Shkodër: The Complete Guide

Shkodër is one of the Balkan’s most ancient cities and the country’s fourth most populous city, exerting strong influence in northern Albania’s history, religion, arts and entertainment.

Shkodër stretches across the plain of Mbishkodra between the Shkodër Lake and the Albanian Alps foothills. Shkodër is dominated to the south by the citadel of Rozafat, past which the Kiri River flows into the Buenë.

Although Shkodër is a sprawling town, it should be possible to walk around the historic center quite easily.

Visiting Shkodër 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 Shkodër on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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History of Shkodër

The region that today corresponds to the city territory was founded in the 4th century BC by the ancient Illyrian tribes of the Ardiaei and Labeates.
Livy, the Roman historian cited the town as the capital of the Illyrian king Gentius, who surrendered to the Roman force of Anicius Gallus in 168 BCE.
In the 3rd century AD during the rule of the Roman emperor Diocletian, Shkodër became the capital of the province of Praevalitana.

The town fought over by the Byzantines, Bulgars, Serbs, and Turks, Illyrians (again), and a Serbian family (who sold it to Venice). It was a stronghold of the Albanian national hero, Skanderbeg, in the 15th century.

The Ottomans took back control in 1831 and made it the regional capital again.

12 Best places to See in Shkodër

This complete guide to Shkodër 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 Shkodër and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Shkodra Historical Museum

Shkodra Historical Museum
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Sigismund von Dobschütz

This museum also know as, Oso Kuka Museum, is situated in a sensational position, on a steep hill overlooking the town.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Shkodra Historical Museum!

Address: Rruga Oso Kuka 32 Shkodër Albania | Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-15:00 Saturday-Sunday 9:00-13:00 | Price: Adult 150 ALL, Children under 14 years old 50 ALL | Website | Distance: 0.50km

Ebu Bekr Mosque

Plaza Scene With Ebu Bekr Mosque Shkodra Albania
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Adam Jones

The mosque at Ebu Bekr, commonly known as the Great Mosque, although its official name is the Sheik Zamil Abdullah Al-Zamil Mosque. It is a modern structure inspired by Ottoman mosques dating from the 16th century. It was built on the site of an old, historic mosque which was demolished during the Communist era.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Ebu Bekr Mosque!

Address: Rruga Fushë Cele 1 Shkodër Albania | Distance: 0.72km

The National Museum of Photography

Muzeu Marubi
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marina Binoshaj

The National Museum of Photography or simply Marubi Museum is a national museum located in the northern city of Shkodër. the museum is dedicated to Albanian photography and photographers.

Read our full blog post on Visiting The National Museum of Photography!

Address: "Kolë Idromeno" Street, Shkoder | Hours: April- September, Every Day 9:00 – 19:30 October -March, Tuesday- Sunday 9:00 - 14:00, 15:00 - 18:00 | Price: 700ALL | Website | Distance: 0.72km

Shkodra Cathedral

Cathedral Shkodër Tower
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ambra Doci

The Roman Catholic  Cathedral of Shkodër, is also known as the Catholic Cathedral of St Stephen, who is the patron saint of the city of Shkodra.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Shkodra Cathedral!

Address: Rruga Gerej Shkodër Albania | Hours: Monday-Sunday 8:00-12:00 | Distance: 1.20km

Venice Art Mask Factory

Carnavalsmaskers Venetië
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Dagoos

Venice Art Mask Factory mask show features the most extensive and unique collection of Venetian luxury baroque hand crafted masks in paper mache and ceramic. The masks are decorated with materials, such as authentic plume feathers, gold and silver leaf, carnival Swarovski crystals and pearls.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Venice Art Mask Factory!

Address: Rruga Inxh Gjovalin Gjadri Shkodër, Albania, Shkoder 4002 Albania | Hours: 8am - 6pm | Distance: 1.75km

Rozafa Fortress

Rozafa Castle, Albania
CC BY 3.0 / Talha Çakır

Rozafa Castle is a castle just to the south west of the city of Shkodër.  It is set on a craggy hill, 130 meters above sea level next to the confluence of the Drin and Bojana rivers.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Rozafa Fortress!

Address: Rruga Rozafa Shkodër Albania | Hours: 9am-8pm Apr-Oct, to 4pm Nov-Mar | Price: 200 lekë | Distance: 3.32km

Mes Bridge

Mes Bridge Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Sali Jonuzi

Mesi Bridge  is an Ottoman bridge the spans the Khir River in the village of Mes, approximately 5 km north-east of Shkodër in north-west Albania. The Mes Bridge is the highest river crossing in Ottoman Albania and is 108 meters long and 3-4 meters wide, and has 13 stone arches.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Mes Bridge!

Address: AL Boks 4012 Albania | Distance: 7.01km

Lake Shkodër

Lake Skadar Panoramio
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Alexey Komarov

This expansive lake also also called Lake Scutari, Lake Shkodër and Lake Shkodra, is the largest lake in the Balkans and forms a natural boundary between Montenegro and Albania. The lake and area on the Montenegro side has been classified as a national park, while the Albanian side is a nature reserve.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Lake Shkodër!

| Distance: 7.87km


Drisht Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Albinfo

Drisht is a small village in Albania near Shkodër. Its small size hides its former importance, at the height of its power it had a fortress and it was the seat of a bishopric until the 9th century.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Drisht!

| Distance: 9.02km

Lake Koman Ferry

Lake Komani 2016 Albania
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Colin Skidmore

Just over an hour east of Shkodër, Lake Koman also know as Koman Reservoir.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Lake Koman Ferry!

Address: Koman, Shkodër, Albania Koman 4001 Albania | Website | Distance: 26.36km

Shëngjin Beach

Shengjin Beach
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Drdenn3

Shëngjin is a popular destination in northern Albania, close to the town of Shkodra. It has a large stretch of beach and the nearby smaller town of Shëngjin has all the amenities. It’s perfect for long morning and evening beach walks.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Shëngjin Beach!

| Distance: 30.21km


Theth Church Accursed Mountains Albania
CC BY-SA 1.0 / peter_h

Theth or Thethi is a small village in the Accursed Mountains, in the north of Albania. The village is at the center of the Theth National Park, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The 200 or so houses here are made from the local grey stone with wooden shingles on their roofs.

Read our full blog post on Visiting Theth!

| Distance: 42.45km

Tours and Activities from Shkodër