Durrës is a popular beach city which is conveniently close to Albania’s capital Tirana. If you love spending your holidays lounging on a sunbed soaking up the sun and enjoying beautiful water views this is the place for you! Durrës has long stretches of beaches lined with sun loungers and colourful umbrellas. It overlooks a calm bay which has warm and shallow water that is perfect for a gentle swim. Along the beach there are also plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy. The city is very family friendly and has a lively atmosphere.
Apart from the beaches there is also the city itself, which contains an ancient Roman amphitheatre and other historic buildings as well as a waterfront promenade, pretty town squares, mosques and other attractions. Best of all, many of Durrës’s most popular tourist attractions are absolutely free. In this Durrës travel guide, we’ll show you the 12 best free things to do in Durrës Albania.
Top free things to do in Durrës Albania
We love a good bargain, and there’s no better bargain than getting something for free! For ease of reference, here is our list of the top free things to do in Durrës Albania.
- Gjiri i Lalzit (Bay of Lalzi)
- Beach of Durrës
- Durrës Castle / Venetian Tower of Durrës
- Faith Mosque
- Vollga Promenade
- Byzantine Market
- Sfinksi (Durrës Sea View)
- St Anthony Church
- Aragosta Bridge
- Sheshi Liria
- Durrës City Scenic Lookout
- Kodra e Currilave hiking area
We have also included a bonus free thing to do: Durres Amphitheatre.
Keep reading to find out more about each destination.
Bay of Durrës Albania: Gjiri I Lalzit
About Gjiri I Lalzit Albania
Gjiri I Lalzit, or the Bay of Lalzi, is a large bay which is about half an hour drive from Durrës. It is part of the Adriatic Sea, which in turn is part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Why visit Gjiri I Lalzit
Gjiri I Lalzit is a calm bay which is perfect for families and those looking for calm water without waves. It is a great place to swim and relax. Keep in mind that all along the bay there are many private areas with sun loungers and beach umbrellas set up. This can make it harder to find an open space that is free to use.
How long to spend at Gjiri I Lalzit
For those after a relaxing beach holiday, you could spend as much or a little time around the Bay of Lalzi as you like. We think it’s perfect for a weekend getaway.
Opening hours for Gjiri I Lalzit
Gjiri I Lalzit is open at all hours. However it’s best enjoyed during the day.
If you have money to spend in Gjiri I Lalzit
There are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. There are also a number of cafes, restaurants and shops overlooking the bay.
Gjiri I Lalzit address
Bay of Lalzi, Durrës, Albania
Main beach in Durrës Albania: Beach of Durrës
About Beach of Durrës Albania
Beach of Durrës, also known as Plazhi i Durrësit in Albanian, is a long stretch of beach in Durrës Albania. It overlooks the Adriatic Sea, which is part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Why visit Beach of Durrës
Beach of Durrës is a long stretch of beach overlooking calm and shallow water. All along the beach there are restaurants with sunbeds and umbrellas lined up in neat rows all the way to the water’s edge. With its gentle water and relaxed atmosphere, it is perfect for families and as well as all types of holidaymakers. Keep in mind that due to the many private places taking up real estate on the sand, it can be difficult to find an open space that is free to sit on. However there is a small space between the sunbeds and the sea which is a popular walking area.
How long to spend at Beach of Durrës
The Beach of Durrës is the perfect place for a fun beach vacation. We think it’s perfect for a weekend getaway, but you can spend as much or as little time here as you like.
Opening hours for Beach of Durrës
Beach of Durrës is open at all hours. However it’s best enjoyed during the day.
If you have money to spend in Beach of Durrës
There are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas for rent. There are also a number of cafes, restaurants and shops along the beachfront.
Beach of Durrës address
Plus Code: 7GR3+XGM Durrës, Albania
Ancient landmark in Durrës Albania: Durrës Castle
About Durrës Castle
The Durrës Castle, also known as Kalaja e Durrësit in Albanian, is the fortified old city of Durrës Albania. Originally built in the 1st Century BCE, it achieved its final form in the 5th Century CE under the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I. At this time Durrës was one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic.
Durrës Castle has a rich history of surviving natural disasters and wars. In 1273 the castle walls were damaged by an earthquake and consequently they had to be extensively repaired. During this period, the Venetian Tower of Durrës was erected and named after the Venetian Republic, which controlled Durrës at that time. The walls were further reinforced during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. In 2022 the Venetian Tower was restored and is Albania’s first heritage interpretation centre. The castle has also been the scene of a number of battles, most recently the Battle of Durrës in 1939.
Why visit Durrës Castle
Durrës Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It has a rich and interesting history and provides great photo opportunities.
How long to spend at Durrës Castle
The remains of Durrës Castle consist of one section of wall as well as the Venetian Tower of Durrës. 10-20 minutes is ample time to wander around the fortress walls and take a few photos. There panoramic views from the roof of the Venetian Tower.
