Gjirokastra was one of the biggest surprises for me in Albania. Initially I just wanted to pass through. I simply could not. The place is just too stunning. I had to stay.
The bus from Berat take roughly 4 hours going down south towards Sarandë. Gjirokastra has quite an extensive old town and it is dominated by a hill. On top of the latter sits a rather impressive castle.
While it doesn’t look all that far away, I soon discovered that carrying a backpack up there is a bad idea. It is getting quite steep. Considering that an apartment right in the heart of the old town would only set me back 15 Euro, I decided to stay. The old town is pretty and the place has good vibes. And I made my decision before I saw the best part.
The true highlight is the castle on top of the hill. The castle is massive and quite impressive but is dwarfed by the view from up there. I thought Berat was great but this simply breathtaking.
The castle is well worth a look as well. They even have an old crashed fighter plane up there and some old tank on display that looks like it was World War I.
As almost everything in Albania; the place is easy on your budget and a nice place to hang out. Gjirokastra might just be the most beautiful town in all Albania. I absolutely loved it.