Ferry to Durres
Taking a ferry to Durres, the visitor meets a coastal town hosting the largest port in Albania and one of the oldest cities in the country, with notable history!
The seaside town of Durrësi, located 34 km from Tirana, has a history of 3,000 years and it is only logical that its long history is full of archeological sites and findings.
The old city was surrounded by a wall, a third of which is still standing and visitors can learn about its history from the recently reconstructed Archeological Museum. Durres is a fantastic destination for history and art lovers but also ideal for those who want to take a break by the sea, as the sandy beaches and numerous restaurants with stunning views of the Adriatic make for a perfect and relaxing day trip. Durres impresses and surprises visitors with its ancient ruins, relaxed atmosphere and pulsating lifestyle.
Durres was founded by Greeks and later passed to the Romans, who named it Dirrachio. Several well-preserved Roman arenas have been excavated in the old quarter of the city. Due to its location on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania has long served as a bridgehead for various nations and empires seeking conquest abroad. Today, the city is an emerging economic tourist destination on the Adriatic Sea, the second largest city in Albania and a historically important region.
For travelers, the places of interest in Durres are limited to the city center and the areas near the beach. Wandering around the neighborhoods is a mixture of ancient ruins, rustic atmosphere and a more modern aspect with hotels and cafes aimed at attracting more and more tourists, while exploring the city center is easy to do on foot and is one of the most interesting things you will encounter, primarily because of its historical value.
Durres has become a real modern international tourist destination as there are many things visitors can do as well as the possibility to visit the capital city of Tirana which is only an hour away.
Durres Ferry Port
The port of Durres is the largest seaport in Albania and has played an essential role in the development of its tourism sector. It has four different terminals serving passenger ferries from and to Italy and more specifically, to Bari. From here, you can cross into Italy and take other ferries further to Greece, Croatia and beyond. The port of Durres is located in the heart of the city center, on the promenade, the streets of this vibrant city, the hotels, local markets and the lovely sandy beach, making it extremely convenient for tourists to start touring on foot within minutes.
Durres Ferry Port to City Center
The distance from the port of Durres to the city center is very short as it takes only ten minutes on foot. However, if the visitor wants to see the sights of Durres, he will have to use a bus or taxi, as some of them are a little further away from the city center. Buses in Durres are cheap and connect the town with other nearby towns.
Minibusses, known as vans, are another popular means of transport that are faster than city buses, but they only leave when full.
The area along the beach is the preferred choice for most tourists, as they can find hotels, hostels and apartments for all budgets. Along the promenade area the visitor will find a plethora of souvenir shops, cafes, bars and restaurants overlooking the sea.
Beaches in Durres
The beaches in Durres are very popular. Durres has a 15 km coastline with many wide beaches, with soft sand, crystal clear turquoise waters and a wonderful view of the Adriatic Sea. Many of the beaches have modern facilities and the possibility for many activities and this is why it is preferred by travelers for relaxing holidays all year round.
Some of the most popular and beautiful beaches in Durres are:
- Lalzi Bay Beach: is perhaps the most popular and busiest beach along the long Adriatic coast with high standards offering spectacular views of the tree-lined cliffs behind it. It has many leisure facilities, many bars and restaurants and has become a social hotspot for locals and tourists as well
- Cape of Rodon: is located just a few kilometers from Tirana. It is a narrow strip of land, shaped like a peninsula, stretching along the Adriatic Sea with beautiful views and several critical historical and cultural monuments. Many tourists choose to visit Cape Rondon during the spring season, as it is covered with a beautiful flowering blossom, while in the summer they choose it to enjoy the beautiful virgin beaches and fine sand
- Currila Beach & Kallm Beach: these two beaches are located one after the other and are certainly among the most famous beaches of Dyrrachi. Currila beach (currila in Albanian means "stream") is more populated and lively, while Kallm beach is preferred by families for its quiet atmosphere and relatively shallow depth of the waters
- Cliff of Kavaja: the rock of Kavaya includes some of the country's busiest beaches. They are particularly popular due to their large sandy areas, relatively shallow waters as well as the presence of many hotels and the countless recreational activities they offer.
- Robi’s Mountain Beach: this beach is an extension of Golem beach and is known for its modern resorts and numerous holiday homes while the numerous pine trees serve to keep it cool even during the hottest days
- Karpen Beach: thanks to its pristine beaches, this part of the Adriatic coast is the ideal place for those who want a more peaceful beach experience, away from noise and crowds and very close to nature. It is one of the few rugged but calm beaches in this region. Nearby is also the bay of Carina the beaches of Cape Lagji, with a sandy coast that is completely untouched
- General’s Beach: is located between Karpen and Spille and is named after the Italian general of World War II who first discovered it. Its vivid, crystal clear waters have the most beautiful shade of turquoise-blue on the entire Adriatic coast. The place is quiet and quite intimate with only a few modern tourist complexes and campsites
Best Things to Do in Durres
Durres is a small but beautiful upcoming tourist destination worth visiting. You will be amazed at some of the unique things to do and places to explore!
