Why you have to visit Shkoder Albania

After checking in at the Wanderers Hostel and having a coffee on its terrace, I went with Ana to shortly visit Shkoder Albania and find something to eat.

Continue reading to discover the best places for eating, drinking, and exploring when you visit Shkoder Albania.

Where to eat in Shkoder

The city center is mostly Rruga Kole Idromeno, a pedestrian area with some lively terraces. It was just 5 minutes away. Thus, we found ourselves at a table, with a drink, waiting for some food in no time!

By the way, if you’re a vegetarian, Albanian cuisine should be to your liking, as you will find many delicious options on every restaurant’s menu. So delicious we only waited a few hours until we went out to have dinner, in a different place!

This second place, Vila Bekteshi, was just my cup of tea and I went there for dinner the next evening, as well.  It’s a very welcoming place, with a pleasant, intimate atmosphere,  and very professional staff.

Another nice place to try in San Francisco, at the end of the pedestrian area. The food is tasty, the interior is nice, but I recommend the terrace if the weather permits it. The seating area is less spacious, but it provides a nicer view.

I went to San Francisco Bar Restaurant at lunchtime and it got a bit too hot on the terrace at one point, so maybe you should try it in the evening, in case you want to give it a go.

Vila Bekteshi – $$-$$$
Open daily, from 07.00 to 23.00. 
Cuisine: Pizza, Mediterranean, European, Albanian, Vegetarian.
Address: 33 Rruga Hasan Riza Pasha, Shkoder, Albania | See on map
Tel. +355 22 240 799

Bar Restaurant San Francisco – $$-$$$
Open daily, from 07.00 to 23.00.
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, European, Albanian, Vegetarian, Vegan.
Address: Rruga Kolë Idromeno, Shkoder, Albania | See on map
Website | Facebook | Menu

Where to drink when you visit Shkoder Albania

So you had a lovely meal, but you still have some time (and money) to spare in good company. Almost across the street from the Wanderers Hostel, there is Shega e Eger, the perfect place to have a coffee or a healthy juice.

They also serve food and they have some sweet treats, too, at more affordable prices than the places suggested above.

I’ve tried something very simple, yet very refreshing: a lemony, minty, cucumber water with ice. I don’t know what it’s called, I just asked for what Hasna was having because I had a taste of hers and it felt so good on such a hot day.

Shega e Eger – $
Open daily between 08.00 and 00.00.
Cuisine: Café, European, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan.
Address: Rruga G’juhadol, Shkoder, Albania | See on map
Tel. +355 66 619 6553 | Facebook

lake skadar on visit shkoder albania
Lake Skadar

Bike ride to Lake Skadar

After eating and drinking, you might want to go back and rest a bit in one of the Wanderers Hostel’s hammocks. Or you could grab one of their bikes and head to Lake Skadar (or Lake Shkodër /Shkodra). It’s not very far, you get to see a little more of the town, and, if you’re more accustomed to actually riding a bike, you’ll get there in one piece in no time.

My bike incident 🙁

I, however, went on this journey with Simon (who, guess what arrived at the hostel around noon on the second day) and two Italian girls I met at the hostel, and it was my first time on a bike in six years. Do you know that expression of it’s like riding a  bike? Well, it seems I don’t! I was getting confident because I was doing better than I had expected, despite the fact that I was a bit slower than the others, and, while I was taking a curb, I wanted to fix my bangs with my right hand and my left hand was not skilled enough to manage on its own. So, I leaned on one side and, mid-fall, I jumped off the bike and landed on all fours, right next to it!

Swimming in Lake Skadar

When we got to the lake, the others went for a swim, while I remained on shore, cleaned myself from some blood and put on some plasters, all the time telling them “No, no, I’m ok, don’t worry.” Because even with the fall and the new wounds which were very amusing to my colleagues when I went back to work, I had had the courage to get on that bike and ride it as well as I could, after a very long break.

But back to the lake! Lake Skadar is the largest one in the Balkan Peninsula (Southern Europe), reaching around 44 kilometers in length, and it is a natural border between Albania and Montenegro. You should really check it out when you visit Shkoder Albania!

It’s full of vegetation on the shore, and there are lots of birds. And think it’s also got plenty of fish, judging by the high numbers of fishermen we’ve encountered. All in all, it’s a great place to catch the sunset.

Rozafa Castle

Something else one might enjoy is visiting Rozafa Castle (Kalaja e Rozafës), which is a bit outside town. So if you decide to go by bike, make sure you’re better at it than I am.

Being on top of a rocky cliff, surrounded by two rivers — Buna and Drini, it is an ideal place to take some nice pictures or yet another great spot from which to watch the sunset.

Of course, you can also skip the sunset and just keep wandering the streets, taking in the sights.

Rozafa Castle (Kalaja e Rozafës)
Open daily from 08.00 to 20.00.
Address: Rruga Rozafa, Shkodër, Albania | See on map

What matters to you most when you visit a new place?

Is it the places the locals go to eat and drink? The nightlife?
Or are you more interested in cultural landmarks?

Share your answer in a comment!

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42 Thoughts to “Why you have to visit Shkoder Albania”

  1. I love lakes and sunsets, so seems like the perfect combination to me!

    1. It does, you should check it out one day!

  2. Looks like a wonderful city to visit! Thank you for introducing me to it as I’ve never heard of it before 🙂

    1. It’s my pleasure! I love spreading the word on my favourite places, this is actually why I started the blog in the first place.

