Holidays in Albania: Valona - the ultimate guide

If you are thinking about vacationing in Albania, in the following text I present Vlora as a possible choice. Vlora – Valona in Italian, is one of the oldest cities in Albania, whose coast is surrounded by the Adriatic and Ionian seas…

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Although it is primarily a city and a port, in Vlora a lot is also invested in the development of tourism, so that in here you can rest as well as have fun.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


It is only 70 km away from the “heel” of Italy, which makes the influx of Italian tourists very noticeable.
Vlora is located in the middle of Albania, 120 km from Durrës, and another 116 km from the much more popular Saranda or Ksamil.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Albania, as a destination, has not yet been discovered by mass tourism, so it markets its natural beauty at affordable prices. There are several cities that are slowly taking their place on the tourist map of Albania, but I would always choose Vlora.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


There are several reasons for this.

Vlora is big enough that the crowds in the summer months do not make you feel cramped like in Ksamil or overcrowded Saranda.

There are enough beaches so you don’t have to walk far to get to the sea.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


A huge promenade, which they call Lungomare. Almost every window in the city overlooks it.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


In such a big city, there is enough content for everyone. From cafes, restaurants, viewpoints, cultural facilities.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


And what was most important for me is that Vlora is flat and I don’t have to get into the car to go from one side of the city to the other.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Vlora is especially important for us Serbians. After retreating through Albania, during WWII, the exhausted Serbian army was evacuated from Vlora to the island of Corfu for recovery. On that occasion, almost 50,000 Serbian refugees remained in Vlora, ​​who settled here permanently.

 

How many days are enough for your visit to Vlora?

It depends on the time of year. If you come in the summer, then seven days is enough, if you come in the winter, a weekend is quite the right measure, although when you find accommodation like this, I could stay for half a year.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

How to get to Vlora?

The best choice is by car or bus, since the nearest airport is in Tirana or Corfu. From Tirana you need 2.5 hours by car, and from Saranda the same time.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Although there are not many attractions, there are still a few things to visit and see if you find yourself in Vlora on a rainy day, which will drive you away from the large sandy beaches. What’s best is that you can visit everything on foot.

What to visit in Vlora and its surroundings?

All the attractions are clustered close to each other, so arm yourself with comfortable shoes and start your toure.

Monument of Independence

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


This monument is dedicated to the signing of the Albanian declaration of independence from the Ottomans in 1912.

The 17 m high monument was built in 1972. and shows the main actors who participated in the declaration of independence.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


It is located on the spacious Flag Square and you can reach it through the wide and main avenue in the city.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Muradi Mosque

It is considered the oldest and most significant building in Vljora.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


It is located in the central town square and is a typical example of Ottoman architecture.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


It was built by the famous architect who worked for Suleiman the Magnificent, Mimar Sinan, in 1573. on the foundations of the old Byzantine church. You can visit the inside of the mosque if you respect the rules of behavior.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Due to the large number of stairs, the mosque is not accessible for wheelchairs.

 

Old Town

10 minutes from the central square is the Old Town, which the locals call the “district of multicolored houses”.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


This small neighborhood was neglected and forgotten for a long time, but in recent years it experienced a renaissance and today it is a nice place for a short walk.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


This neighborhood consists of two streets and a central square filled with pastel colored buildings where you can take authentic pictures.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Here there are cafes, souvenir shops and restaurants where you can take a break and observe the architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Kuzum Baba

If you want to observe the city from a bird’s eye view, then you must come to this viewpoint.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


As the highest point in Vljora, Kuzum Baba offers you the best view not only of the city, but also of the entire bay, Narta Lagoon, Sazan Island and others.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


This viewpoint was named after the spiritual leader of the Bektashi tribe, whose tomb is located here.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Seyid Ali Sultan, known as Father Kuzum (Quzum Baba) was kidnapped and killed by a group of bandits. His head was taken to the top by Ali Sultan and ordered to be buried there.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


From the 16th century to today, the Bektashi community has been going here to pray, and today it is a significant tourist attraction.

