From Saranda: Explore Gjirokastra like a Local

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Discover the highlights of Gjirokastra with tips for exploring the city like a local. Visit the Gjirokastra Castle, stroll through the Bazaar, visit the well-known Blue Eye and try traditional cuisine


  • Visit the Blu Eye and next immerse yourself in Gjirokastra's rich history
  • Explore the well-preserved Ottoman architecture of the city
  • Visit the Gjirokastra Castle and explore around
  • Stroll through the Bazaar area and shop for souvenirs
  • Sample local dishes in traditional restaurants or bars


Explore Gjirokastra like a local and immerse yourself in the city's rich history, culture, and daily life. Gjirokastra, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southern Albania, is known for its well-preserved Ottoman architecture and its historical significance. Begin your exploration by visiting Gjirokastra Castle, which dominates the cityscape. Explore the castle grounds, including the museum inside, which houses artifacts related to the city's history. Stroll through the Bazaar area, located at the foot of the castle. This is a great place to witness local life, shop for souvenirs, and interact with merchants. Wander through the cobbled streets of Gjirokastra and explore the well-preserved Ottoman houses. Many of these houses are open to the public, providing a glimpse into the city's architectural heritage. Explore the Ethnographic Museum, located in the historic Ottoman district. The museum is set in an 18th-century house and offers insights into the traditional way of life in Gjirokastra. Check if there are any local events or cultural festivals taking place during your visit. Gjirokastra often hosts events celebrating traditional music, dance, and crafts. Sample local dishes in traditional restaurants or teahouses. Gjirokastra's cuisine includes specialties like qifqi (rice balls), pasha qofte (meatballs), and tave kosi (baked lamb with yogurt). Take a hike to the Cold Water Spring (Uji i Ftohtë), a natural spring located outside the city. It's a popular spot for locals to relax and enjoy nature. Strike up conversations with locals in cafes, markets, or parks. Albanians are known for their hospitality, and interacting with locals can provide a deeper understanding of the culture. Explore the Zekate House, one of the most famous Ottoman-era houses in Gjirokastra. The house is known for its architecture and is open to the public. Climb to elevated points within the city, like the castle walls or the Clock Tower, to enjoy panoramic views of Gjirokastra and the surrounding landscapes. Look for opportunities to attend traditional music performances, which often take place in local venues or during cultural events. Consider staying in a guesthouse or boutique hotel in the old town. This not only provides a comfortable stay but also an opportunity to experience local hospitality.


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