In this list, we have compiled some of the most interesting things to do and see in and around Durres.
- Durres Castle (Ancient City Wall): this monument consists of a single tower and wall and is referred to in many guides as the Venetian Tower. It dates back to the 400s, during the reign of the Byzantine emperor Anastasius I, who was born in this city
- Durres Mosques: in Durres there are two impressive mosques. The Grand Mosque is the newer of the two buildings, having been built in 1931 by King Zog I on the site of an older Ottoman building. Smaller and much older is the Fatih Mosque, which dates back to 1503, the first decades of Ottoman rule. This was also closed during communism, but was declared an Albanian cultural monument in the 1970s
- Petra Hill: this hill has great significance in Roman History. This hill is supposed to be the hill where the famous battle between Julius Caesar and Pompey took place. It is also the Shkembi that, due to its interesting history, receives a lot of visitors
- Durres Amphitheater: undoubtedly one of the most important works of ancient architecture in Albania which was built in 100 AD by Hadrian and rediscovered only in the 1960s. It was used for about 300 years and at that time could accommodate up to 20,000 spectators. This large scale is part of what makes the landmark special, but archeologists are also interested in how the building demonstrates the Roman transition to Christianity. Within this space is a chapel with stunning wall mosaics of saints, showing how the amphitheater acquired a religious purpose later in its life
- Archeological Museum: is the largest archeological museum in Albania, where you can see what all the different cultures that inhabited this region left behind. Located just a few steps from the waterfront, it was founded in 1951, with collections covering every period from the ancient Illyrian civilization, to the Roman era, the Byzantine times and the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The Roman artifacts are particularly interesting and include miniature busts of Aphrodite and stone sarcophagi. As an institution, the museum has its own story to tell, having been looted during the 1997 riots and only recently renovated
- Royal Villa of Durres: this hilltop building in Durres is an interesting reminder of the period from 1928 to 1939 during the Albanian monarchy. The Royal Villa today has been abandoned since 1997 when Albania was plunged into civil unrest but its history remains fascinating. It was built in 1937 for King Zog I, who only got to enjoy the residence for a year
- Byzantine Forum: in the heart of Durres is the humble but evocative collection of colonnades that formed the forum of Makelum after the Roman era. Dating between 600 and 800, it is paved with excavated marble stones.Near the forum are the Roman thermal baths of Durrachios, which were discovered along with the amphitheater in the 1960s
- Krujë Bazaar: the Krujë neighborhood takes the visitor back in time, as the entire 18th and 19th century commercial area of Krujë has been carefully preserved and continues to thrive. The market stretches from the castle gates to the center of Krujë and consists of a single cobbled street along which all kinds of vendors display their wares from wooden stalls
- Shën Mëhill Basilica: in Arapaja, a southeastern suburb of Durres, are the ruins of the Basilica of St. Michael, an early Christian church dating back to 400 AD. The title here is the church's large and detailed mosaic and the site also contains the remains of the church's naves and a fragment of a column with a carved decorative relief
- Via Egnatia: in Roman times, Durres was the gateway to southern Europe for visitors from the Italian mainland. And at that time there was a Roman road that started from Durres and led to Byzantium, today's Constantinople. The hike to this historical monument is unique since you will follow the footsteps of the merchants and legionnaires of antiquity and walk a section of the Via Egnatia
- Rodoni Castle: a special walk full of adventure is to follow the coastal road north to this fortress in a photogenic setting at the end of a steep peninsula. The castle was built in 1452 and at that time it covered most of the edge of the cape
- Shtam Pass National Park: for those with their own transport can enjoy the vast mountainous landscape of this national park. The road from Krujë to Burrel crosses the park and reaches an altitude of 1250 meters. The route is among many hectares of virgin pine forest and steep slopes
- Visit the capital of Durres, Tirana: access to the capital of Albania is easy as it is located very close to the city of Durres
Hotels in Durres
The hotels in Durres are many and vary in their category from family hotels, small romantic boutique hotels, B & BS and unique resorts and luxury 5 star complexes.
Below, we give you a list with some of the most frequently visited hotels:
- Hotel Adriatik
- Premium Hotel Beach
- Hotel Bonita
- Pinea Hotel
- Fafa Resort
- ALER Luxury Resort
- Prestige Resort
- Tropikal Resort
- Hotel Majestic
- Royal G Hotel and Spa