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Qerret touristic village in Albania

Gledis

Qerret touristic village in Albania

Arts & Culture
The Amphitheater of Durrës remains one of the most majestic of the ancient world and one of ten most beautiful Roman amphitheaters. Widely recognized among enthusiasts of Antiquity, it is a pearl of the Balkans that is slowly making its way out of the shell. Discovered relatively recently, in 1966, its unearthing occurred in a slightly comical way by Vangjel Toçi. Legend has it that Vangjel, an archaeologist and resident of Durrës, happened upon a fig tree which had fallen a few meters below ground level. Curious and inquisitive, he insisted that the area undergo excavations. Rightly so, for underneath was lying the long sought-after Amphitheater. Built after the 2nd century B.C., this Amphitheater of Durrës endures as one of the greatest Roman constructions in the region and one of the miracles erected under Roman emperor Trajan. To spare you curious readers the jump to Wikipedia, suffice it to say that Trajan is considered to be the second of the Five Good Emperors. With Trajan as the leader of the Empire for 19 years (98-117 A.D.), Rome flourished and, with it, the constructions of that time. A part of the Durrës Amphitheater remains unexcavated, adding a certain flair of charm and mystery, akin to the sculptures “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” in the Louvre or the Torso of Apollo in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thus, though some elements are absent, the Amphitheater’s function throughout the years remains clear to this day. The arena, the site that saw the spectacles of the gladiators and other events held for the viewing pleasure of Emperor Trajan and spectators, is surrounded by the tiered staircases where approximately 15 000 to 20 000 spectators enjoyed the show. Constructed by the local masters, boasting the arena, tiered stairs, galleries and two maenianums (balcony or theatre boxes, for those of us who are not experts of architecture), at the time the Amphitheater was considered a colossus of ancient architecture. Made of a structure of bricks and stones, the Amphitheater is composed of a two-story façade decorated with arches and colonnades overlooking the city center. Walking under the tunnels in the interior of the Amphitheater will remind you of the scene in “Gladiator,” where Maximus enters the arena amid the chants of the spectators, along with all the emotions that the scene evokes. Should you find yourself in the western part of the Amphitheater, you will be only a few steps away from the Adriatic coast. As with the Roman Coliseum, the equally entertaining and deathly games, represented the moment of culmination for the Amphitheater of Durrës. Following their termination by Emperor Honorius (393-423 A.D.), around the 4th century, whose power coincided with the beginnings of the fall of the Roman Empire, the ancient arena of the gladiators was turned into a cemetery. During this time, a church was built in the amphitheater, for the religious ceremonies of the Christians of Durrës. Initially, its walls were adorned with beautiful frescoes which were later permanently transformed into mosaic panels of St. Stephen, the martyr of Durrës, as well as other saints: St. Stephen, St. Mary, St. Irin, St. Sophia and St. Gabriel. Thus, it seems that the Amphitheater had the fate of going through its phase of excessive entertainment to that of repentance. But, let me stop here, as a personal guide will be waiting for you inside the Amphitheater with an entertaining commentary on more of the site’s historical background! After this journey through the centuries, you may choose to talk a walk along the beautiful narrow streets of the old city of Durrës and as the sun sets, relax in one of the many seaside cafes and restaurants. A special experience, as old as it is new, awaits the history, art, architecture, archeology…as well as sea and seafood enthusiast in the city of Durrës. The visit, nowadays less dangerous and cheaper than in Antiquity – as the gladiators are long gone and the entrance fee costs only 3 Euros – remains cultural, entertaining and tasty.
