While many visitors quickly breeze though the city, Shkodra’s turbulent 2400-year history has left plenty of interesting relics that make a stay in Albania’s cultural capital worthwhile. Hundreds of years of no-nonsense religious and ethnic tolerance resulted in booming trade, witnessed by Shkodra’s grand merchants’ homes, and dozens of mosques and Catholic and Orthodox churches standing in close proximity to each other.
Shkodra also makes an excellent base for exploring placid Lake Shkodra with its stone beaches and fish restaurants, the wild Alpine interior around the legendary mountain village of Thethi, and the sandy Adriatic beaches and nature reserves around Velipoja.
Now, as the Shkodran poet Filip Shiroka wrote, “be off to Albania on your flight, off to Shkodra, my native town!”.
This travel guide is one of five regional In Your Pocket guides produced in cooperation with the Albanian Ministry of Tourism and Environment (Ministria e Turizmit dhe Mjedisit, www.turizmi.gov.al). Copies of the guide are free and can be found at local municipalities, accommodations and tourist information centres, as well as at Tirana’s airport and embassies.
There are three guides for destinations in north Albania: Shkodra, Theth & Velipoja; Malësia e Madhe; and Puka, Vau i Dejës & Fushë-Arrëz. In southern Albania, two guides cover Gjirokastra and the Vjosa River Valley around Tepelene and Përmet. In Your Pocket also has a guide for Tirana.