Bajram Curri is the largest town in the Tropoja District of northern Albania, near the border with Kosovo. It is an important gateway to the spectacular Valbona valley and the breathtaking ferry ride across Lake Koman.
The town is named for the national hero of the same name, Bajram Curri, a freedom fighter who fought for ethnic northern Albanian interests, first against the Ottoman Empire and later against the new Albanian government. He shot himself near the town in order to avoid capture, and the town was renamed after him.
Due to its physical and cultural proximity to Kosovo, the area was adversely affected by the conflict in Kosovo, with many of its residents involved either directly in combat or in assisting and housing refugees from Kosovo.
The Tropoja area is culturally and historically closer to Kosovo than to southern Albania.
Bajram Curri is an important hub for the traveller, as you are likely to change minibuses (called "furgons") here from 3 directions. They all tend to depart around the same times, so with luck you can transfer straight from one to another:
Minibuses from Shkodra bring you to the scenic ferry across Lake Koman (500 lek). They leave Shkodra at about 06:30 and Tirana at about 05:00. The ferry leaves Koman at 09:00 and arrives in Fierze at about 12:00. You will there be picked up by minibuses that bring you to Bajram Curri (costs a few Leks extra).
From Tirana, minibuses using the ferry leave at about 05:00. Other minibuses go by road via Kukës or Gjakova. From Gjakova or other close Kosovan cities there are minibuses available.
The town is small enough to walk and see the buildings, enjoy the fresh air etc.
- Statuja e Bajram Curri (Statue of Bajram Curri). The town's hero is honoured with a statue in the centre of town.
- Muzeu Historik i qytetit të Bajram Currit (Historical Museum) (in the middle of town behind the statue). Appears closed.
- Xhamia e Qytetit (down the road from the main square, visible from most of the town). This mosque is in a state of disrepair and disuse. Nevertheless it is worth seeing from the outside, set against the Albanian Alps in the background.
- Kulla e Mic Sokolit (Mic Sokoli Tower) (southwest of Bajram Curri in Bujan village). This is the historic house of Albanian hero Mic Sokoli who is said to have been killed by putting his chest in front of enemy gun artillery.
- Shpella e Daragobisë (Daragobia Cave) (near of Dragobia Village). Situated near of Dragobia village, is known also like the Cave of Bajram Curri, a national hero, because he hide there during his war with his enemies. 1200 m on the sea level. It has carstic forme, 8 m long, 3-4 wide and 2-4 high. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri-Dragobi.
- Shpella e akullit (Ice Cave) (near of Valbona Village). Situated near of Valbona village, at Margegaj, 2230 m on the sea level. It is formed from the glacial-carstic processes along the crossing of tectonic variations. The explored length is about 250 m. Is 50 m wide and 10-15 m high. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri-Valbonë.
- Lugina e Valbonës (Valbona Valley Park) (25-30 km in northwest of the city of Bajram Curri). It has a surface of about 8,000 hectares and is 25-30 km in northwest of the city of Bajram Curri.
- Kanionet e Shoshanit (The canyon of Shoshani) (near of Shoshani Bridge,at Valbona Valley). Situated near of Shoshanit bridge, at Valbona valley, 400 m on the sea level. Formed from calcareous, the river’s erosion and the carst, is 1.1 km long, 30-40 m deep, and 2.5 m wide. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri-Shoshan.
- Shpella e Haxhisë (Haxhia Cave) (near Valbona Village, at Margegaj). Situated on Maja e Thatë, near of Valbona village, at Margegaj, 1630 m on the sea level. It is formed from the carsti along the crossing of tectonic variations. It is discovered so far the entrance 2-3 m and the length about 120 m. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri- Valbonë.
- Lugina akullnajore Kukaj (The hanging glacial valley of Kukaj) (near of Rragami village,at Margegaj). Situated near of Rragami village, at Margegaj, 1200 m on the sea level. It is a hanging glacial-carstic valley during the tectonic process. 2.7 km long, 100-150 m wide. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri-Valbonë-Motinë.
- Lugina akullnajore e Motinës (The hanging glacial valley of Motina) (Situated among the mountain of Irons and the Open outfall (Grykët e Hapura), at Margegaj, 1100 m on the sea level. It is a hanging glacial-carstic valley during the tectonic process. 2.5 km long, 100-150 m wide. Can be visited by the street Bajram Curri-Valbonë-Motinë.).