14
locals recommend
Durres Amphitheatre
14
locals recommend
The Amphitheater of Durrës remains one of the most majestic of the ancient world and one of ten most beautiful Roman amphitheaters. Widely recognized among enthusiasts of Antiquity, it is a pearl of the Balkans that is slowly making its way out of the shell. Discovered relatively recently, in 1966, its unearthing occurred in a slightly comical way by Vangjel Toçi. Legend has it that Vangjel, an archaeologist and resident of Durrës, happened upon a fig tree which had fallen a few meters below ground level. Curious and inquisitive, he insisted that the area undergo excavations. Rightly so, for underneath was lying the long sought-after Amphitheater. Built after the 2nd century B.C., this Amphitheater of Durrës endures as one of the greatest Roman constructions in the region and one of the miracles erected under Roman emperor Trajan. To spare you curious readers the jump to Wikipedia, suffice it to say that Trajan is considered to be the second of the Five Good Emperors. With Trajan as the leader of the Empire for 19 years (98-117 A.D.), Rome flourished and, with it, the constructions of that time. A part of the Durrës Amphitheater remains unexcavated, adding a certain flair of charm and mystery, akin to the sculptures “The Winged Victory of Samothrace” in the Louvre or the Torso of Apollo in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Thus, though some elements are absent, the Amphitheater’s function throughout the years remains clear to this day. The arena, the site that saw the spectacles of the gladiators and other events held for the viewing pleasure of Emperor Trajan and spectators, is surrounded by the tiered staircases where approximately 15 000 to 20 000 spectators enjoyed the show. Constructed by the local masters, boasting the arena, tiered stairs, galleries and two maenianums (balcony or theatre boxes, for those of us who are not experts of architecture), at the time the Amphitheater was considered a colossus of ancient architecture. Made of a structure of bricks and stones, the Amphitheater is composed of a two-story façade decorated with arches and colonnades overlooking the city center. Walking under the tunnels in the interior of the Amphitheater will remind you of the scene in “Gladiator,” where Maximus enters the arena amid the chants of the spectators, along with all the emotions that the scene evokes. Should you find yourself in the western part of the Amphitheater, you will be only a few steps away from the Adriatic coast. As with the Roman Coliseum, the equally entertaining and deathly games, represented the moment of culmination for the Amphitheater of Durrës. Following their termination by Emperor Honorius (393-423 A.D.), around the 4th century, whose power coincided with the beginnings of the fall of the Roman Empire, the ancient arena of the gladiators was turned into a cemetery. During this time, a church was built in the amphitheater, for the religious ceremonies of the Christians of Durrës. Initially, its walls were adorned with beautiful frescoes which were later permanently transformed into mosaic panels of St. Stephen, the martyr of Durrës, as well as other saints: St. Stephen, St. Mary, St. Irin, St. Sophia and St. Gabriel. Thus, it seems that the Amphitheater had the fate of going through its phase of excessive entertainment to that of repentance. But, let me stop here, as a personal guide will be waiting for you inside the Amphitheater with an entertaining commentary on more of the site’s historical background! After this journey through the centuries, you may choose to talk a walk along the beautiful narrow streets of the old city of Durrës and as the sun sets, relax in one of the many seaside cafes and restaurants. A special experience, as old as it is new, awaits the history, art, architecture, archeology…as well as sea and seafood enthusiast in the city of Durrës. The visit, nowadays less dangerous and cheaper than in Antiquity – as the gladiators are long gone and the entrance fee costs only 3 Euros – remains cultural, entertaining and tasty.
The first stop providing a taste of the ancient city’s splendor is the Archaeological Museum of Durrës, the largest one in the country. The museum includes a great number of objects belonging to Durrës’ prehistoric, archaic, classical and civic Illyrian periods, extending to the 1st century. The museum’s pavilions take you through the history of the city’s administration through the centuries, the development of its culture and ethnography, the livelihood of its inhabitants, and the city’s most significant families. According to archeological evidence, the city was dominated by Illyrian populations and characterized by civic harmony and order.
