Nestled along the pristine coastline of Albania, the Durres Riviera stands as a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and lively nightlife, this coastal stretch offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travellers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination. Here we will delve into the reasons why you should consider visiting the Durres Riviera and explore the wonders that await in the city of Durres itself.
The Durres Riviera boasts some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches along the Adriatic Sea. The golden sands and crystal-clear waters make it an ideal destination for sun-seekers and beach enthusiasts. Golem Beach, in particular, stands out for its long stretch of sandy shoreline and tranquil atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day by the sea or an adventurous water sports experience, the Durres Riviera has something for everyone.
Rich History and Culture
Durres, the largest port city in Albania, is steeped in history that dates back to ancient times. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, making it a treasure trove for history buffs. The Amphitheatre of Durres, one of the most well-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the Balkans, is a must-visit. Imagine stepping back in time as you explore the corridors and stand in the midst of this ancient arena that once hosted gladiator contests and public spectacles.
Durres Archaeological Museum
For a deeper understanding of the region’s history, a visit to the Durres Archaeological Museum is highly recommended. The museum houses an extensive collection of artefacts from various periods, including Illyrian, Greek, and Roman civilisations. Marvel at the intricacies of ancient pottery, sculptures, and mosaics that offer a glimpse into the daily lives of those who once inhabited the area.
Standing tall as a symbol of Durres’ maritime history, the Venetian Tower is an important landmark. Dating back to the 15th century, this well-preserved tower was once a crucial part of the city’s defence system. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city and the Adriatic Sea; it is truly a perfect vantage point to capture breathtaking sunset photographs.
Explore the imposing Durres Castle, a fortress that has withstood centuries of change and conflict. Wander through the stone pathways of the castle complex to discover remnants of ancient walls and towers. As you explore, you can sense the layers of history embedded in every corner of this formidable structure.
Roman Thermal Baths
Discover the ancient Thermal Baths, which are a testament to the advanced engineering and architectural skills of the Roman Empire. You can wander through the well-preserved ruins and imagine the opulence of the classical period. The intricate mosaics and grand structures provide insight into the luxurious lifestyle enjoyed by the ancient inhabitants of the city.
Vibrant Local Markets
To truly experience the essence of Durres, you should visit its bustling markets. The Aleksander Moisiu Street Market is a lively hub where locals gather to sell fresh produce, handmade crafts and a variety of other goods. Engage with friendly vendors, sample regional delicacies, and immerse yourself in the vibrant colours and flavours of Albanian culture.
Lively Waterfront Promenade
Durres offers a vibrant waterfront promenade where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy the sea breeze and stunning views. Lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, the promenade is a perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing evening by the sea. Soak up the local atmosphere, savouring delicious Albanian cuisine, and perhaps trying a cup of traditional Turkish coffee.
Albanian cuisine, influenced by Mediterranean and Balkan flavours, is a delight for food enthusiasts, and there is plenty of it on offer in Durres. Indulge in local specialties such as Fergese, a flavoursome dish made with peppers, tomatoes, and feta cheese. Seafood lovers will appreciate the freshness of the catch of the day, prepared with a blend of herbs and spices. Don’t miss the opportunity to try Byrek, a savoury pastry filled with various ingredients like cheese, spinach, or meat. Pair your meal with a glass of locally produced wine, and you’ll experience the true essence of Albanian gastronomy.
As the sun sets over the Adriatic, Durres comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The city offers a range of entertainment options, from cosy waterfront bars to lively nightclubs. Enjoy live music at one of the beachfront venues, where local bands often showcase their talents. For a more laid-back experience, unwind at a seaside cafe with a refreshing cocktail and the sound of the waves at your back. If you’re in the mood for dancing, explore the energetic nightlife scene in the city centre, where you can dance the night away to a mix of international and local beats.
