Albania is a relatively small Balkan country with a long eastern coastline that faces the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It is, in fact, very close to the south of Italy. The coastal villages experience Mediterranean weather which make them highly attractive to tourists. Winters are mild at an average of 7 degrees Celsius while the summers are not too hot with an average of 24 degrees Celsius. Golem is located in the middle of this extended coast. This village is quite tiny by itself but it can be a strategic base to explore the rest of the region.
Thanks to its geography, visitors to Golem should have plenty of opportunities to get in or near the water for various activities. They could also take short rides to the nearby cities which provide more facilities and attractions to maximize the trip. For example, the major towns of Durres and Kavaje are not far away. Even the capital, Tirana, is highly accessible by car. The key to enjoying this holiday is to set expectations and respect the locals, most of whom will be glad to lend a helping hand. Here are some things to do in Golem Albania:
Plazhi i Golemit
This is the major attraction in the village. It features a crescent shaped beach with tourist-friendly sand and sea. It is a highly rated destination thanks to its cleanliness, accessibility, and facilities. Several apartments and hotels are there to accommodate travelers from all over the world. Numerous chaise longue and umbrellas allow people to recline and relax while watching the waves. These are perfect for sunrise viewing and lazy afternoons. Swim in the open waters, ride a boat, or play volleyball at the beach. There is no shortage of bars and restaurants to feed the hungry as well.
Plazhi i Gjeneralit
The General’s Beach can be found further down south in a more secluded location around Domen. If the main beach at Golem seems too big and crowded for you, then you can head here for a cozier feel. This also has a more dramatic backdrop thanks to the hills at the back. The water is clear and inviting. It’s definitely a nice place to spend a day by yourself or with loved ones. Just be aware that the road going there is not that good. It’s narrow and dusty, so brace yourself for the experience. Bring food and drinks for a picnic to avoid the costly restaurants.
Kodra e Robit
This is a low hill in Golem with an elevation measured at just 18 meters. It features signal towers at the top. Multiple homes and buildings surround the hill. The beach near it does not have as wide a sand bar as the main Golem beach but it provides a similar experience being part of the same stretch. This is another good alternative if the Plazhi I Golemit is overrun by tourists in the summer. You won’t have to travel far just to escape the big crowds. This place also tends to be cheaper in terms of accommodations and restaurants.
Beach of Durres
This is located to the north of Golem. Durres is the second most populous city in the country with about 200,000 residents and 338 square kilometers of land area. It is known for this beach that is perhaps the most visited in all of Albania. It is more than 10km long with major hotel chains along the coast. In terms of facilities, this is as good as it gets here in the Balkans. So when you want to take a break from the beach, there should be lots of options for bars, night clubs, creative centers, and so much more. Mini markets can provide any of your needs.
Durres Archeological Museum
Since you are already in Durres, why not look around the rest of the city? A great stop would be the Archeological Museum that is just beside the beach. It features incredible life-size scultures from the Ancient Roman period, as well as artifacts from the different civilizations that have set foot in Albania. There are decorative jars depicting life thousands of years ago. There are also ornate carvings on ruins, columns, and so on. Busts of important Roman officials and figurines of common folk are on display as well. With more funding, the displays could expand to the upper floors allowing the museum to reach its potential.
This is a cultural monument built in 1502 and was named after Mehmed the Conqueror, an Ottoman Turkish Sultan. Remember that Albania has a predominantly Muslim population so this is an important place of worship. However, the country also has several large religious minorities. Tolerance is the norm and most differences are political in nature. Inside the mosque are gorgeous details from the stairway to ornate patterns on the walls. It is in remarkable condition despite being over 500 years old — a testament to its importance and Albanian’s continuing restoration efforts.
If you like strolls around a city, then go to Vollaga Avenue for an interesting walk with countless photo opportunities. This is right by the beach so it’s hard to miss. You will find a wide walkway with multiple sculptures dating back to the communist era. There’s a nice view of the sunset and several restaurants along the path for meals and refreshments. You should be able to find great seafood and Italian fare. It should be a relaxing stroll in the winter, though it can get busy and stressful in the summer. Children can enjoy the play areas and rides.
Nearby Places to Visit
Albania’s capital Tirana is just a few short hours away so it is definitely worth going. Don’t miss the impressive Skanderbeg Square, the National Museum of History, the Et’hem Bey Mosque, and the Pyramid of Tirana. If you like mountaintop views, the go to Dajti at the edge of the city. You can have a day hike or go up via cable car. The fresh air, flora, fauna, and tranquil lake make this side trip worth every minute.