Add dates
Gjirokaster

Culture & History

Our most recommended Gjirokaster Culture & History

Gjirokaster: City Highlights Walking Tour

1. Gjirokaster: City Highlights Walking Tour

Explore the major landmarks, as well as some hidden gems, on a comprehensive walking excursion of the city of Gjirokaster, led by an experienced local guide. Join your guide on an exciting walking journey starting at Cerciz Topulli square, where you'll get information about the tour and have a chance to learn about the history of the city. Move towards the Old Bazaar, stopping at the Neck of the Bazaar to admire the architecture and meet local artisans. Browse through a variety of handmade items made of wool, stone, and wood. You might find the ideal souvenir to take home. Later on, head towards the Argjiro Castle, known for its history, tragedy, and legends. Enjoy breathtaking views of Gjirokaster from 330 meters above sea level. Your last stop of the day will be one of the best-preserved Ottoman-style houses in Albania, the Zekate House, which was built in 1812 and also offers great city views.

Tirana: 4-Day Albanian Heritage Highlights Trip

2. Tirana: 4-Day Albanian Heritage Highlights Trip

Explore Albania's top attractions in the hands of an expert tour director during a 4-day, 3-night sightseeing tour. Sample authentic Albanian food and visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Berat, Gjirokastra, and Butrint. Day 1: Durres and Berat Start the tour with a hotel or airport pickup in Tirana and head to Durres for a short guided walking tour and coffee break. Alternatively, you can start with a hotel pickup in Durres. Transfer to Berat, the "city of a thousand windows." Get settled in your picturesque hotel before enjoying lunch in a restaurant with city views. In the afternoon, follow your expert local guide on a guided tour of this fascinating city. Visit Berat Castle/Citadel and explore the upper town with churches, mosques, and 27 watchtowers packed inside its walls. Admire the Ottoman houses, where people still live as they have done for centuries. In the evening, your tour director will guide you to the best restaurants to sample Berat’s typical dishes. Day 2: Gjirokaster After breakfast, admire small villages during your transfer to Gjirokaster. Once you arrive in this “city of a thousand steps,” settle into your hotel before heading for lunch in a small local restaurant for a taste of the city’s authentic dishes. Next, visit Skenduli House, the best-preserved Ottoman house in the old city of Gjirokaster. Hear about its past from your local guide and the house’s owner, a descendant of the Skenduli family. Then, soak up the castle's rich history and enjoy the view of the “city of stone” from above. Explore the Ottoman Bazaar and historic wooden houses before visiting the Gjirokaster Obelisk dedicated to the town's first school. Enjoy its 360º views. Spend a relaxing evening in the streets of Gjirokaster. Day 3: “Blue Eye” and Butrint Travel to the “Blue Eye” spring. Admire the shades of blue and surrounding nature before heading to Butrint. There, marvel at 2,500 years of history on a guided tour with a local guide. See the highlights, such as the amphitheater, castle, churches, and Lion Gate. Drive to Ksamil and enjoy lunch by the lake at the Mussel House. Spend your afternoon in Ksamil before heading to Saranda via Lekursi Castle, which overlooks the city. Day 4: Llogara National Park and Vlore Transfer to the city of Vlore via Ali Pasha Castle, which you will explore with your tour director. Marvel at the architecture and listen to entertaining legends about the man who built it, Ali Pasha of Tepelenë. Head to the Llogara “balcony” for a stunning view of the South Coast beaches before indulging in lunch at Llogara National Park surrounded by pine trees and a fresh mountain breeze. Visit the city of Vlore, the hometown of the Albanian nationalist movement, in the afternoon. See sights such as Flag Square with its Independence Monument right in the center, the Muradie Mosque, and Vlore Lungomare. After you have explored Vlore, you will get transferred back to Tirana.

From Tirana: Tour to Vlora, Butrint, Saranda & Gjirokaster

3. From Tirana: Tour to Vlora, Butrint, Saranda & Gjirokaster

Travel south along the Albanian coast and explore the best of this region on a guided tour. Spend the day discovering Vlora, Butrint, Saranda, and Gjirokaster. Start your trip with a comfortable ride in an air-conditioned vehicle from your hotel in Tirana. Travel to Vlora, the city of independence. Proceed to Llogara to enjoy the breathtaking views of the coast from a 1043-meter height. Continue to Saranda and see enchanting beaches such as Gjipe Beach, Porto Palermo, Lukovë, and more. Next, visit the National Park of Butrint that holds more than 2000 years of history. Head to the source of the “Blue Eye” before getting to Gjirokaster. It’s a water spring with clear blue waters coming from the depth of the earth, running in the shape of an eye. The road leading to Gjirokaster will take you to the castle of the city and the old bazaar neighborhood. Visit the former homes of Ismail Kadare and Enver Hoxha, which are now museums dedicated to communism. Enjoy this last stop of the coastal tour before returning to Tirana.

