Elbasan is the city at the very center of Albania. Its central location, North to South and East to West, is the reason it is sometimes referred to as "Kurthiza e Shqipërisë" (The Bellybutton of Albania).
Elbasan is a key city for travelers to Korca, Pogradec and North Macedonia. All the travelers from Tirana or other parts of Albania must pass through Elbasan to arrive in North Macedonia through the Qafe-Thana border.
About 45 minute ride from Tirana with the bus through the semi-finished new motorway that is still being built as in 2018. The new motorway was opened in 2012 and now you can go from Tirana to Elbasan much faster. Beside the new motorway you can see the beautiful landscapes.
Walking or taxi. Taxis are located close to the furgons (vans) at the center of the city.
The Elbasan Castle is right at the center of town. Only two ancient walls remain but the area inside is full of old houses, cobblestone streets, and an excellent restaurant. One castle wall is centered around the impressive sahati (clock tower).
- Take a stroll down the wide brick boulevard leading from the center of town past one of the castle walls and the clock tower. Most evenings right after dusk the boulevard is full of many Elbasan residents out for a nightly walk.
- Visit the numerous Belsh Lakes near Belsh and take part in the annual Summer Day celebration in mid-March near the Dumreja Forest.
- Visit the Plane Tree and the ruins of the Basilica of Bezistan
- Take a dip on the curative thermal waters of Llixha and visit the caves and waterfalls of Gramsh
- Stop at one of the picturesque villages of Gjinar and Stebleve
- Traditional costumes, postcards of the city.
- Bugaçe, a traditional Elbasan breakfast roll found nowhere else in Albania. Smothered in butter and with a dash of salt, this roll is delicious but not the those watching their cholesterol.
- Bollokume, another Elbasan specialty rarely found elsewhere in Albania. It is essentially a large sugar cookie. While sold in stores all over the city, the best are always the freshly baked warm cookies.
- Try the traditional Tavë Elbasani and other yummy specialties.
- Trilece at the restaurant across from the clock tower is especially good.
The tallest building in Elbasan, one block from the center and easily identifiable, has a rotating restaurant/bar on the top floor. If for nothing else, go for the view.
Cokollate e zeze (black chocolate). It's like hot chocolate, but almost as thick as pudding and eaten with a spoon.
There are Imperial Hotel and Skampa Hotel in the city. You can sleep at a Couchsurfer's house for free. Albanians are very generous and really good hosts.