Opening hours for Durrës Castle
The Durrës Castle is open at all hours. It is best seen during the day, and it is nicely lit up at night.
If you have money to spend at the Durrës Castle
There are some bars and restaurants near the Venetian Tower.
Durrës Castle address
Plus Code: 8C5W+VQ8, Durrës, Albania
Main mosque in Durrës Albania: Faith Mosque
About Faith Mosque Durrës Albania
Faith Mosque, or Xhamia e Fatihut in Albanian is a mosque in Durrës city centre. It is also known as the Small Mosque (Xhamia e vogël) and the Old Mosque (Xhamia e vjetër). The mosque was built in 1502 under the Ottoman Empire and is named after Fatih Sultan Mehmet (also known as Mehmed II or Mehmed the Conqueror). The mosque was built on the ruins of a Christian basilica. It was designated a Cultural Monument of Albania in 1973.
Why visit Faith Mosque Durrës Albania
Faith Mosque is a beautiful mosque right in the heart of Durrës. It is one of Albanian’s Cultural Monuments and has a long and rich history. It is certainly worth a visit when you’re in Durrës.
How long to spend at Faith Mosque Durrës Albania
Ten minutes is plenty of time to admire the mosque. Allow an hour if you are attending for prayers.
Opening hours for Faith Mosque Durrës Albania
If you have money to spend in Faith Mosque Durrës Albania
There’s plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby.
Faith Mosque Durrës Albania address
Plus Code: 8C7W+76R, Rruga Xhamia, Durrës, Albania
Waterfront promenade in Durrës Albania: Vollga Promenade
About Vollga Promenade Albania
Vollga Promenade, also known as Shëtitorja Vollga in Albanian, is a scenic waterfront walkway in Durrës city centre. It is a nice open space with paved walkways, palm trees and a monument. The area is well maintained and provides a great space for enjoying a relaxing stroll.
Why visit Vollga Promenade
Vollga Promenade is a beautiful place to walk along while enjoy the sea views. Do keep in mind that there is not much shade there during the heat of the day so it is best enjoyed in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as intense.
How long to spend at Vollga Promenade
It takes around 20-30 minutes to walk along the promenade. You may wish to take some extra time to sit and enjoy your surroundings.
Opening hours for Vollga Promenade
Vollga Promenade is open at all hours. However there is not much shade and the concrete makes the area feel even hotter. As such we recommend visiting in the early morning or late afternoon/evening when the sun is not too strong.
If you have money to spend in Vollga Promenade
There are plenty of great cafes and restaurants nearby. We recommend Mema House, which is a fantastic restaurant serving authentic Albanian cuisine.
Vollga Promenade address
Plus Code: 8C5V+X4W, Durrës 2000, Albania
Historical ruins in Durrës Albania: Byzantine Market
About Byzantine Market
The Byzantine Market (Tregu Bizantin) or the Byzantine Forum are ruins of an ancient marketplace from the late Roman and early Byzantine eras. These ruins are in the heart of Durrës city and were the traditional centre of the ancient city of Dyrrah. Dating back to the 6th Century, this site was originally thought to be a traditional open marketplace. However there is a circular structure surrounded by columns which may have been used for more formal activities.
Why visit Byzantine Market
The Byzantine Market are an interesting set of ancient ruins which lie in stark contrast to the surrounding modern city. There is a small sign which provides some background information to this historical site. It is an interesting place to visit for those that enjoy getting a glimpse of history.
How long to spend at Byzantine Market
10 minutes is sufficient to admire the ruins, read the information sign and take a few photos.
Opening hours for Byzantine Market
The Byzantine Market is open at all hours. However it is best seen during the day.
If you have money to spend in Byzantine Market
There are plenty of great restaurants and cafes nearby.
Byzantine Market address
Plus Code: 8C8W+299, Rruga Aleksander Goga, Durrës, Albania
Best sunset views in Durrës Albania: Sfinksi
Sfinksi, also known as the Sphinx of Durres is a brutalist contemporary structure located on a scenic spot with a beautiful Durrës Sea View. The structure consists of rows of steps and provides a great place to sit and admire the water views. It is a particularly nice place to enjoy the sunset.
Why visit Sfinksi
Sfinksi is a beautiful spot along the waterfront promenade. It’s a great place to watch the sunset. There are also a number of interesting sculptures in the vicinity.
How long to spend at Sfinksi
Ten minutes is plenty of time to climb the stairs and enjoy the view. Allow extra time if you want to sit, relax and enjoy the ambience.
Opening hours for Sfinksi
Sfinksi is open at all hours. However it is best seen during the day.
If you have money to spend in Sfinksi
There are some cafes and restaurants nearby.
