An odd few days making the way across Northern Albania

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
42 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
3-4 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 200
Time of year visited
All Tags
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
329th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Bottom 10% SUMMARY RATING: Gash


I spent 3 days passing through Albania on the way from Lake Ohrid in Macedonia to the coast of Montenegro and not sure I’d recommend it as a destination in its own right.  The main reason being that the surrounding countries seem to have so much more to offer.  The coast, whilst nice, cannot compete with the magnificent coastline of Montenegro or the nearby beaches in Greece; the interior is also nice, but it is a cut below the view you get over Lake Ohrid in Macedonia; and Tirana is ok to walk around but you’d never chose it over Sarajevo or the world famous Dubrovnik.  It gets points for sheer randomness, for example the countryside is littered with 170,000 bunkers to help ward off potential invasion, but overall I’d put it down the list when it comes to places to visit in the Balkans

  • If you are keen though on a trip around this part of the world with its stunning castles and old towns, and some of the best coastline in the world all compactly housed within the Western Balkans’ 8 countries, see my 2-3 week itinerary for the highlights and general tips for this part of the world, –3 week trip around the Balkans States


#1 Checking out the main sites in central Tirana

#2 Driving through the hills near the border with Macedonia

#3 Spotting some of the 170,000 super random bunkers spread out all across the country

#4 Wandering through the actually quite pretty tree-lined streets in suburban Tirana

#5 Staying in Shkodra to see the . . . er . . .mosque I suppose

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone