Earth : Europe : Balkans : Albania : Coastal Albania : Vlorë
Vlore lies in the southwestern coastal region of Albania, at the southern end of the Adriatic Sea and the northern part the Ionian Sea. The Vlore coastline accounts for about 30% of the entire coast of Albania and in its proximity is located the Albanian Riviera. It is 135km from the capital city, Tirana, separated by only 72km from Italy (Channel of Otranto) and 123km from Greece (the island of Corfu). The surface area of Vlore is 1609km2 and includes 4 cities; Vlore, Selenica, Himara and Orikum. It has a climate typical of Mediterranean Sea, with mild winters that are generally wet, and summers that are dry. The Vlore region has three basic climatic zones: The coast has moderate temperatures, as the other countries of the Mediterranean, and does not suffer the cold winds like the western side of Albania.
The inland, hilly areas in the region have a cool climate with rains and similar to that of Central Europe with a relatively mild climate. The mountainous region, such as Llogara, possesses a dry continental climate. In winter it can be quite cold (though snow is relatively uncommon) and has fresh, cool air all summer long. Vlore receives more hours of sunshine per year than any other region of Albania - averaging over 2000 "sunny" hours annually. Vlore has the only peninsula in Albania, which is named Karaburun. It is roughly 16km by 4km in size, and an area of 62km². The peninsula of Karaburun is rich in natural resources (famous for marble), woodlands, and archeological remains. It is also home to a reserve for wild pigs. The only island in Albania, named Sazan, is located 17km from the port of Vlore and 9km from Triport (Three Gates) in the Vlore region. The highest point of the island is 342m. Sazan has a surface area of 5.7km² and 12km of coast. A rocky cliff breaks the beach. Vlore, long known for its olive production, at last count had approximately 280,000 olive trees. The olive trademark " Vlonjak" is one of the oldest in Europe and is known for its great oil production. The territory around Vlore comes from thriving ancient cities such as Amantia-Ploce, Olympe-Mavrova, Orikos-Orikum, Himera-Himare, Kionina-Kanine, Nymfeum-Selenica and Aulona-Vlora.
A lot of famous people in Albania were born in Vlore, including 6 former ministers (Xhafaj, Malaj, Angjeli, Gjinushi, Leskaj, Pango), a lot of famous singers (including Aurela Gace and Poni), and several other VIPs. Vlore is also known for being the head city for the 1997 revolution in Albania. Zani Caushi was one of the local leaders, although he later started to trade drugs. If possible, do not get in a discussion about 1997 while being in Vlore.
The dialect of Vlore is difficult to learn, as it includes a special kind of speaking (slower than the rest of Albanians), difficult "r" and "l" ("r", especially when the first letter of a word, is severe, while "l" is something between "l" and "ll") and a lot of daily used phrases.They use "vlla" (brother) or "motra" (sister) like the Americans use dude or bro.The people are born with this dialect and if you speak Albanian you can understand where someone is from (especially Vlora dialect).
If you are in Tirana, follow the way: Tirana-Durres-Kavaje-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore. The roadway is pretty good. From Macedonia, you can follow: Qafe Thane-Librazhd-Elbasan-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore From Greece, you can take three ways: (i) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Tepelene-Vlore; or (ii) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Qafe e Muzines-Sarande-Vlore; or (iii) Qafe Bote-Sarande-Dhermi-Vlore. The last itinerary is the shortest but is the slowest because of many curves. And it's also really beautiful - Llogara Pass. Hundreds of curves, and the coast on the left side... Drive carefully, this road demands concentration and watch out for the car's cooling system :)
You can take a bus from Tirana - the journey can be very slow! You can also take a furgon(new laws prohibit furgons so you may not find one easy) from any of the nearby towns (eg. Saranda, Fier) which can be faster than bus. Buses and furgons drop off in the city "centre" near the Muradie Mosque, or a couple of blocks west.
You can also take a bus from Athens. There are over night buses and day long buses every day. It cost 30 euro for all bus companies, and there is a strip of bus companies in downtown Athens.
From Brindisi with two over night ferries since May 2015, arriving in Vlore early in the morning.
There are three areas you might visit in Vlore - the beaches, the port, and the town centre.
There is a small tourist information kiosk in Flag Square, next to the Independence Monument.
