Sunset at Beach of Durres from Balcony

Pull up a deckchair and catch some rays on a beach getaway to Durrës Albania. Here is the place to see and be seen, as the crowds flock to soak up the sunshine. Along the coast, long stretches of sand are filled with rows of sun loungers and colourful umbrellas. Bring a book and your favourite music for a day lazing by the beach. After working on your tan, cool of in the crystal clear water, which is shallow and calm for an easy swim. In the late afternoon enjoy a cocktail and dinner while you watch the sunset at one of the many restaurants lining the shore. Conveniently close to Albania’s capital, Durrës is Albania’s second largest city and a popular beach town. In this Durrës destination guide we give you everything you need to know to plan the perfect beach vacation in Albania.

Short on time? Here are our Durrës Albania top recommendations:

Highlights: relax on the Beach of Durrës and explore the ancient Durres Amphitheatre.

Activities: book your Durrës Albania Tours with Get Your Guide.

Accommodation: we use to find the best hotels.

Car Hire: for great value car rental in Albania we recommend

Flights: find cheapest flights with cashback on WayAway.

Airport Lounge Access: start your holiday the right way with Priority Pass.

Travel Medical Insurance: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance is the ideal choice for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

What is Durrës Albania known for?

Albania’s second biggest city, Durrës is known for its rich history which dates back around 2500 years. Durrës is filled with remnants of the city’s past, including landmarks such as Durres Amphitheatre, the Venetian Tower as well as the Byzantine Market.

Why you should visit Durrës Albania

If a convenient beach holiday is what you want, look no further than Durrës Albania. This coastal town is just a short drive from the capital Tirana and is easy to get to by car or bus. Popular with tourists, this Albanian holiday destination caters to people who want a fun seaside getaway. It is very family-friendly with plenty of tourist infrastructure including rows upon rows of deckchairs as well as kids club activities to keep the kids entertained. During summer the water is warm and inviting for a peaceful swim. When you feel like getting something to eat or drink there’s plenty of options available. Restaurants and cafes run all the way along the beach, with pizza, pasta and seafood found in abundance.

For a change of scene, the city centre has a range of activities to enjoy. Don’t miss the majestic Roman amphitheatre in the middle of the city. This impressive piece of architecture is the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Balkan Peninsula. Other sights include the expansive waterfront walkway Vollga Promenade, the majestic Fatih Mosque as well as the many historical structures throughout the city.

Beach near Aragosta Hotel Durres Albania
Beach near Aragosta Hotel Durres Albania

Durrës Destination Guide: Know before you go

Basic info about Durrës Albania

  • City name in Albanian – Durrës
  • Language – Albanian. There are two dialects in the Albanian language – Tosk, which is spoken to the south as well as Gheg which is spoken in the north. The subdialect Southern Gheg is spoken in Durrës. English is becoming more widely spoken in the country, particularly amongst younger people. However not everyone you meet will be able to speak English.
  • Currency – Albanian lek (ALL). This has been the currency of the country since 1926. Currency exchanges can be found in most cities and ATMs are available widely throughout the country.
  • Population – 292,000 (2021)
  • Area – 766 km2 (296 sq mi)
  • County – Durrës. Durrës is the capital of this county.
  • Region – Northern Albania (also known as Gegëria).
  • Emergency number – 112
  • Police number – 112
Albanian Lek Currency
Albanian Lek Currency

Utilities in Durrës Albania

  • Electricity – Albania uses Types C and F power plugs. The country operates on a 230v supply voltage at 50Hz. Power outages are common in Albania.
  • Water – the tap water in Albania is not safe to drink. However as the water is chlorinated, it is safe to use tap water for brushing your teeth. We recommend bringing a water purifier such as a Sawyer Mini Water Filter on your trip. Alternatively you can buy bottled water.
  • Toilets – sit-down flushing toilets are the most common type of toilet in Albania, although Turkish style squat toilets can be found in some places. Don’t flush your toilet paper – use the bins provided. Bidets can be found in many bathrooms in Albania. Public toilets are common in the larger cities in Albania. Public toilets are common and are also free to use.
  • Telephone country code: +355

Where is Durrës Albania?

