Visit Shkodra :This multifaceted city has had a traditionally rich artistic life and an enormous contribution to Albanian culture. Shkodra is the cradle of the most important Albanian poets, like Migjeni, painters like Kol Idromeno and Edi Hila, and photographers, the Marubi Family. Shkodra houses the haunting Marubi National Photography Museum, which displays the first photo taken in Albania, and the Venice Art Mask Factory, where a local master produces the same intricate masks used in the Venice carnivals and Las Vegas shows. A city of myths and legends, the foundations of the famous Castle of Shkodra are said to be held by the body of Rozafa, the beautiful young mother who sacrificed herself for it. You will find that this naturally beautiful city has an abundance of mirrors in the Adriatic Sea, the Lake of Shkodra and the Buna River. Otherwise called the “city of bicycles,” the city’s views are best admired while pedaling in the open air!
y trips range from $73 to explore Jerusalem up to $125 to visit Bethlehem and Jericho. Multiday trips range from $300 for two days up to $2,000 for 12 days, for which you can choose options like the history and archaeology of Israel, or a Christian-oriented package.
Things to do in Shkoder
Rozafa Castle the biggest tourist attraction in Shkoder and I think it might be one of my favourites. It dates back to the 14th century and legend has it that it was built by three brothers. In order for the castle to stand one of the brother needed to sacrifice his wife to be buried within the walls.
The youngest brother’s wife (Rozafa) agreed but asked for her right side to be left exposed so she could care for her infant son. An image of her feeding her baby is carved into the wall of the castle. You can also see this story portrayed on the walls of the restaurant at Camping Legjenda.
It costs 200L (around €1.50) per person to enter the castle grounds, this is collected by an unofficial looking guy at the gate. But once inside you are left to your own devices. Old stone walls, staircases and archways are yours to explore and the overgrown grass and foliage around some of the ancient structures makes it feel like a recently discovered treasure.
It’s a 30 minute walk uphill from the city centre to the castle. Give yourself at least an hour to explore inside, longer if you’re a castle geek as there are info points in English. Sunset is the best time to visit when the views over the castle and city are bathed in a golden glow.
VISIT THE MUSEUMS
There are several museums in Shkoder which we decided against visiting due to the beautiful weather and our attachment to the pool at the campground! But if you’re the museuming type there are a couple of interesting sounding museums in Shkoder.
Marubi National Museum of Photography is located on the main street of town and holds some photos from Albanias first photographer. Some photography-enthusiast friends visited the museum and said it was interesting and worth going to but not as extensive as they’d hoped. It’s 700L or 200L for students.
The Site of Witness and Memory is housed in an old prison and displays information about Albania during the communist era. It sounds like a good museum but we were saving ourselves for BUNK’ART in Tirana.
The Shkoder Historical Museum has mixed reviews but might be worthwhile if you are interested in the Ottoman Period.
This huge lake crosses the border to Montenegro and in fact only one third of it is in Albania. While we were there it was very dry and not so nice for swimming but earlier in the season it’s usually a great place to hang out. On the Montenergrin side we hired kayaks which was a fun day trip. There is also a campground by the lake outside Shkoder which hire kayaks and stand-up paddle boards at very reasonable prices.
WANDER SHKODER TOWN
Wandering round the town is one of the nicest things to do in Shkoder and the best way to get to know the city. The pedestrianised streets are home to a great range of cafes, restaurants and bars and in the evenings it’s the place to be!
There was even a beer festival on while we were there so keep an eye out for events throughout the summer months. The focal point of the town is the square where you can see all the religions come together. A mosque, catholic church and orthodox church all sit within a stone’s throw of each other. And look pretty impressive!
Restaurants in Shkoder
We ate at a couple of nice restaurants but if you wander the pedestrian streets you’re bound to find something to your taste and budget. The Italian influence on Albania means there is great pizza everywhere as well as lots of yummy traditional Albanian food. Sofra on the main street was affordable and delicious.
The restaurant at Camping Legjenda is popular with locals and has the most gorgeous garden setting. With the owner being Italian there is a range of delicious pizza options as well as Albanian food. Great service and very well priced.