7
locals recommend
Archaeological Museum of Durrës
7
locals recommend
The first stop providing a taste of the ancient city’s splendor is the Archaeological Museum of Durrës, the largest one in the country. The museum includes a great number of objects belonging to Durrës’ prehistoric, archaic, classical and civic Illyrian periods, extending to the 1st century. The museum’s pavilions take you through the history of the city’s administration through the centuries, the development of its culture and ethnography, the livelihood of its inhabitants, and the city’s most significant families. According to archeological evidence, the city was dominated by Illyrian populations and characterized by civic harmony and order.
The architecture of our next destination, the Byzantine Forum or market square, located near the Amphitheater, reflects the typical function of an open, circular marketplace. In the market’s center, there is a podium and a well that are erected on a marble slab which covers the floor up to the colonnade. The model of the entire building and the archaeological finds date back to the period of Emperors Anastasius and Justinian at the beginning of the 4th century A.D.
Byzantine Market
The architecture of our next destination, the Byzantine Forum or market square, located near the Amphitheater, reflects the typical function of an open, circular marketplace. In the market’s center, there is a podium and a well that are erected on a marble slab which covers the floor up to the colonnade. The model of the entire building and the archaeological finds date back to the period of Emperors Anastasius and Justinian at the beginning of the 4th century A.D.
The tour through this ancient city should conclude with the Castle of Durrës, otherwise known as the Venice Tower. The circular tower, built in the 15th century on Byzantine ruins, is one of the most recognized structures of the port-city. The date of its construction is indicated by the blocks that have survived to this day, the architectural relics and the documented expeditions of many archaeologists. Tourists can enter through a decorated brick door inside this 9-meter high tower. Over the curved wall of the cylinder-shaped building, stand five small windows that look out to the sea. The tower terrace is decorated with bedrails that resemble small castles with the stone staircase winding inside.
Durrës Castle
The tour through this ancient city should conclude with the Castle of Durrës, otherwise known as the Venice Tower. The circular tower, built in the 15th century on Byzantine ruins, is one of the most recognized structures of the port-city. The date of its construction is indicated by the blocks that have survived to this day, the architectural relics and the documented expeditions of many archaeologists. Tourists can enter through a decorated brick door inside this 9-meter high tower. Over the curved wall of the cylinder-shaped building, stand five small windows that look out to the sea. The tower terrace is decorated with bedrails that resemble small castles with the stone staircase winding inside.
The largest mosque in the city, the Great Mosque of Durrës was once transformed into a youth center and restaurant before returning to its original function as a religious institution. 1938 marked the inauguration of the Great Mosque in Durrës. At the time, aside from the mosques in Turkey, this was the largest mosque in the Balkans. In addition to funds donated by the city’s merchants, the construction was also made possible by the Italian-Albanian cooperation. The latter was especially strong in those years as a result of the partnership established by King Zog’s government with the neighboring country. The architects of the mosque were Italian, as a result. Their project had the structure’s architecture respect the Islamic tradition while also integrating antique columns to honor the ancient history of the city of Durrës. The celebration for the completion of the mosque swept the entire city, including many foreign delegations invited to share in this remarkable event.
Xhamia E Madhe
The largest mosque in the city, the Great Mosque of Durrës was once transformed into a youth center and restaurant before returning to its original function as a religious institution. 1938 marked the inauguration of the Great Mosque in Durrës. At the time, aside from the mosques in Turkey, this was the largest mosque in the Balkans. In addition to funds donated by the city’s merchants, the construction was also made possible by the Italian-Albanian cooperation. The latter was especially strong in those years as a result of the partnership established by King Zog’s government with the neighboring country. The architects of the mosque were Italian, as a result. Their project had the structure’s architecture respect the Islamic tradition while also integrating antique columns to honor the ancient history of the city of Durrës. The celebration for the completion of the mosque swept the entire city, including many foreign delegations invited to share in this remarkable event.
Food scene
The amazing view and the rich menu transform dining in this restaurant into an unforgettable experience. Visiting it has become as big of a reason for seeing the city as the Venetian Tower.
Vertigo Bar Restorant
The amazing view and the rich menu transform dining in this restaurant into an unforgettable experience. Visiting it has become as big of a reason for seeing the city as the Venetian Tower.
