Vlorë

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Vlorë is a city in Coastal Albania in Albania.

Understand[edit]

Vlore lies in the southwestern coastal region of Albania, at the southern end of the Adriatic Sea and the northern part the Ionian Sea. The Vlore coastline accounts for about 30% of the entire coast of Albania and in its proximity is located the Albanian Riviera. It is 135km from the capital city, Tirana, separated by only 72km from Italy (Channel of Otranto) and 123km from Greece (the island of Corfu). The surface area of Vlore is 1609km2 and includes 4 cities; Vlore, Selenica, Himara and Orikum. It has a climate typical of Mediterranean Sea, with mild winters that are generally wet, and summers that are dry. The Vlore region has three basic climatic zones: The coast has moderate temperatures, as the other countries of the Mediterranean, and does not suffer the cold winds like the western side of Albania.

The inland, hilly areas in the region have a cool climate with rains and similar to that of Central Europe with a relatively mild climate. The mountainous region, such as Llogara, possesses a dry continental climate. In winter it can be quite cold (though snow is relatively uncommon) and has fresh, cool air all summer long. Vlore receives more hours of sunshine per year than any other region of Albania - averaging over 2000 "sunny" hours annually. Vlore has the only peninsula in Albania, which is named Karaburun. It is roughly 16km by 4km in size, and an area of 62km². The peninsula of Karaburun is rich in natural resources (famous for marble), woodlands, and archeological remains. It is also home to a reserve for wild pigs. The only island in Albania, named Sazan, is located 17km from the port of Vlore and 9km from Triport (Three Gates) in the Vlore region. The highest point of the island is 342m. Sazan has a surface area of 5.7km² and 12km of coast. A rocky cliff breaks the beach. Vlore, long known for its olive production, at last count had approximately 280,000 olive trees. The olive trademark " Vlonjak" is one of the oldest in Europe and is known for its great oil production. The territory around Vlore comes from thriving ancient cities such as Amantia-Ploce, Olympe-Mavrova, Orikos-Orikum, Himera-Himare, Kionina-Kanine, Nymfeum-Selenica and Aulona-Vlora.

A lot of famous people in Albania were born in Vlore, including 6 former ministers (Xhafaj, Malaj, Angjeli, Gjinushi, Leskaj, Pango), a lot of famous singers (including Aurela Gace and Poni), and several other VIPs. Vlore is also known for being the head city for the 1997 revolution in Albania. Zani Caushi was one of the local leaders, although he later started to trade drugs. If possible, do not get in a discussion about 1997 while being in Vlore.

Talk[edit]

The dialect of Vlore is difficult to learn, as it includes a special kind of speaking (slower than the rest of Albania), difficult "r" and "l" ("r", especially when the first letter of a word, is severe, while "l" is something between "l" and "ll", similar to the Greek "l") and a lot of special phrases. Vlore people almost always use "motra" and "vlla" (sister and brother) when addressing at each other, even if its the first time you meet with them. A famous funny phrase in Vlore is "me ler rehat o vlla se i thash vllait" ("Get off brother, or I'll tell my brother", when a girl grows tired of a boy's flirting).

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

If you are in Tirana, follow the way: Tirana-Durres-Kavaje-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore. The roadway is pretty good. From Macedonia, you can follow: Qafe Thane-Librazhd-Elbasan-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore From Greece, you can take three ways: (i) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Tepelene-Vlore; or (ii) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Qafe e Muzines-Sarande-Vlore; or (iii) Qafe Bote-Sarande-Dhermi-Vlore. The last itinerary is the shortest

By bus[edit]

You can take a bus from Tirana - the journey can be very slow! You can also take a furgon from any of the nearby towns (eg. Saranda, Fier) which can be faster than bus. Buses and furgons drop off in the city "centre" near the Muradie Mosque, or a couple of blocks west.

You can also take a bus from Athens. There are over night buses and day long buses every day. It cost 30 euro for all bus companies, and there is a strip of bus companies in downtown Athens.

By boat[edit]

From Brindisi with a ferryboat. It usually arrives in Vlore, early in the morning.

Get around[edit]

There are three areas you might visit in Vlore - the beaches, the port, and the town centre.

  • the beaches stretch several Km to the south/east of the port, and there are numerous hotels and apartments in this stretch. There are also good beaches north/west of the port, but these are less easily accessible.
  • the port area - numerous hotels and restaurants in this area, though the town beach and the sea here are rather dirty
  • the town centre lies inland, about 2Km north of the port. A long boulevard lined with palm trees joins the two. There are many bars, shops and restaurants along this boulevard, but it is spoiled by fast traffic with no controlled pedestrian crossings. The town centre itself (around Flag Square) has a few 'tourist attractions', though unless you are in Vlore for the beaches there is not much to detain you more than half a day. The main reason for staying in this area is its convenience as a bus/furgon 'hub' serving nearby towns.

There is a small tourist information kiosk in Flag Square, next to the Independence Monument.

See[edit]

In the "town centre" area -

  • Flag Square (Sheshi i Flamurit) - Independence Monument - a massive socialist-realist monument celebrating the independence of Albania from the Ottoman empire in 1912
  • Ethnographic Museum (open 08.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00 )
  • Historic Museum (open 8.00–12.00 and 16.00– 18.00)
  • The Mosque of Muradie

Port area -

  • The Museum of Independence (open 8.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00)

Surrounding area -

  • The Castle of Kanina, in Kanina village
  • Monastery of Saint Mary, in Zvernec Village
  • Ancient theatre of Orikum (First century B.C)
  • The Church of Marmiroi in Orikum


Between Tirana and Vlorë is the district of Fier, which boasts different historical sites of great interest.