Albania: Ancient Landmarks Day Tour

4. Albania: Ancient Landmarks Day Tour

Depart in the early morning on a drive through Albania, known for its centuries of notable world history. Travel from the north to south of the ancient nation, where we will uncover pieces of archeological history that still stand today, including churches and castles.  Learn and understand how life was organized more than 2 millennia ago. We will visit notable people’s homes, including dictators and Nobel winners in the Palorto Neighborhood in our last stop, Gjirokaster, after visiting the beaches and basilicas in Saranda, Ksamil Beach, and Butrint. The drive will take us through the Albanian Riviera, where the natural beauty of the nation can be taken in before discovering the history of the ancient world’s architecture in the next stops. The journey will end in Tirana, with stops in between the three-hour return journey.

Gjirokaster: Wood Crafting Class

5. Gjirokaster: Wood Crafting Class

Take a traditional wood crafting class in the heart of Gjirokaster at a master workshop. Enjoy some glasses of raki or homemade wine as you create your own souvenir to take home with you. Meet your host in Cerciz Topulli square and take a short walk to the workshop of Master Nurce. Get familiar with the various wood types you will be using and learn a little bit about this local tradition. Learn how to make small wooden signs with text or drawings, small necklaces, key hangers, or small mirrors. After choosing what you wish to create, get some help and inspiration for your design from your master instructor. Begin carving your own personalized item with expert guidance. While working, you can enjoy some glasses of raki or homemade wine. After some time and patience, admire your own personal creation and take home a treasured souvenir as a memento of your visit to Gjirokaster.

Gjirokaster: Old Baazar and Cfaka Walking Tour

6. Gjirokaster: Old Baazar and Cfaka Walking Tour

We start from the center of the old town, the “Cerciz Topulli Square” and head towards The “Old Bazaar” which is not a Bazaar anymore. This is the first neighborhood outside the walls of the castle and lies along beneath the Castle walls. The characteristic cobblestone and some of the oldest houses are the most beautiful elements of this neighborhood. After passing the “Zerzebili” bridge, we reach another ancient neighborhood in town called “Cfaka”. Here we will pass some old houses which are first monument category and also a tekke which belongs to the Bektashi Order. It is a beautiful combination of Nature, many sheep on top of hills, and old houses to arrive in our last destination, the “Ali Pasha Bridge”. This bridge is a remaining of the aqueduct which Ali Pashe Tepelena build more than 200 years ago to bring water to the castle. The whole trip takes approximately 3 hours and you should be prepared to walk on a not so comfortable terrain.

Gjirokaster: Traditional Albanian Cooking Class with Wine

7. Gjirokaster: Traditional Albanian Cooking Class with Wine

Make your own way to Cerciz Topulli square, where you’ll join up with your host and walk over to restaurant Gjoca (the oldest chef in town). Meet your chef inside and begin the class with a glass of raki, wine or a cup of tea while chatting with your group mates. The food you are going to prepare is traditional of the city of Stone and the food is mainly based on vegetables and a little bit of meat. Prepare an authentic meal under the guidance of your instructor, where is included the furnace cheese (white cheese in oven) the unique Qifqi (Rice balls) found only in Gjirokastra, stuffed peppers with cottage cheese, traditional cheese pie and meatballs and in the end another characteristic dessert called Hasude. After all of your hard work, sit down with your group to savor each of your dishes. Pair your menu with a complimentary glass of wine or a soft drink and chat with your fellow chef while you eat. Your cooking class will conclude after the meal.

From Tirana: Guided Tour of Gjirokaster

8. From Tirana: Guided Tour of Gjirokaster

Gjirokastër gives a special feeling to all the tourists and after visiting it, you won’t need to wonder why. It has been under UNESCO protection since 2005. Located in southern Albania, Gjirokastër is where you will find a perfect mixture of wild territories and archeological sites. You will first visit the old city center where the bazaar is located. At the bazaar you will see the traditional artisan shops and the cafes in the old style. Then you will continue with a visit to Gjirokastër castle. This fortress was an existing building from the 1200 BC and rebuilt XII century by Ali Pashe Tepelena. You will have the possibility to see the defensive towers, the Clock tower, The church, and the Cistern. Inside the castle, are placed the military objects and monuments from the resistance of the Albanian partisans against the German Nazis in a very interesting museum. The rest of the day will be dedicated to visiting the old neighborhoods of Qafe and Bazaar and learn more about it. You shouldn't miss the Skenduli House. Between the ottoman houses, we will also find the house of Ismail Kadare the great Albanian writer, and the house of Enver Hoxha, the Albanian politician who ruled from 1944 to 1985, that is now the ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastër.