Durrës is in the county of Durrës in the Northern Region of Albania.

The closest major Albanian town to Durrës is Tirana. Tirana is around 35 minutes by bus from Durrës.

Xhamia Durrës Mosque Durres Albania
Xhamia Durrës Mosque Durres Albania

How to get to Durrës Albania

Durrës destination guide: Arriving by land

Durrës Albania intercity land transport

The main transport options for travelling overland to Durrës Albania are:

  • Private vehicle
  • Private transport operator
  • Train
  • Bus
  • Bike

Driving to Durrës from within Albania

If you are driving to Durrës from within Albania, here are the travel times and distances:

  • Tirana – 43 minutes (37km, 23miles) without tolls
  • Elbasan – 1 hour 1 minute (75km, 47miles) without tolls
  • Berat – 1 hour 16 minutes (90km, 56miles) without tolls
  • Vlorë – 1 hour 31 minutes (123km, 76miles) without tolls
  • Shkodër – 1 hour 40 minutes (108km, 67miles) without tolls
  • Gjirokaster – 2 hours 35 minutes (199km, 124miles) without tolls
  • Himarë – 3 hours 13 minutes (195km, 121miles) without tolls
  • Sarandë – 3 hours 33 minutes (249km, 155miles) without tolls
Degradimi i hotel Vollgës Durrës Albania
Degradimi i hotel Vollgës Durrës Albania

Intercity trains to Durrës Albania

There are some trains that operate between Durrës and Tirana. However these are infrequent. There are also trains between Durrës and Elbasan.

The Albanian national railway company is called Hekurudha Shqiptare (HSH). This is also known as Albanian Railways.

Intercity buses to Durrës Albania

A common way to get around Albania is by using intercity buses. Durrës has a couple of bus stations. However for our onward journey to Vlorë we asked our accommodation host where to catch the bus and he dropped us off on the side of the road near the highway. He wasn’t sure what time the bus came but told us to just wait. There were no official bus stops at that location but there were locals waiting for buses. Every once in a while a bus would come past and you could see a sign in the window indicating where the bus was going. We ended up talking to a local who was heading in the same direction as us and he offered us a lift to Vlorë. We paid him some money for petrol and had a pleasant ride to our next destination.

Popular bus destinations from Durrës include:

  • Tirana Albania – travel time 45 minutes. Tickets cost 150 lek one way. Buses from Tirana depart from the station close to Dogana roundabout in and leave every half hour.
  • Vlorë Albania – travel time 2.5 hours. Tickets cost 400 lek one way.
  • Shkodër Albania – travel time 2.5 hours. Tickets cost 400 lek one way.
  • Budva Montenegro – travel time 6.5 hours. Tickets start from 23 euro one way.
  • Podgorica Montenegro – travel time 5 hours. Tickets start from 13 euro one way.
  • Kotor Montenegro – travel time 7 hours. Tickets start from 27 euro one way.
  • Dubrovnik Croatia – travel time 10 hours. Tickets start from 42 euro one way.

Bus prices have risen recently for some destinations, so please use these prices as a guide only.

Durrës destination guide: Arriving by air

The nearest major airport to Durrës is Tirana International Airport Nënë Tereza, Albania (Airport code TIA). This international airport is also known as Rinas International Airport. It is 26km (16miles) from the city.

Other nearby airports include:

  • Ohrid St Paul the Apostle Airport, North Macedonia (Airport code OHD). This airport is 110km (68miles) away.
  • Podgorica Airport, Montenegro (Airport code TGD). This airport is 116km (72miles) away.
  • Tivat Airport, Montenegro (Airport code TIV). This airport is 134km (84miles) away.

The national airline of Albania is Air Albania.

Durrës destination guide: Arriving by boat

Sunset at Beach of Durres
Sunset at Beach of Durres

The city of Durrës is in the Bay of Durrës on the Adriatic Sea. Additionally, the Adriatic Sea is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. The Port of Durrës is the largest seaport in Albania as well as the largest passenger port on the Adriatic Sea.