  • Kropisht Castle is situated in the place called Llutroi, built in the Roman period. It is composed of stones, 24x2x5cm. The fortress was built in the shape of a square with an area of 250x180meters. For the most part, the widths of the stones were 1.2meters.
  • Kukum Castle is located in Qeparo, near Palermo, in the region of Vlore. It was built in the 2nd century BC.
  • Vlore Castle was built in 1531 by Sultan Sulejman to protect Vlore from attack from the army of Venedik. This castle was documented by Dr. Auerbahu in 1847 and was saved in the library archive of Innsbruck.
  • Kanina Castle was built in the old center of Vlore in the 3rd century BC. This castle has an area of 3625ha. It was rebuilt by Emperor Justinian in the 5th century BC. In Anna Komnenes' notes, she talked long about her father, Emperor Aleks', war against the Norman army.
  • Movrove Castle is situated in the Shushice valley and was built in the 4th century BC. The walls are built with a limestone blockade
  • Caves - Cave writings-Lepenice is situated on the mountain and village of the same name, which has a height of 800 meters above sea level. Pictures found in this cave represent post-Paleolithic art, which is known as the oldest in all of Europe. In the cave you find 19 anthropomorphic figures and 8 geometrical pictures.

Velça Caves are part of the culture of the late Neolit culture of the 3rd millennium BC. Professor Marciani took notes about this cave, and speculated that it must have been lived in 1000 years before Christ. Haxhi Ali Cave in Karaburun is situated on the peninsula. Located in a cliff, it is the biggest cave in Albania at 30 meters long, 10 meters wide and 10-15 meters high.

Vlore is blessed with numerous natural springs because of precipitation and the mountainous landscape. Rivers The Vjosa River with the length of 76km, it has served as a natural border between Fier (in the north) and Vlore. It was very practical to navigate between the two cities because the river generally passes through fields and flat land. Shushica River has a length of about 80km and is also known by another name, Vlore River, because it traverses the valley of the same name. Lagoons: Vlore has two of the most important lagoons in Albania. They are Narta Lagoon and Pashaliman Lagoon. The lagoons are both connected with the sea by the way of a channel and, as such, are affected by the tides. Narta Lagoon is situated north of Vlore. It is well-known internationally because of the number of sea birds, which exceeds 48,700. For three species of sea birds, 1% of the total number find refuge here. In winter, more than 23% of the sea birds of Albania live in this area. Pashaliman Lagoon, although small in size, is known for different kinds of ducks and for winter seabirds that migrate through Albania

Do[edit]

  • Enjoy the vivid night life of the city and suburbs.
  • Aulona International Folk Festival [1]
  • Albanian Open Paragliding Event [2]

Eat[edit]

Vlore's sea products are some of the best in Albania. You must not forget to visit Paradisa Beach Restaurant, one of the best sea food products in Albania. Its 5-10 minutes (depending on traffic) with a car from the center of Vlore. Ask for the right direction. Another great restaurant is "Makareshi", which is less than 5 minutes from the center of the city (with a car). But the most important thing to eat there is the Vlore traditiional food. Vlore (together with Kurvelesh) is the center of Laberia - the most famous and patriotic region of Albania. "Lab" people tend to be very proud of themselves, but also of their food. Try kukurec, qumeshtor and harapash. "Mish ne hell", which is rotisserie lamb, is well-known. Try this around Karaburuni.

Vlore area cuisine is typical of coastal and mountainous areas. The products are taken from dairy animals which are raised in the mountains by the sea. Here are some examples of traditional Albanian dishes: Byrek is a flaky pastry that is preferred by the people of Vlore to be filled with either field greens or just as a milky pie. The most important ingredients are fresh milk, flour, and field greens.

  • Grilled meat is characteristic of Vlore, and is found in every restaurant. The nearness of the sea and the quality of pastures give the meat in this area an incomparable taste. Lamb from Karaburun cooked over an open fire is particularly delicious.
  • Yogurt in Vlore is produced traditionally and is different than the yogurt produced in most of Europe.
  • Harapash is similar to porridge and is cooked with corn flour, the intestines of lamb, cheese and butter.
  • Raki is the traditional alcoholic drink of Albania. The drink is typically grape-based, but you can also find raki made from blackberries and plums.
  • Another typical dish for Vlore cuisine are plates with seafood, fish, mussels, shrimp, and lobster.

Drink[edit]

By the main beach where the Adriatic meets the Ionian sea, there is a natural mineral water spring that leads into the ocean. Locals fill up empty bottles to take with them to the beach, and larger containers to take home. You can have an aperitif always near the seaside or in the mountain of Llogora, a natural park (protected).

Sleep[edit]

Accommodation on offer ranges from luxurious to basic with a good choice of hotels in between. Friendly service and good hospitality is usually encountered. Also available are private apartments and homes for longer stays of 10-15 days, B&B's and hostels. You can camp in some areas.

Town centre area -

  • Vlore Hotel ***, at Flag Square. We paid €30 for a double room with breakfast [Sept 2011], and were later told we were staying at a "very expensive hotel"

Work[edit]

Buy[edit]

Connect[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Cope[edit]

Go next[edit]

You can try to head southwards to the picturesque village of Vuno, famous for its school-hostel Shkolla - a magnet for all passing-by backpackers.

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