Durrës In Your Pocket

    Durrës In Your Pocket
    The ancient port of Durrës merits a short visit. Its location has long been desirable, proved by the fact that in the last 900 years control of the city has changed 33 times. Illyrians first settled here in 627 BC, and Durres became a prosperous trading harbour.

    The main sight is the large Roman amphitheatre (open 08:00 - 16:00; 200 lek), in the centre of town. Built between 117-78 BC, it hosted gladiatorial games watched by up to 20,000 people. Amazingly, it lay forgotten until 1966, and 25% of the amphitheatre still remains buried beneath houses.

    More ancient stuff can be viewed at the Archeological Museum (Rr. Taulantia, open 09:00 - 12:00, 17:00 - 19:00, closed Mon). Near the amphitheatre and the harbour stands the last remaining tower of the city's fortifications.

    This is now used by the Torre Bar (open 08:30 - 24:00); there's a shady terrace with a good seafood restaurant right beside it, and the Piazza restaurant is just across the street (same times).
    In town, the Arvi is the hotel of choice (Rr. Taulantia 1, tel. +355 52 23 04 03/+355 69 22 85 453, arvishpk@msn.com; singles/doubles €60, suites €80-100). The beaches the south of Durres are crammed with Tiranans during summer. The best place to stay is in the fantastic 5-star Adriatik Hotel (Lagjia 13, Hekurrudha Plazh, tel. +355 52 26 08 50, www.adriatikhotel.com).
    Budget travellers should head straight for the new Durres Hostel, which is in the city centre, 100m from the amphitheatre (Sheshi Liria, tel. +355 69 891 68 10, www.durreshostel.com; dorm beds €11-12, doubles €35). The hostel has bicycle rental for trips to Kallmi Beach and Currila Beach, and budget daytrips by bus to beautiful Lalzi Bay; and in 2015 boat trips will be possible too. 

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