Gjirokaster Tour – Full-Day Tour of Gjirokastra from Tirana

I enjoy guiding the Gjirokaster tour, because Gjirokastra is one of the most beautiful historical cities in Albania. During the Gjirokaster tour, you will visit the Gjirokaster castle and explore the old town center by foot.

Why should I go on a Gjirokaster tour? You should go on a Gjirokaster tour, because Gjirokaster is a Unesco heritage site in Albania. The old town of Gjirokaster has typical stone houses, that were built during the Ottoman rule. You will visit the Gjirokaster castle, which has a stunning panoramic view. You will explore the Bazaar market, see the interior of a typical tower house and visit interesting museums.

Gjirokaster is located in the ultimate south of Albania. Therefore, let me take care of your private transportation. Moreover, let me be your private guide during the Gjirokaster tour. So that you can see the beautiful UNESCO center of Gjirokaster, without having to worry about any of the details.

Gjirokaster Tour Details

Gjirokaster is a UNESCO Heritage Site and a historical town in the south of Albania. During the Gjirokaster tour, you will have a chance to explore the historical town center of Gjirokaster on a day-tour from Tirana.

Gjirokaster is known as a “museum city” in Albania, because it has so many beautiful stone houses. The typical houses in Gjirokaster are known as tower houses. These typical houses were built when Albania was a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

The Gjirokaster tour starts with private transportation from Tirana city. You will depart early in the morning and arrive in Gjirokaster around noon. The tour of this gorgeous historical city will start with a visit to the Gjirokaster castle.

The Gjirokaster castle is located on the hill-top and it has a stunning panoramic view over the old town of Gjirokaster. The original fortress was built in the 12th century, but during the Ottoman period the castle was improved and extended.

Even more interesting, is that the castle was turned into a prison in 1932 and used by the King of Albania and the communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Nowadays, the prison has been turned into an Arms museum, with weapons from Albania’s independence battle.

After visiting the Gjirokaster castle, you will have the opportunity to see the unchanged interior of one of the typical houses in Gjirokaster. Seeing how the rich Albanians lived during the Ottoman empire is truly fascinating.

Then there will be an opportunity to stroll through the old town and visit the Old Bazaar Market. On the market, you can buy local handicrafts and souvenirs.

Moreover, there are plenty of interesting museums to visit, like the Cold War Tunnel or the Ethnographic Museum.

And the best part of the Gjirokaster tour is that it is a private tour. You will have private transportation and a private tour guide. Therefore, you can customize the tour and you choose how to spend your day in this stunning historical UNESCO city!

About me

About me

I am an Albania Tour Guide, who organizes 1-day, 2-day or multiple day private tours in Albania. I arrange your transportation and I am your English speaking guide. So that, you get to experience the most beautiful places in Albania!
Kind regards, Manon

Gjirokaster Tour Itinerary

During the Gjirokaster tour, you will experience the beautiful historical town center of the city. You will depart Tirana early in the morning and you will arrive in Gjirokaster around noon.

Your visit will start by exploring the hill-top Gjirokaster castle, from where you will have a stunning panoramic view of the city. Afterwards, you will have a chance to walk through the historical center by foot. There are plenty of interesting museums to explore.

And of course, there will be time for shopping for handicrafts at the bazaar market and some time to relax at a local cafe.

Pick-up for the Gjirokaster tour

The Gjirokaster tour starts in Tirana city. You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Tirana. When you make the booking, you can choose from the following pick-up locations:

  • 117 popular hotels in Tirana
  • Tirana International airport
  • Custom pick-up location

If you cannot find your hotel’s name in the list of popular hotels, you can simply add it as a custom pick-up location. 

Please bear in mind that the Gjirokaster tour starts at 7:30 AM and the pick-up starts 30 minutes before the start time.

Pick-up service in Tirana is included in the price of the Gjirokaster tour.

