Things to do - general

Shkoder is considered the cradle of culture of Albania. Located in the shores of the lake holding the same name, it is the biggest city of the North. Founded in the 4th Century BC, being known as Skodra (Scodra), a name that consequently is inherited until nowadays. Shkoder is the cultural cradle of Albania and is the birth town of many artists and well known figures in the country and abroad.

Shkodra’s main touristic attraction is Rozafa’s Castle. The castle dates back to Illyrian times and Latin historian Titus Livius called it “stronghold of the Labeats” (Illyrian tribe on the shores of Lake Shkodra). Illyrian queen, Teuta, used it as a base in the wars against Rome. The name Rozafa first appeared in the Middle Ages. The name is linked to the legend ‘of the kept promise’ which is common in one form or another to all Balkan peoples. According to the legend, Rozafa, the wife of the youngest of three brothers, accepted to be buried alive in the walls of the castle. The brothers had been building the castle in the day only to find that the walls had collapsed during the night.
At the entrance to the castle you can see the Rozafa bas-relief. According to popular imagination, the lime water that leaks at the main entrance is the milk running from Rozafa’s breast which was left outside the wall so that she could feed her newborn baby. The castle assumed the shape it has today from the time of the Balsha family rule in the 14th century. Most of the remaining walls of the castle belong to the Venetian period. However one can also find traces of the Ottoman times (16th and 17th centuries) and the Bushatlli period (18th and 19th centuries).

Pedonale street is the most known part of the city due to it’s italian-influenced structure. A pedestrian area with small shops and interesting bars on both sides of the street, with 2 floor buildings, it can be said it is the heart of the city. Pedonale street holds the name of Kole Idromeno, perhaps the most known shkodran, an erudite of paintings, architecture and photography.

Shkodra is noted for religious tolerance. Within walking distance, the Blue Mosque, the Catholic Cathedral, the Franciscan Cathedral and the Orthodox Church are located.

There’s a specific neighborhood in Shkoder named “Gjuhadol” (pronounced as Ghiuhadol), located right behind the main pedonale street, where authentic elements of the architecture of the city are still present. It is also one of the oldest neighborhoods, but recently has become a hip destination, due to the fact that some hipster bars and hostels are located there.

Kafja e Madhe (Grand Cafe) is an old building located in the center of the city. It is a creation of the artist Kole Idromeno, but has been closed for restoration for the last couple of years. Nevertheless, it is an artifact that testifies for the uprising cultural level of the city.

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Languages spokenAlbanian, English, Italian
Currency usedLek, Euro, Dollar
Area (km2)872.71 km2

Traditional food and drinks info

Being in a crossroad between a traditional and modern city, Shkoder has a lot to offer. Most of the bars in the city have a family-like atmosphere and offer traditional or modern live music. Nevertheless, there are also alternative bars with another atmosphere.

In terms of traditional cuisine, Tave Krapi (Baked Carp) is the most well known.

Culture and history info

Rozafa Castle is a real historical gem not be missed while visiting the city. The view over Drin and Buna Rivers from one side and Lake Shkoder from the other are stunning and pay off for the hilly climbing.

Shkoder is home to the Marubi dynasty, pioneers in photography in Albania. Initiated by Pietro Marubi, the legacy passed to his assistant, Kel Kodheli (Marubi), who changed his last name to take on the photography business. The first photos date back to 1858-1859 and the Marubi Photo Collection is comprised with over 500 000 photos.

The traditional music of Shkoder is known as jare (yare)

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