  3. What a beautiful city! Finding beautiful lakes is a favourite of mine, and the food places sound great too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading. And if you had to choose a lake from the ones you’ve seen for someone else to visit themselves, which one would you choose?

      1. Oooh that’s tough! Any in the South Island of New Zealand have to be my favourites 🙂

  4. Love hearing about places with great vegetarian options. I’ll have to add Albania to my list. 🙂

    1. You should! (In the Balkans, I don’t think I’ve come across a place which didn’t have a good menu for vegetarians.)

  5. Shkodra looks so beautiful! I’ve never been, but would love to visit one day soon. The buildings and architecture look fascinating!

    1. They are, and the scenery around the city is stunning, too.

  6. I definitely learned something new today. This is my first time hearing about Shkodra. I love off the beaten path experiences so I would love to visit. Thanks for the insightful guide.

    1. Well, thank you for visiting. I hope you get to go to Shkodra one day, too, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And maybe take the ferry boat on Lake Komani, then continue with the hike to Valbona, through Thethi National Park 🙂

  7. umiko

    Riding a bike for sightseeing around the city is one thing that I will definitely do if I get a chance to go there. But I don’t think I will ride it to Rozafa Castle since it’s up on a mountain. I will stick on a flat surface. 😉

    1. Don’t worry, it’s not a very tall mountain 🙂 More like a hill. And you can leave the bike at the base, then continue by foot, like many others were doing.

  8. Thanks for sharing. Honestly I never heard of Shkodra before but it looks like a lovely city.

    1. Thank you for visiting and reading. Albania is gorgeous and before this trip I had no idea on what I had missed out. I definitely have to return to visit the southern beaches.

  9. sounds like a beautiful city with lots of different things to do, never been on our radar before, but it’s added to the list now, thanks for sharing

    1. I’m happy you’ve added a new thing to see in the Balkans, after reading this article. Thank you for visiting!

  10. Eve

    I’m thinking to visit Albania very soon. I’ve heard that Shkodra is a nice place to visit. I’ll definitely add it to my list.

    1. You should. And don’t make my mistake of skipping the beaches from the south.

  11. I have never heard of Shkodra before, so thank you for introducing me to a new city! I’m sorry to hear about your little bike accident, but it sounds like an otherwise really nice journey. And a swim in the lake sounds amazing, especially for a warm summer’s day. Definitely adding it to my travel list!

    1. Well, the bike accident gave me the guts to try it again. I mean, the worst that could happen had already happened 🙂

      Otherwise, a great journey, and yes, perfect for a hot day!

  12. Sounds like a lovely place to visit, I’d like to visit all the areas of the Balkans! The lake sounds great!

    1. Going to the Balkans was a last minute decision for me, I joined my friends because I hadn’t made any other plans before. It was the best decision ever, I hadn’t expected to see such beautiful cities and such stunning places in nature. It was a perfect combination of city vs. nature, in the company of wonderful people, some of whom I’ve met along the way.

      You should really give it a go!

  13. Biking Lake Skadar seems like a lot of fun. Of course, biting it in front of your friend and two Italian girls can take some of the glamour out of it, but it sounds like you had great spirit. It also sounds like you shouldn’t wait six years between bike rides.

    1. So true, I should try biking more often. Unfortunately, I am not skilled enough to go outside the city and in the city I’m a bit scared because we don’t have proper cycling lanes.

      However, I will start this Spring by going on alleys between buildings, trying to keep up with my boyfriend. He rides a mono-cycle.

  14. First off, I love the name of the hostel – The Wanderers – how perfect! I also enjoy a good spot to watch the sun set. Sounds like the perfect trip!

    1. Regarding the name, the inner grammar nazi is sort of missing a possessive apostrophe at the end of the name :)) But otherwise, perfect: both the hostel and the places to visit in the area

  15. I love guides like this! I feel like I get all of the information about a city, not just in one category. I have not been to Shkodra, but your pictures have made me want to visit! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. I’m happy you found my small guide helpful and I hope you’ll get to see it in real life someday. Thank you for visiting!

  16. Fun post! And good tips for anyone planning a future visit to Shkodra. Love the mental image of you trying to flip your bangs with one hand while clinging to the handlebars with your left and then leaping off as you fell. Can imagine you looking around to see if anyone noticed, and then going “I’m good…nothing to see here.” 😉

    1. Yeah, that’s kind of how it was :))

  17. Sounds like a perfect destination for some R and R wih some beautiful scenery! I hope you’ve healed up from your tumble 🙂

    1. It actually took several months for the signs to completely disappear from my knees. And it was still dresses & skirts season, but I survived :))

  18. I so want to travel to the Balkan countries, I think they have far more to offer than we realize. Problem: They are to close, so I think I can always go…and then I never do. It’s like with events taking place in your city – it feels that you have so much time to go…until it’s over. So anyhow, one of the next trips will be a road trip through former Yugoslavia.

  19. Chris Behrsin

    This looks a world apart from the chaotic Albania I remember seeing in Michael Palin’s New Europe. He went to Tirana and had problems crossing the road with all the traffic and whatnot. But this looks a much more peaceful side to Albania. Somewhere I’d love to go.

    1. Tirana’s traffic is hectic. Ana was very tired after driving there, even for a short time. But outside the capital, there’s a different rythm to things

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