Itinerary for Gjirokaster Full-Day Tour from Tirana

Gjirokaster city
Gjirokaster is a historical city, which is on the UNESCO heritage list. Walking through Gjirokaster gives you an insight into what the city was like during the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The city has typical stone houses and cobble stone streets. Therefore, Gjirokaster is also knows as the “stone city”.

The city of Gjirokaster is known in Albania as a “museum city”, because it has beautiful historical buildings everywhere. It is a lovely city to stroll through.

Gjirokaster Castle
The Gjirokaster Castle is a large fortress on the top of a hill in the city. The fortress has a spectacular view of the historical city and the traditional stone houses of Gjirokaster. It is one of the biggest hilltop castles in the Balkans and it therefore dominates the city.

The castle was originally build in the 12th century by the local Byzantine government. But it was renovated and additions were made during the Byzantine rule, the Ottoman empire and the government of King Zog. From the 1930 onwards, it was mainly used as a prison for people who were resistant against the government.

Inside the castle, you can visit the Museum of Arms, which displays arms used against the Italian invasion, the German invasion and the Albanian Independence battle.

Old Bazaar of Gjirokaster
The Old Bazaar of Gjirokaster is the traditional market place in Gjirokaster. The bazaar was originally build in the Middle Ages. There are a variety of craftsmen, souvenir shops and coffee houses along the Bazaar. You can buy handmade wooden pieces, handwoven rugs and delicate lace items. The street of the Bazaar is made of cobblestones and it set on a steep hillside.

Skenduli House
Skenduli House is a highlight for visitors to Gjirokaster. It is an original family house, which is more than 300 years old. During your visit, you will get a unique insight into what life was like for a rich family during the Ottoman period. The house has 9 fireplaces, 6 bathrooms, 12 rooms, 44 doors, 64 windows and 4 hamam turkish baths.

The house has been owned by the same family for generations. The family will show you around the house and tell you stories about it’s history. One of the highlights is the room used for wedding ceremonies, with beautiful stained glass windows, carved wooden ceilings and a fireplace decorated with pomegranates, which symbolize fertility.

Cold War Tunnel in Gjirokastra
The Cold War Tunnel is a gigantic bunker underneath the castle of Gjirokaster. It was build by the former communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

The dictator was paranoid about a foreign invasion or a nuclear attack. In fact, he was so convinced an attack was eminent he constructed 750.000 bunkers all over Albania. The Cold War Tunnel was constructed in secret in the 1960s, and it remained a secret for the locals until the 1990s.

The Cold War Tunnel is 800 m long and it has 59 rooms, therefore, it could hold up to 300 people if needed. The bunker is empty, but the use of the rooms have been displayed on the doors. There were rooms for government ministries, interrogators, party elites, power generation, water storage, sleeping, de-contamination and air filtration.

Museum of Weapons Gjirokastra
Inside the castle walls of Gjirokastra’s castle, you can visit the Museum of Weapons. The museum site was originally a prison. Albania’s King Zog constructed the prison in 1932. During the second world war, the prison was used by the Italian and German forces. After the war, the communist regime, used the prison to hold political prisoners.

The Museum of Weapons displays arms used by from the Albanian Independence struggle in 1912 and from the struggle against the Italian and German occupations from 1939 to 1944.

Zekate House
Zekate House is a historical town house in Gjirokaster city. It is a beautiful example of a traditional tower house. The house was build in 1812, and it said to be “one of the greatest examples of Gjirokaster architecture in the Ottoman style”. Impressive houses like Zekate House, used to only belong to the wealthy people, like government officials and merchants.

Inside the house you can see the original interior and imagine what it was like to live there during the Ottoman period. There are beautiful stained-glass windows, wooden ceilings and wall frescoes.

Obelisk Monument of Gjirokaster
The Obelisk is a monument located on the highest peak of the city of Gjirokaster. The monument is a symbol of education in the Albanian language.

For many centuries, Albania was a part of the Turkish Ottoman empire. Therefore, education in the Albanian language was forbidden for a long period of time. The Obelisk monument is located near the location of the first Albanian language school in Gjirokaster, which was opened in 1908. At the time it was very dangerous to open an Albanian language school, particularly for the teachers, who worked there.

