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Gjirokastra

Defined by its castle, roads paved with chunky limestone and shale, imposing slate-roofed houses and views out to the Drina Valley, Gjirokastra is a magical hillside town described beautifully by Albania's most famous author, Ismail Kadare (b 1936), in Chronicle in Stone. There has been a settlement here for 2500 years, though these days it's the 600 'monumental' Ottoman-era houses in town that attract visitors. For Albanians, the town is also synonymous with former dictator Enver Hoxha, who was born here and ensured the town was relatively well preserved under his rule, though he is not memorialised in any way here today.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Gjirokastra.