Gjirokaster Travel Guide

  • Gjirokastra, Zekate mansion
    Gjirokastra, Zekate mansion
    by JLBG
  • Stone Roofs of Gjirokastra, Albania
    Stone Roofs of Gjirokastra, Albania
    by Jetgirly
  • Gjirokastra Castle
    Gjirokastra Castle
    by Jetgirly

Gjirokaster Highlights

  • Pro
    JLBG profile photo

    JLBG says…

     An absolute must see 

  • Con
    illumina profile photo

    illumina says…

     Very steep slopes and lots of steps 

  • In a nutshell
    AlbaniaLover profile photo

    AlbaniaLover says…

     Traditional beauty 

Gjirokaster Things to Do

  • Castle With a View

    For the best views of Gjirokastra, head up to the castle. It's a hot, strenuous walk up if the sun is shining, so get an early or late start. Upon arrival, your 200-leke admission fee buys you access to most of the castle, including a gloomy hallway lined with artillery and the castle walls with scenic views of the town below. There is also an...

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  • Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastra

    If there's one thing the former Ottoman Empire loves, it's a good ethnographic museum. Ethnographic museums typically showcase the culture and lifestyle of a particular group, and in Gjirokastra's Ethnographic Museum you can see how an actual 19th-century family in Gjirokastra would have lived. The building was constructed only in the 1960s (in the...

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  • Statue of Çerçiz Topulli

    The square is named after Çerçiz Topulli (1880-1912), a national hero that fought for the independence of Albania together with his brother Bajo Topulli. I have found that in 1908, he led an uprising against the Ottomand and that he played a main part in the battle of Mashkullora, a mountain village 7 km north to Gjirokastra, outside of the valley,...

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  • Sheshi Çerçiz Topulli : hanged woman

    Another monument on Çerçiz Topulli square reminds the sad memory of two Gjirokastrian young women, Bule NAIPI and Persefoni KOKËDHIMA, that were hanged by the nazi during WWII as they were suspect to help the nationalists against the invaders. The anonymous sculptor has represented them just before they were hanged. Their face is terrible with...

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  • Palorto district

    Palorto district is a little further up in the mountain than Varosh.Photo 1 shows a part of the Palorto district, with a lot of trees and bushes growing around the houses. In the background, the soil is rocky and bare. This is one of those ravines that scare the slope of the mountain. Such ravines, inside the city, split one district from the next...

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  • Zekate house

    Photo 1 shows Zekate house from Hotel Kalemi. Zekate house is an interesting example of typical Ottoman style house. The large house is made of three parts: two towers on each side, linked by an open but covered terrace on the top level. Zekate house is private and not open for visits but I have read that it might be open in the future.Photo 2...

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Gjirokaster Restaurants

  • Friendly Family Restaurant

    I have a terrible feeling that "Gjoca" might just mean restaurant, and I've called this place Restaurant Restaurant, but that was the only distinguishable word on the sign outside the restaurant in which I dined in Gjirokastra. Run by a friendly husband and wife team, this restaurant accommodated my vegetarianism with a truly delicious salad and...

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  • The Characteristic Bar Restaurant

    Bar- Restaurant “Kerculla” is located on top of one of the hills of this magical town, even above the age long castle level. From this beauty spot the tourist has the possibility to set eyes on and admire the museum city, the magnificent castle, the Drino valley, the region of Lunxheria and at the same time relax in the rich greenery of grass and...

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  • The best wines in the city

    The first bar of this kind in the Gjirokastra, built at the center of the city has the honor to serve you the best quality wines in the city. The original design and master way in the serving of the wine let the visitors to feel the flavor and aroma of our wines in all their depth.

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  • Restaurant Fantasia

    Restaurant Fantasia is a large restaurant standing at Shesti I Çerçizit with an outstanding view on the city. We had a bier and did not try their Italian cooking but there were plenty of local customers.In front of Fantasia, a wide flat space allows to park easily, which is not the usual in Gjirokaster. Obviously, this place was not designed for...

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  • Restaurant Festivali

    Restaurant Festivali is a family run restaurant at the lowest end of Pazari Ivjeter, just outside Çerçiz Topulli square. The outside does not look great and we were the only customers but the food is great. I warmly advice Gjirokastra visitors to check it.I took a photo of the notice that presented the restaurant and a photo of the menu but...

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  • Pretty much the only thing...

    This is pretty much the only Western restaurant/eatery/café that I remember seeing along the main road from Kakavijë to Gjirokaster (of course, there are other things if you drive into the small towns along the road). The entire establishment was quite new, although they seemed to be complaining that no one was coming, despite their massive...

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Gjirokaster Nightlife

  • SirAliztare's Profile Photo
    Fantazia is next to the car park, bottom left

    by SirAliztare Written Feb 22, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just down from the fortress is Bar Fantazia, which affords stunning views of the valley, two beers for £1.50 and free nuts.

    After several afternoon beers the conclusion was come to that the waiter looked liked Mr Tumnus.

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Gjirokaster Transportation

  • Sarande to Gjirokastra

    The trip between Gjirokastra and Sarande is short in distance but long in duration. The roads were frequently unpaved and there was constant construction, meaning the buses and shared vans (which had no air conditioning) were moving at a snail's pace. The trip there was fairly painless, as there was a schedule posted at the main bus "exchange" in...

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  • Furgon Gjirokaster- Korce

    There was no information on what time the furgon to Korce left in the morning. So we woke up early in the morning and were by the main road where the buses leave at 6.45 in the morning. Everyone said go across the road when I mentioned Korce, and finally it came, around 7.30. I believe this is the only direct connection to Korce from Gjirokaster....

