Berati

The beautiful lead mosque in Berati dates back to the 16th century.

Et’hem Bey Mosque – Tirana

The Et’hem Bey Mosque, the only remaining old mosque in the capital, was built between 1789 and 1823 and is located in the center of Tirana. The construction of the Islamic church was started by Molla Bey and finished by his son Haxhi Et`hem Bey. The latter was a great grandson of the city’s founder, Suleyman Pasha, and gave the mosque his name. Under the communists it remained closed until 1991. The frescoes inside this mosque, believed to be the most beautiful in the country, are fantastic to look at. Guided tours are offered every day. It is possible to climb the minaret from which there is a good view of the city.

Bachelor Mosque – Berati Located

in the old town of Berati, this mosque dates from 1827. It is known for its beautiful outer walls.

King’s Mosque – Berati

This mosque is one of the oldest Islamic places of worship in Albania. It dates from the 16th century and has particularly beautiful ceiling paintings.

Michaelis Church – Berati

In the wonderful Mangalem district in Berati, which stretches along the castle hill up to the actual castle, the small Michaelis Church is very picturesque, but also somewhat threatening at the steepest point.

Mirahor Mosque – Korça

The “stable master’s mosque” was donated in 1466. The Islamic house of worship is the oldest still preserved single-dome mosque in Albania.

Muradije Mosque – Vlora

This mosque from the 16th century is located in the center of Vlora. As the only one of the Ottoman places of worship in Albania, it can claim to have survived wars and even an earthquake (1851) relatively unscathed.

Shen Meria (Cathedral of Saint Mary) – Elbasan

The Shen Meria is a three-aisled basilica from 1833, which features a fascinating iconostasis from the 19th century.

St. Maria – Tirana

The Roman Catholic Church of Santa Maria was built in 1865. It was created with financial support from the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.

St. Paul – Tirana

Another Roman Catholic church was only completed in 2001. It is the largest church in the country. It was dedicated to the apostle Paul.

St. Prokop (Shën Prokopi) – Tirana

In 1780 the Greek Orthodox Church of Tirana was built. It was made in the name of St. Consecrated to Procopius. As part of the total ban on religion issued by the communists in 1967, the church was closed and converted into a restaurant. After the end of communism it was converted back into a church and thoroughly renovated.

St. Spyridon Monastery – Berati

This monastery is located in the Berati district of Gorica and is an Orthodox cathedral from 1864.

Sveti Naum – Drilon

The Sveti Naum monastery complex is located near the tourist town of Drilon. This was founded around the year 1000 by St. Naum, a disciple of the great spiritual Cyril and Methodos, who brought the (Cyrillic) alphabet to the Slavs.

Xhamija Mbret (King’s Mosque) – Elbasan

This magnificent Muslim place of worship is in close proximity to the old town of Elbasan. It was built in the fateful year 1492 and is therefore the oldest surviving mosque in Albania. Although the mosque was designed to be architecturally inconspicuous, its walls were decorated with red Arabic script until the 1960s.


Ethnographic Museum – Elbasan

This museum in Elbasan is housed in an interesting building from the 18th century. On display are exhibits that are based on traditional handicrafts from the Ottoman era.

Gallery of figurative art – Tirana Established in

1976, the gallery today contains around 3,200 works by Albanian and foreign artists.

Historical National Museum – Tirana

Built in 1981, Tirana s main museum is located in the city center and is easily identified by the huge ornamental mosaic that has been attached to the facade. The museum exhibits many artifacts from ancient times to the present day of Hoxha’s regime.

National Museum of Medieval Albanian Art – Korça

The Museum of Medieval Albanian Art has been set up in a former church. It exhibits a large collection made up of icons, architectural fragments and various religious exhibits.

Onufri Museum – Berati

The famous Onufri Museum – set up in an Orthodox church – exhibits works by the important Albanian artist of the same name, who mainly devoted himself to icon painting.

Piramida (International Center of Culture) – Tirana

The International Cultural Center, formerly the Enver Hoxha Museum, was established in 1988 and is now a major center for many important art events and gatherings. The so-called “pyramid” was designed by a group of architects who were led by Pranvera Hoxha, the dictator’s daughter.

Skanderbeg Museum – Kruja

In the castle of the medieval town of Kruja known as the “Balcony of the Adriatic” is the Skanderbeg Museum, which shows all kinds of exhibits about the Albanian national saint.

Other sights

Bunkers – nationwide

There are around 600,000 concrete bunkers at strategically important locations throughout the country, which were built by Enver Hoxha during his regime to protect the country. A number of them can be visited.

Tomb of Skanderbeg – Lezha

The tomb of the Albanian national hero who defended his country against the Ottomans is in Lezha.

Historic old town of Gjirokastra – Gjirokastra

The listed old town is of Byzantine origin and dates back to 1200. The quarter inspires not only with the lovingly and authentically restored narrow streets, but also with the fortress from the 13th century, which was expanded by Ali Pascha Tepelena in 1811, from which one has a picturesque view of the city.

Mangalem – Berati

This is a district of the pretty town of Berati, which is very well developed for tourists. This district is arranged on a hill and runs up to the Kalaja, i.e. to the castle of Berati. The area impresses with the very closely spaced houses and the fact that almost all of the houses on the facade facing the valley have very large windows. This has earned the city of Berati the nickname “City of a Thousand Windows”. The various sights of the quarter include the bachelor mosque, the king mosque and the insanely situated Michaelis church.

Natural beauty and seaside resorts

Dajti (Mali i Dajtit) – Tirana Tirana

‘s 1,613 meter high mountain is located in the east of the city and, together with the Priska Mountain (1,353 m) to the south, forms a national park that extends over an area of 3,300 hectares. In this park you can not only admire wonderful forests and a picturesque mountain landscape with rich vegetation, but also numerous animals such as wild boars, wolves, foxes and brown bears. The park can be reached via a narrow road that winds up to the mountain, or since 2005 with a gondola from the eastern outskirts. The Dajti is ideal for hiking.

Galicica National Park

Close to Lake Ohrid is the Galicica National Park with its wild beauty.

Mineral springs in Albania – Gjirokastra, Teplene and Glina

The entire area around the Albanian city of Gjirokastra is known for its various mineral springs. These include “Ujë i Ftohtë” (“cold water”) near Tepelena and “Gryka e Këlcyrës” in the direction of Përmet. In Glina – to be reached in the direction of Kakavia, the Albanian-Greek border crossing – there is the well-known mineral spring of the same name.

Lake Ohrid Lake

Ohrid is located on the border with Macedonia. It is located in the mountains in a beautiful landscape. Because of its water color it is also called the “Sea of the Balkans”. There are numerous small fishing villages on its banks. The greater part of the lake belongs to Macedonia.

Prespa Lake Prespa

Lake with its islands is a nature and bird paradise. You can swim very well on its beaches.

Saint Prokopi Park – Tirana

This large park represents the green lungs of Tirana. The gigantic forest is on the outskirts of the city.

Durrës Plazh – Durrës

The beach of Durrës is located south of the city and serves the Albanians as a popular excursion and bathing destination. The sandy beach, once surrounded by many trees, is in fact in after the end of communism.

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