Top 10 Things to Do in Gjirokaster

Did you know that Gjirokaster, a historic city in Albania, offers a plethora of attractions and sights to discover? From ancient castles to vibrant bazaars, this enchanting destination has something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to Gjirokaster, you’ll be amazed by the variety of activities and experiences it has to offer. Read on to find out the top 10 things you must do in Gjirokaster and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture lover, or a nature admirer, Gjirokaster has it all. From exploring the imposing Gjirokaster Castle to wandering through the bustling Old Town Bazaar, each experience will immerse you in the unique charm of this Albanian gem. Prepare to be captivated by the rich history, traditional architecture, and breathtaking landscapes that await you in Gjirokaster.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Gjirokaster and make the most of your visit to this remarkable city!

Gjirokaster Castle

When exploring the picturesque city of Gjirokaster, a visit to Gjirokaster Castle is an absolute must. This iconic attraction stands proudly atop a hill, offering breathtaking views and a glimpse into the region’s rich history.

Gjirokaster Castle

The castle, also known as the Fortress of Gjirokaster, dates back to the 12th century and has witnessed centuries of change and transformation. As you walk through its ancient walls, you’ll be transported back in time and immersed in the stories of the past.

“Gjirokaster Castle is a testament to the city’s enduring legacy and serves as a window into its fascinating history.”

Explore the maze-like corridors and chambers, marvel at the intricate architecture, and admire the imposing cannons that once defended the fortress. From the top of the castle, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Gjirokaster and the surrounding landscape.

While wandering through the castle, keep an eye out for the Museum of Armaments, which showcases a unique collection of weapons and armor from various periods. It’s a fascinating opportunity to delve deeper into the military history of the region.

The Legend of Zekate House

One of the highlights of Gjirokaster Castle is the renowned Zekate House, an exquisite Ottoman-era mansion within the fortress walls. Step inside and be enchanted by its grandeur and the stories it holds.

The Zekate House is a true architectural gem, featuring stunning woodwork, intricately painted ceilings, and beautifully crafted furniture. It offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the affluent families who once resided in Gjirokaster.

Listen to the knowledgeable guides as they share tales of the Zekate family and the significance of the house within the context of Gjirokaster’s history. The Zekate House is a true testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Highlights of Gjirokaster Castle Duration
Exploring the fortress walls 1-2 hours
Visiting the Museum of Armaments 1 hour
Admiring panoramic views from the top 30 minutes
Discovering the Zekate House 1-2 hours

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking panoramic vistas, Gjirokaster Castle offers a compelling experience that shouldn’t be missed. It’s a testament to the city’s enduring legacy and serves as a gateway to the captivating world of Gjirokaster’s past.

Old Town Bazaar

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Old Town Bazaar in Gjirokaster. This bustling marketplace is a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike. As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be enthralled by the charm and rich history of this ancient city.

The Old Town Bazaar is a treasure trove of traditional architecture, filled with Ottoman-style houses, cobblestone alleys, and picturesque courtyards. It’s like stepping back in time to experience the authentic beauty of Gjirokaster.

While exploring the bazaar, don’t miss the opportunity to shop for unique local handicrafts. From handmade carpets and textiles to copperware and jewelry, you’ll find a wide array of traditional products that showcase the region’s craftsmanship.

After a day of exploration, take a break at one of the charming cafes in the bazaar. Relax with a cup of Turkish coffee or indulge in delicious local delicacies.

“The Old Town Bazaar is a fascinating blend of history, culture, and commerce. Its centuries-old streets hold countless stories waiting to be discovered.”

Visiting the Old Town Bazaar is a must-do activity in your Gjirokaster itinerary. It offers a unique glimpse into the city’s past, immerses you in its vibrant present, and leaves you with unforgettable memories.

Old Town Bazaar

Must-See Attractions in the Old Town Bazaar

Attraction Description
Skenduli House A well-preserved Ottoman-style house showcasing the traditional lifestyle of the city.
Gjirokaster Mosque A beautiful mosque with intricate architectural details and a serene atmosphere.
Trapezoid Houses A row of unique houses in the shape of trapezoids, a testament to the city’s architectural heritage.
Clock Tower A prominent landmark offering panoramic views of Gjirokaster and the surrounding mountains.
Antique Shops Browse through a variety of antique shops, where you can find vintage items and collectibles.