In the "town centre" area -
Port area -
Surrounding area -
Velça Caves are part of the culture of the late Neolit culture of the 3rd millennium BC. Professor Marciani took notes about this cave, and speculated that it must have been lived in 1000 years before Christ. Haxhi Ali Cave in Karaburun is situated on the peninsula. Located in a cliff, it is the biggest cave in Albania at 30 meters long, 10 meters wide and 10-15 meters high.
Vlore is blessed with numerous natural springs because of precipitation and the mountainous landscape. Rivers The Vjosa River with the length of 76km, it has served as a natural border between Fier (in the north) and Vlore. It was very practical to navigate between the two cities because the river generally passes through fields and flat land. Shushica River has a length of about 80km and is also known by another name, Vlore River, because it traverses the valley of the same name. Lagoons: Vlore has two of the most important lagoons in Albania. They are Narta Lagoon and Pashaliman Lagoon. The lagoons are both connected with the sea by the way of a channel and, as such, are affected by the tides. Narta Lagoon is situated north of Vlore. It is well-known internationally because of the number of sea birds, which exceeds 48,700. For three species of sea birds, 1% of the total number find refuge here. In winter, more than 23% of the sea birds of Albania live in this area. Pashaliman Lagoon, although small in size, is known for different kinds of ducks and for winter seabirds that migrate through Albania
Vlore's sea products are some of the best in Albania. You must not forget to visit Paradise Beach Restaurant, one of the best sea food products in Albania. Its 5-10 minutes (depending on traffic) with a car from the center of Vlore. Ask for the right direction. Another great restaurant is "Makareshi", which is less than 5 minutes from the center of the city (with a car). But the most important thing to eat there is the Vlore traditiional food. Vlore (together with Kurvelesh) is the center of Laberia - the most famous and patriotic region of Albania. "Lab" people tend to be very proud of themselves, but also of their food. Try kukurec, qumeshtor and harapash. "Mish ne hell", which is rotisserie lamb, is well-known. Try this around Karaburuni.
Vlore area cuisine is typical of coastal and mountainous areas. The products are taken from dairy animals which are raised in the mountains by the sea. Here are some examples of traditional Albanian dishes: Byrek is a flaky pastry that is preferred by the people of Vlore to be filled with either field greens (spinaches or leeks) or just as a milky pie or even meat. The most important ingredients are fresh milk, flour, and field greens.
By the main beach where the Adriatic meets the Ionian sea, there is a natural mineral water spring that leads into the ocean. Locals fill up empty bottles to take with them to the beach, and larger containers to take home. You can have an aperitif always near the seaside or in the mountain of Llogora, a natural park (protected).
Accommodation on offer ranges from luxurious to basic with a good choice of hotels in between. Friendly service and good hospitality is usually encountered. Also available are private apartments and homes for longer stays of 10-15 days, B&B's and hostels. You can camp in some areas.
Notable Hotels to search for while in Vlore are Hotel Vlora, Hotel Martini, Europa grand resort,House of Sun Residence, Hotel Lungomare, Vlorë, Hotel Liro Hotel Ble Ble and Hotel New York.
To stay safe in Vlore while traveling, it is suggested you bring some sunscreen. As a little flourishing city the pollution is not as severe as it may be in others and that usually leads to a clear unpolluted and merciless sky.
Use your common sense, don't leave your car-keys in your car and don't leave your car open.
Be wary of the open roads, as many are very limited in size with dangerous curves, or some are completely riddled with potholes. Take into account that Albania's driver culture is relatively new and unrestricted. There are rare turn signals, and a lot of honking to be taken either as warnings or as a sign to move faster.
The main Police Station in Vlore; Policia Vlore is located at the very entrance of the city center, in the same entrance you enter the city from Fjeri either by car or bus.
You can try to head southwards to the picturesque village of Vuno, famous for its school-hostel Shkolla - a magnet for all passing-by backpackers. If you desire a long shoreline and shallow waters, the city of Orikum provides ample space for your own beach chairs, if you travel far enough. Cheap prices are a given, being so far away from the city of Vlora, however one must be careful to find swimming space that is not fed by one of their colder rivers or creeks. The bus station is Vlore on most sites show it as being in the old train station when in fact it is a block before that on the left hand side of the street facing away from the water. You will see the buses lined on the street with a sign in the window for destination. Note that other than to Tirana most busses only leave in the mornings.