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Albania is full of surprises. Despite the gorgeous Riviera, with its pristine beaches and secluded bays, and the vibrant and lively capital city Tirana, the Land of the Eagles offers to its visitors many other places that are worth a visit, such as Korça. It is a must-see destination in the country and a weekend is perfect to discover its enchanting city center.
Start your day with a great breakfast. The best place to do that is Komiteti Kafe Muzeum, a cozy café located in Pazari I Vjetër, the old market, which is the coolest area of Korça. Once here, order a typical Turkish coffee and a slice of homemade cake with nuts. Then, you can consider yourself ready to discover the town. Do you know that Korça is also called the “little Paris of Albania”? It’s not difficult to understand why: Korça is charming, plenty of old buildings and has many cultural options to offer visitors. So, after a visit to a Pazari, the liveliest neighborhood of the town, eat something traditional in one of the several restaurants located in this area and prepare yourself to explore the city.
Reach the Pedonalja, a nice pedestrian street, and go straight to the Cathedral of the Resurrection. It is the largest Orthodox church of Albania and the most important too. The church was rebuilt in 1992, after it was demolished during the communist era. Today, it’s a beautiful and majestic religious building worth a look, not just outside, but also inside, where you’ll find painted depictions of the Holy Bible. To relax yourself after the visit, go head into the Sky Café, an elegant bar just a few steps from the church, which offers beautiful views over the cathedral and town.
When it comes to food, there is only one place you must go in Korça: Taverna Vasili. This restaurant offers traditional dishes and is considered the best place to eat in town. We strongly suggest you to try byrek, the typical meatballs of Korça, kërnacka, and kaçkavall cheese cooked with tomatoes and oregano. Then, end your day with a glass of raki, the typical Albanian aromatized liquor.
Korça isn’t considered the cultural capital of Albania just for its beauty: This enchanting town is important to Albanians because the first official school (under the Ottoman rules) was built here. The school is located inside an Ottoman-era house turned into a museum: Reach the first floor and admire the copies of the first books written in Albanian. Every year on March 7, Albanians celebrate Teacher Day, th day the school was officially opened to the public.
After a break, we strongly suggest you to head to another not-to-miss museum of Korça, the Museum of Medieval Art. The museum is a must for every history enthusiast and is home to unique pieces of arts, including some works of Onufri, one of the most famous and important artists of Albania.
If you want to discover the secret side of Korça, you have to explore the hidden streets. The town is flush with stunning French-style villas, with elegant gates, lovely small gardens, and ancient columns all worth a look. Most of them are located behind the Cathedral and near Bulevardi Republika, the large boulevard that connects the church to the stadium.
The best place to spend your last night out in Korça is Life Gallery Hotel, the coolest and most elegant hotel in town, which is home to a restaurant, which offers a combo of typical and modern cuisine, and Avenue 55 Bar, the only American-style bar of Korça, which offers excellent cocktails and has live music — it’s also perfect for chatting with locals.