I only spent 2 days in Shkoder and as the city itself, there isn’t much to do.
There is the castle on top of the hill named Rozafa. It offers great views of the city, the river/lake, and the mountains. Unfortunately, it was a bit gloomy when I went and the view wasn’t as good as it could be. The entrance is 200 leke, but I received a student price of 100 leke. From the center to the castle is about an hour walk.
One of the questions asked by locals or by other travelers is,
“Did you go to the castle?” Then,
“Did you see the dog?”
The castle has an unofficial greeter/mascot. She was the cutest and sweetest thing. As soon as she saw me, she sprinted towards me and stuck with me the whole time I visited. I was the only one during my visit. She is quite famous.
There is one pedestrian shopping street where no cars are permitted. It’s lovely. There are other streets with the same design, but cars are allowed.
There are no big grocery stores, just small markets and fruit and vegetable stands as well as many bakeries.
A hostel mate and I took a walk along the lake. We had to walk through town, cross an old wooden bridge with holes (watch your step!) and a very small town before getting to the lake boardwalk. We almost reached the Montenegro border, in total we walked 12 km or about 6 miles! It was quite peaceful.
On the way back, we stopped at a pastry shop and had some delicious dessert.
We had several encounters with locals. This town is the first in my trip thus far that I had very active beggars. Following us and yelling at us.
But besides that, we went to get some burek and the ladies behind the counter were very fascinated by us. They were speaking Albanian, but we thought we could follow the conversation. One woman thought my friend was Albanian and thought I was Spanish or Italian, which happens more often here in Albania.
The second encounter was at a vegetable stand and again he thought I was Spanish or Italian and was shocked that I said America and my friend had to show him on the map New Zealand because we didn’t know how to say that.
I stayed at a hostel called Mi casa es tu casa. It’s a home as the owners still live there and their pets roam free. It has a comfortable feel and the beds are heaven. Definitely two of the best nights sleeps on this trip. Many of the travelers who visit end up staying several more days there. There is breakfast in the morning, but it’s mainly bread/toast with toppings.
Some people use this spot to then jump to Lake Koman and take the ferry to some smaller towns to hike. The ferry is supposed to be lovely. However, apparently it’s a one way trip in one day, meaning you need to spend the night to return. I had limited days so I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to return the same day. Also, being winter, he hiking wouldn’t have been as good.
What was funny was that I took Old Town Travel bus company from Tirana to Podgorica and had one bus driver and when I came back from Podgorica to Shkoder I had the same bus driver. Finally, upon returning to Podgorica, I had the same bus driver again! He probably thought I was crazy going back and forth constantly haha.