Since the Obelisk monument is located on the highest peak in the city of Gjirokaster, it has amazing views. You can see the old city and the typical stone houses below.

Cerciz Topulli Square
Cerciz Topulli Square is a historical square in Gjirokaster. It is named after the national hero Cerciz Topulli, who fought against the Ottoman Turks in the early 20th century. He was mainly known for killing the Ottoman commander Bimbashi in 1908. Shortly after in 1912, Albania became independent and he fought to protect the Albanian territory from the foreign invators. There is a statue of the hero on the square.

Ethnographic Museum of Gjirokastra
The Ethnographic Museum gives you an insight into the traditional lifestyle of a wealthy family in Gjirokaster. The museum’s building is on the location, where the former dictator Enver Hoxha’s childhood home was. However, the original building was destroyed by a fire. Inside the museum you can see a display of artifacts, household items, folk costumes, clothing and kitchenware from the past.

Ali Pasha Bridge
In 1811, the city of Gjirokaster as ruled by the Ottoman Governor Ali Pasha. During his rule, he constructed a 12 kilometre long aquaduct, which brought drinking water to the city from the Sopot Mountain.

In 1932, the aqueduct was mostly demolished, but one section in the Manalat Quarter still stands. The bridge is known as the “Ali Pasha Bridge”, the “Manalat Bridge” or the “Dunavat Bridge”. It is a 30 minutes hike from Gjirokaster and an off-the-beaten-path attraction for visitors.

Drop-off service after the Gjirokaster tour

After the Gjirokaster tour, you will be dropped off in Tirana city. When you make the booking, you can select a drop-off location of your choice in Tirana.

For the drop-off service, you can choose one of the 117 popular hotels in Tirana, Tirana International Airport or write down a custom drop-off location.

Drop-off service in Tirana is included in the price of the Gjirokaster tour.

Gjirokaster Tour highlights

Gjirokaster is a beautiful historical city and UNESCO heritage site. The highlight of Gjirokaster is simply strolling through the old city and admiring the typical architecture.

During the Gjirokaster tour, you will first visit the Gjirokaster castle, which has a panoramic view over the city. Afterwards, you will explore the old town by foot. You will also have the opportunity to see the interior of a typical house or buy some local handicrafts at the Old Bazaar market.

Gjirokaster Castle

The Gjirokaster Castle is located on the top of the hill overlooking Gjirokaster. Therefore, it has impressive views over the city of Gjirokaster.

The castle was built in the 12th century by the Byzantine government. However, additions and improvements were made during the Ottoman empire. Ali Pasha from Tepelena, who was the Albanian governor during the Ottoman rule, added the clock tower and a 10 km long aqueduct to bring water from the mountains.

In 1932, the castle was redesigned as a prison by the Albanian King Zog. The prison was used by King Zog, the fascists, the nazis and the communist government until 1968.

Inside the castle, you can visit the Arms museum with weapons from Albania’s independance battle, a World War II tank and an American fighter plane. The American plane was forced to land near Tirana, as it was considered a spy plane.

Zekate house

Zekate house is a beautiful and well-preserved traditional house in Gjirokaster. The house has twin towers and it is a typical example of a tower house.

Zekate house was owned by the general administrator of the Albanian governor Ali Pasha. Only the wealthiest families in Gjirokaster could afford such a house.

Zekate house was built in 1811, and it has three stories. Inside, you can see the unchanged interiors, as they were during the Ottoman empire.

The house has carved wooden ceilings, stained glass windows and beautiful wall frescoes. From the top floor, you have amazing views of the river valley.

The owners of the house lives next door and they show tourists around in the house.

Old Bazaar in Gjirokastra

The Old Bazaar in Gjirokastra is a traditional market place at the center of Gjirokaster.

The old bazaar dates back to the 17th century. In the 19th century, it was destroyed by a fire, but it was restored afterwards.

In the old times, you could buy handcrafted items from wood, stone and fabric made by craftsmen at the market. These days, you can buy souvenirs, t-shirts, carpets, curtains and handicrafts.

