Vlore lies in the southwestern coastal region of Albania, at the southern end of the Adriatic Sea and the northern part the Ionian Sea. The Vlore coastline accounts for about 30% of the entire coast of Albania. The Albanian Riviera is nearby. It is 135 km from the capital city, Tirana, separated by only 72 km from Italy (Channel of Otranto) and 123 km from Greece (the island of Corfu).
The surface area of Vlore is 1609 km² and includes 4 cities; Vlore, Selenica, Himara and Orikum.
It has a climate typical of Mediterranean Sea, with mild winters that are generally wet, and summers that are dry. The Vlore region has three basic climatic zones: The coast has moderate temperatures, as the other countries of the Mediterranean, and does not suffer the cold winds like the western side of Albania.
The inland, hilly areas in the region have a cool climate with rains and similar to that of Central Europe with a relatively mild climate. The mountainous region, such as Llogara, possesses a dry continental climate. In winter it can be quite cold (though snow is relatively uncommon) and has fresh, cool air all summer long.
Vlore receives more hours of sunshine per year than any other region of Albania - averaging over 2000 "sunny" hours annually. Vlore has the only peninsula in Albania, which is named Karaburun. It is roughly 16 km by 4 km in size, and an area of 62 km². The peninsula of Karaburun is rich in natural resources (famous for marble), woodlands, and archeological remains. It is also home to a reserve for wild pigs. The only island in Albania, named Sazan, is 17 km from the port of Vlore and 9 km from Triport (Three Gates) in the Vlore region. The highest point of the island is 342 m. Sazan has a surface area of 5.7 km² and 12 km of coast. A rocky cliff breaks the beach.
Vlore, long known for its olive production, at last count had approximately 280,000 olive trees. The olive trademark " Vlonjak" is one of the oldest in Europe and is known for its great oil production. The territory around Vlore comes from thriving ancient cities such as Amantia-Ploce, Olympe-Mavrova, Orikos-Orikum, Himera-Himare, Kionina-Kanine, Nymfeum-Selenica and Aulona-Vlora.
A lot of famous people in Albania were born in Vlore, including 6 former ministers (Xhafaj, Malaj, Angjeli, Gjinushi, Leskaj, Pango), a lot of famous singers (including Aurela Gace and Poni), and several other VIPs.
Vlore is also known for being the head city for the 1997 revolution in Albania. Zani Caushi was one of the local leaders, although he later started to trade drugs. If possible, do not get in a discussion about 1997 while being in Vlore.
The dialect of Vlore is difficult to learn, as it includes a special kind of speaking (slower than the rest of Albania), difficult "r" and "l" ("r", especially when the first letter of a word, is severe, while "l" is something between "l" and "ll", similar to the Greek "l") and a lot of special phrases. Vlore people almost always use "motra" and "vlla" (sister and brother) when addressing at each other, even if its the first time you meet with them. A famous funny phrase in Vlore is "me ler rehat o vlla se i thash vllait" ("Get off brother, or I'll tell my brother", when a girl grows tired of a boy's flirting).
- Bus stop (Drop off point) (In the city "centre" near the Muradie Mosque, or a couple of blocks west.).
As of September 2014, mini-buses left from Saranda to Vlore at the following time: 05:30, 11:30, 16:30, 18:00.
Daily two buses from Athens (over night bus and day long bus, both €30).
- 1 Vlore Port. From Brindisi with two overnight ferries, arriving in Vlore early in the morning
- 2 Vlora train station. A train arriving after 12:00 on the once a day service from Rrogozhinë which connects off again a daily train from Tiranë to Librazhd. The same loco formed the 05:00 Vlorë to Rrogozhinë the next day.(2013)
If you are in Tirana, follow the way: Tirana-Durres-Kavaje-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore. The roadway is pretty good. From North Macedonia, you can follow: Qafe Thane-Librazhd-Elbasan-Rrogozhine-Lushnje-Fier-Vlore
From Greece, you can take three ways: (i) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Tepelene-Vlore; or (ii) Kakavi-Gjirokaster-Qafe e Muzines-Sarande-Vlore; or (iii) Qafe Bote-Sarande-Dhermi-Vlore. The last itinerary is the shortest
There are three areas you might visit in Vlore - the beaches, the port, and the town centre.
