Seasonal Planning for Albania Travel
Early fall is the best time to visit Albania if you want to experience the full range of outdoor activities—from cycling and hiking in the mountains to touring ancient ruins in the archaeological parks and swimming in the Ionian Sea. Unlike the spring, when the coastal waters are chilly, hot summers in Albania mean warm waters into the early fall. Prices drop, crowds disperse after the summer, yet the weather is still beautiful, with clear days and comfortable temperatures.
The spring season is also a great time to visit Albania, after the wet and cold winter weather passes and before the summer heat hits and vacationers arrive at the beaches. If you are keen on a combination of skiing and coastal cruising, early spring may offer the unique opportunity to do both, as snow sometimes lasts through mid-March while the coastal areas are starting to thaw. Summer is ideal for those that love sunbathing, hiking, road trips, and music festivals. If you want to avoid extreme heat and higher rates, it's best to go in June rather than July or August.
The colder winter months, mainly January and February, are best suited to skiers. Many coastal resorts shutter during the low season, so a proper beach holiday isn't possible in the winter.
|Where to Visit
Pleasant weather; fewer crowds (except for Easter); lush landscapes
Cold sea temperature; some coastal resorts not open yet; wet trails in early spring
Hiking, cycling, last chance skiing
Korçë, Elbasan, Southern Albania
Clear skies for sightseeing, hiking, and swimming
High temperatures; more crowded in July and August; high prices
Swimming, hiking, music festivals
Albanian Riviera, Lake Ohrid, Prespa National Park
|Comfortable temperatures; prices drop and crowds disperse; fall foliage
Rainfall may hinder plans; some coastal resorts close for the low season
Touring archaeological sites, enjoying quiet beaches, hiking
|Sarandë, Permët, Berat, Tirana
Milder weather than many European destinations; affordable skiing
Road conditions can be challenging; many coastal resorts closed
Skiing; Christmas and New Year's celebrations
Voskopojë, Korçë, Tirana
Spring in Albania (March to May)
This quiet window of pleasant weather and fewer crowds—after the cold winter and before the summer heat and travelers arrive—makes spring an excellent time to visit Albania and enjoy outdoor activities and sightseeing at archaeological sites such as Apollonia. Not only are flowers blooming during this period, adding color and life to the landscape, but a number of springtime festivals also create a joyful atmosphere and a chance to experience local food, music, and culture alongside residents.
Albania's diversity of landscapes combined with its Mediterranean coastal climate means that the northern mountains and inland areas are still cold in the early spring while the coastal regions are starting to warm up to around 50°F (10°C). So if you visit in early March, you may be able to catch the tail end of ski season in the mountains around Korçë and then take a road trip through Southern Albania, where you can thaw out at the Bënjë hot springs and wander the ancient ruins of Butrint.
If you're planning to hike, it's best to visit mountainous regions such as the Albanian Alps (also known as the Accursed Mountains) later in the spring (April and May), as snowmelt can create challenging conditions in March. Late spring is also the perfect time to take a bike tour of Southern Albania when there is minimal chance of wet or unbearably hot weather.
Events in Spring
Dita e Verës, nationwide. This festival takes place on March 14, when you'll find the streets lively with music, parades, and performances. The largest pagan festival in the country marks the end of winter, welcoming the warmer weather and new blooms of spring. Although you may find festivities across the country, the origins of Dita e Verës were in Elbasan, and the city still puts on one of the most popular celebrations.
South Outdoor Festival, Borsh. The festival celebrates the great outdoors with five days of sports, food, music, and tradition. It offers more than 40 outdoor activities with something for all ages, so it's a great option for people traveling with a group of mixed interests. It takes place during the final days of April and the first days of May.
The National Festival of Urban Folk Songs, Elbasan. This two-day festival held in March showcases the country's folk culture.
Easter, nationwide. Catholic Easter and Orthodox Easter are celebrated in the spring (Catholic Easter falls between late March and early April, and Orthodox Easter falls between April and May). You'll find many residents participating in the rituals—even if they don't consider themselves Catholic or Orthodox—as it's an important part of the culture that was previously outlawed during the communist era.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Summer in Albania (June to August)
Summers are hot, with coastal temperatures ranging from around 82°F (28°C) in early summer to over 100°F (38°C) at the height of summer in July and August. Even inland and mountainous regions are quite warm, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. June is ideal for a classic tour from Tirana to the Albanian Riviera before residents and European holidaymakers head for the Ionian Sea in July and August. But even if you visit in peak summer, you won't find the throngs of tourists you might in neighboring countries, particularly if you avoid the most popular resort areas and consider the Adriatic coastline instead.
Lake Ohrid, one of Europe's oldest and deepest lakes, is also a popular place to cool off. The UNESCO-listed lake straddles the Albania and North Macedonia border and is an excellent addition to an Albanian Riviera road trip. Summer skies tend to be clear, and the trails are dry, so another option is to skip the popular swim spots and head for the hills for some hiking in Prespa National Park. Or, experience mountain towns and cultural activities, including a stay in a traditional stone kullë house near Bulqizë, on an Albania mountain road trip.