But mostly, the Old Bazaar market is a nice place to stroll through to get a feeling for the old city of Gjirokaster. The streets are layed with cobble stones and the shops are heritage buildings from the Ottoman period.

 

Gjirokastra UNESCO sight

Gjirokastra has a beautiful historical town center, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Gjirokastra’s old town center has many rare examples of architecture, that used to be typical during the Ottoman period. The city is know for the beautiful historical houses. The typical houses are known as “tower houses”, which were built in the 17th and 19th century.

The city of Gjirokaster was constructed by major landowners. And what is unique about the city is that the historical center was very well preserved. Even though, the houses were continuously inhabited from the ancient times until today.

From the Gjirokaster castle, you will get a beautiful view of the old town. However, afterwards, you absolutely must stroll through the cobblestone streets and explore the old town center by foot.

What is included in the Gjirokaster tour?

  • Private transport with a/c vehicle
  • Private tour guide in Gjirokaster
  • Hotel pick-up and drop off in Tirana
  • Entrance fees to the museums described in the itinerary

What is excluded from the Gjirokaster tour?

  • Meals and drinks
  • Tips and gratuities

At what time does the Gjirokaster tour start?

The Gjirokaster tour starts at 7:30 AM from Tirana city. You will be picked up from a location of your choice in Tirana. Pick-up starts 30 minutes before the start time of the Gjirokaster tour.

When you make the booking on our website, you can choose from the following pick-up locations:

  • A list of a 117 popular hotels in Tirana
  • Tirana International Airport
  • Custom pick-up location

If you are not able to find your hotel in the list of 117 hotels, you can simply add the hotel name as your custom pick-up location. So that, we will be able to pick you up from your hotel.

What is the duration of the Gjirokaster tour?

The Gjirokaster tour lasts 1 full day, approximately 12 hours. 

The drive from Tirana to Gjirokaster takes around 4 hours. The Gjirokaster tour starts at 7:30 AM in the morning, to allow you plenty of time for sightseeing in the afternoon.

Please bear in mind that you will return to Tirana late in the evening after the Gjirokaster tour.

Where is the pick-up location for the Gjirokaster tour?

When you make the booking for the Gjirokaster tour, you can enter a location of your choice in Tirana city.

You will be able to choose from the following pick-up locations:

  • A list of a 117 popular hotels in Tirana
  • Tirana International Airport
  • Custom pick-up location

Most popular hotels are included in the list of hotels in Tirana. However, if you are unble to find your hotel’s name, you can simply add it as a custom pick-up location.

Please bear in mind that the Gjirokaster tour starts very early at 7:30 AM. Moreover, pick-up for the tour will start 30 minutes before the start time of the Gjirokaster tour.

Pick-up service in Tirana is included in the price of the Gjirokaster tour.

Where is the drop-off location for the Gjirokaster tour?

After the Gjirokaster tour, you will be dropped off in Tirana city. You can indicate a drop-off location of your choice in Tirana, when you make the booking.

You will be able to choose from the following drop-off locations:

  • A list of a 117 popular hotels in Tirana
  • Tirana International Airport
  • Custom drop-off location

Most popular hotels are included in the list of hotels in Tirana. However, if you are unble to find your hotel name, you can simply add it as a custom drop-off location.

Drop-off service in Tirana is included in the price of the Gjirokaster tour.

On the Gjirokaster tour, how long will it take to reach Gjirokaster?

It takes a total of 4 hours to drive from Tirana to Gjirokaster with a private vehicle for a one-way journey. 

Of course, we will make regular stops along the way to have a coffee, go to the bathroom or buy some food.

Therefore, the tour starts early in the day at 7:30 AM, so that you will have plenty of time in the afternoon to visit the sights in Gjirokaster.

Can I bring luggage on the Gjirokaster tour?

Yes, you can bring 1 or 2 pieces of luggage on the Gjirokaster tour.

