Albania with a tent – best campgrounds and wild camping places
Albania is one of the most ‘exotic’ destinations in Europe. Although the country has a lot to offer, it still doesn’t have a well-developed tourist infrastructure. However, this has its advantages, especially for travelers who prefer more wild destinations and like to spend time in nature. That’s why many people come to Albania with campers. Thanks to that there is a pretty nice camping infrastructure in the country which can also be used when traveling with a tent.
Moreover, the low number of foreign tourists in Albania makes it quite easy to find places for wild camping. But before going for an adventure to Albania, it is worth doing some research and have some spots prepared in advance. Especially because Google Maps doesn’t work as well in Albania as it does in other European countries. That is why below I have gathered some useful information about campsites and wild camping places, which will help you to plan a trip around Albania with a tent.
1. SHKODRA LAKE WITH A TENT
Lake Shkodra Resort is by far the best campground we’ve been to during our entire stay in Albania. The facility is located by the lake and it’s very large. Thanks to that, guests (especially in the off-season) do not disturb each other. The campground has a restaurant with decent prices (breakfast from 2-4 EUR) and very clean bathrooms with hot water. You can also rent there modern wooden huts or teepee tents.
Next to the lake there is an artificially made beach with sunbeds, umbrellas and hammocks, as well as a pier leading into the lake. You can rent a kayak or pedal boat. At the reception there are some souvenirs and snacks to buy and it’s possible to exchange Euros for Albanian Leks as well as buy organized trips to nearby attractions. The offer includes all the most important places in northern Albania, so you can stay here longer and explore the area. All this makes Lake Shkodra Resort a really great place to stay for a few nights.
Price: 5 EUR per person when sleeping in own tent + EUR 10 per bus.
2. KSAMIL WITH A TENT
When walking in off-season along the main streets of Ksamil, it’s hard to imagine that this Albanian town is able to attract some foreign tourists. However, it definitely makes more sense when seeing the beautiful beaches with white pebbles and crystal clear water. For this reason, a lot of people come here during the holiday season, which also means that there are a lot of accommodations in the town. Most of them are apartments and there are only a few campsites.
One of them is particularly worth recommending, namely Gaci’s Camping. It is hard to call this place even a campground, because you sleep there in an olive tree garden next to the owner’s house. This, of course, has its unique charm and provides intimacy, but it also reminded me of sleeping in a tent in my own garden when I was a kid 😉
There are two bathrooms in the garden with a toilet, shower and sink. There is warm water, but it is heated in a boiler, so if two girls with long hair bathe before of you, there is no chance for a hot shower. In addition, there is a separate place for washing dishes and a table with chairs. It’s allowed to grill in the garden. When it comes to electricity, there are two plugs at the back of the house.
To sum up, you’ll find there everything you need. However, what makes Gaci’s Camping the most special are its owners – incredibly friendly people who care about the comfort and satisfaction of their customers and create a family atmosphere. Even when our barbecue dinners transformed into small parties lasting up to late hours, nobody resented us for that. Of course their understanding reached it’s limits when we started to sing Polish songs in the middle of the night but given the circumstances we couldn’t blame them 😅
Price: 5 EUR/person per night in May, no car fee.
3. VALBONE WITH A TENT
In Valbone you will definitely find several places offering apartments for tourists and at the same time a campsite in the garden. However, if it turns out that you have a problem finding them, or they are closed, you can always ask for permission to pitch a tent in any place where any sort of accommodation is offered. Just make sure the owners have a piece of garden or land around their house. People in Albania are very friendly towards tourists, so there should be no problem with that.
Example: when we stayed at Hotel Margjeka for dinner, we also considered the possibility of staying there overnight. However, it turned out that the price exceeded our budget. When we told the waiter openly about that and mentioned the tents, he offered to ask the boss if we could pitch the tents on the glade next to the hotel. The boss said yes and if we would have stayed there we would only have to pay for the shower.
Walking around the area I often saw the remains of bonfires. In the neighborhood there were also many places that would be great for wild camping. So if you want to wake up in the morning with a beautiful view of the mountain peaks and wash your face with refreshing water from the stream, all you need to do is a short walk around the area in order to find the perfect place. However, don’t forget that in the off-season (e.g. beginning of May) the temperatures at night in Valbone can be very low, even close to 0 °C. Because we were not prepared for such conditions, we decided to rent a hut, which I wrote about here.
4. WILD CAMPING ON A BEACH
One of the main attractions in Albania are it’s beautiful wild beaches. They can serve as a great spot to pitch a tent when traveling near to the coastline. In the off-season, even beaches with tourist infrastructure can be a good choice because very often they are empty (no deckchairs or umbrellas and almost no tourists in May).
One time while searching for a campground we found for example Perivolo Beach and decided to spend a night there. There were almost no people in off-season, but it is not a wild beach. Next to it there are some hotels and restaurants which makes it a little bit hard to find a spot for toilet while wild camping there 😉. It can also be very windy on the beach. Maybe it’s due to the large open space, or it was just very windy when we were there . Besides that, it is a great wild camping spot.
At the beginning we weren’t convinced if it was a good idea to sleep on the beach, because the night supposed to be rainy. However, we found a roofed beach bar belonging to one of the hotels and pitched our tents there. Because the bar was still closed due to the lack of guests, the hotel staff allowed us to stay there for one night – another proof of the incredible kindness of Albanians.
Another great place to sleep in a tent while traveling through Albania is Gjipe Beach. You can pitch your tent directly on the beach or sleep on the Gjipe Eco Campground. A minus is the accessibility of this place, especially if you don’t have an off-road car. The beach is hidden in a canyon and the road leading directly to it is very rocky. Therefore, a normal car must be left at the parking lot so you will have to carry all your staff (backpacks, tents, etc.) for about 1 km (20 min. walk). If you don’t want to carry everything with you, you can rent a tent at the campground. On the beach there are also two bars with toilets.
Please always remember to clean up all the rubbish and try to minimize your influence on the environment as much as possible while wild camping!
5. BENJA THERMAL BATHS
Unfortunately, I didn’t had the opportunity to visit Benja Thermal Baths. However, this is a very interesting place, so I decided to share with you the information that I found. It turns out that you can wild camp in the area around the springs. You only have to pay a small parking fee, but thanks to that you can also use the springs in the evening or even at night. During our trip we didn’t have enough time to visit this place, but on my next trip to Albania with a tent I will definitely go there.
Below you will find a map on which I marked all the important places in Albania as well as my itinerary. By clicking on the star you can save it in your Google Maps Account under Your Places and use it later while travelling. Enjoy!