Shkodra

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View of the city and Albanian Alps from Rozafa Fortress

Shkodra is the fourth largest city in Albania. Recently, it has experienced a face lift as streets and buildings were renovated, a promenade opened and a new swing bridge built over Buna River.

Understand[edit]

Visitor information[edit]

  •    Shkoder Tourist Info CenterRruga Teuta (Southeast of Sheshi Demokracia). Provide city maps and can help with any of your inquiries, including bus time schedules.

History[edit]

Queen Teuta' Illryan kingdom was based here in the 3rd century BCE. The Ottomans seiged it in 1473 and 1479, and lost 14,000 and 30,000 men in these raids, respectively. Shkodra changed hands with Montenegro numerous times during World War I. Shkodra was badly damaged in a 1979 earthquake.

Get in[edit]

As in whole Albania there is no bus station per se. Instead there are a few gathering points for buses/furgons scattered around the city.

By bus[edit]

  •    Buses departing to Tirana and Durrës. Majority of buses depart from the main city square with a fountain (called Sheshi Demokracia). This includes buses/furgons to Tirana that leave every round hour, journey lasts for 2 hour (116km) and costs 500 lek [2014]. Also there are direct buses to Durrës (avoiding Tirana), 700 lek.
  •    Furgons to Velipojë. 2 blocks south-west along Rruga studenti, about 10 min walk from Sheshi Demokracia there is a small furgon station from where they depart to nearby coastal village Velipojë.
  •    Furgons to Koman. As well as some other locations in eastbound direction including Vau i Dejës dam..

To Montenegro[edit]

From Ulcinj (Montenegro), buses cost €5 (plus €1 if you have baggage) and leave at 06:00, 07:00, 12:30 and 16:30. If not available, you can take a taxi to the border at Muriquani (€10) and after crossing the border, take another taxi to Ulcinj (€8). However return ticket from Shkodra to Ulcinj costs €5 and buses leave at 0900 and 1600 from the city center fountain.

From Podgorica, take public buses to Tuzi, then hire a taxi either to the border or to Shkodra.

Minibuses to/from Hani i Hotit (the Montenegro border on the way to Podgorica ) run around 300 Lek. Taxis for this journey cost €15.

To Kosovo[edit]

Buses from Gjakova go at 6 AM directly to Shkodra via the highway from Prizren.

Get around[edit]

Finding your way round Shkodra is complicated by the fact that recently ALL roads have been renamed, and some of the old names have even been re-used in different places! All roads have got new road signs. Since all the maps and guides (including this one) give the old names, finding your way round is a bit like being in a parallel universe.

There are some public buses running inside city. There is also infrequent bus to nearby village of Shiroke.

By bike[edit]

Shkodra is the bike capital of Albania, because its flat. This is a heritage from the Hoxha-era.

See[edit]

Rozafa Fortress
  •    Kalaja/Rozafa Fortress (2km southwest of Shkodra, near the southern end of Lake Shkodra). Founded by the Illyrians, rebuilt by the Venitians and the Ottomans. Rozafa is a woman buried in the ramparts, who supports the structure. The renovated museum inside the castle explains its history and that the area of the former city is now consumed by the rivers beside the castle. The museum cost 200 Leks extra and there is a private guide you can ask about almost everything. There are amazing views from the highest point. 200 lek.
  •    Shkodra Historical MuseumRr. Oso Kuka, no. 12 22 243213. 9AM-2PM. The Museum is situated at a traditional Shkodran House featuring valuable artifacts on every sphere of social life in the area. 150 lek.
  •    Lake Shkodra. The largest lake in the Balkans. Take a taxi to the village of Shiroke. Alternatively ask around for the public bus which goes to the edge of the city, where it is a pleasant 5 km walk by the lake to Shiroke. There is a less frequent bus directly to Shiroke.
  •    Mes Bridge (Albanian: Ura e Mesit) (In the village of Mes, about five kilometres northeast of Shkodër). Bridge that was built in the 18th century by Kara Mahmud Bushati, the local Ottoman pasha.
  •    Drisht Castle (Above the modern village of Drisht, 10km northeast of Shkodër). Is a ruined castle. The earliest traces of fortifications date to the late Neolithic era. The current walls and towers date to 1396-1478 during the Venetian era. I
Interior of Ebu Beker Mosque
  •    Shurdhah Island (Albanian: Ishulli i Shurdhahit). It is located in the Vau i Dejës Reservoir, which is fed and drained by the river Drin. It is accessible by tourist boat in summer from the Vau i Dejës dam or Rragam. It contains the ruins of the medieval town of Sarda. You can visit the ruins of the 11th century medieval castle, which includes two rings of defensive walls and towers (some sadly submerged in the lake), the remains of a Byzantine church and other early medieval walls. The setting on the steep rocks rising from the lake is especially impressive.
  •    Five Heroes monument. This was "one of Albania's best examples of socialist-realist sculpture". Unfortunately, you can't see it any more except on postcards, because it has been replaced by a bland contemporary fountain. The site is still a useful reference point for finding your way around. Interestingly, the fountain is surrounded by seating, in the centre of a busy roundabout called Sheshi Demokracia (Democracy Square) with no pedestrian crossings! Only in Albania!