Tirana: 8-Day North to South Albania Tour

9. Tirana: 8-Day North to South Albania Tour

Day 1: Travel Day and Tirana An airport pickup service is available throughout the day, following which you can get settled in your hotel. If you are not too tired, there is a guided walking tour of the city also available. Day 2: Kruja and Shkoder You'll begin your journey from Tirana directly to the city of Kruja. From there you will set off on a guided tour of the castle, the Skanderbeg Museum, and the National Ethnographic Museum. You'll transfer for lunch in Shiroke, with Lake Shkoder well known for its fish cuisine. Following lunch, visit the Rozafa Fortress and enjoy amazing views whilst learning the fortress’s fascinating history. Afterwards, get settled in to your hotel in Shkoder and experience the Old Town, St. Stephen’s Catholic Cathedral, the Ebu Bekr Mosque, and Marubi Museum throughout a guided tour. Later, enjoy free time in the evening in the Pedonalja area. Day 3: Koman Lake to Shala River through Koman Lake boat ride Transfer to Koman in the early morning, where you will take a scenic boat ride passing by rocky mountains and vivid green hills towards the Shala River. This river is a hidden paradise which is also referred to as “Albanian Thailand”. Later, enjoy lunch with views over the Mirror River whilst surrounded by the quietness of the mountains and nature. You'll eventually leave this idyllic spot in the afternoon, at which point you will transfer to the seaside city of Durres. Day 4: Berat and Vlore On your fourth day you will transfer to Berat, passing through scenic hills full of olive trees. You'll later take a guided tour to admire the citadel/castle of Berat complete with a Red Mosque, White Mosque, the Church of the Holy Trinity, and the arched bridge of Gorica. Following that, enjoy lunch with city views and take some free time to wander the two main districts of Mangalem and Gorica. In the afternoon you'll visit the city of Vlore, which is the hometown to the National Independence Movement. There you can visit Flag Square, the Muradie Mosque, and Vlore’s Lungomare. Day 5: Saranda via Gjirokaster Transfer to Gjirokaster to discover this "city of a thousand steps” whilst driving through small villages. Once arrived, settle into your hotel before soaking up the rich history of the castle and enjoying the view of the “city of stone” from above. Explore the Ottoman Bazaar and historic wooden house before stopping for lunch in a small local restaurant for a taste of the city’s authentic dishes. On the road to Saranda, you will later stop at the “Blue Eye” spring. Day 6: Butrint and Ksamil Transfer to Butrint for a guided tour of the UNESCO archaeological site. Following that you will have free time for a beach day at the Ksamil Islands, before returning to Saranda in the evening. Day 7: Ali Pasha Castle & Llogara National Park Visit Porto Palermo Castle with your guide, before spending the day at the beach in the bay of Porto Palermo. Along the way you'll stop by Tirana, as well as the Llogara “balcony” to try local products of the area. Day 8: Departure Day Following breakfast on your final day, your tour will conclude.

From Tirana: Private Day Tour of Gjirokastër

10. From Tirana: Private Day Tour of Gjirokastër

Discover Gjirokastër and its imposing castle on a guided day tour from Tirana. Explore the charming streets of the town, the local bazaar, a typical house in the town, as well as the fortress itself. Begin the day with pickup from your hotel in Tirana and travel by car south towards Gjirokastër. Admire the vast rolling fields in one of the most fertile agricultural regions of Albania, passing along a section of the Vjosa River. Upon arrival in the town, be enchanted by its beautiful stone architecture all around you. Start your tour from Cerciz Topulli Square and stroll along the cobblestone streets which flow from the castle at the elevated heart of the town. Make your way to the buzzing Gjirokastër Bazaar, the traditional hub of all activity in town. Watch locals buy and sell at the many shops and stalls. Spot many local cafés where locals of all ages meet and discuss the latest gossip and news while sipping some coffee. Next, continue towards Gjirokastër Castle, with its fantastic views of the town. Enter the castle and explore the grounds as you hear the legend of Princess Argjiro, the supposed founder of the city. Learn more about the many uses of the castle throughout the years under various regimes and rulers. Afterward, head back down into town to the Palorto District. Explore the most exclusive neighborhoods of the city, which was once home to famous Albanian figures such as Communist Leader, Enver Hoxha, and his neighbor, writer Ismail Kadare. Head along the locally-named "Path of Mad People” and visit a typical house of the neighborhood, Skenduli House, notable for its fortress-style design. Finally, hop back into your transportation for the journey back to Tirana, with drop-off at your hotel.

Frequently asked questions about Gjirokaster Culture & History

What are other things to do than Culture & History that are worth visiting in Gjirokaster?

The other unmissable things to do in Gjirokaster are:

Which Gjirokaster Culture & History are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Other Sightseeing Options in Gjirokaster

Want to discover all there is to do in Gjirokaster? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Gjirokaster

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 1 reviews

Our compliments to our guide Manjola who provided a personal informative introduction for us to Gjirokastra. The tour is well worth taking to get an insight into the history of this beautiful town even though there is much mayhem with the restoration of the main road. You need to be aware however that the afternoon is for you to wander the bizarre area so the tour really concludes around lunch time from which time you are free to take in additional sites. We chose to leave around 4pm as we were returning to Sarande and to stop on the way back at the "Blue Eye" swimming hole which made for a busy but great day out.

Arli was a very attentive guide and the experience was very entertaining. I recommend it.

The guide has been correct, friendly and knew a lot about the area