Zekate House

Experience the fascinating Zekate House, a well-preserved mansion from the Ottoman era. Step into the grandeur of the past as you explore this architectural gem. Take a guided tour and immerse yourself in the traditional lifestyle of wealthy families in Gjirokaster.

Zekate House


Marvel at the intricate designs and ornate decorations that adorn the walls and ceilings. Learn about the history behind each room and the stories of the people who once called this magnificent house their home.

“Zekate House is a testament to the wealth and opulence of Gjirokaster’s past. Its stunning architecture and lavish interiors provide a glimpse into the lives of the city’s elite.”

Discover the exquisite details and craftsmanship that make Zekate House an architectural marvel. From the beautifully carved ceilings to the intricately designed furniture, every element tells a story of a bygone era.

Highlights of Zekate House:

  • Opulent Ottoman-era mansion
  • Guided tours showcasing traditional lifestyle
  • Intricate designs and exquisite decorations
  • Rich historical background

Plan your visit to Zekate House and immerse yourself in the rich history of Gjirokaster. Experience a unique glimpse into the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage of this enchanting city.

Location Opening Hours Admission
Palorto Str., Gjirokaster 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM $5 per person

Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival

If you’re lucky enough to visit Gjirokaster during the Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival, you’re in for a treat! This annual event celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the city with vibrant music, captivating dance performances, and immersive cultural activities.

During the festival, the streets of Gjirokaster come alive with traditional folk music filling the air. Talented musicians showcase their skills, playing traditional instruments that have been passed down through generations. The lively melodies will transport you to a different era, immersing you in the authentic sounds of Albanian folklore.

The festival is also known for its mesmerizing dance performances. Dancers dressed in traditional costumes gracefully move to the beats of traditional Albanian music. Their intricate footwork and vibrant costumes create a visual spectacle that is truly enchanting. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself tapping your feet along with the rhythm!

“The Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival is a celebration of Albanian culture and traditions. It’s a joyous event that brings together locals and visitors alike, fostering a sense of community and pride in our heritage.” – Local Resident

In addition to music and dance, the festival offers a wide range of cultural activities and workshops. Here, you can learn traditional dances, try your hand at traditional crafts, and taste delicious Albanian cuisine. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.

The Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival attracts both locals and tourists from around the world. It’s a chance to experience the vibrant spirit and warm hospitality of the Albanian people. So, if you’re planning a trip to Gjirokaster, be sure to check the festival dates and include this unforgettable experience in your itinerary.

Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival

Key Highlights of the Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival:

  • Traditional folk music performances
  • Colorful dance shows
  • Cultural workshops and activities
  • Traditional craft demonstrations
  • Delicious Albanian cuisine

Ethnographic Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Gjirokaster at the Ethnographic Museum. Housed in a historic building, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the traditions and customs of the region. Step back in time as you explore the exhibits showcasing traditional costumes, crafts, and tools that have shaped the local way of life.

The Ethnographic Museum provides a treasure trove of knowledge about the cultural identity of Gjirokaster and its people. From intricately woven textiles to meticulously crafted pottery, each artifact tells a story of the region’s history and craftsmanship. Marvel at the attention to detail in the traditional costumes and be inspired by the skill and creativity of the local artisans.

The Ethnographic Museum offers a captivating journey through time, allowing visitors to connect with the rich cultural heritage of Gjirokaster.” – Local Travel Guide

As you explore the museum, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the daily lives, beliefs, and customs of the local community. Discover the importance of traditional music and dance, and learn about the rituals and celebrations that have shaped the region’s identity.

With its wide range of exhibits, the Ethnographic Museum provides an immersive experience that caters to all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply curious about the local culture, this museum is a must-visit attraction in Gjirokaster.

