Welcome to Shkodra, Albania
Shkoder or Shkodra is the biggest city in northern Albania. Being one of the most ancient cities in Europe, it can trace its origins deep in antiquity, dating as far back as the Illyrians and even beyond. The people of Shkodra are hospitable, good-humoured and polite.
An Ancient City
Shkoder or Skhodra to the ancients can trace its existence as early as the bronze age. Having a fertile ground, a gorgeous lake and a river that can be navigated with a boat have been a point of attraction for the ancient people of the bronze age.
The city was first mentioned in antiquity as the site of the Illyrian tribe of the Leabates in which minted coins were found. In 168 BC the Romans captured the city from the legendary Illyrian queen Teuta. The Romans turned Shkodra into an important trade and military hub. The Slavs migrated in the early medieval period and occupied the city.
Sights to see
The city of Shkoder has a large variety of natural and cultural elements. One of the most attractive quarters of the city is the Pjaca (piazza) now called “Pedonale”, which is identified as the main city attraction. Another great place to visit is Gjuhadol, a neighbourhood with one of the most scenic streets.
The most recognizable memorial and sight is the legendary Rozafa castle. The castle is situated on a steep hill in the city and offers a fantastic view of the surrounding area.
Something that no visitor should leave without seeing is the ruins of the medieval town of Shurdhah. Shurdhah (Sarda) is situated only 12 kilometres (9 miles) away from the city. To reach these ruins, you need to take a boat from the Vau I Dejes dam. Shurdhah was the Summer retreat of the famous Dukagjini family. Lake of Shkodra is the biggest lake in southern Europe and offers a very picturesque scene.
A fascinating part of Shkodra is the Marubi photo museum. Marubi was the first photographer to open a studio in Shkodra and Albania.
Entertainment in Shkodra
Shkodra offers a variety of entertaining activities and is a vital city with a young demographic. You can try excellent local cuisine, influenced by Turkish, Slavic and Albanian blended into one. Shkodra is also boarded by the Adriatic sea to the west and offers magnificent beaches and coastlines, so spending a day or two seaside is an excellent option if you are visiting in the summer.
In the evening you can frequent the many nightclubs or bars that the city possesses, or you can take a walk in the Pedonale for a great scenery that resembles that of Venice.
Shkodra has it all, mountains, a lake, an island, a river, ancient ruins, churches, mosques, Friendly and hospitable people, a bustling nightlife. If you are visiting Albania make sure to enter from Shkodra and go on from there. It is an excellent start to your journey or a great ending.
Interesting Facts & Important Information
Is travel in Shkodra expensive?
No travel is not expensive. Traveling in Shkodra is as cheap as most of the other cities in Albania. Public transportation costs a mere 40 leke (~ $0.40) per ride, and bus tickets can be bought for only 300 leke (~ $3) to get to Tirana, the capital of Albania. Eating and staying in Shkodra is also inexpensive.
Is Shkodra safe?
Shkodra is as safe as the rest of Albania, one of the safest countries I’ve visited.
Are citizens of Shkodra friendly?
Shkodrans are very cheerful and hospitable people. The only thing to look out for is prices. Make sure to ask for a receipt when you buy things as price may inflate if they notice you are a foreigner.
Do Shkodrans speak English?
You might have a hard time trying to communicate with the elderly as they do not speak English due to being born and living their lives in the communist era. However, most people from younger generations can understand and speak at least some English. If you’re Italian, you are in luck as most of the young Shkodrans speak very good Italian.
What is Shkodras cuisine like?
Shkodras cuisine is mostly dominated by Italian and Mediterranean food. The city also offers delicious traditional Albanian food, mainly influenced by Turkish cuisine. The signature dish to try in Shkodra is called “Tava e Krapit”, which contains local carp fish from its lake and a special tomato sauce.
Does Shkodra have mountains?
There are many mountains to hike and see nearby Shkodra. Some of the most beautiful mountains in Albania can be found near this city. If you are looking for a beautiful mountain to visit, check out Theth.
Does Shkodra have lakes?
Yes, Shkodra was built on the biggest lake in the Balkans. This lake is called Skadar lake and it’s full of Carp fish. You can enjoy a day swimming or fishing at the lake.
Does Shkodra have beaches?
There are beautiful beaches on the Lake Skadar. You can also travel around 30 km to get to the Adriatic sea and spend time at Velipojë beach. Velipojë has sandy beaches that are rich with iodine which has amazing health benefits for your skin.
What is the best place in Shkodra to visit?
Shkodra has so many different amazing places to visit. The greatest thing about Shkodra is probably the fact that it has so much variety from coffee shops, to delicious food, mountains, lakes, beaches, rivers, castles. Whatever interests you may have, you’ll find a piece of Shkodra for you.
Shkodra Hotels & Hostels
Shkodra has very low-priced hotels. You can stay in a 5-star hotel in Shkodra for as little as 100$ a night. There are 4-star hotels for half that price, and you can also find great, cozy hotels and inns for as low as 15$ a night. If you are on a budget, you can find hostels that range from 10$ a night down to as low as 5$ a night.
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