The modern Mediterranean aesthetic of this restaurant, its classically great seafood cuisine and the multiple panoramas of the sea from the largest veranda in town, are only a few of the things that make this place a local favorite. The many other things to love about this place are its casual and calm atmosphere and the warm and welcoming staff.
Charlie Max Marina
The modern Mediterranean aesthetic of this restaurant, its classically great seafood cuisine and the multiple panoramas of the sea from the largest veranda in town, are only a few of the things that make this place a local favorite. The many other things to love about this place are its casual and calm atmosphere and the warm and welcoming staff.
Upon hearing the name of this place, you would be absolutely right in immediately imagining fishing boats and fresh seafood of all kinds. This is exactly what this restaurant is all about: a simple place, perfect for those who seek fresh and delicious flavors without much pomp. It is located on the seaside promenade, as soon as you climb down from the Dajlani Bridge.
Rifat Peshkatari
Upon hearing the name of this place, you would be absolutely right in immediately imagining fishing boats and fresh seafood of all kinds. This is exactly what this restaurant is all about: a simple place, perfect for those who seek fresh and delicious flavors without much pomp. It is located on the seaside promenade, as soon as you climb down from the Dajlani Bridge.
Durrës is one of those cities that welcomes visitors year-round! Even when the beach season has not begun or has already passed, Durrës remains one of the most visited destinations of the country. The reasons are simple. In addition to its mild and beautiful climate throughout the year, Durrës has developed a truly amazing culinary tradition when it comes to fish and seafood. Situated right across the sea from Italy, it is here that Italian and Albanian gastronomical traditions combine to create some of the most delicious seafood concoctions! Without further ado, the list below offers the best choices of seafood restaurants in town. Vertigo The amazing view and the rich menu transform dining in this restaurant into an unforgettable experience. Visiting it has become as big of a reason for seeing the city as the Venetian Tower. For the map, click here. Website: vertigo.al Vertigo restaurant. Photo source: picswe.com. Charlie Max Marina The modern Mediterranean aesthetic of this restaurant, its classically great seafood cuisine and the multiple panoramas of the sea from the largest veranda in town, are only a few of the things that make this place a local favorite. The many other things to love about this place are its casual and calm atmosphere and the warm and welcoming staff. Click here for the map. Piazza Restaurant Fresh codfish, gilt-head bream (found mostly in the Mediterranean countries) and crab are only some the special seafood products you will regularly find in this restaurant in the popular Taulantia Square. This classic traditional restaurant which serves high-quality food for reasonable prices is an ideal place for families. Click here for the map. Website: restorantpiazza.com Picante After working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Milan, Chef Gazmir Mane returned to Durrës to create some of his famous culinary art. Most of his dishes are seafood-based but you will find many other options in this modern restaurant, as well. Picante, literally meaning spicy, refers to the unique, anything-but-boring flavor of his dishes! Click here for the map. Website: picante.al Rifat Peshkatari (A Fisherman Named Rifat) Upon hearing the name of this place, you would be absolutely right in immediately imagining fishing boats and fresh seafood of all kinds. This is exactly what this restaurant is all about: a simple place, perfect for those who seek fresh and delicious flavors without much pomp. It is located on the seaside promenade, as soon as you climb down from the Dajlani Bridge. Click here for the map. Gogo Apart from serving some of the best fish meatballs and wine in town, this place is full of surprises. Take a seat on the tables facing the beautiful sea and let the wonderful chef of this place amaze you with his unexpected concoctions. Click here for the map. Apollonia Restaurant in the Adriatik Hotel One of the most recognized names of Albanian tourism, this place is by now an institution, making it a must visit for every visitor to Durrës. The Adriatik Hotel is “five star” in every sense of the word, including here its famous restaurant which, by the way, has seen some of the most famous Albanians enter its doors. This is one of those few places that retains the quality of its foods and services forever! Click here for the map. Website: adriatikhotel.com/al 2 Kitarrat (2 Guitars) This popular lively restaurant is part of a Hotel Boutique Spa complex which offers multiple services and enjoys fame beyond the city of Durrës. The cuisine is mainly Italian, including delicious homemade pastas and pizzas, with the famous Albanian seafood appetizers thrown in the mix, making the menu a pretty satisfying one. What makes every customer return to this place is its vibrant atmosphere, with live music playing almost every evening.
