A lot of people visit Durres because of its beaches, which I really don’t understand. Durres is an amazing city because it has a 3000 years old history, but the beach… eh. Well, I have seen better beaches on the Albanian coast.
Nevertheless, Durres is really a place that you should explore when you are in Albania.
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Before we get to the useful things, please let me share with you
The most meaningful experience in my life
I was sitting on the stairs on the main street of Durres reading a book.
Once a very dirty little girl offered me a slice of pizza.
As it turned out, she thought that I’m homeless too – because I was sitting on the stairs – just like her as if I had been homeless probably hungry too, such as she is so many times. So she wanted to share her food with me.
It was the cutest, most honest and most meaningful experience in my life that I will never forget! Her mum was so kind too. They didn’t bag at all or ask for anything, but I just came from the grocery so I had some food and water with me that I gave to them.
Another heart-melting moment was when I gave a wet wipe for the little girl to clean herself a bit. She wiped her nape and when she experienced how this wet wipe can cool her down – it was like 40 Celsius on that day – and how much she enjoyed it, she did the same to her mum and also me.
If you ever lose your faith in people, just find a little child and she will show you the real meaning of the human presence in an amazing way.
How to get there?
Your best option is by bus or train from Tirana, which is a 40-minute ride – if you are in Albania – and from Podgorica or Bar if you are in Montenegro. If you haven’t been to Montenegro, then here is why you should put it onto your bucket list:
Where to stay?
Hostel Durres is such an amazing place to stay! An English man owns the hostel and also the bar which is in the neighbourhood and he works with volunteers which is an amazing opportunity to stay there and have your breakfast for free – for further information, please check Workaway’s website. Additionally, it’s located on the main square and the coast is only a five-minute walk. They organize free city tours and nice parties at night. I loved to hang out there.
What to do in Durres?
Well, if you just simply walk around the city, you will find a lot of historical places, because as I mentioned above, this lovely city has a 3000 years old history. There are some spots where you can find some brilliant street art paintings, which looks so real. The mixture of historical and modern buildings ensures an exciting view and this is such a good place to do some shopping and enjoy a café.
The nightlife is so rich here, but if you visit this place once, please do me a favour: go to the main square at night, sit down and enjoy the vivid whirl of the people. So many stories are waiting for you to be a part of them, only for a few minutes. Let light and beauty come together in you in a thousand different patterns. /I guess I was in a romantic mood while I was writing this post…/
A huge building that can be clearly seen from the sea represented as an iconic symbol of Durres. This place is a hotel, where you can find a restaurant and a bar too, which is the best place to enjoy the sunset.
Exploring Durres Castle is so more adventurous as you may think. It is not too big, but if you walk around it, you can find some amazing hidden gems that are worth visiting – and actually more interesting than the wall itself -. There is a rooftop bar at the top of the tower, but the good news is that you don’t have to order anything if you just want to get in to enjoy the view for a few minutes.
The ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre is a must see. I found it by chance when I was just walking around at night and it showed a gorgeous appearance at night as its most enormous parts were highlighted by the lights. This amphitheatre is the largest in the Balkan Penisula.
My favourite part! It is your best chance to enjoy Albania’s finest wines from so many producers and also a great opportunity to explore the green part of the countryside.
Durres Archeological Museum is a good place to get lost in history. Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine artefacts can give you a sense of life in Durres thousands of years ago.
So because it is a coastal city, you can find the beach – or port – almost everywhere, but your best option is on the Southern part of the city which has lovely sandy beaches. I started this post with a statement saying that I have seen better beaches almost everywhere in Albania, but you know in Durres there is also some sandy part, the sea… and what would you need more? If you are in the capital, Durres is your best option if you want to soak up the sun and have a lazy beach day, because it is only 40 minutes away.