If you have more luggage, you might be able to store them at your hotel in Tirana and collect them upon your return from the Gjirokaster tour.

Is the Gjirokaster tour a private tour?

Yes, the Gjirokaster tour is a private tour. You will travel from Tirana to Gjirokaster with private transportation.

Moreover, I am your private tour guide in Gjirokaster city.

Since it is a private tour, you will also have the freedom to customize the itinerary to meet your preferences. For instance, we can spend more time at a touristic sight, if you wish to do so.

Can I customize the itinerary of the Gjirokaster tour?

Yes, you can customize the itinerary of the Gjirokaster tour. The Gjirokaster tour is a private tour, which includes private transportation. Therefore, you will have the choice to customize the itinerary as you please.

For any questions regarding customizing your tour, you can contact me on contact@albaniatourguide.com. Or you can book an Albania Planning Session via skype, by clicking this link.

Does the Gjirokaster tour include a tour guide?

Yes, I will be your private tour guide during your Gjirokaster tour. I will personally guide you during the sightseeing in Gjirokaster.

Moreover, you will travel by private transportation during the Gjirokaster tour, therefore, you will have the flexiblity to customize the itinerary if you wish.

What should I bring on the Gjirokaster tour?

The essential items to bring on the Gjirokaster tour are:

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Sunscreen

Comfortable walking shoes
Many of the old streets in Gjirokaster are layed with cobble stones. Moreover, the city is located on the hill, which makes many of the street surfaces steep. With this in mind, you will definitely need a pair of comfortable walking shoes for the Gjirokaster tour.

Sunscreen
When you visit the beautiful hill-top castle in Gjirokaster, you will be exposed to the sun. Therefore, please bring some sunscreen, so that you can enjoy the Gjirokaster tour without having to be worried about getting sunburn.

When is the Gjirokaster tour available?

To check the availablity for the Gjirokaster tour please follow these steps:

  1. Press on the Book Now button
  2. Select the number of adults (on the right hand side).
  3. You will see the available dates on the calendar (on the right hand side).

 

What is the best time to go on a Gjirokaster tour?

The best time to go on a Gjirokaster tour is year-round. There are plenty of great sightseeing attractions, both indoor and outdoor in Gjirokaster. These sightseeing attractions can be visited throughout the year.

What if my preferred date for the Gjirokaster tour is not available?

If you have pressed on the Book Now button, but you could not find your preferred date for the Gjirokaster tour, you can get in touch by email.

You can email me on contact@albaniatourguide.com . Please specify the date, number of travellers and the tour you would like to book in the email. Then I will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.

What is the price for the Gjirokaster tour?

To check the price for the Gjirokaster tour, please follow these steps:

  1. Press on the Book Now button
  2. Select the number of adults (on the right hand side).
  3. Select your preferred date from the calendar (on the right hand side).
  4. You will see the total price, just below the calendar.

How can I book the Gjirokaster tour?

  1. Press on the Book Now button
  2. Select the number of adults (on the right hand side).
  3. Select your preferred date from the calendar and the start time.
  4. Press on check-out
  5. Select your pick-up and drop-off location and press continue
  6. Enter your first name, last name, email address and phone number
  7. Press “Go to a secure payment site” and you will be redirected to Paypal to complete the payment.

If you have any questions about your booking, you can email contact@albaniatourguide.com . And I will personally respond to you as soon as possible.

How late can I make a booking for the Gjirokaster tour?

You can make a booking with me up until the day before the tour starts. Just keep in mind that the Gjirokaster tour may not be available, if you book at the last minute!

Especially, since I lead the private tours through Albania personally, so I cannot take more than one booking on each date.

I recommend booking at least one week in advance, in order to have the best chances of finding availability.

What is the cancellation policy of the Gjirokaster tour?

We will charge a cancellation fee of 100% if booking is cancelled 1 day or less before the event.

Where can I ask a question about the Gjirokaster tour?

If you have any questions about the Gjirokaster tour, you can reach out by email. My email address is contact@albaniatourguide.com.

I will personally respond to your email as soon as possible.

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