Pogradec: The Complete Guide

View Pogradec, Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs

Pogradec is a town on the shores of Lake Ohrid in eastern Albania. The lake is one of the oldest and deepest lakes (300m) in Europe and dominates the town.

On the south and west side, this city is surrounded by hills and its northern and eastern sides the lake.  The other side of the lake is the North Macedonia own of Ohrid.  Tourism in Pogradec is minimal but the town is nice enough to stroll around,  especially it’s park alongside the lake, which has several benches to sit on. At the eastern side of town is the long and sandy Pogradec Beach.

Some of the restaurants have built jetties over the lake so people can swim off them and they often will server traditional fish dishes, especially the baked speckled trout (Koran).

On a hill above Pogradec, there are the ruins of an ancient Illyrian village which is called the Castle of Pogradec . The name of the town comes from this settlement. Po means ‘beneath’ and Gradec ‘town’, so it literally means  “under the town”.

Popular places to visit  around Lake Ohrid are Lin, Pojskë, Hudenisht and Tushemisht.

History of Pogradec

The area around the lake was inhabited by the Illyrian tribe of the Enchelii and became the center of the First Illyrian Kingdom led by king Bardylis during the 5th and 4th century B.C.

During Roman times the town was well situated as the Via Egnatia, which connected the Dyrrachium (Durrës) with Byzantium (Istanbul), passed close by.
By the 7th century the area was occupied by a Slavic tribe known as the Berziti. The 8th until the 14th century was a period of turbulence where Bulgarians, Byzantines and Serbians and Albanians fought over the lands until the Ottoman empire eventually took control.

The city was popular with both the Albania’s ex-king Zog I, and the communist dictator Enver Hoxha.

Visiting Pogradec for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Pogradec on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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2 Best places to See in Pogradec

This complete guide to Pogradec not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Pogradec and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Illyrian Royal Tombs

Selca E Poshtme Village
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Albinfo
The Illyrian Tombs of Selca e Poshtme are located near the village of Selcë e Poshtme (Lower Selcë) in Albania. The tombs are from the necropolis of the ancient city of Pelion which is situated on a hill between the village of Selcë e Poshtme and the river Shkumbin. The settlement is thought to have […]
Location: Mokër Municipality of Pogradec Albania | Distance: 15.20km
Visiting Illyrian Royal Tombs

Lin, Korçë

Lin, Albania
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Pudelek
Lin is a quiet fishing village situated on a small peninsula on Lake Ohrid, just south of the border with Macedonia and 22 km north of Pogradec.The village has narrow lanes and old women dressed in black sat in doorways, quietly chatting or knitting. Archaeological findings from the nearby hilltop include foundation walls and mosaics […]
Visiting Lin, Korçë

Best Time to Visit Pogradec

The best time to visit Pogradec, Albania, depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Pogradec, with mild temperatures and blooming flowers. The weather is comfortably warm, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as exploring the city’s historic sites, hiking in the surrounding mountains, and enjoying picnics by Lake Ohrid. Additionally, spring sees fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months, allowing for a more relaxed and authentic experience.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Pogradec, with hot temperatures and plenty of sunshine. This is the best time to visit if you enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports on Lake Ohrid. The city comes alive with outdoor cafes, restaurants, and cultural events. However, be prepared for higher accommodation prices and larger crowds, especially in popular tourist areas.
  3. Autumn (September to November): Autumn is another great time to visit Pogradec, with mild temperatures and fewer tourists compared to the summer months. The weather remains pleasant, allowing you to continue enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and boat tours on Lake Ohrid. Additionally, autumn offers opportunities to experience the changing colors of the surrounding landscapes and sample seasonal cuisine at local restaurants.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter is the quietest time to visit Pogradec, with cooler temperatures and occasional rainfall. While the weather may not be suitable for swimming or outdoor activities, it’s an excellent time to explore indoor attractions such as museums, art galleries, and historic sites. Additionally, winter offers a unique opportunity to experience the city’s traditional culture and warm Albanian hospitality away from the tourist crowds.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Pogradec depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip. Whether you prefer the bustling atmosphere of summer, the mild temperatures of spring and autumn, or the peaceful ambiance of winter, Pogradec offers something for every traveler throughout the year.

Average Temperatures in Pogradec

  • January 8°C 10
  • February 11°C 8
  • March 13°C 9
  • April 19°C 9
  • May 22°C 10
  • June 27°C 8
  • July 31°C 4
  • August 30°C 4
  • September 26°C 7
  • October 21°C 9
  • November 14°C 11
  • December 11°C 9