- the beaches stretch several Km to the south/east of the port, and there are numerous hotels and apartments in this stretch. There are also good beaches north/west of the port, but these are less easily accessible.
- the port area - numerous hotels and restaurants in this area, though the town beach and the sea here are rather dirty
- the town centre lies inland, about 2 km north of the port. A long boulevard lined with palm trees joins the two. There are many bars, shops and restaurants along this boulevard. The town centre (around Flag Square) has a few 'tourist attractions', though unless you are in Vlore for the beaches there is not much to detain you more than half a day. The main reason for staying in this area is its convenience as a bus/furgon 'hub' serving nearby towns.
There is a small tourist information kiosk in Flag Square, next to the Independence Monument.
- Catholic church.
- Mosque of Neshat Pasha.
In the "town centre" area -
- 1 Flag Square (Sheshi i Flamurit). - Independence Monument - a massive socialist-realist monument celebrating the independence of Albania from the Ottoman empire in 1912
- Ethnographic Museum. 08.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00.
- 2 Historic Museum (Muzeu Historik), Rruga Perlat Rexhepi. 8.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00.
- 3 Mosque of Muradie (Xhamia e Muradies), Rruga Ate Kristo Negovani cnr.
Port area -
- 4 Museum of Independence, Rruga Uji i Ftohte. 08.00–12.00 and 16.00–18.00.
- 5 Dhërmi beaches (S 55 km). — one of the finest of the many beaches along the coastal road, perfect for camping.
- 6 Fier (N 39 km). — Lively seaside city, and only about 8 km (5 mi) away from the ruins of the ancient Illyrian city of Apollonia.Much of this ancient city still remains buried under the hills.
- 7 Castle of Kanina (Kalase Kaninë), Kanina village (E six km). Built in the old center of Vlore in the 3rd century BC. This castle has an area of 3625ha. It was rebuilt by Emperor Justinian in the 5th century BC. In Anna Komnenes' notes, she talked long about her father, Emperor Aleks', war against the Norman army.
- 8 Monastery of Saint Mary (Manastiri i Shën Mërisë në Zvërnec), Zvernec (Zvërnec) Village (NW ten km).
- 9 Orikum (S 20 km). Ancient theatre of Orikum (1st century BC), Church of Marmiroi (Kisha e Marmiroit) - Here is also a small hotel
- 10 Castle of Gjon Boçari (Kalaja e Gjon Bocarit), Tragjas village (E 3 km of Orikum).
- 11 Kropisht Castle, Llutroi, ? (E 20 km). built in the Roman period. It is composed of stones, 24x2x5cm. The fortress was built in the shape of a square with an area of 250x180meters. For the most part, the widths of the stones were 1.2meters.
- 12 Kukum Castle, Qeparo village (near Palermo, 84 km S of Vlore). It was built in the 2nd century BC.
- 13 Vlore Castle (Triport Castle Walls ?, Muri i Kalase Triport), Zvërnec (NW eight km). was built in 1531 by Sultan Sulejman to protect Vlore from attack from the army of Venedik. This castle was documented by Dr. Auerbahu in 1847 and was saved in the library archive of Innsbruck.
- Movrove Castle (in the Shushice valley). was built in the 4th century BC. The walls are built with a limestone blockade
- Lepenice Caves. - Cave writings-Lepenice is situated on the mountain and village of the same name, which has a height of 800 m above sea level. Pictures found in this cave represent post-Paleolithic art, which is known as the oldest in all of Europe. In the cave you find 19 anthropomorphic figures and 8 geometrical pictures.
- 14 Haxhi Ali Cave (Shpella e Haxhi Aliut), Karaburun (on the peninsula). Located in a cliff, it is the biggest cave in Albania at 30 m long, 10 m wide and 10-15 m high.
- Natural springs. Vlore is blessed with numerous natural springs because of precipitation and the mountainous landscape.
- 15 Narta Lagoon (Laguna e Nartës) (north of Vlore). One of the most important lagoon in Albania. Connected with the sea by the way of a channel and, as such, are affected by the tides. It is well-known internationally because of the number of sea birds, which exceeds 48,700. For three species of sea birds, 1% of the total number find refuge here. In winter, more than 23% of the sea birds of Albania live in this area.
- 16 Pashaliman Lagoon (Laguna e Pashalimanit) (W 3 km of Orikum). One of the most important lagoon in Albania. Connected with the sea by the way of a channel and, as such, are affected by the tides. Although small in size, is known for different kinds of ducks and for winter seabirds that migrate through Albania.
