The temperatures begin to rise in Albania after the winter, but despite Albania's small size, there's quite a lot of variety in its climate. The inland and northern mountains remain pretty cold in March, and the ski season continues into the middle of the month. The weather gets more pleasant on the coast, and while March temperatures probably won't be luring you for a swim, this is a nice time of year to visit the Albanian Riviera without the crowds of summer. The average temperature in Tirana in March is 50°F (10°C).
You may experience rain in Albania in March, but on average, this month is drier than the wet winter.
Crowds & Costs
March is shoulder season for travel in Albania. Yet, in reality, the country isn't as busy as some of its neighbors (even in mid-summer), and prices are relatively low. With improving weather in March, this is a pleasant month to visit the coast and inland towns without many other visitors.
March is the tail-end of the ski season, depending on the snow conditions in specific areas. Early in the month, you will probably still find accommodation and other tourists at ski destinations around Korçë. Still, it's wise to check local conditions before planning a ski trip in March. If temperatures are warmer or you visit later in the month, many businesses catering to skiers will be closed.
Although Albania isn't a Christian-majority country, Catholic and Orthodox Christian Albanians each celebrate Easter. Catholic Easter sometimes falls in March, although Orthodox Easter is usually in April or early May. Some Albanians take vacations over Easter, so local transport might be more crowded and hotels at capacity in popular locales. Make bookings in advance if you're traveling over Easter.
Where to Go
A couple of great festivals in Elbasan make this an appealing destination in March. Elbasan is one of the biggest cities in Albania and is southeast of the capital, Tirana. It's an ancient city with many interesting archeological sites to check out (such as Illyrian graves), as well as a castle and Ottoman architecture.
The National Festival of Urban Folk Songs is held in Elbasan in March, plus this is one of the best spots in Albania to celebrate the spring festival of Dita e Verës (see more below).
What to Do
If you're traveling in Albania earlier in March, head straight to the mountains to enjoy some skiing in what has been called the best-value ski destination in Europe. The city of Korçë, in southeastern Albania, is a popular jumping-off point for the ski fields in the Morava Mountains, Bigëll/ Dardhë, and Voskopojë.
Korçë is on a high plateau, and there are cultural attractions to enjoy here, too, if the ski season ends earlier than expected. These include the National Museum of Medieval Art, Ngjallja e Krishtit Cathedral, and the brewery (Birra Korçë), where one of Albania's most popular beers is produced.
Many people like to go hiking in Albania, but March isn't an ideal time to do this. Snow and snowmelt might still be around in some areas, making conditions less than perfect. Wait for a bit later in the spring to hit the outdoor trails.
Events in March
Easter. Catholic Easter sometimes falls in late March. Catholic and Orthodox Albanians tend to celebrate this festival similarly by attending church and eating special foods with their families.
National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, Elbasan. This two-day festival celebrates Albania's varied folk culture through music and dance.
Dita e Verës, nationwide. Variously translated as Spring Day or Summer Day in English, Dita e Verës celebrates the coming of warmer weather. Its roots can be traced to pre-Christian and Islamic times. Celebrations are especially lively in Elbasan, with music and other performances.
Sultan Nevruz, nationwide. This Islamic festival on March 22 is a public holiday and is usually observed by non-Muslim Albanians, too. It heralds the arrival of spring and is associated with Sufism.
Traveling to Albania in March? Check out this great itinerary
Highlights of Albania - 8 Days. See the best of Albania with a tour from modern Tirana to the Ionian Sea. This itinerary can be enjoyed in spring and covers Greek and Byzantine ruins, a boat ride over Lake Prespa, and tours covering historic sites like Apolloni and Berat.