Religious buildings[edit]

  •    Ebu Beker Mosque.
  •    Shkodër Orthodox Cathedral.
  •    Shkodër Cathedral.
  •    Fretënve Church.

Do[edit]

  •    Kolë Idromeno St. (In the Center of Shkodra). Take a walk on the main pedestrian street of the city full of cafes and locals promenading in the evening hours.
  •    Molo PromenadeShetitorja Molos (Near Buna River Old Bridge along the river bank). Romantic renovated promenade along the riverside.
  • The Lake Koman ferry is a breathtaking trip across Lake Koman from Koman to Fierze, where you can move on to Bajram Curri or further to Kosovo. Take a furgon in the morning 6:30 AM from the second roundabout down Marin Barleti about 500m away from the city centre. If you are at the center-most place (the one in front of the hotel Rozafa) before 6:00 AM, you scream out "Koman" and people will guide you through the correct furgon or call the furgon driver by phone that he picks you up.
  •    Canoeing in Bojana (Buna) River.
  • Festivals. Take part in annual festivals such as Carnival, Childrens Festival, AniFest Rozafa Animated Film Festival, Lake Day, and Shkodra Jazz Fest.
  • Traditional Plays Festival (Lojra Popullore). Take part in the annual festival showcasing the best of the North Albanian Folklore every end of March at Rozafa Castle.

Buy[edit]

  • "Skenderbeu" Kognak
  • Locally made souvenirs such as rugs located in Zogaj village or at the Artisan's Bazaar (Albanian:Pazari i Artizanatit) located at Shkodra's entrance

Eat[edit]

  • Carp fish in Shiroke village

Restaurants[edit]

Lots of dining options available on the main pedestrian street - Rruga Kolë Idromeno. Also there are some nice restaurants and pizzerias on the promenade near Buna River Old Bridge (Rruga e Molos street).

  •    RestaurantRruga e Molos. Upscale as for Albanian standards restaurant. Serves delicious food including fish. Nice atmosphere. Sits in a small garden. 300 - 700 leks.
  •    San Francisco Bar & RestorantRruga Kolë Idromeno. Proper restaurant look and feel. Pretty extensive menu. Some portions are huge, some don't. Quality of food varies a lot, from superb to simply uneatable. It has second floor terrace. 300 - 1500 leks.
  •    Green tavernRruga Kolë Idromeno. A little bit of club atmosphere, but nonetheless very ambient. Pizzas, pastas, salads. Quite tasty 200-350 lek.

Cafes[edit]

Shkodra is famous for its numerous patisseries where you can eat delicious sweets, and it's possible to come to Shkodra for this alone.

  •    Cafe Oraldi (Pasticeri Oraldi), Parruce 068 274 6492. Superb cakes. Definitely one of the best in Albania. Extremely popular with locals. 80 - 150 leks.

Drink[edit]

Local beers "Korça" or "Tirana" and the famous Albanian spirit called Raki.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  •    Hotel Rozafa (Hotel Turizmi) (Right in the city centre, Rruga Marin Barleti close to Sheshi Demokracia). Old communist style hotel; clean; gentle and English-speaking personal; nice view over the city if you book in an upper floor; 91 rooms; no air condition. 2000 Leks for a double room (2013).
  • Florian's Guest HouseShkodra: shtoj i ri, reparti ushtarak. kodrajt (By car just turn down from E762 road towards Shtoj i Ri. Pass a few local shops, look for sign on right hand side of road.),  +355682335921, e-mail: . Small B&B/Guest House run by Florian and his family, located amongst orchards and vineyards. Outside, but within walking distance from the centre of Shkoder. Breakfast is included, lunch and dinner offered for 4 Euros, serving Albanian cuisine made from organic food farmed in the own garden. Family can help to arrange tours of Shkoder and to get into the Albanian Alps or to other cities in the country. 12 beds. €15, breakfast included.

Mid Range[edit]

  •    Hotel Kaduku (at Sheshi Demokracia, immediately next to the Rozafa Hotel),  +355 22 242216. Highly recommended - friendly staff, large clean room with A/C, right in the city centre. €50 for double, with breakfast [Sep 2011].
  •    Hotel Tradita (Tradita G&T), Rr. Risto Siliqi, no. 25 +355 22 240 537. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. As close as it gets to being invited to the dining hall, the kitchen and courtyard of the local Ottoman Pasha. € 50.
  •    Hotel ColosseoRr.. 14 rooms. Single: €50; Double: €60; Suite: €70.
  •    Hotel Argenti + 355 22 439 09. Modern hotel in Velipoja area with comfortable rooms furnished with A/C, TV, bathroom and showers. Restaurant with traditional Albanian and European cuisine.

Go next[edit]

  • Albanian Alps
  • Lezhe and surrounding area including Shengjin
  • Velipoje - coastal town 30 km south of Shkodra known for is curative beach sand. The beach is long and wide, and a lot of hotels offer nice rooms. However, the beaches are crowded in August. If you prefer quieter beaches, you should go to Southern Albania
  • Ulcinj, Montenegro
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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