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Albania Is No Longer Europe’s Best Kept Secret

Once again, the continent is awash with visitors and concerns about overcrowding are back to haunt the locals. Previously the phenomenon seemed to be restricted to Italy, France, Greece, Croatia and the like; now, even overlooked places that historically received very few tourists are getting a slice of the cake.

This has left us wondering: is Albania, Europe’s best kept secret, perhaps no longer a secret at all?

A Southeastern European country full of natural wonders, amazing History and highly affordable compared to other European beach hotspots, Albania had been largely ignored by travelers up until recently. Having broken free from communism only in the early nineties, it was forcefully hidden from the public eye, and social imaginary, for most of our recent History.

Due to the strict regime, which actively pursued and killed citizens looking to flee, and barred entry to most foreigners, Albania did not enjoy an economic boom, or tourism development, as its Balkan competitors did during the 20th century. Things changed for the better in the wake of the democratization, but even then numbers remained lackluster.
Unlike Croatia or Montenegro, two neighbors that emerged from the last Balkan Wars, and the break-up of Yugoslavia, as top rated international destinations, Albania struggled to keep up and most of its efforts towards wider integration – joining the European Union, the Eurozone, and being a part of the European Single Market – have failed.

In a trend first picked up by The Times, it seems Albania is finally making up for lost time. At a time when low cost travel is slowly disappearing, and Europe is becoming increasingly more expensive, Skanderberg’s homeland is taking center stage as a budget travel haven, especially on TikTok, where users have been sharing their experiences when traveling the country.


Several of those with over a million views center around the quaint seaside town of Ksamil. Located in close proximity to the port of Saranda, this unheard-of paradise location is home to some of Albania’s most picturesque beaches, straddling the Adriatic Coast and featuring a Maldives-like teal-colored ocean

Others focus on Albania’s numerous historical sites, such as medieval castles, Greco-Roman ruins, and communist-era bunkers. Unbeknownst to most foreigners, this Balkan gem has one of the richest cultural offers in the Balkans, its landmarks being among some of the most popular tourist attractions on the video-sharing app.

Those are the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Berat, an Ottoman-era city known for its whitewashed Old Town and hilltop fortress, Shkoder, the cultural capital of Northern Albania and the gateway to the lesser-known Albanian Alps, and Gjirokaster, commonly known as the ‘Stone City’ and another UNESCO-recognized gem.

Albania’s newfound fame is not restricted to TikTok only: since it dropped all Covid rules, its tourism rebound has far exceeded original expectations. Instead of the much more modest 2.9 million arrivals forecast, the nation is expecting to welcome 4 million until the end of the year, as confirmed by Prime Minister Edi Rama, or 1.1 million more visitors.

Much like Croatia, which experienced a revival in a post-war setting, Albania is ready to shake off the ghosts of decades past and reinvent itself as an attractive sunny getaway. The Albanian Prime Minister himself states they’re ‘on the right track’, with large-scale infrastructure projects already underway.