Highlights of the Ethnographic Museum

Exhibit Description
Traditional Costumes Showcasing the intricate design and craftsmanship of local garments.
Handicrafts Exhibiting a wide range of traditional crafts, including pottery, woodwork, and metalwork.
Tools and Implements Highlighting the tools and implements used in traditional trades and agriculture.
Folklore and Festivals Exploring the cultural significance of music, dance, and folklore traditions.

Make sure to allocate enough time to fully immerse yourself in the exhibits and delve into the stories behind each artifact. The Ethnographic Museum is not only an educational experience but also a celebration of the vibrant cultural heritage of Gjirokaster.

Ethnographic Museum

Next, we’ll venture outside of Gjirokaster to discover a natural wonder: The Blue Eye.

The Blue Eye

Journey outside of Gjirokaster to visit The Blue Eye, a natural spring that forms a vibrant blue pool. Take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters.

The Blue Eye

As you venture beyond the city of Gjirokaster, you’ll discover the enchanting beauty of The Blue Eye. This natural wonder is a hidden gem, located approximately 18 kilometers away from the city center.

The Blue Eye gets its name from the mesmerizing shade of blue that emanates from the crystal-clear water. It is a magical sight to behold, with a depth of over 50 meters and a constant flow of fresh water that creates a stunning pool. Its unique aquamarine color is truly captivating and gives a sense of tranquility.

Surrounded by lush greenery and embraced by the Albanian mountains, The Blue Eye offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city. The area is preserved as a natural monument and provides a serene setting for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Many visitors are drawn to The Blue Eye for its captivating beauty and the opportunity to take a refreshing dip in its cool waters. Swimming in the vibrant blue pool is a surreal experience, immersing yourself in nature’s sublime creation.

Whether you choose to simply admire the scenery or take a dip in the rejuvenating waters, a visit to The Blue Eye is a must for nature enthusiasts and those seeking serenity.

Gjirokaster Mosque

When exploring Gjirokaster, make sure to include a visit to the breathtaking Gjirokaster Mosque. This architectural masterpiece is a true gem, with its stunning details and peaceful atmosphere. As you step inside, prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Islamic artwork adorning the walls.

Marvel at the intricate calligraphy and geometric patterns that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Gjirokaster. The mosque provides a serene space for both locals and visitors to find a moment of tranquility amidst the bustling city.

Gjirokaster Mosque

“The Gjirokaster Mosque is a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship and devotion to Islamic art. Its intricate designs and tranquil ambiance make it a must-visit attraction in Gjirokaster.” – Traveler’s Review

Whether you appreciate the architectural marvels, or simply seek a peaceful sanctuary, a visit to the Gjirokaster Mosque should not be missed during your sightseeing tour. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Islamic art and experience the serene atmosphere that surrounds this magnificent place of worship.

Architecture and Design

The Gjirokaster Mosque showcases a blend of Ottoman and Albanian architectural styles. Its elegant minaret stands tall, adding to the skyline of the city. The interior of the mosque is adorned with stunning frescoes and intricate carvings, reflecting the artistic mastery of the craftsmen who built it.

Visiting Information

When planning your visit to the Gjirokaster Mosque:

  • Check the opening hours to ensure you don’t miss out on this unique experience.
  • Respect the dress code and etiquette when entering the mosque, ensuring you dress modestly and remove your shoes.
  • Engage with local guides or volunteers who can provide further insights into the history and significance of the mosque.
Location Opening Hours Contact
Qemal Stafa St, Gjirokaster, Albania 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM +355 82 232 719


In conclusion, Gjirokaster offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. With its stunning Gjirokaster Castle, vibrant Old Town Bazaar, and fascinating Zekate House, there are plenty of attractions to explore during your visit. Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending the Gjirokaster National Folklore Festival, where you can witness traditional music, dance, and cultural performances.

For a deeper understanding of the city’s heritage, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Ethnographic Museum, showcasing traditional costumes, crafts, and tools. If you’re looking for a refreshing escape, make sure to venture outside of Gjirokaster to discover the crystal-clear waters of The Blue Eye.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture lover, or an outdoor adventurer, Gjirokaster will enchant you with its charm and beauty. Plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your time in this Albanian gem and create unforgettable memories.