One of the oldest cities in Europe, and arguably the most attractive urban centre in Albania, Shkodra is the perfect location for lovers of history, culture and art. It’s usually a thoroughfare for travellers headed to Tirana and Montenegro, but it’s worth spending a couple of days here to soak up the hospitable town. From dining to sightseeing and local experiences, these are some of our tips and favourite places to go if you want to experience Shkodra, Albania like a local.
Food – What do the locals eat?
Meat dishes are a staple across all of Albania. One not-to-miss dish is tavë Kosi, one of the country’s most beloved foods. Lamb and rice are baked in an earthenware dish with a mixture of eggs and yoghurt.
Typically made from lamb meat, qofte is the Albanian version of meatballs. Enjoyed for both lunch and dinner, qofte can come served with salad, bread or rice.
Jani me fasule
Jani me fasule is traditional white bean soup. Preparation for this dish starts by soaking white beans overnight before they are rinsed and boiled. They are cooked with a sauce made from onion. Tomatoes, parsley and stock and is usually served with salad, bread and a glass of raki.
Popular across all of the Balkans, byrek (burek) is a tasty pie made with filo pastry that you can’t miss! In Albania, you can buy this tasty treat at local shops, bars, trucks and pastry shops. One of the most famous flavours is byrek with spinach, however, you can also get it filled with gjize cheese and meat.
Popular throughout all of the Balkans, Raki, or grape brandy is an Albanian favourite. Often home-brewed and very strong, it won’t take much of the drink to have you feeling the famous national pride!
Sites – Discover the Undiscovered
Offering breathtaking views over the city and Lake Shkodra, the Rozafa Fortress is the most impressive sight in town. Every civilisation in Shkodra’s history has used the Rozafa Fortress’ strategic spot; built during Antiquity, enduring the Roman and Ottoman empires and remaining intact up to the present day – it’s safe to say that the Castle has witnessed many dramatic changes over the course of Albania’s fascinating history!
Marubi National Museum of Photography
Located on the main street of town, the Marubi National Museum of Photography holds photos taken by Albania’s first photographer; Pietro Marubi.
Forming a natural boundary between Albania and Montenegro, Lake Shkodra is the largest lake in the Balkans. To access the lake, you can rent a bike in Shkodra, or catch a bus from the city.
Shkodra Old Town
Sandstone streets lined with pastel houses and big wooden shutters; Shkodra’s laidback old town is perfect for getting lost in. Enjoy a coffee at one of the many sun-drenched cafes, or hire a bicycle and explore the city on wheels.
Dating back to 1770, and located 5km northeast of Shkodra in an idyllic setting surrounded by nature is the magnificent Ottoman Mes Bridge.
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