Vollga Durres, Rruga Taulantia, Durrës, Albania
Plus Code: 8C6M+5X Durrës, Albania
Ruins of 14th century Christian church in Durrës Albania: St Anthony Church
About St Anthony Church
St Anthony Church, or Kisha e Shën Ndojt in Albanian, are the ruins of a 14th Century church at the Cape of Rodon (or Skanderbeg Cape) in Durrës County. This church is a beautiful display of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. It is also the burial site of Andrea II Muzaka and his wife. The church was in use until 1852 when it was destroyed by an earthquake. It lay in ruins until 1978. The church as well as part of the monastery were reconstructed by the year 2000. St Anthony Church was declared a Cultural Monument of Albania in 1963.
Why visit St Anthony Church
St Anthony Church is a simple but beautifully preserved church near the sea. There are beautiful frescoes behind the altar, including one of a double headed eagle. This church has a peaceful atmosphere and is a great place for quiet contemplation.
How long to spend at St Anthony Church
A visit to this church and its grounds should take less than an hour.
Opening hours for St Anthony Church
If you have money to spend in St Anthony Church
There is a beachfront bar and restaurant nearby.
St Anthony Church address
Plus Code: HFM5+675, near, Kepi i Rodonit, Albania
Pedestrian pier in Durrës Albania: Aragosta Bridge
About Aragosta Bridge
Aragosta Bridge is a wooden pedestrian bridge over the water near Aragosta Hotel. It is more of a pier than a bridge. Aragosta Beach is also nearby.
Why visit Aragosta Bridge
This is a nice spot to take a short stroll and enjoy the water views.
How long to spend at Aragosta Bridge
5-10 minutes is ample time to walk along the bridge, taken in the views and snap a few photos.
Opening hours for Aragosta Bridge
Aragosta Bridge is open at all hours. However it is best seen during the day.
If you have money to spend near Aragosta Bridge
There are some bars and restaurants nearby.
Aragosta Bridge address
Rruga Taulantia, Durrës 2001, Albania
Plus Code: 8C6M+QH Durrës, Albania
Main square in Durrës Albania: Sheshi Liria
About Sheshi Liria
Sheshi Liria is the central square in the middle of Durrës city. The square has a pretty fountain, a few benches and some palm trees. It is just across the road from Faith Mosque.
Why visit Sheshi Liria
Sheshi Liria is a scenic spot in the city centre of Durrës. It’s a great place to take some holiday photos.
How long to spend at Sheshi Liria
10 minutes is plenty of time to admire Sheshi Liria and take some photos.
Opening hours for Sheshi Liria
Sheshi Liria is open at all hours. However it is best seen during the day.
If you have money to spend in Sheshi Liria
There are shops and restaurants nearby.
Sheshi Liria address
Rruga Aleksander Goga, Durrës, Albania
Panoramic lookout in Durrës Albania: Durrës City Scenic Lookout
About Durrës City Scenic Lookout
Durrës City Scenic Lookout is a panoramic spot high on the hillside of Durrës. It’s a steep climb to get up there, but the views are very nice.
Why visit Durrës City Scenic Lookout
Durrës City Scenic Lookout is one of the prettiest places to enjoy views of the city.
How long to spend at Durrës City Scenic Lookout
10 minutes is plenty of time to enjoy the views and take a few photos.
Opening hours for Durrës City Scenic Lookout
Durrës City Scenic Lookout is open at all hours. However it is best seen during the day.
If you have money to spend in Durrës City Scenic Lookout
The lookout is not far from Durrës Amphitheatre, which is one of the main attractions in Durrës.
Durrës City Scenic Lookout address
Rruga Anastas Durrsaku 1075, Durrës, Albania
Plus Code: 8C7V+75 Durrës, Albania
Best walking track in Durrës Albania: Kodra e Currilave hiking area
About Kodra e Currilave hiking area
Kodra e Currilave hiking area is a hiking and mountain biking trail in Durrës Albania. This area consists of 5 trails and covers a distance of 10km. It goes along the coast and has beautiful water views.
Why visit Kodra e Currilave hiking area
Kodra e Currilave hiking area is a great place to enjoy nature.
How long to spend at Kodra e Currilave hiking area
Allow a few hours to enjoy this hiking area.
Opening hours for Kodra e Currilave hiking area
Kodra e Currilave hiking area is open at all hours. However it is best enjoyed during the day.
If you have money to spend in Kodra e Currilave hiking area
There are bars and restaurants nearby.
Kodra e Currilave hiking area address
Plus Code: 8CVC+54M, Rruga e Currilave, Durrës, Albania
Bonus free thing to do in Durrës Albania: Durres Amphitheatre
While there is a 300 lek fee (as at 2023) to enter the Durres Amphitheatre, you can see it from the outside for free. It’s right in the heart of the city and the fences around it do not materially obstruct the views.
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.
Durrës Albania Blogs
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