Albania’s Cape of Rodon juts out from the coast into the Adriatic Sea and has some of the most beautiful views of where the water wildly meets the land. Also home to a historic castle and church, the cape is a must-see sight that isn’t on the usual tourist paths.
The rocky Cape of Rodon is not easily reached, but is definitely worth the time. It’s a great day trip if you’re spending a day or more in the nearby seaside town of Fushë-Draçi, where you can find many vacation rental homes and great beaches not yet overcrowded with tourists. Walking to the cape takes about two hours, so if you’re not feeling very active it’s better to rent a car and drive all the way there. The roads leading to the cape are quite well paved, but in order to venture further you’ll have to walk because the roads soon become very rocky and steep.
One of the first sights to discover is the Saint Anthony Church, a cultural monument located right by the beach and still open to service. If you’re lucky, you’ll happen upon a few wild horses grazing in the nearby pastures, reminding you of Albania‘s wild and untouched natural world. Inside the old church, a few rows of wooden stools are overlooked by a large cross, for an interior that is both historic and updated. Once outside, you can take a stroll by the water, or (weather permitting) jump right into the sea to cool off.
Follow the trail back inland past the many former bunkers on the hill to get to the path that leads to the cape’s other important historical structure: the Rodoni Castle, built by the famous Skanderberg (the Albanian nobleman and military commander). On either side you’ll see the precipice of the cape and the sea below, which is as intimidating as it is beautiful. The castle itself is back on the beach on the right side of the cape, so you’ll have to climb back down to reach it (make sure to wear comfortable shoes because the path is rocky and sometimes slippery).
Completed in around 1452, the castle was built in order to increase protection against the Ottomans who had recently attacked Albania in the first Siege of Krujë. However, by 1467 the fortification was, alas, destroyed by the Ottomans before being rebuilt by the Republic of Venice. Nowadays, visitors can wander around the castle’s outer walls that overlook the sea, which has, despite its beauty, caused the structure to corrode over time. If the small hike to the castle hasn’t made you too tired, you can walk back up to the path and continue to the very tip of the cape; a truly marvelous stroll through the evergreen trees with amazing views on either side.