Two Guitars
Durrës is one of those cities that welcomes visitors year-round! Even when the beach season has not begun or has already passed, Durrës remains one of the most visited destinations of the country. The reasons are simple. In addition to its mild and beautiful climate throughout the year, Durrës has developed a truly amazing culinary tradition when it comes to fish and seafood. Situated right across the sea from Italy, it is here that Italian and Albanian gastronomical traditions combine to create some of the most delicious seafood concoctions! Without further ado, the list below offers the best choices of seafood restaurants in town. Vertigo The amazing view and the rich menu transform dining in this restaurant into an unforgettable experience. Visiting it has become as big of a reason for seeing the city as the Venetian Tower. For the map, click here. Website: vertigo.al Vertigo restaurant. Photo source: picswe.com. Charlie Max Marina The modern Mediterranean aesthetic of this restaurant, its classically great seafood cuisine and the multiple panoramas of the sea from the largest veranda in town, are only a few of the things that make this place a local favorite. The many other things to love about this place are its casual and calm atmosphere and the warm and welcoming staff. Click here for the map. Piazza Restaurant Fresh codfish, gilt-head bream (found mostly in the Mediterranean countries) and crab are only some the special seafood products you will regularly find in this restaurant in the popular Taulantia Square. This classic traditional restaurant which serves high-quality food for reasonable prices is an ideal place for families. Click here for the map. Website: restorantpiazza.com Picante After working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Milan, Chef Gazmir Mane returned to Durrës to create some of his famous culinary art. Most of his dishes are seafood-based but you will find many other options in this modern restaurant, as well. Picante, literally meaning spicy, refers to the unique, anything-but-boring flavor of his dishes! Click here for the map. Website: picante.al Rifat Peshkatari (A Fisherman Named Rifat) Upon hearing the name of this place, you would be absolutely right in immediately imagining fishing boats and fresh seafood of all kinds. This is exactly what this restaurant is all about: a simple place, perfect for those who seek fresh and delicious flavors without much pomp. It is located on the seaside promenade, as soon as you climb down from the Dajlani Bridge. Click here for the map. Gogo Apart from serving some of the best fish meatballs and wine in town, this place is full of surprises. Take a seat on the tables facing the beautiful sea and let the wonderful chef of this place amaze you with his unexpected concoctions. Click here for the map. Apollonia Restaurant in the Adriatik Hotel One of the most recognized names of Albanian tourism, this place is by now an institution, making it a must visit for every visitor to Durrës. The Adriatik Hotel is “five star” in every sense of the word, including here its famous restaurant which, by the way, has seen some of the most famous Albanians enter its doors. This is one of those few places that retains the quality of its foods and services forever! Click here for the map. Website: adriatikhotel.com/al 2 Kitarrat (2 Guitars) This popular lively restaurant is part of a Hotel Boutique Spa complex which offers multiple services and enjoys fame beyond the city of Durrës. The cuisine is mainly Italian, including delicious homemade pastas and pizzas, with the famous Albanian seafood appetizers thrown in the mix, making the menu a pretty satisfying one. What makes every customer return to this place is its vibrant atmosphere, with live music playing almost every evening.
Gelateria Çela, perhaps the most famous ice cream shop in the country, is a requisite stop for all of those who visit Durrës. A visit to the sea-side town cannot be considered complete without getting a taste of the fresh gourmet concoction that is Çela’s ice cream. Reaching this level of popularity in a town like Durrës can’t be easy as, in the relatively small space of this ancient town, the visitor must select among dozens of attractions, ranging from the historical to the cultural, from the sea to the culinary. Yet, next to those ancient names that are forever inscribed in the town’s history, Gelateria Çela has miraculously carved out a space for itself.
