My tenth day in Albania pressed on as I continued my epic road trip from Korçë to Gjirokastër. Join me as I take the final leg of the journey from Përmet and enjoy some luxurious Albanian food on a mountaintop in Gjirokastër, Albania!
My afternoon began on the road leading to Gjirokastër in southeastern Albania. The drive from Përmet to Gjirokastër only takes one hour, so it’s a quick drive. My boy Erjan from Travel Media EU and I were going to check into our hotel, take a tour of it, explore the local bazaar at night, and have some dinner!
Gjirokastër is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site that also includes the city of Berat, which I visited earlier in my trip. Both cities are known as rare examples of typical Ottoman architecture. The name “Gjirokastër” means “City of Stones.”
We passed lots of farmland on the way. Along the route is a place that is very special to Albanians. It’s a source of cold spring water and a waterfall. I stuck my head under the running water. It was so cold! It was like ice!
Then, we arrived in Gjirokastër. There are many things to see there, including artists along the roads, vendors, and more. We headed uphill past the Old Town, where I could see lots of Ottoman buildings. Finally, we arrived at Hotel Argjiro, our accommodations for the night at the entrance to the Old Town. The building dates back to 1891.
Inside the lobby, we were served some delicious gliko, and then we went to our rooms on the first floor. My room, 119, had a queen-sized bed, a TV, a couch, a table with coffee and water, a modern bathroom, and a terrace with a view!
Then, Erjan and I headed out to explore the Old Bazaar. It was cross-shaped with lots of souvenir shops. One of the shops has an old well in its floor! It’s 400 years old, 17 meters deep, and covered by glass. It also contains 8-9 meters of water and was found only 3 years ago when they redid the bazaar! They kept the old style but gave everything a new, cleaner look. You can jump on the glass and it won’t break!
Gjirokastër has a lot of artists and artisans, so there are tons of shops in town. From there, we drove through the new town. From the bazaar, I could see lots of old, Ottoman-style houses. We drove up a steep hill until we were high above the city. What an incredible view! At the top is Kerculla Resort, where we’d have some delicious Albanian food in Gjirokastër, Albania for dinner!
There, you can get epic views from their two outdoor terraces and eat lots of local traditional dishes like lamb, soups, vegetables, and traditional pies. I started with some super strong raki and then headed to the kitchen to see them making veal meatball soup, garden salads, qifqi, pizza, and more!
Our Albanian food feast in Gjirokastër, Albania began with the soup, which was thick and creamy with a bit of oil and paprika on top. The veal meatballs were herbal, slightly fried, and phenomenal! It was a nice combination of creamy, sweet, and salty! We toasted with some delicious house wine and then grabbed a bit of everything. We also had spinach pie, tomato pie, baked lamb, and a yogurt paste that was almost like a thick tzatziki. The lamb smelled insane!
The spinach pie contained onions and contained a nice dough. The rice-and-herb fritter was also tasty. It was dense and tasty, especially with the yogurt paste. The salad was refreshing and cleansed my palate! Next was a veal meatball with herbs, which was excellent with the yogurt. The byrek with red pepper, green pepper, and onion was unreal.
Then, we jumped on the lamb! It was double baked in an oven and then the forno. The skin, fat, juices, and meat, were all exceptional. It’s one of my favorite lamb dishes in the Balkans. It practically fell apart in my mouth!
For dessert, we moved to the outdoor terrace to have some oshaf, which is made with sheep milk and figs. We also had some raki as we listened to some live music! Next to it, we had some gliko. It was creamy, almost like a thick panna cotta or flan.
What a meal! The Albanian food at Kerculla Resort in Gjirokastër, Albania is on another level! It’s an absolute must. Huge thanks to my friends at Travel Media EU, Balkan Pearls Tour Operator, and Rental Car Albania for making this trip possible! I highly recommend hiring them when you book your trip to Albania.
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