Vlora is the third largest city of Albania, the second largest port of the country and one of the favorite summer destinations in the Balkans. It is located about two hours by car from Tirana and offers a great option for day trips. Read our list of places to see beyond Vlora if you only have 24 hours at your disposal.
Karaburun is one of those places that everyone should see in Albania: It is a natural park, former militarized area, opened to the public just four years ago. It is a large untouched peninsula that extends out from the city of Vlora and reachable by boat from the port of Vlora in 40 minutes. Since last summer, the islet of Sazan, another piece of heaven located in the Ionian Sea near the Peninsula, has been open to the public. Every day in spring and summer, from the port of Vlora, near the Hotel Bologna, Teuta Boat Tours brings its customers to the amazing peninsula; there, they will spend all the day relaxing, swimming and tasting fresh foods from the restaurant located by the sea.
If you love natural scenery and mystic places, we strongly suggest you go to the Monastery of Zvernec, one of the highlights of the region of Vlora. It is located at the end of the Narta Lagoon, a short trip northwest of Vlora, home to a small Greek community, a place where time seems to have been stopped. Situated on an island, the monastery is a stunning example of Byzantine architecture and a peaceful place to escape from the crowded beaches of the town.
Kanina is a hilltop fortress built in the 4th century B.C. that offers spectacular views over Vlora and the sea. It is located on Shushica Mounain and covers almost 4,000 hectares. Once here, you will quickly comprehend the importance of this massive place back in ancient times.
One of the most scenic natural landscapes, Llogara is a mountain pass located between Vlora and Palase, the first beach of the Albanian Riviera. The road is very dangerous, but be sure to bring your camera with you to take amazing pictures of the landscape. If you travel with children, don’t miss the chance to visit the Llogara Tourist Village. For lunch, go straight to Alberti and taste some typical Albanian delicacies, such as salçe kosi (yogurt sauce), perime zgare (grilled vegetables) and fërgesë (ricotta cheese cooked with peppers).
Between the city of Vlora and the Llogara Pass, the mountain pass that leads into the Albanian Riviera, is Orikum, one of the oldest settlements of the country and the first town taken by Julius Caesar during the invasion of Epirus. The most beautiful part of the site is the small theatre which could seat about 400 people. It is situated near the confines of the Naval Base of Pasha Liman; because of this, special permission is necessary for a visit. There is also a plethora of gorgeous beaches here, so you can easily combine cultural tours with relaxing by the water.
Discovered only in the 1970s, Lepenice caves, located in the eponymous hamlet, are a must-see if you are a history fan. These caves sport historical painted representations of humans from days gone by. To reach Lepenice, you have to take the bus; it departs every morning at 9:30 a.m. near the farmers market of Vlora.