Pogradec is a city that holds in itself many beauties and treasures. As a person who was born and raised here, I can say that my favorite thing about Pogradec is the peace nature offers. As you go for a walk by the lake, or climb the mountains nearby and see the entire city, you should stop for a second, close your eyes and take a deep breath. You will see yourself filled with a peace that will make you forget for a few seconds the world or anything around you. You will discover a desire to just enjoy life.
Reasons to visit Pogradec
Pogradec is well-known for very hospitable and welcoming people. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know you, they will still invite you to their house. In summer days they’ll invite you to join them in their courtyard and offer you some fresh homemade lemonade or delicious jam, made by the ladies of the house. If you come to visit Pogradec during winter days, you’ll be offered some mountain tea (typical Albanian) by the fireplace and a good chat. In Pogradec, you can find a very nice combination of tradition and the modern. Typical houses in Pogradec are one or two-floor houses, usually with a yard full of trees and flowers. You can still find these houses in the old part of the city, Toplec district, where all the buildings and the streets are preserved by the government and also by the people of Pogradec, who are very proud of their heritage. The modern is also combined with the overall picture of the entire city. The buildings are usually with 6 to 8 floors. Another reason to visit Pogradec is that it offers a breathtaking and peaceful view as you open your eyes and see one of Europe’s deepest as well as oldest lakes; a lake with an ecosystem of worldwide value that holds more than 200 endemic species. Not only is the view breathtaking but also the treasures that live in the lake are invaluable.
One of the best things about Pogradec is that the climate makes it possible for all the seasons to be experienced fully. Pogradec is often named as the city of flowers, so you can come and experience the bloom of flowers while taking a long walk by the lake, on fresh air. During summer there is a lot to do, like swimming in the lake, going on paddle boats, hiking in the hills or mountains around the city, taking evening xhirro’s, (walks by the lake; xhirro is the Albanian name for walks) which are a nightly tradition for the people in Pogradec, and a lot of other things. If you love the nature and the metamorphosis of the colors, Pogradec is the right place to be during fall… And don’t forget to take a camera with you! You wouldn’t want to miss a chance of capturing nature’s life (and not only) when in Pogradec during fall. Last but not least, if you have the chance to visit Pogradec during winter you will find it covered in white. This way, you’ll have the chance to play with snow, build snowmen with your kids or loved ones and experience some of the traditions of the people during winter time.
What you shouldn’t miss when in Pogradec
The springs of Drilon
Drilon is just 7 minutes away from the city by car, and 30 minutes if you choose to walk and experience the entire view on the way. The place is just magical. Nature is fully in harmony in Drilon. You can take a boat ride on the springs or feed the swans, which are the “owners” of that place. The characteristic wood bridges allow you to walk through the springs and see the full view. All around the springs, there are different trees which make the place great for picnics. In the entire area, you can find traditional restaurants that offer characteristic, delicious food. Make sure not to miss the Koran dish. Koran is an endemic fish of Lake Ohrid and it tastes just great, especially cooked traditionally in Albania.
Lin is a small peninsula that holds in itself besides great natural blessings, also a lot of history of the area. There you can go and try some traditional food, go fishing, but most importantly you can see the archeological site on the top of the village. The site has a Byzantine Basilica of the sixth century AD which holds a magnificent and unique mosaic of the same era. The village is known also for its vineyards and the sweet wine they produce. Its inhabitants are very nice and welcoming.
Art and culture
Pogradec is a city with a big love for art and culture. We are very proud of the great writers that have lived and worked here. Two of the greatest lyrical poets of XX century Albania were born in Pogradec, and their work was inspired by the beauty of surrounding nature, women and the fascinating legends of our region. To commemorate their deeds the people of Pogradec have two statues of these poets facing each other near the lakeshore. These monuments have become a great tourist attraction. The city is also well known for its artisans who make art out of wood, stone, and metal. Many fairs are organised throughout the year where the above-mentioned works as well as many embroideries, knittings, paintings, traditional costumes are exposed and sold to many visitors. So, if you are planning on visiting Pogradec, make sure not to miss the chance to learn more about our culture.
Pogradec is very well known for making good wine. Every December in the center of the city is organised the Wine festival. It usually lasts 3 days and people from all over Albania, and not only, participate. There is good wine, good food, and a lot of traditional dancing. Make sure to come visit in December. You won’t regret it!
Walks by the lake at night
Best thing to do in Pogradec after a long day of exploring the city is to take a walk by the lake, watch the sunset as it reflects on the clear waters of Ohrid and enjoy a nice traditional dinner. The city is magical at night, and you will feel as if living in a fairytale!
Pogradec has a lot to offer, and if you are planning on visiting you won’t regret it. It’s a small place, but with many treasures!