Soaring alpine peaks, centuries-old castles, dramatic canyons and shimmering, sun-soaked bays are just some of the incredible wonders of Albania, which makes this one of the best kept secrets in the Balkans.

The compact country is blissfully off the well-trodden European tourist circuit, and a great option for backpackers thanks to its relatively budget-friendly tours, public transportation and accommodation options.

Shkoder, Albania

Shkoder, Albania

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While many travellers try and combine a quick trip here with its more popular neighbours like Greece, Italy and Montenegro, there are so many places to visit in Albania that it’s easy to fill up a whole week and still hardly scratch the surface.

I should know; I spent nine days exploring from north to south, and still didn’t quite manage to tick everything off of my to-do list (I’m looking at you, Albanian Alps hiking trip).

So, what’s the best way to see this Balkan nation’s top spots if you only have one week for your Albania trip? Here are the greatest hits.

Day 1: Tirana

Most people kick off their Albania itinerary in Tirana, since the capital is home to the international airport and is well connected by bus with other destinations throughout the country. It’s also possible to see all of the main attractions in a single day, since they’re quite close together in the walkable city centre.

One of the top places to visit in Tirana is Skanderbeg Square, a large, pedestrian-only plaza with a huge statue of a military commander on horseback, and a couple of museums including the National Historic Museum. This is also home to landmarks like the Clock Tower, and picturesque

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