The Perfect 2 day Itinerary for Durres, Albania

Durres city, Albania

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Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by London City Calling

Durres is a port city located on the Adriatic coast, 30km west of Albania’s capital city Tirana. It is the capital of the surrounding Durres county and is the second most populous city in Albania.

However, Durres is so much more than just a city. With the biggest and most popular beach in Albania on one side and stretches of beautiful Albanian countryside and farmland on the other, the area of Durres is the ultimate trio of city, beach, and countryside.

For anyone trying to incorporate all three into a short trip, here are my recommendations for all of the best things to do in Durres Albania in just two days…

Day 1 in Durres: Exploring the Old Town

Start With a Coffee

The first thing you’ll probably notice when visiting any Albanian city is that there’s a thriving cafe culture.

No matter what time of day it is, cafe terraces in Durres are always filled with groups of friends, families, and individuals enjoying coffee and local pastries.

Get up early, grab a coffee or juice and sit back in the morning sun for a spot of people watching to start your day like a true Albanian.

Mon Cheri is a cute coffee shop in the city centre, or try Mulliri Vjeter for a cosy spot close to the amphitheatre.

Breakfast: Grab some Byrek

Byrek in Durres Albania
Byrek in Durres Albania

Byrek is a traditional Albanian dish that consists of layers of flakey pastry filled with meat, cheese, or spinach.

The simple yet tasty dish is usually eaten as breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack. I personally found it to be a delicious and filling way to start the day.

It’s easy to find great byrek all over Durres. Bule’s Best Byrek in Town (here) is a popular spot in the heart of the old town.

Or if you want to go where the locals go, the junction of Bulevardi Dyrrah and Rruga Adria has affectionately become known as Byrek Corner. This is due to the high concentration of local byrek stores in such a small vicinity.

If you get down early enough you can get the best byrek in Durres from Byrektore ‘Sejko’ (as stated by my Albanian friends) before they’re all snapped up by the locals!

Check out some other traditional Albanian dishes here.

Wander through Durres City Centre

Durres city Albania

Explore the main city streets of Durres for a mix of historic buildings and modern shopping areas.

Take a stroll along Bulevardi Dyrrah to the main Town Square of Durrës. Stop to admire the old Byzantine Forum and the Roman Baths, two ancient archeological sites that you can visit for free.

On the large town square, you’ll also find the Town Hall, Aleksandër Moisiu Theatre, and the impressive Xhamia E Madhe Mosque. There are fountains on the square and plenty of space to sit and enjoy the views and atmosphere.

Explore the Amphitheatre of Durres 

The Amphitheatre of Durres is located in the centre of the city and dates all the way back to the 2nd century AD. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Balkans, with an original capacity of 20,000 people.

The amphitheatre was excavated in 1966 and has since become an iconic part of the city and one of the most popular things to do in Durres for Albanians and foreign tourists alike.

There is a small charge of just €3 to enter.

Sneak a Peek at The Albanian College

The Albanian College Durres

The Albanian College Durres is one of those colleges that actually makes you want to go back to school!

The impressive building looks more like a museum or theatre than a place of education. If the doors are open make sure to sneak a quick peek inside too to see the equally impressive interior.

Stroll past the walls of Durres Castle and spot the Venetian Tower

The city walls of Durres Castle Albania

As you make your way down from the Amphitheatre of Durres to the seafront, make sure to admire the old city walls which make up Durres Castle.

The walls were built in the late 5th century and after several repairs throughout history still stand today, making them the city’s most prominent Roman remains.

The main part of Durres Castle is a structure called the Venetian Tower which now houses a trendy bar with seating on the roof giving great views over the city and water.

Lunch: Stop For a Crepe on the Waterfront

Kreperia Hen 1-Volga Durres Albania
A Nutella and fruit crepe at Kreperia Hen 1-Volga Durres Albania

Close to the water’s edge, you’ll find the colourful Kreperia Hen 1-Volga, which serves a wide selection of sweet and savoury crepes.

The large outdoor terrace is filled with colourful pastel furniture and overlooks the ocean, making it the perfect spot for a midday break.

Choose from savoury crepes such as ham and cheese, or sweet crepes including Nutella, biscuits, strawberries, and banana.

All of the crepes are huge, delicious, and range in price from around 50p-£2 maximum. At those prices why not make a 2 course meal out of it and go for a savoury crepe followed by a sweet one!?

Grab a Drink at Ventus Harbor

Venture out into the Adriatic sea (well just a little bit) by walking down the seafront’s pier-like structure which leads to the uniquely located Ventus Harbour hotel and its public restaurant and bar.

From the end, there is a great view looking back across the city from a different angle than you would find elsewhere.

Stop at the bar at the end of the harbour and grab a drink overlooking the water. The bar does a great Aperol Spritz and the prices are reasonable.