Gelateria Çela
Gelateria Çela, perhaps the most famous ice cream shop in the country, is a requisite stop for all of those who visit Durrës. A visit to the sea-side town cannot be considered complete without getting a taste of the fresh gourmet concoction that is Çela’s ice cream. Reaching this level of popularity in a town like Durrës can’t be easy as, in the relatively small space of this ancient town, the visitor must select among dozens of attractions, ranging from the historical to the cultural, from the sea to the culinary. Yet, next to those ancient names that are forever inscribed in the town’s history, Gelateria Çela has miraculously carved out a space for itself.
Sightseeing
Located only a few kilometers from Tirana, the Cape of Rodon is a destination whose popularity has risen exponentially among tourists in the last few years. This narrow strip of land, in the shape of a peninsula, extends along the Adriatic and offers not only beautiful views but several crucial historical and cultural monuments. Many tourists choose to visit the Cape of Rodon during the spring season as it is shrouded in a beautiful cornucopia of flowers (click here for the video) while in the summer, they choose it to enjoy the beautiful virgin beaches and fine-grained sand.
Cape of Rodon
Located only a few kilometers from Tirana, the Cape of Rodon is a destination whose popularity has risen exponentially among tourists in the last few years. This narrow strip of land, in the shape of a peninsula, extends along the Adriatic and offers not only beautiful views but several crucial historical and cultural monuments. Many tourists choose to visit the Cape of Rodon during the spring season as it is shrouded in a beautiful cornucopia of flowers (click here for the video) while in the summer, they choose it to enjoy the beautiful virgin beaches and fine-grained sand.
Located one after the other, these two are definitely among the most well-known beaches in Durrës. Their proximity to the city makes them favorite spots for tourists and locals alike. The Currila Beach (currila in Albanian means “stream”) is more populated and lively while the beach of Kallm is preferred by families for its quiet atmosphere and the relatively shallow water depth.
Rruga e Currilave
Located one after the other, these two are definitely among the most well-known beaches in Durrës. Their proximity to the city makes them favorite spots for tourists and locals alike. The Currila Beach (currila in Albanian means “stream”) is more populated and lively while the beach of Kallm is preferred by families for its quiet atmosphere and the relatively shallow water depth.
Kavaja’s Cliff marks the beginning of Kavaja’s coastline which includes some of the country’s most frequented beaches. They are especially popular due to their large sandy areas, the relatively shallow waters as well as the presence of many hotels and the countless entertainment activities they offer. This one is a family favorite!
Shkëmbi i Kavajës
Kavaja’s Cliff marks the beginning of Kavaja’s coastline which includes some of the country’s most frequented beaches. They are especially popular due to their large sandy areas, the relatively shallow waters as well as the presence of many hotels and the countless entertainment activities they offer. This one is a family favorite!
This beach is an extension of the Beach of Golem and is well-known for its modern resorts and numerous holiday homes, whose price ranges is fairly reasonable. Numerous pines grant a rather intimate vibe to the area and the serve to keep it cool even during the hottest days.
Kodra e Robit
This beach is an extension of the Beach of Golem and is well-known for its modern resorts and numerous holiday homes, whose price ranges is fairly reasonable. Numerous pines grant a rather intimate vibe to the area and the serve to keep it cool even during the hottest days.
Thanks to its pristine beaches, this part of the Adriatic coast is the ideal spot for those people who like a more tranquil beach experience, away from any noise or masses of people and very close to nature. This is one of the few rugged yet calm beaches in this area, where you will also find the Gulf of Carina or the beaches of Cape of Lagji, with a sandy shore that is completely untouched.
