logo icon
All filters
image image

Travel To Gjirokastra

Gjirokaster, Albania

Travel To Gjirokastra

Welcome to the old city of Gjirokastra

The city of Gjirokastra is 232 km from Tirana. It is situated in southern Albania, 31 km from Greek Border at Kakavija, and 56 km from the seaside city of Saranda. Gjirokastra is a steep city, extending from the floor of the Drino Valley, up the east face of Mali i Gjere. The city is the center of Gjirokastra District, which includes the town of Libohova. It includes also the communes of Antigone, Lower Dropull, Upper Dropull, Lazarat, Lunxheria, Odrie, Picar, Pogon, and Zagori.

Gjirokastra County is much bigger, encompassing Permet, Tepelena, Memaliaj, and Kelcyra. The region’s different religions, including Islam, Bektashi, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic, live in perfect harmony. Ethnically, the majority is of course Albanian.  However the region has a substantial Greek minority and smaller communities of Vlach and Roma.

Understanding The People

The residents of Gjirokastra are commonly described as frugal or stingy. This stereotype is the basis of many jokes about the people of Gjirokastra. However, Gjirokastrans are not offended by these jokes, and even enjoy them. They acknowledge that they like to save money, focus on their families, and invest in their houses. They remember the bad days and plan for the future. Not surprisingly, according to government statistics, the residents of Gjirokastra are the richest in Albania.

There are similar stereotypes and jokes about the region’s other residents. The residents of Tepelena are somehow stubborn, while residents of Permeti are considered very hard working and quiet.

However, hospitality is characteristic of all Albanians. If you are a guest in any house in Gjirokastra, Permet, Tepelene, or elsewhere in the region, you will be offered the best raki, wine, and food that they have.

The food

Gjirokastra is famous for its food. The delicious cuisine results from combining high-quality, often organic ingredients, with talented cooks. The cuisine has distinct Ottoman roots, with its use of local oils, spices, herbs and especially sauces. Gjirokastrans can produce many variations of dishes using only a few basic ingredients. Typical dishes include pashaqofte, a soup with small meatballs; qifqi, rice balls cooked in a frying pan and mixed with herbs; shapkat, a mixture of sorrels and corn flour; sarma or japrak, stuffed grape leaves with rice and mint; and qahi, tiny spinach pies. Must-try local desserts include oshaf, made with sheep’s milk and cinnamon, and Turkish bakllava, prepared in the local way.

Vegetables are grown in Lunxhëri, and the muskmelons of Dropull are especially good. The cheese of Gjirokastra is another important local product. It is renowned throughout Albania and is generally considered the best. This cheese is made from goat, sheep or cow’s milk. The most common cheeses are djathë i bardhë, a soft white cheese that is similar to, but a bit harder than, feta, and kaçkavall, a hard, yellow variety.

Practical Information


Dial 129 for police emergencies
Deal 124 for medical emergencies

Post office

The post office is located on rruga Varosh
Open from Monday to Friday (8.30-16.00)

Public Holidays

Kurban Bajram or Greater Eid Festival (August)
Independence Day (28 November)
Liberation Day (29 November)
National Youth Day (8 December)
Christmas (25 December)
New Year (1/2 January)
Summer Day ( 14 March )
Catholic Easter Day (April )
Orthodox Easter Day (April )
Labour Day (1 May)

Currency Exchange

The official currency of Albania is the lek, but most shops, hotels and restaurants also accept euros. Very few businesses in Gjirokastra accept credit cards, so you should have cash. Cash machines and licensed currency exchange shops can be found both downtown and in the old town.

Learn some Albanian

Some basic phrases in Albanian and their comparable English pronunciations:
Miredita = meer-detae = Good Day
Mirmengjes = meer – men – jazz = Good Morning
Faleminderit = fall – ae – minter – it = Thank you
Si jeni ? = See – ye – ne ? = How are you?
Mire = Me – rae = Good
Po = Po = Yes
Jo = Yo = No