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  • Buses

    Gjirokaster is on the main bus route from Tirana to the coast so it is easy to get to by bus/mini bus or taxi and will take about 4 hours from Tirana stopping for food and drink on the way!. The cost of the buses and mini buses are very cheap to Gjirokaster from Tirana with two people travelling for under 10 euro's in 2005.

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Gjirokaster Shopping

  • AlbaniaLover's Profile Photo

    by AlbaniaLover Updated Sep 9, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In Gjirokaster there are quite a few good shops. From trendy clothing shops and very nice shoe shops. Also here you will find banks, the American Bank with english speakers if you need them.

    What to buy: Shoe's and clothes.

    What to pay: Depends on quality you buy.

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Gjirokaster Local Customs

  • Death advices

    In the whole Balkan area, it is usual to have the death advices on display at every street corner. Unlike what I had seen in Bar, Montenegro, nothing allows guessing what is the religion of the deceased, if any.However, we can notice that there are two types of advices . I do not know if that has any meaning:- Lajmërim vdekje (death advice)-...

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  • Gjimnasi Asil Zenelli

    Each time we came to Albania in May, we met busses of college students visiting their country as an end-of-the-year travel. They had all on their bus large posters reminding what was their class. In Gjirojaster, we found that on the front of the college, there were also the same kind of posters.Photo 1 is from class IVb in Gjimnasi Asil Zenelli and...

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  • Market in the new town 2

    We found that they sold only clothes, shoes, etc…Photo 1 shows a chaos of shoes that do not seem to be arranged as pairs. If you find a suitable shoe, you have to search for the other!Photo 2 had clothes piled on both sides and a flower booth.Photo 3 shows clothes with a tea shirt to number 8 Ibrahimovic and a booth with sun-glasses. Strangely,...

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Gjirokaster Warnings and Dangers

  • njonjo's Profile Photo
    Gjirokaster, partial view

    by njonjo Updated Apr 28, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Many old characteristic houses in Gjirokaster are abandoned and empty, so you may feel the desire to enter and have a close look to the architecture inside. But be very cautious because some old houses have collapsed in the last years, in one case there was a victim.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

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Gjirokaster Tourist Traps

  • illumina's Profile Photo

    by illumina Written Apr 11, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are a number of little shops selling traditional woollen rugs in Gjirokastra, and while they are beautiful, they are very expensive, the prices obviously aimed at foreigners even though they don't get too many tourists there. Even the smaller examples were on sale for about 7-8000 leke (?35-40).

    Fun Alternatives: Apparently you get better quality examples for less money if you buy from men who take them around the villages, but sadly no-one came to Ksamili while I was there.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel

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Gjirokaster Off The Beaten Path

  • Restaurant Festivali, mosaic

    On one wall of Restaurant Festivali, a huge mosaic represents traditional dancers. It was installed by the artist on the occasion of the last National Folklore Festival in year 2004. It was then that the restaurant changed its name for “Festivali”.

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  • This is also Albania!

    Our room in hotel Buci opened on a yard with an almost abandoned plant. The yard was half covered by a vine running on a half broken steel frame. The broken frame was falling too low to allow the passage of the truck. The driver had a hard time to start the engine of the old half broken truck. May be 15 minutes! After that, he maneuvered rear for a...

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  • Gjirokaster Hotels

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Gjirokaster Favorites

  • Jergucat ?

    Along the road from Jorgucat to Gjirokaster, a series of villages are spread on the lower slopes of the Mali i Gjerë mountain range, in the same way as Gjirokaster. The road sign for most of them bear both an Albanian and a Greek name : Lazarat, Haskovë, Lugar, Gorice, Grapsh, Terihat, Sofratike, Frashtan and other.The first photo shows one of this...

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  • Birds eye view on the Drino valley

    After Delvinë, the road from Saranda to Jergucat climbs the Mali i Gjerë range (the Great mountain) and reaches a height of about 800 meters. After that, it goes down to Jergucat, into the valley of the river Drino, a tributary of the river Vjosë that pours into the Adriatic a few kilometers north to Vlorë. The first photo is a birds eye view on...

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  • Bunkers

    On the way to Gjirokaster, you'll see Hoxha's ubiquitous bunkers in lines all over the Drinos valley, a reminder of the paranoia of the country's former dictator

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Explore Deeper into Gjirokaster
Market in the new town 1
Local Customs
Dilapidated old house
Things to Do
View from Hotel Kalemi
Things to Do
Gjirokastra, kafe
Things to Do
Hoxha family in Palorto
Local Customs
Work in progress
Things to Do
Gjirokastra, vine on top!
Local Customs
Bird's eye view on Gjirokastra and the Drina plain
Things to Do
The museum from outside
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The war museum
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Upper street to the castle
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The castle seen from Pllake
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Qafa e Pazarit: street to the castle
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Varosh, ethnographic museum
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Varosh/Partizani, narrow street
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Qafa e pazarit, to the castle
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Qafa e pazarit, the "pass"
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Pazari i vjetër (the old bazar)
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Ismael Kadare
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Sheshi Çerçiz Topulli (Çerçiz Topulli square)
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Bottom of Varosh district
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18 Shtatori district and stadium
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Obelisku
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School
Local Customs
Out of the castle, towards Qafa e Pazarit
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The clock tower
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The National Folklore Festival
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Northwards bird’s eye view on Gjirokastra
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The jet
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The castle : the gallery
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Gjirokastra, Xhamia e Pazarit (Market's Mosque)
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Castle, from Dunavat
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Arrival near Gjirokastra, 2007
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Gjirokastra, general view in 1988
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Roof covered with pllakë
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Ball play?
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Varosh, typical houses
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Varosh, ancient doorway (1847?)
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Varosh, quiet street
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Beyond Qafa e pazarit
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Map of Gjirokaster

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