From Durrës, there are ferries to Italy. There are around 4 ferry crossings from Durrës to Italy per day. However availability may vary depending on the season. These ferries connect Durrës to 3 different destinations in Italy – Bari, Ancona as well as Trieste. The sailing time is around 10-16 hours. A one-way ticket for a foot passenger is around 70-90 euro (price as at 2022). There are 3 ferry companies that operates between Durrës Albania and Bari Italy – Ventouris Ferries, Adria Ferries Grandi Navi Veloci as well as Agemar.

Cruise Critic

Durrës destination guide: How to get around Durrës Albania

Walking in Durrës Albania

City walls of Durres Albania
Walls of Durres Albania

By far the easiest and cheapest way to get around Durrës is to walk. Most of the main attractions in the city area are within easy walking distance.

Local buses in Durrës Albania

Local buses operate in Durrës.

Mini buses (furgons) in Durrës Albania

Mini buses known as furgons operate in Durrës. Furgons are a popular public transport option in Albania as an alternative to buses.

Durrës Cable Car

There are no cable cars in Durrës.

Durrës Sightseeing Bus

Durrës does not have a Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus.

Trams in Durrës Albania

Durrës does not currently have a tram system.

Local trains in Durrës Albania

Durrës does not have a local train service.

Metro trains (subway or underground) in Durrës Albania

Durrës does not have an underground train line.

Vehicle hire in Durrës Albania

Motorcycle Near City of Durres Albania
Motorcycle Near Walls of Durres Albania

A wide variety of vehicles can be rented in Albania. This includes:

  • Bicycles – you can hire a bike from a bike hire shop such as LikSad e-Bike.
  • Electric scooters
  • Motorcycles
  • Cars
  • SUVs
  • Campervans
  • Boats

In Albania, you drive on the right side of the road.

Taxis in Albania

Taxis are common in Albania. Both official taxis with metered pricing as well as more informal taxis where a fixed fare is agreed beforehand are available. Official taxis will generally have prices displayed inside the vehicle. For longer journeys you can agree on a fixed price before you commence your trip. However in general your fare will include the following costs:

  • The pickup fee or minimum fee – this is charged as soon as you get into the vehicle. This is generally around 300 lek.
  • Price per kilometre.
  • Price per hour – this is a price that gets charged when the taxi is stuck in heavy traffic.

Ride-share services in Durrës Albania

Uber, Lyft and Grab and other rider-share services do not operate in Albania.

Durrës Albania destination guide: Is Durrës Albania worth visiting?

Just a short drive from the capital Tirana, Durrës is a convenient option for an Albanian beach getaway. We personally preferred the Albanian beaches further south of Durrës, such as Vlorë and Himarë. This is because Durrës is too overdeveloped for our tastes. However families and people that enjoy spending their day lounging on a deckchair may find Durrës perfect. Apart from the beaches, Durrës also has a great city area with a number of historical buildings, great restaurants and a lovely waterfront promenade. Whether Durrës is worth visiting really comes down to what you want out of your beach vacation.

Durrës destination guide: How long to spend in Durrës Albania

Byzantine Market Durres Albania
Byzantine Market Durres Albania

Durrës is a great place to come for a weekend away or a lazy week. This port city has expansive beaches which makes it a popular holiday spot. Furthermore the city is home to a number of interesting attractions including the impressive Amphitheatre of Durrës. We spent 3 nights in Durrës and enjoyed taking time to enjoy the various activities available in this seaside city.

Durrës destination guide: What to do in Durrës Albania

Durrës is a popular Albanian city with many activities on offer. It has a range of great free activities as well as paid activities.

Durrës destination guide: Free things to do in Durrës Albania

Woman sitting on lap of Fisherman sculpture at Vollga Waterfront Promenade Durres Albania, Sfinksi steps and sea in the background
Fisherman sculpture at Vollga Waterfront Promenade Durres Albania

There are enough free activities in Durrës Albania to keep you entertained for a weekend or even a leisurely week:

For more details, see our Durrës travel guide on the 12 Best Free Things To Do in Durrës Albania.

