Durrës is one of the oldest cities in Albania and the second in importance after its capital, Tirana. Today, it is among the most popular Albanian holiday destinations, thanks to its beautiful coastline, modern amenities and rich historical heritage.
On Ferryhopper, you can find lots of useful information about Durrës, its beaches, must-see attractions and the ferries to get there. Browse all available routes and book your ferry tickets to Albania easily and quickly!
View of the busy city center of Durrës
Holidays in Durrës
Durrës is a radiant tourist center and is certainly an obligatory stop for those planning a trip to Albania.
Considered the gateway to the "Land of the Eagles", Durrës is known for its heavenly atmosphere. It's worth spending a few days in the city, visiting its surrounding areas and heading to the beaches in the south.
A holiday in Durrës is perfect for all kinds of travelers and caters to all preferences! It is also a fantastic starting point for road trips in Albania.
How to get to Durrës
You can reach Durrës by ferry, plane, car or public transport, depending on your point of departure.
Durrës’ strategic position makes traveling by ferry from Italy to Albania nothing but smooth sailing! From the ports of Bari and Ancona, it is possible to travel by ferry to Durrës year-round. Learn more about ferries to Durrës below.
The nearest airport to Durrës is in Tirana, which is about 32 km away. There are flight connections from both Italy and abroad. Once you land, there are various shuttle services that take you to the center of Durrës.
If, on the other hand, you intend to reach Durrës by car, you should know that the city is crossed by the Pan-European Corridor VIII, so it is not only connected to other cities in Albania, but also to Bulgaria and Kosovo.
Alternatively, various trains also leave for Durrës from the Albanian cities of Vlora and Tirana.
Beautiful sunset over the port of Durrës as seen from a ferry
What to do in Durrës
Durrës is not only a classic seaside resort, but it also perfectly reflects the hospitality and warmth of its country!
Even if it looks like a quiet city at first, Durrës offers various leisure options, amenities and opportunities for cultural sightseeing. Start discovering the old parts of the city, admire the ancient Roman amphitheater, visit the museums and mosques, and try the local street food.
Then, stroll along its promenade, full of bars and restaurants, and take advantage of its proximity to the beaches of Durrës. But for the most beautiful coastal spots, you discover other nearby towns on the Albanian Riviera.
Immerse yourself in the urban atmosphere of Durrës for 2-3 days and then resume your journey around Albania. We are sure you will not regret it!
Beaches in Durrës
Thanks to its long sandy coastline, Durrës’ beaches attract many travelers every year. Its beaches are perfect for both young people and families with children, as there are numerous visitor amenities available.
Here are 8 beaches in and around Durrës that we highly recommend:
- Beach of Durrës: adjacent to the center of Durrës, it is a long stretch of fine sand with shallow waters. The area is well-equipped and the beach offers many activities, as there are areas for beach volleyball and soccer, and even a bowling alley nearby.
- Golem beach: located 10 km from Durrës, it is among the most popular swimming spots. The beach is wide and provides families with children with various services and all-inclusive packages.
- Mali i Robit beach: rather close and similar to Golem, this beach is surrounded by a pine forest. Here, you can find various accommodation options, with many portions of the beach reserved for guests. However, there are bathing establishments and swimming spots that are free to access as well. You can also find some campsites in the south.
- Currila beach: although it is very close to the city, it is surrounded by nature. This long and wide beach includes a series of bathing establishments and areas that are free to access. It has fine sand, crystal-clear waters and a perfect backdrop for snorkeling.
- Portez Beach: wild, long and secluded, it is about 25 min from Durrës. It’s only a stone’s throw from Natyra Park’s lagoon. Here, you can find umbrellas and deck chairs, while there is also a bar and a restaurant.
- San Pietro beach: located inside the Bay of Lalzi, it is one of the most beautiful in the area of Durrës. It is a long golden beach surrounded by nature and dotted with a series of bunkers dating back to the Communist Era. The beach is partially equipped, and given its tranquility, it is particularly suitable for families and couples.
- Spille beach: characterized by many as a "heavenly place", this beach is located 45 min from Durrës and is perfect for those who wish to relax. It is surrounded by a pine forest and has fine white sand. You can rent deck chairs and umbrellas or cool down at the free stretches of the beach.
- General’s Beach: this hidden gem of the Adriatic coast takes its name from an Italian general who in the 1930s visited quite often with his yacht. Its waters are incredible and it is not uncommon to spot some sea turtles here! To get to the beach, you’ll have to follow a dirt path.
The splendid waters of the General’s Beach in Durrës
Sightseeing in Durrës
The architecture of Durrës is a harmonious combination of past and present, which is made clear by its diverse city center. The streets are always lively, especially on the seafront, where there are plenty of things to do and see.