Stroll along the Promenade to Sfinksi

From the harbour, continue along the promenade to reach Sfinksi (The Sphinx), an area of coastal defense that’s been turned into a lovely public recreational area.

The pyramid-like platform juts out into the sea and provides a great place to sit and watch the ocean for a while. You’ll find many locals taking a dip in the water around the Sfinksi, while to the west is a small yet popular city beach where you can rent a sunlounger for a while.

The platform is also a great place to watch the sunset over the sea if you want to return later in the evening. It’s particularly popular around this time.

Go for Drinks at Portiku Wine Bar and Bistro

Portiku Wine Bar and Bistro Durres Albania

End your day with dinner and drinks at Poriku Wine Bar and Bistro close to Durres seafront. Portiku is a stylish and modern restaurant built within the old city walls of Durres.

The old walls are openly accessible to guests within the restaurant, including a glass floor where you can see the ancient ruins below.

The restaurant serves a top-class menu of international dishes with an extensive wine menu of Albanian and international wines. Along with its stylish setting and cool atmosphere, Portiku is somewhere that absolutely shouldn’t be missed when visiting Durres!

Read more about Portiku here.

Incorporating your trip to Durres with time in Tirana? Check out my post ‘8 iconic places to visit in Tirana, Albania’!

Day 2 in Durres: The Beach & Countryside

Morning: Relax on Durres Beach

Durres Beach Albania

After a busy day of exploring the vibrant city of Durres, it’s time to head slightly south to the gorgeous Durres beach for some much-needed relaxation time.

Durres Beach is the biggest and most visited beach in Albania, lining the seafront of the city itself.

Heading to the beach on a sunny day, with its golden sand and shallow blue waters, is one of the most popular things to do in Durres for both locals and tourists alike.

The Adriatik Hotel on Durres Beach Albania

There are stretches of public beach, as well as private areas owned by the beachfront hotels where you can hire sunbeds even if you’re not a guest.

The Adriatik Hotel was Durres’s original tourist hotel and is a great spot to set up camp for a few hours, or even to stay if you’d rather be located in this part of town.

Find the best rates and book your stay here.

Lunch: Grab Sufllacqe at Chicken House

Sufllacqe at Chicken House in Durres Albania

Certainly not the healthiest dish you’ll find in Albania, but delicious all the same. Chicken House is a fast-food spot open 24/7 just a few minutes walk from Durres beach.

As well as serving your standard fast food such as burgers, Chicken House has the popular Albanian fast food dish of Sufllacqe.

Sufllacque consists of bread, chicken, chips, salad and a garlic sauce, served in any way you want (try all of the ingredients inside of the wrap).

Afternoon: Go Wine Tasting at Abaia Winery

In the afternoon, jump in your car (or a taxi) and head to Abaia Winery, just a 10-15 minute drive from Durres Beach.

The modern winery sits nestled in the beautiful Albanian countryside and produces a variety of local wines and raki (a local spirit) from its own vineyards. The wine is uniquely fermented in two repurposed military bunkers.

The winery runs daily tours and tastings, in which you can learn all about the local winemaking process, visit the bunkers, and sample several wines.

Their classic wine tour includes 3 wines and 1 raki for €20, while the premium wine tour includes 5 wines and 2 raki for €28. Both include the full tour and some delicious traditional Albanian appetizers.

Wine tasting at Abaia was one of my absolute Durres highlights. The tour and tasting only takes around 1.5 hours in total, but we ended up spending all afternoon sipping wine in the beautiful garden.

It’s best to pre-book via their website to guarantee a spot.

Evening: Head to an Albanian Farm for Dinner

Cheese platter at Pema e Jetes Farm, Durres, Albania

Finally, complete the ultimate trio of city, beach, and countryside by heading inland to Pema e Jetes farm. You’re unlikely to find this suggestion on other guides of things to do in Durres, so this is my little gift to you to help you truly experience everything Durres has to offer!

Pema e Jetes is a beautiful farm in Durres with an on-site restaurant serving up delicious Albanian dishes using fresh local ingredients. It also just so happens to be owned by my close friend’s lovely family.

Pema e Jetes Farm, Durres, Albania

You can wander around the farm and see the animals such as cows, deer, goats and rabbits, then head inside for the best meal you will eat in Albania!

The restaurant serves a whole selection of local delicacies, including a platter of home-made cheeses, traditional pickled vegetables, special-of-the-day pasta (always try the pasta!!), and amazingly flavoursome meat dishes.

The portions are large, the prices reasonable and the service is always top-notch.

Watch my YouTube video to find out more about Pema e Jetes.

Can you recommend any other things to do in Durres Albania? Let me know in the comments below!

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Things to do in Durres Albania

London City Calling

Emily is a born and raised London girl, starting life in the north of the capital then moving down to Fulham in the southwest. She has a master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University College London and now works full-time running this blog and as a freelance travel writer, splitting her life between London and travelling the world as a digital nomad.

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