Durrës destination guide: Paid activities in Durrës Albania

Amphitheatre of Durrës Albania
Amphitheatre of Durrës Albania

A number of attractions in Durrës Albania charge an entry fee:

  • Duka Winery and Vineyard – wine tasting is 26 euro (as at 2022)
  • Archaeological Museum of Durrës (CLOSED FOR RENOVATION AS AT MAY 2024) – entry fee is 400 lek for adults (as at 2022)
  • Durres Amphitheatre – entry fee is 300 lek or 3 euro for adults (as at 2024)
  • The Beach Bar
  • Royal Villa of Durres (Vila e Ahmet Zogut)

Weather in Durrës Albania

Durrës enjoys a warm temperate climate. Its climate is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean sea. It has cold winters, with average temperature range between 4°C and 13°C in the coldest month of January. Summers last from June to September and are hot and sunny, with the average temperature range between 19°C and 29°C in the hottest month of July. The month with the most rainfall is December with 10.7 days of rain on average and the driest month is July with an average of 2.9 rainy days.

Plazhi i Currilave Durres Albania, Albanian beach filled with sunloungers and striped umbrellas, people swimming at the beach
Plazhi i Currilave Durres Albania

Best time to visit Durrës Albania

The best time to visit Durrës for a beach vacation is from May to October when the weather is warm and sunny. However, keep in mind that Durrës gets crowded and accommodation is more expensive during the peak tourist season of July and August. Therefore, for fewer crowds and better prices, we recommend visiting Durrës during the shoulder season of May-June or September-October.

Internet and mobile phones in Albania

There are four major internet and phone companies in Albania – Vodafone Albania, One Telecommunications Albania (formerly Telekom Albania), ALBTelekom (formerly Eagle Mobile Albania) and Plus.

Albania is yet to get 5G. 2G is expected to be switched off in Albania in December 2025, however no date has been set for when 3G will be switched off.

Albania is ranked 54th fastest in the world for mobile internet speeds and 93rd fastest for fixed broadband. For Fixed Broadband the average download speed is 61mbps and upload is 28mbps (as at May 2024).

Cell phone SIM cards can be bought in a numbers of places throughout Albania. These include phone stores as well as at Durrës International Airport.

How much to budget for Durrës Albania?

Is Durrës Albania expensive?

Durrës is one of the more expensive parts of Albania, but for a European beach destination it offers great value for money.

Durrës destination guide: Daily spend for a couple travelling in Durrës Albania

Da Vinci Art Studio Durres Albania
Da Vinci Art Studio Durres Albania

As a rough guide, we recommend the following budgets for a couple:

  • Low-budget daily spend – 60 euro per day for a couple will get you hostel accommodation, meals from bakeries and markets, local transport and free or cheap activities such as visiting museums and parks
  • Mid-range daily spend – 250 euro per day for a couple will get you mid-range accommodation, local transport, restaurant meals and a few paid activities
  • Luxury spend – 600 euro per day for a couple will get you a premium experience in Albania, staying at luxury resorts, travelling by private transport, doing a range of paid activities and eating at high end restaurants

Durrës destination guide: Accommodation in Durrës Albania

Accomodation Durres Albania
Accomodation in Durres Albania

There is a good range of accommodation to suit most budgets in Durrës Albania. Airbnb operates in Albania and we were impressed with the range of options available in Durrës.

Where to stay in Durrës Albania

When selecting a place to stay in Durrës, it’s important to keep in mind that the city area is approximately a 20-minute drive or an hour’s walk from the main beach area. Therefore, your decision on where to stay in Durrës will depend on whether you prefer proximity to the beach or the conveniences of the city.

Best city accommodation in Durrës Albania

We recommend the following accommodation in the city area of Durrës Albania:

  • Best hostel in Durrës Albania – Top View Hostel provides exceptional service for an affordable price. This hostel is ideally located in the heart of the city and also close to the sea. It has wonderful views from its terrace. The beds are very comfortable and the hostel is modern and clean.
  • Best budget hotel in Durrës Albania – Hotel Pepeto is a great value hotel in a convenient location in the heart of the city. The rooms are well-equipped, clean and comfortable and the owners are very nice and helpful.
  • Best mid-range hotel in Durrës Albania – Giulia Albérgo Hotel is an impressive hotel in downtown Durrës. This pristine hotel has elegantly designed interiors, friendly staff and excellent breakfasts. Despite the hotel’s central location, it peaceful and quiet.
Best beach accommodation in Durrës Albania

