Vlore is a harbour city that holds special meaning for Albanians, as this is where the country declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire at the start of the 20th century. So you can take a whistle-stop tour of monuments and museums celebrating the statesman Ismail Qemali’s first government, and in doing so get to know a little more about what it means to be Albanian. If you’d like ideas for days trips the wider region is both untamed and beautiful. Relaxing tourist beaches with clear waters are just a handful of kilometres away, and if you follow the coastal road south there’s a string of charming little resorts punctuated by the vast mountainscapes of the Llogora National Park.
Also see our guide on Albania. But let’s get on with our list of things to do in Vlore:
1. Independence Monument
As the centrepiece of Vlore’s Square of the Flag, the Independence Monument marks Albania’s declaration of independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912. It was designed by Mumtaz Dhrami, a prolific 20th-centrury sculptor who completed a host of works around Albania in communist times. His Independence Monument is from 1972 and exemplifies the socialist-realist style, so today it memorialises both Albania’s independence and the country’s difficult post-war years. The square is fringed by palm and pine trees, and there are benches where you can sit and watch the city go by.