Karpen
Thanks to its pristine beaches, this part of the Adriatic coast is the ideal spot for those people who like a more tranquil beach experience, away from any noise or masses of people and very close to nature. This is one of the few rugged yet calm beaches in this area, where you will also find the Gulf of Carina or the beaches of Cape of Lagji, with a sandy shore that is completely untouched.
As its name suggests, this is a beach that commands your attention! Located between Karpen and Spille, the General’s Beach is named after the WWII Italian general who first discovered it. Its brisk, crystal clear water is of the most beautiful shade of blue-turquoise in the entire Adriatic coast. The place is quiet and fairly intimate with only a few modern touristic complexes and camping sites.
Plazhi i Gjeneralit
As its name suggests, this is a beach that commands your attention! Located between Karpen and Spille, the General’s Beach is named after the WWII Italian general who first discovered it. Its brisk, crystal clear water is of the most beautiful shade of blue-turquoise in the entire Adriatic coast. The place is quiet and fairly intimate with only a few modern touristic complexes and camping sites.
Neighborhoods
The ancient city of Durrës is at once a relaxed beach town and a historical center, home to the largest amphitheater in the Balkan Peninsula! Fittingly, the city of Durrës also houses the country’s largest Archaeological Museum which shows traces of the ancient cultures that have passed through Albania, mainly Greek and Roman. Alongside its history, Durrës also provides loads of lighthearted fun. Located on the Adriatic coast and only a 30-minute drive away from the capital of Tirana, the beach of Durrës is the longest and most populated one in Albania. Modern architectural structures, like the Sphinx, the vibrant promenade and delicious seafood restaurants are a serious part of this city’s charm. The icing on the cake is the wild and untouched Cape of Rodon, a magnificent strip of land surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.
11
locals recommend
Durrës
11
locals recommend
The ancient city of Durrës is at once a relaxed beach town and a historical center, home to the largest amphitheater in the Balkan Peninsula! Fittingly, the city of Durrës also houses the country’s largest Archaeological Museum which shows traces of the ancient cultures that have passed through Albania, mainly Greek and Roman. Alongside its history, Durrës also provides loads of lighthearted fun. Located on the Adriatic coast and only a 30-minute drive away from the capital of Tirana, the beach of Durrës is the longest and most populated one in Albania. Modern architectural structures, like the Sphinx, the vibrant promenade and delicious seafood restaurants are a serious part of this city’s charm. The icing on the cake is the wild and untouched Cape of Rodon, a magnificent strip of land surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.
This metropolitan capital has undergone modernization at lightning speed while much of its Ottoman, Italian, and communist architecture recall its history and old-world spirit. There are plenty of churches, mosques, museums, galleries, and shopping malls to visit, but Tirana is most giving when you immerse yourself in it. The best way to discover this city is to take a leisurely walk through its diverse neighborhoods and streets, where you will discover its rich authenticity in each and every corner! Surrounded by a beautiful lake on one side and the Dajti Mountain on the other, this capital may actually bring you closer to nature. With more beautiful cafes (some say they serve the best coffee in Europe!) and delicious restaurants per square meter than most European cities – not to mention the vibrant nightlife all days of the week – the city pulls you back to the enjoyment and pleasures of life.
Tirana
This metropolitan capital has undergone modernization at lightning speed while much of its Ottoman, Italian, and communist architecture recall its history and old-world spirit. There are plenty of churches, mosques, museums, galleries, and shopping malls to visit, but Tirana is most giving when you immerse yourself in it. The best way to discover this city is to take a leisurely walk through its diverse neighborhoods and streets, where you will discover its rich authenticity in each and every corner! Surrounded by a beautiful lake on one side and the Dajti Mountain on the other, this capital may actually bring you closer to nature. With more beautiful cafes (some say they serve the best coffee in Europe!) and delicious restaurants per square meter than most European cities – not to mention the vibrant nightlife all days of the week – the city pulls you back to the enjoyment and pleasures of life.