We recommend the following accommodation near the beach in Durrës Albania:

  • Best beachfront hotel in Durrës Albania – Vila Lule is in the perfect location right on the beach. The staff were superb, the food is excellent and the rooms are spacious and comfortable.
  • Best luxury hotel in Durrës Albania – Hotel Villa Pascucci is an elegant 5-star hotel with old world charm. The service and the food are exceptional. There is a spa on site, which is perfect if you feel like a bit of pampering. The hotel is close to the beach with panoramic views over the water.
  • Best value beachfront apartment rental in Durrës Albania – we stayed in this beachfront apartment in Durrës. It’s in a great beachfront location and has two balconies that overlook the beach. The apartment is newly renovated with modern furnishings. Additionally, the owner goes out of his way to ensure you have a great stay.

How much is accommodation in Durrës Albania?

For short-term accommodation, a general price per night is as follows:

  • Budget accommodation – 10-15 euro for a dorm
  • Mid-range accommodation – 25-100 euro for a private room
  • Luxury accommodation – 130-230 euro a night for a luxury hotel
  • Rental property – 50-250 euro a night for a fully furnished 3-4 bedroom home

Durrës destination guide: Food in Durrës Albania

How much does food cost in Durrës Albania?

Cuttlefish with Mushroom and Grana Cheese from Resto Bar Hemingway Durres Albania
Cuttlefish with Mushroom and Grana Cheese from Resto Bar Hemingway Durres Albania

Our price guide for your food budget in Durrës Albania is as follows (prices as at 2022):

  • Restaurant meal – 600-2000 lek for a main dish
  • Local eatery – 600-1200 lek for a main dish
  • Bakery food – 100-240 lek euro for byrek, a slice of pizza as well as other bakery items
  • Glass of wine – 300 lek
  • Shot of Raki – 70-100 lek
  • Coffee – 50-150 lek

Regional dishes in Durrës Albania

Durrës is much more catered to international cuisine, however there are a few traditional Albanian restaurants in the city. Popular traditional Albanian dishes can be found throughout the country. There are not too many dishes that trace their roots to specific regions of Albania.

Mixed Appetiser from Mema House Durres Albania
Mixed Appetiser from Mema House Durres Albania

Albanian dishes that are not specific to Durrës

  • Byrek – popular in the Balkans, byrek is a filo pastry stuffed with items such as spinach, cheese, meat and potatoes.
  • Pollo alla Cotoletta – similar to chicken parmigiana.
  • Qofte te ferguara – Albanian meatball
  • Flija – this dough based dish is popular in Albania as well as Kosovo.
  • Shapkat – this is a casserol that is made with cornmeal and greens.
  • Tave Mishi – grilled meat.
  • Perime në Zgarë – grilled vegetables.
  • Speça me gjize – stuffed bell peppers.
  • Kaçkavall – breaded and fried cheese. This is served as an apetiser.
  • Jani me Fasule – bean soup.
  • Tarator soup – a cold cucumber soup that is popular in many eastern European countries.
  • Qumështor – baked custard.
  • Baklava – a sweet pastry.
  • Shëndetli – a dessert made from walnuts, honey and cinnamon.
  • Trilece – a dough based dessert commonly made in Albania.
  • Petulla – fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Cheap Eats in Durrës Albania

Byrek from Fast Food Kosova Durres Albania
Byrek from Fast Food Kosova Durres Albania

  • Bakeries are a great place to get cheap and delicious food. Byrek are typically around 100-240 lek. Other common bakery food include pizzas and cakes.

