If you find yourself visiting Albania’s quirky capital in the heat of the summer, then you probably understand how hot it can get. As much fun as you may have to explore Tirana, it can be nice to get away for a weekend and cool off at the beach. This is where the relaxing beachside town of Durrës comes in!
Only a 40-minute drive from Tirana, Durrës is situated on the Adriatic coast. When I traveled there with my husband, it felt like a hidden gem. Not only is it incredibly affordable, with amazing hotel deals- but the beach is quiet, the water is calm, and there are loads of restaurants. It is also small, charming, and very walkable. We took the public bus into the city, and it was nice to be able to explore everything on foot while we were there too.
Things to Do:
Beach Time– most hotels will provide you with your own beach chairs and umbrella, but there are also several places you can rent a spot for the day. The main beach is aptly named “Durrës Beach”, and can get a little crowded in the summer. Despite this, it is still relaxed and a very calm place overall.
Historical Sites– Visit the Durrës Amphitheatre, built in 100AD by Hadrian, and only discovered 60 years ago! Or, check out the “Durrës Castle”, a small monument consisting of a single tower and wall (referred to as the “Venetian Tower”). It dates back to 400AD, during the reign of the Byzantines. There is also a “Byzantine Forum” which consists of a lot of old marble ruins and columns, but could be something that interests you!
Outdoor Dining– We personally ate at Trattoria Pane, Gusto di Mare, and had breakfast at Kreperi Teuta. The further you get from the sand, the better value the restaurants seem to be. However, if you just want to dine along the water, there are still some good options.
Lodging– We stayed at “Vila One Beach Hotel” and had a great experience! For $60/US per night, we had a very nice room with a balcony and ocean view. Beach chairs and umbrellas were also included. It felt like a steal to us!