34 things to do

All Places Albania

Regional Bus & Furgon Station

It'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 Euro/ 7AM departure) and Athens (20 Euro/ 8:30PM 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 7AM until 12noon, then there is a bus at 2:30PM and a night bus leaving at 11PM (it arrives in Tirane at 5:45AM near Skanderbeg Square).

OTHER   —  Map

Hashorva Guesthouse

for info and booking. The Hashorva Family, a well established name in the Lagjia Varosh Neighborhood, offering one very large, faithfully restored traditional Ottoman Era room, with a double bed and sitting area. The house itself is over 200 years old and is kept in wonderful condition by its original owners. Naturally cool in the summer, the guest bathroom is located off the main hallway with 24 hour hot water and modern facilities. Located 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 [http://www.hostelworld.com/]'')

SLEEP   —  Rr. Varosh

Gjirokastër Castle

The 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 recently discovered underground bunker built in the Cold War.

SEE   —  Rruga Evlia Celebi 1

'Old Bazaar and Historic Ottoman Homes

The 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, Topulli House, and . The Bazaar itself has recently undergone a cleaning and exterior restoration as part of the government's revitalization plan.

SEE   —  Map

Hotel Relax

9 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.

Zekate House

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.

Kotoni Bed&Breakfast

The 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. Located 200 meters far 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

Gjirokaster Mosque

this 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.

SEE   —  Rruga Gjin Zenebisi

Hotel Sopoti

A 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.

SLEEP   —  Pazar i Vjeter


 — this 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.

OTHER   —  Map

Ethnographic Museum

Once 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).

SEE   —  Rr. Hysen Hoxha, 3

National Folklore Festival

Is a 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.

SEE   —  Map


— Nicknamed “The City of Roses,” Pёrmet is located 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

OTHER   —  Map

The Illyrian city of Antigone

This 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).

Seven Fountains, Mechite Mosque Remains, and the Hamams

The fountains and the exterior of the Hamams have been recently restored. One can observe the dedicatory inscriptions on the fountains and the cone shaped traditional roofs of the Hamams.

SEE   —  Map

Hotel Gjirokaster

Modeled after a traditional Ottoman House. Excellent location that is half-way between the castle and the market area. Friendly staff and free breakfast included.

SLEEP   —  Map


Thought to be one of the oldest towns in Albania, it is a new member of the UNESCO world heritage list. Nearby is located the world famous Osum Canyon.

OTHER   —  Map


Home of one of the '''oldest standing Orthodox churches''' in the Balkans and Tombs of Ali Pasha's sister and nephew in Libohove village.

SEE   —  Map


— Overshadowed by its glitzy neighbors on the Macedonian side of the lake, the town of Pogradec has been experiencing a revival recently.

OTHER   —  Map

Viroit Park

is a park encompassing the Viroi Lake and surrounding hills . The park features a relaxing environment and an accommodation area.

DO   —  Parku i Viroit


lively seaside city, nice beaches south of town. Passenger ferries to and from Italy dock here.

OTHER   —  Map

Cold War Museum

Underground bunker of Enver Hoxha with around 70 rooms built for emergency situations.

SEE   —  Map

Viva Vino Wine Bar

The first bar of this kind in the Gjirokastra, this bar serves quality wines.

DRINK   —  +355 694423189 —  Lagja 18 shtatori


a city known for its unforgettable beaches and colorful spring blooms.

OTHER   —  Map

Kadare House

House of renown writer Ismail Kadare undergoing reconstruction.

SEE   —  Map

Saint Sotira Church

this is a well preserved 18th century Orthodox Church.

SEE   —  Map


the fortress of '''Ali Pasha'''

SEE   —  Map


site of an ancient '''castle'''

SEE   —  Map

Skenduli House

A renovated traditional house

SEE   —  Map


Site of an ancient village.

SEE   —  Map


SEE   —  Map

Ioannina, Greece

OTHER   —  Map

About Gjirokastër