- 17 Shushica River (Vlore River, Shushicë). This has a length of about 80km and is also known by another name, Vlore River, because it traverses the valley of the same name.
- 18 Vjosa River (Vjosë River) (N-NE 15-25 km). with the length of 76 km, it has served as a natural border between Fier (in the north) and Vlore. It was very practical to navigate between the two cities because the river generally passes through fields and flat land.
- Velça Caves. These are part of the culture of the late Neolit culture of the 3rd millennium BC. Professor Marciani took notes about this cave, and speculated that it must have been lived in 1000 years before Christ.
- 19 Vuno beaches (Greek: Βουνό) (S 63 km). — small village a few kilometres north to the town of Himarë, feeling on the Albanian riviera
Vlore's sea products are some of the best in Albania. The Paradisa Beach Restaurant offers great seafood and is 5-10 minutes (depending on traffic) with a car from the center of Vlore. Ask for the right direction. Another great restaurant is "Makareshi", which is less than 5 minutes from the center of the city (with a car). But the most important thing to eat there is the Vlore traditiional food. Vlore (together with Kurvelesh) is the center of Laberia - the most famous and patriotic region of Albania. "Lab" people tend to be very proud of themselves, but also of their food. Try kukurec, qumeshtor and harapash. "Mish ne hell", which is rotisserie lamb, is well-known. Try this around Karaburuni.
Vlore area cuisine is typical of coastal and mountainous areas. The products are taken from dairy animals which are raised in the mountains by the sea. Here are some examples of traditional Albanian dishes:
- Byrek is a flaky pastry that is preferred by the people of Vlore to be filled with either field greens or just as a milky pie. The most important ingredients are fresh milk, flour, and field greens.
- Grilled meat is characteristic of Vlore, and is found in every restaurant. The nearness of the sea and the quality of pastures give the meat in this area an incomparable taste. Lamb from Karaburun cooked over an open fire is particularly delicious.
- Yogurt in Vlore is produced traditionally and is different than the yogurt produced in most of Europe.
- Harapash is similar to porridge and is cooked with corn flour, the intestines of lamb, cheese and butter.
- Raki is the traditional alcoholic drink of Albania. The drink is typically grape-based, but you can also find raki made from blackberries and plums.
- Another typical dish for Vlore cuisine are plates with seafood, fish, mussels, shrimp, and lobster.
By the main beach where the Adriatic meets the Ionian sea, there is a natural mineral water spring that leads into the ocean. Locals fill up empty bottles to take with them to the beach, and larger containers to take home. You can have an aperitif always near the seaside or in the mountain of Llogora, a natural park (protected).
Accommodation on offer ranges from luxurious to basic with a good choice of hotels in between. Friendly service and good hospitality is usually encountered. Also available are private apartments and homes for longer stays of 10-15 days, B&Bs and hostels. You can camp in some areas.
Town centre area -
- 1 Vlore Hotel, Rruga Justin Godar (Near to Flag Square). €30 for a double room with breakfast [Sept 2011].
- 2 Vlora Backpackers Hostel, 24 haki isufi kushtrimi vlore (rruga gjergj kastrioti north all way till the end turn left on rruga e paqes and one more left in few buildings and is rruga haki isufi), ☎ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Vlora backpackers in a old villa located in a city center close to flew market grocery market and many historical museums best for stop by travelers. bus station is close for travelling outside of Vlora the port to Italy is 2 km easy with city bus. €10 per bed in dorm room.
- Tirana (N 145 km (90 mi))— the capital. Trees and mountains surround the city. Mt. Dajt is a popular tourist site for a great view of the city.
- Durres(N 120 km (75 mi))— one of the oldest cities in Albania. Flooded three times during its history. The current city is built on the ruins of two previous ones. It has the largest amphitheater in the Balkans. It is the largest port of Albania and has the longest shoreline.
- Sarandë (S 120 km (75 mi)) a city known for its unforgettable beaches and colorful spring blooms.
- Lukove (S 103 km (64 mi)) - part of the Albanian Riviera, here is Kakome, one of the most beautiful Albanian beaches
- Himarë (S 70 km (43 mi)) - Greek/Albanian town on the seaside of the Albanian Riveria with beautiful beaches and an ancient old town