Among the various options for historical and cultural sightseeing in Durrës, we recommend the following:
- The Roman Amphitheatre of Durrës, the largest in the Balkans
- The Grand Mosque of Durrës, also known as the New Mosque
- The Fatih Mosque, built in the 16th century CE
- The Bulevardi Dyrrah, one of the most beautiful markets in Europe
- The Roman thermal baths and the Byzantine Forum, with beautiful Corinthian columns
- The imposing Durrës Castle, a medieval tower that was destroyed and rebuilt several times
- The Archaeological Museum of Durrës, the largest in the country
- The Ethnographic Museum, with a rich collection of folk crafts and costumes
- The Zog's Villa of Durrës (or Royal Villa of Durrës), built on a hill
- The city waterfront and its beautiful sunset views
The famous Roman Amphitheater of Durrës
Nightlife in Durrës
Durrës is a very lively city, especially at night. Its promenade turns into a nightlife hub, with countless bars and restaurants revealing themselves to visitors and locals alike.
The area is popular among young people, especially those who wish to hit the dance floor. Aside from the lounge bars and their refreshing cocktails, several restaurant clubs transform into never-ending parties that last all night long.
Food in Durrës
Albanian cuisine introduces you to mouthwatering traditions. There are usually 2 types of course: the typical meze (appetizers) and the main course, which is usually based on meat, fish and vegetables.
Here are some of our favorite delicacies in Durrës:
- Byrek (a savory pie)
- Grilled fish
- Baked lamb
- Le qofte (veal meatballs)
- Fërgesë (based on tomatoes, peppers and salted ricotta)
- Baked peppers stuffed with ricotta
- Salçe kosi (yogurt-based sauce)
- Shëndetli (a honey cake)
Servings of the delicious byrek in a bar in Durrës
Places to visit around Durrës
If you plan to spend a few more days in Durrës, consider visiting some neighboring attractions and urban hotspots, such as:
- Tirana is just 37 km from Durrës and is home to a wonderful historic center. The city is also full of outdoor venues, parks, bike trails and museums.
- Krujë Castle, less than 1 hour from Durrës, rewards visitors with a panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea, Tirana and the Dalmatian coasts.
- Rodon Cape, which is a natural oasis that the inhabitants of Durrës usually visit on weekends. It is located about 1 hour from Durrës and has dream beaches. You can also visit its famous castle and the charming St. Anthony Church.
Tips for your trip to Durrës
Here are 3 travel tips for your trip to Durrës:
- When visiting Albania, you must have a passport valid for at least three months after your scheduled day of return.
- August is perhaps not the best month to enjoy Durrës and Albania given the crowds and increased prices. Instead, we recommend visiting Durrës in June and September!
- Albania is not a member of the European Union, so if you want to access the internet from your phone without resetting your credit, we suggest that you always connect to a Wi-Fi network or sign up for a subscription plan with your operator before leaving.
Useful information about Durrës
Durrës is among the most advanced cities in Albania when it comes to tourist services. There is a wide range of accommodation and entertainment options with something for everyone!
We suggest that you stay in the city center of Durrës if you wish to fully experience the location’s atmosphere, especially when you’re traveling car-free. Alternatively, you can look for accommodation solutions close to the beaches of Durrës or in the area of the seafront.
The official Albanian currency is the lek, though you can sometimes pay in euros as well. Either way, there are plenty of places for exchanging currencies in the city and at some ATMs close to petrol stations.
The public hospital of Durrës is located near the city center and just 4 km from the port. Make sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card with you.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Durrës
Here are some numbers that could prove useful during your stay in Durrës:
- Durrës Hospital: +35552222222
- Durrës Port Authority: +35508007374
- Local police office: +35552222266
- European emergency phone number: 112
Transportation in Durrës
Durrës is a city that can be easily explored on foot.
The major attractions are located in the old part of the city, and the city beaches allow you to enjoy the sea with all the necessary amenities in proximity. The most important areas of Durrës are Rruga Taulantia and Sheshi Liria square, where you can find the starting points of the main streets of the historic center.
If you intend to travel to other surrounding areas, it is best to move around by car, even if the traffic is somewhat intense in the high season. Tirana is only 37 km from Durrës and can also be reached by bus.
If you decide to travel by taxi in Durrës, keep in mind that the rates are predetermined based on the distance, though the cost can sometimes be negotiated in advance.
Tranquil moments at the seafront of Durrës
Ports in Durrës
Durrës is the largest port in Albania, as well as a significantly important port of call in the Adriatic Sea. Combining both ancient and modern elements, Durrës is an important seaport for passenger and cargo transport.
The port of Durrës is located near the center and divides the beautiful city waterfront into two parts. The bus station is about 3 km from the port, where direct buses from the airport in Tirana arrive.
In the port area, there are various amenities, including car rental services, hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, groceries and a petrol station.
Durrës ferry: schedules and tickets
You can reach Durrës from Italy by taking the ferry from Bari or Ancona.
The Bari - Durrës ferry route is active from Monday to Sunday with several daily trips, with increased frequency in the high season. The duration of the journey varies between 9 hours and roughly 11 hours, depending on the chosen operator.
Regarding the ferries from Ancona to Durrës, there are usually 3 weekly trips, lasting around 15 hours.
If you want to know more about the Italian ferry schedules, check out our dedicated article!
Useful info: You can travel with your pet on all ships from Italy to Albania. You can opt for kennels and cat shelters on board, or even book a pet-friendly cabin.
The busy port of Durrës
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