For too long, Albania has lived in the shadows of its European neighbours like Croatia and Italy. But despite its rocky history, it more than deserves a place in your holiday destination list, too. Fortunately, more and more travellers are finally discovering the gem that is Albania. From its picturesque shores to its pastel architecture, this Balkan beauty has no shortage of sights to offer.
However, Albania is also known for one other thing: its intense summer heat.
From June to September, temperatures in Albania can shoot up to 32°C. While this warmth can be considered a good complement to its beaches, visiting during this time will require some extra care. There’s nothing like a nasty sunburn to cut a vacation short, so be sure to keep these essentials in mind.
Whilst many Albanians identify as Muslim (others as Catholic and Orthodox), tourists are free to dress as they wish. It’s not uncommon to see people of all walks of life in shorts and less conservative pieces — save for those visiting mosques and churches. Since there isn’t a need to cover up for cultural purposes as you explore, wear clothes that are breezy for the weather. Linen is an ideal garment for warm climates because it allows for more air flow. Just be sure to bring a light jacket with you for the cooler evenings.
According to an article in the Telegraph, Albania boasts 426 kilometres of seaside beauty — from the more secluded sands of Drymadhes near the popular beaches of Dhërmi, to the Ksamil beach, also known as the “Ionian Pearl.” What this means is that you’re never too far away from a body of water, so packing a swimsuit is non-negotiable.
Because Albania isn’t as developed as other European destinations, be prepared to rough it out logistically. There aren’t any central bus stations or trains, so expect to do a lot of walking. Of course, the last thing you’d want is to be stuck with uncomfortable shoes. Bring a pair that won’t pinch your feet the wrong way, and do consider sandals to combat the heat.
A beach towel isn’t just for the tropics. Not only can it keep you company as you lounge on the sand, but it will also help you dry off after taking a dip in the refreshing Albanian waters.
Is there any other accessory that says “glamorous European holiday” better than a floppy hat? But beyond style purposes, a hat will provide your scalp and face some much-needed extra protection from the sun.
Albania is an idyllic place with Instagram-worthy corners everywhere. If you’re the type who likes putting on makeup for the camera, then make sure it’s sweat-resistant. You don’t want your mascara running as you strike a pose. Besides looking for the “waterproof” label, Coastal Living suggests avoiding heavy powders and matte formulas that tend to just sit on top of your skin. Instead, go for sheer and gel-based formulas that have more staying power.
More than just make-up, beauty site Pretty Me emphasises the importance of skincare, which includes keeping it protected from the harsh heat. Sunscreen is your first line of defence, and comes with so many other benefits than heat protection. It also acts as an anti-aging solution, since aged skin is a direct effect of sun damage. Don’t forget to place some on the rest of your body, too.
Facial spray is pretty much like a glass of water for your face, which will come in handy when your skin starts to get parched from the Albanian sun. There are variants for each skin concern, like for soothing and providing antioxidants. Elle editors suggest brands such as La Roche-Posay and Avene.