Summer also offers a variety of festivals, many of them showcasing international and foreign music as well as local cuisine in picturesque places, like the seaside village of Dhërmi and the unofficial capital of culture, Korçë (save some time to tour the streets to admire the architecture, and visit some museums).
Events in Summer
Kala Festival, Dhërmi. This international music festival, held from the end of May through the beginning of June on the Albanian Riviera, is the first of its kind in the country.
UNUM Festival, Shëngjin. This electronic music festival, held from the end of May to early June, offers international and local music in Shëngjin, a coastal town in northwestern Albania.
Za Fest, Theth. This music festival showcases Albanian music in the northern Albanian Alps. The date changes each year, but it's held in the summertime.
Korçë Beer Festival, Korçë. In August, Korçë hosts Albania's largest public event: a four-day long beer festival featuring local brew, food, and entertainment.
Fall in Albania (September to November)
Visit in the early fall, and you'll enjoy comfortable weather with highs of around 73°F-83°F (23°C-28°C) in September, warm coastal waters, and outdoor activities—without the summer crowds and pricing. September is an ideal time to experience quiet days at the Albanian Riviera after residents return to work following the summer holidays. If spending time at the beach is a priority, it's best to visit early in September; as temperatures drop, many resorts close for the season. This is your chance to see Sarandë and enjoy the beaches, archaeological parks, and the 16th-century Lëkurësi Castle.
The pleasant temperatures in the fall are perfect for exploring archaeological sites in other areas of the country, too. Berat, situated in central Albania, is famous for its Ottoman architecture, while Southern Butrint, located near the border with Greece, offers Greek and Roman ruins. If you're interested in a blend of culture and nature, consider the cultural hub of Permët, located near Gjirokastër, where you can experience folk music, Albanian wine, raki, and mineral-rich hot springs after hiking in Hotovë-Dangëlli National Park, Albania's largest.
If you're keen to see some fall foliage, plan a visit in October or November, when the leaves typically change, depending on altitude and latitude. Qafshtama National Park (about two hours northeast of Tirana), Shebenik–Jabllanica National Park (located near the border with North Macedonia), and the Dobërdol Mountains (near the borders with Montenegro and Kosovo) are excellent options.
Rain is expected during the fall, especially later in the season, and may put a damper on plans. The National History Museum and Bunk'Art, a gallery and museum located inside an underground bunker, are great options for a rainy day in Tirana. As there is minimal risk of snow during most of the season, this is also a good time for a road trip. If you've got the time, you can get a taste of all of the above on a two-week road trip from Tirana to the mountains and then the Riviera, with stops at Berat, Permët, Butrint, Shebenik-Jabllanice National Park, and more.
Events in Fall
Festa n'Shesh, Shesh. Sample Albanian wine and enjoy live music and folk culture at this wine festival, held in September.
Tirana Marathon, Tirana. Athletes can plan a visit around the annual race, held in the capital city in October.
Independence Day, nationwide. Festivities across the country celebrate Albania's independence from the Ottoman Empire on November 28. Tirana, in particular, goes all out with concerts and other events.
Tirana Film Festival, Tirana. Mingle with film industry professionals at the annual film festival. This event is typically in November, but not always, so if you are keen to attend, double-check the dates before booking.
Winter in Albania (December to February)
Given its Mediterranean climate, winters in Albania tend to be milder than in many European countries. The capital, Tirana, ranges from around 43°F (6°C) to 55°F (7°C) during the winter, and the coastal regions are slightly warmer. But it does get cold in higher elevation areas, with temperatures dropping well below freezing, especially in January and February. Relatively low rates make Albania one of the most affordable ski destinations in Europe, yet it is also one of the least crowded.
Conditions are generally best in January and February (and sometimes early March), so that's the time to book a ski trip to Bigëll-Dardhë or Voskopojë. If you arrive in December and there's not enough snow on the slopes, you can experience cultural attractions, including museums and walking tours in Korçë and Tirana, take in mountain views from the Dajti Ekspres cable car, or bundle up and explore ancient ruins. Combine your stay in Tirana with other highlights of Albania on a classic tour, and see a medieval castle in Krujë, Greek and Byzantine ruins in Butrint, and Ottoman architecture in Berat.
Events in Winter
Christmas. Most Albanian Christians are Catholics (there is also an Orthodox minority), so Christmas is celebrated on December 25, with churches offering Christmas Eve mass on December 24. You'll see holiday decorations, a large Christmas tree in Tirana during December, and Christmas markets in several cities, including Tirana and Korçë.
New Year's Eve, nationwide. Tirana also hosts New Year's Eve celebrations with fireworks at Skanderbeg Square. Some businesses may be closed for the New Year's public holidays from January 1-3, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.