Albania is a southeastern European country with a Mediterranean coast and inland mountains. This means that although it's a small country, there's quite a bit of weather variation between the coast, inland, and mountainous areas.
Overall, winters in Albania are milder than in many other European countries. Although temperatures can drop below 32°F (0°C) in the mountains, the capital city, Tirana, has an average January temperature of around 43°F (6°C) as it's inland, a little ways from the coast. Coastal areas are warmer still. Winter can be fairly wet, which can cause landslides and create travel delays in the mountains.
Crowds & Costs
January is low season for tourism in Albania, although the country is never as busy as many other countries in the region, even during its peak season. Albanian ski resort areas (such as Bigëll/ Dardhë) are most active between January and mid-March, but even they are less busy than ski resorts elsewhere in Europe.
Note that many resorts and restaurants on the Albanian Riviera are seasonal and closed for winter. Also, January 1-3 are national holidays for the new year, so some attractions and restaurants might be closed.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Where to Go
A top destination in January is the capital city, Tirana. The colder winter temperatures make indoor attractions and restaurants particularly inviting, and these are abundant in Tirana. Don't miss the offbeat Piramida, the monuments of Skanderbeg Square, the National History Museum, and Bunk'Art, a museum and gallery in an underground bunker.
To get out into the mountains, make a trip to the Valbonë Valley National Park in the Albanian Alps, in the far north of the country. Most of the park is covered in forest and in winter the mountains will be covered in snow. It's also beside the Theth National Park; the village of Theth is very pretty and can be reached via a dramatic road of hairpin bends.
What to Do
January is an excellent time for skiing in Albania. Head to southeastern Albania for great ski runs and far fewer people than in the mountains of neighboring European countries. The city of Korçë makes a handy base for snow adventures to ski fields in the mountains, such as Bigëll/ Dardhë or Voskopojë. Korçë is on a high plateau and is surrounded by the Morava Mountains. As well as this great location, it has an attractive Ottoman-style Orthodox cathedral and some fascinating museums.
If you're spending time in the capital, Tirana, a fun way to get an overview of the city and the surrounding mountains is to ride the Dajti Ekspres. This Austrian-built cable car is 15,321 feet (4,670 meters) long and takes riders up to the top of Dajti Mountain, north-east of Tirana.
Events in January
New Year's Eve, nationwide. If you're in Albania at the end of December and the beginning of January, Tirana is a good place to spend New Year's Eve. Wrap up warm and head to watch the fireworks display at Skanderbeg Square. January 1-3 are public holidays in Albania so some businesses might be closed.