GjirokastërUNESCO world heritage site in Southeastern Albania.
phone: +355 84 267077
Regional Bus & Furgon StationIt's less of a "bus station" and more of a collective gathering place for buses and furgons (shared minibuses) along the shoulder of the road. From here you can catch northbound buses to Tirana, Vlorë, Fier, Berat, Tepelene, Korçë, Permet, and southbound buses to Sarandë. -International buses direct to Ioannina (€5, 07:00/ departure) and Athens (€20, 20:30 departure) in Greece are available from the private bus agency offices found around the junction. A shuttle to the Kakavie border crossing with Greece runs several times a day. - Buses depart every day on the route Sarandë - Gjirokastër (300 leke) stopping hourly at the bottom of the hill until the early afternoon. Buses and minibuses are going to Tirana (1000 leke) every hour from around 07:00 until 13:00, then there is a bus at 14:30 and a night bus leaving at 24:00 (it arrives in Tirane at 05:45 near Skanderbeg Square).
Gjirokastër can be divided into roughly two halves, the old town up on the hill, and the new town in the valley below. You can walk just about anywhere if you're able to handle the steep cobbled streets. Taxis are cheap and there is a public bus circuit that connects the old town and the new town for about 30 leke. From the roundabout at the center of town to the bus station on the National Road is a fairly flat, easy, 10-minute walk along the main boulevard. Taxis will make this trip for around 200 leke.
Gjirokastër Castleaddress: Rruga Evlia Celebi 1The historical and geographical center of the city, the Castle is billed as the second largest in all the Balkans, and is worth a look. The Armaments Museum is located in the castle (separate 200 leke entrance) and contains a collection of mostly post-War era weapons, photographs and artwork: the main gallery, with its eerily lit corridor, contains two columns of large German and Italian field guns, remnants of WWII. The Castle also contains two Bektashi tekes, the stage for the internationally-renowned Gjirokaster National Folk Festival, a prison (now part of the Armaments Museum and available with an extra charge) and numerous chambers, some in ruins, open to exploration. A second museum gallery, the Zenebishi Gallery, features occasional free art exhibits. Underneath the castle is the underground bunker built in the Cold War.
Ethnographic Museumaddress: Rr. Hysen Hoxha, 3Once Enver Hoxha's house, it is a well-restored Ottoman house which displays clothing, kitchenware, tools and other cultural artifacts. The guided tour (available in Albanian, English, and German though availability should be checked in advance).
'Old Bazaar and Historic Ottoman HomesThe old bazaar is still the social and commercial center of the Old Town of Gjirokaster. Though the newer sections of the city have attracted many businesses and people, the bazaar and its surrounding homes dating from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries still manages to capture a bit of the bygone era of Gjirokastrite life. Several of the houses are at various levels of restoration and are open to the public. Traditional houses include Cabej House, and Topulli House. The Bazaar has undergone a cleaning and exterior restoration as part of the government's revitalization plan.
Kadare HouseHouse of renown writer Ismail Kadare undergoing reconstruction.
Skenduli HouseA renovated traditional house
Zekate Houseaddress: Rruga Mazllëm Shazivari,It is the most visited of Gjirokastër's monumental stone houses. It is one of the largest of its kind, featuring three floors spread over two large towers. The house was recently restored again (having undergone earlier restorations during the Communist era) and is kept open by its owners as a museum house. In addition to providing an interesting primer of the characteristic architectural elements of the city's tower houses, it offers a beautiful view of the city below.
Saint Sotira Churchthis is a well preserved 18th century Orthodox Church.
Gjirokaster Mosqueaddress: Rruga Gjin ZenebisiThis mosque is a true testimony of the communist religious ban in Albania. Spared from destruction from its religious importance, the mosque was transformed as a circus training centre only to return to its original setting after the 1990s in the form of a Muslim school.
Seven Fountains, Mechite Mosque Remains, and the HamamsThe fountains and the exterior of the Hamams have been restored. One can observe the dedicatory inscriptions on the fountains and the cone shaped traditional roofs of the Hamams.
Cold War MuseumUnderground bunker of Enver Hoxha with around 70 rooms built for emergency situations.
SofratikeSite of an ancient theater and baths
Kardhiqsite of an ancient castle
PaleokasterSite of an ancient village.
LaboveHome of one of the oldest standing Orthodox churches in the Balkans and Tombs of Ali Pasha's sister and nephew in Libohove village.
Tepelenathe fortress of Ali Pasha
The Illyrian city of Antigoneaddress: near the village of Asim ZeneliThis village is the starting point of a 3-hour round trip hike to the ruins of Antigone; it makes a nice day hike for the physically fit (you will want to hire a local shepherd as a guide).
