After arriving in the mountain city of Shkodër at the end of my third day in Albania, I kicked off day four bright and early to check out this beautiful area of northern Albania! Come along with me as I explore this ancient Albanian city and enjoy some mountain guesthouse food and rakija in Shkodër, Albania!
Shkodër is the cultural capital of Albania and serves as the gateway to the Albanian Alps. It’s located in the far north of the country, on Shkodër Lake, which borders the neighboring country of Montenegro. I began my day with a tour of Kevin Homes, the guesthouse I was staying at in Shkodër!
Through the front gate is a house with a terrace and a separate building that serves as a bar! You can also camp out in the grass under the fruit trees! The house is owned by my friend and guide Andy from Travel Albanian Alps. His family lives on the first floor, where there’s also a map of the country on the wall, as well as brochures advertising the tours they offer.
Upstairs are the four guest rooms. One of them has three beds. It’s beautiful and simple and has a nice terrace. Across from it is a room with a queen-sized bed, and next to the first room is another with three beds. I loved the rustic wooden ceilings! My room had two beds (it usually has three, but they removed one for my luggage). Next to it is a nice, clean bathroom. It’s a typical Albanian house. Outside are some beautiful grape vines!
My simple Albanian breakfast consisted of eggs, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, butter, jam, espresso, tea, bread, and apricot juice. The apricot juice was so pure! The meal comes included in the price, which is €12/$14.18 USD per bed for the rooms with 3 beds.
The food was simple and homey, all from the farm and garden. The cheese was the best! Then, Andy brought me some homemade rakija! They pair it with coffee to wake up in the morning. This rakija was made by Andy’s father and was so pure and authentic!
Next, we headed out to explore the ancient city of Shkodër, Albania! We followed Boulevard Skanderbeg toward the main square. The center of town was full of life and had lots of vendors in an open-air bazaar. They were selling everything from cevap to vegetables to children’s toys!
We exited the city and headed east to Mesi Bridge, the oldest Ottoman bridge in the country. It dates back 500 years and is a must-see site in the area. It was built in 1770 and is stunning. These Ottoman bridges are always beautiful, especially with the arches! It’s 108 meters long, 3.4 meters wide, and 12.5 meters high. It has 13 arches and is one of the longest examples of an Ottoman bridge in the Balkans. It reminded me of the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge I visited in Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina!
The river below the bridge was dry. I suggest heading down to the bottom to view it from the bedrock below. There, you get the best view of the bridge. It’s such a beautiful piece of history!
Then, we headed to the old center of the city. It’s very colorful and Italian-looking with lots of cafes. We headed over to Rruga Kole Idromeno, the local pedestrian street, which is the perfect place to have a drink at night and relax. At the end of the street on the right is the Ebu Bekër Mosque, and on the left is a Catholic church.
I had another rakija outside along the street, and then I visited a souvenir shop. I saw lots of lanterns and woodwork, as well as mugs and other items. From there, we saw the mosque, and then headed to an ancient castle! On the way, we saw a bazaar, which is spread out throughout the city! They sell lots of fresh vegetables!
Then, we took a narrow lane up to our next site in the ancient city of Shkodër, Albania, Rozafa Castle. It’s a huge stronghold that overlooks the city. It costs 300 lekës to go inside. I climbed up to the top. I could see the lake, Shkodër, lots of farmland, the river, and more from the top. The castle still had its original stone floor. To the left and right were arches that I guessed were stables. Through the gate was a souvenir shop. There was a main path and lots of walls along it.
The castle is huge! The first courtyard has ruins of the Venetian neighbor and three towers. The second courtyard has more ruins and walls, as well as a storage space, a prison, and a church that was later converted into a mosque! There are also some wells that hold water! The views from there are unreal!
What an amazing morning exploring the beautiful, ancient Albanian city of Shkodër, Albania! I have to thank my guide Andy for showing me around, as well as my friends at Balkan Pearls Tour Operator and Rental Car Albania for making my trip as fun and smooth as possible!
I hope you enjoyed coming with me to explore the ancient Albanian city of Shkodër, Albania! If you did, please give this video a thumb’s up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!