Durrës Albania culture

Albania national holidays

Venetian Tower of Durres Albania
Venetian Tower of Durres Albania

  • New Year’s Day – 1-3 January
  • Dita e Verës – 14 March
  • Nowruz – Spring equinox, March 19, 20 or 21
  • Easter Sunday – typically in March or April.
  • Easter Monday – the Monday after Easter Day, typically in March or April.
  • Orthodox Easter Day – typically in April or May.
  • Orthodox Easter Monday – the Monday after Easter Day, typically in April or May.
  • Eid al-Fitr – first day of Shawwal in the Islamic calendar
  • Labour Day – 1 May (public holiday the following Monday if it falls on a weekend)
  • Eid al-Adha – 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic calendar
  • Saint Teresa Canonisation Day – 5 September
  • Flag Day or Independence Day – 28 November
  • Liberation Day – 29 November
  • National Youth Day – 8 December
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (public holiday the following Monday if it falls on a weekend)

National symbols of Albania

Statue on Vollga Promenade Durres Albania
Statue on Vollga Promenade Durres Albania

  • Albania flag – a red flag with a black double headed eagle in the centre.
  • Albania coat of arms – a black two-headed eagle with a golden crown. Its wings are raised in flight. It is on a red background with a gold border.
  • National flower – red poppy
  • National bird – eagle

Albania pastimes

  • National dish – Tavë kosi
  • Popular drinks – rakija, coffee, beer, Albanian wine
  • National sport – football
  • Religion – 59% Islam, 17% Christianity (as at 2020)

Famous people from Durrës Albania

  • Famous people born in Durrës Albania – military commander Skanderbeg, photographer Refik Veseli, Byzantine emperor Emperor Anastasius I, painter Ibrahim Kodra, sculptor Kristaq Rama, former president Bujar Nishani, former prime minister Mustafa Merlika-Kruja, prince Karl Thopia, former acting president Pjetër Arbnori, composer John Koukouzelis, novelist Elvira Dones
  • Sports stars from Durrës Albania – footballers Safet Berisha, Edmond Kapllani, Mikaela Metalla, Agim Murati, Panajot Pano, Gentian Selmani, Orges Shehi, Emiljano Vila, Olympic athlete Mirela Maniani, boxer Kreshnik Qato, chess grandmaster Erald Dervishi, Olympic wrestler Shkëlqim Troplini

Is Durrës Albania Safe?

Albania travel guide: Safety in Albania

Bunkers Durres Albania
Bunkers in Durres Albania

We travelled through Albania for three weeks and found the country to be extremely safe. Albania ranks 40th safest country on the Global Peace Index (as at 2023). As with any country, there are good areas and bad areas. Watch out for pickpockets particularly at crowded tourist attractions. Make sure no-one is watching whenever you are entering pin codes and never lose sight of your credit card when making a purchase.

A particular risk around the Albania and Kosovo border are unexploded landmines and ordinances. These are a dangerous remnant from the 1999 conflict. Don’t stray from designated hiking paths and take any warning signs very seriously.

General safety considerations in Albania

Sheshi Liria Durres Albania, I heart Durres sign in town square in Albania
Sheshi Liria Durres Albania

Other general safety considerations for travel in Albania:

  • Drinking water – the tap water in Albania is not safe to drink. However as the water is chlorinated, it is safe to use tap water for brushing your teeth. We recommend bringing a water purifier such as a Sawyer Mini Water Filter on your trip. Alternatively you can buy bottled water.
  • Mosquitoes – the tiger mosquito is present in Albania. It spreads diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikunguya. After being eradicated in 1967, malaria returned to Albania in 1994 as a re-emerging disease in the country.
  • Altitude sickness – Albania has areas of high altitude, which comes with the risk of altitude sickness. If you are planning to visit any high altitude areas in Albania, be sure to allow sufficient time to acclimatise. If you experience any signs of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite or shortness of breath, get help immediately.
  • Road safety – road accidents are a significant risk on Albania. Road conditions are an issue, particularly in rural areas as well as in winter.
  • Water safety – take care when swimming as currents and waves may be stronger than you expect.
  • Earthquakes – Albania experiences earthquakes. If you experience an earthquake, stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls and anything that could fall. If inside, get under a table, desk or solid furniture and hang onto it. Cover your head and torso to protect from falling objects. If outside, stay outside and go to an open area away from buildings.
  • Sun safety – sun exposure can have adverse short-term and long-term effects on the skin, eyes and immune system. Wear sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

As with any destination, take all of your normal safety precautions.

Albania Blogs

You can find our Albania travel blogs below.

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