With a population of just over 200,000, Durrës is Albania’s second largest city. A busy Adriatic port a little over 30km to the west of Tirana, Durrës, which served as the country’s capital between 1914 and 1920, is also one of the oldest cities in the country, a fact borne out by the surviving Byzantine and Venetian relics to be found scattered around town. Heavily bombed during WWII, the city was redeveloped as an industrial base during the communist period (when it was briefly known as Durrës-Enver Hoxha), an unfortunate episode that’s blighted the suburbs with a lot of astonishingly ugly architecture. Thankfully the centre is better preserved, making Durrës a curious destination indeed, and one seriously worth finding time to visit if you’ve got a few hours to spare when you’re in Tirana. As with all towns and cities in the country, allow at least a little time to get lost wandering Durrës’ less well-known areas and soak up a little bit of unique Albanian street culture.

City Essentials

Download our new City Essentials app

download 4.5