- Visit the Valbona valley. The village of Valbona is less than an hour away by taxi and can be enjoyed in a day. The nature of this park is full of varieties suitable for tourism, fishing, relaxation, amusing and mountain climbing as well as winter sports Mostly you can walk among the wonderful nature, make excursions and exercise different sports as hunting (during the season), climbing, trekking, and riding horses. The camping is another pleasure but you have to be informed about the right places. Valbona is one of the most beautiful places in Albania and the segments of the Valbona river can be a real challenge for the impassioned of the extreme sports.
- Visit the Dragobia Cave near of Valbona Valley, at Dragobia village
- Visit the Canyon of Shoshan, near Shoshani Bridge, at Valbona Valley
- Visit the Historical Museum, in the centre of Bajram Curri town
- Visit the Ice Cave near Valbona Valley
- Visit Mic Sokoli Tower, at Bujan near the Bajram Curri town
- Visit Statue of Bajram Curri, in the centre of the town
- Visit the Valbona Sports Palace, in Bajram Curri town
You can buy souvenirs, handmade items, maps or tourist guide on shops near the Historical Museum of Bajram Curri.
- There are restaurants serving Albanian food, traditional dishes of town and pizza along Rruga Syleiman Vokshi (the road starting from the statue). "Byrektore" (sweet cakes and desserts) and cafes are plentiful around the town. Hotels Ermali and Vllaznimi have restaurants.
- Chestnuts. The region is known in the whole of Albania for holding the largest chestnut plantations in the country.
- There is Bar Restaurant Nezaj in front of Agim Ramadani street, a place that serves all of traditional dishes of Tropoja.
- Fli is a traditional dish usually served in the city. It consists of multiple crepe-like layers brushed with cream and served with sour cream. The name translates to "sacrifice".
There are many of clubs where tourists and residents can enjoy Albanian (traditional) drinks like raki, boza or vere musht (a special wine that people made). There you can find other drinks like Albania 'Kaon Beer', 'Korça Beer', 'Tirana Beer', 'Stela Beer', etc.
- Hotel Ermali (From the statue walk along the curved road towards the school with the basketball courts on your left. The hotel is in the nondescript building just past the basketball courts.). Pleasant rooms with ensuite bathrooms. Doubles €20/3000 lek, a solo traveller can stay for €10/1500 lek.
- Hotel Vllaznimi (beside the main town office, right in front of the main square). Nice new hotel, excellent rooms with ensuite bathrooms and airconditioning. Double: €25.
- Hotel Shkëlzeni (in the centre of the city). Built in the communist era with communist architecture and later renovated. The restaurant serves traditional and international food.
- Eurobushi Hotel (Near the Police Commissariat). In the largest city in northern Albania, Bajram Curri, is Hotel Eurobushi. It is near the Police Station. Eurobushi Hotel is the perfect place to rest while visiting the area. You will enjoy the comfort of the accommodation offered here quickly by staff.
- Boshnjaku Hotel (Rruga Mic Sokoli). Boshnjaku Hotel is at the entrance to the town of Tropoje. The hotel has bar and restaurant, while the other floors are hotel.
- Hotel Universe (in Bajram Curri town). 5 high class rooms.
There are internet cafes around the town for 60 lek an hour or so. It is also possible to tap into one of the many unsecured Wifi networks near the town centre.
The Tropoja area has an undeserved reputation as a wild lawless region beyond the control of the government and ruled by the Albanian mafia. Unexploded ordnance from the Kosovo conflict is also an issue when wandering off the beaten path. Note that the UK, Australia and Canada have travel advisories in place advising against travel to the northeast region of Albania, including Tropoja district and Bajram Curri.
The law and order situation has improved greatly, however, and travellers are likely to meet nothing other than friendly and generous locals.
- Take the Lake Koman ferry out if you didn't come by that way. It is a breathtaking journey through massive gorges on Lake Koman.
- Gjakova (40 km, 45-60 mins away, ticket paid on the van leaving from the town center). closest city in Kosovo with the largest Ottoman-era bazzar in the Balkans
- Prizren, Kosovo.