In conclusion, the Durres Riviera in Albania is a destination that captivates the senses with its stunning landscapes, rich history, vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and lively nightlife. From the sun-kissed beaches of Golem to the ancient amphitheatres and castles of Durres, this coastal stretch offers a diverse range of experiences for every type of traveller. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, a culinary adventurer, or someone seeking lively nighttime entertainment, the Durres Riviera is sure to leave an indelible mark on your travel memories. Pack your bags and embark on a journey to discover its hidden treasures, where history, natural beauty, and cultural richness converge in perfect harmony.
Where to Stay
Hotel Kloest is within walking distance of the amphitheatre, not far from the harbour. You can enjoy an upmarket stay here with concierge service, free Wifi, a restaurant and a bar. You’ll have to choose between a balcony view of the sea or the glittering city, but either way you’re in for a treat.
Meliá Durrës Albania is a luxury hotel set in a location that is popular with cyclists. The hotel boasts its own outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and garden. The property features a kids’ club, free WiFi, a lounge, bar and terrace where you can sip your drink while watching the sun set over the sea. If you want to dine in style you can choose your cuisine of preference from the onsite restaurant serving Italian, Mediterranean, Albanian, vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free dishes.
Hotel Epidamn Boutique & Spa offers accommodation behind a Baroque-style facade that oozes opulence. A 4* property, the hotel provides rooms with city views, a restaurant, a bar and a tranquil garden. Nestled between Kallmi and Durres beaches, you can enjoy the combination of natural bathing and the hotel’s own spa treatments.
How to Get There
Daily direct flights to Tirana Airport from London are offered by a range of providers including Albawings, American Airlines, British Airways, easyJet, FinnAir, Ryanair and Wizz. There are often good deals on tickets, especially when you fly during the off peak periods of the late autumn and winter.
When you land, a pre-booked airport shuttle to Durres city centre takes about half an hour.
London, UK to TIA flight time: 3 hours
TIA to Durres city centre: 24km
Shuttle Direct transfer time: 30-35 mins
Types of Transfer
At Shuttle Direct we have a range of airport transfer services that will get you from Tirana to Durres conveniently, safely and reliably.
Taxi Transfer: Navigating transportation choices in an unfamiliar location can be overwhelming, especially as you exit the Arrivals Lounge. To circumvent this confusion, consider pre-booking one of our airport taxis from Tirana International Airport (TIA) to Durres. A designated driver will greet you upon exit and ensure a smooth journey to your final destination.
Shuttle Bus Transfer: For a cost-effective option that doesn’t compromise on reliability or comfort, our fleet of shuttle buses provides a convenient Durres transfer service. Secure your seat on one of these budget-friendly shuttles before departing from the UK, ensuring a hassle-free journey from TIA to your accommodation.
Private Transfer: If you prefer a personalised Tirana Airport transfer experience, our private transfer service is tailored for you. Enjoy the luxury of a private car and a designated driver who will pick you up directly from the airport or your hotel, providing a more exclusive and comfortable travel option.
Minibus Transfer: For those travelling in groups, our minibus transfer service offers a cost-effective solution. Ideal for accommodating larger parties, this option is particularly suitable for group travellers bringing extra luggage. Hire one of our minibuses for a seamless transfer from TIA to Durres city centre.
Choosing the Right Transfer
When it comes to picking the right kind of airport transfer for your journey to and from Durres, you will need to consider the balance between efficiency and price. The more bespoke your service, the higher the charge. For those who need maximum flexibility, we offer a range of options, but we also cater for those who want to reduce costs while enjoying a convenient and reliable airport transfer from Tirana airport.
Cost: For a brief journey like this, a private transfer may not break the bank. However, if you’re budget-conscious, opting for a seat on one of our shuttle buses can be a more economical choice.
Convenience: Although the shuttle bus is a cost-effective option, it will take you to one of several central bus stops. For those willing to invest a bit more for the enhanced convenience of a door-to-door drop-off or pickup, the pre-booked taxi or private transfer is the ideal solution.
About Shuttle Direct
For many years, Shuttle Direct has stood as a dependable option for ferrying travellers to and from various destinations worldwide. Our team comprises experienced and friendly drivers, ensuring your arrival at your chosen location is both secure and punctual. No matter your travel preferences, rest assured that Shuttle Direct is committed to getting you there reliably.