Viroit Parkaddress: Parku i ViroitA park encompassing the Viroi Lake and surrounding hills. The park features a relaxing environment and an accommodation area.
National Folklore FestivalA festival showcasing traditional Albanian music and dance considered as the most important event in its genre. Held every 5 years since 1968 in Gjirokaster Castle, it was last held in May 2015. An artisans' exhibition took place as well.
- Take a look at the Artisans' Center near the Information Center featuring many souvenirs and traditional crafts.
There are also well established restaurants in Gjirokastër catering to travellers and the local crowd.
- Fantazia – specializes in pizza and salad, but offers traditional Albanian fare, good views of the city.
- Kujtim's – serves a wide variety of Gjirokastrian specialties.
- The newly renovated Çajupi Hotel's Terrace Restaurant,
- The Byrek Shop
- Muço's Suflaç & Restaurant – Good omelets in the morning
- Hajri's Coffee Bar
- Sopoti Cafe
- Kufoi's, Pizza Erai
- Antigone Fast Food Suflaç,
- Suflaç at the Hotel One Restaurant
- Modus Cafe – for coffee
phone: +355 84 263526address: Rr. Bashkim Kokona, 8The first guest house in Gjirokastra, since 1992, comes up with more traditional rooms and a characteristic restaurant. Each room has coloured satellite TV, bathroom, heating. 200 m from the old bazaar, you can have a great view of the old and new part of the town. - +phone=+355 69 23 66 846
Hashorva Guesthouseaddress: Rr. VaroshThe Hashorva Family, a well established name in the Lagjia Varosh Neighborhood, offers one very large, faithfully restored traditional Ottoman Era room, with a double bed and sitting area. The house is over 200 years old and is kept in wonderful condition by its original owners. Naturally cool in the summer, the guest bathroom is off the main hallway with 24-hour hot water and modern facilities. It's in the heart of Gjirokastër, an easy 5 to 15 minutes walk from all the major sites of Historic Old Town and 10 minutes walk to the new town and the bus station on the National Road. The large guest room is €20/night - it has a large double bed, a single bed off to the side. (Payment can be made by cash only in Albanian lek, euros or US dollars - Or you can book in advance online using a credit card at )
Hotel Relaxaddress: streets Sheshi i Çerçizit9 double rooms and 1 suite, with A/C. This wonderful hotel lies at the foot of the hilly center of beautiful Gjirokaster. It is a small hotel owned by a very sweet family. The father handles business, and is helped by his nice teenage daughter. They are incredible friendly and the hotel is very clean and has everything you need, including a cosy sitting area and balcony, overlooking the square. There is a bar downstairs, also owned by the family, so after visiting Gjirokaster it is perfect to relax and have a drink.
Hotel Sopotiaddress: Pazar i VjeterA formerly grand hotel, it feels somewhat forgotten; rooms are basic, ask for one with a balcony to get a view of the castle, bathrooms are shared. The manager of the hotel is a refined older gentleman who also runs the bar/kafe downstairs. He knows some English.price is 1200 lek per person. If you ask for wifi internet (which doesnt seem to happen very often) you will be given the password for a nearby cafe, but it is too far away so it can only work betwwen 03:00 and 06:00 when nobody else uses it. still a good choice for a single traveller as it is cheaper than a dorm bed in one of the towns hostels
Hotel GjirokasterModeled after a traditional Ottoman House. Excellent location that is half-way between the castle and the market area. Friendly staff and free breakfast included.
- Internet Kafe (Opposite the mosque)
- Google Internet Kafe
There are also a few cafes which provide free wireless:
- Hotel Cajupi (on the roof top terrace/cafe)
- Restaurant Kuka
- Bar Karamel
- Bar Grand
- Gulf fuel station on the road to Saranda. A coffee is 100 lek, doubtful if you may find a cheaper option
Greecephone: +355 8426 3804, +355 8426 2010 (Emergencies)address: Konsulata e Pergjithshme e Greqise - Sheshi I Cercizit, Gjirokaster
KorceThis city is full of life during the summer when you can find couples and families strolling through the city's main park, Parku Rinia. You can hike to the top of the beautiful mountain Moravia and view the city and its surrounding landscape.
Pogradec— Overshadowed by its glitzy neighbors on the Macedonian side of the lake, the town of Pogradec has been experiencing a revival recently.
PёrmetNicknamed “The City of Roses,” Pёrmet is in the Vjosa River Valley. The city is known for its clean environment and tradition of wine and raki making. Old Permet is worth a look. Around it: Benjё, and Leusё villages.
SarandëA city known for its unforgettable beaches and colorful spring blooms.
VlorëLively seaside city, nice beaches south of town. Passenger ferries to and from Italy dock here.