It is the distinctive traditional architecture of this so-called “City of 1000 windows” that has placed Berat in UNESCO’s list of world Heritage Sites. Beautifully split by the Osum River into two historic neighborhoods, the city is joined by the grandiose bridge of Gorica. The characteristic windows of the traditional houses mirror one another beautifully from across the river. Flanked on both sides by Tomorr and Shpirag, two of the most mythical mountains in Albania, Berat is also a nature lover’s paradise. Mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, rafting and kayaking are only some of the preferred outdoor activities around this city. The medieval Castle of Berat houses old churches, museums and iconography by the greatest Albanian artists as well as old bazaars, cafes, and a surprisingly vibrant local life.
Berat
It is the distinctive traditional architecture of this so-called “City of 1000 windows” that has placed Berat in UNESCO’s list of world Heritage Sites. Beautifully split by the Osum River into two historic neighborhoods, the city is joined by the grandiose bridge of Gorica. The characteristic windows of the traditional houses mirror one another beautifully from across the river. Flanked on both sides by Tomorr and Shpirag, two of the most mythical mountains in Albania, Berat is also a nature lover’s paradise. Mountain climbing, cycling, hiking, rafting and kayaking are only some of the preferred outdoor activities around this city. The medieval Castle of Berat houses old churches, museums and iconography by the greatest Albanian artists as well as old bazaars, cafes, and a surprisingly vibrant local life.
Rich in history and tradition, Kruja is home of the patriots and the epicenter of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was here that Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s greatest national hero, defended the country from the invasion of the Ottomans. The National Museum dedicated to the hero is housed in the famous Kruja Castle and shows both the legendary hero’s history and the traditional way of life of the city’s population. The city’s famous bazaar serves as a bridge between this glorious past and the present, offering a rich array of traditional products made from local artisans. Home to one of the spiritual centers of the country, that of Sarisalltik, Kruja is a crucial destination for every local and visitor!
Krujë District
Rich in history and tradition, Kruja is home of the patriots and the epicenter of Albania’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. It was here that Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg, Albania’s greatest national hero, defended the country from the invasion of the Ottomans. The National Museum dedicated to the hero is housed in the famous Kruja Castle and shows both the legendary hero’s history and the traditional way of life of the city’s population. The city’s famous bazaar serves as a bridge between this glorious past and the present, offering a rich array of traditional products made from local artisans. Home to one of the spiritual centers of the country, that of Sarisalltik, Kruja is a crucial destination for every local and visitor!
A Roman emperor, a Sultan, fascists and communists have all made their specific contributions to the construction of this ancient city throughout the centuries. As such, the Castle of Elbasan and the subsequent new city below, combine distinct and perhaps incompatible styles and influences, something that gives Elbasan a truly unique stature. A proud city full of warm people, Elbasan hosts the largest Summer Day’s festivities in the country, a day where its culinary specialty, the sweet and rich ballokume, is consumed by all! Elbasan becomes especially wild and festive when football matches gathers sports’ fans from all over the country to the new Elbasan Arena. Surrounding this city, there are hundreds of beautiful lakes where locals escape to fish, have massive picnics and relax. Belsh, for instance, with its newly constructed town center, promenade and beautiful lake, has recently become quite the popular destination.
Elbasan
A Roman emperor, a Sultan, fascists and communists have all made their specific contributions to the construction of this ancient city throughout the centuries. As such, the Castle of Elbasan and the subsequent new city below, combine distinct and perhaps incompatible styles and influences, something that gives Elbasan a truly unique stature. A proud city full of warm people, Elbasan hosts the largest Summer Day’s festivities in the country, a day where its culinary specialty, the sweet and rich ballokume, is consumed by all! Elbasan becomes especially wild and festive when football matches gathers sports’ fans from all over the country to the new Elbasan Arena. Surrounding this city, there are hundreds of beautiful lakes where locals escape to fish, have massive picnics and relax. Belsh, for instance, with its newly constructed town center, promenade and beautiful lake, has recently become quite the popular destination.