You can get to the viewpoint in two ways, on foot or by car.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


If you go on foot, be prepared for a lot of stairs and a big climb.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


On the way to the lookout point, there is the Monument to fallen soldiers in World War II and their cemetery.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


If you come by car, be prepared for narrow, very steep streets with a large slope.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


A restaurant with a beautiful view will await you here, where you can rest and refresh yourself after a strenuous climb.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

National Museum of Independence

If you want to learn something about Albanian history, this is the right place.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


In this house in 1912. delegates from all parts of the country gathered to mark a new beginning for the Albanian people. On the balcony of this house, the Albanian flag was flown for the first time by Ismail Kemal.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


The museum illustrates the circumstances under which Albanian independence was proclaimed. There are also personal belongings of some of the leaders, many photos, furniture and numerous documents.

The museum is open every day except Monday.

 

Zvernec Island

An excursion that you must make when you are in Vljora is to the island of Zvernec.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


The Zvernec island is located about 13 km from the city and is connected to the mainland by a wooden path over the water. The small island, covered with pine forest, also has the Byzantine monastery of St. Mary from the 13th century.

 

Restaurants in Valona

Since there are a lot of Italian tourists, for whom this destination is accessible and cheap, the restaurant offer is dominated by Italian dishes. Pizza, pasta, seafood. But if you know what to look for, then here you can try many local specialties such as: tava kosi, kokorec, pilaf, lakror and others…

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 


You will find it difficult to communicate in English, Italian is the dominant language. And while I’m here, I have to say that the food is great, but the waiter service is DISASTROUS. Nowhere have I experienced that no waiter approaches us for half an hour, and even if you leave the restaurant, the waiters won’t care.

 

Promenade Lungomare

The promenade by the sea is spacious and flat, nicely landscaped and accessible for wheelchairs if we ignore the excessively high curbs.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


In the city itself, there are a lot of green areas, which are lined with palm trees, so at times I had the impression that I was in Miami.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


There are also countless restaurants, cafes, bars, from which you can watch the sunsets undisturbed.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


At night, when the temperature drops, Vlora comes alive.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Beach

The whole of Vlora is one big beach, behind which there is a large boulevard lined with palm trees.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


None of them are adapted for people in wheelchairs, but the sand is hard enough that it is possible to get to the water. Here, too, the beaches are divided into parts that are free and parts that you pay for, but I have to say that the city beach, unlike other cities, is not bad at all.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Some other points of interest in Vlora

Vlora is developing rapidly and is a city of contrasts. The modern and old parts of the city collide very roughly and noticeably.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Sometimes you come across things like this, like this fountain where I could “dance in the rain”.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


I’m always glad to find a namesake…

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


If you take a really long walk to the north of the city, you will be able to find some of the symbols of Albania. These are bunkers, which their leader Enver Hodza built in huge numbers in the fifties of the last century, fearing a foreign invasion.

Today, they are covered in graffiti and mostly abandoned.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Is Vljora worth the visit?

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog


Of course, because there is a little bit of everything here. If I were an ordinary tourist, I would be satisfied with the offer, which you get at very affordable prices, but since I have special requirements, it is not easy to reconcile them with mass tourism.

However, I was completely blown away by Vlora, which made me forget the high curbs and the incredible unprofessionalism of the Albanian waiters.

When I was looking for accommodation, the landlord whose apartment I was interested in built a ramp so that I could get to the elevator.

It was not an ordinary mounting ramp, but a walled and cemented one. Although many will use it after me: mothers with children, people with suitcases, etc. I felt privileged and very welcome.

I have never experienced such hospitality. And so thank you Vlora for everything.

 

Vlorë Albania Travel Blog

 

Have you been to Vlora?

What are your experiences?

 

Traveled and enjoyed,

Marko Velickovic

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