Shkodra, the traditional centre of the Gheg cultural region, is one of the oldest cities in Europe and arguably the most attractive urban centre in Albania. The ancient Rozafa Fortress has stunning views over Lake Shkodra, while the pastel-painted buildings in the Old Town have a distinct Italian ambience. Many travellers rush through here while travelling between Tirana and Montenegro, or en route to the Lake Koman Ferry and the villages of Theth and Valbona, but it's worth spending a night or two to soak up this pleasant and welcoming place. Check out the interesting museums before moving on to the mountains, the coast or the capital.
The city is known in Albania as the 'City of Bicycles and Rain'. The bike bit is pretty obvious as the pancake-flat city is ideal for cycling (hotels rent bikes), but the rain part might confuse visitors from soggy northern Europe.