Blessed with a good 10km stretch of beach, Durrës is pleasant – if instead built up – escape from Albania’s Tirana and has a stunning Mediterranean air once you get off the seafront, which can be very noisy, crowded, and a bit tacky during the summer months. The city has an impressive and storied history, and for foreign visitors, the principal reason for coming to Durrës isn’t for the beaches but for the superb archaeological museum and fascinating Roman amphitheater.
Top Attractions in Durres
Amphitheatre of Durrës
This stunning Roman-era Amphitheatre of Durrës was constructed on the hillside inside the town walls in the early 2nd century CE. In the ancient days, it had the capacity to seat 20,000 to 22,000 spectators, but these days a few occupied houses fill the stage, reminding its recent rediscovery (in 1966 CE) and excavation. The Byzantine chapel in the amphitheater has many beautiful mosaics. There are knowledgeable English-speaking guides on-site daily until 4 pm; they are incredibly talented and work solely on a tipping basis.
Durrës Archaeological Museum
This well-lit, ultra-modern, and labeled museum just back from the beachfront has a breathtaking collection of ancient historical artifacts. Displays include the statues and fine-boned sculptures, fragile gold jewelry, amphoras collected from the seafloor and still wrapped in barnacles, and beautiful pots and painted vases that are so perfectly maintained they look as if artists painted them just yesterday.
Things to do in Durres
- Go for a twilight stroll along the new seafront promenade and beachfront deck where you can observe locals walking around or even men with snakes entwined around their necks or even with bears on a leash! This is normally only in the summer when lots of tourists come.
- Visit Villa Hill for a panoramic view of Durre’s seaside at Currilat from the top of a newly restored hill.
- Explore Seaside Large Steps, located Intersection between Rruga Taulantia (Brryli area) and Rruga Currila. Sit and admire the sea from up close on these giant steps falling into the ocean.
- Visit the interesting Open Port Festival, where the Port of Durres opens to the people every year in May, highlighting various modern inventions and historic ships coupled with regional entertainment.
- Take a look at exciting films at the annual Durres International Film Summer Festival in early September/October.
- Don’t forget to visit Ishem Castle, Scanderbeg Castle, and Shen Ndout Church adjacent to Lalzit Bay in the Cape of Rodon.
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